Interview with SSG’s SnowWhite

by Alphaville Herald on 26/11/03 at 9:44 am

In this post I interview SnowWhite of the Sims Shadow Government, asking her about her organization and its history, its conflicts with Evangeline/Voleur and the sim mafias, and the various operations of the organization.

Urizenus: First of all, what is The Sims Shadow Government (SSG) and what is your capacity there?
SnowWhite: Well…I’d like to direct you and all of your readers to our website that can explain in detail “what is SSG” on But, the short version is that we are basically a large body of sims that are fighting for the same cause…to keep Alphaville a happy place for sims to live. My role in the SSG at this time is the Overlord.
Urizenus: so you are the highest ranking member of ssg in alphaville?
SnowWhite: Yes
Urizenus: are there chapters elsewhere?
SnowWhite: No, we keep SSG in our founding city of Alphaville only.
Urizenus: what about on SWG?
SnowWhite: In other games…yes, we are in SWG as well and there have been several people asking to take it into
Urizenus: I assume you read the interview with Evangeline that appeared in the Herald a couple days ago. Any general comments on that before we get into details?
SnowWhite: Generally…I disagree completely with anyone that does any “bad deeds” in any game. In my opinion I don’t think the game was designed for people to become “scammers” and to harm other sims. It is more of a glorified chatroom, to be friendly with others, not to betray them.
Urizenus: What about Evangeline’s contention that s/he is adding dramatic conflict to a game that is otherwise glorified chat.
SnowWhite: The negative drama that she is creating is driving people from the game…not keeping people in it!
Urizenus: Yet alpha is one of the most successful of the TSO cities.
Urizenus: How much can she be hurting it?
SnowWhite: There are countless sims that have left the game or moved on to another city because of her…Many just move on I suppose and join SSG, or just become renegade and warn people about her. I definitely don’t think her scamming is helping. Alphaville is one of the first cities, this is home to most of the Founders, which has made the city successful, I attribute none of the success of the city to her

