Editorial: Save the Oil Rig!

by Alphaville Herald on 24/03/05 at 8:40 pm

The ANWR oil rig

Having now explored where only Lindens had gone before and after reading What Philip Said At the Oil Rig on Wednesday night and other SL forum threads, the Herald’s editorial board feels it important that the Lindens consider preserving some of the landmark builds that made the new northern continent a compelling place when it was first unveiled a few days ago.

Though no plans have been made public to delete the builds, Philip Linden’s non-committal response to the question of whether the oil rig in ANWR sim would be preserved in its present state leaves something to be desired. While LL’s position that Second Life should be a place of user-created content is laudable, what passes for reality in SL is more complex than that.

The question of zoned land on the Grid is a hot one at the moment. The residents will have to decide that one for themselves. But on a more granular level, there’s a different cultural question that needs to be answered.

Philip Linden ponders a protest

Linden-made roads, dams, marinas, telehubs, town hall meeting spaces and much more all exist on the Grid, to the great benefit of the population. SL’s 20,000+ residents have created a shared culture that takes in not only their own builds but those things as well. The population proves its resilience by being able to incorporate all these things into their “user-created world,” find a place for them in the culture, and continue to grow.

Giving us a handful of new and impressive Linden builds — a gorgeous oil rig, an intriguing pipeline, a wrecked spaceship and a ghostly stilt city, complete with formidable temple — only to take them away again by selling the land they’re built on would be an insult to every avatar on the Grid. For weeks we’ve been subjected to the natterings of intrepid explorer Magellan Linden, who claimed to have been mapping a place rich in culture and history, a place from which the previous population had been wiped by forces unknown.

With the prospective sale of what little evidence remains of that population, two scenarios present themselves:

1. Linden Lab is showing alarming insensitivity to those who enjoyed Magellan’s narrative of the culture that built these monuments. Now that the redskins have been driven out, LL seems to feel, it’s time to burn their sweat lodges to the ground.

2. The Magellan Chronicles were bullshit in the first place, a marketing ploy only, never intended to enter the collective culture that is Second Life, and evidence of alarming insensitivity to the current population of the Grid.

Considering the many cosmetic changes that have been made as part of the 1.6 update to the world, the second scenario seems more likely. The builds can go, the logic seems to run, in favor of a growing subscriber base and more land to sell at auction.

More likely still is that the Lindens never considered that the Grid’s population might enjoy these artifacts and want to preserve them as part of the virtual, natural and cultural landscape. All they had to do was ask.

Linden Lab should show the same resilience the Grid’s population displays, bite the bullet and preserve the small parcels of land on which these few artifacts now stand. It’s the only respectful thing to do — respectful of the narrative LL has already created, a narrative of a culture that originally colonized the new continent, respectful of the avatars who are about to re-colonize it, and respectful of those of us who have already colonized the “old” world of Second Life, and of those to come.

5 Responses to “Editorial: Save the Oil Rig!”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 25th, 2005

    “Thanks go to Prokofy Neva for his timely delivery of photos, notecarded convo transcript, and timely forum post about this impromptu town hall meeting with Philip Linden on the oil rig.”

    I suspect the Lindens aren’t as squishy-soft and tingly about their land and builds as we are. They can always make more land essentially for free, or at least, not at the price we buy it for. They can copy their builds and lather, rinse repeat elsewhere *shrugs*. So Maxx Monde had an orgasm about an oil rig in the Linden sea and is ranting about lesser forms of human life who won’t preserve this “beauty”? So Prokofy is asking “who do I have to sleep with” to find out about the land auctioned next to Xenon Linden’s crashed airplane? *Shrugs*. As cynical as I’ve become, I was actually startled by Philip’s blase and non-committal stance. I thought at first maybe he had 10 convos going and wasn’t answering me. But it is unmistakeable that he replied to me and 2 other players with essentially “we aren’t sure what we’ll do”. I take it that Linden builds on Linden land are never auctioned as such. They are on red Governor Linden land now, not purple. But if Lindens can let go Neverland or Chinatown in 30 or 60 days, won’t they be quite capable of exploiting the Magellan fable and these builds for sales, then deleting them or letting players buy them and delete them? Players should just turn their backs on these hucksters and pool their tier, collectively purchase land, and build their own damn legends, fables, and games.

  2. Roberta Dalek

    Mar 25th, 2005

    The temporary nature of neverland and chinatown was to do with the builders, not the Lindens. These were not Linden builds.

    To be honest I think the reason why chinatown was pulled was because it didn’t work… Pretty but lagalicious. Also if you really wanted to play an FPS you’d be in one.

  3. Philip Linden

    Mar 25th, 2005

    Done! We’re going to preserve them all.

  4. Walker Spaight

    Mar 25th, 2005

    Bravo, Philip!

  5. Torley

    Mar 25th, 2005

    Yay. :-)

    Just to clarify: Chinatown (and forgotten sib Abraxas) was only planned to be around a month from the start. The original release I posted about it in Forums mentions the timeframe. And yes, lag was nasty, but the cool thing is — that’s how we’re gonna press forward in SL. If someone doesn’t get up and start digging holes for treasure or drilling for oil ;) , as dirty as it may be, who else can get motivated?

    So to fantastic builds, whether they be Linden-built or Resident-constructed, I go *clapclapclap*

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