Nick Wilson (57 Miles) in Second Life, IM'd me during the IBM/LL Interoperability meeting today and told me that he was canning my podcast, and banning me from his island, group, and site. I had "gone too far" yesterday in telling a heckler to fuck off in group IM, he hadn't liked my last podcast critical of the Sheep, and I "wasn't good for his business". He couldnt' really point to any *content*; just his own nervousness about the optics of metaversed.com Like the Linden said, who confessed that I hadn't actually violated the TOS when I was banned for calling Aimee's name "like a cheerleader," it was "a business decision". Nick offered to give me the domain name he had registered and offered to put out a cover story that he was cutting the podcast because "he had no time" lol.
Hey, I don't go with cover stories, I always try to tell the truth. The truth is, Nick has been feeling terribly pressured -- by advertisers like Otherland and big virtual content businesses like Rezzable and other ambitious bloggers like Virtually Blind -- to get rid of me. So he found an excuse in an incident that occured yesterday when I told a frequent-flyer stalker of mine and another creator-fascist asswipe to fuck off (you'll get the summary below, and IM me for transcripts if you are really prurient LOL).
It wasn't my idea to have a podcast on this new tech site -- and the idea for the name wasn't mine either. 57 Miles kept pursuing me, and after I said I'd stop posting at the Herald due to the constraints there, he urged me to do this podcast and I agreed to do it for free (all my work for Metaversed.com has been gratis; I agreed to write stories from the VW 2007 (I did 6 great ones!) in exchange for $532.06 to cover discounted airfare and hotel -- I wound up having to spend nearly as much myself just on filing all the copy from expensive Kinko's, taking endless cabs from my crappy hotel too far from the conference site and paying for expensive Hilton meals -- whatever!
Immediately after the first podcast we did in September, Nick was beset by people angry that I had this visibility and audibility on a website with 100,000 on Alexa named by Scoble in the top 100 tech blogs. Benjamin Sycophanske ranted and raged. Later others, including the Rezzable guy, were to crank about me and demand my head -- but in fact, the Rezzable story wasn't even my story, it was Caleb's, and good for Caleb for pursuing the mystery, first on the pages of the Herald.
During the course of my short tenure at Metaversed.com where I did some really outstanding podcasts which were in a good debate form between the British tekki and website maven Nick and me, an American non-tekkie critical of the tekkie world. Go download them before they're erased! (and by downloading, at least show some passive dissent to this "business decision" lol).
People harassed me in the comments, including assclowns like John Lopez, who was enraged at being told that he didn't know how to search for a coffee pot right and that was why he was never finding one ROFL. Most of the threads after my podcasts would wind up being closed -- and not because of my speech.
There is nothing objectionable in my podcasts, my comments, my articles, both for my own blog on Metaversed.com and while covering VW. They're all first-rate.
But yet, in fact Nick had been storing up objections, as he got further and further into hock with the Metarati. The minute I saw all the fancy advertising logos appearing on his hitherto bland, tekkie-white site about week ago, I knew I was cooked, no matter what I said or did. It's that kind of place.
I was keenly mindful that Nick had brought me on to boost traffic and buzz, and sort of be the comic warm-up act, if you will, until he could position himself among his advertisers -- then he would start saying he was "too busy" or not return my phone calls or do stuff like simply drop a podcast I made live from VW07 to him in the middle of the night my time, exhausted.
Another fellow he brought on, a real social climber and name-dropper with far too little substance than meets the eye, Robert Bloomfield, at first seemingly resented me having my own podcast and tried to get all over it on the first edition and put himself into it -- Nick firmly rebuffed him then. Later, when I posted a very long and critical post about this whole ridiculous concept called "Metanomics" -- since all the invitees were people who knew just about nothing on the virtual economies, and some of them were actively hostile - and ignorant -- about Second Life (like Ted Castronova), Bloomfield couldn't say anything against it -- because there was nothing wrong with it and because he figured I had "cover". I printed a thoughtful critique of Joshua Fairfield's wierd and overly bloated and larded contracts' paper -- it was simply erased without notice. This is how people run the Metaverse.
I've never been afraid of these people -- but I realize that little by little, I won't even be getting into their meetings to find out the bad things they are doing -- until afterwards, as we all will. For some reason, Nick had urged me to be on his MMI, a Metaverse Index to try to develop criteria to measure the Metaverse, and I agreed, somewhat puzzled, and he urged me to be critical -- now of course I'm canned from that -- there is the advertisers to think of, and not frightening the horses, the servants, the children.