Urizenus: So how do you respond to her actions in the game? What can ssg do?
SnowWhite: Well the first thing anyone should do before they try to buy a pet, or a rare item…or money trade…or even visit a lot that “supposedly” gives away free money, is to read the friendship web.
Urizenus: and what will they find?
SnowWhite: One of the easiest way for us to warn people of her and her sims is by redlinking them and telling the story through that.
Urizenus: the problem is that the people s/he preys on won’t know enough to check friendshipt webs, no?
SnowWhite: Unfortunately, the new sims don’t know to do this, and it gives her the attention she craves. I notice a trend with him…when you leave him alone…he tends to fade away. I think scamming must get boring to him as well.
SnowWhite: Sorry about the mixed him/her…I never know what to call it
Urizenus: What else is ssg doing in the case of Evangeline then. Do you have a property in welcome to head off the newbies before they stumble onto her property?
SnowWhite: We did open a welcome lot…and made it to #1 fairly quickly…we have warned people of her lot in the bio, I believe the owner is looking for more roomies, to help keep the place open.
Urizenus: Before we go into more detail on the history of Evangeline, let me ask about other missions that ssg might have. Do you have other enemies in the game?
SnowWhite: Yes, the SSG has had a “No Mafia” stance to keep the city clean…we all see what the mafias have done to the other cities.
Urizenus: what has it done to other cities?
SnowWhite: Well, Blazing Falls for instance…it has Mafia family names all over the map…with this Mafia OWNZ that Mafia…its a mess. I moved to FF [Fancy Fields] from Alpha, and lived there for about 5 months. I saw what cities with Mafias are like…it is no fun for sims!
Urizenus: why is it no fun. Isn’t it just roleplay?
SnowWhite: I had the #1 house in FF for months, my roomies and I worked very hard to get it there. Then, one day a Mafia decides that they want me to move to their neighborhood and sell them the house. When I refused, I felt the repercussions.
Urizenus: what repercussions?
SnowWhite: The would come to my house and empty the buffet all over the house…slap visitors, enemy link myself and my roomies, they would even go so far as to berate visitors to try and get them to leave.
Urizenus: and you feel this continues to be a widespread problem in many cities?
SnowWhite: Yes, I have been thanked on many occasions for keeping the city free of Mafia…even by the Mafia families in other cities. It is nice for them to be able to come to a neutral city to get away from all the fighting. It can be rather tiresome not being able to go to any house that you want, or to mingle with everyone, in fear of an enemy link.
Urizenus: Some people have complained that ssg has gone too far and attempted to expunge other elements from alpha as well. The B&D community in Rose Thorn Gardens, for example.
SnowWhite: I find that interesting that you say that…a few very good friends of mine are in the BDSM community and we have been approached by them on several occasions to help them with problems they are having with people needlessly attacking them.
Urizenus: so no truth at all to this?
SnowWhite: If there is a problem between them and us…it is news to me!
Urizenus: ok, let’s go to the origins of ssg. Did it really evolve out of a conflict between Evangeline (then Dorian Merrill) and Mia Wallace?
SnowWhite: It evolved out a conflict between two people..and Mia had the foresight to see that there needed to be some sort of a group that could protect people from people like her.
Urizenus: how did it begin? the conflict I mean.
SnowWhite: With the tearing down of SSH (Sim Sorority House) and the hacking of Mia’s account
Urizenus: describe the incident with SSH
SnowWhite: Dorian Merrill was able to obtain password information on Mia’s account…she logged into her account and tore down the house, and stole all of her money.
Urizenus: why did she do that? Was Merrill recognized as a “bad” sim at the time?
SnowWhite: She was…no one liked her then, just as no one likes her now.
Urizenus: why did she pick on Mia?
SnowWhite: Mia Wallace was the most popular sim in Alphaville, people loved her…adored her. She did things for everyone back in Beta…like give away money, find people houses…help people…nonstop! She was ranked the number one sim for as long as I could remember.
SnowWhite: Jealousy makes people do funny things at times…doesn’t it?
Urizenus: Did Mia start ssg then?
SnowWhite: Yes
Urizenus: were you with ssg at the time of its formation?
SnowWhite: I was living in Alphaville…a casual friend to Mia, but not yet a part of it.
Urizenus: what do you know about the initial formation of ssg
SnowWhite: I can’t honestly give you the details of the original formation of SSG…but I can get any questions answered that you may have about it.
Urizenus: I’ll probably pursue this with Mia at some later point, but as well as you recall was it a very small group or a larger group?
SnowWhite: It was rather large from day one…her popularity definitely helped with the forming of SSG.
Urizenus: large meaning 10? 20? more?
SnowWhite: much more than 20
SnowWhite: Mia had 300+ friends in her web
Urizenus: more than 20 charter members? And was the initial mission to respond to Evangeline alone or also the mafias?
SnowWhite: It was formed to respond to all bad sims…to help those who felt helpless
Urizenus: were there other problematic sims/groups in alpha at the time?
SnowWhite: There have always been small renegade groups coming and going and fizzling out when they see they won’t win or be tolerated in Alphaville
Urizenus: can you put a rough date on the formation of ssg?
SnowWhite: Thinking back to Beta I would say it was about a month after Beta was released
Urizenus: which was when?
SnowWhite: A year ago
Urizenus: how long was tso in beta?
SnowWhite: 4-5 months or so
Urizenus: at what point did you get into ssg?
SnowWhite: about 220 days ago
Urizenus: how does one get into ssg? did someone approach you?
SnowWhite: I had been friends with Mia Wallace for several months…I personally approached her, but we have many sims come to us asking how they can help.
Urizenus: Did you enter ssg at a certain rank?
SnowWhite: I was undercover for quite a while, I guess I can admit to that now.
Urizenus: meaning you were not identified as an ssg member?
SnowWhite: Correct
Urizenus: are there under cover members now?
SnowWhite: I cannot even count the number of undercovers we have…but I will tell you that pretty much every house you step foot on in the top 20 of each category…we have an owner or a roomie there giving us info.
Urizenus: what kind of info?
SnowWhite: When they see new Mafias entering Alphaville, or hear of scammers or see sims that are just behaving terribly…we get a call.
Urizenus: ok, lets say you get a call from an undercover agent saying that there is a scammer. What do you do then?
SnowWhite: Contact the scammer and give them ample opportunity to fix their wrong doing
Urizenus: What if they claim innocence?
SnowWhite: Generally they do…we are sure to get all the details…and most of the time they end up admitting to it.
Urizenus: Is there any sort of judicial proceeding?
SnowWhite: None…like I said, they are usually proud that they scammed someone and end up admitting to their wrong doing.
Urizenus: what if they don’t admit?
SnowWhite: We take into account the person telling us they got scammed…if they [the person reporting wrongdoing] are a reputable sim, that has been around a while…I have a hard time believing that they would lie about being scammed
SnowWhite: Its generally not something you would be proud of.
SnowWhite: If you think about it…its a little embarrassing
Urizenus: “we” being ssg, but who specifically? is there a committee in ssg that makes these determinations, or does that decision fall on you as overlord?
SnowWhite: The Executive branch makes all decisions …and yes, the decision does fall back onto me in the end as to how we will proceed.
Urizenus: what is the Executive Branch?
SnowWhite: If you go to and check the members list…you will see the different branches of government. Including the Executive branch
Urizenus: about how many are in the executive branch?
SnowWhite: 17 members in Executive Branch at this time
Urizenus: who chooses the members of the EB, and for that matter, how did you become Overlord?
SnowWhite: The Overlord has been Mia [and then myself] for the entire length of SSG, I and another member of the Executive Branch collaborate on the promotions and such of all the branches. There is a very interesting story as to how I became the overlord…it is located on our website as well.
Urizenus: what is the short form of the story?
SnowWhite: That Sayeh (The recreated form of Mia Wallace) was from the planet Tattooine and she was a princess…but her planet was under attack, and she was sent far away…to Alphaville, to be protected. After living in Alphaville for many months, she recieved a call that both of her parents were killed and that she must return to her people
….so she turned over the torch to me, her trusted friend
Urizenus: Do you still answer to Sayeh/Mia, or are you alone at the top?
SnowWhite: I am all alone at the top.
Urizenus: You mentioned earlier that you have ssg operatives in all of the top 20 houses — presumably in skilling and money making categories. In addition to tagging sims, do you ever call for sims to be frozen out of all the houses?
SnowWhite: Absolutely
Urizenus: in effect then, you can banish sims to the nether regions of alpha.
SnowWhite: Yes
Urizenus: How often have you had to do this?
SnowWhite: I do it all the time…I am always informing [the skill and money houses] of bad sims to ban …of course it is their decision [whether] to do so or not.
Urizenus: “all the time” means once a week? more often than that?
SnowWhite: a few times a week
Urizenus: And what counts as a bad sim?
Urizenus: what could get me banished?
SnowWhite: A scammer…a tagger, a griefer
SnowWhite: If you walked into someone’s house and started bothering guests …redlinking, then when we are notified, we would tell them [the houses] all about you
Urizenus: What stops bad sims from recreating every 7 days?
SnowWhite: Nothing…hopefully they just get bored of being bad
Urizenus: if you identify someone as a recreated bad sim do you banish them immediately, or do you give them another chance.
SnowWhite: I always have an open line of communication…I always try to talk to them first…I can generally tell by the first few words whether they will be good or bad.
Urizenus: Is Maxis aware of your operations?
SnowWhite: Yes, Maxis is very supportive actually. We have received many comments from them on how productive we are in keeping the city thriving.
Urizenus: This is from who at Maxis?
SnowWhite: Employees…we have had a few employees that play the game show interest in SSG as well.
Urizenus: these are Maxis employees in game then? Are any Maxis employees members of ssg?
SnowWhite: No comment
Urizenus: Have you had any conflicts with Maxis?
SnowWhite: hmmm I don’t believe that they handle everything the way they should….but I think we all have our issues with Maxis.
SnowWhite: Overall they have a lot on their plate, they cannot please everyone all of the time. I feel their pain!
Urizenus: It is interesting though that in many respects you have more power in the game than Maxis does. They cannot ban users unless they violate the user agreement. You can banish bad sims that are still operating within the framework of the agreement.
SnowWhite: Its all about knowing the TOS…don’t piss off Maxis, and we are all ok.
Urizenus: but do you agree with me that there is this sense in which you have more control over the game than they do?
SnowWhite: I think having your account taken away from you is definitely more harmful than being banned as one sim from the top houses…The ultimately hold the most power.
Urizenus: I’m asking this because this very topic and the case of ssg came up at The State of Play conference in New York a couple weeks ago. Clay Shirkey and Ted Castronova and I were musing about the possibility of users completely taking control of the game and forcing the owner to capitulate.
Urizenus: (I offered ssg as a possible mechanism that could achieve enough control to do this)
SnowWhite: Oh wouldn’t that be sweet!
Urizenus: Think about this for a second. Do you think you could effectively shut down alphaville if you wanted to? I mean shut down all the skill places and money places etc? Effectively render it inoperable?
SnowWhite: hmmmm, I think we could possibly empty it pretty good and jump to another city and drive it up, but who would want too? I love Alphaville…and everything about it! That is why we fight so hard for it!
Urizenus: Well, think of it as a strike. You could shut it down until Maxis capitulated on something.
SnowWhite: If there was something serious enough…we would possibly consider it. But as of yet, we have been able to do everything we need on our own, without much intervention from Maxis.
Urizenus: But you haven’t gotten rid of Merrill/Voleur/Evangeline.
SnowWhite: She is not breaking the Terms of Service, they feel that her occupation as a thief is an acceptable one.
Urizenus: let’s move from security operations to other activities of ssg. I know you have a radio station, and in fact you are DJ-ing as we conduct this interview! What other non-security operations do you have?
SnowWhite: We have a Community Relations Dept that handles many community outreach programs like recently we had the Spookiest house award for 1 million simoleons (bluegirl won that) and there were some problems Maxis was having with people loosing inventory, we were handing out coupons for items to shop for $200k that we saw on the boards or heard about. We also visit low ranked houses and help them with hours by hosting radio shows, giving them money for contests and such.
SnowWhite: We had an instance where many people didn’t realize their pets would be taken if they did not cage them upon leaving their property…so we gave away close to a million $ worth of pets
Urizenus: Let me ask about the radio station.
SnowWhite: Sure
Urizenus: Do you know when it went on the air?
SnowWhite: Its been around since I have been involved in SSG… so at least 8 months
Urizenus: and is it on the air 24/7?
SnowWhite: yes…except for during the Holidays, we will not expect any DJs to talk during that time. It will only be a play list…but still music streaming 24/7.
Urizenus: The DJs only play music or are there talk shows or news as well?
SnowWhite: only music
Urizenus: why?
SnowWhite: You can turn on the news to hear news…we do talk about things going on in Sims…but have never explored doing a talk show. People seem to listen to us because they like the less talk…more music stations.
Urizenus: do you have DJs in SWG too?
SnowWhite: yes
Urizenus: Do you encourage other sims to join ssg, or is membership full? How does one get into ssg? do you just ask someone? Do you need a secret handshake?
SnowWhite: lol I always encourage new members in SSG…Every member recruits 10 new members and each of those recruits 10…SSG will never be full to new members. There is no hazing to get in…we have found that its the quality of members not the quantity…and over time, we have grown into an extremely large group of intelligent people that all have one common goal. As far as the secret handshake… yeah…but if I told you, I’d have to kill you :)
Urizenus: What are the plans for ssg? Suppose we do this again in one year. What do you think ssg will be doing then?
SnowWhite: I think that SSG will continue to thrive and grow …if not under my direction, then someone else’s. SSGs roots are firmly planted in the soil of Alphaville, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!

18 Responses to “Interview with SSG’s SnowWhite”

  1. Candace

    Nov 29th, 2003

    This interview series (besides being quite entertaining) is rather eye-opening: it gives me a whole new take on a virtual socio-political network that I didn’t even realized really existed. I had heard “SSG” tossed about here and there, but I had no idea of the depth of these networks running through TSO. I must say they are much more fascinating than anything on the surface of the game. I suppose it is natural for coalitions to arise within the community: mafias, shadow governments, and I’ve heard some cities have courthouses. There’s something that is appealing to me about these virtual political networks. Yet, I find it somewhat disturbing. Though it’s perhaps one of the oldest criticisms in the world that coalitions can be corrupt and discriminatory, it seems even more of a worry here perhaps. No safegaurds are in place to check these coalitions (except perhaps other coalitions); I’m uncertain whether that’s good or bad. I’d like to know what people think on this topic. The interview series has done me a service in helping me to view these virtual political networks, all the same. Very nice work, urizenus- thanks.

  2. Cray

    Dec 3rd, 2003

    I have one major question: Why would SSG allow itself to grow into other games, but not into other cities within TSO?

  3. Because Cray, SSG is not against mafias all around The Sims Online. We are against them in Alphaville. We think that those that do not want part in the mafia wars deserve a haven, sorta a utopia for them to go to :)

  4. Calso

    Dec 14th, 2003

    I read with interest the interview you did with SnowWhite of the Sim Shadow Government. I have to chuckle at the way this entity and its representatives promote themselves as the saviors of Alphaville. I am also surprised at how easy it is for people to swallow BS whole and ask for more. People who have been in TSO for any length of time know that the SSG is not the noble group it touts itself to be. Other than the core group, I doubt the rest are even aware of the damage these people cause in game.

