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09/16/2008

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Ann Otoole

Looks like the sims will be coming back to life in metaplace.

Gareth Nelson

"No doubt he has a healthy respect and even cultish admiration for opensource given his location in the Silicon Valley milieu. Yet he has gone down this path to embrace capitalist commerce."

The same old myths again and again.....
For those who don't get it, repeat after me:
You can sell free software
You can sell free software
You can sell free software

""Ageplayers" will be angered to find out that Raph has not only stipulated against harm of minors; he's also put in language that you cannot "simulate harm to minors". Great!"

I'm curious as to why it's fine to simulate harm to adults, animals, and all other creatures you could possibly imagine. Surely it should be universal for all possible lifeforms or just accepting that *it isn't real*.

Michael Chui

I'm curious as to why it's fine to simulate harm to adults, animals, and all other creatures you could possibly imagine. Surely it should be universal for all possible lifeforms or just accepting that *it isn't real*.

Two reasons:

1) Because not permitting the simulation of harm to anything would butcher any chance of success Metaplace has.

2) Because minors are explicitly protected under US Law, and Metaplace is not the best venue to fight that.

Desmond Shang

Not terribly different from real world rights, and much along the lines of the avatar rights I use for my own estate. We are drawing off the same source, for the most part I guess.

It's slightly... well, why is it that there are different rights for world creators as opposed to users? I sort of 'get it' - but also it's troubling to me. I can't quite put my finger on it... 'separate but equal' and the issues with that come to mind, somehow.

Anyway, good show Mr Koster, I think what you've got there is an excellent start.

Prokofy Neva

Michael, I know full well you're merely here to harass and harry. I've noticed, too, that whenever this discussion comes up about the "harm to minors" and the banning of simulated harm to minor that some gamer and extremist and fake libertarian will always show up and begin to whine, "How come it's ok to shoot and kill people in video games but ageplay isn't ok? The smugly "impress" with their triumphant literalist symmetrical logic, and think they've trumped everyone in the thread, and the OP will then say "Oh, ok, sure, let's tolerate simulated harm to minors then because we're certainly not going to question our addiction to war games for adults."

I think I've answered a lot of these arguments her:
http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2007/05/the_pedophiles_.html

As has Aliasi Stonebender, whom I quote.

And the answer is simple: because in RL people don't have bombs or AK 47s in their closet along with an orc costume to suddenly be inspired to go out and shoot people; the magic circle of a war game "holds". But in RL there are children, and law-enforcers and experts make a good case that simulation builds tolerance for the real crime.

I think war games build tolerance for the real crime, too, due to desensitization. But I think you make the case better that more conventions surround war games, and there is a distinct unliklihood of most people being able to transfer a war game to RL. Most people can make the transition to playing war games, which they've had in some form since childhood, and going back to RL and not seizing a weapon. To even wish to "ageplay," however, one has to already have a predisposition in RL, and for most people this would bring revulsion.

It really is a different dynamic, and to pretend it isn't and to morally equivocate merely illustrates bad faith.

Minors are protected under EU law even further than US law and these conventions certainly hold in many other countries. And if Raph Koster puts these into his TOS, he's not merely caving to some convention; he's reflecting the rule of law in general which puts limits on people's tendency to harm others and especially children, not because he's merely cynically or pragmatically trying to position himself in the mainstream.

ichabod Antfarm

What I don't get about the "it isn't real" argument is that if the desire isn't real then why do people act as though it is i.e. enact it?

It goes against my understanding of human psychology to concede that people would engage in an activity (simulated or real) if that activity doesn't involve some expression of a desire.

I will concede, however, that people engage in activities precisely because they find them repulsive (at least consciously) but I don't think that is what is going on here.

And, yes, I do think simulated murder and mayhem expresses a desire for the real thing. It's that old heart of darkness again.

Upon re-reading my post, I realize that I am open to the criticism that the "it isn't real" applies to the act and not the originating desire but I don't think that matters at all. I have often been asked "can't you tell the difference between fantasy and reality" and I contend that I do very well. The reality IS the fantasy (as any honest morality will tell you.)

Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread. What's relevant is that a game designer has acknowledged in legal language that avatars have both rights to enjoy and duties to perform that preserve those rights. Yay, for the rule of law. It's such a rare thing that I cheer whenever it appears. Yes, even in a virtual world; even if it is nothing more (in this case) than a "signalling of intention."

Lobosolitario

I think if you read the comments more carefully, you'll see that it is Gareth Nelson who is questioning the "harm to minors" clause, and that Michael Chui is merely responding to the query.

