Second Life Creates Strange Bedfellows

by Pixeleen Mistral on 29/11/06 at 2:45 pm

Will Linden Lab land shortage place Gorean slaves by the NBC Christmas tree?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Virtual_christmasIn the lead up to a virtual Christmas tree lighting event to be staged for NBC television between 4 and 7 pm PST today, a real surprise was uncovered by Prokofy Neva – at least one Second Life virtual recreation of the New York City NBC headquarters is located next to a Gorean role play neighborhood – where the belief is that women are inferior to men and can only be happy as sex slaves. What led to this unusual virtual juxtaposition?

To skate around the limited number of people who can visit a region in Second Life, the Christmas event planners are making 18 copies of the virtual event space — this should allow for around 700 visitors at a time. John Swords of the Electric Sheep Company – the consultants assisting NBC is this venture – took great pains to point out that there is currently a shortage of virtual land in Second Life. Mr. Swords said server delivery time at Linden Lab was a problem, “so pulling together land was was difficult”.

When NBC was only able to rent 6 islands directly from Linden Lab, they turned to a 3rd party land dealer – Anshe Chung Studios for 12 more sites. According to Mr. Swords, “Part of NBC Universal’s agreement with Anshe was that we would not have the sims moved.” Anshe Chung’s Dreamland developments include “Gothic/BDSM” theme areas so the situation was ripe for some unusual cross-pollination of online cultures – and thus we may be treated to a New York Christmas next to the sword wielding slave masters of Gor.

Further complicating the situation, the Electric Sheep Company’s original plan to welcome visitors with a special signup and orientation area was not possible due to limitations of Linden Lab’s current technology – a promised referral signup system is not yet functional. New users attracted to Second Life from’s web site will use the standard sign up process and orientation area. The ESC have engaged 20 staffers to shepherd lost new users to the 18 copies of the virtual festivities. In light of the neighborhoods where some of these holiday celebrations take place, the Electric Sheep‘s shepherd staff may also be working at keeping their flock from staying into the neighbor’s pasture.

23 Responses to “Second Life Creates Strange Bedfellows”

  1. Arthur Fermi

    Nov 29th, 2006

    You know whats great, is Prokofy Neva can’t write stores here, yet this is the second time a writer here has gotten a story from him. I think that either you stick with the shoe stories, or get Prokofy Neva back here, so you can have something to post (Now I will say the article “The Problems of Gor” has been good.)

  2. John Swords

    Nov 29th, 2006

    I didn’t think to take notice that we were next to a Gorean-themed sim, but I certainly knew we would be having neighbors on some of the sims rented from Anshe Chung. Part of NBC Universal’s agreement with Anshe was that we would not have the sims moved.

    I cannot speak for NBC Universal and their feeling about their neighbors but hundreds if not thousands of companies have neighbors on the main grid and I don’t see why NBC Universal would be any different.

  3. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 29th, 2006

    Nice tap-dancing there, Johnny Ming. If you had a choice, it might have been something to “take notice of”.

    Sure, everybody has neighbours. Why, I have a giant refrigerator as a neighbour! But…Gor Next Door is more than just neighbours, it’s a scandal.

  4. bluesapphire

    Nov 29th, 2006

    Hey John, Can I quote you on that directly on the article I’m writing? I’ve asked for NBC’s official line, they don’t even have a clue what ‘gorean’ means. I sent them your quote though.

    Also, this is a creative vacuum. Nice though to see this story being hijacked by Anshe though. I honestly despair, eSheep are just churning out such uninspiring work. If I was NBC I would be asking questions.

  5. urizenus

    Nov 29th, 2006

    This isn’t really an issue about the Sheep and NBC, but a problem that RL corporations are going to have to deal with sooner or later. What do they say their customers or to cultural conservatives who ask why they have builds in a place like Second Life that has…well, not just goreans, but people engaged in sex ageplay for example.

    One answer is to put all corporate builds on islands, but even this won’t satisfy a lot of people. Let’s face it, the content of SL is very very adult — my guess is that 50% of the activity at the moment is sexually oriented in some form or other (inclusive of Gorean roleplay).

    Of course there is adult content all over the internet and even cultural conservatives don’t take businesses to task for having websites (indeed, CCs have them too)but this is a little different in that there is really only one portal to the metaverse at the moment — NBC etc is sharing a space with the pervs.

  6. bluesapphire

    Nov 29th, 2006

    oh me bad, me stand corrected.

    This is actually an Aimee project, hence the photo buildings, its just esheep trying to steal the shadow-map-limelight. Didn’t you guys just do the streaming, a girl could be wrong here, but I feel this is desperate.

