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Real Life and Second Life Are Intimately Connected


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Let me tell you what I have seen in the last month in Second Life as the owner of a small rentals agency mainly on the Mainland, mainly with small parcels. I realize that on the forums, there are always people to find that a landlord is some kind of self-interested vulture trying to hustle sales or simply a clueless prat, and that's fine, but I assure you that I don't make a living from SL and would advise anyone doing that to create alternatives especially now, and I really have no stake in somebody renting for me OR in the Lindens offering reduced prices (which I don't think they should).

Currently the population in 14 land or event groups is 1,923. Some of the members overlap or have alts. These are mainly rental land groups with active members who log in because if they don't log in and aren't paying after 30 days, they are removed due to group fees. Two of the groups have members that stay for exploration/events/hunts etc and may not log in. It's hard to know the exact population because many join the group and leave after they set prims because they are open groups that charge small fees to remain with resident powers. So imperfect or not, this sample of 1500-2000 avatars is a useful one, I believe.

As I have seen in the past with crises ranging from 9/11 to the Japanese tsunami, some people are going to drop out and not be heard from again because they are dead or got sick or lost Internet connection and it's very hard to keep in touch. For the zillionth time I wished LL would have a policy in place that would enable them to respond to queries from anxious people about their virtual loved ones while keeping their privacy and issues like account payment form private. They could develop a protocol where they could answer with a status: "A" = account in good standing, i.e. that person or somebody is still paying for it; "B" not known to have logged in since X; "C" - does not respond to Linden Lab messages/mailings or they bounce; "D" confirmed terminated account. It would be nice if LL could use their RL information from accounts and Google around and see if they learned that person died of the coronavirus, but they won't do that, nor should we tax them with that now. If someone has not told you their RL information in SL, respect that, and don't make the Lindens compensate for the lack of it.

Virtuality is not a sealed unicorn realm somehow existing in some free-standing cloud server in a magic Metaverse realm that is never affected by anything on earth; it is DIRECTLY tied to servers, Internet performance, electricity, and at the end of the day, those old-fashioned organic beings called "people" who don't show the resilience of robots to viruses -- who frankly have not shown themselves to be terribly robust at resisting the computer kind of viruses which will only increase. 

So:

1. The first thing I noticed just as I myself was going into RL quarantine on Feb. 28, observing clues in my RL environment (I'm immune-compromised) in New York City, was a stream that steadily increased of people joining and hanging out in the SL Public Land Preserve I maintain. These are places to hang out in a tree house or ride a horse or float a boat or just chill and look at various recreated things from RL or wander around doing various activities like hunts. I recently doubled the membership fee from $5 to $10 Lindens to set prims -- which is not even required to enter of course -- because this project is a labour of love and donations, tier, content etc only covers maybe 15% or less of the costs (you can see the annual expense reports in the tree house at Botany's Grove).

In January, as I looked over the year's accounts, I figured this doubling of the fee might see a reduction of memberships but it's actually proof that people will pay a little more of a very small cost like that, not even the $75 or $250 they pay to be in a shopping group. I didn't really focus on why they were doing this streaming to these places now -- but I hadn't advertised them any more than usual. From their "gestures" as some in the industry call it, I could see nuch more use -- the saddles from the free horses return; somebody picks up the $0 freebies; they ride the boats and they return; they find a prize in a hunt; the traffic numbers go up on them, etc. I was really surprised that this increased and was glad that years of trying to provide this space with mixed results now had some use. I had two RL groups ask to use spaces there for RL meetings, which is free.  And this began before the newspapers began to get scary and before, say, Gov. Cuomo's lockdown orders in NYS.

2. Next, what I expected to happen did happen -- refunds because people cannot justify a virtual rental at a time like this. People imagine there will be more flight to the virtual and more willing to spend on virtual entertainment, like people went to the movies more during WWII and the Depression. Don't. Refunds come from a variety of levels but mainly not the cheapest and not the most expensive but mid-level.

What was interesting is that some of the people refunding in fact had 3-5 such rentals around the grid I hadn't known about, so they just wanted to cut one of them, and actually the cheapest one. These are mid-level rentals.

