"I'd say, stay on the mainland; the idea of clustering and the magic spell of working with your neighbors is just a great appeal." Philip Linden
The Lindens need a paradigm shift in their thinking on the Mainland. They may be on their way there -- Blue Linden was heard to say something in an office hour about the Governor Linden HiveMind thinking about ways to "add value" to the mainland. No...HiveMind needs to think of ways to stop subtracting value, and adding must be left to those who will add it if they are not blocked by blight and menace like ad-farming.
But that's not even the paradigm shift I mean. They need to begin to think of the Mainland as a giant estate, like Anshe's Dreamland. They are an estate owner, with tenants. We've had the title "Gov Linden's Tenant" in the group Mainlanders for a long time. If they begin to see that they will open source this thing, and then really REALLY be competing with Anshe or Adam or whoever makes stand-alone sims and grids, they will realize the time is *now* to start enforcing the TOS and fixing chronic customer service problems like the chronic billing snafu causing account freezes for no good reason on perfectly good credit/debit cards.
But *that* isn't even the paradigm shift I mean! They're getting there...but there's something else.
And this is big. They need to let go the most sacred of their beliefs, the doctrine of fuck-you hedonism, as I call it, the doctrine of "I can do what-the-fuck I want on my land, so fuck you." But...they don't really need to let it go. They can keep it -- I know they are terribly wedded to it, ever since the day the cowboys like James or Cory blasted land away with bombs to terraform it, and ran around in big chicken avatars making dominos fall over and sims crash. No, they don't have to change but...
They need a paradigm shift. And here it is: they have to realize *they have already granted this right to 75 percent of the grid, and now it's time to zone the 25 percent that remains, which is partially zoned anyway on their own Governor Linden land*, in order to free people to enjoy their land to the fullest.
See what I mean? Very simple.
Yes. The mainland is only 20-25 percent of the grid now. Given all the water sims, the Governor Linden land, even the 16 abandonded sims' worth that Robin says they are whittling away and have down to 10 now -- it's probably more like 15-17 percent. It is shrinking daily, proportion-wise, as the islands sell.
With lag, clubs, griefing, ad-farms, extortion, stupid builds, idiocy on the mainland in some areas, people fled to the islands. They got to do what-the-fuck-they-wanted.
So let's pause and reflect on this now, please. 75 percent of the grid pays *more tier*, and many of them even paid more than the $1000-a-sim mainland auctions for $1250 or $1695 islands, and they do this so they can do *what the fuck they want*.
Let me say this again so you can really burn it is, especially my Linden friends: 75 percent of the grid is doing what-the-fuck-they-want on private islands. 15 percent of the grid is an area where less than 1 percent are doing what-the-fuck-they-want, and some 14 percent are held utter, bitter, hopeless, helpless hostages -- able to be freed only by joining the 75 percent.
People have gotten so used to thinking of islands as "zoned" or as "sanitized" or as "flat uninteresting white beaches like pancakes" that they forget that...that's what people want. Yeah. They are doing WTF they want when they do that, and even paying higher tier at times.
Oh, to be sure, only the owner of the whole island gets to do that. The tenants have to go by the land baron rules or covenants. But, hey, they have an AWFUL LOT of choice. I mean, there are 11,000 islands, of which, oh, let's say perhaps 2,000 are corporate (the corporations in SL don't tend to have big island portfolios. They might have 8 or 10. Heck, I have more sims than IBM does probably, that's how it works.)
So that means that say, 8-10,000 sims are out there, some of them owned by individuals or stores but a total boatload of them with every conceivable theme known to simkind. You can find sims with neon green soil. Red soil like Mars. Spooky Pet Cemetary sims. Dune sims (I have one of those, very rare, Anshe's a wonderful terraformer). The IHOP types of course. But there are plenty of geeks who have put together islands to given their little script-kiddy pals places to be "creative" and be able to do "WTF" they want.
Anshe has an area called Anarchy or Anarchia or something where you can buy land cheap and do WTF you want. I get a private chuckle every time I see some hapless chump trying to sell his Anarchy parcel. Guess anarchy isn't as fun when it's in your view ROFL.
The tiny, tiny, tiny -- did I say tiny, tiny? -- percentage of people who want to build big spinning purple towers with chickens on top, or giant refrigerators containing Gorean medicines and medical equipment, or goofy tree houses that don't look so hot -- they all do this, as much as they want, on these geeky sims. Lots of geeks fled to the islands, too.
In fact, of the people who scream the loudest on the forums that the abstract licentious fuck-you hedonist Creed of Second Life must be allowed to pervade everywhere, most of them don't actually own land. They sort of perch at friends. Or they rented. Or actually they've sold. They're tired of tier. Whatever.
So....as I said, what that leaves, are us hostages. Some of us, by dint of incredibly hard labour and persistence back in the days when whole sims were a rarity on the auction, have put together whole sims with zoning, i.e. rules that people agree to voluntarily. Maybe even 4 in a corner or in a row, such that the view isn't despoiled as far as draw distance can stretch. So there are whole swathes of niceness. There was a generation of land barons -- their ranks don't seem to be growing, but thinning -- who were buying these whole sims and laying out rentals, even laying out streets they held at their own expense to create nice communities. You can fly around the Russian provinces and see them -- there hundreds of landlords running little companies, my size or a bit smaller, or a bit bigger (I may still be the largest in terms of groups and parcels, but I think there are probably barons who own more sims now who offer larger parcels i.e. half a sim to customers).
