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06/03/2006

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Stan Pomeray

This is something that seems to have become a facet of everyday life over the last 10-15 years. Various people and institutions who proudly proclaim "everyone should be entitled to their own opinion", when what they really mean is "everyone should be entitled to their own opinion, provided it happens to agree with mine/the government's/the editor's/the "perceived standard acceptable view" (delete as appropriate).

The BBC website is a prime example - it has long had a section called "Have Your Say", in which you are, allegedly, allowed to state your opinion on any one of a number of topics. It started out having one moderator (just to remove swearing, or deal with anyone who tried to use the forum to post personal information about individuals etc.), now it has a whole team of moderators monitoring the posted comments on a 24/7 basis, and just for extra security you not only have to register and log in, but you are limited to 150 words!

The BBC is state funded, so of course it will now have a remit to promote the opinions that the state favours.

If people actually are paranoid enough to want to "ban opinions" it makes you wonder what they've really got to hide.

LoreleiJ

Prok,
Your ban has been lifted. This is standard when a user has caused a disruption. If you feel it was unfair, please IM me, or contact a library manager.

Planetneutral

Hi Prok. I reckon I am the person who, as you put it, "lamely volunteered that the very struggles of the library itself to get up and running was "like" a business."

It's unfortunate that you perceived that meeting as a "closed little grouplet." To be fair, I happened to be in the area when the meeting started and had no intention of participating until I was introduced unexpectedly. So if my comments seemed wildly ignorant and unconsidered, it's probably because they were.

I don't think any librarians (perhaps other than Lorelei as an observer) had intended on participating in the meeting and certainly none were prepared to handle your questions. As you pointed out, all of us are relatively new to SL and have much to learn. I certainly accept that fact and can appreciate attempts to "school us" whether I agree with the approach or not.

I understand and respect your opinions on the importance of the mainland. The library was located on two different mainland sims (first Juanita and then Minoa) before someone donated the island space. I will admit to knowing as much about who the donor is as you do. I also admit that I didn't know about the mainland/island situation before reading your earlier "Mainland Whack" post about it. I also heard Phillip Linden answer your question about an aspect of that inequity and him admitting it was an issue, so it sounds like you were heard by the right person.

I'm also not sure how (or if) we would have responded differently had we fully understood the mainland/island issue prior to the donation of the island. The arguments you make are similar to arguments put forth by Barnes and Noble, Borders, Blockbuster, etc. in terms of how libraries get huge financial incentives to exist, while at the same time eating into their businesses. And it's a legitimate concern. In the end, people think libraries are a common good and support their existence. I recognize at least some of the imperfections of this analogy, given that there is no mandate for such an entity in SL.

But this library project is simply an exploration, not some sort of glamour production. It has drawn an unexpected level of attention and support in far less time than anyone could have imagined.

Just a quick comment on banning patrons:

'If you challenged such a "lesson-giver" including her use of public space and public funds, would you expect to be banned forever from the public library? Of course not.'

This potentially falls under "Harassment or abuse of other library users and library staff." That is, it is certainly possible to experience a short-term ban for such behavior.

Forever is a long time and it is very rare to permanently ban a patron. Usually, a ban is lifted when the patron speaks to someone in a supervisory capacity about why the ban was instituted in the first place and what can be done to avoid further conflict. I'm confident the same would apply here.


Understand that none of the librarians involved with Info Island are from the same RL library, nor (with a few exceptions) are they participating as part of their RL jobs. Lorelei is from a RL library consortium that is providing limited support for the project (mostly in the form of Lorelei's time and energy), but most of the effort is from people who are simply interested in exploring what offering library services will be like in a virtual environment.

I think there are very real information economies going on in Second Life and believe that librarians have something to offer in that space. Apparently, there are others who agree as there have been unexpected levels of support both in-world and outside of it. As far as I know, we haven't had to seek any of that support. It has come to us and I concur that the WOOT factor is part of it.

But unless we explore, we learn nothing. We are SL newbies who love librarianship. We are fumbling and bumbling along. We have and will continue to make mistakes. We have lessons to learn. And we will learn, sometimes the hard way.

Anyway, I certainly don't speak for everyone, but I guess what bothers me is the implication that we're a bunch of ill-intentioned sycophants with nothing better to do than show off to potential donors. Most librarians I know work under the premise of being underpaid and overextended with financial resources that get smaller every fiscal year. And a number of them are so impassioned about the profession, that they are willing to spend an extra unpaid 5, 10, 20 hours per week examining what librarianship looks like in a virtual realm. Nobody goes into librarianship for the money or the glory. There is very little of either.

Prokofy Neva

Stan, I wasn't aware that there was such strict rules on BBC. I often don't bother even to register for such sites when I see how complicated they get. I know the New York Times seemed to err in the other direction for the longest time, allowing even the most horrible anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi expression, etc. on their site before they finally began to put some rules into place -- but not as strict apparently as BBC.

Lorelei, I should not have been banned at all, indeed I left when requested, and I didn't actually do anything that was "disruptive" except challenge your lame workshop, and that's fine to do. That you feel you can arbitrarily impose and lift bans like a club or casino owner, yet simultaneously make the claim of being a "public" library with a mission in the public interest is *exactly* what I am challenging. To be credible, you should have a ban policy in place that can really sustain scrutiny -- and banning me for challenging your lame event isn't going to hold up -- as evidently it's not holding up now as I make a public discussiong about it.

And no, I'm not going to be put in the ludicrous position of appealing to the person who banned me arbitrarily to undo their ban or explain themselves. The record of the meeting shows what transpires -- your desire to over-control a meeting that you first described as "open to the public" and to be "a discussion group about business". If only something petted and manicured is what you can manage, you won't find many customers.

Planetneutral, there were more librarians at this discussion meeting that business people, and of those who showed up outside myself and my friend Shaun Altman who came later, the rest declared themselves either to be very new at business or to not care about making a profit because they are "just here to have fun" blah blah.

In other words, the usual random crew that shows after you announce something as vaunted as a regular class or discussion group in SL -- such things are very hard to sustain even with the greatest of efforts because of RL schedules and changing conditions. What's annoying isn't that you held a class with speakers, but you undertook a role to organize a regular group that in fact undermines the efforts of other people already doing this, and already competing under the harsh conditions of SL. You all even volunteered to turn out the economic Lindens (!) though you evidently didn't realize that the economic Lindens T-Bone and Vasudha had already been "let go" and banished from the list -- no doubt they signed NDAs and will never be heard from again. Oh, if only "let-go" economists could talk!