3. There was no more demand that usual on the very cheapest newbie rentals that you expect would be in demand in a time of trouble, and few refunds of something that cost 50 or 65 cents in RL. That's because people's ideas and illusions about newbiedom and cheapness are based on premises from RL that may or may not be true even in RL let alone SL. Newbies aren't necessarily desperately poor refugees; they could be IT guys with 6 figures. You don't know. Or anything in between.

4. Overprimming, taking of more than one in areas where I say "one per customer"; griefing of other tenants or of me; bad behaviour;  squatting all increased *somewhat* but not at all to epic proportions as I've seen in the past actually during flush times -- the average college spring break week most years would see an upsurge in griefing but now we don't see that.  Watch my son's film of the "hood swarm" if you want to grasp this behavior. People are not at their best in times of trouble. They ought to do X, Y, Z but they don't. I had to admire the sheer testicularity of the trio that set up a neon lighted disco with their own wares for sale and even a Returns kiosk in the sky above my rentals, but you know, I can't give places out for free. Linden Lab has not reduced my costs, and I don't want them to.

5. I saw an increase of rentals of the larger parcels, sometimes for months in advance. Some people have to work from home or do businesses in SL or whatever much more, and they are hunkering down. They may panic and flee in two or three weeks as they see that even spending US $25 a month is maybe not warranted now.

6. I see an increase in purchases of used gatchas, and even the little things I make myself. I always encourage newbies to put something they've made out with at least some kind of price tag on it because it will sell. Everything sells in SL. It's another matter whether you can find that spot between a willing buyer and a willing seller given the dysfunctional advertising in SL, but it more or less works in places and people are shopping more.

7. Many more people are taking part in hunts, quests, treks that I have set up around here and there and actively asking me for them. I have some Experience hunts now with mixed results because Experience can be buggy but overall it's a great thing to keep people engaged. I can't really keep up with that beyond some self-service and landmarks and re-route them to the big hunt companies.

8. Some people who have been away from SL are back; some who stopped renting years ago because they couldn't justify the expense or turned to other interest have re-rented. I would not say they are *pouring* in (yes I realize it can feel like a flood when it's a dozen "solutions providers" who are your friends who abandoned SL 10 years ago in 2007-2008 downturn), but there are some. "Pouring" to me is defined not by a dozen FIC who have talked on the forums the last few years but never logged in, but ordinary people who despite these times now think a premium account or an inworld rentals is justified.

9. I did a newsletter urging people to cease paying for rentals they cannot afford and to think of their family first. I urged them to tier down to cheaper rentals and some have done that. I urged them not to deal with coronavirus symptoms by nervously chatting with girlfriends in SL and trying shopping as a therapy, but to reach people in RL who can help. I told people they cannot expect free rentals from me because my concern now is to buy food and medicines in quarantine, something very difficult. But that I do have a lot of free hangouts or half-filled subsidized areas they can consider now. 

The Lindens have a far better handle on these sorts of figures or categories than I possibly could because they have tools I don't have to measure log-ins and see whether increased activity involves alts or actual stand-alone new people. They will not inform us of this. Linden policies *already* changed because a significant drop in users and brought us cheaper tier, faster turnaround of abandoned land to those who want to buy it and tier it; and the surge in Linden Homes. The sale of Sansar was likely a strong signal of a company "refocusing" because of the pandemic. Watch to see what further signals like this there may be.

I'm really, really proud of my tenants that in the last month, not a single one has asked for a free hand-out or told me a hard-luck story and hinted I should not remove their prims after they expire (I have two-day grace periods). They know I already provide a lot of subsidized and free stuff with a lot of generous policies. They are troopers. They will go the distance. So can you. 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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12 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I'm really, really proud of my tenants that in the last month, not a single one has asked for a free hand-out or told me a hard-luck story and hinted I should not remove their prims after they expire (I have two-day grace periods). 

I cannot imagine renting from an estate where the manager would consider a long-term renter's circumstances DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC a 'hand out' or a 'hard luck story'. 

(There was an edit. This is a much more moderate reaction.)

