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06/17/2006

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jauani

can you use a headings and a table of contents with anchors please? i have trouble reading the current stream of conciousness format. thanks.

j-wu

Prokofy Neva

No.

jauani

if you made your format more accessible you could reach a wider audience.

Prokofy Neva

That's ok, why don't you try working with your own blog, Jauani.

Stan Pomeray

Funny how nobody seems to be able to handle reading anything that is more than about 10 lines long these days.

It must be something to do a general shortening of attention spans.

Sorry...was that too long?

Prokofy Neva

This was actually one of my shorter entries, it had numbered talking points, and it had pictures to break it up.

Jauani's own style is to put fashionably tiny print and to put more space between the paragraphs and bold up the numbered talking points. *shrugs*. Well, I don't think that necessarily makes anything more readable.

I'd like to think I'm no worse than Samuel Pepys in the paragraph department. BTW, there's an annotated Internet version of his diaries that are a lot of fun
http://www.pepysdiary.com/
Perhaps my theory that the modern blog is illustrative of the shortened attention span is shot to hell by comparing length of posts from the 17th century to the 21st, but see what you think.

I think Thoreau probably makes my case better:
http://www.concord.org/~kathy/Walden/wldbean.html

But yes, I think ever since Harper's magazine began to change its format and then the Internet was born, nobody can read more than a "screen full".

It's often because they have 10 other things going on at once.

Try putting Thoreau into a text summarizer, it's fun:
http://swesum.nada.kth.se/index-eng.html

Timeless Prototype

That summarising tool is magnificent. I summarised this entire post and the most important 10 words are (it comes out more than 10, even if I asked for only 10):

"Country or Company or Country Club?

Akh, as Tyutechev put it so inimitably, "Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone."

Prokofy Neva

I tried it on 5 different summarizing tools and got completely different things, some including Tyutchev, some not. These programs are stupid, like the wisdom of crowds. No doubt that are set to tag words like "Finally" or "in sum" or "Certainly" or whatever.

Timeless Prototype

Without a doubt, the programs have no emotional perspective on the matter and very likely the words are weighted and probably any cross references within the same document bring greater weight to the words.

But like it or hate it, it did in fact summarise the most important point, which I choose to interpret as: you can't just think about it, you have to live it to understand it.

If I was a god of a world (which I believe I'm not, until otherwise informed), I'd want to live in the world - experience what they experience - before making any judgements on anything.

Prokofy Neva

We are all gods of this world.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Another round of very interesting arguments, Prokofy, and again, I find them flawless. Perhaps I can only comment on one aspect of it; I admire your tenacity to focus on the "SL (or the Metaverse) is a country" mantra, but it seems that this was sadly one of the things that Philip has dropped.

Well, perhaps not dropped. He still seems to claim that "SL is many countries", which would be even in line with your reasoning — there is not "a community", but "several communities"; there is not "a way of doing things", but "several ways of doing things"; and, lastly, there is "the way the Lindens would like things to be", and, as a contrast — there is reality. Which is *not* the way the Lindens "like" it, since it doesn't fit very well in their overall mindset.

I'm naturally suspect, of course, so I don't blame you if I'm accused of "switching mindsets". Do I still believe that "SL is a country", as my signature seems to indicate? I did once, but after questioning LL directly, Philip's answer (on his blog) was elucidating. I had the wrong midset — and have to adapt to the "correct" one (read: the one LL is promoting), or die (disappear from SL) in the attempt. That's what I'm still trying to do, and this is what you could possibly label as becoming a "traitor to the cause" — escaping the "SL country" by bringing in "foreign investment in SL" (read: using RL projects to sustain my continued experience in SL).

