The Broadly Offensive

by prokofy on 09/06/07 at 4:11 pm


Prokofy Neva, Dept. of Community Affairs. Op-Ed.

Last night, we met at the Sutherland Dam for the Friday evening salon (will try to post the transcript on my blog soon) to discuss how to respond to the May 31st Daniel Linden Edict which threatens not only to take away cultural and political freedoms in Second Life, it seeks to enlist a nation of police informers in that dubious effort to do the nasty job of ratting out their fellow residents to determine what is “broadly offensive”. We all need to opt out from that exercise — pronto.

Various protests groups have gotten started around this as is always the case in SL — each with its own agenda, and one even calling itself “United” to try to “unite everybody”. I personally don’t think the solution to the Lindens artificially uniting us into a fake “community” — one that they falsely invoked as justification for their Edict — is for us then to be artificially united and holding hands across the sea singing Kumbayah. I don’t want to hold hands and sing Kumbayah with people that I personally find broadly offensive and it’s mutual, I’m sure — and I don’t *want* the notion of “broadly offensive” itself to be lost, and for me to have to chloroform my response to it — merely to have freedom of speech in SL. I refuse. I want an overarching, content-free principle here at stake.

Thus, like anyone, I can surely concede that one man’s “broadly offensive” is another man’s “narrowly-attractive” fantasy. And the sum parts of those disaggregated narrowly-attractive fantasies is what makes up Second Life as a place of freedom and creativity we can all appreciate. I think that even 1,000-strong BDSM movements mainly about trying to validate and legitimize BDSM for the RL mass media and the mass SL public are not a horse that is wise to back in the overall struggle for free speech shaping up this summer. I don’t want distinctions to be erased and judgements forcibly suspended; I’d like them merely not to have the force of law in guiding the Lindens. Because we need free speech for *everyone* as a *universal principle* — not just BDSM, not just “ageplayers” who wish to resist EU laws about simulated child pornography — and not just Prokofy Neva or the Toxic Twenty who loathe him. Free speech by its nature has to move away from content examinations; it has to be for all concepts, including the right to call another “offensive”.

So what is to be done? I think the *action* we can all agree on — unlike the forms and content which we cannot agree on — is that WE ALL MUST STOP ABUSE REPORTING TO THE LINDENS. Abuse-reporting in and of itself is already a concession to the police-informant state. It’s so often used to settle scores, and to harass people disliked. We should never abuse something on the basis of “content we find broadly offensive” — and leave the Lindens alone with only those reports that are clearly trumped-up — or the odd newbie report of a struggling new resident who hasn’t figured out how to combat griefers.

So I propose a group which you can find open and inworld called The Broadly Offensive.

See, it’s a double entendre because even when you refrain, even when you abstain from action, to get it seen, to get the idea to spread, you have to give it an action-oriented sound.

I was thinking how this time of Linden Edicts calls for one of those “don’t just do something, stand there” type of activities to refrain from legitimizing the all-powerful Linden system — and Onder Skall proposed a slogan: “Do Good by Doing Jack”.

What is involved by joining The Broadly Offensive and Doing Good by Doing Jack?

Merely agreeing never to file a single other abuse report to the Lindens. Not to Live by the Lie and determine what is “broadly offensive” and give them ammunition to make a skewed reference to “the community”.

It does not involving making a judgement — or being forced *not* to make a judgement! — about any content. It means that one does not *act upon* judgement by pushing one’s finger on the Abuse Report button.

What’s the down side?

Giving ammunition to griefers? Well, at this point, if you are a landowner, you have the tools of ban, mute, no object creation, no object insertion, etc. to flip on or off. Determined griefing groups make alts faster than the Lindens can ban them anyway, and so you have to respond on your own most of the time as it is.

We all know that abuse reports not only “go nowhere” and get only automatic responses, only a tiny portion of them show up on the police blotter.

For some people, I’m the most Broadly Offensive person they know, and they loathe my writings and find them broadly offensive. So surely they’ll find me an appropriate initiator of this response : )

If they don’t, they can join one of the many other protest groups forming or create their own — it’s always good to have lots and lots of groups with many members and constituencies – but what we could possibly agree on is this tactic of ceasing the abuse reports.

Worried that this sounds like the sort of civil disobedience that can get you banned from a game? Hardly. The Lindens won’t care. They are dismantling the AR system anyway. Soon, in another 2-3 patches, they will have a system where all abuse reports devolve to the island owner anyway, unless he opts to route it to Lindens — and on the Mainland, there might be something even as ghastly as a master Governor Linden ban list. Ceasing the abuse reporting mania to the Lindens, weaning oneself from this odious KGB-style police informants’ system they created, is good practice to take up your own AR system!

Some will want to replace this with Ban-Link — I can’t endorse ban-link as I’ve explained on my blog, as I see it as a very blunt weapon that has rampant opportunity for misuse.

Whether you are BDSM or not, whether you support the rights of “ageplayers” or not, whether you subscribe to Ban-Link or not, whether you read the Herald or the Second Life Insider or the Avastar, you can passively do your part by doing nothing: don’t report.

Don’t let them determine by your participation what is “broadly offensive”.

57 Responses to “The Broadly Offensive”

  1. Onder Skall

    Jun 10th, 2007

    C’mon! That the best you got? *Onder ducks, fakes left, 3 quick right jabs bam bam bam*

    Prok – Yeah it was a cheap shot, I admit. I’m an ass, you see. Truth is I was reading your article and had this ultra-short version pop into my head and just HAD to write it because… I don’t know, writing is becoming obsessive for me these days. I think I have a problem. Anyhow you’re right, I shouldn’t have teased you for an excuse to write something. Kinda lame of me.