Edited by Blaise Glendevon
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I found your post very interesting, thought provoking and encouraging in many ways. It's comforting when we can find the familiar in a virtual world when our rl has become wholly unfamiliar.

I discovered that when my body stopped being able to walk or move ten years ago the way it once did causing me to be stuck in my home more than I care to be. I found the joy of taking walks, bike riding, horse back riding, roller skating and sailing in SL. It was a familiar joy, but still different. 

Anyway, the tone of your post was beautiful and encouraging because of its simple straightforward truth. Thank you or that. ❤️

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4 hours ago, Blaise Glendevon said:

I cannot imagine renting from an estate where the manager would consider a long-term renter's circumstances DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC a 'hand out' or a 'hard luck story'. 

(There was an edit. This is a much more moderate reaction.)

There are a lot of reasons not to rent from Prokofy.

That particular one isn't one. Like it or not, life (and the second one) has costs. Sometimes we can't pay 'em and have to give stuff up. Best we can do is get over it. 

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4 hours ago, Blaise Glendevon said:

I cannot imagine renting from an estate where the manager would consider a long-term renter's circumstances DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC a 'hand out' or a 'hard luck story'. 

(There was an edit. This is a much more moderate reaction.)

Then don't? If you can't pay for an SL rental, then don't pay for it, the end. That's very easy to do: you stop. You can move to a free account. There are so many free places to hangout and explore in SL that you can still enjoy SL to a large extent. Why you should expect someone now to pay for you in a global endemic everyone suffers from is beyond me.

And  SL is a big place. Go and find another agency where maybe someone is wealthy enough to let you have a rental space for free. I can't. I run a small rental business -- I'm not a land baron and not wealthy in real life but a non-profit worker. I'm someone who is in midtown Manhattan with a rare immune disease who has already been in quarantine for 20 days and had trouble getting medicines and food. Even before this, I couldn't afford to subsidize someone else's Second Life, and generally didn't, although I do subsidize some "newbie" areas and free areas which I think is the right thing to do for any landlord. I can't turn my entire rentals into a freebie for everyone. Why would I pay thousands of dollars in tier to keep other people's Second Life when I don't have that money in real life? The systems has to pay for itself.

This kind of psychology is what I'm trying to battle, because it's insane, it's totally lacking in awareness of what the numerous rental agencies in SL are really about. They aren't remote, wealthy slumlords who are on their yachts somewhere. Maybe there are a few like that. But most of the rentals agencies -- even very large ones -- are run by dedicated people who work night and day and already sacrifice enormously for their customers. I know a guy in SL who has some of the most expensive Blake Sea rentals who hasn't had a vacation or a weekend off in years and makes a tolerable RL income but can't be expected now to pay for you to have a second life if he can't feed his family during the pandemic. 

Yes, the point of this post is GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Which is ESPECIALLY BAD in San Francisco and New York, like it or not, whether you think these people are rich, undeserving white people in the First World. GLOBAL PANDEMIC WHERE THEY ARE AT THE EPICENTER. So why should Linden Lab or me or anyone in SL business pay for you to have fun? That's a luxury. And you need to learn that and stop putting your hand out for a handout.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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2 hours ago, LyricalBookworm said:

I found your post very interesting, thought provoking and encouraging in many ways. It's comforting when we can find the familiar in a virtual world when our rl has become wholly unfamiliar.

I discovered that when my body stopped being able to walk or move ten years ago the way it once did causing me to be stuck in my home more than I care to be. I found the joy of taking walks, bike riding, horse back riding, roller skating and sailing in SL. It was a familiar joy, but still different. 

Anyway, the tone of your post was beautiful and encouraging because of its simple straightforward truth. Thank you or that. ❤️

I think that works for some people. I find that if my avatar is standing for a long time, my RL leg that was injured begins to hurt. Funny, eh? It's psychological. 