Usually I've avoided the Metaversed.com meetings. They are frankly frightfully dull, pretentious, hard to follow, laggy, and lacking in sufficient diversity of views, as they've been largely cooked to try to amp the buzzitude and traffic of the site, which is positioning itself to be noticed on Tech Crunch (so it's REALLY got to get cleaned up!), and replace 3pointd.com, which is languishing and is probably likely to be sold or let go, as Mark Wallace is involved in the secret project Wello Horld.
But when an actual tax expert was brought on, even though I knew he'd speak in generalities and there'd be way too much learning curve for the amateurs, Europeans, and day-trippers even to understand those U.S. generalities, I thought I'd go and ask some specific questions -- namely about 1099s. I felt it was a creative solution. What if some of the large land dealers or content creators were essentially made independent contractors for SL, and 1099s were issued to them as such? Given that all our payments do in fact come from Linden Research via Paypal, and most don't come from those actual customers we serve for micropayments, it seemed like something to at least explore.
Regrettably, this question got transferred and garbled to Beyers Sellers (Robert Bloomfield) as somehow "the amateurs are running scared that Linden will suddenly issue 1099s" -- when the question is in fact, "Could we persuade Linden to issue them, and would that solve some issues?". Oh well. I've been getting 1099s and issuing them to my employees probably since Bob Bloomfield was watching Barney episodes. One always has to endure this sort of climbing condescention in the Metaverse.
So nastiness ensued in the Group chat -- which was in fact a very bad idea because it had too many people, too many *stupid* people, and had no more relationship to the program and the room where the avatars sit. (It was a solution to provide a unified "backchat" for now 4 sims bulging with people as Metaversed.com pursues "gigantism" as all start-ups seem to -- and it had the effect of course of sequestering the speakers off from seeing avatars present before them typing actual backchat and questions they might tune into. The speakers tried to tune into the group chat -- but it was harder.)
One person who is a certified tax preparer -- or was -- began to pontificate. She decided to fasten on the term "employer" to show off her knowledge of W2 and 1099 distinctions, not listening to the fact that I had said "employer" in the normal meaning of the word, not claimed to be an "employee" -- and the employer is in fact who sends you the 1099, even though you are not labelled "employee" but "independent contractor". Any idiot with the Internet can go read the IRS pages and master these distinctions in a heart beat -- it's why people like this tax preparer have less work in RL than they used to, eh? And that's the story for all of us, Metaverse or Meatverse. Information isn't power when it wants to be free, eh?
So while I was patiently trying to explain the 1099s issues and trying to get my question recast, 2 people were busy harassing me.
One was a typical nasty creator fascist filled with groups like SL Certification Devs (rolls eyes) and Nyterave Verified blah blah, who was heckling the group with assanine comments like "Can I file from Nigeria?" and also repeatedly asking whether the speaker had in fact said only cashed out funds were taxable events (he had said it repeatedly, and for anyone in business, it was long ago obvious common sense and put on our taxes as such). He then began to fuss about how only LL should pay taxes, one of those amateurish points of view one finds on the grid.
This idiot, when told off politely but firmly, switched to heckling me, and soon he was claiming false rumours that I was banned from the Sims Online (I never was). Then sean Voss -- a frequent griefer at my meetings, who harasses me and tries to return even when banned, who constantly posts nasties on this blog, and who also gloated belligerently in this group "Heading toward getting banned now from THIS group, Prok?" said "Bye everyone, be well, cept for Prok." Total gratuitous nastiness. No one said, hey, that's out of line. As no one had told off the other dweeb. "Fuck you, sean," I said, whereupon the PR Newswire guy, a total symp who once urged me to put all his PR Newsire kiosks out on my land for free, and thought I'd be thrilled at such an opportunity to "help", began to cluck his tongue and say now, now, we can't have profanity.
I explained that with stalkers and persecutors like this, only force is understood. sean Voss isn't some new griefer; he's a frequent flyer; he gets a fuck you, because I don't *care* if I am banned for something like that -- it only exposes those who feel they have to ban under the vindictive, gloating pressure of a griefer like that. Others began to wag their fingers and pontificate about how one should never say "fuck you" -- but of course one *has* to because...they only understand force.
Soon, the meeting was over, and I walked up to JenzZa Misfit the former tax preparer, whose business I had actually defended vigorously when she was attacked by nasties at the Herald, and asked her if she was that pompous and pressurey in real life. I asked Gaius Dassin, the creator-fascist who wanted to file from Nigeria, if he was also that much of an asshole in real life.
