Marianne McCann (mmccann) wrote,
Marianne McCann

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I want to write something about the SL Fifth Birthday. I feel like I should. I've said pages and pages on the SL Forums about, I did a big post on the SLC blog, and I've spent the weekend going over it no matter where I went.

But try as I might to collect my own feelings on it, I end up conflicted.

I understand Linden Lab being in a difficult position here. They want to keep their business, and view things like Representative Mark Kirk's recent attack on Second Life as very damaging to their business and livelihood. Doing their best to "sanitize" this showcase event may seem like the best way to ensure their continued well-being, I dunno.

What I do feel is that this was all handled wrong. I'm not sure what "right" would have looked like. Maybe asking us kids, rather than making such a hard-edged, immediate decision. Maybe having things be clearer the day we were given the information, I dunno.

but the thing I keep coming back to is this.

I am a resident of Second Life. I've been in Second Life for two years, three months, and change. I've been a premium member for about a year and a half of that time, paying above the usual tier for a chunk of mainland. I have a lot of ties to the grid, as a business owner, a content creator, a role player, a photographer, a writer, and just generally as an "avatar about town."

I've a fan of the world. I like the very notion of that place (those places?) and have generally been willing to see it grow and improve. I've been a part of the last two Second Life birthdays, was involved with the SL Day of Remembrance, and have donated content to other Linden builds.

But now, I'm not welcome.

Oh sure, I can attend their party, but unlike nearly any other content creator on the grid, I am unwelcome as an active participant at their event. My application was denied before it could even be reviewed, the victim of my choice of avatar and my desire to help create some positive press for those who opt to play child avatars in Second Life.

This does not make me feel like donning the Philip Linden made party hat and blow a noisemaker. Indeed, at a party where us resident have traditionally celebrated the good fortune of Second Life, I know that my own successes within the grid are not to be celebrated or even acknowledged by Linden Lab.

The SL birthday has been a resident event, run by residents with the only major Linden hand being in the offering of tier-free land. It was supposed to be our party, not theirs to put on. Our showcase, not theirs.

Which makes one pause and ponder: if our party can be so quickly taken over, then what of "our world, our imagination." It rings kinda hollow right now.

I'm not going to make grand comparisons of my choice in avatars and the human rights abuses of the real world -- but I will tell you this. No matter the size of the transgression, one can easily spot when something isn't fair. I'm a member like anyone else here, but I've been told, essentially, "your not convenient to us, so we're going to hide you."

The correct response would have been to champion your members. We're all a little freaky and odd. I play a kid. Some people grow fangs, or have pointed ears. Many wear pelts or scales. Some are engaged in activities I've never even considered. Don't condone those activities which truly are illegal in the real world, but stand behind the people who keep the lights on at 945 Battery Street. It is the right thing to do. heck, it's part of the Community Standards.

Happy Birthday, Second Life. I hope someone around here grows up a bit.
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