I have had customers who are wheelchair bound or housebound in bed with hospital tables with their computers. I know what that is like as several times in my life I have had to be utterly bound to bedrest with only that tilted hospital table which is hard to see a laptop on but tolerable. Some of those customers chose to represent themselves in SL in a wheelchair, too. It makes them feel normal, and it is part of other people accepting them as they are fully, in the way they wish to represent themselves. Others who are wheelchair bound prefer not to put that representation into real life. So there have been some times when I have found customers who told me they had been in a wheelchair for years, and had met a partner in SL that made their life meaningful and had spent many happy years, that it came as a surprise because I would see them flying or jet-skiing or whatever and never knew. So I'm glad I could be part of that.

I've had customers who told me they were ill and dying. There have been a few cases when people told me that were lying, and after 16 years of SL experience I have gotten pretty good at telling when people do that -- if someone says they are dying and can't pay their rent, and I see that person a year later dancing in a disco, I know that they've lied. Mostly the people who told me they were dying did die; some I could check with RL obituaries. I find that the people really dying in RL don't ask you to pay for their US $1.50 per month rental, you know? Because it's not necessary. I treasure some of the things they made inworld or their thank-you notes to me which they sent before really dying. In some cases people dying want to log into SL to the very end -- you hear of people texting until minutes before death. Others have other things that they need to do urgently and log off. Some die suddenly, like a good friend I had starting in the Sims Online, and continuing to here. His girlfriend and he in SL had finally made the decision to live together in RL. She went to his city, and he didn't meet her at the airport. She was bewildered and texting people and we couldn't find out what happened.  We didn't think he got cold feet. Eventually the brother answered his RL email to say that he had died in his sleep in RL of a heart attack. This was checkable with a RL obituary for some of us. Very sad. 

But that's just it. SL is connected to RL in the most intimate way and it cannot overcome sickness, plagues, death.

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36 minutes ago, Gadget Portal said:

There are a lot of reasons not to rent from Prokofy.

That particular one isn't one. Like it or not, life (and the second one) has costs. Sometimes we can't pay 'em and have to give stuff up. Best we can do is get over it. 

Fortunately my customers don't think as you do, and the reason not to rent from Prokofy is generally that they prefer to pay more and have lockdowns where they can have orbs on the ground and/or as many breedables as they like put out on a sim whether it lags it or not. 

Most normal people -- and there are way more normal people inworld than on the forums -- don't care what someone's blog says, or what their political beliefs are, or even bother to check them. They care whether a rental is cheap and whether there is good customer service. That's why I've had customers for 16 years in some cases -- truly that long. That's why there are many as long as 5-10 years, imagine. Many long term customers because they aren't like you, they are not on the forums. Some might read my blogs or not -- it doesn't matter. Some tip me for my blog, imagine. The rest of the world outside the forums is not your world.

To be sure, there are always a few that are prima donnas, special snowflakes, just selfish, etc. that become wildly crazy or something like your return of their  overprimming, or your refusal to let them have an aggressive orb on their property when these are not allowed on the ground level, only the sky, or your statement to them that no, they cannot put their house in a certain area that requires houses to be "in theme" of a certain type -- because their set-up looks like a Texas fish camp.

Now, I cried a little, too, the first time a casual visitor told me that what I thought was a beautiful fairy grove in my land preserve in Carlisle (and still do) looks like a Texas fish camp. I wasn't even sure what a Texas fish camp *was*, since the fish camps in Canada and upstate New York where we have fished are not quite as...how should I say...fish campy as in Texas.  I really don't mind the Texas fish camp look and even have deliberately put it in some places where people want it. If it drives away other neighbours, if it makes everybody refund all around because it doesn't look like Martha's Vineyard, the theme on that particular place, then too bad. Refund, move on, get over it. SL is a big place.