Prokofy Neva

No, Michael Chui is a known quantity; Gareth is also a known apologist for pedophiles, his friend or alt "Lavinda" is a big crusader for "ageplay rights".

Prokofy Neva

ichabod, you've made a very good point there: why would you "need" to ensure the right to engage in this act unless there was desire to engage in it? I've always believed that the simulation is as real in the soul as the act and one can be the precursor of the other. I think many religious thinkers hold to that notion; think of Jimmy Carter's famous quotation about sinning in his mind.

Naturally those trying to justify pedophilia will then try to say "oh, but you have a double standard on gunplay". To which I can say, no, not really, because gunplay doesn't have an easy real outlet as most people don't keep guns around to go shoot their neighbours like boars. Of course, some do, enough, and in large enough groups of victims, to really legitimately ask the question if video games and MMORPGs correlate with homicides; this is politically correct but of course you have to ask this question if you are open-minded and care about a liberal democracy not overtaken by thugs.

And if it turns out that society has a different threshold for being concerned that adults simulating warfare will correlate with real life than they do for adults simulating child rape, then so be it. There's no requirement to have all laws and thresholds be symmetrical. A criminal code can determine that some crimes are more severe than others, and a society can work to remove the circumstances that promote more severe crimes than other crimes.

At the root of a lot of these inane philosophical excursions is a belief for some that rape just isn't as bad as murder, or that murder should be a lot worse than rape. Rape is more common than murder, however, and there is no need to relativize it or grade it on a scale in order to remove the desensitization of it and the

The game companies that put in this sort of TOS don't get into this sort of philosophical excursion, however, because it's a lot simpler: the general public wants this and/or it is the law. Once again, we're looking at extremists with their edgecases trying to harry the moderates in the middle.

Michael Chui

Prokofy, this blog is your property and if you wish me to stop trespassing, then just ask. I could even sign in to my TypeKey account to be properly banned, if you wish. However, I would request that you provide better software for your blog so that it's easier to indicate which parts of my comment are a quotation, and which parts are my actual words.

There is supposed to be an italics tag around that first paragraph; apparently, it got stripped.

I've made my own case for the various issues, but as I said in my first comment, Metaplace is not the right battleground for this. However, you and I happen to be in perfect agreement on this point anyways. Let's see if you notice.

The game companies that put in this sort of TOS don't get into this sort of philosophical excursion, however, because it's a lot simpler: the general public wants this and/or it is the law. Once again, we're looking at extremists with their edgecases trying to harry the moderates in the middle.

Prokofy Neva

Oh stop being an ass, Chui. This is typepad. It does not have the features for adding italics. Use quotation marks. And any idiot can see that Gareth made a comment, and then you put down his comment to comment on it, duh.

But your remarks show your point of view, which is that you view Raph doing this not because it's right, but because it's expedient, so you are cynical about it.

Stumbled upon this joker on Twitter

"simplier" ftw.

Prokofy Neva

Um, you're a joker yourself, asswipe. If you post here, you muse use a recognizable first and last name from RL, SL, or blogging identity.

Horus Vale

Lots of very good arguments based on public opinion, morality, ethics and existing laws can be made for restricting various forms of expression that are based on the anger, fear and dispair generated when it is assumed that dangerous thoughts can lead to dangerous actions. But, is this assumption sufficently true to justify what amounts to thought control? For restricting what forms of expression others are allowed to engage in and observe is indeed mind control. The ability to simulate an abhorent situation certainly can generate negative feelings among those who witness such things in others. But, just as often those others are the same people who when their own dark thoughts are exposed to public ridicule will defend their right to privacy of thought and freedom of expression stating that no real harm was done or intended. We in fact trust ourselves to restrain our own darkness to the confines of fantasy, but just as often do not trust that others also have that power and will exercise it in self interest, if not for others sake. I believe that there is value in confronting one's shadow and the shadow of others. That one can not truely understand the concepts of right and wrong unless one is willing to entertain the fantasy of what we and others find abhorent and unexceptable behavior. How can we hope to ever understand and find respect for others or ourselves when we can not trust either with the mere expressions and not the actual outcomes of what we can not except in our own hearts and minds. There will always be a small percentage of people who suffer from true mental illness and are unable to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality. And for those few, exposure to disturbing thoughts can push them over the edge into acting them out to the detriment of others. But to say that too many of us are so sick in the head that we shall be spun out of control by roleplaying or witnessing in a virtual simulation that which can not be allowed to happen in the physical plane. Well, that's just an argument for tyranny and not for public safety. "Simulated violence to minors" is no different than any other dark and destructive activity that people do not want exported in to the real world. But is it actually better that nobody should be allowed to examine or vent their darkness within a fantasy? Without the ability to do either, one could easily lose one's direction or worse, circome to something that was not understood. No, I emphaticly reject the idea of "the Devil made me do it." Without knowledge of the darkness, the light can not show the way. Without freedom of thought, there is no freedom to make the right choice and act accordingly.