    But keep in mind as you read this: Whenever a claim is made against the SSG, the person discussing his or her experience is immediately criticized, ridiculed, and accused of slandering this group that alleges its kindness and concern for the citizens of Alphaville; their consistent response to any such accusations is denial with a capital D.

    Common responses from the Sim Shadow Government to negative press or accusations of harassment:
    1) Always deny responsibility for any wrongdoing.
    2) Attempt to ruin the credibility of the accuser.
    3) Continue promoting the group as the benevolent overseer while gasping in amazement at any accusations to the contrary.
    4) Come up with some good PR to toot one’s own horn.
    5) Intimidate, threaten and harass.
    With that in mind I would like to say that I will be named as the bad guy here while the SSG reminds us of its squeaky cleanliness.

    Now, the SSG proclaims itself to be a pillar of the community whose only goal is to keep Alphaville free of Mafia and griefers. When I say I beg to differ, believe me that is an understatement. While they may be benevolent benefactors for those within the group, they are by no means interested in the well being of your average AV sim. Their interests lie in gaining power and control either through intimidation and harassment, befriending sims and offering large sums of money and/or property along with promises of protection, power, prestige and respect. It just depends on who you are and what you have allegedly done.

    Let’s say you have a disruptive sim causing trouble in your property. After several complaints from visitors about the offending sim you boot him/her. But OMG! You didn’t know the sim was a member of the Sim Shadow government. Because you messed with one of their own you find yourself at a later time being attacked by zero day old sims you’ve never seen before whose mission it is to bug the crap out of you.

    Or, what if you post something negative at the sim message boards regarding an incident you had with an SSG member. Before your post gets pulled by an always protective, coddling moderator, some SSG member has read it and suddenly you get in game messages demanding an account of your atrocity. After that… harassment.

    Don’t like the radio station? Better keep your mouth shut or the goons will come after you.

    If the SSG perceives you as having offended them in some way they will send one group of sims to harass you and another group to watch the proceedings while reporting back (via Yahoo IM) to the powers that be within the group. If the so-called offense is considered serious enough, not only will you be the recipient of their wrath, but also some of your friends.

    Sometimes they just might not like you because they can’t get ahead of your property in the game. In that case they may proceed with day-to-day intimidation until you get tired, give up and sell out. But hey, guess whom you sold your property to? A buyer who pays millions for it and then turns it over to who? An SSG member.

    Forms of harassment are many. These include, but are not limited to: organized boycotts of properties; disruptions in another person’s property via verbal abuse towards owner, roomies or visitors; trashing a property; threats of destruction in IM; spreading rumors and lies about a sim; bombardment with roommate invite spams by one or more persons. This last tactic insures the sim can do nothing but click “no” repeatedly or, better yet, accidentally clicking yes, thus losing their property. Of course there is always the ever popular enemy linking, and stalking.

    Stalking (before the new, so-called “stalker button”) was, and still is easily done when your entire network of comrades uses Yahoo Instant Messenger to keep in touch with each other concerning the whereabouts of an offending sim while in game.

    More times than not these things are done out of a skewed sense of outrage and anger over trivial matters. And more times than you will ever know, it will be innocent sims who have done nothing more than play the game for fun while standing up to some trouble makers. There is no nobleness to this group.

    This is just a game, but real people motivate sims. When a game player encounters consistent intimidation, threats and harassment on a daily basis for long periods of time in game—something is terribly wrong with this picture. And since it is just a game, what sort of personalities are they who take power and control so seriously that they trample the rights of others to enjoy the game the way they choose?

    Also, as an issue of credibility: A noble group of persons does not use every exploit ever found in The SimsOnline game for their own advantage; they do not create numerous fictional sims by using stolen game codes or abusing account trials. They do not bloat member numbers, create entire neighborhoods, or increase their own fictional popularity by using said fake sims and numerous accounts.

    I do not write these things for the hell of it. I write because I, like so many others, have been there and done that. We have witnessed a lot, been through a lot, reported, banned, ignored—all to no avail. Most citizens of Alphville will not understand or believe some of the nasty truths about the SSG; they will never see the foundation of lies upon which this group has been built. Besides, who wants to listen to a bunch of whining negativity, especially if they have never encountered the wrath of the Sim Shadow Government?

    Big Brother is alive and well and living in Alphaville.

    “They say peace when they mean war.”

  5. Dyerbrook

    Dec 16th, 2003

    We all know that First Amendment protections don’t apply when it comes to commercial online communities governed by Terms of Service. Under the Maxis/Electronic Arts TOS, not only are you forbidden from posting a “commerical” link on your profile or in comments on the Stratics BBS now used by Maxis fans, you are not allowed to disparage the company or incite hatred against other fans — as any type of criticism, even legitimate, is likely to be construed. The Maxis world is a textbook illustration of what happens to society when you substitute the stifling and often ludicrous rules of political correctness to eliminate unwanted hate speech, and in fact suppress actual liberty, which would provide a true corrective in the form of a diversity of opinion where the good would eventually drive out the bad. In TSO, Maxis is sort of like the ACLU campaigning to allow the Nazis to march in Skokie (allowing the SSG, the BDSM lots, the mafias to persist and thrive), but unlike Skokie, no one gets to criticize the Nazis or hold an alternative march next to theirs to protect the Jews. (Yes, in the Maxiverse, we are not allowed to use the term “Hitler” and persistent hate speech would get you banned, but curiously this elaborate set of precautions and bans also includes any criticism of any Sim or neighborhood for any reason, and therefore prohibits legitimate criticism.)

    Long before there was Alphaville Herald, I opened up a site called SimsOutofLine ( which was a parody of The Sims On Line, in which I used every opportunity to spoof the idiocy of the forced collectivism and forced labor of the Sims world. I was banned from the BBS a number of times, as I have been from the regular website, but my real troubles began when I began to investigate the phenomenon of the Sims Shadow Government and to publish regular stories about its antics. I had earlier been attacked by Dorian Merrill (the precursor to Evangeline), but shrugged him/her off as just a typical teenage griefer. But then I began to notice very disturbing things in Alphaville. All the top lots were being taken over by certain Sims, and the word “Shadow” put into their name — “Shadow Body” or “Shadow Logic”. I interviewed some property owners and found they were intimidated into selling or giving up their property, and sometimes even from deleting their Sims or leaving the game. I myself was then subject to a roomie attack — like Urizenus, I devised a sting operation to see if the SSG would trash my lot, and sure enough it did. I screenshot the SSG leaders doing the one thing that is always a tell-tale give-away of people up to no good on the Internet: their insistence that I give them my real-life name and phone number so we could chat. I had heard of some people coming to grief in other settings on TSO when they did that, and I had no desire to extend the SSG’s virtual harassment of me in TSO into my RL.

    Urizenus (whose Church of Mephistophles with its Black Mass seemed to be yet another example of the pagan influence in TSO with dark undertones all its own) has been far too gullible and not sufficiently intellectually curious about this phenomenon, so eager is he to have some “government” come in and run this Maxisverse, or so eager is he to have material to write a book or a thesis. I cannot understand why Urizenus himself, if he was in fact performing the function of a professor and a sociologist in the game, chose to make a provocactive lot that was in fact a turn-off to many people, or at least confusing, as it appeared to be a lot in the SSG or BDSM grouping. I once asked Urizenus why he did this, and he said it was “to make the game more interesting.” I certainly appreciate it, but his move to the Alphaville Herald came much, much later after he ran the “Church of Mephistophles” for many months. That is his right, but I think he should have some truth in advertising, in that he comes to this game with a tropism for the SSG that grows out of his own desire to role-play on the dark side.

    Maxis is a world of semi-feudal serfs aspiring to become freeholders, and until they are free, able to run their properties without Maxis interference, they are unable to convene a constituent assembly and form the kind of democratic government that might be tolerable. Until that is the case, most of us would prefer anarchy and the right to bear arms. Many groups or individuals have come along and said “let’s have a government,” and governance appears to be a pet project of designer Will Wright. But players are only interested in having fun, and their drive to hedonism and their wish to turn TSO into a glorified chat room and pick-up site essentially precludes any serious attempt to make a very realistic simluated world with things like governments.

