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Interesting read


Oct Oyen
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I wish that when journos set out to do these pieces they would find Draxtor if they have to find somebody, instead of Hamlet. Or one of the "widely famous in small circles" kind of people featured on the Lindens' blog lately.

Hamlet nee Linden Au cannot resist playing the PR flak and citing these numbers which don't reveal the reality of 30,000 concurrency, which is the number that say, Halo Infinite has now after its drastic drop this year.

And then, why tell whoppers like this?

Au: Two big things. First, if you give a user community powerful enough creator tools, what they create in these worlds will be far more interesting than anything a major company can officially create. In terms of the culture of a metaverse environment and the community’s experiences in a place like Second Life, that’s remained true since 2003.

The real story of SL is that the Lindens were disappointed in a lot of the content generated by users, who ranged from hands-on 4chan goons' grief cubes to ladies-who-lunch in Caledon who weren't ladies. So they made Bellisseria, which actually was a good thing, because it gave a lot of customers what they wanted, and that's what good companies should do.

And if you are going to make a sweeping charge of racism as your first cultural commentary on SL, even given that you are talking to the Atlantic, which I recently unsubscribed from for being too self-referential and whiny, then you should provide real examples, really explain what you mean.

And then after delivering this indictment, Hamlet -- true to form with his California ideology, part Reason and Peter Thiel, part Lenin - says:

People talk a lot about how these worlds allow you to be freer than in the physical world but there’s a flipside where people can sometimes be worse in these spaces because people feel freer to be !Q@#$. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing necessarily—these are simply just challenges that exist in these virtual worlds.

Well, no. It *is* a bad thing that people feel free to be !@@#$ and in fact perpetrate racism, for example. It's not just a management challenge. It's a moral challenge that these platforms don't enable the solution of, but in fact incite much of the time.

And you know what? I don't really believe in the story of the woman with the van in Vancouver, conveniently. Van-couver. Hamlet is not a journalist. He didn't go and interview her in RL AFAIK. And someone skilled in computer programming and digital graphics who lives in a van probably has more issues than just the high cost of living in...Canada. Right.

It's amazing to me that Hamlet could even flag harassment in SL as an issue for virtual worlds when he himself candidly took part in the harassment and vilification of me, for example. 

And he is completely misleading by speaking of Russian content creators helping Ukrainians. Yes, there are a few, and that's great.  I know at least one Russian content creator suddenly claiming they are Ukrainian and telling me I spread lies by speaking of a war in Ukraine, and that cities like Mariupol haven't really been attacked and destroyed and I should visit the area and see for myself. You know, hearing from people in my extended family who are in bunkers and *walking* to Poland and know of colleagues who are even *walking* out of Russia is plenty for me, don't need to visit, thanks.

Then there's this kind of nonsense:

But also, I don’t think that most of society has processed what it means that a huge percentage of all children in the U.S. are on Roblox. That they’re highly active in creating content for the company and trying to earn money. A lot of Roblox’s monetization structures are, at the very least, highly questionable. There are some actual child-labor issues here! And I don’t know how many people in Congress would even be aware that this is an issue they might want to look at.

Various articles say 29% of Roblox players are under 18. They say half of US children are on Roblox. But allowing for the fact that 29% of players worldwide are for children, if Roblox has 32.6 million users, that's 9.5 million children worldwide. There are 75 million children in the US. So something doesn't work here. I think a lot more research is needed here.

In the 1950s and 1960s, most of society had not processed that a huge percentage of children were reading comic books and even drawing comic books themselves, either. Or that in the 1970s and 1980s a huge percentage listened to records and then tapes. Etc. And we're just waking up now to the cruel monetarization structures of platforms now? By all means, let's get Congress involved in the fact that young boys make loot in games and sell it on ebay by calling in child labour. Sure.

Then there's this crazy claim not back up by anything, even a link to one of his old columns:

A part of the Snowden leaks revealed that NSA had investigators in Second Life to try and uncover plots.

Here, I'll link you to his column and you will see how very scant the information is to back up this claim, and how distorted it really is. He's trying to sell newspapers and upgrade his resume with this interview. Underwhelmed.

You know, I actually wrote a book on Snowden and did a lot of research, and among the many interesting facts I found was that a former Linden Lab employee who went to work for Tor and who explained to me "Mathematics makes the state obsolete" was a Snowden helper. It's also interesting to contemplate that the former CTO was in the Navy and also worked for a time at the NSA, but that's not what Hamlet means. The "terrorists in SL" thing was mainly invented by a company that wanted to drum up clients for its protection services, in my view. Of course, it's always possible there can be criminals laundering money or terrorists using SL as a safe house but the Lindens have a lot of check gates against such activity and it's not a very efficient way to do those criminal activities, you know?

As for the figure of 1,600 earning $10,000 or more, that sounds about right to me.

 

 

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