I don't care that you compete with me and a half dozen groups I support or started, so what? It's a big place, and it's every man for himself. But for the sake of the world which exists outside of RL and is not funded by RL but by the world's economy, I have to take a stand and urge you not to displace and co-opt what others are doing, and become part of the forces destroying them.

Like other big, funded projects, you immediately declare yourself a) as "helping the community" and b) as providing meeting space and c) as recruiting interesting and powerful speakers. But businesses in SL need to have participants in groups like this come to their existing parcels -- it's part of the competitive economic life of SL. It's not about "dwell payments" which some of you literally took it as -- these are now being removed, and frankly, for landgroups like mine, they never did us much good anyway and had little impact on our revenues as the payouts were divided up among hundreds of customers. Rather, it's about being able to show up on various lists, including the FIND and the SEARCH of the database than can only return so many hits. There are already business groups meeting like Jeannette Hailly's and others, look on the list.

Why are you trying to invade this sector? What value do you really add? This isn't at all evident. Don't you have ENOUGH to do without having to show off to your patrons that you 'organized all these people who came in due to Business Week'?

You seem to take particular umbrage at my characterization of your activities as trying to show off to funders and patrons, inworld and out.
People *hate* when I question motives in this way. But I must. Because you put a claim on organizing people that can only benefit you and your already-funded RL institution -- the benefit to the world isn't visible at all.

Regarding the mainland, I wonder how much site review you did before locating in Juanita, next to my two no-tell motels with a steady stream of patrons LOL -- I owned about 75 percent of the sim I believe at the time you located there next to Garnet, to whom I sold the trailer court, and I still own more than half. Can you imagine how that might have looked over time, working girls and third-lifing guys cheating on first-life and second-life spouses camping in your reading room LOL? That's Second Life, and that's the mainland. Before long, you might have been angrily petitioning the Lindens to close down my motels so that board members wouldn't be embarrassed seeing scantily clad slaves flying around. (Did yo notice that Juanita has the "M" label -- "PG" is really more appropriate for a library.)

To which I can only say, but that's the mainland, and that's what enables the freedom of the mainland, and you could have bought in Sikkima, a sim or two over, with the same cheap flat mature land on the same pretty cobblestone paths.

Re: "The arguments you make are similar to arguments put forth by Barnes and Noble, Borders, Blockbuster, etc. in terms of how libraries get huge financial incentives to exist, while at the same time eating into their businesses. And it's a legitimate concern. In the end, people think libraries are a common good and support their existence. I recognize at least some of the imperfections of this analogy, given that there is no mandate for such an entity in SL."

There isn't any mandate because there is no public and no government, except this authoritarian game company.

I'm not aware that Barnes & Nobles complain about libraries getting public financing; if anything, it's libraries complaining about how Barnes & Nobles have usurped their function, just by putting out books on the shelves for free, and enabling people even to buy a latte while they read these books for free, and sometimes buy them, but more often, not.

Read the transcript, and try to get a grip. Everyone knows that a conversation like this in RL would not get anyone accused of "harassing library staff". That's ridiculous. That it can in a virtual world is exemplified by a statement just made to me by a fellow in RL who is a RL programmer in the instruction field, "Well, I've been dealing with game wizards for a long time. Anyone who becomes one wants some sort of power. ;) Even me. ;)"

Game wizards -- interesting that he instantly saw that parallel -- this is exactly the culture of MMORPGs and the culture of virtual worlds that I so abhor.

"Forever is a long time and it is very rare to permanently ban a patron. Usually, a ban is lifted when the patron speaks to someone in a supervisory capacity about why the ban was instituted in the first place and what can be done to avoid further conflict. I'm confident the same would apply here."

Actually, your Linden friends and helpers don't believe "forever" is a long time as they have permabanned me from the forums for making many of these points against their pets on the forums.

Um, a silly ban like this would be lifted once a supervisor is notified because they can then all see how arbitrary and unjustified it is. And no, such bans don't get lifted conditionally in this arbitrary and power-mongering way, that I'm supposed to "work together to avoid future conflict." I suppose you have special courses for banned people like the drivers' ed courses you can go to get your points lifted? Perhaps if I sit dutifully and watch a movie about somebody without their seatbelt being decapitated, I can get my rap sheet cleaned?

I assure you I have no interest in taking this further, beyond questioning what it means for chance entities like yours to make a grab at the claim to being 'the Second Life Public Library." I can only emphasize that I'm not a deliberate event griefer. I don't fly around provoking event hosts, as some people in SL do as a sport. I'm too busy for such nonsense. If it seemed like you were going to be making some big grab at social and political influence by rallying influential business figures and convening them with Lindens (as Lorelei was promising she could do) I'd surely show up and object if you were beginning to use such a group to influence policies -- the way FlipperPA Peregrine of the Electric Sheep Co. joined the Events Working Group last year to try to force change into the events posting mechanisms to suit his own business agenda, and the way he has battled yard sales and gotten Lindens warped to fit his agenda for his third-party site. That's the sort of thing I don't sit still for.

This kind of event you're holding seems more promising and useful, "Fresh from their Guest of Honor appearance at the joint Linux-Science Fiction convention Pengicon 4.0, award-winning authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller discuss their careers, collaborating as writers, and how the expanding virtual world helped entangle them with the world-wide science fiction community. The program will be held on Sunday, June 4, at 6 pm sl time at the Second Life Library open air theater" -- it seems like the sort of thing best suited for a public library, since it involves authors on books related to virtual worlds. It's the sort of thing I might come to on an alt, but wouldn't have to "disrupt" or challenge in some fashion because it's an ordinary, normal event where the organizers provide a service by reaching these no doubt hard-to-book authors.

Yet, even so, it represents a feather in your cap, and not a feather in some other resident's cap, eh? I do have to point out that, even though I dislike them. FLipperPA and company have a Science Fiction Museum inworld that already existed and could have done this, too, and in fact, did do similar things like having Richard Bartle speak. But it's a big world. Of course there is room for many competing forces. What you must realize when you compete, however, is that we will *compete back*.