    All of the journalists and professors writing about SSG fail to go and read the SSG’s website in detail. If they did, they would understand that it is a totalitarian movement wannabee, that has used the exact same methods of Lenin or Stalin or Hitler to achieve its goals. The American mind finds it very difficult to believe that evil is real and is organized and deliberate. Therefore people studying TSO ardently wish to believe that there is a force of good will behind the SSG. There is not. The network of people who designed the SSG had a deliberate intention–not at all concealed on their very website–of taking over property, money, and relationships in the game, and for them, like the Bolsheviks, *the end justifies the means*. To do this, they devised an active propaganda campaign where they recruited numerous new rank and file Sims, paid them money to babysit lots to drive up the visitor hours, or provided them friendship and attention, and obtained a kind of “mass movement” of cheerleaders, largely kept in the dark about the goings-on at the very top, who were agitated and propagandized to believe that the SSG is a protector, and just a kind of “club” with the cute name “Shadow” (I never could understand why something ostensibly performing good had to adopt the name “Shadow”). Why doesn’t Urizenus and and Reuters ask themselves why something that is supposedly serving a law-enforcement, protective role, have titles like “Overlord” or “Ministry of Defense” or a secretive security agency with agents whose names cannot be named, and nothing like a complaints bureau, a parliament, a free press, or citizens’ groups? It is not a civil society — it is not even a government. It is a terrorist cult.

    When I opened up a Lightsavers Partisan Liberation Movement to fight the SSG, I started a new page on my SOL site. Within 24 hours, Dorian Merrill had a site opened with many of the same ideas lifted verbatim from my site. I have screenshots where she admits that she did see my site and copy it. It’s OK. But because I provided a link to her/his site, many people began to think we were somehow related. We are not. Although I abhor the methods of griefing Evangeline/Dorian is using in the game, I have many questions about whether the SSG is exaggerating or framing this Sim in order to provide a rationale for its “protection” role. Example: could we just have a little more intellectual curiosity about this supposed “hacking” of Mia Wallace’s lot??? Hello?? Time and again, I see wire services or bloggers accepting that story at face value. Er, how do you obtain a password of someone else in the game and open up their account and trash their lot? Dorian/Evangeline is a teenage hacker. But even teenager hackers would have to do a lot of random attempts to get both the user name and the password of a player, enter the game (during one of those *very rare* moments when Mia, her husband, or her many friends weren’t using the account), and destroy a lot and exit without being discovered. Please.

    Or how is it that suddenly, dozens of shills are able to roam through TSO, eacn with identical profiles warning everyone of the Evangeline newbie scam? Very simultaneously. To be sure, there is ample evidence that Evangeline was running a scam. But doesn’t it strike you at all as a bit too pat, a bit too obvious, possibly an entire fakeout itself created by the SSG, so it would look like there really was something for it to fight and it was desperately needed? In Russia, we got this all the time. Many people believe the Russian government itself blew up its own apartment buildings in order to blame the Chechens so they would have an excuse to invade their republic again. This is a method that is adopted in war-gaming and role-playing, and I wonder why there is so little curiosity about its possible use in TSO. We are all supposed to have our daily hate sessions where we stand up and shout that we hate Evangeline, just as they did in Orwell’s “1984″. We are all supposed to go and glove her. But…how did this kid in Flint, MI get Mia’s password?

    Are there records showing the DNS or the actual telephone line that was dialed up to the site or networked to the site on the day Mia’s lot was supposedly trashed? Can AOL or Maxis actually confirm this story? Why hasn’t anyone wondered why, if Dorian/Evangeline’s RL human had actually committed the very serious offense of hacking into another player’s computer or account through purloining their login information, that she/she *has not been banned from the game permanently”? Why is she still there? Has any journalist actually tried to follow up on these claims by interviewing Dorian, Maxis, and other players to see if they can corroborate Mia’s story? Why are only wire service accounts of only Mia’s point of view being used on Another possibility seems quite plausible, and that is that Mia Wallace trashed her own lot and blamed Dorian in order to appear as a victim, at a time that she and her comrades were being increasingly exposed, not only by my website but many other players in the game who had fallen victim to the SSG. (It’s also possible that rebel elements within the SSG, of which I encountered several myself, attacked Mia for their own internal reasons.) What’s more likely, however, is that Mia’s fantastic heliumation was about to be punctured, as Maxis was going to clean out the old deleted Sims from the data base, and Mia’s secret for so many balloon friends was going to be revealed — that she bought balloons, she bought extra accounts and gave herself balloons, and she took the Sims of people who deleted and still had 90 days’ grace period, and had them give her balloons. Soon after all her balloons were punctured with her “dead soul” Sim friends after Maxis’ clean-up, she poofed, and left the game, only to come back later claiming that she was lending or giving her account (like Moe Wallace’s account) to unspecified SSG friends.
    Mia’s/Snow White’s/whomever’s claim that Maxis has actually praised the SSG has absolutely no merit. It is nowhere on the record. What we do know from the documented testimony of some SSG operatives, however, is that SSG members believe that they have inside help from Maxis. I was investigating this very thing myself before I was banned for a time, and then I gave up. I had to decide whether I wanted to attempt (while under the constant eyes of Big Brother within the game since Maxis employees can watch us like little bugs in a jar and track our every move) to investigate their own possible complicity in these mafias and sex rings, or whether I wanted to go on playing the game.

    Because I could not discuss these matters openly on the BBS (Maxis created a rule banning any criticism of neighborhoods, thereby effectively blocking all discussion of these disruptive movements in the game that took the form of neighborhoods, including the “neighborhood” organized by the SSG all around my lot, with the cute name “Death Becomes You”), I published a deck of cards with all the SSG overlords, a la the Iraqi deck of cards created by the U.S. Army on my site. At the top of the pyramid I put “You the Player” — since it is the gullibility of the player, and his/her refusal to take basic protective and rational methods to protect himself in the game that is at the root of most griefing problems. Among the cards I placed the game’s designer, Will Wright’s Sim in the game, because I believe that he bears at least some responsibility for these developments in his simulated world, although for all we know, he may oppose the corporate policy of EA to ban open discussion about the phenomena within the game.

    I can testify that merely because I collected information, interviewed, and exposed the SSG’s actions, I was subject to a deluge of griefing from the SSG and other players dragged into their net. All the chief operatives of the SSG personally came and pissed on my Sim lawn and scattered trash. They began broadcasting on their radio from my lot as they attacked me, although I had repeatedly said I did not wish to participate in their broadcasts. They “gloved” me and slammed me with harassing “roomie invite” e-mails constantly. As my redlines increased, I could not set foot on any lot without suspicion. Many people were told I was the griefer, in the typical propagandistic way in which this sort of thing is done by wannabee totalitarian movements. I patiently kept up my Gandhi approach, which was not to glove them or harass them, but to deliver lamps to their lots and get them to trade, accept the lamp, and turn it on to dispel the shadows (my metaphor — light a candle rather than curse the darkness). That was the essence of my “partisan attacks”. Let me note that these attacks were not performed and directed only by those Sims that later split or were expelled from the SSG. The SSG leadership likes to obtain plausible deniability for its attacks by saying that only people “not truly representative” of the SSG or split from the SSG perform attacks, whereas they are benign. Baloney.

    Fortunately for us all, gradually, the SSG got bored with TSO and its difficulties and en masse migrated over to Star Wars Galaxy and Second Life, where they make mayhem there. Yet they are regrouping, as are many other kinds of mafias and cults in TSO. It is impossible for the community to control these negative phenomenon *because we are not allowed to discuss them openly among ourselves* in the game’s central forum, now the Stratics board. Various non-commercial sites like this one do not have enough readership to galvanize the necessary action within the game, and the game itself has very poor communications possibilities — you can only post a few IMs at a time, otherwise the system will reject you as spamming. Meanwhile, the SSG and other mafias use Yahoo messenger and other devices outside the game to keep their vast networks able and informed.

    I, too, was suspended from the game for 3 days because I persisted in trying to raise a discussion about something even worse than the SSG, which is the veritable deluge of Bondage/Domination/Sado-Masochism lots that have sprung up in the climate prepared by the SSG’s nefarious work. Just as we can never criticize the SSG, as the other poster has illustrated, either because it is banned by Maxis or because in doing so we are opening the door to be blasted as merely griefers from which the rest of TSO has to be protected, so with BDSM, we are asked — no, TOLD — to keep “an open mind” and “respect” and “mind our manners.” It is the hallmark of authoritarian and totalitarian cults that you cannot criticize them, and in this case, in the climate of tolerance we would all like in our society, we are deprived from being able to really examine this troublesome phenomenon, because to do so would make us appear as if we are not tolerant of “lifestyles” or “equality” (this, for a cult that makes subordination its cornerstone!).