Gareth Nelson

"2) Because minors are explicitly protected under US Law, and Metaplace is not the best venue to fight that."

Everyone is protected under US law from murder, rape and theft, yet all those things happen in virtual worlds and games on a daily basis. A few weeks ago I purchased GTA: Vice City for my PSP and proceeded to (within the game) start shooting/mugging people, stealing cars and harbouring drug dealers. In reality of course i'm sane enough to not do any of these things (in particular the last one I wouldn't even fantasise about - such people are scum). Note also that of course it'd be trivial for me to go and start randomly attacking and mugging people in reality - but I haven't done it. Like the vast majority of people i'm sane enough to know the difference between fantasy and reality. Those who don't know the difference are a danger regardless - as something will trigger them eventually.

"No, Michael Chui is a known quantity; Gareth is also a known apologist for pedophiles, his friend or alt "Lavinda" is a big crusader for "ageplay rights"."

1 - Lalinda isn't my alt
2 - Adults roleplaying with adults using 3D models != paedophilia (your statement that i'm "a well known apologist for pedophiles" is actually quite libellious in fact)

What I do support is the right of 2 consenting adults to do with each other what they please without interference. That would include other distasteful fetish/roleplay activity such as the various necro and cannibalism roleplayers or straight BDSM.

For the record i'm fairly apathetic towards ageplay as regards sexual arousal (i.e seeing people ageplay just doesn't turn me on or actively disgust me), I find some of the necro and cannibal stuff fairly disgusting but don't care if people do it away from me and at times find BDSM fairly interesting (call me a kinky bastard if you want, but it'd be rather nasty to describe me as anything malacious).

I do however fully admit that I have a lot of friends/associates who are into various different fetishs and get quite annoyed when they're misrepresented.

"this is politically correct but of course you have to ask this question if you are open-minded and care about a liberal democracy not overtaken by thugs."

I presume you meant "isn't politically correct" ;)
If you're open-minded and care about a liberal democracy then you should not be in the business of denouncing private sexual activity between consenting adults as something worthy of censorship and advocating such censorship.

"We in fact trust ourselves to restrain our own darkness to the confines of fantasy, but just as often do not trust that others also have that power and will exercise it in self interest, if not for others sake"

Brilliantly stated :)
Anyone who claims to have never had thoughts or fantasies of a dark and/or malacious nature is a liar or delusional.

Gareth Nelson

"If you post here, you muse use a recognizable first and last name from RL, SL, or blogging identity."

Offtopic, but I wonder if you can put this somewhere other than in responses to people's comments. If you had it more clear you'd probably get more people following your wishes (the trolls of course will come regardless).

Prokofy Neva

Sorry, but in the UK where you live, "Adults roleplaying with adults using 3D models *does* equal an offense of pedophilia." And it's also an offense in SL; and it's morally repugnant.

Yes, you are a well-known apologist for pedophilia. See your in court, if you think that's libel. I'll plead the truth defense.

BTW, as you know, people who wish me damage do not get to continue to post here. If you threaten me with a libel suit, you can be on your way quickly because that is damage.

Gareth Nelson

I didn't threaten you with a lawsuit, i've got better things to do than waste time and money when any statements you make are quite unlikely to cause my reputation actual harm to the level where it'd be in my interest to spend the resources on filing a lawsuit internationally.

As for an "offense of paedophilia" - there's no such thing. There is possession of child pornography, carnal knowledge of a minor and child abuse, but there's no formal offence of paedophilia (there is a DSM definition of paedophilia as a mental illness, but having a mental illness is not illegal).

For the curious, here's the DSM criteria for a diagnosis of paedophilia:

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).

B. The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.

Simulated images are not illegal here unless they are photo-realistic. (Of course if you can point to an actual law stating otherwise please do so and i'll go inform the users on litesim about this).

It is of course an offence within SL (as in, it's against TOS and community standards) to participate in sexual ageplay, but that's not my concern (besides philosophical objection to censorship).

ichabod Antfarm

Horus, I am not talking about dangerous ideas. I am talking about desire in a (vaguely Freudian) psychoanalytic sense and I was merely asking if it is rational to suggest that one would engage in an activity without desiring the form and content of that activity.