It's not true, as Robin strangely said the other day, that the mainland is filled with "little communities" (Boardman, Taber, Slate, or even Ravenglass) or "casual users". No. It's filled with *businesses*. Businesses that own more sims than IBM or Cisco. That care for the customers that Lindens won't care for, directly, helping people orient and get their sea legs in SL. There are thousands of these customers -- probably a very good chunk of the log-ins. (I'd love for the Lindens to tell us what percentage of log-ons are in islands, and what are on mainland.)
Yet this bustling activity, this hard work, this really less-lucrative sort of sweat-equity (everyone knows the real money is in pancake island rentals) is terribly abused by ad farmers and club thieves.
Club thieves who steal the FPS off a sim and all its available avatar slots on smaller parcels have waned as a problem since gambling was banned because clubs began to roll up their operations with the ban and sell off their land. Those that remain in business with camping aren't getting the huge crowds they used to get with slots. There are some illegal operations that remain, but it's been cleaned up by and large. So we don't hear about this particular issue as much -- although camping remains as a bane for many.
Ad farms -- I don't need to tell you about. Read my JIRA proposals. (It's so laggy going there now I can't be bothered with links but if you can get logged on, just type "ad farms" into the search box and get the Meta Issue and look up all the proposals.)
The problem is that we can huff and puff on this great set of proposals from me and other hapless mainland hostages, but the Lindens are hobbled.
They're hobbled by the WTF doctrine -- which I'm trying to methadone-maintenance them off of, by telling them they have their WTF doctrinal fix with private islands where all their script kiddies in fact are doing what they want, along with all their original prim divas. BTW, there's sandboxes, too, where people do WTF they want and wind up on the police blotter.
But they're also hobbled by the fear of administration, which is of course damned silly. These are Lindens who can come out on a rainy night to Big Mushamush or all those other weird sims with names like Lockjaw and Ptomaine, and bestir themselves to hover over you and admonish you to move your waving tree that is waving on to an ad-farmers' land who has abuse reported you. (!). That was what made the Arbour Project guy quit Second Life. It nearly got Random Unsung expelled by Kenny Linden back that time.
So if they can do *that* sort of Mickey-Mouse waste of time following the rules of encroachment, which we can't deny are valid, and not come up with "tools" to end this "automagically," then they can...do the same about administering to enforcement of Community Standards No. 6 against transmission of unwanted advertising content -- spam, disturbing the peace, and interfering with the enjoyment of someone's SL. In fact, to do all 3 of those things to someone with ad farms is really egregious, and the Lindens need to worry more about the undermining of the rule of law by allowing No. 6 to go unenforced, rather than fretting about what it means not to enforce encroachment by letting outraged and helpless land owners put trees up to sort of block out the ugly sign view.
Ad farms are ruining immersion, blighting landscape and horribly reducing property values everywhere. At this point, with this big a Tragedy of the Commons, the Lindens surely realize that a) premiums don't sell for this, among other reasons b) people are reluctant to buy a whole sim or even a parcel because their purchase will be ruined by ad farms breaking out anywhere.
This has got to sink into HiveMind, if nothing else does.
Unfortunately, the Fear of Administration (something they fear because they just don't know how to manage the propagandizing of the police blotter correctly, and don't know how to inspire community dissemination of norms and peer pressure in a good way, instead of in the police-state informant way they do by default) -- this is keeping them from simply declaring ad-farms in violation of no. 6 like they...oh...declared banks illegal in violation of...something (they never did say) or ageplay depiction in violation of broadly offensive...you know, stuff like that. They do it all the time!
There are several dozen really, really bad ad farmers, people with the impudent and evil spirit of the Bush Guy, snotty assholes who taunt you as they cut up land right in your face in the water. Robo Marx. Umnik. Alex Potato. Chrischun Fassbinder. Ancient Shriner -- who thinks because he doesn't cut up land that his ugly spinning towers with his ads on them are ok to devalue our property with.
The Lindens need to take aim squarely at them, and declare them in violation of the TOS, as they realize they are harming the right of everybody else in the 15 percent of the land mass to do what the fuck THEY want. And they want the fuck what everybody wants on the islands -- peace, prosperity, a good view, nice builds, and so on.
Oh, you can't agree on what a nice build is? You're going to listen to the shrill harpies on the forums and groups who can't bear the idea that anyone will control their default fuck-you hedonism? Well, the hedonists already do what-they-want on 75 percent of the land mass of Second Life.
It's time to listen to where the mass of customers have gone -- they've gone to do WTF they want, paying more money. Those who remain to do this on the mainland are often interfering with the WTF rights of everybody else on the mainland.
You have to start with ad-farms, and figuring out what to do about Governor Linden land ban lists (a separate and thorny topic).
From there -- and already 150 percent improved mainland! -- you can -- or you don't have to -- consider where other simple rules like "no builds smack at the property line" can pertain.
What's not acceptable is mute-content, or "hide select" or whatever fancy term Daniel Linden used at Stanford. Render something something? Bottom line, this is Stalin erasing history. It's not a shared world. And it may create an arms race. I haven't dealt with the impudent evil spirit of an ad farmer feeling impunity by erasing him. I've freedom him to take that spirit to another venue in an arms race.
Ultimately, the Lindens must sit in Hive Mind and contemplate this: 75 percent of the grid is filled with people doing WTF they want on their land. On the remaining 25 percent, 2-5 percent is the Lindens doing WTF they want on their land. Another 1 percent at best, I imagine, is filled with griefers, extortionists, ad-cutters doing WTF *they want*.
And then there's us, in that sad 20 percent, unable. to. do. WTF. we want. on. our. land.