‘R.I.P Ryan Dayton’ – Teenage ‘Air’ Profits (Part 1/2)

by Alphaville Herald on 24/04/05 at 1:10 pm

By Neal Stewart

I’m sitting at a vacant, shiny blue conference table in a meeting room at the top floor of Dayton Technologies HQ. Through the heavily-tinted windows I can see birds flying above the swaying palm trees outside. On the floor beneath me is the freshly-built coffin of Ryan Dayton himself. It is a polished, blue coffin mounted on a mahogany plint. Well-wishers have placed roses and about seven hand-sized personal-security devices around the coffin’s base. As a resident, Ryan had built and sold these devices. Now they have been edited to display descriptions like, “In memory of Ryan Dayton” and “I will miss you best friend =( ” It is estimated that in the 12 months he was a Second Life resident, these devices and similar earned Ryan about $1000 USD.

But the real Ryan Dayton is very much alive. 10 days ago it was Ryan’s SL avatar that was perma-banned – or ‘executed’ as some residents call it. This is because it was discovered that, when he joined Second Life 12 months ago, in real life Dayton was a 13 year old boy.

Last month, in a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court abolished capital punishment for juvenile offenders, ruling that it is unconstitutional to sentence anyone to death for a crime they committed while younger than 18.

In Second Life however, being younger than 18 IS the crime.

Being an under-18 Second Life resident is a bannable offense according to the Terms of Service. This is a policy that seems to be supported by the vast majority of residents, who cherish the mature space that SL provides. Recently however, Linden Labs made a landmark announcement of their own; the controversial [1, 2] Teen Grid will now be opened. The Teen Grid is planned as an adult-free zone, separate to the Adult Grid, and restricted to teenagers between 13 and 17 years of age. There, Teens like Ryan Dayton will no longer be banned or ‘executed’ because of what’s printed on their RL birth certificates. Instead they will have to do something serious first, like toilet-paper Old Man Lawson’s front yard.

Yesterday Ryan and I spoke for several hours. While I sat at his empty conference table in Second Life, he spelt out other-worldly messages to me through a digital Ouija board called ‘Yahoo Messenger’. Ryan did not approach the Herald for this interview. His story was discovered when I leveled up on Thursday night to virtual-journalist level 6 (10+5(int bonus * 2 exp)) and was able to track him down.

Beforehand we talked about the RL detention he received that morning for being late to class (he’s in Grade Eight) and the Second Life funeral his friends have planned for him next week. The entry for his group ‘Dayton Technologies’ now lists 19 members and no officer. In this interview Ryan tells us how his secret was exposed, his thoughts on Linden Labs, Second Life and his business here. He also talks about his hope to retrieve the $600 US dollars still locked up in his banned account and his dreams of being reincarnated in the new Teen Grid.

Neal Stewart: Please tell me everything that happened on the day you got banned. Start at the beginning.

Ryan Dayton: Alright. I started my normal day. Got up, took a shower, and got ready for school. It was a normal day until I got home. I was going to log in, but it said my account was disabled, and to visit www.secondlife.com. I did so and all it said was “on hold”. I didn’t receive an e-mail saying why. It turns out my mom made a call to Linden Lab and told them that I was 14.

Neal Stewart: What did you think when you discovered your account was ‘on hold’?

Ryan Dayton: I thought, maybe the bill wasn’t paid correctly or something. I am careful online and I do not tell just anyone my real age. My mom said nothing to me about it when she picked me up from school and by the time I found out she was already out for a work appointment.

Neal Stewart: Tell me about your mother’s call to Linden Labs.

Ryan Dayton: I had moved the credit card information to her card. My card didn’t have the cash on it at the time [Ryan primarily uses a special cash card that is linked to his mother's credit card]. She said it was fine. What she saw was a bill from “Linden Labs” not “Second Life”, so she didn’t know where the charge was coming from. She called in to find out. From what I heard, she said “my son” a few times – letting them know it was OK with her that I play the game. But but they asked her how old I was and she answered truthfully, not knowing the age limit.

Neal Stewart: Did your Second Life status eventually go from ‘on hold’ to perma-banned? Or something like that?

Ryan Dayton: Well… It’s on hold still. It will remain that way. I’m working on getting some time to log in so I can cash out and back up my valuable scripts.

Neal Stewart: I was wondering about that. Linden Labs don’t always let people log in to cash out and back things up do they?

Ryan Dayton: I’ve already paid for this month and my land fees, so I believe they owe me the time. I have a good deal of money on there from my creations and I think they should seriously think before stealing my hard-earned money.

Neal Stewart: Will you have to try and convince Linden Labs to let you back in for a bit?

