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A lot of issues discussed in this article


Pamela Galli
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Yes, it actually a manifesto --  very long but that's because it takes most everything we talk about on these forums and crystalizes them into one documentation of exactly what is happening and why.

 

Every Linden and resident, esp business owners, should read it and be clear what the status quo is.

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IMO it's a mixed bag. Some good points, some bad points, some that totally miss the obvious.

The good point (and reiterated ad nauseum) is clearly LLs fairly abysmal relationship with its users. To be fair, I never had many problems with LLs customer service. The few times I needed it, it was swift, accurate and helpful. On the other hand, LL communicates changes, problems and general ideas/plans so badly with its users that it's almost like LL really _does_ hate its user base. Point in case: Closing the JIRA. Yes I understand that the JIRA comments were pretty much dorky bitchfests. Hiding the entire JIRA however... I honestly don't feel the need to submit bug reports anymore. A proper bug report is a lot of work and I sure as hell don't want to put in the work if I don't know whether or not it's a known issue or not.

The moot point is griefers. Unfortunately for us, LL cannot stop griefers. It could make life a lot more difficult for those asshats though. We all know it, LL probably knows it too - and again doesn't communicate why it pretty much does nothing. The non-SL example of griefers that seem unstoppable are those "Anonymous" punks and their braindead supporters. Or more RL, the lobotomized Westboro Baptist Church terrorists.

Bad point is RL law: If we really would want LL to enforce RL law, we'd demand LL to be judge, jury and executioner. That's not their job. In the broadest sense, LL is a carrier. They have to act on law enforcements orders, and that's it. If someone steals content, LL _can_ act, but it's rarely easy or straightforward to track cunning culprits. Even the easier targets aren't as easy on closer inspection: Ok, let's say LL deals with blatant copyright infringers. Should they then also act on inter-resident disputes like the all-too-common fraud in SL? What about clear ripoffs of RL trademarked graphics? What about the so-called DJs who play their pirated MP3-collection in SL? The numerous predators in SL? Where does LLs responsibility start and where does it end?

Even worse point is the idea that SL would proliferate and prosper with better marketing. SL is a dinosaur. Its technological abilities are so far behind, they'll probably never ever catch up. Some of the underlying tech is flawed beyond repair. To be fair, LL is working to get it up to more modern standards - against the will of very vocal detractors who would like SL to stay with its old tech, thank you very much. Mesh is a case-in-point. It's such a commodity in the 3D world yet it's fought tooth and nail and blamed for everything including exploding toasters and cars not starting in the morning.

To stay relevant, SL would probably have to re-invent itself. It would have to take advantage of mobile technologies. It would have to improve its communication tools drastically, beyond the half-arsed web profiles. It would have to be much more accessible with old hardware, even if that means a (high-def) 2D representation of the 3D world.

As far as SL usefulness for businesses: What on earth for? LL tried to market it as communications and collaboration platform in the past, completely missing that most business PCs can't even run SL. Prototyping? Sheesh, there's tons better tools for collaborative prototyping. Same goes for communication. My employer jumps on every hyped junk the higher-ups hear about. And every single time, they realize that hype is irrelevant. Business needs are relevant. Nothing else is. SL doesn't fill one single business need. I know there's virtual training facilities in SL and other largely school related stuff - it's the minority though, because SL is flat out the worst choice for most of that.

If LL really had wanted to become "Web 3.0" then they would have had to work openly with standards bodies like the W3C. They did try to create a RFC detailing the SL protocol and were laughed out of the door, because there's nothing standard about it, nothing interoperable about it and simply very little modern or well-designed about it. They probably could become the new 3D web standard if they had the vision (they don't), the skill (they do) and the leadership to get there, migrating or integrating their current platform into a new, better designed system.

Except that they won't go that route. Whether they don't have the leadership for it or simply no idea how to get there I don't know.