"Understand that none of the librarians involved with Info Island are from the same RL library, nor (with a few exceptions) are they participating as part of their RL jobs. Lorelei is from a RL library consortium that is providing limited support for the project (mostly in the form of Lorelei's time and energy), but most of the effort is from people who are simply interested in exploring what offering library services will be like in a virtual environment."

You'd never know it was such a modest set-up from listening to the way they present themselves, and the way you all have modestly dubbed yourself "Info Island" so that anybody typing in the search term "Info" will traffic to you! Look at the transcript! This person is in charge of training, that person is in charge of some other sector, it sounds like a corporate organizational chart filled with busy people doing Very Important Things lol. After all that media hype about the science library, who would have guessed that in fact all that happened is that Lorelei got a free trial, that's all. Which she admitted.

"I think there are very real information economies going on in Second Life and believe that librarians have something to offer in that space. Apparently, there are others who agree as there have been unexpected levels of support both in-world and outside of it. As far as I know, we haven't had to seek any of that support. It has come to us and I concur that the WOOT factor is part of it."

This sounds terribly patronizing. The free press is heavily suppressed in SL. What there is of it operates under careful rules of being mainly McPaper like and commercial like a shopper.

As I noted, there is a huge and very disturbing phenomenon going on, which is just as the Lindens are busy killing off all these people who inhabited their servers for 3 years with indigenous business and non-profit projects by removing their supports of dwell and events grants and such, they are ushering in people from RL business and big-business non-profits who are easily able to step on even those surivving, existing groups and projects and utterly displace them, merely by never having to think of where their next $L comes from -- they have outside support. So even those groups that did manage to survive past the removal of dwell and such now face only a bleak existence -- how can they compete against those with RL donors and RL budgets?

"But unless we explore, we learn nothing. We are SL newbies who love librarianship. We are fumbling and bumbling along. We have and will continue to make mistakes. We have lessons to learn. And we will learn, sometimes the hard way."

I'm here to help give you those hard lessons -- don't utter platitudes like this without some awareness that indeed you are making mistakes and you will get static.

"Anyway, I certainly don't speak for everyone, but I guess what bothers me is the implication that we're a bunch of ill-intentioned sycophants with nothing better to do than show off to potential donors. Most librarians I know work under the premise of being underpaid and overextended with financial resources that get smaller every fiscal year. And a number of them are so impassioned about the profession, that they are willing to spend an extra unpaid 5, 10, 20 hours per week examining what librarianship looks like in a virtual realm."

Guess what, I used to work in a library too, and I, too, earned a nothing wage and did it for the dedication factor, and the access to new books! And there's lots of other RL things I've done for crappy pay and for dedication, so please, don't try to morally outgun me here by invoking all your selfless hardworking librarians in some misguided notion that you'll "shame" me, or try to contrast me as a "rapacious land baron" and yourselves as the selfless and noble public library. Get off it. We're all selfless and hardworking in SL, and the kind of people who do that in SL are usually the kind doing it in RL, too. You're *not* special.

Ask yourselves why it was so all-fired important to show off prominent business people and start a business discussion, if it were not for the sake of gaining support for your own project, and support both inworld and outworld.

As for glory, the first people to show off their virtual library win, we all know that. That's why you and the Lindens are willing *already* to confer glory and confer a scarce public good, the name "Info Island" and the use of the name "Second Life Public Library". Nobody *else* will be making anything called "Second Life Public Library" eh? The name "Info Island" is now *taken*.

I hope you and more likely some outside reviewers will be able to soberly assess what "there" is really "there" in projects like this that get such breathless media coverage, even more breathless WOOT blogs about the progress in merely establishing their own beachhead, and documents the moment when they can really go beyond themselves and their own immediate needs for establishment and even glory, to actually serve the public.

Tony Walsh

Hey Prok, I just visited the Library site, and can't find any indication that it is "Public" in an official sense. Where are you getting the info that it is a public library?

Prokofy Neva

It portrays itself as a public library, Tony. Are you going to be literalist and technical and claim suddenly that because it's official name is "Second Life Library 2.0" that they are not trying to serve a public library function? Read all the replies to this post, and the previous ones under "Librarians".

They don't make this argument you're making even in their own defense.

Here's what Planetneutral just wrote:

"Understand that none of the librarians involved with Info Island are from the same RL library, nor (with a few exceptions) are they participating as part of their RL jobs. Lorelei is from a RL library consortium that is providing limited support for the project (mostly in the form of Lorelei's time and energy), but most of the effort is from people who are simply interested in exploring what offering library services will be like in a virtual environment."

No, it is not a project supported by RL tax dollars -- or is it? That distinction is blurred. These are RL librarians, coming from a RL library...consortium...whatever that means.

It's precisely this blurring of distinctions I'm challenging.

They ARE "interested in exploring what library services are like in a virtual environment" they have grabbed the name SECOND LIFE (fairly easy to grab, as I've indicated -- I have something called SL Public Land Preserve and their are SL Escorts and SL Boxers and everything else).

AND they've grabbed the 411-like name INFO ISLAND. I question that. They are just a group of people doing their thing. Yet the get a special non-profit rate from the Lindens, as befitting a "public interest" project serving the public. The Lindens don't perceive them as merely some little group of people with a Ladies' Benevolent Society Private Lending Library or something like the Society of Engineers private (but publicly-opened) lending library on 44th St.

They see this as a needed and valid public function, and they give it public/non-profit rates as a result.

Yet the public has little knowledge or participation in this, unlike RL where we pay taxes and vote and have a say in this or that public policy.

Tony Walsh

Thanks, Prok. I understand your complaints and arguments, but I'm not trying to make any here. I was just trying to find out if you'd seen the group using Public in their name. I realize they can present themselves as a public library without the word in their title.

I happen to live a couple minutes away from a public library IRL, I'm curious to ask them if they've ever banned anyone. Seems like overkill to ban someone from a library, virtual or otherwise, for non-criminal behaviour.

Prokofy Neva

Well, they've unbanned me now, as you can see. And they were just trying to make a point, I guess. This is how people get in SL when they run islands, their objective more often is to filter and keep out than to figure out how to keep it open.

I had one of the librarians contact me inworld too. And they very much stressed their notion of themselves as "public library".

