2005 Avatar of the Year: Prokofy Neva

by Urizenus Sklar on 02/01/06 at 10:57 pm

Avatar of the Year Prokofy Neva (left) with Pathfinder Linden

In December 2004, the Herald reported a story that raised few eyebrows at the time, but which would eventually become the single most controversial issue in Second Life during 2005, and would speak to many questions about how governance in cyberspace might shake out. The December story covered the arrival of yet another immigrant from TSO, the infamous avatar Dyerbrook, whose zealous campaign to protest the hegemonic Sim Shadow Government and the favors they were allegedly shown by Electronic Arts employees had earned him wide disfavor. When the Herald heralded Dyerbrook’s arrival in the form of avatar Prokofy Neva, few Second Life citizens took notice. Little did they know that the arrival of Prok on SL’s shores would turn out to be an epochal moment in the history of the virtual world. And little did the Herald’s editors suspect that one year later they would name him their 2005 Avatar of the Year.

As part of the Herald’s 2005 Avatar of the Year special, we are pleasedto present the following excerpt from Only A Game: Online Worlds andthe Virtual Journalist Who Knew Too Much, by Peter Ludlow (aka Herald Publisher and Editor in Chief UrizenusSklar) and Mark Wallace (aka Herald Editorial Director Walker Spaight), profiling the Herald’s2005 Avatar of the Year, Prokofy Neva:

In Second Life Prokofy established a career as a middle-tier real-estate mogul whose Ravenglass Rentals provided apartments at reasonable rates for newbies and Basic account holders. By using the in-world interface to set the right options on his land, Prokofy—like the handful of other real estate magnates, large and small, who occupy Second Life—was able to allow his tenants to build their own creations, sell them in shops he rented to them, if that was their goal, or just have a place to hang out and call their own.

But in addition to being a virtual landlord, Prokofy was also the originator of a meme that had spread to every corner of Second Life and already sparked intense debate by the time he started writing for the Herald. The "Feted Inner Core" was a term Prokofy coined to refer to a clique of SL residents that made the Sims Shadow Government, in his view, look like a gaggle of silly sorority girls (which was more or less what it had started out as, in fact).

The target of Prok’s suspicions were many of Second Life’s early adopters, the "oldbie" crowd, residents whose tenure in the world stretched back to its beta testing days and who had taken advantage of special offers the company had extended when it was first trying to build a customer base. Many of these people had received a chunk of land free of monthly tier payments in exchange for a one-time charge of $225 (quite a sum to plunk down on a new world with only a few thousand residents at the time, which was hardly enough of a population to insure its survival). Others had arrived early enough to become tight with the lifers of Second Life, and Prokofy saw in the group a cadre of privileged "digerati" who enjoyed special treatment from Linden Lab because of their early contributions to the content of the world.

To Prokofy, who had arrived in Second Life much later, this constituted nothing less than an active conspiracy between the company and its world’s early residents. The FIC, Prok charged, sought to turn latecomers into a kind of Soviet-era collective who would do little more than provide the group with the means of their enrichment.

Prokofy couldn’t keep from taking action in what he felt were the best interests of the Grid. While he refrained from the kinds of in-world raids that his activist group, the Lightsavers, had carried out in TSO, Prok made his concerns more than clear on the Linden Lab-run forums devoted to Second Life. In a new series of long-winded posts (termed "whinescrapers" by one waggish SL resident), Prok laid out just how and why the FIC were holding the reins of power and commerce on the Grid, warned new residents not to be taken in by the guileless visage the group presented, and tried to rally support for a grassroots movement to make changes in the world and how it ran that would serve to level the playing field.

Dyerbrook’s Lightsavers at work in TSO

The reaction he got was not, for the most part, a sympathetic one, in part because the antagonistic and at times insulting nature of his posts kept many people from seeing through to their content. But it was a reaction that seemed to confirm what at first looked like a conspiracy theorist’s worst fears. "One very important thing you have to still learn about SL is that we are a tight-knit community," one resident responded on the boards. "There are some that are very highly respected in this community. To begin an argument against them accusing them of exaggerations and fabrications is a sure fire way to keep your argument from being read. Right or wrong, that simply is a fact. . . . Just a note of advice."

