SL Herald – the literary backbone of virtual worlds?

by Alphaville Herald on 24/07/08 at 6:25 pm

Mario Gerosa Interviews Urizenus Sklar on the New New Journalism
Does this explain all the damn poems?

by Idoru Wellman, Dept. of Literary Salons and Euro-Trash Intellectuals

Mario Gerosa (Frank Koolhaus in SL) wears many hats (some virtual). He is real life editor of Architectural Digest Italia He has also made headlines here and elsewhere with his virtual world projects that include a virtual tourism agency and a convention for the preservation of virtual architecture. He is also author of several books on virtual worlds including Mondi Virtuali and, most recently, Rinascimento Virtuale (The Virtual Renaissance), published by Meltemi Editore in Italy. Of interest to Herald Readers is the interview with our Founder and Spiritual Advisor Urizenus Sklar, republished in English below the fold by the kind permission of Mr. Gerosa and the publisher. (Yes, I know, it’s a bit dated. Uri informs me the interview took place a year ago.)

MG: We are going towards a new Golden Age of virtual worlds. We will have P2P worlds where everyone would be able to create his land without ties. Probably it will be one step beyond SL. And I figure what that could be in the hands of writers: I mean, a writer could use is fragment of world to set a story, and we finally will have a literary dimension in virtual worlds. Is that true?

Urizenus: Actually, we have had a literary dimension in virtual worlds for a long time. Or at least we did until graphic worlds became dominant. Think about the MUDs and MOOs that were popular in the 1990s. There we had entirely text based virtual worlds, and people “built” in those worlds by writing descriptions. Some of the descriptions were very shallow, but others were very robust and literary. You could say that these were worlds that were woven from literary acts.

With virtual worlds like Second Life we *seem* to have lost that. The literary artist has been replaced by the visual artist and the engineer. In some ways this recapitulates what we have seen in “real life” with literary art being eclipsed by visual arts like film and television, but it is more complex than that.

Here is the pessimistic assessment of the situation in virtual worlds: We no long weave virtual worlds from literature but from pixels. The literary project thus moves from one of creation to one of interpretation and evaluation. Even on this pessimistic assessment there is plenty of literary activity taking place. Second Life is full of groups like the Goreans that engage in literary production within the roleplay context.

The optimistic assessment is rather different: It is an illusion to think that the furniture of Second Life consists of the visible objects that we see (prims and textures). Second Life is fundamentally a social space and we are building social objects and institutions by our writing. The “physical objects” – the virtual houses and cars and things – are symbols that we arrange to illustrate our stories. When we create avatars we are really creating characters, and the process of modifying and “skinning” the avatar is really just a small part of the act of creation – it is like adding a couple of illustrations to a book. The creation of the actually character is spread out over many years and is forged in collaboration with other writers. Sometimes they buy your narrative and sometimes they don’t. The criticism we receive — “flaming” — is a form of emergent literary criticism. Like the Moliere character who discovered he had been writing prose all his life without knowing it, we are engaged in a great work of collaborative narrative construction, whether we know it or not.

Of course the punch line to all of this is that when we construct narratives for our characters are really constructing narratives for ourselves. We are building our self-identity, and building and organizing our social groups. But that is another story.

MG: You always created a literary allure in the virtual worlds where you live. You created a literary backbone for SL with the SL Herald and you also transformed the Sims Online in a sort of a novel, maybe a dark fable. I mean, you understood from the beginning that virtual worlds need a literary dimension. In the future we will have more and more platforms for Ikea made virtual worlds, where everyone builds his own. Someone will have a certain literary creativity, others not. What will happen to the ones who lack this creativity, they will become the “third worlds” and they will perish?

Urizenus: Let’s start with The Sims Online. I think you are making a reference to the forthcoming book that I co-wrote with Mark Wallace: The Second Life Herald: the virtual tabloid that witnessed the birth of the metaverse. I would resist calling this a dark fable about The Sims Online, but I certainly agree that we wanted the story to have a kind of narrative structure. The thought is that in order to express abstract philosophical concepts to a broad audience you need to frame the message around the kinds of events and activities that we all understand. We didn’t want to write a book that was just abstract musing about virtual worlds, intellectual property, and free speech. We wanted a narrative structure with characters and plot lines.