The iron law of SL -- and I mean absolutely iron, unimpeachable, without exception -- is that those in the cheapest, most subsidized places, who have had the most extra help are the ones that complain the most, although they should complain the least. It's amazing how those in rentals just a tad bit more expensive, with perhaps a tad more difficulty like no English even as a second language, complain a lot less. It's a marvel. And that's why you learn that you do not set your degree of customer service to always endlessly serve someone complaining who is in the cheapest rental which actually had more help than others; you do a certain amount, and then you say that if they are unhappy with their SELF-SERVICE, and can't learn how to switch a title in a group, and can't learn how to join a group on their own and will not get an invitation, then they are unhappy with THEMSELVES. They can go pay more where a rental agent has time to hold their hand, send them invitations, and generally be a chump. I have not sent an invitation since 2005 and I don't plan to because it's amazing how many of them get lost or ignored by the people who just asked for them and then go AFK. Anyone can join a group by clicking and finding a link in chat or using search/groups. They do that for their shopping and hunt groups without complaint. They can do it in a cheap rentals. The end.

I've watched various newbie helpers, low-cost or subsidized rentals or themed communities over the years, where one very dedicated person, usually a middle-aged woman, often with a partner and children or elderly relatives to take care of, utterly burns themselves out by endlessly sacrificing for others in SL to the point of loss of their own income at the worst, or loss of their time and sanity and the best. They mount incredible feats, with beautiful sims and content which they pay for themselves, reaping perhaps only a tip now and then or some return from low-cost rentals. They utterly subject themselves to the needs and wants of others. Then they burn out, quit, and leave SL in the end or shrink to some completely small thing or go on an alt. I've seen certain people in SL, who spent years wearing themselves to a nub in the welcome areas helping, who spent years making free content and so on and generally trying to give to the community, utterly flame out, and turn to RL politics in their country which is really less frustrating than SL in terms of "giving" as hard as it may be. 

I frankly don't see the point of that "giving back to the community" -- the community that never gave anything in the first place --  in SL, and those demanding it out of this insane idea of the need for altruism from others -- while they get to be as selfish and crazy and high maintenance need to get a pushback. And there are just far too many of them in SL. I do my part to create a culture of community where one person doesn't have to heroically shoulder the burden while others endlessly drink from the well. I like group rentals on the Mainland because they help you do that. You learn you can't put out 1000 extra prims because you can't take them from other. You learn that your desire to make your little 1024 parcel a bunker with aggressive orbs means the people in the little 1024s next to you have a miserable life and can't fly back and forth to their homes from the road or waterfront. Etc. If you can't deal with these restraints in order to have a cheap rental, then go on the islands and pay more, they will give you your own group and lock you down on a separate little flat, white pancake on an island.

 

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6 hours ago, Gadget Portal said:

There are a lot of reasons not to rent from Prokofy.

That particular one isn't one. Like it or not, life (and the second one) has costs. Sometimes we can't pay 'em and have to give stuff up. Best we can do is get over it. 

Before I left estate life for a shiny Linden houseboat, I was a long-term renter on an estate for something like 5 years. During periods where I'd need a week's grace, or had gone on vacation and hadn't paid in time, I had a pretty easy communication with my landlady. On the other hand, there were periods where I paid for large spans of time up front. It was a give and take, not a grasping one-way transaction. 

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1 hour ago, Blaise Glendevon said:

Before I left estate life for a shiny Linden houseboat, I was a long-term renter on an estate for something like 5 years. During periods where I'd need a week's grace, or had gone on vacation and hadn't paid in time, I had a pretty easy communication with my landlady. On the other hand, there were periods where I paid for large spans of time up front. It was a give and take, not a grasping one-way transaction. 

Yeah, it's not a grasping one-way transaction with me, either. Because unlike nearly all rental agencies, I don't have automatic processes. When a rental box expires, it now turns into a "grace period" state for 2 days with the "Remain Calm" meme on it. When it expires after that, I contact the tenant to find out what's up. Sometimes they are dealing with the chronic problem with Europeans -- buying Lindens. Sometimes they have some other situation. I do not hasten to return their prims, but in most cases, leave them. If someone else comes along by that point -- this is now 3 days after expiration -- they can rent the place and the other person's prims will be returned -- unless my judgement of the situation is as follows: that a long time tenant who has been there for 5 years, and normally pays on time, would only be replaced by someone who isn't intending to stay for a week, or who I know from past rentals doesn't pay on time or leaves early. It's a human judgement, not a robot.

That's why I have many long-term tenants. I have some that pay way ahead; some who have been years; but also some who are new and casual.

