October 2, 2008

A Maddened Rant of Sorts

I have waited until my mood settled a bit and I had plenty of time to think about what I would like to say. Tragically, those to whom it is directed will doubtless not see it and those few who do will constitute preaching to the choir....but these things need to be said and one hopes, discussed.

Caledon has a wonderfully insane social structure. Anyone can join, and for the price of an Open space sim combined with the patience to wait, one can become Duke or Duchess Nom De Guerre. One may also create an avatar and backstory that indicates any range of honors and titles have been bestowed by various fictitious entities. One may also "earn" titles, which can be bestowed by one of the aforementioned Dukes or Duchesses as part of their Court or the honor is rarely bestowed by Desmond Shang for Service to the Realm.

As one would expect in such an egalitarian culture, there are those who crave titles and honor and those who shun them. This is as it should be. But an understanding of what those titles mean and how they are bestowed is a basic bit of teaching that has been neglected in our newer citizens and is most important for them to know.

Dukes and Duchesses are Estate Managers, giving them Estate powers in Caledon. This means they can ban someone who is griefing, remove prim litter, and make some repairs to infrastructure if needed. This is a responsibility that is given along with the title. What it does not give is the right to behave differently than any other ISC member, or provide any kind of official approval for their actions. Someone having a title before their name such as Lady, Sir, Duke, Duchess, Baron or any other has no right to abuse, harass, stalk or grief another resident any more than the greenest newbie. As ISC residents they have agreed to the Covenant, and are bound by it as well.

New citizens:

1. Des most likely does not know about your daily life and trials. He has to be the busiest man on the Grid, and cannot be aware that you are being griefed, stalked, or harassed unless you tell him - Tell Desmond*.

2. Just because the gutless wonder who is harassing you uses an alt to do so does not let them off the hook. If you know who it is, and what they are doing violates the TOS or the Covenant (or both). File and AR (on the alt) and Tell Desmond*.

3. Discussing, recreating or releasing your RL information is a violation of TOS. Report it and Tell Desmond*.

4. Desmond is also one of the fairest men on the grid. He does not condone, approve or ignore this sort of behavior by anyone. If you have a problem with someone, Tell him. Does this mean he wants to hear about the fight you just had with your partner/best friend/cat - no. But if said argument leads to truly bad behavior that violates the Covenant or TOS........Tell Desmond*.

Is it icky to go running to Des with this stuff? Absolutely, especially if it involves embarrassing admissions of a personal nature. Does it mean that Des will permaban the baddy who was mean to you? Probably not, but he can give wonderful advice on how to handle these problems. And most importantly - you are probably not alone in having these problems. If a number of people are reporting the same problems with the same people, then there is a Pattern of Abuse. This is true for LL and true for Des.

And why do I keep referring to "people" when we are discussing digital avatars in a game? If I have to explain, you don't get it anyway.

*Caveat Emptor: Please note that I do not have any deep insight into the mind of our Guv outside of my own personal observations and experiences. He has not seen or contributed to this rant, and opinions expressed are my own. This free advice is worth precisely what you have paid for it.


Rhianon Jameson said...

Wow. (Sound of jaw dropping far enough to connect with the floor.)

Ilsa Munro said...

As it happens I encountered someone who voiced similar opinions just yesterday afternoon whilst checking on my advert placement at Oxbridge.

Omitting specifics, this person was upset because they felt that certain members of our community received advance notification of the limited advertisement space and as such were able to "stake out" the best spots for themselves.

As it happened when I claimed my own location I encountered two member of the peerage doing the same and a third arrived as we were chatting.

As I doubt that there is anyone further down on the Caledonian social ladder than a lowly mechanic, I can only conclude that the announcement merely favored those who happened to get it at 4:30 in the morning - such as myself.

I can speak more directly to Guv'nah Shang's incorruptibility because I've tried bribery and still have no duchy of my own.

He's incorruptible, I most certainly am not.

Rhianon Jameson said...

Perhaps you have not yet tried hard enough, Miss Munro? My typist regularly announces that her good office can be bought - you just can't afford the price. All those sims must make the Guv's price high indeed.

Desmond Shang said...

Hi - heard about this post, just wanted to comment on it briefly.

Bluntly stated: titles in Caledon are mainly for fun and parody.

Within an openspace region, regardless if a person has assumed a title or not, the fact that they pay for the region grants them certain rights, within reasonable limits. As it should.

Of global estate managers: there are few. They don't abuse their powers; the Caledon ban list rarely tops ten people. What does it take to land on it? Well, you've got to drop in and blanket half a dozen regions with megaprims or something. Even then, I rarely leave the person banned for long (griefers use throwaway alts to do that anyway).

There hasn't been a name on the ban list that has been a resident, or known visitor or regular in years. In fact, Caledon's Avatar Rights strictly limit estate manager power - if someone is going to be banned from the country, I need to know why, and it had better be a good reason. Not personality issues.