I won't argue on what's "best". The concept of "SL as a country" fascinated me for several reasons — so much, that I refused to get biased by reading Snowcrash (your own comments on that book also helped me to avoid it). The experience I have is that *many* people (20%? 30%? Still quite a lot of people) do indeed "behave" as if SL is a country. They struggle for a living here. They could be doing the same on other, 2D virtual communities. They could be content creators for Renderosity or any other 3D modelling community (where indeed clothes are sold for half a dollar, not unlike SL). They could be programming interactive games, sold through webpages for US$10 or $15, but they do the same in SL for about the same amount. They could be selling advertising on blogs, or developing small-scale e-Commerce sites, but they're renting malls and promoting live concerts in SL.

So why are they all here?

I'd say, because here they have an *opportunity* for business. Remove that opportunity, and they'll go away (or, for the record, make that opportunity so difficult, that it will be impossible for them to thrive). And this should *also* be on LL's mind when thinking about redesigning all of SL (its economy, or the way its society "should" work).

Having just been presented with one case of a good friend leaving her mall just because of LL's "attitude" towards their "virtual country" (and not much beyond the attitude — she did well, financially) makes me think if LL's "attitude" is so well in tune with the resident's own.

It's not only us (residents) that have to adapt to change; LL should be doing the same.

Prokofy Neva

The problem with the Philip/country quote is that it has legs -- each new, bland, major RL media piece on SL contains it. He even does reiterate it at times in presentations when talking about the currency exchange. I do have the impression he doesn't do this much lately, but he has surely said it since the famous first time he said it, and not said anything to contradict it, like, "Gah, I'm not running a country, it turns out I'm not running a country, I'm running a third-rate sex chat room with links to shopping sites."

It's true, also, that he has decided to let the Archipelago of Egos called the private island system, which at one time wasn't in his ideology, be the "colonies" (that's what he actually called them). This is King George catching up to the fact that his subjects are fleeing his kingdom of the mainland.

They are big on "diversity" lately -- and that is even the hoary call of the third anniversary, "celebrating diversity," which sounds as exciting as my kid's public school field day, complete with educational posters and forced fun. The diversity in reality goes from A to A-and-a-half as we can see from the "Group of 8".

I still think the Lindens' real and unstoried product is the country. But they step on it and don't like it because it erodes their power, so ultimately they'll kill it.

Still, I don't believe in the social Darwinism that you socialists in fact believe in, with your "to each according to his work" stuff. Not everyone can drag RL work into this game, and not everybody can get the pet rocks to turn a dollar, it's hard.

You should read Snowcrash because it will help you understand the Linden's cult. Just because I'm critical of Snowcrash isn't any reason not to read it. It's an awful book, and they are replicating the dystopia.

All those web things you describe are solitary pursuits. I could "draw this dog" and "earn $$$$$$ at home" too, but what fun is that? It's the *world* aspect of the shared community of people, the ready stream of customers and friends you can readily interact with in acceleratd time that makes it interesting.

When they stopped all this subsidy of inworld activity, they didn't have a plan to sustain it some other way because they didn't want it. They wanted to kill it. Whatever survived their social Darwinism, survived, or died. They don't care. They can't care, because they opted for this route. They hope big companies come in and take over the cost and the management. They've carefully prepared a feted inner core to be the guides to these big companies, and they are no doubt pleased at their subsidy of this tiny cohort, because so far, it seems to pay off for them. They've even co-opted the Herald, their old enemy, that wouldn't *help,* by getting Walker into ESC's orbit and having ESC sponsor Walker's major career-building blog 3pointd.com and leave his toys and sandbox at the Herald to languish -- that's what the Lindens like to see happening to the world, people abandoning the sandbox and the toys to do real things.

LL's attitude isn't in tune with your friend and her mall. Not at all. LL doesn't need your friend and her mall. Reuben has explained that -- they don't need the country, or the country to be 500,000 instead of 250,000. They got enough of the vestiges of a country to keep the project going without having to fill in the dotted lines. Instead, for a while, during a phase, all the big companies will come in *once* and dine out in the media for having come in this *once* to a world we all made, which they all are stepping on.

Then what? This is another historical juncture for SL and the metaverse -- I know they have them every 2-3 weeks but this one is more serious.