    I have been gathering information on these BDSM lots for some weeks now, and it is clear that TSO is being used by networks of people who are involved in real life in violent forms of sex and role play, not just restricted to their private homes or private acts of sex, but forming an entire way of life which is cult-like in its manifestation, attempting to control all the aspects of life of a person, not just what they do in bed, and that they have as a major goal the recruiting and controlling of new people, many of them vulnerable and suggestive teenagers, and making them their followers, and the goal of taking over online communities and forcing out all critics. The BDSM people make a big show of saying you must be 21 or older to enter their lots (they started with 18 and moved up), but anyone can fake their age in the anonymous world of TSO, and only constant vigilance by parents, many of whom use the Internet as a babysitter, could stop it.

    Urizenus seems disturbed by virtual child prostitution online. Would he be more disturbed by children being brought into BDSM cults which decidedly have as their goal moving from virtuality to reality? The early days of TSO with a few busy but basically harmless brothels seems like a day at the beach compared to what we have now: droves of mainly young women saying “Yes, Master, can I go AFK now?” and following an intricate set of rules and regulations that pale compared to fundamentalist religious restrictions, and writing emotional paeons to violent sex and subordination on their profiles –profiles that are never banned by Maxis.

    BDSM is rampant in TSO, in every single city. But there is another thing rampant which is the Internet histrionics disease. This is where individual or groups of teens (usually it is younger people) make up a dramatic story and try to lure people into feeling for them and getting involved in some melodramatic story. They will come online and say someone is injured or dying or having some kind of drama, and get everyone worked up over nothing. (This question must be asked about the incident Urizenus cites of a teenager saying he beat up his sister.) These drama queens even often fake a parent coming online to say that a teenager whom everyone knew is now unconscious in the hospital. We’ve all seen it. You could say it is a form of role play, but it is also a definable psychiatric illness. There is really no way you can tell if someone is scamming you in these instances, and it would be impossible for a game company dealing with 100,000 or even just 30,000 people online to police the issues of intimidation or recruitment of children into sex rooms. That TSO is used as a happy hunting ground to recruit people of all ages into a wide variety of alternative sex networks, cults, and camps, is not surprising. What is sad is that it turned out to be so rampant, and that the one tool we could have to control it, or at least provide alternatives to it — exposing it by being able to name names and describe what happens on TSO lots from eyewitness Sim reports — is banned by the game company itself.

    I believe that we do not need Maxis to be a net nanny, and I believe that just as people should be able to do what they like in their own home with consenting adults, so should they be free on their own virtual lots. But I draw the line at organized crime designed to lure new, vulnerable and confused recruits into totalitarian cults that are basically about the old story of one human being gaining power and control over another for selfish purposes.

    There is only one solution — intensive reporting with journalistic integrity, constant scholarly inquiry, relentless gathering of testimony and relentless devotion to publishing all sides of the story.


  6. James

    Dec 16th, 2003

    Dyerbrook, you had a good comment going, until you lost your objectivity. You seemed to simply want to point out that the SSG may not be what they say they are. You made several good points about how their actions seem similar to those of totalitarian regimes of the past. I commend you on those. However, at the end of your fifth paragraph, you begin to lose your objectivity. Instead of possibly being a dictatorship, they are now possibly a terrorist cult.
    Unfortunately, these are two completely different groups. The first (dictatorships) wish to control a group of people (or in this case, Sims) whereas the second (terrorists) wish to remove those controlling them. I ask you, what is the difference between a rebel and a terrorist? Simply, it is what side of the conflict you are on that determines the difference.
    Continuing through your post, you finally lose all sense of objectivity when you refer to BDSM as bad or evil. While you do not outright say that, you certainly make everyone aware that you are opposed to it. You claim to oppose the apparent dictatorship of the SSG, but you would have your own instated in it’s place. One that would ban BDSM lots, no doubt. Can you give one solid reason why they should be banned? Your claim that they are harmful to children does not stand, because everything is potentially harmful to children. Just chatting with a stranger in a “normal” house can lead to the same thing. Also, who do you think pays for the accounts of these kids? It’s a safe bet that 95% of them are paid for by the parents. You are right in that parental participation would virtually eliminate the apparent problem of kids being lured into RL BDSM encounters, but unless you can post evidence supporting your claim, it is as real to me as Jayson Blair’s stories in the NY Times.
    Dyerbrook, I’ll assume you want a democratic society in TSO. But democracy, true democracy, is a funny thing. It gives you the freedom to do whatever you wish, so long as it does not impeach on another’s rights. It also gives everyone else that same freedom. This means, therefor, that if someone wanted to be dominated by another, it is their right to allow it. It is what they wish to do. So you don’t like BDSM. Are you going to take away someone’s right to enjoy it? This wouldn’t put you to far from being a dictator yourself, you know.
    Dyerbrook, you need to think a bit more on your position concerning the SSG. Next time, be more solid about what you write, instead of changing mid-way through.

  7. Dyerbrook

    Dec 16th, 2003

    Dear James,

    You need to learn more about this phenomena by studying it more in the game to understand what I am talking about. The SSG indeed is analagous to a terrorist group as well as a totalitarian organization (so far only a wannabee, and only in the virtual world), because indeed they *do* try to force people out of the game, to delete their Sims or cancel their subscriptions, and indeed that has been the effect for many. They do indeed engage in acts analagous to terrorism when they destroyed whole lots and then put obscene words and cartoons on lots, then reported the victimized owner as himself a violator of the TOS, and then got their Sims banned. I once got Mia Wallace on the record in a screenshot saying that her aim was to force people to leave the game, leaving the terrain free for her friends and no doubt her bots. As for BDSM, you need to read not only this post, but others I have written on related sites. Please read what I said again and note carefully: *I did not call for a ban of BDSM* because I do not believe banning is a solution for negative phenomena in the game. I believe in open self-organized player responses to these issues. But what we currently have is a ban on discussing the negative features of neighborhoods, and that prevents people from expressing their disgust at the perversion that BDSM represents — not the perversion of their chosen manner to have sex — that is their business with consenting adults — but disgust at their cults of personality and cult-like lifestyle seeking recruits and seeking to create closed societies using the features of an open society on the Internet, a celebration of violent acts and domination as a way of life, and proclaiming it as truth and love. It is also about their pervision of the truth by their constant claim that their movement is not a coercive, violent cult and that we are all supposed to just be tolerant and respectful, as we would for gays or minorities. Oh yes, to be sure, they ask if visitors are over 21, and they say it is a matter of voluntary consent. Yet they use all the classic methods of cult recruitment — keeping people riveted to long-winded lectures or complicated rituals to lesson their sense of reality, preventing negative expressions about things that bother people, expelling people who raise questions about what they are doing, preventing people who are concerned about friends and relatives from meeting and discussing the cult openly, etc. It is no accident that nearly every sub says that you cannot discuss any concerns you have directly about him or her, but most go to the master or lady.

    No law in any country protects violent acts by one person against another, even in play, and even among consenting adults. When BDSM advocates tried to get the European Court of Human Rights to accept that acts of torture or violence committed between consenting adults should be removed from definitions of torture and criminal acts, they lost their case, as well they should. Notice that BDSM players are not claiming it doesn’t hurt, they are claiming it is done “safe sane and consensual” and builds deep and long lasting trust. I for one would like to stand up and say, no, I don’t think a society based on exchange of pain and exchange of power in this fashion is just, fair, or rational method to build trust– which can also, BTW be built the old fashione way through equality and openess — and it should be opposed. Why can’t I oppose the formation of a closed society built on ancient pagan rituals that centuries of men and women have struggled against in the Enlightenment and in the Judao-Christian civilization without being accused of wishing to create a closed society myself? It’s only in the PC culture of America that this could be possible.

    I would like to be able to have a discussion about the proliferation of these lots on the Maxis BBS without being suspended from the game. If I feel it is a problem for impressionable children and young adults in the game, I want to be able to discuss this with other players without being accused myself of a TOS violation or worse, a human rights violation. I would like to be able to say on my profile that my lot is not BDSM friendly and to express concern about people being sucked into the cults of personality of Lords and Ladies without people believing they are entitled to treat this as a human rights violation and trying to get the company to suspend me. If you look at how these lots function in the game, it is not what you think, just some people doing their kinky thing. There are hundreds of romance lots in the game, and if you don’t care for them, nobody twists your arm to go to them and they should be left alone. But I’m talking about a cult-like movement spreading through every kind of skill, store, money-making lot which also tries to drive out any expression of concern about its taking over under the guise of “tolerance” This is not about what is done on one romance lot, it is organized, it is multi-lot, it has a conscious plan to recruit and train and indoctrinate people who were previously not in the BDSM lifestyle *and put them under the sway of people who are allowing no scrutiny of their actions and who are chanting the mantra of lifestyle tolerance as a propagandistic diversion tactic.* When you express the slightest concern about what it means to institute a way of life built on coercion, domination, and violent acts, you are told by those creating a closed society that you have to keep an open mind, or worse you become the target of a TOS violation report (!)