One new tenant refunded. Whenever someone refunds, I IM them and ask them if they had any problems. Sometimes people don't understand they have to join a group. They can join a group and you explain that they now have the power to set a landing point or paste in a stream, and they can't grasp that, often due to the fact that English is not their first language. I explain these things and sometimes then they can overcome their frustration. I return them the cancellation fee, and they start over, now armed with the knowledge that they can have music -- which they didn't understand.

The single greatest problem I find in rentals is the belief by people that if they come and pay a rental box where the previous tenant's items are still there, that now they should be able to return them.

You can't do that in any rental in SL anywhere (that I'm aware of) -- join an OPEN group, then return prims. Perhaps if a bot sends you an invite to a CLOSED group and has awarded you the power to return group prims -- because you will not make your OWN group on a parcel set to sale to you on an island to "buy," that can happen, but honestly, I don't see that use case play out much. But in an OPEN group on the MAINLAND, that expectation -- that you paid and now you can return someone else's prims -- oh, and the rental box too LOL -- is misplaced, sorry.

This particular renter explained to me two days ago that she refunded because she broke up with her boyfriend. A sad story that happens all too often. Sometimes this might mean TWO rentals for me if they split up and each takes a separate rental -- and sometimes they do -- but often it means a refund and NO rental because often that partner was paying the rent.

So this former tenant asked if she could use the parcel she was renting as a sandbox now.

I said no, because you can't use my rentals as a sandbox. Especially when I provide a sandbox on one sim, and have all these free hangouts. Your rental you can't pay for anymore has to be opened up to the next person who will rent. It might not rent, but it still has to remain open, without you using it as a sandbox.

The idea that you should get to use a rental as a "sandbox" -- that you are no longer paying for, or that your boyfriend is no longer paying for, because you had a hardship which involved a break-up, is an example of the grasping entitlement psychology that actually dominates the rental field way, way, way more than any grasping land baron.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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9 hours ago, Gadget Portal said:

I couldn't get through all that, but I just hope you realize I was agreeing with you when you quoted me.

Um, no, because you prefaced it by saying "there are a lot of reasons not to rent from Prokofy". Whereas if I happened to be searching for some gadget and the search engine turned up your product and it had good reviews, I'd see no reason why I shouldn't buy it. I think it's good when marketplaces are like that. Of course, there are extreme times when people behave very badly inworld, or when their product is very destructive in some way, then you might conclude it should be avoided. But to not buy somebody's house or gadget or hair just seems silly to me.

That brings me to another point not quite on topic here so I won't dwell on it but there are people who that if you don't like what someone's political profile is, or what they say on the forums, or you don't like their blog, you should boycott their products or business inworld.

And some go so far even to block me from buying their products; their vendor enables them to do that, which I think is a pernicious feature introduced into the Metaverse that ultimately can have devastating consequences, as oligarchs ban whole swathes of people they don't like -- people of colour, people with positive virus test status -- whatever. If you don't think that isn't coming some day, think again, and think about your own role in setting the groundwork for it.

BTW this is the same vending company that put me in all of their teleporters as an "example name" for a griefer you would ban -- which then had the effect of banning me from many shopping malls or stores, as merchants who didn't necessarily want to target me or even knew me, put out teleporters that I was banned from. This isn't because I am a griefer who spews particles or crashes sims, someone deserving of a ban in a teleporter. But because I have a critical blog.

There's one resident who apparently has carried a grudge for 10 years since the time I once wrote a blog post about how his wares were featured on the Linden's front page not just once, but twice, and even in three places. Some people get lucky that way. I was telling the truth about a situation, but maybe this merchant thought no one would notice his coddled status. Another one has locked me from purchases -- as well as my alts, which means she is using the kind of technology which is supposed to be banned from SL. Yet a third has me blocked on the marketplace as well. Once there was a merchant who actually rented a store from me for years. She moved on and I maintained friendly relations and bought many of her nice wares. Over and over, I posted tweets or other social media praising her products. One day I expressed frustration with trying to texture a full-perm product of hers. The context was clear that this tweet was about my amateur building skills, not the merchant, who tried to provide tutorials in her product and groups. But through some sort of thin skin, she took umbrage and blocked me from buying her wares. When I wrote to her she finally climbed down when she grasped that this wasn't an insult. So she took me off ban inworld and at fairs but kept me banned on the MP, which is of course an inconvenience, because then I have to sort through vendors endlessly.