What you didn't seem to respond to is the "nesting dolls" idea.

People go on and on about LL's bottom line and LL's corporate strategy and LL this and LL that.

My point here is that if they're going to make the claim (largely unexamined and unexposed) that 2000 people make at least $20,000 a year in this game, which approximates a "living wage" especially outside the US, then they have to realize it's not about one company, but the rest of the dolls in the nest -- there are hundreds of companies represented by those 2,000 people.

And in fact easily another 5000 make money of some sort -- they generate enough to cover tier, or to substantially cover their projects such as to make the SL con work it.

Stan Pomeray

SL does show all the signs of being "groomed for sell off". There is that same sort of paranoid need to "gain customer buy-in" and "impose mindsets" that companies often use when they want to appear to be a tasty morsel for investors or potential buyers.
The current emphasis on ensuring that new account holders not only get the "correct required perception" of SL, but also are steered towards behaving in certain (defined by some superior power to be "acceptable" ways) is further evidence of this.

The idea that SL could be "a country" was ironically one of the things that initially attracted me to it. But quite clearly SL is now being marketed (whether directly or by inference) as a 3D version of the world wide web, and I believe that 3 or 4 years from now, if SL does survive, it will take this form, with websites essentially substituted for "land parcels".

As with the world wide web (which has also been regulated to the point of tedium, in my view anyway, over the past 10 years) the big players will bring in the big money that LL clearly wants.

The "game" side of SL probably will survive, just as "games" can be found lurking in corners of the world wide web. But the "game" enthusiasts will probably get the feeling that they are getting in the way of the conformity sledgehammer.

Of course, I'm happy to be proved entirely wrong.

Prokofy Neva

Stan,

They already have customer buy-in. customers have bought-in to the tune of something like 85 percent of their server costs and maintenance fees. Even if it is only 65 or 75, there's an awful lot of servers out there, with an awful lot of people who bought them, and pay maintenance on them each month -- and if that isn't buy-in, I'll eat my hat.

As for imposing mindsets, they do that every Wednesday. I can click on the message to "update to 10.00.14.00.2.1/2.000" or...not. If I don't, I don't come in the world.

If that isn't imposing a mindset, I'll eat my hat.

It's a good thing I don't wear hats.

I agree that there is a horrible conformism happening at the OI and HI, complete with denizens from those militaristic groups like the Alliance Navy who have a toehold there, and also got themselves prominently featured in the Third Anniversary celebration with airshows. Fortunately, there's now a big sign there didn't used to be at OI: "Skip Orientation". I'd highly recommend it. Instead, go directly to New Citizens or even to me and my newbie type events or communities and the Ross infohub. Or to any of a hundred other people who provide more of a homegrown orientation depending on what your interests are.

It's being marketd as an early pioneer in the 3-D Web thing. The question is whether they'll keep that title. I'm getting a blog together on this topic.

Yes, whoever joins MUDs anymore?

Khamon

The problem with SL being a country is that the notion is based on the mistaken assumption that a large, contiguous, non-terraformable land mass provides the framework for a country.

It doesn't.

It provides a sense of space. In fact, it *only* provides a sense of space. That in itself is pretty useless in an electronic environment. Oh it's supposed to be compelling and comortable and prompt collaborations and grouping.

But it doesn't.

It's just a big old ugly sense of space that drives people up the wall because we have no more control over it than we do our real lives making it sort of senseless altogether to waste our time on mainland (read country-related) activities.

The Linden's have been trying to build a country on their estates for years now. They've failed miserably and made a lot of us miserable in the process.

Other groups have figured out that what people want is a hood. A small enough sense of space that they can know their neighbors, see their county on the map and take pride in how it looks and what goes on there.

Sure they know there are other lands (read countries) out there that they can visit. But they can point to that set of sims and say "That's my ; I live there. I know those people and work with that government and we do great things together."