For a long time I struggled with how to begin that project, and then a friend of mine who makes horror movies in Hollywood told me “you want to begin with the dead body.” And that’s how Mark and I began the book – with the death of Urizenus. The subsequent story was not a “whodunit” mystery, but a “why did they do it?” mystery. Along the way we used the stories and characters of The Sims Online and Second Life to illustrate very deep and difficult questions, but these were woven in as subplots to the main narrative backbone of the story of Urizenus.

As for the Second Life Herald, time constraints make it difficult to be consistent, but when we have the time and energy we try and make our writing not just literary, but a kind of experimental literature. Whether they admit it or not, many of the Herald writers (e.g. me and Mark and Pixeleen Mistral and Prokofy Neva) are influenced by the New Games Journalism, and in addition by the great American New Journalists of the 1960s and 1970s – Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, etc. The puzzle those writers had to solve was to find a way to get at what was really happening during the great youthquake and social revolution of the 1960s. Their solution to the puzzle was to avoid the usual “just the facts” style of journalistic writing and they attempted to get at the heart of the matter by trying to illustrate what it felt like to be there and make sense of the passion and raw sense of wonder people experienced as the world was changing. They also understood that existing literary conventions would not be sufficient to make this happen. They had to reinvent literature and journalism at the same time.

Of course we are now in the same position that the New Journalists were. The advent of virtual worlds like Second Life is bringing about fundamental sweeping changes – if only by their ability to bring incredibly creative people from all over the world and allowing them to play and collaborate with each other. We need to find a way to express what is really happening. You could publish statistics and corporate press releases all day long and not understand virtual worlds at all. The usual journalistic tools are impotent here.

The new puzzle is that we can’t simply replicate the methods of the New Journalists. This is a new world and there are new things to communicate and we have new tools with which to communicate them. The difference between the Old New Journalism and the New New Journalism is fundamentally this: Old New Journalism was journalism for push media. For the most part Thompson and Wolfe and Mailer wrote their stories and that was that. Maybe people responded in print and maybe not, but there was no immediate response and no invitation to play along.

In writing for the Herald it has become clear to me that the stories that we write don’t end with the comments, but in some cases really begin with the comments that the readers submit. The comments are where the stories really come out and where you really see the social fabric of The Sims Online and Second Life. That is where the drama and the jealousies and friendships and great ideas play out, and that is also where you get some of the best and most creative writing.

The task in writing for the Herald is then something like this: Can you write a story that will engage the audience enough so that they will jump in and comment and in effect help give you all the many sides of the story. Sometimes that requires us to be provocative, and often it requires us to be speculative. As we say in our virtual meetings: throw the idea up there and see what comes out in the comments. Things can rapidly spin out of control, but that is also part of the beauty of it. You don’t know where a story will lead or whether the resulting collaborative narrative will be constructive, destructive, boring or positively mind-bending.

In effect our stories are really suggested topics for discussion. In some ways this makes it sound like the Herald writers are holding literary salons, but that conjures up images of refined people drinking tea and sherry and discussing abstract questions. Those kinds of discussions don’t get you very far. We much prefer the rough and tumble discussion you get from drunks in a pub. That is why we opt for a kind of tabloid newspaper format. It allows us to openly reject the constraints of traditional “legit” news media and be as experimental as we choose. The conceit that we were a tabloid completely liberated us in terms of the content and form of our writing, and it also created an expectation that we were going to write stories that touched emotional nerves, covered the everyday drama and scandals, and were not going to trouble ourselves with the latest bogus Linden Lab statistics and bogus corporate press releases.

Now, you ask if the non-literary virtual worlds will perish, but this is maybe a confusion. It is not the worlds that are literary, but rather the people that participate in them. Perhaps the narrative plays out in worlds or perhaps it plays out in the written lore of guilds on their web sites. Some worlds will make this kind of narrative construction natural and others will not. I don’t know if the narrative-friendly worlds will be more successful, but at least they will be remembered and they will make a contribution to the narratives of future online worlds (just like The Sims Online failed as a game but has contributed many continuing narratives to Second Life).

MG: The avatars are going to have more and more a sense of notoriety. In SL there are already celebrities and with Virtual Me this process will be further stressed. What will become the avatars in the next years? Actors? Advertising testimonials?