    You are told that it is all about trust, and love, and intimacy, although it is hard to understand how this coud be rationalized when it is clearly about a few cult leaders gathering followers around them and controlling their lives. To say it is virtual and not real is also a lie, because many of these lots have web sites and activities in the real world. I hardly need alecture on democracy, James, because what has happened is that the BDSM cults and the SSG and other negative phenomena flourished and indeed were created by the enabling environment of Maxis/EA’s strict TOS preventing the discussion of any Sims alleged to have engaged in negative behavior or any negative neighborhoods which trouble other players. Maxis wants you to use your ignore button or file a report, but it has no policy about cults in the game, and mentions nothing about them in their TOS. It means that the BDSM crew has a complete free ride to trample on my democracy and my human rights, even my virtual limited ones. I cannot go to a single large skill lot or any kind of major lot now without having to see subs asking doms if it is OK to go to the bathroom or even go AFK, or to have some overbearing Lady or Lord promise a sub a stint in the jail cell with nothing but the hay chair because they appeared by accident in public in their jammies. This is not a matter of what someone does in their private “home” or lot — which is their business — but an invasion of the whole public space with troublesome, cultish behavior with profound implications for the use of the Internet as a device of electronic governance. The BDSM cult is trying to make out that their “lifestyle” is merely one more thing that the “vanilla” mainstream should tolerate, like GLBT or any kind of minorities. But it is a removal of the fundamental principle of constitutional equality of citizens and therefore it has alarming consequences if the Internet is used to enable it to spread and recruit new members and take over. I want the right to be able to discuss these developments openly, without ban or censure, and the right to make alternative communities and to challenge the ethic of BDSM just as they challenge the mainstream ethic. So don’t confuse that demand for equal and open air time and a demand for freedom of the press, the oxygen of democracy, with the desire to lessen the already restricted undemocratic society of TSO by banning anybody. I would like to further point out that TSO is not a community that protects minorities. The SSG and the BDSM and various mafias use their power, wealth, and connections on YMs to create majorities, especially in Alphaville and establish large neighborhoods visible on the map. Smaller neighborhoods and lone protesters have no method to counter their proliferation except to use parody and outside web sites as I have done.

  8. Dyerbrook

    Dec 16th, 2003

    RE: You are right in that parental participation would virtually eliminate the apparent problem of kids being lured into RL BDSM encounters, but unless you can post evidence supporting your claim, it is as real to me as Jayson Blair’s stories in the NY Times.

    I have no way of knowing — as none of us do — the RL ages and RL profiles of the people attracted to the BDSM lots or playing the game in general. It is extremely easy to get free accounts or to convince a parent to subscribe because the game looks extremely innocuos even after hundreds of hours of watching at first. I see many young clueless people in the game going and listening raptly to the lectures of Lord Cougar on his 41-point plan for how to enter the BDSM world. He bars people under 21 from his lot, but not only is it possible to lie, it is also of concern to me if an over-21 person becomes a victim of a cult. He has a planned, staged, methodical, organized process for attracting and recruiting people into his cult. Study all the profiles of all the people in the “Rose” neighborhoods and you will begin to see that this is very widespread and there are many would-be cult leaders and people just simplying hoping to dominate a gaggle of groupies around themselves electronically. Unlike Jason Blair, I am not rushing to publication with all my screenshots and interviews but biding my time to build the case precisely because there will be so many unbelievers and precisely because it is extremely hard to document when people have recourse to many out-of-game methods of communication. I firmly believe that the onus of responsibility is on parents, and it is up to them to protect their own children and monitor their online involvement. But the BDSM cult is of concern even for adults sucked into it. You don’t want an online society, especially one with extensive ties to the real world, to be based on coercion and suppression of information and that’s what is happening with TSO.

  9. Sayeh

    Dec 17th, 2003

    I would like to point out, very quickly, in response to a poster that spoke ill of the SSG and stated that:

    “I am also surprised at how easy it is for people to swallow BS whole and ask for more. People who have been in TSO for any length of time know that the SSG is not the noble group it touts itself to be. Other than the core group, I doubt the rest are even aware of the damage these people cause in game.”

    I don’t believe that I, my husband PMCruiser, or Snow White ever *once* “touted” SSG to be the noble group that you suggest here. There have been many times where people have asked us what SSG is about and had this poster bothered to read and remember Snow White’s answer to that they may have stopped before critizing in this way.

    SSG was and remains to be a group of friends, a government in name only. If you offend my friend, you offend me. Its as easy as that.

    If what SSG stands for somehow confuses you then I ask you how you’d feel if someone broke into your best friend’s apartment down the street and looted the place for all its worth. I’d imagine a bit more precautious, a bit more paranoid for at least a few days. You might invite your friend to stay with you so they didn’t have to toss and turn in their own bed, wondering if the crook was coming back. You’d probably tell your other friends about it and let them know, either in passing or because you know that they keep their doors unlocked.

    The SSG does the same thing. If SSG knows that someone is running a scam, we want to let people know. If we know that someone has a “hit” out on them, we want to let them know. If you must place a label to the SSG, let it not be “government” but instead “Neighborhood Watch.” Had we known that the name Sim Shadow Government would be taken so literally, we may have rethought it.

    Different players in TSO and SWG react differently and it is their choice to do so. If its The Sims Online, the ignore/ban feature may be enacted as a preventive measure. In SWG, a war may be declared if the offense was deserving of one, otherwise the ignore feature exists there as well.

    We don’t place ourselves on pedistals but perhaps crude soapboxes in the hopes that someone will hear what we say and not be the next victim of a known scammer or thief.

    We’ve never asked anyone to listen to us, yet people always want to challenge what we say.

    Thank you for your time,

    PS Dyerbrook, its good to see that you’re still so very long winded.

  10. Dyerbrook

    Dec 17th, 2003

    Let me put it to you short and sweet, sister: people who want to be good citizens and protect others do not pick names like “Shadow Government” and do not *deliberately* model their government and its structure *word for word, title for title* from a conspiracy nut’s Internet page, as you once yourself confirmed to me, and as I once saw on the Internet. But what was wrong about that conspiracy page, and your copy, was that *the Trilateral Commission is no longer on E. 46th St.* Those that know it has moved *are in an even greater conspiracy* muhahahahaha. Oh, and “neighborhood watch” is what they call those nasty informers’ and enforcers’ groups for Castro in Cuba.

  11. James

    Dec 18th, 2003

    I’ll respond to the 10% of your post that isn’t about BDSM first.
    Dyerbrook, I believe that you watch too much CNN. The attacks you speak of in your first paragraph are NOT terrorist attacks, nor are they anything similar to them. They are more analagous to acts of war, or simply break and enter. Does the SSG hide themselves after the attacks? Probably not, as I doubt they’d have to watch for reprecussions. It’s not like someone can kill them in game. So please drop the terrorist angle. I hear that word misused enough on the news.

    I can see why you fear BDSM; it’s something you know almost nothing about. Do you really think people are being tortured? That it’s a pagan ritual? I hardly think a wife spanking her husband with a paddle is a pagan ritual. I can just imagine what comes to your mind when you think about it; people bleeding, broken limbs, begging for their master to stop, but he/she doesn’t. Unfortunately, the media has gotten to you a little too much again. The few cases where such events occur are horrifying, and are completely unacceptable in a civilised society. However, you paint everyone who partakes in BDSM with the same brush. In most BDSM relationships, blood is almost never spilt. Do you think these people would cause injuries requiring a hospitalization? Wouldn’t that bring unwanted attention to them? Besides, many are decent human beings, who chose to vent their darker sides in a controlled manner.

    I agree that roleplaying BDSM in public places is a little disconcerting though. However, I doubt it will be the last time such things happen. They do it in game because they cannot do so IRL. And besides, it’s all roleplaying. In many relationships, a couple will take turns being the master. Unfortunately I am no expert on BDSM, but I have known people who are, and they are good people with strong morals. If their partner asks them to stop, they stop without hesitation.

    Your concerns regarding the TOS and it’s ban on speaking about other sims in a negative manner are justified, but it’s been discussed to death. This site alone has numerous articles about it. You can say you “want to discuss it with other players”, but you wouldn’t stop there given the chance. What you essentially want is to be able to tell these people, to their face, that you think what they are doing is wrong. You have the right to believe that, but really, what good will it do? They’ll simply turn ignore on. The reason Maxis put that ban in the TOS was to ensure there are no flame wars within the game, and to ensure no one had to go around being harrased and bad-mouthed by others, no matter what they do.