They aren't *officially* some public library qua public library out of RL -- but they are springing from essentially what amounts to a group of people in a consortium who are putting their time in -- read how they have worded it in their responses here.

I'm hearing from them that they seem willing to entertain some reflection on their role but I imagine they feel that they have enough support, from RL and from others in world, that they don't have to think TOO hard about it. And that's just what I question.

A virtual world possesses both greater reasons to ban people, and lesser reasons. Since nobody in a virtual world can actually do something like burn a book or deface a book or "talk out loud" (something you aren't supposed to do in a library, or at least, weren't suppose to do traditionally), since if you don't like what someone types, you can just mute them or not read them, it seems silly to go to great lengths to defeat someone's speech.

On the other hand, unlike RL, you have less possibility to select who you want to deal with. You're forced into rapid proximity with all kinds of beings who just fly up from nowhere and perch like birds on a wire. It's unnerving, of course.

People are supopsed to accept things like this on the Internet, and even do accept it unconsciously, but at some level it so disturbs them that they build up an antagonism at it, and then fret or burst out with it.

This is my main take-home from these librarians at this point:

a) they realize their business meeting was lame -- their guy didn't show up, it was mangled, it was a mistake

b) they perceived themselves as serving some sort of mandate given them to a crowd who came to Katt Kongo's talk, but then when only a few people came back, and then when Prokofy gave them trouble, they reconsidered it and won't likely be doing business stuff again unless asked to.

c) they seem willing to discuss their own role, but of course, like all SL projects, they are fiercely defending their tribe and their tribal territory

Well, geez, I'm not the chamber of commerce or the Elks Club of SL, I'm just -- what were those 10 things you called me yourself in your blog? Gadfly, etc.

I do feel that whatever diplomacy was lacking in this encounter, the points I raise our valid: what is a public library in a place with no public? Who is the public? Whose public? Which public interest? Whose? etc.

James C

You missed one of the most egregious things they are doing. They get a private island donated to them, pay non profit monthly rates, and then use a big chunk of the land for PRIVATE RESIDENCES for people in the library group??? OMGWTFBBQ!!!

Khamon

I noticed that too. It's not unusual though for a NP to pay a few salaries or grant some sort of benefit to workers.

Nothing is being sold. Some information is being freely offered in a reasonably organized fashion. If it's any consolation, the sim is practically useless as a residence due to the heavy traffic and resulting lag.

It's not unusual either for things like this to be publically funded without any more input from the public than the odd constituents who notice and bother to contact their representatives.

What I'd like to see is their proposed method of evaluing whether the project has been "successful" over a period of three, six, and twelve months. It'll be shameful if they don't have any other than traffic numbers.

It would be nice, though it's not certainly not required of a private company, for LL to publish a list of publically funded projects along with their purposed and methods of evaluation.

I have asked: http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=111822

Khamon

"evaluing" in the above post == "evaluating"

Why can't we edit these posts?

LoreleiJ

We are working on a business plan which will be made public after our next citizen advisory committee meeting. This will outline our goals for the project.
If you would like to be on the citizen advisory committee, please contact me. We are meeting on a monthly basis and will continue to throughout the project.

We have an evaluator who will be producing a report after a 12 month period to the website. It will be made public. It will be a detailed report with much more than traffic numbers.

Currently we have 4 residences for people who have donated hours of work to the project. As we grow, we may not be able to provide these.

Prokofy Neva

then use a big chunk of the land for PRIVATE RESIDENCES for people in the library group??? OMGWTFBBQ!!!

? James, are you sure about that? I visited the island on an alt and all I saw were lots of library buildings and meeting spaces. Well, the model for Library 2.0, as groovy as it may be in the eyes of some, is basically just the typical black-box SL club. The club has to make ends meet with content sales -- the library has that and allows some to do that (not sure how they picked, but using the "my friend and I like them" mode of club politics). The club has to also provide incentive to the workers who work their butts off pushing prims and training newbies and ejecting idiots, so they need compensation by having villas on site. Put in some dance pads, and the picture will be complete.

Khamon, you're wrong. Stuff is indeed being sold. The ICT library had that model even back in Pickering. Some stuff is free, but some of the hotter stuff is for sale.

BTW, I don't call 2000 traffic "heavy," nor was it laggy.

Yes, the non-profit world is rife with vanity projects that have no objective service to the public weal, this is common, I quite agree.

Yes, good point -- how to evaluate? And as traffic could be misleading (traffic is always misleading) then they'll start reaching for USAID type of methods like "we trained 66,000 people in 427 seminars" -- and that's why I start early on objecting strenuously to them putting feathers in their cap that they serve this or that business community merely because theyhave a lecture with 30 avatars then a follow up meeting with 6 avatars which I bitch about. They can't use me or any of us in that fashion. They do need to develop good metrics for measuring success. That means more rigorous after-action analysis, surveys, focus groups, customer satisfication polls, etc.

If there was a way to capture and quantity number of links that are made from that entity inside SL, and the entities to which they refer others outside of SL on the Internet as "resources," this *might* tell you about effectiveness IF you could show that the avatar key given the link clicked through on it and remained.

Yes, we need to demand that the Lindens produce this list. Of course, they are not required to. But they should. Because we would evaluate it, and would find it wanting. There's a lot of vanity stuff.

Khamon, I'd like to be able to edit posts, too. This blog doesn't seem to have these features from what I can tell, sorry.

Prokofy Neva

>Currently we have 4 residences for people who have donated hours of work to the project.

How were they picked?

Kyrah Abattoir

prok why don't you respect the ban that is applied on your person by using an alt? btw who are your alts?

oh and also you should do articles on what happend to other peoples than you because you know, a lot of peoples will probably ban you or try to make your life a little more difficult just for the sheer joy of doing it, cause let's say it, you aren't really apreciated.

Khamon

Here's the answer:

"Most of the projects which have received a discount are educational in nature -- we offer the discount to both universities and non-profit groups. We haven't made a list available due to privacy concerns. Those groups who want to publicize their work, such as Global Kids (a project on the teen grid) and the Camp Darfur project (Better World island) have done so on their own.

When someone asks for a discount, we verify they are eligible. Beyond that though, as with most things in Second Life, the success of their project rests with them, and we haven't interfered."

LL consider discounted setup and tier as something that they can dole privately without any outside oversight or accountability.