Urizenus: The idea of using famous avatars in advertisements (and even as characters in videogames) has been knocked around and there may be projects in the works for all I know. If the avatar Anshe Chung can be on the cover of Business Week and the avatar Callie Cline can be one of the 100 most attractive women in the world according to Maxim they can certainly be featured in advertisements for products. To some extent we see this already in Second Life. So, for example, Gideon Television was tapped to be master of ceremonies at a Pontiac Island event, and Coca-Cola has enlisted Urizenus as a judge in one of their contests. I’m sure we will see avatars in advertisements out of world – in traditional push media – but already I have to wonder if that matters. Should we care if push media is paying attention to us or should we just press on and ignore it?

Back to the question of actors, I think there are already some recognised avatar actors, and there are certainly recognised virtual world fashion models. I’m told that even modelling virtual fashion is very difficult. You have to know how and where to walk and pose so as to not “break” the clothing. Of course, in these cases it is actually the typist that has the skill, so maybe these people will be hired to manipulate many different avatars – like the voice dubbing artists in Italy. But maybe machinima movie producers will want to have a recognised avatar in their productions. That is certainly conceivable.

Meanwhile there is a very impressive effort at machinima video in Second Life being undertaken by Douglas Gayeton and produced by a Dutch new media company called Submarine. It is effectively a television show about the adventures of an avatar named Molotov Alva, and it is extremely well made and gripping.

MG: The new virtual worlds are going to be capacious containers where to put lots of things: primarily they will contain users profiles like the ones of My Space. What will happen then to the social networks, they will be eaten and cannibalized by the virtual worlds?

Urizenus: No the social networks will probable evolve into 3D platforms. That is already happening with robust chat platforms like IMVU. People can now create their own 3D space and furnish it with virtual furniture and objects. Paradoxically, some the IMVU content is made by Anshe Chung Studios, so the virtual world builders are helping to turn social networks and chat programs into new virtual worlds.

MG: I come back again to the books. I believe that we will always have books made of paper. But could we think that the virtual worlds will give us an alternative way to read the books? I mean, one century ago we had the first movie transpositions of famous novels. Now, probably the same will happen with virtual worlds, but how? Will there be professional avatars to act? I know that for now it may sound ridiculous, but I think about the theatre of some centuries ago, very naïf. And I also think that these worlds improve very quickly.

Urizenus: I believe there is already a virtual Shakespeare virtual world underway, and I always thought it would be great to recreate the world of Beowulf. There are several directions this could take. One idea is that we could simply use virtual worlds to recreate the fictional world and let people explore it. This would not be a trivial accomplishment. The film directory Ridley Scott (Blade Runner and Blackhawk Down) has described his goal in film making as immersing us in an atmosphere – transporting us to another place. Virtual worlds can certainly accomplish that.

Another idea is to recreate the world and then act out the plot of a story in world. This would be interesting. Suppose we could drop into such a “performance” as invisible point-sized avatars – as microscopic flies on the wall. We could then view the events from an infinite number of perspectival points. We could teleport around the world to watch various subplots unfold, and we might want to view the performance many times to piece everything together. It might even be helpful to have friends scattered around the world to tell us when important events in the narrative are happening.

This also opens up possibilities for the integration of canonical works with fanfiction. We can imagine fanfic writers filling out the narrative in various corners of the virtual/fictional world.

As I said earlier, there will certainly be actors, but of course some of these projects will utilize NPCs – nonplayer characters – some fully programmed and some with artificial intelligence and more than a little unpredictability in their actions.

One assumes that these efforts will introduce literary works to people just as movie adaptations of novels do today.

MG: Until now, in a way or another, the technocrats ruled in virtual worlds. Also in SL, where the creativity makes the difference, the technical geeks are really strong. In the future we will finally have a more humanistic virtuality?

Urizenus: This is the fundamental question facing virtual worlds and it is the question that the Herald has been most obsessed with since coming to Second Life. The western democracies were built by humanists that were deeply influenced by enlightenment philosophy and they sought to construct a world that instantiated important human values like freedom, liberty, equality, etc. Today we are facing a situation where the worlds we are going to inhabit – the worlds where we conduct our social and business lives – is principally being organized by engineers with no serious background in the humanities. Instead of letting human values guide the construction of their world they are letting “sweet hacks” guide the construction of the world. In the end, the world will be coded up in such a way that there is no place for the most central human values. If there is a guiding philosophy it is a kind of philosophy 101 libertarianism which basically says “if the software allows it, then it is o.k.”. Is there hope for another outcome? That remains to be seen. For now it is absolutely crucial that the virtual press stay on top of this question and keep banging away at it.