    You know, people say the same thing about gays and lesbians showing affection for eachother in public that you saying about BDSM couples. It seems wrong and evil, but only because we have been taught that. Fifty years ago, gays and lesbians were persecuted for trying to love eachother. Perhaps in another fifty years, the world will have a different outlook on BDSM couples.

    One last thing: if these people are barring anyone under 21 from their lots, do you really think it’s because they feel they have to? I believe it’s because they want to. So what makes you think these same people are trying to lure children into RL BDSM relationships? While it’s certainly possible that has happened, I have a hard time believing that everyone is out to do so.

  12. Dyerbrook

    Dec 18th, 2003


    It may come as a surprise to you that I hardly watch television and certainly not Faux News or War TV (Fox News). Your smug assurances that I am in the dark and you are in the light would be humorous if it were not for a serious matter, at least in the virtual world — but the virtual world has consequences in real life. I’m going to start with the assumption that this is a discussion where no one is going to say “oh, it’s just a game, go pound your gnomes” and that we are both interested in how virtual worlds evolve. One hundred thousand of our fellow citizens and neighbors in Canada, Europe, Australia, etc., many of them teenagers, are living in a world now which is penetrated by evil, and spending many, many hours in that world night and day. I know it is politically incorrect to speak about evil, but I shall, because it it true. And please, I am not some yahoo indoctrinated by the U.S. media, even though I have different views than you do, since I read world media in a variety of languages for many hours a day and have many, many sources of news and commentary across the spectrum.

    Terrorism is a violent attack on innocents for the sake of a political or religious cause or for the sake of disruption of a society in order to gain power. OF COURSE TSO is a virtual world where “terrorism” as it is understood in the real world has no real equivalent because nobody really dies and any Sim can come back to life, recreate, or rebuild their lot — I’ve done so many times after the terror attacks of the SSG, mafias, and just destructive kids. But in discussing this virtual world, I reserve the right to use the same terms to describe the same patterns of human behavior one sees in RL. And the smuggling of a roomie on to a lot, and the misuse of the old architectural privileges to destroy that lot *is* terrorism in the Sims world, especially for those who don’t use third-party cheats and ebay money, but honestly board or gnome or preserve their way up to a size 8 lot. The harassment of Sims with remote roomie invites, lot pissings, plate dumpings, spreading of boycotts on the basis of false news — this *is* terrorism and harassment and is the classic method of violent cults or authoritarian movements seeking to come to power and destroy civil society and democratic governance.

    I see no reason why, in the name of RP, we are to smile at these worrisome developments in our world, and I choose to RP right back at these thugs and try to keep AV an open society free of such thuggery. Indeed the SSG does hide itself. You’ve obviously never fought the SSG or taken testimony from those who fight it or accidently or deliberately get in its way. They send a slew of 0-day Sims, often with clown-faces or other ugly Sim faces, and then delete themselves if someone manages to glove them and write something about them in the balloon. They hide all the time. They are called the Shadow Government because they’re in the shadows, duh.

    What you need to realize — and I know it may come as a shock to you — is that I’m not a person with wacky, extremist viewpoint that deserves a lecturing tone from an enlightened majority. Probaby 95 percent of the people playing TSO are highly disturbed at the presence of BDSM, and do not choose BDSM as their lifestyle, nor do they want it for their children, nor do they want the 13 and up teens who are permitted to play in this game to be exposed to it and indeed recruited by it. It’s you who are in the minority, and you who need to realize that people have created community standards through a variety of civilizations over the centuries, and they have the right to uphold them. The hard-won Constitution of the United States says “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”. The centuries of law and practice following this 1776 Constitution established that “all people — all men and women of any kind” are created equal and their rights are inherent by natural law, not a construct. Feminism means something, and BDSM reverses its progress.

    Therefore when a cult like BDSM comes along that seeks to use the attributes of an open society to establish a closed society where men and women become subordinate to each other, use violence on each other in the name of sexual pleasure, and enslave others, using cult-like techniques, it surely is completely fine for me and others to stand up and say, “Hey, wait a minute? What is this?”.

    BDSM people themselves tell us that as much as 85 percent of their adherents are victims of sexual abuse. That suggests we are dealing with a severely troubled population, and we ought not to take at face value *even their own proclamations of being involved in BDSM voluntarily* any more than we would say this of a drug user or Moonie adherent or anyone else who voluntarily joins something that in fact has merely played on their weaknesses or ignorance through the sophisticated techniques of a cult.

    I’ve researched BDSM fairly extensively. I’ve had many interesting dialogues with the BDSM people, and I have told them to their face my concerns, and gotten some very helpful answers from some, and ignores and boots from others, and some hands-on night-and-day nasty harassment from still other. There are different forms of the cult in the game, and they even argue or fight among themselves. Some are Goreans, which believe in slavery and apparently going against people’s will and do not have guards and checks like some of the other versions of the cult, that use a code word that is the equivalent of “uncle” to signal to someone that they should stop their violence. I do not fear such BDSM, I face it head on, and I stand up to it, because it is wrong and undermines civil society. That’s perfectly fine. The media has not “gotten” to me, but Marxist liberal university education or leftist media must have gotten to *you* because you are not thinking of the consequences of allowing a closed, non-transparent, non-democratic cult to flourish and gain recruits in an open society. It exploits an open society ultimately to impose a closed society. In its world, if elections are held, they are the last elections, because after that, there are no elections because subs would not be enfranchised — they would have to vote how their masters told them. Don’t you see it, James? These issues aren’t virtual. They matter. It is a game, but it was an experiment in community-building set up by Will Wright and I intend to play it seriously and take it to its logical consequences.

    Yes, people are indeed tortured in some versions of BDSM, they say so themselves. They admit openly that the lots in the virtual world tie up to RL scenes and that some very disturbing things can happen there. They say some practice restraint, and some don’t. *How are we concerned outsiders to know the difference?* I don’t know if you realize there is a heavy debate about this in the BDSM community at large and within the game itself. The arguments, to my mind, are something like the debate about “harm reduction” and clean-needle programs. Some people think it is important to look at overall crime and health statistics and give out clean needles without judgement, and other people think that enables drug addiction to continue unabated or even facilitates it, and still others point out that even when you reduce harm in this practical way, you haven’t solved the problem of the lives destroyed by addiction.

    What some BDSM adherents tell you is that they are working to make everything “safe, sane, and consensual”. *That means they realize they have a problem with a potentially violent cult themselves.* They even provide lessons to newbies, a form of step plan of indoctrination, to make it “safer”. But how can we know how effective this is when they will not discuss it openly, and liberal outsiders like yourself are reluctant to appear politically incorrect and stand up to their propaganda?

    Let’s say you see a person in the game whom you got to know at a mutual friend’s lot, who has been first so scared by the SSG that they fear even talking about it to you, then, a little while later, you suddenly see them on a BDSM lot with a rose drawing in their profile. (I have definite proof that the high eschelons of the SSG are into BDSM and the world intertwine.) You ask them with concern how they got involved in this scene, since they weren’t before — what happened? Were they lured in somehow? But they can’t talk to you because “any problem with me, talk to my master” as they write on their profile. If you press, and talk to them one on one — as a free citizen of a free world — you only earn the wrath of their dom or domme, who comes down like a ton of bricks on you for being so “bigoted” so as to ask these questions of their sub. You see how it works? They suppress inquiry and concern, and they are not transparent about their actions, and when you call them on that, they call you a bigot. On each and every lot, they tell you not to be a bigot and “keep an open mind,” but if you sit and listen to their lectures, and begin to express some dissent to their worldview, and any sense of shock or dismay at their pratices and their propaganda, you will feel the boot in the back. It is truly Orwellian — they tell you that far from serving as a means of annihilation of another person, their violent acts, their rigged domination, builds a sense of trust and intimacy. But surely there are other ways to gain trust and intimacy that are not violent?

    You’re willing to say that BDSM RP in public spaces, that is at other “vanilla” lots, is “a little disconcerting”. Imagine you are on a romance or skill lot, fooling around and speaking openly and happily as equals to the other women and men on the lot, and suddenly, some girl in medieval garb whispers to some guy in tights “May I green now, Master?”. He tells her when she may or may not go to the toilet, or even go AFK to RL. Some of these doms and dommes order everyone around, not just their subs, and think this mode of behavior is acceptable to those outside their world. If they did their thing on their own lots or their own neighborhood, it would be none of our business, and if we didn’t want to go there, we wouldn’t have to. In fact, some of them have the courtesy to put this sign on their lots.