Despite the reactions he often got, Prok was undeterred. It was his mission, he felt, to educate the newcomer and to "push back" against "crackpot ideologies of the socialist/utopian/wikian variety." Not much escaped his gaze. The free items older players gave away were designed to undercut new players’ markets. Those who did not allow the re-sale of their goods (by using SL’s permissions system) were hobbling the wheels of commerce. Those who provided open-source items, things that could be freely modified but were not to be sold, were capitalizing on others’ work for the greater glorification of their own name. And Linden Lab itself was killing commerce on the Grid by "indulging some players with various subsidies over time."

While Prok’s charges sometimes seemed indiscriminate and were often overblown, there was a germ of truth to them that could not be dismissed. Some longstanding residents did appear to get more help from LL than did later adopters, and in more than one instance the company actually contacted a number of what it felt were important content creators, requesting advice on further developing its world—and asking them not to make public the fact that they’d been solicited. (Of course, this news soon made its way to the boards.) That the company should reach out to the most impressive content-creators on the Grid is hardly surprising. But even so, there was a whiff of conflict about the practice, especially given the secrecy with which Linden Lab sometimes sought to operate.

And the fact that the company seemed more responsive to some residents than to others as it moved forward with the development of its world posed a broader question than just who would control the reins of commerce on the Grid. Prokofy’s concerns went straight to the heart of the questions about how a world like Second Life might eventually be governed, and how those governance structures might emerge. Most of the content-creators that Prok claimed had an "in" with Linden Lab are the company’s best customers, and provide the sights and sounds that attract a great many people to the world. But just as many of SL’s residents, if not more, are merely consumers. Where was their voice in the guidance of their adopted world? To Prokofy and to others, it looked like it had been silenced by the cash-flow that LL saw in Second Life’s more creative residents. Just as in real-world politics, the content-creators’ ability to generate money gave them access to the powers that ruled the world, and with that access came a portion of influence. In the end, all Prokofy was advocating was a kind of campaign finance reform for virtual worlds, a way to include the opinions and concerns of all residents in steering their online environment, rather than giving greater weight to those who generated greater corporate income. To him and to others who agreed with his ideas (if not with their presentation), it meant the difference between SL being the "world" that was promised and the "product" that most other virtual worlds never rise above.

Prok had unwittingly named the FIC around the beginning of 2005, and by February the idea was already generating angry forum threads and in-world controversy. Rather than simply watch from the sidelines, though, the Herald decided to get involved, and commissioned Prok to do a series of "Candid Conversations With the Core" in which he and an alleged member of the alleged group would sit down and hash out some alleged ideas. Finding candidates was not very difficult. "The Feted Inner Core: what is it?"

Walker wrote in introducing the series. "If you have to ask, that doesn’t mean you’re not a member." But getting people to agree to talk with one of the most incenidary figures on SL’s forums was a different matter.

Prok’s first interlocutor was an avatar named Lordfly Digeridoo, whose typist was a college student but who in Second Life was a well known architect. The interview began in typical Prokofy style. "I will ask you insulting questions and you can faux get mad if you like," Prokofy began. But in fact, the series (which only ran to two installments) yielded a number of interesting moments, many of which did seem to reveal, if not an inner core, than at least the inner workings of some of the social and economic structures that had arisen on the Grid.

Prokofy: I know you will greet each new enthusiastic newbie innocent initiative with the jaded feted attitude of the inner core, LOL. It’s always "been done." it’s always "already tried," whether a mall or a bank or whatever. "It can’t be done," you say. You’re like old-timers in a village. People have to move away from you to the big city. You’re a brake on progress, with your "can’t be dones."

Lordfly: I say "can’t be done" so hundreds of newbies don’t lose all their money on a shaky savings and loan.

Prokofy: Well don’t worlds need banks?