Of course the rise of the western democracies had its dark side too. In America, for example, the democratic movement initially only involved the participation of a minority consisting of male landed gentry. We need to avoid this mistake if possible – we need to make sure that if we secure important rights in virtual worlds those rights (and rights of equal participation) are enjoyed by all the residents and not just a privileged elite class of users. The virtual press needs to be alert to this as well.

MG: These days we stress the idea of social virtual world, but maybe we should recover the idea of play, a ludic dimension. Shouldn’t we?

Urizenus: Anytime you bring people together they will find ways to play. So while it is true that Second Life is not itself a game, it brings with it the tools to develop lots of interesting games. As you are aware there is a debate in gaming theory between the ludologists and the narratologists. Is it a game or is it a collaborative narrative? Well, obviously it can be many overlapping narratives and games at the same time.

20 Responses to “SL Herald – the literary backbone of virtual worlds?”

  1. Yeah

    Jul 24th, 2008

    Apparently the interviewer has never read the Herald. Otherwise he/she would realize that this place is nothing but a rag that prints boring articles, porn, and inaccurate ‘news’ stories.

  2. Just Me

    Jul 24th, 2008

    Perhaps this article can help “raise the tide” and show the Herald writers what a well thought-out article CAN look like, rather than the endless halfbaked crap about griefers, SL military, and the same ‘clique’ of long time SL residents.

    Give us REVIEWS of clubs and shops, give us REAL INFORMATION about the direction that SL is going, give us info about new products like the INTAN dance system? What about new organizations, themed sims, innovative “stuff” in general? What about telling us more about the live music performers in SL these days? What about providing a series of “how to” articles for noobs? What about some reviews of the acting groups? … the list goes on and on.

    Personally, I’d love to have a real SL based newspaper with NEWS and INFORMATION, not a tabloid. (and yes, I do read the other SL themed papers, blogs, etc .. but I’m not comparing this to any of them, I’m wondering why this place can’t rise up a bit from the muck and mire to the level of, at least, a small hometown newspaper reporting on what’s going on.

  3. MoreWadkaPlz

    Jul 24th, 2008

    Fuck the Humanities. Fuck the Communists.

  4. JimBean

    Jul 24th, 2008

    Wait! I thought the Herald made fun of the Lindens for spinning bullshit to the media!

    In the end, I guess it’s just that the Herald is mad that the Lindens do it better than they do.

    (And the Lindens are pretty crappy at it.)

  5. NextBigThing

    Jul 24th, 2008

    I know! How about something interesting to read. That would be different for a change. And I have just the story for you to work on. It even ties in with this whole expanding metaverse bag of balogna trip. The Patriotic Nigras have built an OpenSim world. Basically the new Longcat. After running as a solo lonely sim for awhile they connected their world to a larger grid of worlds called OSgrid. For some reason the admins at OSgrid keep following them around now and deleteing their world from their grid as soon as they try to reconnect. So now the PN are at full on war with OSgrid, and have recently crashed it to the ground. Imagine all the interview angles. The Lindens must be cracking a wry little smile over this too I bet. So there ya go, humanistic drama up the ass unfolding now in the metaverse.

    Of course the SLH or whoever manages to scoop this story should look beneath the surface of what is really going on here. I would say that perhaps things are not so Wild as people think in the brave new world of OpenSim. I would say that with the new Friendships and Serious Business partner relations that OpenSim has with IBM now, coupled with this new IBM plan to link SL to all the OpenSims and all the OpenSims together, which brings up many Intellectual Property Rights issues (mostly bullshit pixeldust issues) my bet is that the OpenSim people who run OSgrid didn’t want the reputation as being a hideout and hangout for the Patriotic Nigras and what they might do to the OSgrid reputation and what they might do to a project that allows SL avatars to teleport into a different world right into their midst. Just because I like the PN doesn’t mean everyone does I guess.

