Prok’s Candid Conversations with the Core: Cristiano Midnight, Part Two

by Alphaville Herald on 23/03/05 at 6:09 pm

Is Prokofy “inner core”? After the enthusiastic reception that greeted Part One of Prokofy Neva’s Candid Conversation with Cristiano Midnight (well, contentious reception, anyway), the Herald’s crack fact-checking team has double- and triple-checked Part Two for contextual errors and asset-server screw-ups. We’re sure our readers will point out any that slipped through, but to do that, they’ll first have to read the thing and find out for themselves just how feted our inimitable interviewer really is.

PN: There is a fierce class of content barons and hangers-on who jealously guard their position and don’t want competition and don’t want their status jeopardized. Some strands of this grouping are howling that their pos-rate stipends were cut, and they will no doubt howl about the leader boards.
PN: It’s like a small-town village where the village elders are always trying to set you straight and tell you where you are going astray, and constantly “setting the tone” as arbiters of taste and morals.
CM: And you would be akin to the person who comes along after 2 minutes and tells people who have been there far longer than you how things are.
CM: far longer

PN: So? it’s a good corrective
CM: it is only a good corrective if it is an informed corrective. That has been your biggest misstep. You are woefully uninformed about much of what you speak.

PN: Those that come at the 11th hour get their reward in heaven too Cristiano.
CM: ah back to religion

PN: These belief systems that people cling to in SL are quite religious in their nature.
CM: you have a zealot quality yourself my friend

PN: Well you believe that you have access to some “facts” that I am not privy to or wise to, but I challenge that. I haven’t heard any persuasive “facts” as to the non-existence of this privileged, self-referential, and rather arrogant and condescending group.
PN: They exist.
PN: You have only to read the forums LOL.
CM: The funny part is nothing seems more arrogant than your posts

PN: And who the hell are they? Setting people straight, sneering at newbies, chastising, correcting, scolding, all the day long.
CM: Give me an example of someone..
CM: This is not the forums, name some names

PN: Oh, names? But you can read them in the forums. Start on day one, and go through all the posts, and you see, all these people, who chastised, sneered, set straight, scolded, warned, berated, etc.
CM: Are there some insufferable people in the forums? Yes – there are some I can’t bear myself, and you are definitely not one of them. I tend to save my ire in the forums for established players – though you have attracted it. I agree with you that pushing back against bad behavior is important. We share that need to push – I just disagree with some of your assertions.

PN: Well let me see, there is Kris Ritter, Ulrika Zigzag, Chip Midnight, Weedy Herbst, Hank Ramos, Nolan Nash — who used to be courteous to me but now he has taken to using nasty intel-type tactics to troll for info and make nasty unsupported allegations.
PN: I mean, who haven’t I had a fight with among the regs. Except for the lovely Olympia Rebus, who is far above all that sort of thing
CM: She is lovely.
CM: I have had fights with Kris, Ulrika and Chip myself. I don’t find any of them to be shining examples of the feted inner core though.
CM: Chip Midight is interesting – I know you are not a fan. On many topics, we disagree completely – we have had several arguments in the forums, yet I have always found him to be a great guy – and very helpful to people learning to design clothing/skins.
CM: Blaze Spinnakker has jumped on your FIC bandwagon – I really think you should do something about that.

PN: oh, well, I have no patent on the term FIC, I could never have imagined that it would take off as it did, I had no idea it would be come a household word and a mot and even Phil Linden says it.
CM: BTW, the most feted group is on the IRC, you have missed that boat completely.

PN: Who is this “real FIC” that I am completely unaware of? Explain.
PN: I am QUITE prepared to believe that there is an inner core so feted as to be actually invisible.
PN: For example, I met this fellow who told me that he was in business meetings with the Lindens, and then when I asked him if he needed to rent land closer to the telehub, he said, “What is a telehub?” I mean, there are layers of SL that we cannot even begin to imagine.
CM: lol

PN: I am fully aware of the feted IRC regs and their blessed Lindens who frequent IRC
CM: ah but that is not who I am referring to.