Lordfly: Not this one. You can’t do it without contract enforcement.

Prokofy: Well, from time immemorial immigrants have always made their own banks without the sort of nice contract systems that you may be thinking of. Not all of it is pretty. Crude but effective. It’s a necessary stage.

Lordfly: Effective if there’s a common bond of trust, but there isn’t.

Prokofy: Well, why don’t you trust anyone in SL? What have they done to you in two years to make you so jaded?

Lordfly: People online turn into total morons, for the most part. The griefer shooting his neighbors and saying "FUCK YOU, NAZI SLUT" at the welcoming area wouldn’t dare do that in the public square of his town.

To Prok, this kind of advice was evidence that oldbie residents were trying to keep the new guys down. While the Herald didn’t necessarily see the same conspiracies Prokofy did, the questions he was asking were exactly what the paper has been interested in. Assuming Second Life was to be the world Philip Rosedale was offering, how would inclusive governance structures be able to develop when new ideas were routinely quashed by older residents, and the company itself sought only a narrow range of opinions on how to head into the future?

Whatever the merits of Prokofy’s arguments, they soon got lost in the antipathetic nature of the conversations on Second Life’s forums and the Herald’s comments threads. To Prok, those who felt they deserved special treatment for having been in-world longer were "screaming entitlement fucktards" and sometimes worse. Some among Prok’s respondents were no less insulting, charging his typist with being mentally imbalanced and publishing what were thought to be the details of his real life on the forums—something that’s usually considered a cardinal sin and which was a specific violation of LL’s Terms of Service. Many forums threads were locked, edited or deleted by LL’s moderators, who passed out warnings of disciplinary action to Prok and others, but Prok stuck to his guns.

Prok’s board war raged for more than six months, his accusations growing more serious as time passed. Some resident-run Web sites that had done much to enrich the world of Second Life by providing screenshot-sharing services or third-party forums and marketplaces were accused of harvesting their visitors’ IP addresses for nefarious (if never quite articulated) ends. Prok had accused the Herald of the same transgression in the past. Uri hadn’t even bothered responding to the charges and had let the matter drop, but many other residents were unable to simply ignore Prok’s posts. Just as Prok felt he had to defend himself from the injustices that prevailed in Second Life, SL’s residents felt they had to defend themselves against Prok’s charges, and more than one threatened to bring a real-life lawsuit against him for defamation and loss of business. With so much bile flying around, just logging into the forums was an often distasteful experience.

When Linden Lab took action, it spoke volumes about what the answers to Prok’s and the Herald’s questions might be. In the summer of 2005, the company banned Prokofy altogether, not from the world of Second Life, but from its forums. His crime was having "repeatedly violated the Community Standards and the Forum Guidelines" with his incendiary posts. A couple of wrists were slapped on the other side of the issue, but no other apparent disciplinary action was taken. Prok had been silenced.

To the Herald, this was a worse crime than any that had been committed thus far in the debate. Once again, it looked like the unpopular sentiment had been censored. As far as the emergence of inclusive governance structures in virtual worlds went, the company’s move didn’t seem to bode well at all.

Worse still was how the ban came about. In June 2005, just after Prokofy was banned from the forums, Internet Relay Chat logs were leaked to the Herald that illustrated what did in fact seem to be a conspiracy between residents and at least one Linden Lab employee to rid the forums of Prokofy. While the Linden liaison involved had simply "lost it," as he later told the Herald, and was acting on his own initiative rather than on orders from above, the conversation seemed to vindicate Prok’s wildest fantasies of Linden-FIC collusion. Whether or not it was a self-fulfilling prophecy come true, here at least was the evidence that the world’s governance was indeed being influenced, at times, by a shadowy cabal of residents who enjoyed privileged access to Second Life’s administrators.