    So I have to thank the PN for bringing this quality of OSgrid out. I have been testing OpenSim for a long time now on a private grid and was thinking about attaching a good portion of it to OSgrid. But not now. Not anymore. What if OSgrid decides that they dont like the kind of programming that I do or the kind of objects I build? Would they delete me too? No thanks.

    So come on SLH, go get those interviews. We wanna hear stuff like “well we had to delete their Sim from our grid because their LUA scripts were hammering our asset server into next Sunday..” stuff like that so we can get a few summertime Lulz. ok?

    Thanks :)

  6. Witness X

    Jul 24th, 2008

    That’s because the publisher is mentally ill. There’s really no other explanation.

  7. Penny and Prok fan club

    Jul 24th, 2008


    More like skid-mark

  8. Witness X

    Jul 24th, 2008

    And trust me, I know mental illness. We can smell our own after all.

  9. mootykips

    Jul 24th, 2008

    This would be a decent enough interview, if only it wasn’t based on an entirely false premise – that anyone gives a shit about “3d virtual worlds”.

    It’s a abortion of a term, it’s an abortion of a concept, and it’s an abortion in practice. Second Life is a poorly coded and implemented sex simulator, There and all the wannabes are decently coded but inherently niche, and the rest are all products of MMORPGs – they’re not inherently “virtual worlds”, but a accidental side effect of getting people together to play a game. These games don’t solely rely on social interaction that ends up being illusory and (ironically) virtual, when a player can change his look or personality or social group in a few clicks, they don’t rely on a player finding a niche social group or subculture (though some MMORPGs are best played in groups, see Eve Online), and they don’t rely on a pretentious “metaverse” faux-immersion. They recognize the group for its own value – a bunch of guys going to go kill virtual enemies, they are relatively linear as far as changing a character’s specialization and abilities, but yet they can easily integrate into the “world” as a whole without finding a bunch of furries or a play army or some Goreans. Try to do that in Second Life and you’ll end up wandering the empty, sad mainland.

    Second Life and its ilk attempt to gain legitimacy by hijacking the legitimate “metaverses” (“Oh! It’s World of Warcraft except you can sell ad-space! Let’s dump thousands of dollars into some e-land!” says the average corporation) but fail to deliver. “P2P worlds” and mainstream acceptance of SL-like platforms is never going to happen without a hook and a hell of a lot of sociological analysis – both the interviewer and interviewee only _assume_ they will because of their prior investment and immersion in the genre.

    Videophones, flying cars, and 3D chat rooms.

  10. pixeleen mistral

    Jul 24th, 2008

    hi mootykips! :-)

    would you consider writing another op/ed? i’m always interested in your take on current events, and as you know the herald has always paid top dollar for the finest in metaverse literature, journalism, criticism, and opinion — and we do it in the coin of the realm (L$ spacebux).

    you have my e-mail, right?

    don’t be such a stranger, and as we say in st.paul, “doublewhiskeycokenoice”

    stay positive!

  11. Razrcut Brooks

    Jul 24th, 2008

    Refreshing to see this interview . Mooty, your argument is well articulated yet self-refuting. If you truly believed your negative distaste for SL, you would not be so familiar with SL nor would you be reading the Herald. Is your point that virtual worlds are not that popular or mainstream so why waste time disecting them and anointing them with so much importance? If so, then I agree.

  12. mootykips

    Jul 25th, 2008

    Razrcut: Soon across college campuses and other places of higher learning: “From now on, we’re not teaching you about anything you don’t like. You are forbidden to learn about Al-Qaeda, Ayn Rand, or fruitcake.”

    Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not interesting – “virtual worlds” (and the hype surrounding them) are definitely, profoundly interesting: in their substance and goings-on, in how those who use them interact, in their usage patterns, in their tolerance of breaking immersion in an attempted immersive environment, etc etc. I may not agree with Urizenus’s foundation but I do think they’re fascinating from a sociological standpoint. I just object to the premise here that my god, in four years everyone’s going to use these virtual worlds and people will be asking each other in real life to go to their E-BAR and E-HOUSE and we’ll have goggles that shoot lasers out of our eyes and ROCKET BOOTS and all that associated techno-masturbatory mumbo jumbo. The entire article, but more so the interviewer’s questions, are predicated on that, and at some point don’t you have to say “well, when you’ve made your entire genre a joke, do you really think anyone’s going to graft a P2P layer onto another client?” I don’t care to comment on the literary part, as the complexities and differences of the “Old New Journalism” and the “New New Journalism” seem to go over my head. I’m reminded of the Rumsfeld quote: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” But that doesn’t mean the rest can’t be scrutinized, even by such a crazy puppy-killing SL-hating griefer meanie as I.