    Csven – Ignoring your blog when covering the major articles written on a topic is hardly poor research, it’s just… appropriate. Of course… here you are dragging out a completely unrelated issue in a wildly unrelated thread where I hadn’t even specifically called you out. Why are you doing that? Did you just want me to say dismissive things about you publicly? Are you in that much need for attention? Are you ok?

    K, ducking out of the rest of the thread before I start going way overboard or reading something and reacting to random flames. Enjoy yourselves guys.

  2. csven

    Jun 11th, 2007

    “Csven – Ignoring your blog when covering the major articles written on a topic is hardly poor research, ..”

    I’m sorry. Did I say I was talking about *you* anymore than you were talking about me?

    But since you bring it up, let’s review: you made some *knowing* declaration like you *knew* what you were talking about even though you missed a whole conversation – involving Coca-Cola’s media agency, no less – that occurred across a number of blogs *besides* mine (e.g. Greg Verdino’s marketing blog).

    You’re right. That’s not *poor* research. It’s not ANY research.

    Then again, maybe you have an excuse. Maybe you were busy licking Prokofy’s jackboots and didn’t have time to do anything but surf through NWN.

  3. Anon

    Jun 11th, 2007

    OMG csven is such a whiny baby griefer.

  4. Flight Bade

    Jun 11th, 2007

    Csven!!!! Dude remember me!???! Its Flight Bade!!!

    “I’m sorry. Did I say I was talking about *you* anymore than you were talking about me?”

    Yah, you quoted him and then replied. It’s right there…. You can’t miss it…..

    Are you talking about this thing that Onder Skall wrote???? I found it when I was looking for arguments between you and Neva……

    He was talking about reporters, not bloggers. And was talking MAJOR reporters. That’s pretty clear too, can’t miss it, he doesn’t quote one single non-A-list thing. Youre not a reporter, your just a guy who argues with Prokofy Neva…. like… everywhere you can find her….. you gonna follow Skall around too???? LOL you need a girlfriend!! Oh that reminds me I made this awesome article about that stuff you told me about but everybody is all like ‘oh nobody cares about that’ so its hard to sell it, do you know who would buy it????

  5. csven

    Jun 11th, 2007

    @Flight Bade:

    Quoting for agreement is not an accusation.


    “He was talking about reporters, not bloggers.d”

    Since when are Elois Pasteur or Tateru Nino “MAJOR reporters”? And if they are, why didn’t Coca-Cola bother to engage them *instead* of me?

    There isn’t a single response to Tateru’s post on NWN, and no one representing Coca-Cola comments on Elois’ SL Insider post. So how “MAJOR” are they exactly?

    Perhaps you should contact Coco-Cola and correct their oversight; tell them not to waste time posting on my blog. Doubtlessly they’ll listen to you.


    “Oh that reminds me I made this awesome article about that stuff you told me about but everybody is all like ‘oh nobody cares about that’ so its hard to sell it, do you know who would buy it????”

    “awesome”? Right.

    My only suggestion is that next time you *not* ask me what I think or know about Prokofy Neva.

    But, who knows, maybe your Mom will buy it. Or maybe Prokofy will give you a few extra Lindens for trying.

  6. Brace

    Jun 12th, 2007

    I’m an Offensive Broad

    Someone should AR me

  7. Maria Leveaux

    Aug 27th, 2007

    Prokofy has her rights to be offended by my lifestyle, just as i have the right to Be offended by many of her Political, and social Views. But the Right to be Offended by something does Not Translate into the Right to Stamp it Out of existance. Sometimes we just have to agree to live and let live. Prokofy doesn’t want Her points of View on free speech lumped in with mine. I’m a Domme, and i keep slaves, something Anathema to her. She points out, and Rightly so that i have a personal Stake in maintianing Free Speech in SL, But then So does she. Each and every one of us who Enjoys freedom of Speech does so for two reasons, Our own Enlightened self interest and, More importantly i think, the broader social Implications of Gaining, maintaining and Defending Free Speech for ALL. Each and Every person who supports Free Speech Knows what it means to others. As Much as she would Rather it were otherwise, You Cannot Seperate HER Reasons for Desiring free Speech from mine. There is, In the end Only ONE Universal Right to Freedom of Speech. Prok Knows it means allowing me to Keep my slaves, It means that Many of you here can continue to Ridicule her, But she ALSO knows that it means she can Continue to use Every tool at her disposal to Dissuade people from Entering into or legitimizing My life style. It means she can Continue to Put forth her (Unpopular?) political and social Models of the world. Freedom of Speech, above ALL other rights is Critical to the Equality and Freedom we desire and enjoy in the western world It’s universality Allows us an Equal Playing Field upon which, For example, Prok and i can debate the pros and Cons of My Lifestyle. It allows people to make EDUCATED choices. She and i will continue to Disagree, but its OUR disagreement, No One has the Right to Take it From Us, and Say One is right and the other has to be Silent. If Either of us eventually prevails, it will be because our position is the one Society finds Most Effecatious, Not because some Dictator has Taken Choice away.
    We are Adults, and we live Austensibly in a Free society. We deserve the Right to decide our Lives, First AND Second For ourselves.

    IF LL is Asking us to Use the AR System in an Effort Not to keep public order, But to deprive people of the right to be Treated as Free Adults, then YES, i have to Agree, it’s a system that perhaps Supporters of free Speech should Opt Out of, AND Make it Clear to the Lindens, Via E-Mail WHY we no longer support it.
    I Consider my actions before i take them, I See where things are going, Then i Make my decision. Opting out of AR Will be one option i will examine.

    “I May not Agree with What you Say, But i will Defend Unto Death your right to Say It.”


Leave a Reply