PN: Ok, well tell me the most inner feted boat I missed? Is this the boat to the new continent? Being in the flakey outer crust as I am, and not in the FIC, I don’t know the inner, inner FIC, sorry.
CM: Please, you are a celebrity.

PN: Actually you’d be surprised, Cristiano. I have loads of customers in the game. They don’t read the forums and they have never heard of me, they just want me to put their URLs on their lots, and that’s it. It’s an entirely different world outside the forums, the forums are completely irrelevant to these people, as are all those forum denizens who think so much of themselves
CM: I wouldn’t be surprised, I have loads of customers in game who’ve never heard of me either. I know the forums represent only a small portion of SL

PN: they say 5 percent
CM: it does represent some of the most involved members though

PN: I think it has some impact because whenever there is someone stupid like Hank attacking some aspect of my business or pandastrong or whatever, in fact, I get more sales LOL
CM: the same thing happened to me when I was attacked in the classifieds forum. The attention did wonders for my Inari store

PN: still, I do believe that the FIC types and their associates or wannabees are quite capable of basically crippling people’s businesses, I do see them do that, and I find it atrocious
PN: For example the attacks on Shaun Altman’s “Cheap Ratings” or the attacks on Random Unsung’s tier donation program, it’s just atrocious, by jealous know-nothings who couldn’t come up with a new idea themselves.
PN: This notion that you can’t make personal attacks is a huge brake on being able to demand consumer rights and transparency of business practices on SL.
CM: I have never been shy about making them when necessary. I don’t just randomly target someone – but I have certainly pushed back very strongly against certain people doing some of the very things you have said.

PN: There is appalling fucktardery that goes on in this game and I for one won’t stand for it. It is a combination of woeful ignorance and horrid negligence combined with occasional flashes of brutal malice.
CM: fucktardery is a great word, I need to use it more often. I agree, there is a lot of it — but it is across the whole player spectrum.

PN: It seems that really, you don’t believe there is a FIC, but that’s because you are IN it.
CM: I acknowledge its existence, I won’t attribute all the negativity you do to it though, as I find the people I tend to loathe the most in SL are outside of that scope anyway, and some of the most appalling behavior I’ve seen has come from more recent players.
CM: I guess that is why I get upset seeing groups of older players in SL maligned so often — because I have watched so many people put so much effort into building SL, and it irked me when you painted everyone with the same broad brush

PN: Cristiano
CM: Prokofy

PN: I can’t get down and genuflect that they “built” SL
PN: this is hogwash
CM: no one is asking you to, but it is not hogwash

PN: this is like saying I have to genuflect to Abraham Lincoln for “building America.” I don’t buy it, I’m not impressed
CM: you can respect the people who came there before you.

PN: I know it goes completely against the grain, but I don’t get all this adulation about things like Neverland or Chinatown
CM: that’s fine, it is your opinion — I have respect for those who came before me

PN: People come back and say Chinatown lags, they couldn’t shoot straight, and “all I got was this umbrella” and yet we’re all supposed to genuflect?
CM: see that is the thing — Chinatown is probably one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in SL, period. It raises the bar on what can actually be done. And I am hard to impress.

PN: read the forums. ppl are saying yes, it is totally awesome, but then they list 100 things wrong, which are wrong with the GAME ITSELF not that project
PN: did you know that the Linden moon reflects in puddles of water in the game normally?
CM: yes, but that is not the fault of the Chinatown developers.
CM: I can’t imagine anything impressing you, especially if created by someone else. You seem to have honest contempt for the adulation of the work of others

PN: I react to all the adulation and puffery. When I first came to SL, I flew around and admired all kinds of things. For example, Maxx Monde’s towers. I fly around Stillman, and I IM my friends and I ooh and ah over Juro Kothari, Lumiere Noir, and all the rest.
CM: Stillman was my first home in SL. Juro and Lumiere are incredibly talented builders.