I personally think that the whole point of a free marketplace is to enable people to trade with others who are strangers, or whom they don't like. This is the ancient heart of human society -- the marketplace. The liberal democratic society depends on the idea that goods are traded freely without having to have access to the king or a royal status.

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I'll just add a few more data points and then since not very many people want to discuss these larger system-wide issues, I will try to find time for my blog.

By and large, my tenants do not ask for handouts because either they know they already have a very good deal and are grateful, or they know I do a lot for them, or they grasp even if they never heard of me or have no idea what rental market prices are, what they have is pretty nice.

Not a single one has asked me for a handout. I'm proud of them. Some have left their rentals as well they should, don't pay for entertainment when you need food. Some left small rentals to go to larger ones simply because they are spending more time here because they sadly have more time being either sent home from work or out of work -- yet the few dollars that an SL rental represents a month is not a pinch for them.

Some downsized, because the difference between $10 and $5 is significant now. It always has been for me. $25 was the minimum I could spend per day to feed a family of 3 that was sometimes 4. In NYC. Where prices are higher. Where I worked multiple jobs and couldn't always buy things and cook them -- and where buying in bulk is not possible, as there are no Costcos for 50 miles. 

But I am seeing bad behaviour or just the typical thoughtless behaviour which I am used to, because it's not personal, it's not RL.

o A tenant who broke up with her boyfriend refunded her rental weeks ago -- before all this virus stuff (for most people -- it's now day 22 of self-quarantine for me). I always ask people if they had problems -- sometimes I can fix them and they came back. This person went off to cry about her lost virtual love, but then came back and answered my IM. She asked me if she could use my land as a sandbox now. I guess that boyfriend paid. I said no. Because you can't use my land as a sandbox, as I said elsewhere. Not when I have actual sandboxes. And actual free places to hang out in.

o A neighbour pulled a huge rage fit in the land preserve group because a tenant had put a build on her land and put out an aggressive orb that sent her away from her own land. We had noticed that encroachment but thought the tenant was in the same land group -- only someone who already owned the land next to my rental would so boldly spread a build across it right -- and one that didn't return, right? I don't allow orbs on the ground, but sometimes tenants put me AND my alts and son in the list so we won't notice -- although we always do eventually.

The main thing to grasp is that this situation takes literally five seconds to fix. This neighbour raged for 15 minutes before she would tell me WHERE it was; I went and eliminated the problem in the five seconds required -- ultimately I had to send the whole house and build back because it was rooted, and the orb was built into the house -- that really is a problem because few people bother to adjust those to the perimeter only of the house but leave it at 96. I knew doing that would mean the tenant refunded -- they always do, even though it is entirely their fault their build was returned.

The neighbour kept raging -- why, that tenant must be Latinx; why, she got to be racist because she was Latinx herself; why, they are the worst blah blah. She raged at me for having free land available to poor people (this was actually a paid rental even if in the land preserve, but whatever). She raged at me for renting to people of her kind because they always create problems. I have no idea what ethnicity that tenant is because I didn't study  her profile and you can't always tell and more importantly, it doesn't matter. I rent to everyone who follows my rules. Finally I had to block this rage machine.

She kept raging to my other tenant who was nearby. Why, I must need psychotherapy. Why, I must not have any children. Because I instantly removed a nuisance after she disrupted my group with insanity LOL? No. It's because she thought that if I gave free land to poor people (as she imagined) and they or I somehow profited from this, that orbs should not be allowed. Well, they aren't allowed anyway in my rentals? And it was a paid rental, not free.

I have children; I have a daughter-in-law who is from Latin America. Etc. So whatever, many people rage and rage for no logical reason and then they imagine I'm the problem.