Footnote: I used to run a very large Internet business and was involved in the specs of some internet protocols like NNTP, actively participating in RIPE and DENIC policies... LLs story is the same as many others of that era. Someone just had a lucky idea and a founder who could talk anyone into anything. And then belly-flopped, but had enough inertia to survive for a while longer. SL will be around for a while. LL still has the know-how and skill to position themselves in the market. Will they? Call me a pessimist, but I do not think so.

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Jenni wrote:

 

Bad point is RL law: If we really would want LL to enforce RL law, we'd demand LL to be judge, jury and executioner. That's not their job. In the broadest sense, LL is a carrier. They have to act on law enforcements orders, and that's it. If someone steals content, LL _can_ act, but it's rarely easy or straightforward to track cunning culprits. Even the easier targets aren't as easy on closer inspection: Ok, let's say LL deals with blatant copyright infringers. Should they then also act on inter-resident disputes like the all-too-common fraud in SL? What about clear ripoffs of RL trademarked graphics? What about the so-called DJs who play their pirated MP3-collection in SL? The numerous predators in SL? Where does LLs responsibility start and where does it end?

 

 

This is a good point; however I think there is -- and to some extent in the past there has been -- a middle ground. LL used to delete blatant copier's accounts, sometimes within hours.  LL used to respond to ARs. Now, LL has gone deaf.  Now, LL takes an position of impartiality between copiers/extortioners/griefers and everyone else -- everything is "resident dispute".  The examples in the article are outrageous, and they got so much attention because they went on for so long that every forum and blog was reporting on it long before anyone at LL roused themselves to take any action.  

 

As in RL, SL will always have criminals, yes -- but is that a reason to do nothing about them, to make no effort to make crime any more convenient than it is?  Criminals can still break into our houses if we have locks on our doors -- but the locks do at least make it more convenient.  

The most salient point of the article for me is that LL is running a virtual world, and that world requires governance. So what we have is indeed a Mad Max style world, because those who should be providing some governance -- because only they can -- are providing about as much as a website hosting service would. But SL is a virtual world, not a website -- and as the article writer states, LL has not come to terms with what they have. 

 

As far as the "old technology" point -- not much to be done about that, but as the article states, it is the one area where LL seems to have some idea of what it is supposed to be doing (because there is precedence, it's what tech companies do).  SL does progress; mesh is having a huge impact, even tho some complain -- mesh is far outstripping sales of my other content. But in any case, for those of us who love SL, we love it in spite of dated technology. 

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I totally agree that LL should respond better to ARs - including what conclusion they come to and why. The current "we won't tell ya one way or another" is unacceptable.

With the DMCA process LL already has a procedure in place to take things to a RL court. Of course, with most such cases RL courts won't even take the case. So what's LL supposed to do? Blatantly ripped content is often easy enough to spot. Copied content, i.e. rebuilt from scratch as a close look-alike however isn't, and who is to say that the content was indeed copied in such a case? As an example, I recognized one creator using templates for a (simple) build, selling it for a large amount. I liked the idea, so I bought the templates and recreated the build more or less. Of course, since I don't sell anything it won't hurt much, but what's LL supposed to do there? Whether I broke any law or not is in this case very debatable.

There's two ways to solve the dilemma of griefers: Give residents better tools to deal with the run-of-the-mill idiots. Even without knowing the details of SLs back-end, adding the ability to ban by IP or even domain would be trivial and can be done without violating privacy. The common particle/script/whatever attacks would also be easy to stop - IF land owners had any kind of real control over who visits and what visitors can actually do:

  • Prevent rendering of objects/particles that don't belong to the land owner or group
  • Mute people who aren't in the land group (or flat out support an IRC-style moderation/voice flag)
  • Provide some real tools to limit impact of worn or vehicle scripts, i.e. ressource limits
  • Provide better tools to figure out whose particles are visible and where they come from (there are some - hidden deep in the viewer bowels)
  • Similarly provide an easily accessible script list with details like creator, ressource use, certain stats like "is listening", "has webserver" etc.pp.