At the risk of sounding like a schoolboy yelling 'I told you so' across the playground, There Is No World ~ There Is Only Linden Lab's Private Grid ~ There Is No Democracy ~ There Is Only Linden Lab's Private Grid ~ There Is No Fairness ~ There Is Only Linden Lab's Private Grid.

Second Life belongs to LL; they own it; they own everything connected to it; we have no rights; none; and we never will as long as we're on their private grid.

But, you'd rather beat your head against that singular steel wall than have the masses be able to license the software and create hundreds of interconnected grids. Go figure.

Eloise Pasteur

Prok, I don't know what it's like where you live, but every RL public library I know maintains a banned list - for those that abuse the library, it's staff or similar. In some places that's an enormously long list. In one city I lived in the council run (so clearly publicly funded) library required membership cards to allow you through the door, whilst the university library (which is theoretically privately owned) was easier for everyone to get into. Many libraries here carry advertising for services of a far more clearly commercial nature than the ICT library last time I was there. A site that offers educational support in SL and a landmark to a shop that sells tools is far less commercial than what you can see in the foyer of my local library.

In addition your comments about me bear little resemblance to the truth. Whilst I was a Thinker I stopped being active in Thinkers over a year ago, and left the group about a year ago now. I occasionally turn up to meetings to debate topics, I'm pretty sure the last one was the one I saw you at discussing p2p and how evil you thought it was.

It's true I'm in one of the RL in SL groups. It's such an elitist clique that if you do find for real life education you can join directly from find! Perhaps it's a cunning plan by those machiavellian teachers?

It's also true I say I am a mentor. However, at no point do I claim to be an SL Mentor, although I am, within the card I talk about being a mentor for education, offering to help people who are going to be teaching classes in SL learn how to teach in SL. Mentoring is not a word specific to SL, it is any activity where you ask someone more experienced than you (possibly in a tiny element of work) for advice and support at it's most informal. Since I *am* a RL mentor (with qualifications to back that up) and a qualified teacher (with the paperwork again), and I'm used to teaching in SL, offering to help people find their feet to teach in SL fits very nicely into the role of a mentor, even an SL mentor - and many people in educational circles will have mentors in any new teaching post - even at a very senior level, so whilst you might object it is a correct usage of the term in a context that everyone wants.

Oh, and for those wanting to read about Eloise Pasteur: Thinker, Educator, Mentor, sorry - the card that Prok's using to stir the pot refers to me as a scripter, teacher and mentor in the context I've mentioned above. The latter two I've got qualifications in, you can judge for yourself whether I can script in SL.

Prokofy Neva

Prok, I don't know what it's like where you live, but every RL public library I know maintains a banned list - for those that abuse the library, it's staff or similar. In some places that's an enormously long list. In one city I lived in the council run (so clearly publicly funded) library required membership cards to allow you through the door, whilst the university library (which is theoretically privately owned) was easier for everyone to get into.

Eloise, get a grip. Libraries don't ban people for their *speech* within a group in which they merely raise questions, and do some criticizing of a program, that in fact these librarians are now scurrying to apologize for, and saying was a bad idea.

Honestly, virtual life makes people lose their minds. You imagine because of the ease with which you can control creation and parcels that you can easily control people, too, and fetch up some ridiculous analogy to "abuse of a librarian" in my *speech* at an *open public discussion*. That's nuts. The record does not show any abuse. Again, get a grip.

>Many libraries here carry advertising for services of a far more clearly commercial nature than the ICT library last time I was there. A site that offers educational support in SL and a landmark to a shop that sells tools is far less commercial than what you can see in the foyer of my local library.


There are no commercial sales in all the public and university libraries I deal with. Oh, there might be a library bag for sale for $5.00 or a t-shirt, and the proceeds go to support the library itself, not some individua librarian or Friend of the Library. Libraries are non-profit, non-commercial entities.

Perhaps you have some university book store/instruction store that is cheek-by-jowl with your library. Whatever. I find it hard to justify having you sell your goods for your profit simply by self-selection or friend-selection in what is called "a public library" in SL. You have things for sale, not landmarks to stores. I personally don't have the allergy to commerce that you and your friends have when it's not YOUR commerce ("no business but my business" school of socialism) but if we're going to have library stores, then, uh...I'd like to sell my books or my step ladder there, too. Are they going to put in rentomatics?

>In addition your comments about me bear little resemblance to the truth. Whilst I was a Thinker I stopped being active in Thinkers over a year ago, and left the group about a year ago now. I occasionally turn up to meetings to debate topics, I'm pretty sure the last one was the one I saw you at discussing p2p and how evil you thought it was.

Um, you are listed as Thinker right there on site, are you not? Perhaps I'm wrong, I'll check. There were three terms used to describe you. I'm surprised to hear you have left the group where you were a Prefect (whatever that vaunted title means). Interesting!

Um, yeah, p2p had many side effects nobody wanted to think about. Yes, it has had evil side effects, I never claimed p2p itself was "evil," that's silly.

>It's true I'm in one of the RL in SL groups. It's such an elitist clique that if you do find for real life education you can join directly from find! Perhaps it's a cunning plan by those machiavellian teachers?

Yeah, believe it or not, I was invited to be in it and have an alt in the group because back in the day, people thought that if you had a business in SL, that alone qualified you for "RL in SL" status. No more!

>It's also true I say I am a mentor. However, at no point do I claim to be an SL Mentor, although I am, within the card I talk about being a mentor for education, offering to help people who are going to be teaching classes in SL learn how to teach in SL. Mentoring is not a word specific to SL, it is any activity where you ask someone more experienced than you (possibly in a tiny element of work) for advice and support at it's most informal. Since I *am* a RL mentor (with qualifications to back that up) and a qualified teacher (with the paperwork again), and I'm used to teaching in SL, offering to help people find their feet to teach in SL fits very nicely into the role of a mentor, even an SL mentor - and many people in educational circles will have mentors in any new teaching post - even at a very senior level, so whilst you might object it is a correct usage of the term in a context that everyone wants.

Oh dear God in Heaven -- what a sleight of hand! don't lecture me about what the word "mentor" is -- I'm well aware of what it means, and in RL serve as a mentor to others and have mentors of my own, Christ on a crutch. In SL, it has a connotation that is inevitably associated with the SL Mentors, so you are *really* doing quite the tap dance here!