    I have knowledge of SL because I spent 6 months messing around with and in it, and I frequent the Herald because it’s on my RSS feed and I like learning about all the drama that goes on, as well as making fun of horrid crap being passed off as articles (mostly all those poems). To be quite honest, my motivations aren’t really a concern of yours – isn’t questioning it sort of the definition of ad hominem?

  13. parrhesian

    Jul 25th, 2008

    “as we say in st.paul, “doublewhiskeycokenoice”"

    I am from St. Paul (born and raised there, and used to manage and/or bartend at some of the hottest spots), and we don’t say that. You and your myopic, professional student, elitist friends != St. Paul.

    Me detects the smell of grad student…

    Nice to see you doing your usual griefer ass-kissing rounds though, “Pixeleen”.

    Razrcut… haven’t you learned yet that the freaks who are most in love with virtual worlds are those who complain as if it was the worst thing since Joanie Loves Chachi?

    They think this is the New Frontier, you know… so…


    Jul 25th, 2008

    backbone…more like….back…boner…cuzz you guys all have hard-on’s for your own shitty “articles”.

  15. JimBean

    Jul 25th, 2008

    YO! Pixeleen!

    I found out why your mac laptop has been crashing so much. Good thing you’ve been blaming SL, or else you might have gotten it fixed. Better to whine than actually do something. And make sure to get that double whisky before all the other St. Paulers buy it all.

  16. IntLibber Brautigan

    Jul 26th, 2008

    Uri sez: “Today we are facing a situation where the worlds we are going to inhabit – the worlds where we conduct our social and business lives – is principally being organized by engineers with no serious background in the humanities.”

    He then goes on to describe the engineers as having a philosophy 101 libertarianism…. I’m sorry but thats just poppycock.

    I could refer you to many engineers and scientists, programmers, and developers, who are very immersed in the humanities. I myself have experience in music, painting, among other arts, and was a professonal blogger before coming to SL. Since joining SL I’ve commissioned a number of art works by artists like Charlot Dickins and Filthy Fluno. I am not alone.

    Many ‘technocratic’ companies like IBM, etc have funded many humanities activities in SL, including the SL Ballet, among others.

    I can also refer you to the writings of nobel physicist Richard Feynman who combatted similar claims by those in the humanities that engineers and scientists don’t ‘do’ art. Feynman became an accomplished painter and musician, while his artist and musician friends not only could not ‘get’ science and engineering, but couldn’t be bothered to show a similar degree of focus and respect for them as he did for their disciplines.

    Yet the media loves to talk about how “unusual” it is for a technically oriented person to be involved in the humanities when its not unusual at all, yet they never hold those in the humanities up to the same comparison. How many professional ballerinas or music divas go and get degrees in sciences or engineering? So few that it truly is extraordinary when it does happen, and typically the person was first a scientist or engineer and then went into the arts.

    As for politics: the founding fathers not only were trained in the humanities, they were also technically trained: Jefferson was an architect, Franklin was the foremost scientist of his time, Washington a military leader and engineer, etc etc. down the list. What is more, the political philosophy of the founding fathers has far more in common with my Libertarian philosophy than the typical left wing politics of the average newspaper editor.

    Moreover, where is this big divide between the visual and literature? Architecture is more an art than science, and in SL, it is primarily art as there are no physical stresses upon a building here other than prim limits and lag issues. Yes, a writer, a good one, needs to be able to evoke within the mind of the reader the visualization of what the writer intends, whereas building a virtual building is stacking, shaping, and texturing prims artistically.

    However I’ll put this challenge to you: I’ll bet I can write a better news story than you can build a virtual building.

  17. parrhesian

    Jul 26th, 2008

    Dead on, Intlibber. Great post, which highlights where the problem really lies.