Oxbridge Ads: the response I got was overwhelming, which I did not expect. I'll do my best to ensure everyone who wants to can have a reasonably well placed ad, even if that means I need to create another tasteful spot for ads on the Oxbridge campus, if at all technically possible. My mistake, for not realising how good the response would be to that.

Full disclosure: I did tell one person casually about ten minutes before I did the group notice for the ads, but when I did, I didn't expect the tipoff to be worth anything. I expected to have trouble filling the ads at all. This person holds no 'specialness' in Caledon other than having sent me an ad texture a month in advance when I'd casually mentioned it on group channel, and I was consulting said person about the upcoming Caledon official website.

Other forms of favouritism: well, strictly speaking, here's what it takes.

1) I got Nova Civis Caledon started up for the nonprofit group NCI, and jumped the openspace land list to do it. Why? Because they benefit all of us, run wonderful educational events like clockwork and one year later, have been a key component in making our upcoming community gateway at Oxbridge possible. It helps *all* of us.

2) If you are terminally ill, or in comparable dire, dire, dire circumstance, yes you may get a break from me somehow or in some way. Without explanations to the general public. Realise that I'm just an average guy and not rich at all, so such benefits are usually 'soft' ones.

3) If you've been a longtime resident in a Caledon region and I know you have been wanting more prims in that region for two years straight, I might tip you off about land availability there before my waiting list. Just common decency.

4) If you are a new user and have *no hope* of getting land in a new region, whereas people parked on the land list have been soaking down tens of thousands of square meters - I may let two or three new people have a stab at a small parcel regardless of list position. Incidentally this has been vital to prevent stagnation, and I am favouring people I don't know from Adam. If anything, being a titled longtime resident is a negative in this case.

5) If you are doing something so ridiculously selfless and beneficial to *eeeverybody else* and you need to put two prims in a region for twenty minutes to pull it off - yeah, sure, if I got 'em. Whatever.

* * * * *

As for the rest: I have one rule I ask before interfering.

"Is it any of my ******* business"

And usually it is not. When I consider an action, my first choice is to err in the opposite direction of tyranny.

I don't know how much drama is out there that I'm unaware of, but I am actually informed about a lot of it. People feel the need to tell me - and that's okay. But what can I do? I am sworn to uphold people's land privileges to the best of my ability, but I am not sworn to be the hand of Justice in matters where evidence is elusive, or hearsay.

Being human, I have definite opinions - there is nobody in Caledon now that I actively dislike, but in the past I have had to uphold the land privileges of some that caused me a great deal of grief. It is very, very important that I don't let personal issues get in the way of what everyone counts on me to do: maintain land.

* * * * *

My biggest meddling, as it were, generally involves the rate of expansion of Caledon, and soon: associated colonies. Many may wonder why I delay-delay-delay sometimes, but it's very important that Caledon as a whole is full, prosperous and so forth. I could have easily expanded to a couple hundred regions in the past two years. But you can imagine what would happen in the older 'not so new' areas if I had - and that's just not right. Essentially, it's self-regulation of the market for the overall good of everyone: precisely what Wall Street didn't do lately. That said, there will be colonies and so forth - probably late fall or winter.

* * * * *

If something is going on that really is a problem, by all means, clue me in. But realise that I am a resident just like anybody else - not judge, not executioner, and highly flawed. Hence my caution to act. If anyone is doing anything icky 'in my name' by all means let me know. That I would take *very* seriously.


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Miss Munro, I believe there may be an SL related problem with the advertising announcements. I didn't receive one (and it didn't show up in my offline notifications either) nor did Otenth Pederborn. We only found out about it because another member of Radio Riel DID get the notification and put out an add (and then let us know). So it's possible someone is feeling hard done by because they didn't actually received the group notice. Sadly that's one of the joys of SL.

As for behaviour Miss Gray, there are those who think that having a title puts them in some other category above the plebs. Though there are those who try to assert their superiority by asserting an absence of titles (ironically though they are quite enthusiastic about using military ones). I have opinions on those sort of people just as I am sure they have opinions on me. The best thing is to encourage leading by example and to steer people towards others who do the same.

I've had run ins with various people. On many occasions it's just a personality clash. But if a person is being griefed then Abuse Report everything. It doesn't give you immediate relief but it may get the offending account banned if it's bad enough.

Eladrienne Laval said...

There are many things that I agree with Miss Gray about. Although I have seen and experienced it, titles--bestowed or "made up"--do not give one a reason to treat anyone else differently. As for the Guvnah, it is true that you will find him to be quite fair.

I know, that I can attest to the fact that the Oxbridge ads were truly on a first-come, first-serve basis. I am a US East Coaster whose night owl habits just happened to have me still awake at past 2 am EST when the announcement was made. I actually saw the Guvnah's mention in main chat, not the announcement.

To end, if someone is being griefed, that is quite serious and should be reported as soon as possible--no matter who it is or their purported "station" in Caledonian life.