The truth was that Prok was gagged not because of any transgressions but because a small group of residents wanted him gagged. In the chat logs leaked to the Herald, the Linden liaison involved (identified as llPath in the excerpt below) acknowledges that Prok has not, in fact, violated the Terms of Service or the Community Standards, and that other residents have. Along the way, he encourages the residents to provoke Prokofy into crossing the line:

llPath: we’re all on the same page here, yes?

llPath: here’s the deal

llPath: Prok never "technically" violates the Community Standards

llPath: Prok skirts them, and ultimately ends up inciting other Residents to "break" the CS

llPath: can you see the dilemma I (and all the other mods) are in??

llPath: we are faced with the need to allow the MOST freedom possible

llPath: so, until we work out an official policy, the general rule is, don’t let Prok’s posts incite you to do something stupid

llPath: but, you didn’t hear that from me (say no more)

. . .

llPath: any change in "policy" at LL involves many people

ShadowImg: I was referring more to a "martial law" type policy until the official policy could be written

Cienna: You’d have to ban [Prok] and all 20 alts

llPath: don’t think I have not suggested that

llPath: the ONLY FRIGGIN THING I care about is keeping the forums as supportive and constructive as possible for EVERYONE

ShadowImg: yup

llPath: so let your imagination run with that one

llPath: and you’ll know what I’ve suggested

The Herald took up Prokofy’s cause as if it were its own. But although it was clear to the Herald that Prokofy was raising important issues—albeit in an incendiary way—most of Second Life didn’t seem to feel the same way. Though Prok had his supporters, the Herald was roundly flamed for defending him. Uri, though, was unperturbed. It wasn’t the Herald’s job to please all the avatars all of the time. What surprised Uri was the strength of resident reactions to both Prokofy and to the Herald’s support of him. It seemed that many people, whether they realized it or not, preferred a world in which the unpopular were silenced. In the Herald’s view, this didn’t bode well for the future of online societies. If virtual worlds are to become truly useful, if they are to fulfill the promise imagined by people like author Neal Stephenson and Philip Rosedale, the founder of Linden Lab, their stewards will need to carefully consider things like freedom of speech and the power of the mob to silence the contrarian voice.

Perhaps most chilling was the fact that in the wake of Prokofy’s board war, Linden Lab changed its Forum Guidelines so that being banned from the forums in future would also mean being banned from the Grid. The company also cracked down on what could and could not be said on the boards. Posts that are "intended to incite anger" or that have been "written with the intent of inciting or getting argumentative opinions" are "strongly discouraged" and could result in disciplinary actions.

But judging intent is always a tricky business, and the real world’s laws generally find a way to avoid making this judgment. Second Life is not the real world, of course, but it has real-world applications that make the comparison meaningful. As guidelines for the free exchange of ideas—the ostensible purpose of any forum—Linden Lab’s leave much to be desired.

Whether or not the FIC actually exists and was anointed by the Lindens, it was probably inevitable that a Brahmin class of Second Life residents would arise. In one sense, it’s a sign that the society that’s forming in Second Life is as robust as any in the real world, where privileged classes are the norm, as sociologist Clay Shirky has pointed out. This might sound sinister, but in Shirky’s view it is a good thing: "In all successful online communities that I’ve looked at, a core group arises that cares about and gardens effectively, gardens the environment, to keep it growing, to keep it healthy."

But such groups are not always given the software tools they want in order to keep the larger population under their control, according to Shirky. "And if the software doesn’t allow the core group to express itself, it will invent new ways of doing so." On one Internet bulletin board Shirky studied, a core group of users began supplementing their public communications with an email list originally set up to plan a real-life barbecue. In the context of the bulletin board, though, the mailing list was used to "coordinate efforts formally if they were going to troll someone or flame someone or ignore someone. . . . [The bulletin board] didn’t let them do it in the software, [so] they brought in other pieces of software, these mailing lists, that they needed to build the structure."

While many SL residents were surprised to see the conspiracy that was uncovered by the leaked chat log, Shirky had suggested that such phenomena are merely commonplace. Still, most members of Second Life’s aristocracy refused to believe that a Brahmin class had developed in SL—they couldn’t see their own privileged social position.