BTW, I've found the following to be true: People from Texas, Brazil, Australia and Russia sometimes overprim and encroach on others' lands. People from Portugal, UK, Estonia, and Rhode Island don't. Even though they share the same language and cultural heritage in some cases. Something about the hugeness of their country/state versus the tininess or island status of their country/state, and how they fit themselves in it gives them a sense of themselves, like it or not. A social scientist could study this; I'm not a social scientist but just commenting on my experience. But like viruses, overprimming and encroaching are not behaviors that are inherent in one race or ethnicity, because even a Texan can keep to the limit and even a Japanese can overprim.

o Remember how I told you I took this area that was losing me US $15 a month (all empty 512s plus some pathway) and recouping me US $4 from 2 x 512s that cost $2.75 total in tier - not very great margins (The US $1.25 profit you make from two parcels is not enough to cover the others that are empty that together cost you US $15). They aren't used. Partly they aren't used is because people don't like living so close together. Or because I have rules -- no orbs, no fences, no building smack on the property line -- to enable people to live cheaply in close spaces -- but they don't like those rules. I have offered those kind of areas that stay half empty for years, but now I have much less of them. It's crazy to keep them open. People don't want such small spaces AND they don't want to follow rules, even if it means 16 of them could have a nice SL for $2 US a month only, without a premium. That's the reality.

o So I moved the two long-term faithfuls to other sims -- one took a slightly larger lot, the other had to quit SL due to the fires in Australia. BTW, I kept his rental available for him, unpaid, for weeks on end, he came in and paid once and told me about the fires, I kept them some more after his box expired, then he came one day and said sorry, he had to leave completely). I wrapped up all those 512s into one giant lot of 6000 plus or whatever. It stood there two days, and today it was rented by someone who didn't mind paying $1750/wk for a big lot. That lot costs me US $16.66 in tier every month. I will now collect US $23.62 for it. So now I have a $6.96 "profit" from this parcel -- if it stays rented, but occupancy is low on the mainland. I no longer have to put any content or time into it -- it has a big build/store on it now. My "profit" will get eaten up paying for the next sim's occupancy or even the camp sites that are only $50 and subsidized. But it stops the hemorrhage. It does NOT pay me back for all those years (15) I ran that newbie community at a loss.

Another data point: the person who rented that big lot was on another sim with a fairly big build and lot and was there for years and years paying her rent more or less on time. I considered her one of the greatest customers who has a pretty build AND pays her rent. Can't ask for more than that! One day she disappeared abruptly. I never did find out why. It was unlike her, and she was missing for weeks. I kept her build because it was so elaborate, and had been built up over time with little intricacies, and because I knew that land wouldn't rent instantly. So if someone wanted it, they could pay the box -- but I left the build. That's what I do.

Months went by. I saw in another group that she logged in. She didn't think to come and either pay for her rent, pick up her build or explain anything. Nor is she required to. I returned her build and lowered the land because by making a flatter area it rents better. Half of it rented nearby; I never did rent most of her land, even cutting it in half. It just happened to work out that way.

So now she appeared out of nowhere to rent this newly-created profit-making former newbie patch. I greeted her and simply told her that while I had kept her build actually 3 months last time thinking she was sick or something, I couldn't do that again.

What happens when you look at cases individually and try to be kind and just; what happens when you figure, well, why not leave their stuff until it's rented, you are merely taken advantage of. You are a chump. I have learned that anew in the last 6 months as I turned two formerly low-cost starter areas or theme areas for those who are supposedly creative (another big lie of SL, no one needs this) into larger lots that pay for themselves at least, or make a profit because otherwise, how can you pay the bills of a thing like this, and your own RL bills, to boot?

So when people go on and on and ON about heartless landlords who won't cut them a break even during a pandemic, I have to say -- I cut breaks -- during 9/11, the London terror, the Japanese tsumani, the Chinese earthquake, the Australian fires, you name it. I cut people breaks because they were new, or didn't speak English, or had trouble learning SL. I cut them breaks because I knew they really were ill in RL, or faced challenges. And there is little sense in this. It *might* be that someone who remembers you kept their prims for them for 3 months will come back and rent again; but they might not.

 

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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