I'll have to check wheher you used a small "m".

I'm sure you have credentials out the wazoo, in SL and RL, before which we all pale, but that doesn't mean you get to determine for the rest of us what is a "public library" and who gets to *be* in it and that people get to *sell* in it, either.

>Oh, and for those wanting to read about Eloise Pasteur: Thinker, Educator, Mentor, sorry - the card that Prok's using to stir the pot refers to me as a scripter, teacher and mentor in the context I've mentioned above. The latter two I've got qualifications in, you can judge for yourself whether I can script in SL.

So the card does NOT say Thinker! Ok, I will get out my scratch pen, then!

Khamon, I think it's appalling that they can't step up and show that list, and invoke "privacy". There's no "privacy" for 501-c-3 status in those states where those people have their organization in RL -- they have to file a 990 tax form each year, and notify the secretary of state of things like the names and salary of their director, and their donors over $10,000 and their fund-raising fees. Anyone can send in a $3.50 or whatever the fee is, and request a copy of that 990. So it seems silly to be invoking "privacy" about this sort of public-interest project. Geez.

What I'd like to challenge the Lindens more on, however, isn't this bit about the list -- you can click around in SL and figure it out more or less. I'd like to challenge them on why they will not give non-profit sims to those entities that are NOT 501-c-3s but virtual. They don't seem willing to put their "better world" stuff where their mouth is.

Eloise Pasteur

Debating with you it usually pointless, but one more quick round.

Your original article, to which I was responding, said you don't think people can be banned from libraries. I merely pointed out that in this country they can be and are. At no point did I comment on whether or not they were right to ban you, because I don't know what happened.

Also in this country they carry advertising for commerical ventures within the library itself. Things are obviously different where you are, but then you live in a different country to me, so that's no surprise. You probably drive on the other side of the road too, neither system is right or wrong, just different.

To the best of my knowledge there is nothing for sale in the library. Certainly there is nothing of mine for sale there. There are some displays of things that I sell, clearly marked as demonstration models. As I understand it there will be a pointer to a shop that will sell things, but since I do not run the sim, nor that particular parcel I don't know that is definitely the case.

I'm not listed as a Thinker that I'm aware of, although I'm still a thinker, I'm not a member of Thinkers. One of the items I sell has had some advertising along the lines of "as used at Thinkers and Community Roundtable Meetings" whether it does in that venue I can't remember.

I definitely use the small m in mentor quite deliberately. It's not a semantic tap dance, it's merely correct grammatical usage. Mentor, unless at the start of a sentence with a capital letter is claiming a title. (To be really pedantic the correct title is Second Life Mentor in this instance.) To offer a service as a mentor, when I am doing a service that is best and possibly solely describable as a mentoring service is correct grammatical usage. If Jeska or Ken Linden consider I'm abusing my status as a mentor I'll consider rewording it. The fact that you elide the ideas instantly doesn't make it so for everyone.

What part of my post suggested I could determine the contents of the library? My sole connection is I know the person that runs that particular section and I have a board there advertising my services. I take no part in the running of that section, nor the sim. I have no desire to control the contents of the whole sim, even if I were deluded enough to believe that to be desirable or achievable for a library.

You also have this bee in your bonnet about Thinkers. The group that is, hence the capital letter. If Thinkers was ever some super secret organisation that directly affected the course of SL then I apologise to everyone for what we've done. I'm not sure how debates about Christianity, daoism, bdsm, sex, letters to Santa Claus etc. constitute a secret controlling clique. Sure, we also debated things about SL, including p2p - I seem to remember that as being the day before the update the rolled out, rather hard to believe it affected the decision at all - but the topics for debate were many and various. I joined because I enjoy discussing things and learning how other people think. I stopped attending because it became a chore rather than a pleasure for a variety of personal reasons. I left the group because once I was no longer active within it and it was clear I wasn't going to start becoming active again, it seemed silly to retain group membership - particularly when groups are limited as they are in SL.

Prokofy Neva

I often find it's pointless to argue with "Thinkers," too, Eloise.

I used to have great respect for you, in the beginning. I used to think Thinkers were awesome. You were the one actually invited my alt into Thinkers. I used to go to many of the meetings and think it was important.

Gradually I came to see that Thinkers was the same kind of venue as the forums, only more subtle, with various egos using it to strut their stuff for the Lindens, the 3-D resume hanger. It got tiresome. There didn't seem to be much thinking happening, really. Other groups like Digital Cultures and Future Salon, while still hobbled by leftist tripe, were simply more lively.

>Your original article, to which I was responding, said you don't think people can be banned from libraries. I merely pointed out that in this country they can be and are. At no point did I comment on whether or not they were right to ban you, because I don't know what happened.

My original article didn't say "people can't be banned from libraries," that's stupid. In fact, I addressed just that issue and said essentially, "while they can be banned for X, they can't be banned for Y."

Once again, Eloise, the *transcript of this ill-fated meeting at 2.0 is there for all to see*. So it's folly to claim "you don't know what happened" when you can READ the transcript.

And I don't think there's a library in the known civilized world that would ban people for *their speech at a public meeting in a library*. I mean, even in Russia. Not for defacing books or something, but for *speech*. You are fixating on the concept of "being banned from libraries," knowing full well, as made clear in my first article, that we aren't talking about setting fires or urinating or defacing books -- those are all things that would legitimately be bannable. You listed all these real-life offenses like "harassing the librarian" as if this *applies* -- when it does NOT. Anyone can see that. Asking a pointed question a few times in a meeting isn't "harassment". Get a GRIP.

False analogies with RL -- gah, there ought to be a name for this crime in debate -- it's the worst kind of moral equivalence.

>Also in this country they carry advertising for commerical ventures within the library itself. Things are obviously different where you are, but then you live in a different country to me, so that's no surprise. You probably drive on the other side of the road too, neither system is right or wrong, just different.

I don't have a *problem* with advertising commercial items in libraries, I'm the capitalist, remember? And you're the socialist. You find it "crazy," it doesn't bother me. I don't ever recall, having used libraries in the UK, seeing any kind of advertising (if that's where you are) -- or in Germany, Belgium, France, etc. They seemed like even more marble-halled institutions than in the U.S. No matter.