One day LL will realize that licensed software running on indepedent grids, linked into centralized common areas by agreement, will provide people with virtual countries in a true metaversal world. But for now they're still listening to people who preach the one world on one grid under one dictator because that's supposed to be somehow provide more freedom of choice for everyone.

Khamon

The quote above is supposed to read:

"That's my --country name--; I live there. I know those people and work with that government and we do great things together."

Apparently you can't use geater-than and less-than signs when posting here. Maybe they require backslashes or such.

Prokofy Neva

Khamon, I'm not buying this, as you may know. Why favour neighbourhoods and dis countries? You don't have to celebrate hoods by stepping on countries. Perhaps Caledon or Azure Islands couldn't have their sense of hood if it weren't for the contrast with the big ugly country of the mainland.

But it's still a country. America is big and non-terraformable and awfully ugly in places but it's still a country.

Maybe countries aren't supposed to be comfortable. I was looking at one of my hoods last night -- Grace. It has been transformed from the rolling pastoral graceful Grace that some of us worked REALLY hard to keep nice in the face of all kinds of crap, where it had a golden age for awhile, back to the crapola around the edges threatening the community again. Why? Because assholes sell off 16m2 and 64m2 sections of their land for a fast buck. I can never understand how this happens, but overnight, when that happens, clutter, griefing, stupidity begins to invade.

Some guy put in an airport, which, by itself might be tolerable, but the combination of spinning stuff, and his indifference (collusion?) regarding the 16m2 signs has helped create a menacing effect.

FINALLY an eyesore waterfall on the Midge side is gone...but the owner liquidated to Anshe which means we have miles of chopped up small parcels now that will very likely fill with poseball sellers. For now, I can take down HUGE PINE TREE but it may come back. Grace is a funny hood that has a lot of conflicting stuff going on it -- it's a longer story that I can tell here -- but when does hood become country or visa versa? Just because Grace has conflicts and problems doesn't mean I would want to abandon it. I think the more you fight for your country through various battles and thick and thin, the more you want to stay with it, a certain loyalty builds up to it.

I don't think the Lindens ever tried to build a country. I think they tried to build a federal government, by putting in recruiting stations, welcome areas where they can indoctrinate new citizens, giant stadiums for their leader's town hall, etc. They have the accoutrements of a federal government, but it lurches from laxness to totalitarianism and never focuses on creating policies that could help the country. They turn a blind eye to the quality of life and property destruction issues like security orbs and the Bush Guy and then swoop down like avenging angels on yard sells, the life blood of the communities.

You're right, though, this country is a fool's errand on the mainland. It's wearing me out.

Khamon

You don't buy it because you have really strange ideas. What is America as a country but a federal government. Without the federal government we're all just a lot of contiguous states.

Okay call the hoods "states" if that makes you happy. Those are the countries that people ascribe to under the empirical US constitution and flag.

You don't buy it because you're blinded by the notion that a big, ugly, contiguous, nonterraformable landmass *is* a country. Yeah Pa, we don't wear no shoes causen we lives in the Alabama ayhuk.

You just don't get it do you? But then, I don't really care if you do or not as you long as you don't try to pass any of this off as legitimate journalism to an unsuspecting public.

Andrew Burton, aka Jarod Godel

Oh, Khamon, you're terrible.

Khamon

Jarod and Khamon at Typepad

the typing ferocious

Prokofy Neva

But it is legitimate journalism and it is a country, Khamon. I mean, geez, you live in this country, too. Just because your country gets ugly doesn't mean that it forfeits its essence nature as a country.

If the Lindens offered me a 1:1 trade for my total land mass on the mainland for private islands, I'd consider it, but if they weren't killing the mainland, I might say no, because I like the idea of having neighbours and a contiguous layout.

Nowadays, when I look at the map, I see many islands in fact near the mainland, and the whole concept of "island" is eroding as people string bunches of them together and make continents.

Khamon

"Nowadays, when I look at the map, I see many islands in fact near the mainland, and the whole concept of "island" is eroding as people string bunches of them together and make continents."