    The Proks, the Uris (and the “Pixeleens” by extension), et al, just love to try and force people into little boxes. This is classic smear campaigning which always precedes and accompanies their personal agendas. “I don’t like the way you’re doing that, and I don’t like your principles and beliefs, so I am going to pigeon-hole you, invent a group that you belong to (FIC, Technocrats, et al), and then nail you for associating with that group, even though it only exists in my own mind. Mostly because I am simply intimidated by, A) things I don’t understand, and B) people who I am worried might be intelligent, but who *GASP* chose a different path than full-on Humanities.”

    Who would I rather have shaping VWs? Arrogant, fascist assholes who think they are better and smarter than everyone else, who bitterly complain nonstop and try to tear people (and Linden Lab) down to further their own agendas? Or, those who understand how the thing works, can see the bigger picture, and who care about more than personal agendas, fear mongering and smear campaigns?

    I’ll take curtain number two, Monty.

    Why do net fascists hate certain parts of the First Amendment?

  18. noIPrights

    Jul 26th, 2008


    When the panel was opened to questions from the crowd, OpenSim’s lack of content protection tools was challenged by Catherine Fitzpatrick, better known in Second Life as the prolific blogger Prokofy Neva. “You mentioned the recipe of calling a lawyer, but most avatars can’t afford lawyers and don’t have access to them,” Fitzpatrick said.

    Frisby responded there was no point putting in an intellectual property provision that couldn’t be made to work. “If someone wants to rip off Second Life they can,” he said.

    Levine, in response to the same question, said he thought many grids would want to respect intellectual property and may put in optional modules to enforce it. He imagined something like the Second Life Grid would only allow access to its world by OpenSim grids that rigorously respect copyright.

    Ultimately, Levine said, OpenSim would need to develop a framework similar to Creative Commons, with boilerplate legal language specifically adapted to virtual worlds. “The user won’t hire a lawyer, they’ll just read the Terms of Service,” Levine told Fitzpatrick.

    end excerpt

    heh :)

  19. Melissa Yeuxdoux

    Jul 27th, 2008

    Thank you, IntLibber; you nailed it.

  20. disillusioned

    Jul 27th, 2008

    I Found out some more infos about whats happening at OSgrid at this address:

    I am glad to be finding this out because now I know that the OSgrid admins are foul mouthed little griefer types themselves who say that they are collecting data on OSgrid users and forwarding those infos to Linden Lab. How about that shit huh?

    Heres the deal… OSgrid is DUNSTALL – NO LONGER NEEDED – DEFUNCT

    Why? Because now IBM that monolithic computing giant has Pwned both SL and Opensim by developing and owning the technology to Link All Worlds (LAW).

    Who needs OSgrid now? Who needs Central Grid anymore? Who needs Deep Grid or any of the other grids who thought they would be the new GODS of the new Metaverse anymore? Who needs any of them now?

    Because now all a person will have to do once they have created their own OpenSim world or grid running on their own home computer, all they will have to do then is sign onto Second Life, create a free account there, rent a small chunk of land enough to put their IBM Inter Metaversal Teleporter (IMT) on, and boom there you go, Your World connected to SL.

    You may not need to own or rent land in SL to pull that off either. There will probably be Inter Metaversal Teleporters set up on peoples land in SL that are set so that anyone can put their Personal Grid coordinates in it, where it would become this Gateway to Other Worlds, links to the other worlds that people have put into it like calling cards. Or if you wanted to stay secret, public IMTs that you could tell where you wanted to Inter Metaversally teleport to (your home private grid say) each time you used it and it would never remember you or your destination.

    Then imagine all of that without SL even in the picture, just a huge array of decentrallized worlds or grids with IMTs on each world taking people where they want to go.

    Some kind of Pre-Cast should occur in the IMT before you teleport to get Infos on the world that you are teleporting to so that you can know about its Trustability Rating or whether or not it supports Intellectual Property rights etc etc. Maybe a small robot that would go through the IMT first that would perform a series of tests on all sorts of things, the ability to rezz items, the sim performance speed, land Object settings, people in Sim, Radar plots sent back, etc etc, built into the IMT. But those things could be optional, or implimented to whatever cool degree, whatever.

    The point being: WHO WILL NEED GRIDS ANYMORE??

    bring it all on

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