Ryan Dayton: Yes. I’ve already written them an e-mail and I plan to call them on Monday. They re-open then and should get my e-mails. Hopefully I’ll get a response from them then.

Neal Stewart: If you had to bet, would you bet that Linden Labs would let you get back into your account for a bit just to cash out etc?

Ryan Dayton: I actually think they wouldn’t do it. I really hope they at least give me an hour. I paid for all of April and I think they owe that to me. It isn’t easy to start off fresh when you were leading a small business and then having yourself cut off from it.
I was pretty upset the other day. I heard that the Lindens caught a 15 year old, but gave him the privilege of staying online in the main grid till the teen grid comes out. They even said they would transfer his account for him. Yet when I come up as a teen – a scripter and mature person – they say that I will lose everything. I don’t think that’s fair. But I cant be sure if that’s correct or not. But my source says its true.

Neal Stewart: Are you certain that your assets and belongings haven’t been erased?

Ryan Dayton: I can’t be certain, but I believe they keep things for a long time before they perm-delete everything. My shop and HQ are all still up, and the land is still owned by me [It appears that there is a distinction between being 'on hold' and being genuinely perma-banned].

Neal Stewart: How did you feel when you found out that you had been banned?

Ryan Dayton: Very angry…. very sad. I put a lot of work into my business and I was about to release a new version of my Dayton 9000 Arm computer. But it was gone. [This is the security device mentioned earlier].

Neal Stewart: How much money has your Second Life business made in the 12 months and 5 days you were here?

Ryan Dayton: Let’s see… I think I’ve made a little over 1k USD.

Neal Stewart: 1000 US dollars?

Ryan Dayton: Yes.

Neal Stewart: Wow.

Ryan Dayton And there’s about $600 worth of USD on the account right now. That’s why I seriously hope I can get that hour, to cash out.

Neal Stewart: Where did most of the money come from?

Ryan Dayton: Most of the money comes from the Dayton 9000. It’s a scripted arm-computer I made. It’s very popular. It sells itself.

Neal Stewart: Can you buy it on SLExchange?

Ryan Dayton: No. You can only get it at my shop, located in Kaili 70,110.

Neal Stewart: How much does the unit go for?

Ryan Dayton: $700 L a copy (currently about $2.97 USD).

Neal Stewart: How much are you paying in tier at the moment? Or were you before?

Ryan Dayton: $25 USD a month.

Neal Stewart: So what are Dayton Tech’s main products/services?

Ryan Dayton: Dayton Tech is a group of builders and scripters developing vehicles, gadgets, guns, and anything thats sparks interest. They are also my beta test group for the Dayton 9000.


Neal Stewart: Did your friend tell you he was going to make a coffin for you?

Ryan Dayton: LOL. No, I heard about it and it surprised me.

Neal Stewart: What was your reaction?

Ryan Dayton: “WOW”

Neal Stewart: How did it make you feel?

Ryan Dayton: I didn’t expect this much attention. I was sad, but it made me happy to see that they cared.

Neal Stewart: People compare perma-bans in SL to a kind of dying. And you have a coffin here and the members of your group are wearing “R.I.P Ryan Dayton” group titles etc. Is it really similar to dying in a way?

Ryan Dayton: Yes I’d say it is. I can’t come back. I’m over with. Finished … That is unless LL will work with me to bend the rules a little. If my mom is able to take over the account, I would still make the move to the teen grid. Because her being the expected user of the account isn’t the same person as me. So I’ve still died.

Neal Stewart: Tell me more about some of the things you have made in SL.

Ryan Dayton: One of the more recent things I made is a server-based vendor. It communicates with a main server to make prices changes etc. That way I don’t have to jump all over the grid to make changes. I just change the server. Then the server e-mails all the vendors with the updates. Very proud of that one =)

Neal Stewart: Does it use XML-RPC or something?

Ryan Dayton: No, nothing goes out of the game, unless you count the e-mail leaving the game and coming back in. It’s all done with e-mail…. whole lotta e-mail =)

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. How long did it take you to code?

Ryan Dayton: Hmm… maybe 12 hours.

Neal Stewart: How many hours have you spent on SL on average, per day, in the 12 months you have been here?

Ryan Dayton: A lot. I would spend most of my day after school online… which is bad. But it was all spent learning. I don’t play that much at all anymore … I basically spent a few months working really hard at learning the language [LSL] because I saw how much it could bring in… It’s amazing… for a game.

Neal Stewart: So maybe four or five hours every day?

Ryan Dayton: Around that. Yes.

Neal Stewart: Tell me about some of the things you have learnt.

Ryan Dayton: Well. Rotations took me a while…. they are a pain. Hehe. I’ve learnt the basics of a programing language. 3d modeling. Functions, Events, states, constants, variables, flow control…

Neal Stewart: And you learnt all of these purely through SL?