They could not escape the FIC moniker, though. While Prokofy was a contentious figure on the SL forums (though he was never as contentious a figure on the Grid, interestingly), the ideas he contributed have had a profound impact on Second Life. "Feted Inner Core," the term he coined, is now in widespread use in Second Life, and has even been used as a joke in the log-in message that greets users when they sign on to SL. Linden Lab’s public relations staff have expressed concerns about the perception that they favor an FIC. Some residents joke that it is actually a "fetid" inner core, and it is a mark of tongue-in-cheek pride among many to be considered part of it. The irony of Prok’s board wars is that they ended up making a kind of FIC member out of him too. Prokofy Neva’s is now one of the most well known names on the Grid, and he has become an A-list cyberlebrity at many trendy Second Life events.

For all these reasons, Prokofy Neva is the Second Life Herald’s 2005 Avatar of the Year; the avatar that has changed the news on the grid for the most, for better or for worse.

21 Responses to “2005 Avatar of the Year: Prokofy Neva”

  1. Bujila

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Oh come on…. Lets just stop glorifying these people. They are just a bunch of losers with too much spare time on their hands which they spend in their virtual worlds staring at their screens, and with no real life of any significance whatsoever. Like this one, their attitude and behaviour just show their lack of normal day to day real life social skills, and explains why they spend so many hours wasting away their hours “interacting” with others in front of their pc’s.

  2. HiroPendragon

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    All other qualifications being debatable… isn’t naming one of your primary staff writers as “avatar of the year” a bit self-serving and a conflict of interests?

  3. Cocoanut Koala

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Oh! My! God! And here I thought it would be Lazarus Divine!

    I’m glad I took the moment to check to see if the SLH was up yet.

    I know Prok is gonna find all KINDS of things wrong with this piece (you know it, too, lol) which I don’t have time to read carefully right now.

    But now I can die and leave SL happy! If I were dying and leaving, that is.

    Love ya, Prok, and admire you, and always will. And those of you who don’t like that fact – well, suck it up.


  4. Lara

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Oh come on…. Lets just stop glorifying these people. They are just a bunch of losers with too much spare time on their hands which they spend in their virtual worlds staring at their screens, and with no real life of any significance whatsoever. Like this one, their attitude and behaviour just show their lack of normal day to day real life social skills, and explains why they spend so many hours wasting away their hours “interacting” with others in front of their pc’s.


  5. Walker Spaight

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    I’d hardly call Prok one of our “primary staff writers.” We only have three people on staff (Uri, myself and Matthias Zander), and in any case, Prok has only written for us a handful of times since his ban, and only twice before it. Regardless, the impact he had on the Grid doesn’t have anything to do with his work for the Herald. The FIC meme was in wide circulation long before Prok’s byline first showed up here.

  6. Styrofoam

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Whatever, Waler. The rank ideological bias of the Herald in general, and in particular the writing of Urizenus and yourself makes it hard to take anything you do seriously.

    Your (the Herald’s) relationship with Prok is highly problematic, and exposes you to the same sort of criticism Prok levels at Linden Labs. Prok generates a significant amount of the reportorial content for the Herald, and you, in turn, “fete” him for it.

    Irony so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    He joins staff writers on expeditions to camping chair outposts, he is frequently sought out as a source of “good quote” on various issues, and is deployed as a voice of reason arrayed against the Sauronic Kremlindenlabs (to use the Herald’s asinine appellation.).

    The parallels to Judy Miller and her buddy-buddy (to put it politely) relationship with Ahmed Chalabi are there for anyone to see.

    Reputedly, you practice real journalism in real life.

    Well, keep practicing. Maybe you’ll get it right eventually.

  7. toodles

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    LOL. God I love this blog. Comedy gold!

  8. Avah (Fallen Hasp)

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Grats prok :)

  9. montserrat snakeankle

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    i fainted when i saw this but it is well deserved.
    i think few people have done the amount of thinking and analyzing
    prokkie has, relative to SL and its politics. i bet he’s blown
    a lot of braincells on SL.