The point is, these people doing the Library 2.0 are Americans, in America, even if they drew on Europeans or Asians also. And they know full well that suddenly using a public space to let one person sell their wares, or advertise their wares, is not the norm, to say the least. They are evidently drawing from another genre, the museum gift shop. Or they just think you're cool, and your stuff is cool. Well, uh, sure, but we'd just like to know what their criteria is, given that it is supposed to be a public venture.

>To the best of my knowledge there is nothing for sale in the library. Certainly there is nothing of mine for sale there.

In the ICT Library in Pickerel, when it was there, your items on one floor were for sale. They moved this whole kit and caboodle to Info Island, I saw them there, and it seemed reasonable to assume they were for sale. Indeed, I saw them displayed. I'll be happy to go check on this and print a correction if I'm wrong.

>There are some displays of things that I sell, clearly marked as demonstration models.

oh-hoh. OK. Well, then you get to do that, and I dunno, I don't, or somebody else not on the cool list doesn't get to even if they might be relevant to the task at hand. I dunno, I think it's great that you figured out how to get in on the ground floor of the Metaverse thang, and get your landmarks in a highly visible public project, etc. That's how it is *done*. I *question it* however. Who decides and who apportions these "concessions"?

>As I understand it there will be a pointer to a shop that will sell things, but since I do not run the sim, nor that particular parcel I don't know that is definitely the case.

Well, why? I think they shouldn't be selling stuff if they are a non-profit. I mean, I think this is quite the racket, you get a non-profit rate from our Lindens and then use that cheaper sim to compete with those of us who have to pay the full freight and hustle for customers to fill up our rentals.

>I'm not listed as a Thinker that I'm aware of, although I'm still a thinker, I'm not a member of Thinkers. One of the items I sell has had some advertising along the lines of "as used at Thinkers and Community Roundtable Meetings" whether it does in that venue I can't remember.

I believe it does, I will check.

>I definitely use the small m in mentor quite deliberately. It's not a semantic tap dance, it's merely correct grammatical usage. Mentor, unless at the start of a sentence with a capital letter is claiming a title. (To be really pedantic the correct title is Second Life Mentor in this instance.) To offer a service as a mentor, when I am doing a service that is best and possibly solely describable as a mentoring service is correct grammatical usage. If Jeska or Ken Linden consider I'm abusing my status as a mentor I'll consider rewording it. The fact that you elide the ideas instantly doesn't make it so for everyone.

*Rolls eyes 360 degrees*. No sale.

>What part of my post suggested I could determine the contents of the library? My sole connection is I know the person that runs that particular section and I have a board there advertising my services. I take no part in the running of that section, nor the sim. I have no desire to control the contents of the whole sim, even if I were deluded enough to believe that to be desirable or achievable for a library.

Well, I guess this is just one of those Kim Anubis "showing up in the right place at the right time" kind of things. Some get their place in the sun, some don't. *I question it*.

>You also have this bee in your bonnet about Thinkers. The group that is, hence the capital letter. If Thinkers was ever some super secret organisation that directly affected the course of SL then I apologise to everyone for what we've done. I'm not sure how debates about Christianity, daoism, bdsm, sex, letters to Santa Claus etc. constitute a secret controlling clique. Sure, we also debated things about SL, including p2p - I seem to remember that as being the day before the update the rolled out, rather hard to believe it affected the decision at all - but the topics for debate were many and various. I joined because I enjoy discussing things and learning how other people think. I stopped attending because it became a chore rather than a pleasure for a variety of personal reasons. I left the group because once I was no longer active within it and it was clear I wasn't going to start becoming active again, it seemed silly to retain group membership - particularly when groups are limited as they are in SL.

This is a topic for a separate blog. The Thinkers are indeed a cabal of sorts in Second Life. I'll never forgot how with the fine hand of Traxx and some others you all got two Lindens to attend your meeting about mediation and disputes resolution and then whoops, next thing we know there is something "blessed" called "Sl Mediators". These Lindens were thrilled, although there was a bit of a kerfluffle when Traxx went too far and tried to make it sound like one Linden had endorsed it more than I think he wanted to appear.

Thinkers has really waned lately and hasn't done much. It's odd. In part, this is due to a few like Traxx leading the charge away from Thinkers to more secret or even invisible groups to discuss stuff like memes and neurological this and that -- topics of mind control and behavioural sciences dear to their hearts since they involve controlling human beings. Often the whole AI discussion, I find, isn't so much about making cute little AI thingies but how to have the humans interact with the AIs in ways to influence what the humans do and think.

Many people think I enjoy being critical and antagonistic. I don't. I just have a sense of justice and I have to speak out when I see things going so askew. I think the 2.0 people went too far beyond their mandate, and haven't justified some of the things they are doing.

Eloise Pasteur

Your comment about libraries over here makes me wonder when and which libraries you went to. Until about 3 years ago university libraries used to be entirely a-commercial (at least in outward appearance), but although my sample is smaller in that time both of the university libraries I frequent now have shops and carry information about commerical ventures that support learning for their students. Public libraries, every public library I can remember, has always had adverts for commercial ventures as well as for other "learning" establishments.

In that context the analogy to sides of the road becomes more relevant in my mind. Within my cultural expectations cars drive on the left and libraries have a commerical element and support local businesses. Within yours the opposites are true.

The only grounds for dismissing it would be on moral grounds. For that you'll have to demonstrate why it is wrong for a library to advertise local businesses and activities, which you still haven't done to my satisfaction.

Now one argument I expect you to bring up is that people pay less for their educational sims, so they're having an unfair competitive edge over other sims. In my home city shops run by charities get rate reductions for their commercial rates - usually 80-100% reduction in their rates. So a shop selling second hand records pays full rates, a shop selling second hand clothes for a charity next door pays 0%. The 30% or so reduction that LL offers suddenly seems less significant. In fact it matches the 30% reduction that the nice people at Apple gave me for the computer I'm using to type this on. Just because I work for an educational institution I get that 30% off for my computer at home. Is that fair? Not particularly, but I'm not going to turn it down.

Having read your description of the Thinkers meeting and what happened I think you're overvaluing the Thinkers name still but at least I understand where you're coming from. It still doesn't explain why you fixate on me as a Thinker, but perhaps that's the need to rant coming out ahead of the facts?