PN: I continue to admire many things in the game. For example, the parceling Anshe does on a sim. Or Buck Spinnaker’s choice of land to promote.
CM: I find the land resale market to be quite dubious, personally, though I admit I do like your approach.

PN: OK, let’s hear about how dubious you find it.
CM: Much of my contempt for the practice was born out of Anshe’s actions last summer. There were limited amounts of new sims available, and then she would purchase sims at auction by outbidding people, then turn around and mark it up 50% and resell it to the same people wanting the land.
CM: you may find this crafty, I found it parasitic.

PN: It was normal. Because it was in short supply. Before that, she had to deal with excess supply, and couldn’t place proper valuation on the land.
CM: actually before that she didn’t exist in the land market. she rose to prominence in the $30/m market. actually at that time a lot of the land was still in smaller parcels.

PN: Someone had to do it, I guess it would be logical to be a young Chinese neocapitalist LOL.
CM: I suppose so. What bothered so many people about it, myself included, is here you had something that was vital to a large aspect of SL, and you had someone dominating it and controlling the market in many ways.

PN: Well that’s because socialism breeds oligarchs like that. This is what I always write about. The Lindens subsidize a socialist economy, a state-capitalism or socialism form if you will. It is naturally the case then when you have artificially-induced scarcity alternating with oversupply that oligarchs emerge to create a buffer or conveyor belt.
CM: it is ultimately why I found the market so dubious — suddenly you had players having to spend hundreds of USD just to get a piece of land. It would be interesting to see a strong competitor emerge against her.
CM: ultimately I don’t understand people who turn SL into a full time job

PN: well why not?
CM: I am not passing judgement, just saying I don’t understand it
CM: I used to wonder that with Big John. The amount of work it took to keep it on top of the popular places was staggering. and for what? a few hundred bucks a month.

PN: What’s sad is that it can’t provide more for them, and for others. They put in all that incredible work, and the yield is so low.
PN: I sometimes realize that myself, when I spend two hours of RL helping a customer who is paying me $4 US in rent. I view it as a kind of game of Monopoly, the kind you used to play with your little brother for hours and hours and days with little side rules like “damages” if you roll the dice on somebody’s hotel.
CM: I have been very lucky with my business in SL — it is very low maintenance. Whereas my girlfriend has been plagued by hers — constant IMs and requests from customers.

PN: Yes, I have such a heavy customer service interface now that I have to run several alts to keep several sides of the business straight so that when I log on, I know I will be doing X or Y straight for some hours.
CM: I think BJ did it for the perceived stature. Anyone who would call themselves Big anything has some issues.

PN: I think it’s fun that he called himself Big John. IRL maybe he is 5′ 4″ and maybe has a tiny dick, who knows?
CM: Actually, you may know him. He came from TSO, and was well known for making the nude patch for TSO.

PN: Hmm, I vaguely remember that guy, yeah. The nude patch was kinda overrated LOL, “not hot” lol.
PN: I found it too lifelike, pictorial. I prefer the artwork in games to be a little cartoonish to keep that quality of another world. I don’t want some pasted magazine picture of a dick stuck on a prim.
CM: I feel the same way. I don’t get into the sexual side of SL. I specifically chose to avoid it with my business.
CM: I could have made probably double what I do catering to the blow-jobs-and-butt-plugs set, but I decided to avoid it.
PN: Well, discretion is the better part of valour, Cristiano.

11 Responses to “Prok’s Candid Conversations with the Core: Cristiano Midnight, Part Two”

  1. Neal Stewart

    Mar 24th, 2005

    I don’t know why this interview has been maligned so. You guys are both great! :) And you touch on a lot of subtle sub-topics.

    “PN: Those that come at the 11th hour get their reward in heaven too Cristiano.”
    “CM: you have a zealot quality yourself my friend”

  2. Cienna

    Mar 24th, 2005

    “What bothered so many people about it, myself included, is here you had something that was vital to a large aspect of SL, and you had someone dominating it and controlling the market in many ways.”