Mesh I think is a good thing for SL. It would be better if there were any plans to at least provide simple mesh manipulation in-world. Nothing like blender of course, just basics so it's not limited to the few people who know how to make mesh.

That your mesh sales are going well doesn't surprise me. You do create good meshes, unlike a lot of clothing/accessory makers who more or less contribute to the bad rep of mesh by creating horribly inefficient meshes lagging every viewer in the vicinity to hell and back.

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

 

With the DMCA process LL already has a procedure in place to take things to a RL court. Of course, with most such cases RL courts won't even take the case.

This one thing is not true.  When you file a DCMA case with a Court it goes to Court unless you withdraw it. But you are responsible to pursue it. 

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

I'm no a lawyer of course, but isn't there a cutoff where basically a court can decline "trivial" cases, i.e. when theres miniscule financial damages?

There have been court cases over IP issues BEFORE DMCA existed even! It depends how much you lose, so I have heard. An animation script system and animations, the famous breedables court cases and even one in which a guy stole servers full of stuff and sold it. They where in the news. So it HAS happened. In fact, the guy who went after LL was the guy with the animation script stuff....I think. Tazer went after LL because it looked like slander and LL didn't take it down enough! There HAVE been court cases. Obviously, if you lose $100 or so...well, it might mean something to some people but the cops, the courts and so on may just send you to a small claims court. But, there have been some cases. Some here DO earn a bit more than what we may think. Plus, there may even be a possability of a class action suite against a offender who hits lots of people? Not sure, I am very much NOT a lawyer! But, one on here mentioned the trifle to the courts thing. They didn't mention small claims, just in general. I am not sure if DMCA is only for non-small claims issues or what.

DMCA was to protect LL and other hosts from law suites. I think the animation guy was an example. PLus the tazer case? But, the breedables thing...yeah, that was like a patent case or copywrite over floating text + more issues case...I can't remember. It does happen, and I have saw a case in which a guy got hit for his batmanish models. They where buildable by the end user, where including batman type stuff and where meant to be of the actors. But, because batman branded looking items where in teh scene or on the figure...he got attacked, court says he has to pay thousands (3 times more or whatever than the few thousand he made) and it is all iinsane and sad for him because he had a) tried to work around it legit (in his eyes) b) Actually contacted the actors (they say it is OK) and also contacted the batman people to work out something and was like mailing checks to someone...I think it was Adam West. But, like I said....I am NOT a lawyer, don't remember much about the batman vs. some dude making models thing and all of this is most likely findable online for anyones viewing! Sad he was sending checks and still got into trouble, it shows he was trying to be legit....nope, he got hit with a large sum compared to what he was making and still was not allowed to carry on business to help him pay the bill....but I could be wrong.

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To add something on topic...well, I think that there are many problems with SL. I know that there is one thing to consider as well that many don't. SL is part of an internet where people frequently change where they choose to communicate.

If it where not so, well....no facebook and only AOL chat rooms. IF Aol could have moved thier chat rooms online or even kept everyone around using thier AIM software....well, they would be still alive and kicking as the hugest internet social area...SL would be a place you accessed via clicking a button on teh AOL Games button!!! Seriously, the WHOLE internet was AOL and then this one place with weird stuff called the WWW for many people! A click on some links would lead to awarning that you where leaving the AOL part of the internet and it was a wild jungle out there!!

The www peresisted, matured and still even kept it's dancing hamsters, crazy GIF's (yes, GIF's are NOT new and where around way way before humour sites that are now popular had them) and so on. The web just grows, stays relitevly the same apart from one thing....sites die!!

SL may be interesting to someone for a few years, and then they leave...heck, make that a few months. They have been there, done that and had the screen shots to prove it...but thier HDD failed or they deleted them to make room for a sequal to thier favorite game or a ripped movie or whatever it is they like to do. Updates have eaten up over a GB on my linux box, I swear....but I didn't keep track..but I have more screen shots and so on and am not leaving lol. I am odd I guess. I noticed this with forums, chatroom sites and ALL sites on the net. For some odd reason I end up at archive.org at the "wayback machine" and see some old site that used to be, almost as if to check weather it was real or not.