Yes, true, point set and match. Give people the ability to build their own continents and they will. Give people the ability to link those continents onto a common space so their residents can travel through a sense of planetary space and they will. Give people the ability to host their own continental grids and link them into common spaces and they will.

The first two have already proven true. The third will as well. Yet your consitent answer to such a proposal is that it somehow dashes everyone's freedom to the wind and blows the world to smithereens just because LL won't be hosting and lording over the it lock, stock and barrel.

The US is a country because the people of fifty states agree to abide by a constitution and support a federal system of government. A virtual country will work the same way with far more land, far more people, far more innovation, and far more tolerance than is suffered by a single company operating a single grid to accomodate a single world view, at a steady financial loss I might add.

But you don't buy that. That only facilitates tiny little hateful techie gated communities as evidenced by the dAlliezes, Azure Islands, Caledon, Dreamland, Nunki Kai et al.

Giant contiguous landmasses don't build countries.

Prokofy Neva

The US is a country because the people of fifty states agree to abide by a constitution and support a federal system of government.

Point, set, and match yourself. The Lindens shuold strengthen their federal government and enforce the TOS against spam and property devaluation like the Bush Guy. The states (the parcel autonomies) should cease their fuck-you hedonism and stop driving people to the islands by observing a modicum of restraint and refraining from heedless terror-forming and build-griefing. It's not that much that is asked, really, no more than states and the central government conceded in making the United States -- in fact a lot less, because things like the death penalty, foreign wars, and abortion aren't in the SL repetoire to worry about.

Yes, the hateful tekkies are one of the biggest forces mitigating against minimal restraint by landowners and consent to the rule of a federal government's reasonable rules.

Giant contiguous land masses are what underlies the entire project of Second Life.

>Give people the ability to build their own continents and they will.

BTW, we can buy the precooked ones off the mainland auction and make them, too. Where are 3 other people who will each put in $500 to get a sim rolling and a sim government?

Give people the ability to link those continents onto a common space so their residents can travel through a sense of planetary space and they will.

Well, now, let's not exaggerate here, Khamon. Fly around Dreamland a bit. BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE SENT HOME RED BARS BOUNCE BOUNCE. YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO CLEAR THE AREA. So much for planetary space.

>Give people the ability to host their own continental grids and link them into common spaces and they will.

Well, they can do this with mainland sims too, really. That's what I do with my rentals, more or less, it's just that I get along with my neighbours, imagine that.
We try to abide by a couple of simple rules -- when the parcel goes up to sale, offer to your own neighbours first. When building, don't put your building right smack on the property line or up so many stories it blocks your neighbours' view. Don't put out stupid spinning signs and laggy listening scripts and junk. I dunno, you know, it's not that hard to make a country.

One sim at a time. Even as serfs and quit-renters on Governor Linden's estate.

Khamon

"BTW, we can buy the precooked ones off the mainland auction and make them, too."

This is a good idea. Why don't you centralize Ravenglass holdings into a few sims contiguous sims where the biz owns all the land and can enforce some zoning to alleviate some of the headaches you, and your clients, are continually fighting?

It seems a diservice forcing your poor renters to neighbor with disrepectful griefer types just so you can own land all over the map.

Plus, it's much more state like and supportive of the federal system to enclose a large, contiguous area of land so that people can see that this is Ravenglass and it's really nice.

Do your bit Prokofy, centralize, contiguize, that's the ticket to defining space.

Prokofy Neva

Wait a minute, champ, first you want centrifugal forces, you're there chanting "united we stand, divided we run fee at last," you're all for Balkanization and weakening the federative state. Then five seconds later, whoops, Ravenglass is supposed to centralize, contiguize, and push everybody out, declaring all beyond its borders as lawless.

Huh?

Can't we all get along?

I want neighbours to be tiering my view so I don't : )

Most neighbours work out. A small percentage don't. The rule of law cannot be enforced due to a poorly constituted and weak federal power.

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