    Although, from the NBC people, it would seem that Esheep are claiming to be the overall lead and ‘steady hand in the process’. Somewhere in all this, the Bedazzle kidz are bringing up the rear in the pecking order. Don’t worry Dazzlers, I’m sure Linden Lab will commission a Bells&Spurs2: Prok comes to town.

    Egos at dawn!

  7. Satchmo Prototype

    Nov 29th, 2006

    I agree Uri. It’s interesting to gage public reaction to this, which may be an excellent case study to see if companies should avoid the mainlands for these reasons. You certainly can’t choose your neighbors in SL and even if you start out with great neighbors, we all know that can change over time. Private islands certainly provide these kind of protections but should companies always be holed up on private sims?

  8. Futurismic

    Nov 29th, 2006

    Swords, Submission And Seasonal Celebrations In Second Life

    With all the recent media interest in Second Life, it’s probably no great shakes to hear that there will be a virtual version of NBC’s New York Christmas lights switch-on ceremony. What may make the experience a little more interesting…

  9. Ouchquack

    Nov 29th, 2006

    I used to work for two different NBC affiliates and I don’t see what the controversy is here. If they knew about the Gorean universe they’d love it.

    These are the guys who took that freakshow Donald Trump and made him a superstar! He is a supermodel addict, buying one after the other, and clearly has issues with dominance and reality. Gor might be a step up for NBC.

    Jeff Zucker will air anything that 1) is cheap 2) is repetitive and 3) comes with a theme.

    Look for some bright young producer working for Jeff Zucker, who when exposed to Gor, will stage a Second Life-based ‘reality show’ in a Gorean sim… test it out on Cable (following the NBC/Universal merger.. why not? Think “Project Runway”) .. and then plunk that turd of a show down as a lead in to Friday Night Lights. (You know Heroes is too good to stay where it is).

    Survivor set the mold for ‘Reality’ TV because it was cheap as hell and practically wrote itself. A Gorean show made in SL would not only be cheap for the same reasons, but add the fact that there are no film crews or locations — cha-CHING! Of course they’ll have to voice the shows in post-production because nobody will want to read that much, but they can do that with unknown actors — and switch them out often enough that they don’t ever get paid well.

  10. August Hayek

    Nov 29th, 2006

    Well….As one who purchased an island in Dreamland Ocean, with prominent covenants on prim limits and non-commercial use, I am speechless.

    50m outside my front door, what was ocean and a tropical island is now a huge black monolith upon which rests some simulacrum of the Big Apple. I suppose I shouldn’t complain though, I have seen one poor soul’s home barely 5m away from the foundation of the city. That person’s view from the window has been…somewhat curtailed.

    This is obviously some usage of “non-commercial activities” with which I’m unacquainted.

    I am a businessman in RL, and I’m big on marketing, and frankly capitalism. The sad fact is that these people didn’t see fit to say one word (even under a non-disclosure agreement) to those of us who have believed in the value of contracts in SL. It’s not only not businesslike, it’s downright inconsiderate.

    I’m not sure I’ll be hopping any yellow cabs to events in NYC, though I can swim over in 2 minutes from my island home’s front door to do so. Christmas cheer must be trumping common courtesy this year.

  11. Urizenus

    Nov 30th, 2006

    They aren’t going to *leave* those eyesores up, are they?

  12. Aimee Weber

    Nov 30th, 2006


    I’m finally back from NBC offices. What a wonderful rush!

    Yes, Bluesapphire is correct that my role in this project was as the Project Manager. However this fact should not detract from the excellent job Electric Sheep has done with the streaming and event handling portion of this project. They are a great company to work with.

  13. Cory Edo

    Nov 30th, 2006

    And Aimee and Bedazzled did an awe-inspiring job on the sim build. Its absolutely gorgeous in every way and I couldn’t be more thrilled that so many people saw it during the event tonight. I can’t speak highly enough of it, or of the experience working with these two excellent companies.

  14. August Hayek

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Miss Weber…It’s nice to see you here, given that you didn’t return my IM request yesterday.

    As the Project Manager, is it the case that no one put an item in the Gannt chart to talk to the neighbors, or even discover who they were?

    I’m a little surprised, in that I would think NBC would be concerned about …undesirable messaging in the channel.

    As a comparative (2006) new resident, it saddens me that one with your experience didn’t seem to see fit to consider the impact that the placement of these monstrosities would have on innocent neighbors.

  15. Aimee Weber

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Hi August! I didn’t get your aforementioned message (don’t feel I am ignoring you, I’m not!). And I certainly didn’t want to sadden you! :(

    This project procured sims from Linden Lab and Anshe Chung in bulk. As such, you might say we got what we got.

    It certainly wasn’t our intention to offend the folks in neighboring sims (quite the contrary, we were hoping to provide you guys with something fun to do!)