    This is an interesting comment to me. Prof’s stated issue with the ‘FIC’ is very precisely encompassed in it. This makes the comment interesting because it was made by Cris. Funny how people can talk right past one another at time, isn’t it?

    From all I read (and as a week old n00b player, all I have is what I read from you folks), Prof and those who think like him dislike the ‘FIC’ for having a dominating position in the hierarchy of SL and for controlling access to that hierarchy. (whether this is a true statement is almost irrelevent, as it is the perception and, when dealing with culture, perception is often reified as reality.)

    Meanwhile, Cris (and perhaps the ‘FIC’?) dislikes that some ‘upstart’ came along and beat the land barons at their own game.

    Different ponds, but the same ripples.

  3. Moonshine Herbst

    Mar 24th, 2005

    I love these interviews. :)
    Keep at it Prokofy! As someone who was called an asshole in his very first forum thread, being told that my thoughts were not valid because of my newbness, I can certainly see your point of view.

    Aww, Cristiano… That forum discussion we had was hardly a fight, was it? I never considered it one.

  4. Urizenus

    Mar 24th, 2005

    This is definitely the best one yet. Still, I do feel that Prok has lost some of his venom since the days when he was Dyerbrook, back on tso, when he was complaining about the Sim Shadow Government and “their chill vacation pads” on Shadow Lake and their ties to Will Wright and the BDSM community. Ahhh those were the days.


  5. Cristiano Midnight

    Mar 24th, 2005

    Again, because of length editing, some context was again removed, thus making it look like I picked out Moonshine Herbst to comment on. I did not single out Moonshine – Prokofy did and then later changed it to Weedy Herbst after I answered. I don’t have a problem with Moonshine in the slightest – just giving reference to the one conflict I have had with you, and yes it was very minor.

    PN: Well let me see, there is Kris Ritter, Ulrika Zigzag, Chip Midnight, Moonshine Herbst, Hank Ramos, Nolan Nash– who used to be courteous to me but now he has taken to using nasty intel-type tactics to troll for info and make nasty unsupported allegations
    PN: I mean, who haven’t I had a fight with among the regs, except for the lovely Olympia Rebus, who is far above all that sort of thing
    CM: She is lovely.
    PN: I want to go out with Olympia Rebus but she barely returns my Ims, ah well.
    CM: I have had fights with Kris, Ulrika, Chip and Moonshine myself.
    CM: I don’t find any of them to be shining examples of the feted inner core though.
    PN: oh wait scratch that
    PN: Not Moonshine
    PN: I have no quarrel with Moonshine to my knowledge, I mean Weedy Herbst
    PN: Weedy was impossible during that whole dispute with paola Jade or whatsis, can’t even recall her name, the one with King Kong in the bay
    CM: I finally saw what you were talking about
    PN: Well there is feted and there is feted
    CM: Someone sent a snapshot into my site and it had the gorilla
    PN: the most feted of the feted don’t bother with the forums
    PN: well I posted bunches of photos Cristiano
    PN: I tried to make light of thewhole thing because people got so fucking serious about it
    PN: It’s a clash of cultures and values.
    PN: People like to pretend it doesn’t exist, and that they will merely prevail; they are wrong.
    CM: they exist in RL – they certainly exist in SL

  6. Cristiano Midnight

    Mar 24th, 2005


    You are misinterpreting my statements. I disliked that anyone came along and controlled such an important part of SL at the time, new player or old. In any other market in SL, be it clothing, skins, hair, shoes, scripts, textures, furniture, whatever, there is a huge thriving market. If you don’t want to buy from a particular vendor because you don’t like their prices, there is a vibrant market there.

    In the case of land, at that time there was a shortage of available land and the systematic purchase of so much auctioned land by one person who kept reinvesting RL wealth to buy it and shut out other players created a situation where if you wanted land, which unlike a shirt or hair, is an important commodity in SL , you had to basically choose to either pay outrageous prices or not own land. There were no alternatives until the land market crashed. As a new player, I sure you would not have appreciated paying $20,000k for 512m of land – yet this was going on. So it is not about being beaten at any game – it was about price gouging on an important part of the SL experience.