I think it's wrong to conceive of desire as a type of thinking because it makes it possible to defend the most heinous of behaviours in the context of free expression (by inducing the spectre of mind control). And since this subject does nothing but produce hysteria, here's my over the top example: take Jeffrey Dahmer. Do I need to spell it out? He was busted not for his thoughts but because his crippled desire drove him to murder and consume young men. Are we compelled to "accord due respect" to his desire out of some PC notion of free expression? Of course we aren't. So a bar of some kind has been set. How low do we set it?

My question to the those who think ageplay is ok as long as it's virtual and no real children are involved etc etc is this, a modified Pascal's wager:

We cannot know with absolute certainty that ageplay doesn't put, at least, one real child at risk (one is all, my God, you would need.) I happen to think that the risk is substantial but, like I said, I am not qualified to judge. Nevertheless, given that we are talking about the possible (probable) sexual exploitation of a real child, how much risk should we tolerate? 1 in 1000, 1 in 10,000? you get the point. For me the only acceptable risk is absolutely none at all. And, frankly, that should be (is) any rational person's answer also. Ergo, no ageplay. I am fully aware of all the other issues surrounding this but it all boils down to that one simple question. Might a real child be harmed because other people engage in a given practise in Second Life?

Now, an anecdote. I was approached once (via IM) by an ageplayer. I was in a child avatar. He said to me "I have a dress like that". I said "cool" because I thought he was talking about a Second Life dress. He corrected me and said "No, in real life." I still hadn't grasped what he was getting at so I said "Cool" again. Hey, if a grown man wants to put on a dress, who am I to question it? "No, no", he continues, "I have a real little girl's dress in real life that I masturbate into." Not a pedophile? Not a danger to real children?

That experience clarified my thinking on the subject. Up to that point I was able to accept the "hey, it's all just fantasy and it's consensual and it can be a healing thing, etc etc" but this grotesque, jarring, nauseating revelation put a quick end to my bullshit beliefs. As everyone is quick to point out, that's a real person on the other end of the line. No matter how much you feel you aren't personally a danger to a kid, can you be sure that other real person isn't?

Horus, I don't know if I have really addressed the contents of your post. I didn't read it very deeply. I saw a few memes and they set me off and I needed to get something down while the steam was up (steam, not necessarily ire)

Horus Vale

Prokofy, I still respect the opinions of people who base them on personal feelings and/or personal experiences. The sexual ageplay person who IM'ed you may have indeed have been a RL threat or did nothing else other than masturbate to a RL dress in a personal fantasy. Or perhaps was just trying to impress or grief you with a lie and good theater. Or perhaps was a reporter or agent trying to conduct an investigation to determine your own status as a pedophile. So there are many possiblities and no real answers is such a situation. If you insist, however, in promoting policies to achieve zero risk of child endangerment at the expense of all other activities and freedoms, then I would be quick to point out that every parent whoever put their child in an automobile and drove the roads somewhere was guilty of risking injury to that child and endangering that child's life in an accident. Such a scenerio has a scientifically proven risk with a probability factor far exceding that of an incidence of rape by a stranger. But the latter does not produce the moral outrage of the former. Of course you counter, one is a necessity of life and the other simply a selfish desire. But of course, one could spend the money and arranged for delivery of goods and services to the home or hired a baby sitter and gone after what was needed to keep that child safer. Each situation is a choice and derives its moral imperative more from excepted norms rather than from its actual probability of injury and death to a child. So, the idea of a justifiable and practical means of producing zero risk for any given situation is a fantasy and not a reality. If one believes in due process of law, then one can not assume past, present or future guilt before proving any crime has physically occured. If there is a history of proven guilt, that is a different story and can be reasonably used to restrict the activities of the guilty party to improve public safety. But mere thought and theater alone is not actionable as justice or a reason to assume a risk of future harm. If you wish to fault my argument on purely personal feelings or singular personal experience, I can not refute your position with logic and data. I can only say that is your right to personally judge on your own moral imperatives.

Horus Vale

I'm sorry its the former that does not produce the moral outrage of the latter. I mis-spoke.

Horus Vale

Oh, and as for Jeffrey Dahmer. He was a true Pyschotic and could have been diganosed as unable to tell fantasy from really. In such a case where a medical doctor has made this determination it is reasonable to take legal action to protect the public by restraining that person's actions.

Prokofy Neva

Ichabod is the person with the story about the person IMing, not me.