    Still, I worry about the smart and savvy teens in the game for whom the Internet is a babysitter or an after-school program, lonely teens who can easily pose as over 21, who will come to these lots precisely because there are people very eager to spread the gospel of BDSM, show off their drop-dead gorgeous lots, and provide a sense of community and that thrilling sense of combativeness against that uncaring, bigoted world. It’s heady stuff. It’s cool, and many teens and young people or just confused people will find it thrilling and cool, even though they really don’t intend to subordinate their will to another, leave the virtual world and meet people from the Internet, or accept violence done to their person. The BDSM people think they can always tell under 21, because they assume they are griefers and bad spellers, but guess what, I’ve had it tested myself, and I can see how easy it is for younger people to pass sometimes merely by being good spellers, so low is the expectation. After all, the child prostitute Dorian/Evangeline was able to snooker many people on a lot that was ostensibly 18 and over during the beta.

    One of the AV Herald’s biggest stories is the one about child prostitution. That ought to be sufficient proof to you that children in the game can be abusive or be abused quite easily. And there are other examples. I disagree that in 50 years, it will be acceptable to inflict pain through violent acts on other humans as a public norm, the way gay love has become — or should become — a public norm. There are very major differences between GLBT and BDSM regardless of where it overlaps.

    James! This sentence was the absolute last one I’d expect to read on an AV Herald Forum: “The reason Maxis put that ban in the TOS was to ensure there are no flame wars within the game, and to ensure no one had to go around being harrased and bad-mouthed by others, no matter what they do.” Oh, really? Then why are we all complaining about the demise of Urizenus??? It’s a justification for booting Urizenus from the game and suppressing his discussions on the Stratics BBS. It goes to the heart of the matter what is wrong with TSO. It’s wrong. If they could just overcome their puerile desire to have everything be “nice” they would realize that when someone makes a false allegation about another, or flames him, the best way to address it is not by silencing, but providing simultaneously many other alternative viewpoints and sources of information. I am a moderator of several Sim forums, and this has always been the policy I have followed. Look at the frustrations of Urizenus on the board, when he is misunderstood, or not allowed to post, and yet judged or hated. He has no outlet for setting the record straight, and no one else has any way to defend him.The essense of a democratic society is such freedom to provide alternative sources of information and expression so that people can learn the truth and make up their own minds.

  13. Frodo

    Dec 19th, 2003

    you people all need to get a life, its just a game.

  14. Calso

    Dec 19th, 2003

    Sayeh/Mia Wallace/Hermia/PM Cruiser/Moe Wallace and all your other legitimate accounts, trial abuse accounts and stolen game code accounts (distributed amongst various members I might add): I have been in your group to watch and learn. I have been outside of your group and experienced first hand your attacks. I have been witness to the nasty things your group has perpetrated against people you had no business bothering with.

    So have many others. It is a shame they have been censored or intimidated or bribed into silence.

    Nothing that happened to you will ever justify the kind of people you and your group are or the things you have done to others.

    Keeping Alphaville free of mafia is a nice sideline, but it isn’t the only line you are in. And taking the government thing too seriously is something you and your gang of thugs ought to consider thinking about.

    You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  15. Aquan

    Dec 19th, 2003


    Who said “I flatly disagree with your opinions, but I will fight to the death for your right to express them”?

    I was fascinated to read your opinions, so lucidly put, about SSG, BDSM and totalitarianism … I am general supportive of your opinions on totalitarianism and SSG, but not BDSM.


    You should spend more time developing your initial point (that pseudo “nice” PC censorship supports totalitarians) and less on your own opinions about minorities, however well argued.


    Totalitarianism seems to be on the rise these days at the highest levels of society. “You are either for us or against us” “Bring them on” etc etc. Lets hope it dies down. Regrettably human societies are generally instable in the long run as one party learns to eliminate competition and assign all resources to it’s own benefit.

    It occurs to me that you seek an audience for your views … this is what the others seek .. so there is no fundamental difference. How is one to achieve balance I wonder?

    Europeans have a horror of totalitarianism having had a horrific bout of it in the 20th Century. I hope enough of them have tripped to USA in the meantime to prevent it happening there too.

  16. James

    Dec 22nd, 2003

    Dyerbrook, it’s plain to see that your right-wing views control your everyday life. You’ll never go against them, even if it may be the right thing to do. It’s also plain to see that you’ve been indoctrinated by one of the major religions. If I studied religions, I’m sure I’d be able to pick out exactly which one you belong to. Now I don’t usually attack people like this, however it’s close-minded people like you who bring this out of me. Your unbreakable conservative doctrine, that which tells you exactly how you should live your life, makes me worry about the fate of humankind. You spout on and on about BDSM cults, even calling the ones that you agree are safe and consensual cults. Yet you do not see the sad fact that you too, are in a cult. What would happen if you did not live your life as your religion dictates? You are expected to feel guilty, and confess that you are not living as expected. That sure sounds like a type of control to me. Not as blatant or physical as in a sub-dom relationship, but the phsycological control is there nonetheless. “But it’s not a cult!”, you say. Only because it’s opponents have been eliminated.

    You think BDSM won’t become an accepted act? You’re a fool then. Do you believe that it will just go away? How do you think that will happen? The only way to remove BDSM entirely from society would be to become a totalitarian state. Now do you understand why I said you sounded like a dictator yourself?

    The only reason that BDSM is a “closed society” is because of people like you. They have to hide themselves, just like the followers of Christianity did 2000 years ago. Back then Christianity was labled a cult as well, wasn’t it? Perhaps now you’ll open your eyes and see that there is more than just your side to a story.

    I started off posting to tell you to keep your objectivity when posting. Now I’m posting because your close-minded views disgust me. Since I doubt anything I say here will actually make you think, this will be my last post. When people tell you to keep an open mind, you obviously don’t understand what they mean. Learn to challenge your views, or you’ll get left behind. It’s time to join the 21st century Dyerbrook. Leave your outdated opinions at the door.

  17. denorae

    Dec 23rd, 2003

    Urizenus: do you have any other sims?
    Evangeline: -snowhite and i swear that is it… thats all…

    Wouldn’t it be funny if they were actually the same person?

  18. Dyerbrook

    Dec 25th, 2003

    James, I’m not a member of the “right-wing” or any kind of conservatively religious society, in that you are sadly mistaken. Your rush to judgement is a fine example of cluster thinking and a fine example of how judgement for you can only cut one way — when it is in your hands, and never in anyone else’s, the best sign of a closed society out there. The discussion on the nature of BDSM is now up at the interview with “anonymous”, so read more of the debate there if you like. I fail to see why criticizing a violent, coercive group that uses domination, submission, and the infliction of pain as somehow “unprogressive” or “illiberal” on my part. It’s only in an electronic world where black is made white and white is made black that such an absurdity can happen, and it is only because this discussion is being held by a minority of people who practice BDSM or applaud it as “successful” — and not the whole, mainly intimidated community of TSO — that your kind of statement can stand. That’s what’s so amazing — or perhaps so silly — about this very debate. That you are so immersed in these alternative “open” lifestyles that you have lost any sort of moral compass to understand that pain is pain and slavery is slavery and THAT is *really* what is profoundly disturbing, not my alleged affiliation with “the religious right” which couldn’t be farther from the truth (and even if it was true, wouldn’t distract from the validity of my arguments,but would merely constitute a label). Do I have to send you copies of my ACLU membership card and my “Free Choice” and “No War” buttons to convince you James? Sheesh. It’s also funny that you’ve jumped to the conclusion that I’ve called for the “removal” of BDSM from society, in reality, or the banning of BDSMfrom the game. I have not. But I am pushing back? Why?

    –So that impressionable newbies and young people see that this thrilling movement they find so attractive actually has its critics and opponents and that their own internal misgivings about it might actually have some merit.
    –So that young and impressionable people or old and foolish people can see that there is some kind of community standard which people aspire to — freedom from slavery, violence, and coercion — and see that there are choices in this life.
    –So that those who use the BDSM lifestyle as a means to place others in their thrall, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, will see that they are judged, and that they cannot aspire to the legitimacy they crave but do not deserve — because they are violent and practice slavery
    –So that AV is not overrun with BDSM lots so that other neighborhoods not involved with BDSM feel they still live in an open society where they don’t have to face violence and subordination everywhere in their city.

    It’s about freedom, alternatives, and openness, James. I’m sorry you can’t see that. Far from “hiding,” the BDSM practioners have come out into the light of 100,000 people subscribed to a massive RP game. And they find that far from obtaining the legitimacy they crave, they aren’t getting it, because their slavery and their violence are rejected by free people in a free and equal world. End of story.

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