    Congratulations, prokkie!!! i will wear my free prokkie t-shirt
    tomorrow in your honor

  10. Gina Fatale

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    great choice guys for this year all top 3 had some sort of impact on SL whether you liked it or not. BTW I’m back in game finally so hit me up Uri babe lol.

  11. Urizenus Sklar

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    Last years 2nd place winner was also a reporter for the Herald. But in that case, as in this case, readers can rest assured that we evaluated the candidates independently of their relation to the Herald. In this, as in all matters of import, the Herald Braintrust ™ is rigorously objective — indeed, downright Popperian. Especially when it comes to something as monumentally impotant as being named “Avatar of the Year” by a real live blog that is on Teh Internet!

  12. Gina Fatale

    Jan 3rd, 2006

    wtf? someone messin up posts here lol i wrote the “great choice guys for this year all top 3 had some sort of impact on SL whether you liked it or not. BTW I’m back in game finally so hit me up Uri babe lol.” not that other post lol

  13. Urizenus Sklar

    Jan 4th, 2006

    Gina, I think you got confused by the new comments format. the “posted by” is beneath the post, but the dotted lines separating the posts make you think the posted by goes above.

  14. Avah (Fallen Hasp)

    Jan 4th, 2006

    Prok chews on a bone with the tenacity of a junkyard dog also being highly intelligent . . I suppose Prok would be as deserving as anyone else. Ive personally stumbled upon the boundries of Prok’s psyche during the few exchanges weve shared and without much effort on my part. That was a disappointment. We need a champion. Still, giving credit where its due, Prok never shows signs of apathy and possesses boundless energy, caring just a tiny bit more than the rest of us. Even when she is clearly out of line or mistaken. LOL. I stand by my comment in the last thread when I said no one has affected anything regardless of their efforts. Really believe you affect things more than any political entity, Uri, giving everyone a forum to express their opinions, not only the popular opinion. Indeed it should be no surprise if Prok is linked to the Herald. Where else are we given that freedom in speech within the SL community to the degree in which we have it here? Those of you who take the time to post, slamming Uri or Prok should give what Ive said more consideration. In any event, well won Prok and bright blessings to you and the entire herald staff.

  15. Bahaha

    Jan 4th, 2006

    Yeah. Right. Paranoid Delusional and Creepy ‘Tard of the Year maybe. Prokofy is a vicious, nasty, bile spewing piece of shit who is entirely out of touch with any reality the rest of us inhabit. Do you know what FOAD means, Prok? Then do it, please!

  16. Gina Fatale

    Jan 4th, 2006

    great just what i need more confusion in my life lol. yea your right now i see how it goes hehe my bad. :P

  17. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 6th, 2006

    Thank you, Urizenus and Walker Spaight, wherever you are!

    It seems funny that the site has been down for days all the time this “Avatar of the Year” article ran — then it got pushed below the fold. I couldn’t come in and comment. Paranoid? Yes mauahahahah.

    Seriously, I am relieved you didn’t select Lazarus Divine, who arguable affected more people — people who probably never heard of me, the forums, the Herald, even, with all due respect.

    I receive this honour with mixed feelings. After all, it is the Herald that outed my real life without my consent more than a year ago, and made it possible for roaring psycho stalkers like Nolan Nash and his many fake alts on my blog and this blog to keep persecuting me. The fact that the Herald keeps ducking this issue, never really facing it, is just part of the Herald’s story that will probably have to be told by someone other than the authors of “Only a Game”.

    Uri *does* harvest IPs and *does* use them to keep people off. These charges are *true*. He twice banned me one evening after the Selena Witch hoax when he was furious at me — I tried coming back on another ISP and he got me there. He then relented and unbanned me, realizing how bad it would look for Mr. Champion of Free Speech to be banning someone who hoaxed him and exposed his shoddy journalism.

    Since then, Uri’s journalism has gotten better, and of course he’s hired people like Walker who are professionals, so that’s great.

    Urizenus, in writing this chapter and using the chapter to pay me (lefthanded) tribute, makes a number of profoundly misleading statements.