She began to IM me something sappy about my son -- unfortunately, he was in a car accident last Friday. Jjust when I was trying to convene the meeting at the dam, I got the phone call from his friend's house where he had gone on his bicycle just a few blocks away to play in a WoW raid. At first because no bones were broken and he merely had some bad scrapes and bruises, we didn't think much had happened. Later it developed that he simply can't walk, and that some more serious torn ligament or something is at issue which we're still struggling to get specialists to advise on. Naturally, my son's condition is far more important to me than the sensibilities of some asstard in the Metaverse.
I really loathe it when people think they can do wierd little emotional blackmail things to you over some RL issue. JenZZa was just being girl-sappy, but what Gaius did was way over the top, and was nasty griefer-boy malicious and downright evil.
First he told me, in reply to my query about whether he was like this in RL, that he had "real things to do" as if he was in real business and I was not, and that he had no time to waste on "middleaged has-beens who bother people in video games" (chuckle...wait...I thought we weren't in a video game because Dassin's junk he creates is his "real business" ROFL).
A few more nasty remarks -- call me for the transcripts if you like, but I'm not posting them merely because not everybody in them was in a public meeting -- nothing to hide here, I was the first to give them to Nick and anyone else who wished them.
Then he IMs me cunningly, maliciously, with faux concern designed to point up the fact that I'm not somehow "a real player" but "a mommy who is upset about her boy" blah blah -- just five seconds after saying I'm a has-been bothering people in video games -- "How is your son?" with a fake simpering context. How does an evil quantity like this even find out about my real life, when he wasn't at the dam meeting? I guess someone IM'd him something.
I went over and pushed his avatar as hard as I could for that. It was totally wrong of him to invoke my son, to even mention him, to engage in bad-faith malicious posturing of faux concern. I told him that if I had a gun, I'd blow him to smithereens -- and indeed I would, but my avatar doesn't have or use guns -- I'm not even sure how to work them. I then said if he ever contacted me in real life -- since he had just violated my privacy by prying into my son's accident -- I would punch him out. Seriously. And I would say it again to him, or anybody, and I don't care WHO bans, mutes, censors, harasses, or sues me for saying this: it's wrong how people behave, their evil cunning cruelty cannot stand. I push back.
To be honest, I'm happy not to feel as if I'm looking over my shoulder when I write something about a technical issue or company foisting that technical issue on us -- which is really a political issue. I found it rather soul-killing to tend toward writing happy little tech copy for Metaversed.com -- I just can't do that, and won't. I'm going to keep on writing about these things just as honestly as I can. It has become harder and harder to find the space for this.
Oh, and another thing. Long, long before this incident -- last week before VW07 -- Nick IM'd me and asked me if I would drop the name of Prokofy Neva and write under my own name while covering VW07. His preoccupation with sanitized corporate blogs was already overtaking him.
"No way," I told him. I explained that my avatar and his name is a part of me, and I don't shed some controversy by shedding my avatar. Hamlet Linden tried to do the same, highly evil form of avatar-murder -- at VW07. At O'Flaherty's or whatever the Irish bar in San Jose was called, when I explained to a group of people that he had pre-banned me from his blog before it had even opened, even though he hadn't been able to get away with that while a Linden, he said I was welcome to post under my own name, calling me "Catherine" with that kind of condescending arrogance that little metaversal myrmidons can muster in between their all-expense paid carbon-emitting Metaversal road shows and paid-for payola blogging. "No thanks," I said. "I am Prokofy and he is me."
I imagine unless I try to convince a real-life newspaper to accredit me, I won't be able to find someone to give me an editor's letter for a press pass at the next VW07, and if I'm not willing to pay $1200 or whatever for the business accreditation, I might not get in (and maybe not even that way).
So I'll take a page from the book of Chris Sherman, the current VW07 host who puts on the best show in town in the Metaverse, for my money. Banned from the *other* VW conference in London this week, he is simply holding his own party with all the same people who just got done being his guests at VW07 San Jose. He is buying the first round.
So if I ever happen to see Nick Wilson in real life at one of these things -- or if I have my own party across the street from them -- I'll agree to have him buy *me* a round for helping him get his start-up started up with buzz and traffic and really important pieces that people will look to in the future to understand the origins of the Metaverse. Until then, 57 Miles is on mute for not being willing to go the extra mile to keep the space open for critics.