by Pixeleen Mistral on 25/04/10 at 7:57 pm
After tiring of watching game god M Linden’s avatar auto-smile, I looked toward the back of the room and noticed the ash-colored untextured Kalel Venkman – a virtual vigilante prone to filing frivolous DMCA takedown notices. I was going to have some questions for Kalel later – and the scene was already more than weird. My IM windows scrolled continuously with news of mass Woodbury avatar executions, the unexplained destruction of 4 Woodbury sims, topped off with new legal woes for the Lab in the form of another player class action lawsuit.
There was bad trouble all around. Was M Linden still going to be able to play The 1st Question for treet.tv?
Pooky Amsterdam had pulled out all the stops for her game show machinima taping this week, scoring big by getting M Linden – CEO of Linden Lab – to take time from his busy schedule to play her pretend quiz show. The absolutely fabulousness of all this was having an unfortunate effect on already excessively effusive Pooky.
For a typical 1st Question show, Pooky seriously over-emotes in voice chat, but this was no ordinary day — Pooky was going completely off the charts.
Meanwhile, M Linden sounded lightweight and tentative – as if he was using a $3 microphone found at the bottom of a dumpster behind Radio Shack and held at arms length. Someone in Linden PR needs to buy M a good mic and explain the proximity effect. Hopefully the producers would fix the audio after the taping.
As the show began, M was having issues clicking on a green button in world which the other contestants immediately mastered, but Pooky helped M along and the pattern for the show was set – Pooky was going to find way to have M Linden win. It would not do to displease the lead game god.
My attention wandered while Pooky gushed “… proof positive second life is doing something right … in fact a lot right … leading second life into that great future with strength, humanity, vision, and kindness … marvelous majestic multi-talented …”
As the suck up level hit the red zone, I wondered if Pooky could make a name for herself as the Leni Riefenstahl of Second Life machinma – between the secret surveillance and ban crazed spandex superheros in the back of the room and M Linden’s constant smiling it seemed as if we were actually making "Triumph of the
Will Conflicting New Media Narratives".
Google chat was chirping:
Tizzers: This has not been a fun day.
Pixeleen: wtf is going on?
Tizzers: LL pulled a Voted 5 on Woodbury.
Pixeleen: don’t they like your money?
Tizzers: You’d think so. I find it strange considering we were on amiable terms as of last week.
Apparently there was something that happened internally that made them change their minds.
Pixeleen: how much did you pay for metaverse services not rendered?
Tizzers: We recently purchased two new homesteads and a full sim.
And just paid tier on soviet last week.
It comes out to about $900/mo
They also reclaimed all of our land in Ravenglass.
And banned Fizgig. Who never logs in.
And scout, who has been in afghanistan getting shot at.
And tons of other people.
Pixeleen: so where is the refund?
I ignored Pooky’s game and verified that all 4 of Soviet Woodbury’s sims had been destroyed and the Woodbury faction’s leadership had gone missing – victims of another round of avatar executions. For some reason M Linden’s team had decided to fire the customer – despite the fact that the customer was paying $900/month in tier.
M Linden seemed OK with all this – he kept auto-smiling every 15 seconds. Was he smiling about deleting accounts and then re-selling the land? Had he looked at the latest class action lawsuit? Pooky’s game is carefully structured to avoid anyone asking these sorts of questions, so I contented myself with answering IMs.
Pixeleen Mistral: so what is going on with Woodbury anyway?
Loki Clifton: According to the recent meeting with Jack, George, and Jeska, Woodbury University has been considered persona non grata in Second Life due to a cease and desist order by Linden Lab legal. Consequently all estate managers associated with the Woodbury estate have been permanently banned.
Pixeleen Mistral: so LL does’t like woodbury money anymore?
Loki Clifton: no
Loki Clifton: lets put it this way
Loki Clifton: all the sims are gone
Loki Clifton: all main land is gone
Loki Clifton: all the members that have ever held estate rights are perma banned including members in good standing with the lab and that included Active armed forces members and even doctor clift
Pixeleen Mistral: so is this because the woodbury guys didn’t want to be pinned inside their estate?
Loki Clifton: the lab in very lab like action is Quoting "Past and more Resent actions Have made use Re evaluate our postion to there Postion in Secondlife"
Perhaps it was just me – but this does not seem like a place that I would want to hold classes – or do business. But there must be more to the story – certainly the Lab knows this is an odd time to swing the ban hammer wildly. The Woodbury faction gained deep experience in getting the mainstream media’s attention when Lindens deleted them in 2007.
Eventually Pooky’s game ended and we could all mingle.
I got out of my seat and sought out my friend Kalel Venkman. Kalel and I had recently exchanged real life information when he filed frivolous DMCA takedowns against the Herald and I counter filed to get the materials restored. I’m really looking forward to a real life meetup and interview with Kalel at some point.
I asked Kalel if he had any comment on the Woodbury sim deletions. Strangely, Kalel was refusing to answer me. I put this down to Kalel being preoccupied providing “security” for M Linden, who may not know how to fill out an abuse report.
In fact, it seemed likely that Kalel was abuse reporting me on general principles while updating his secret database of avatars targeted for termination, so standing silently was not rudeness on his part – he was just doing his job in the faction wars — just another volunteer enforcer for the Lindens.
And I had my own job to do – the 4th estate plays an important role in free society and the Lindens and their fanboys were certainly going to circle the wagons again. But before I dove any further into this story it was time to take the new Herald yacht out for a cruise. The drama would certainly still be here when I got back.