I might be venture close to personal comment about you, I think people don't see you so much as antagonistic as belligerent, bellicose even. My choice of grounds on which to fight is probably often different to yours, but that's OK, we don't have to share the same ideals, it would be a dull world if we did. I would say that the way we approach airing those criticisms is rather different. I'm more than willing to concede that more people know of your criticisms of things in SL. My intuition, and indeed my experience in many situations, suggests that criticism without antagonism (to whatever degree) tends to be the way it gets acted on since people are less defensive than when they feel they're being attacked. Just because it works for me don't let me stop you doing it in your own inimitable way though!

Prokofy Neva

Eloise, you seem determined to substitute finer and finer granularity about the commercial aspects of your local public library experience for an actual looking at the facts of our virtual world here, and how they DIFFER than whatever granularity you'd like to throw at this problem:

o Public libraries are government/non-profit foundation/taxpayer/donor funded and not businesses of themselves and have a public accountability

o THIS 2.0 library does not have that status, it is a private venture in SL terms funded by an anonymous donor; it is not a public library in RL or SL, though it has librarians in it and is reaching for a public library role -- it is not mandated by the public because there *is* no public in any civil society sense of the word

o In RL, there is a free market, competition, oversight, courts, the free press -- all that serves as a corrective to those commercial asperations of your over-zealous greedy public library , let's say.

In SL, we don't have those things. None of them. So it means a select group of friends pick their friend, and decided what they think are the best educational tools of SL. I can think of some that aren't there, and may never be there, merely because the person isn't plugged into the feterati of the moment. Too bad. Whoever shows up first, like Kim Anubis, wins.

You're still failing to understand the point about commercial activity. It isn't that 2.0 is doing it, it's that they are doing it NOT through a free market. I can't go there and put something for sale -- nor could anyone else who felt they had an instructional or educational device. It's only the select ones. There's no contact, info@ or board of this thing that accepts applications -- it's like the Lindens used to be before we finally got them to at least put up a "developers' director".

If these 2.0 people were in good faith, they'd make a directory like that, and even rotate the merchandise. But they are no different than any club of enthusiasts that springs up in SL and takes a big grab at the public commons for their own interests.

It's especially unfair for this cut-rate sim to create a venue for the sale of merchandise using their non-profit rates, especially given that they don't have an open system -- it's not a rentomatic open to the public, there's no published information even how anyone could appyl to sell there -- it's just..."my friends and no business but my business".

I really cast a weather eye on all these non-profits in SL for reasons I've already spelled out -- here we are huffing and puffing struggling to do business under these poor conditions, including helping newbies, and paying full freight. They are not. If their mission and work had widespread public support and didn't seem like the usual narrow-cast, with a trigger-happy finger on the ban-button, it might be viewed differently.

Um, there's no "need to rant". You reined over the Thinkers like a queen for many a moon. You were a Prefect (a more pretentious title I cannot imagine!) You presided over invitations to others as an officer. You came to all the meetings. You created your own image, and I think it's funny that you are running away from it now.

I think it's fine to be bellicose in this "too perfect virtual world". It needs a lot of fighting -- fighting there are few to give it. It has much unjust, even criminal about it. It needs to have different groups and factions willing to take up interests and fight for them, and people who care about the society as a whole being fair. Doing this by going to ladies' teas and writing gentile letters to the editor isn't going to cut it.

There are plenty of people to suck up to the Lindens and the FIC and criticize them in their little dulcet tones. If that works for them, great. Doesn't work for me. We need to jump up and down and scream about some of the really egregious stuff that goes on here.

Eloise Pasteur

You may object to the finer and finer granuality, but it's helped me understand what your complaints are now you're expressing them calmly and coherently. I don't agree with them all, but there are some points in there that I do agree with.

I'm not running away from Thinkers, it's simply of my past. I'm not sure I reigned over Thinkers, certainly not from my perspective - I ran one of the regular meetings (there were at some points 4 other people running weekly Thinkers meetings, usually at least 2 others) and attended the others because there's a different dynamic to attending to hosting a meeting. Although you seem to see Thinkers as this pervasive, influential, back-channel organisation, and it's entirely possible some people tried to use it that way - if people want power they'll use any available vehicle - for me it was a pleasurable passtime, nothing more. Sure it's influenced my life, so has playing the sax (which I stopped practising regularly at about the same time). You might think that's a stupid comparison but from my point of view they were both leisure activities and when they turned into a chore that I was starting to resent I made a choice to set them aside, keep the good memories and not lay bad ones on top.

Prokofy Neva

You may object to the finer and finer granuality, but it's helped me understand what your complaints are now you're expressing them calmly and coherently.

Um, I realize you like to engage in "masterful put-downs" like this, Eloise, but I have to say, that I find that often nothing less than a slash-and-burn policy is effective in going up against the powerful and vested egos and big businesses of SL. It's not about "calm" or "coherent" or "ranting" or all these other things you imagine. It's about making forceful, sharp criticism in a timely manner to set up some sense of resistance to people who basically just steamroller over everyone whenever they do something, making it impossible to ask questions later.

In the early stages of something like these 2.0 Library people is the time when you need to strike forcefully and memorably to get them off their high horse and really consider some of the larger questions of what public they really are serving besides their own whims and the whims of their anonymous donor.

As for the Thinkers, there are several very obvious personalities at work using that platform as a propellant for visibility for economic, social, and political advantage -- that's all to be seen in spades. I have no idea why you have shrugged off this mantle now that it seems to no longer server your purposes. I guess the world has grown, and you now have venues like Second Life Library 2.0 (gah, I missed 1.0!), the new-fangled SIC and RL-in-SL sort of thing to show off your wares and your persona, so you don't need to fiddle around with having Thinkers meetings with socialism-on-a-prim in tacky Bavarian knock-offs covered in mountain mist.

Eloise Pasteur

Although it was in part a put down, it was also a simple statement of my truth. Having you explain more calmly than you initial post what's going on, however we got to that point, I now feel I understand your points better. I've never denied you your right to stand up and indulge in your "slash-and-burn" policy - perhaps my preference for constructive criticism is based at least as much on my preference for reading such things, a weakness on my part.

I, as you call it, "shrugged off this [Thinkers] mantle" about 12 months ago, as I've said several times. You are the one that insists on pinning it back on me - inaccurately. I look back on my time in Thinkers with mostly fond memories. But I *do* look back, it's of the past, at least for me.

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