You know. Once upon a time there was NO youtube! No SL. People spent thier time elsewhere, and now can't spend as much time there because they hang out at one of the new places. This happens with SL. Facebook arrived. Mobile Apps arrived. New games went online. God knows I might have ended up all my free time in car games rather than here!

Seriously, they scan the tracks and heck...I can even get a seat all rigged up with hydrolic picstons to move and tilt it and put it in a closet to block out the world and have the speakers reverberate off the walls and wrap around matching monitors mounted in front of my ugly mug!!! I don't have the cash....so, I spend a bit of time around SL this season of time wasting arriving. No cash, so SL will do for now. BUT, if I had more cash....gosh, I would be installing some games now and maybe getting a subscription or a free trial signed up! I am "SL-ing" at the moment....webstyle because I can't put up with trying in world right now. People have other distractions. At one time I was dropping plastic army men from the stairs with a plastic parachute on them.....times change, amusments change. Now, I want to put a camera on a kite or a balloon.....sort of a more grown up version of the same fascination...fun to watch stuff move around, fall or float or sink or bounce or whatever. Nothing wrong with that....exept stuff breaking now and then. If I am out doing that.....no SL-ing. I can't be in two places at once!

So, regardless of the issues adressed...I think human nature is known. I think LL knows it. Their is also a theory that a product, a new offering...well, may not reach mass appeal and basically declines as the novelty wears off, the early adopters adopt the next thing and they are stuck trying to stay relevent to the people who are ready to jump ship with the early adopters. SL being dead is not really true, it never made it. IT was a huge "Hey lets gamble here as well" mixed with a "Hey a new place I think I can make a million dollars" with a huge "OMG I will be a real cyberpunk that crashes all snow like or whatever the book is about and all that cyber stuff" and well....yeah, there are people who remembered seeing neato pictures of Bryce renders...they are sometimes dorks who will stick around even though they already expect no cyber anarchy uprising to lead to virtual space being a new world recognized by the UN....there isn't a million dollars here to be made by them and....well....yeah, I am not into gambling lol. So...hey, enjoy the sparkly water is sometimes all you can get out of life OR Second Life(ing /me shrugs.

 

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

I'm no a lawyer of course, but isn't there a cutoff where basically a court can decline "trivial" cases, i.e. when theres miniscule financial damages?

I am referring specifically to the DCMA.  One illegal download of a song that sells for $.99 is still an illegal download.  The law allows for a minimum statutory damage and in some cases recovery of legal fees.  So for a $.99 download I could recover $200.00 plus legal fees.

See § 504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits and § 505. Remedies for infringement: Costs and attorney's fees.

 

ETA:  In other words the damages recovered can be and are greater than the value of the infringed item.  It's done this way as an added deterrent.

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thanks Pam for this interesting link. I finally found time for reading it all and indeed its an interesting analysis, althought i dont share some of her points of view and i regret some others are approached a lil supperficially imho. But the whole post is still worthwide to be read. 

ive bookmarked it and will read it again carefully later and will also take a look at the links she provides.

Again thanks for having shared this link here :smileyhappy:

ETA : vocabulary 

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Poenald Palen wrote:

 

The www peresisted, matured and still even kept it's dancing hamsters, crazy GIF's (yes, GIF's are NOT new and where around way way before humour sites that are now popular had them) and so on.

 

A long, long time ago as reckoned by internet years one of my EQ guildmates posted the following on our guild website with the admonition to "Make sure you watch it to the end; it has a big surprise."  After 15 minutes of watching this (yeah, I'm that naive) I posted on the thread, "How long IS this video???"  to the response of muffled laughter from my guildmates.

http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/

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