I think ichabod's admission that she was snapped out of her state of liberal indulgence is really quite extraordinary -- few people in SL will admit that they learn something like this from the awfulness of SL -- the tend to shrug usually and say "chacun a son gout". So it's really quite striking for her to say: "this grotesque, jarring, nauseating revelation put a quick end to my bullshit beliefs." I think that speaks volumes.

As I think about it, and see the nauseating statements from Gareth and even Horus, who is also trying to justify simulation of pedophilia, I think: what is up with this? Why do geeks have a particular propensity for indulging "ageplay"? What is it about the Geek Religion that does this? At the extreme, you can see a real creep like csven Concord, who stalked and bullied me mercilessly in order to defend his own laissez faire pro-simulation beliefs. He harassed me on two forums, making false charges, even persecuting my tenants and me inworld, putting up fake photos -- it really was atrocious what he did. The Lindens were oblivious to my ARs; today, they might take more action, I don't know, because they finally have a policy in place which I assume they enforce, but I just haven't heard too much about it.

But even Horus is guilty here of indulging and second-guessing and providing all kinds of escape hatches to simulating child predators. And I find that really reprehensible. I could leave it at that, but I try to understand: why do geeks in particular do this, and opensource extremists in particular do this?

And I think it has to do with their general nihilism about the rule of law, and their general insistence about code-as-law and the tribal imperative of the geek gang. I think among the reasons you see such really extreme forms of horror in SL in terms of mutilating people is because of this nihilism -- the bounds of human tradition, decency, law don't matter.

I also think it's about their perception of themselves as being in absolute power. I don't think they want to understand, or are blind to, the real issue of pedophilia, and what makes it worse than some other ordinary crime against person or property: because it is about power over an innocent, and about destruction of that innocent. So it has extra layers of criminality and evil.

I think there's also a correlary to the power and code-as-law and nihilism of traditional human law that uses "art" or "science" as a cover. Anything that seems like it will be restrictive or regulatory has to be beaten away because OMGODZOR it might encroach on the delicate geek flower busy creating some wonder.

I think there is also something about the online life, and particularly as lived by cynical and insolent geeks, that desensitizes people to crime. That seems obvious.

All the news articles and research about this subject online talk about how child predators are found with stacks of child pornography in their homes -- an allegation of abuse and the finding of pornography always seem to go together. The law officers say that Internet chat groups and such -- and by extention virtual worlds -- are habituating and desensitizing places for predators.

If law-enforcers find a percentage correlation between racists and haters on the Internet who constantly stalk and launch DNS attacks and such on certain sites, and their actual violent actions in real life, then it stands to reason the same would be true of child predators.

Why do we have to keep trying to argue and argue with geeks and their fellow travellers on this subject, over and over again? Because basically, they are trying to establish their rule, and on this topic, they think its effective to destroy society that constricts them by picking this in-your-face sort of attitude they know offends and disgusts.

ichabod Antfarm

Horus, when did I ever say that I "insist, however, in promoting policies to achieve zero risk of child endangerment at the expense of all other activities and freedoms"??

I said that if indulging in sexual ageplay in SL puts a single child at the risk of being raped then it is wrong to do it.

Wrong for the individual. I didn't extrapolate this out and say there needs to be a policy, that there needs to be what Gareth incorrectly labels "censorship".

I am arguing that personal morality, taking responsibility for one's decisions ought to be enough to curtail ageplay.

It isn't. I realize that.

Your characterization of my position as an (obviously) nutty promotion of policies that eliminate all risk, etc, shows me that debate with you is really pointless as you will never hear what I am saying nor what I am certainly not saying.

I have heard this voice before. It's typically young, typically enamoured with its intellectual prowess *cough*, typically a geek's voice. Here's some advice. Don't let your reason stand in the way of truth. Some realities are only knowable by the gut.

This is something that geeks never get because they are obsessed with what they call "intelligence." Look, even if Horus's or, God forbid, Gareth's arguments were the more logical, were, in fact, so darn logical and full of facts that they were synonymous with capital T TRUTH, they would still be wrong wrong wrong. A million years of primate evolution proves this. The genetic imperative to protect our young doesn't care about your reason.

ichabod Antfarm

"Why do geeks have a particular propensity for indulging "ageplay"?"

I think it's because it's an edge case, Prokofy and you know the weird fascination such things hold for them - a rigid preoccupation with everything being "just so" without consideration of its relevance or impact in normal everyday life. I don't know where that comes from. Seems almost schizoid.

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