    Some sims will be permanent fixtures, but many will be removed within the week (the ones that may be causing aesthetic anxiety with some neighbors in particular.)

    If you want to beat the snot out of me directly, i’m ready for it. You can reach me at I really appreciate your input as community is my first priority so don’t hold back the punches.

  16. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Aimee, what sort of horseshit is this? The sound didn't work on all of the sims except one. This after enormous hyping ahead of time that it would. When I kept checking, I found the URL wasn't even pasted in at all. On two of the sims, I found Sheep employees goofing off. I asked them why there was no sound. They said it only worked on one. They seemed completely unconcerned, and had no explanation as to why the URL wasn't pasted in, with any sort of sound coming out, even canned Christmas carols.

  17. Urizenus

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Yeah, we have yet to get an event in which they master that “paste the url” technological hurdle.

    But seiously now, Aimee. What *I* want to know is this: Did the peacock get collared?

  18. Anshe Chung

    Nov 30th, 2006

    There was miscommunication and that skyscrapers now appear in these sims was not something I expected. I deeply apologize to all residents near these sims. This is only temporary and soon after the event the area will be restored. Next time I will be more careful and clearly doublecheck construction plans before I give green light to rentals, even if just short term. I accept all the blame.

    Gorean, gothic and many other cultures are one integral part of Second Life. One of the social progress in our Second Life world is the tolerance, openess and freedom of voluntarily pursue different lifestyles – not hidden but openly, with pride. Voluntary power exchange is part of the Gorean roleplay culture, this is true. As much as killing people is part of the World of Warcraft roleplay culture. The problem is that real life people often don’t understand if not explicitly explained to them. If feed this to RL media, people get confuse and may think what happens in SL is something not consensual like RL slavery or such, which it has nothing to do with.

    I think NBC and their consultants have done the right thing by respect existing cultures in the Metaverse and not discriminating against some. They did not hide from the community but joined it, in one bold and progressive move. Second Life is one highly emotional space, with feelings and immersive experiences really touching the hearts of people. The huge emotional and social capital generated in this world is what really drives its growth, culture and economy :-)

  19. Satchmo Prototype

    Nov 30th, 2006

    No cut and paste hurdle here. Every sim had video that was working. The audio came through the video. It wasn’t designed to just listen to Jaycatt and Frogg, but to watch their “live” SL appearance. Thanks to everyone for coming out. Happy Holidays.

  20. Sable Heart

    Nov 30th, 2006

    yes Happy Holidays….I do enjoy how my home has convenants and I come in to work on more of my First Holiday with my partner…and see a black wall and a skylooming NY city where there once were islands and a moon….I suppose that could be contrived as a happy holiday to a blind person being able to see for the first time…yes the builds were nice…if you had it where it belonged…if people were forewarned and also if maybe just maybe thinking of the people who DO have to live looking at a black wall now instead of a nice moonfilled sky…so the people who pay for this…are the people who actually are paying for their tiers and have very little say in what happens to their land…I find this the most disheartening point of all this…happy holidays…remember when you see the beautiful moon, don’t take it for granted

  21. Urizenus

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Just wondering: could the Lindens have detached this sims and moved them out to see for purposes of the event?

  22. August Hayek

    Dec 1st, 2006

    So…here’s what I fail to understand. The following is the exact building code from Miss Chung’s firm under which my neighbors and I have agreed in good faith to abide.

    I invite you, Anshe, to explain how it is that we, your other customers, should respect these in light of what now sits next to our parcels? Perhaps it might be easier to see which of these are *not* blatantly violated by the cities in the ocean next to which we’re now living?

    o No malls, no store rentals, no listing of parcels under category “stores”
    o No major clubs, no listing of parcels as “gathering place”
    o No sandboxes
    o No flying structures below 250m altitute. As graphics become better we will most likely have to increase this altitute [sic] in the future.
    o No obstructive signs, billboards or rotating prims
    o No highrise structures. Max building height is 2 times distance of prim from parcel border
    o Buildings must have adequate distance from parcel border
    o No major eyesores
    o To preserve a consistent landscape, terraforming is subject to approval by sim management. PLEASE DO NOT MESS UP COASTLINES, DESTROY HILLSIDES OR TURN THE WHOLE LAND INTO FLAT PIZZA.
    o No skirting of the terraforming limits by creating fake landscapes with prims

    We also very much appreciate if you plant trees around your house so that land is not barren. Especially on hills and snowy slopes this is encouraged.

  23. August Hayek

    Dec 1st, 2006

    At the risk of poor form in posting twice…I should say that I noted Anshe’s apology, and appreciate it. I have no doubt that it’s possible to have buyers in a hurry forget to inform her of their intentions. That happens.

    The thing that confuses me is the selective enforcement of core principles.

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