Are Mainland IM and Chat Doomed To LL’s Naughty Word Filter?

by Jessica Holyoke on 26/06/09 at 7:26 pm

Linden's new Community Standards include broad Adult Content powers

by Jessica Holyoke

Linden Lab uses the Big Six of the Community Standards as an addendum to the Terms of Service (ToS).  Until now, the Big Six were Intolerance, Harrassment, Assault, Disclosure, Disturbing the Peace and Indecency.  Now Indecency has been replaced by Adult Content.  With the new Adult Content policy included in the Community Standards, and by extension, the ToS, the actual enforcement and meaning is a bit different than before.   

This is the old standard:

5. Indecency
Second Life is an adult community, but Mature material is not necessarily appropriate in all areas (see Global Standards below). Content, communication, or behavior which involves intense language or expletives, nudity or sexual content, the depiction of sex or violence, or anything else broadly offensive must be contained within private land in areas rated Mature (M). Names of Residents, objects, places and groups are broadly viewable in Second Life directories and on the Second Life website, and must adhere to PG guidelines.

This seems to mean that public land rated mature cannot have nudity or sexual content or have violent or sexual depictions – but this has changed in the new standard:

Adult Regions, Groups, and Listings
Second Life is anadult community, but 'Adult' content, activity and communication arenot permitted on the Second Life 'mainland.' Such material is permittedon private regions, or on the Adult Continent, Zindra. In either case,any Adult content, activity, or communication, that falls under our Adult Maturity Definitionmust be on regions designated as 'Adult,' and will be filtered fromnon-verified accounts. Other regions may be designated as either'Mature' or 'PG.' For more information on how to designate land,events, groups, and classified listings, please carefully read the 'Maturity Definitions.'

If Linden Lab is following through on what they have told residents previously, when the Lab is saying any type of communication, what they are really saying are land descriptions, event descriptions, group descriptions and classified listings.  But the policy as written above is broader than anything that they have stated before and is much more inclusive as to what is covered.  It seems to prohibit any adult communication received  by anyone not age verified.  

The Lindens previously stated teh Adult Content policy covered what public activity is allowed.  The policy listed above does not make a distinction between a public act and a private one.  In fact, "communication" could easily include private IM's.  The policy door is now open for Linden Lab to point their adult keyword filter at chat and IM's to make sure that PG and Mature land is free of the banned words and content — an interesting option for the Lab when Google executives are on trial in absentia in Italy for basically not monitoring YouTube closely enough.

Looking back at the old Indecency standard, it was a violation to use an expletive in a PG sim.  Why wouldn't Adult Content chat now be disallowed in a Mature Sim if expletives weren't allowed in Chat before?

As for enforcement, a very broad communication ban makes sense for the Lab if their goal is to protect underage residents or easily offended residents from adult content.  Why limit the restriction to just Search and Classifieds?  Why not make it so that anyone who shouldn't or doesn't want to see Adult Content can never be able to see Adult Content?

One of the examples given by the Lab to distinguish Adult and Mature is a house of Burlesque.  If the club is only dancers, than it can be mature, but if you use Adult search tags, then the club has to be on Adult land.  But if you have a "back room", then how is it not adult content?  The participants would still in theory need to be age verified.  The only way this policy makes sense is that non-age verified people cannot take part in adult content.  If communications are covered, then it follows that chat, IM's, and voice that is of a sexual nature must be between age verified accounts. 

If the Lab fears scenarios such as the Italian Google executives case, why wouldn't adult content, activity and communication be filtered from non-verified accounts? The temptation for the Lab to monitor the Mainland for use of filter search words in people's everyday chat and even IM's may be impossible to resist. This is not much of a stretch, given the wording of the new Community Standards and the reality of ambitious politicians ready to make a name for themselves in the real world – at the expense of a virtual world.

6 Responses to “Are Mainland IM and Chat Doomed To LL’s Naughty Word Filter?”

  1. janeforyou Barbara

    Jun 27th, 2009

    Wel if i understand the new so called “adult” and “mature” content rules ( tho a mature person ARE a adult) I can have “dancers” in my private owned island as loong as i dont call them “strippers” I can have skin vendors with nudeedty and then also nude dancers.. we can walk nude on my beach as loong as there are no sexual activity..
    we can say ” nice ass”—”nice tittis” but we cant say ” Nice pussy”…

    The whole Adult issue are a mess.. it wil never work, and thay want me as landowner to repport a person for abuse in my Mature Island if some say ” pussy” lololololol!
    There are tousens of members in my 6 private owned islands with all kind of guestiurs, its impossible for me to guard all this,,, and there are also sex animations that thay all can use from there inventory,, you dont need a sex ball in a sim to preform sexual activity or a sex bed….Thare are no way that The Lab can contrioll this.

    There wil even be more sexual activity in Mature sims then ever if we landowners take away sex poses on land! The reason are that the member wont stop having sex… simply cuz its a HUMAN RIGHT to have, even in the PG sims you wil se sex.
    You cant stop it and you cant police it.

    Linden Lab did ban “ageplay” in SL.. Now The lab wil allow child avaratrs ( with adult verigi) in Adult sims…That scares me, i set one of my islands , The Empress Isle as adult..Wil the pedos now claim there rights to use it as there playgrond?
    To allow child avs in a Adult sim are a BIG mistake.

  2. imho

    Jun 27th, 2009

    more and more the openlife grid is looking better each time LL does something stupid.

  3. Orion

    Jun 28th, 2009

    Honestly, screw linden and screw SL! Its become a playground for modern day fascists to hold their silly little witch hunts and to police the thoughts and ideas of anyone who doesn’t think the same way they do. Doomed to fail.

  4. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Jun 28th, 2009

    Wait wait wait….

    So Mature is the new PG and PG is now G?


  5. Daniel Linden

    Jul 6th, 2009

    The entire point of the Big Six was to define standards that could be understood easily and immediately. They were designed as a Word, an explanatory sentence, then a (slightly) longer definition so that the community could communicate the standards directly to each other and with new Residents.

    Like any other content creator, I hate to see my work altered for the worse; this ‘revised’ standard invalidates the goals of the Community Standards.

  6. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jul 6th, 2009

    Sounds like LL is trying to bully everyone into handing over their ID or be condemned to an e-life of PG-rated conversations.

    I’m not sure if this pleases me or not.

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