    The first is the concept, fueled only on the forums but not backed by facts, that I was banned for accusing Cristiano of harvesting IPs and saying “they track you all over the Internet” about sluniverse.com

    In fact, I wasn’t banned for such statements, it happened merely that the thread was “sequested” to be “examined” by the moderators (a funny practice they engaged in for awhile) and then never returned. The erased thread simply said Cristiano harvests IPs and uses them to ban people. He does! Just like Uri! And just like Prok — in requesting that people use their SL names if they wish to post on his blog. As you all have constantly proven, and is widely known, this is accepted practice. The question is whether you use these banning tools to chill speech or hide unpleasant truths, etc. I don’t see that the Herald does this. I don’t do that as I leave up all these haters and asstards to harass me constantly. Cristiano may or may not block posts, who knows? He certainly had me blocked for awhile.

    As I’ve often explained about this incident, none other than Robin Linden herself entered this thread and said she’d check on the issue of how email addresses entrusted in privacy to LL, were going off to Snapzilla, an outside third-party, as part of the “from” address in the “e-mail my screenshot” function. I was right to question this. Cristiano only defensively says that he “dumps” these email addresses. But if they land on his property like that, that’s wrong. We’d have to entrust him to cut them out. Meanwhile Linden has a lot of explaining to do when they promise privacy, promise no spam, yet let your e-mail travel off its site so readily (there are at least 3 other mistakes they’ve made on this matter we’ve all documented and it illustrates their callous careless with this issue, which they only belatedly began to fix).

    By linking to his original “The Second Coming of Dyerbrook,” Urizenus does nothing to correct the falsehoods in that story. The story claims I “hounded Will Wright from his own game.” I doubt Will Wright even knows or remembers who I am. To be sure, I had an alt that befriended his alt in TSO a long time ago, but *if* Will Wright were to remember Dyerbrook and his alts in TSO, it would not be with any notion of being “hounded”. He disentangled himself from TSO of his own accord, due to his creative differences with Ea.com or whatever. I don’t know all the politics and behind the scenes stories there — couldn’t the Herald cover this? –but it’s simply false to say “I hounded him from his game” in the role-playing war between Sim Shadow Government and the Lightsavers Partisan Liberation Movement LOL.

    P.S. I remain a member in good standing at TSO, I was never banned from TSO, and the 3-day ban equivalent of a swear in PG is a one-time instance that many people had on their records and means nothing.

    Of course restating these corrections for the record for the millionth time is unlikely to stick; I find these days that even if I say that I shed two tiers and sold off two sims and pay less tier to LL (because of their competition with their own residents), then some fuckwad will transmogrify that on to some hysterical blog comment that I “received two free tiers from Linden Lab”. So it’s hopeless LOL.

    If I were to describe my accomplishments in SL, they wouldn’t hinge only on bringing LL to account with things like the Pathfinder IRC story. They’d include:

    1. Leading the charge to get rid of the pernicious officer-recall function which enabled any anonymous griefer not only to paralyze a land group and its business and customers and tenants, but to even take over with rogue elections after freezing that officer they wished to grief and target. LL got rid of it. Of course, in doing so, they put in something else — the right of the founder to call LL and ask them to remove any officer who might have joined originally in good faith. So it’s got terrible repercussions of state intervention, but this is all a stop-gap til they fix group tools, which I hope they do sooner, and not break some good aspects of it even as they fix it.

    2. Created a medium-sized rentals company that has more than a dozen communities, some of them with themed builds, where people have fairly simple and lax rules to build on their own while respecting their neighbours, and share in group benefits like extra prims with the 10 percent bonus and group dwell. I’ve pushed for the tier-sharing/tier-donation program in the fact of huge opposition from major land barons who loathe the idea of grassroots organizations of this type that would give them less dependent, and less high-paying customers.

    3. I made it possible for many people to break through the cartels near telehubs by providing low cost parcels or stalls without the forced 4-week payment that many land-barons installed to make windfall profits off these areas.