  7. hogwash

    Mar 24th, 2005

    It’s hard to take Prokofy seriously now. At first i think people reacted to him more. But the more he posts in the forums, the more he’s exposed as someone who doesn’t understand the basic tools and technical side of second life. I’m talking about rudamentory stuff that he simply has not been able to grasp. This must bother him to no end and add to his frustrations about his failing SL business. It’s this frustration that turns into hatred for players who are “successful”.

    All very childish behavior. Like a high school geek who hates the “in-crowd” because he can’t get in. Instead of focusing on making changes and making things work out, he just keeps whining about how hard done by he is and how the others have it better. Makes you wonder how he’s able to survive the real world with a shitty attitude like that.

  8. Walker Spaight

    Mar 24th, 2005

    CM: I did not single out Moonshine – Prokofy did and then later changed it to Weedy Herbst after I answered.

    WS: This one you’ll have to live with, Cris, as it doesn’t change the sense of what you said in the slightest. The interview was simply edited for space. But the original is in the comments thread now anyway. And thanks again for doing it in the first place, I still think it’s a great interview.

  9. Cienna

    Mar 24th, 2005

    Cris, the fundamental dynamic is the same, regardless the philosophy behind it. The reason there is friction is because no one cares to face this is the case.

    That was my only point.

  10. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 25th, 2005

    ? I believe I originally mentioned WEEDY Herbst not MOONSHINE Herbst (no relation) as a forum poster who vengefully and viciously attacks me, including now even in the Linden Hotline Forum, trying to get me to stop criticizing her posts about my points, which is all I’m doing. I don’t know Moonshine, except I think I once bought some casinos or rentomatics from him and the exchange was pleasant.

    If you feel that Prokofy is less acidic than Dyerbrook, consider these facts: the FIC in SL is simply not as evil as the Sim Shadow Government was in TSO. Precisely because the FIC contains some very talented individuals who do mean well, and who are occasionally nice, it is a harder ebil entity to attack. But it is ebil, because it is feted, and it does block growth as a class, with a set of patterns of behaviours.

    My business in SL is not fading. Shrugs. I dunno. Talk to customers, who don’t read forums or SLH and simply just a man by what he does in the game, which would be helpful for many of you. And I have perfect facility with the building tools and even scripting in the game. I have figured out enoug of it to do small chores and simple jobs for myself, which is all I need. I constantly, all day long, pass on the knowledge I’ve personally acquired about these tools to others, like tenants who are newbies. So your nasty claim that I am somehow some high-school runt getting sand kicked in my face by the jocks on the football team just doesn’t wash. You don’t like getting a little sand kicked in YOUR face, is what’s up.

    If I chose to spend hours and hours of unpaid time learning the building tools, which even the top, most in-demand architects in SL admit has a very steep learning curve, I could do that I suppose. But I prefer to have a more social game and a game that has some income to cover expenses. The game should have room in it for different types of activities, and once again, this fixation on the celebration of the content class, the content barons, technocrats, scripterati, uber-architects, etc. is fascistic and corporatist in its ideological base. I’m having none of it.

    I put land barons in a different class. A price is an agreement between a willing buyer and a willing seller. *Shrugs*. All you had to do was not buy the overpriced land. You don’t need land to enjoy this game. Start a new account, start 5, and link their 5 first-lands together in one area. Whatever. You don’t need to ever interact with land barons to have a rich SL experience.

  11. Walker Spaight

    Mar 25th, 2005

    Prok, the chat log as Cris posted is the original one. You first mentioned Moonshine by mistake, then changed it to Weedy. I made it Weedy in the first reference in the interests of space.

    I think I’ll go in and take Moonshine’s name out of the interview altogether, just to try to make everyone happy.

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