Ryan Dayton: Yes and the LSL wiki.

Neal Stewart: Wow.

Ryan Dayton: I sound really geek. LOL. But I’m not at all. I just have fun coding =)

Neal Stewart: Do you consider yourself a normal American teenager? Or different in some ways?

Ryan Dayton: I think I am normal. I just took a lot of time to learn something and get good at it … I have friends, I go to parties, the movies. I’m not cooped up on here all day =) It’s a “hobby”.

Neal Stewart: How did you first find out about SL?

Ryan Dayton: Well. I started off in TSO [The Sims Online]. I heard about THERE.com I played THERE for months, and had lots of fun. I was kinda into the HTML coding at the time because we were learning how to make websites in Tech class. Someone started talking about SL. And how you could do ANYTHING and make anything… be anything. That just sounded awesome. So I checked it out.

Neal Stewart: Were they right? :)

Ryan Dayton: yup =) I was hooked from day 1.

Neal Stewart: How did you feel about the whole under-age thing when you first joined?

Ryan Dayton: Well. I hated lying to everyone who asked. But I had to … It didn’t feel right being in the game. But I couldn’t really be a good boy and go off to play THERE again. Hehe.

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. How old did you say you were, to people here?

Ryan Dayton: Well, I started as 13 [in RL]… so I said I was 19… and when my RL birthday came, I turned 14. So I became 20 in the game.

Neal Stewart: How does THERE compare to SL?

Ryan Dayton: Ummm. THERE was fun. But SL has more to offer. SL is better for me. But not for somone who isn’t into a game like this.

Neal Stewart: What does SL offer that THERE can’t?

Ryan Dayton: In-world 3D modeling and coding of what you make.

Neal Stewart: Would you say that’s the best thing about SL?

Ryan Dayton: Making things for fun. And selling them for real life big coin ;-)

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. What would you say is the worst thing about SL?

Ryan Dayton: Age limit, bugs and LINDEN LAB! That’s 3… hmm go with age limit.

Neal Stewart: Do you make money in RL in any other ways, other than SL?

Ryan Dayton: No, not really.

Neal Stewart: What sorts of things have you spent the money on, that you have made here?

Ryan Dayton: My Zen Micro MP3 player. $US 249.99.

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. What else?

Ryan Dayton: All the rest is in PayPal. And my bank.

Neal Stewart: Ah, OK. Are you saving for something?

Ryan Dayton: Pretty much. I’m sure I’ll see something I want that will be a lot of $$.

Neal Stewart: So, the person who first told you about SL, they were themselves underage too?

Ryan Dayton: Yup. They were banned and moved to THERE.

Neal Stewart: What were they banned for?

Ryan Dayton: Being underage.

Neal Stewart: How were they discovered?

Ryan Dayton: Not sure.

Neal Stewart: Have you been temporarily banned or suspended from SL before, or ever given any official warnings? About anything at all?

Ryan Dayton: Never on this account. The only time I was on hold was because my card needed refilling =)

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. So, in the 12 months you’ve been here you have had a completely clean record? :)

Ryan Dayton: Yup.

Neal Stewart: How many people do you know of that are under-age residents of SL?

[Continued in Part II...]

8 Responses to “‘R.I.P Ryan Dayton’ – Teenage ‘Air’ Profits (Part 1/2)”

  1. Clark Ambassador

    Apr 24th, 2005

    By the way– the Dayton 9000′s abilities have been disables in-game.

  2. Clark Ambassador

    Apr 24th, 2005

    Actually just a bug, all you have to do is recompile the script.

  3. Ryan Dayton

    Apr 24th, 2005

    Guys, best way to fix that is to say “/help” then select “reset”. That bug would have been fixed if i could have just released 5.0.2. Oh well.

  4. Clark Ambassador

    Apr 25th, 2005

    Awesome, Ryan– thanks.

  5. Ryan Dayton

    Apr 25th, 2005

    I’m banned and still helping with the dayton =D

  6. Ryan Dayton

    Apr 26th, 2005

    I know who the mature one is here =)

  7. Alpha Zaius

    May 20th, 2005

    Hello Ryan, you are not the only scripter that was banned from SL. I am too a minor, 15 years of age. I instead sent an email to LL to see if I can be transferred over to the teen grid. They said yes, put my account on hold, then perma-banned it and never replied to anything.. Good luck

  8. Ryan Dayton

    May 21st, 2005

    ALPHA! omg hey lol. Wow your a young smart one too =D. Can you AIM me somtime? “RyanDaytonSL” i also have Skpe “MichaelOhWow”. Ill be in the teen grid soon as well. talk to you soon

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