    4. I led the effort to create Metaverse Justice Watch and other similar groups, whatever their dramas and hijackings later, to help launch the era of interest-group lobbying in SL, a normal function of a civil society that is vital for a democracy.

    5. I put 50,000 m2 into the SL Public Land Preserve I started to create a variety of lands to enjoy for wilderness camping to spas to no-rent vending.

    None of these things are very sexy in terms of the Herald, but I think they are an important part of my story.

    I continue to maintain that this horribly conservative, stuff, arrogant, and unfree society of SL needs to have dissidents — dissidents that keep their integrity, and are willing to endure campaigns of hatred and vilification, for the sake of broader freedoms in the world. By introducing the terms “FIC” and “tekkie-wiki” and “fuck-you hedonism” among others, I have changed the lexicon significantly and helped people to think about the problems inherent in a revolutionary project that involves a game company steeped in MMORPEG culture feting and privileging and even hiring more than a third of its own customers to govern something they say is a world in its own right.

    I do want to point out again that I am Prokofy and Prokofy is he. I will continue to fight for the integrity of one’s avatar, and the preferred gender of one’s avatar, and the firewall protection between one’s avatar and one’s real life person. These principles must be at the bedrock of the Metaverse. They must prevail. No one has the right to destroy another’s second life or avatar by harming them with outing in an effort to silence, shame, or humiliate them. No one should be intolerant of another’s transformation of gender and should respect that choice and cease their taunting and teasing by calling them with the opposite gender’s pronoun.

    If a person cannot change their gender and cannot make a Second Life; if they cannot criticize the programmers, coders, and designers of that Second Life software for the sake of a better world than our first world, then there is no Metaverse, there is only a game.

  18. joe public

    Jan 6th, 2006

    “I receive this honour with mixed feelings.”

    bwahahahhhhahahahahahhaha….that’s the funniest line I’ve heard in ages. The list of “accomplishments” prok itemises in his *sniff* acceptance speech is even funnier.

    “I will continue to fight for the integrity of one’s avatar, and the preferred gender of one’s avatar, and the firewall protection between one’s avatar and one’s real life person. These principles must be at the bedrock of the Metaverse. They must prevail. blah blah blah”

    oh…puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease get a fucking life!!!

  19. RB

    Jan 6th, 2006

    Wow. That report makes EA sound like a caring company run by holy men compared to LL. And LL is only one game, one studio.

    Takes a special effort to surpass the borg.

    - RB.

  20. Urizenus

    Jan 6th, 2006

    RB,just wait til you see the stuff on EA! I didn’t think Linden’s came off sooo bad here, btw.

  21. puttingitalltogether

    Oct 31st, 2008


    … After being snubbed for years by groups that didn’t want him, and finding his weak rental business model beginning to flounder in the face of rising competition in the SL business environment, Prokofy decided to finally gain vengeance upon those he felt had looked down upon him for too long. He had tried many times logging in as various alts and griefing the system, trying to frame those he despised. Sometimes he would even log into forums under false names to support his long rants and to build support for the downfall of the evil Lindens and their pets the LibSL, but to no avail.

    He had been jealously watching the evil libsecondlife with a close eye for some time now, and through his network of paid spies he had finally found the perfect tool to complete his plans. Second Life had been slowly slipping away from his control, and he needed something to sway the tide and raise himself to a respected controlling status against the Lindens.

    LibSL it seems had been designing a tool which could reproduce the data stream that was sent to the client and return it to the server. Prokofy realized this was his chance, and that with a very simply modification, he could create a doomsday weapon to bring Second Life to its knees. Meanwhile, he had been securing his financial future by developing a defense against his ultimate weapon. He knew about all the demos going on for the new LibSL technology, so he timed it perfectly. He unleashed CopyBot under one of his many alts and then made windfall profits under other alts selling the CopyBot Assassin. All the while, he furthered his agenda of keeping SL a closed system where he could forever be the most powerful, and where the possibility of an Open Source technology to benefit all would never exist.

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