• Advertisement
My Photo

Tip Jar

Support Blog

Tip Jar

Official Second Life Blog


« "Little Dressmaker Genocide" and the Logical Fallacy Fallacy | Main | Metaversal Reversal »

February 24, 2009



Good post, good stuff.


Prokofy Neva

why, thanks, c3! Are you sure you didn't already do this and say this in 1973 with playdo and the funny papers?

cube inada

not in 1973:)

In 1992 at the APPLE MARKET CENTER NY Seminars on digital media and design.
In 1995 at the first meetings of the NYVRMLSIG.
In 2001-2003 at the meetings and the SFWEB3D meetings as well.
And in 2006 toward the Stanford VR worlds meetup that had no "content" makers invited to speak:)

But its still all good stuff:)and soon might catch on .


I think "silly putty" was the maluable plastic compound of choice with the funny pages btw:)

It was the copybot of 1973:) but I was 10, so IP issues were beyond me;)

Darien Caldwell

You know it's funny, but what you describe is a lot like what I thought Second Life was supposed to be when I first joined.

We were told it was our world, our imagination, and that we owned what we created. It sounded to me like LL just made the basic blocks and kept the servers humming, and the residents governed the world itself, deciding for themselves the rules, within the confines of the TOS and technical limitations.

Of course it took me about 9 months to finally come to terms with the fact that wasn't how SL worked at all. I struggled with that because I really wanted to believe LL had done what many would consider the unthinkable; Letting the users develop the universe as they saw fit.

Maybe that was their goal in the beginning. But somewhere along the way they lost sight of that. Maybe as you say, they felt the people weren't skilled enough, or wise enough, or able enough to do things themselves. But that's what every government believes of their people, and why they end up being so oppressive.

LL had a chance to rise above that, and sadly they haven't.

Prokofy Neva

Silly Putty was better, yes, but more expensive. There was also Gloop, which you could make at home out of Borax.

Ordinal Malaprop

The thing is that anyone operating a service which involves a large chunk of social collaboration as part of its basic point is already in this situation. Only, what makes me regularly bash my head on the table is how many just cannot see this.

If you are running a simple game or an email service, fair enough; your users themselves are not contributing that much individually to what you are doing. But, say, with a social virtual world, you as the company are really not doing much apart from providing a framework for other people to produce content for you.

If they are at all interested in your basic world - and you had best hope that they are - they will want to organise and collaborate and expect to have an influence on what becomes, after a while, theirs. They made it. Now, if you go out and hire folk to develop content then you can give them priorities, because you are also paying them lots of money. But if you are asking people to pay to develop content they take this less well to say the least.

In many ways LL understand this better than a lot of companies. They have given up being pointlessly interventionist socially and show signs of addressing some authentic concerns, though by no means all and by no means the ones based on what I would say were real priorities. But they are at least aware of the fact that 99% of their workforce actually pay them to work.

cube inada

WE are NOT THEIR workforce.

THAT will eventually (hopefully) be the lesson learned after the con job called web2.0

Note today the further reduction of the "millions of" us sheep and IBM core clients.

A time to every season.:)

ichabod Antfarm

I've experienced lots of different emotions reading Second Thoughts but excitement about the future was never one of them. With this latest post, I got to experience that too, and it was good!

A tour de force, Prokofy. Bravo!

Prokofy Neva

Ordinal, you're right that LL *does* understand this better, but it's a revolution of rising expectations. Just when I think these Lindens are getting better (Jack Linden, ad farms) I see them behaving like assholes again (Infinity Linden, MMOX). Yes, it's a more diverse beast but they just don't have decency as a corporate culture most of the time. Maybe few corporations do.

We are their workforce because they make money from us. If we wrest some money off these servers, great, but we are like Russian serfs becoming quit-renters, sliding back into poverty at any moment the master's wrath or management incompetence decides to fall on us.

I think LL doesn't like having people pay them to work. I think they look forward to changing that, unfortunately for those of us silly enough to be doing this.

AlterEgoTrip Svenska

This so called "geek religion" you are a part of Prokofy, its so ironic when I read the crap about it you wrote.. one of the things that most concern me are a. I would rather have dated or have been with anyone who was a "geek" Male someone most techincal for the following reasons-

1. They are out of the loop of the typical power structure of the "white man", this makes them more prone to NOT being so utterly "sexist".But hey even non-power tripping men have those problems. Just as women PROJECTING themselves as men (does this mean that Profoky feels that women are inferiour, projecting one self as a "white power trip male"?

2. Because they were virtually untouched (I would have been attracted to Bill Gates if I hadn't seen how perverse he was but now Bill Gates is one of the bad people super bad too but not a geek longer)..I found that these were men I would typically get on with as they, as myself are always in the development of their "sexuality" and stance on the world. Flexiblity in cultural views.

3. They were not all "white males" they were in fact of various cultural stances.. East Asian, Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, and also women.. too bad that the large numbers of African countries are left out of the represntation. I feel it is because there was obviously a consious effort by America to leave them out of the loop, perhaps if Africa wasn't a threat to some.

Ah but what Prokofy writes is after all a kind of reactionary Fiction.. a fiction that makes us all suspecious of the intent behind those who she points at, and has nothing to do with the intent behind everyones little dark intent. Imagine if you could pull back the curtain to find that everyones bad intentions could be found and seen clear as day-

Well I just see projection here.. as for Social Darwinism, Prokofy oozes it from every pore, as far as Econonimc Darwinism, Prokofy AGAIN-- so what was she talking about, herself?

Surfs, once again, Prokofy and her land profits.. quantity over content of quality, Prokofy..

That's all I am getting, perhaps someone other than her or her cronies can remind me what exactly she stands for? I don't understand why the pot keeps standing here calling the kettle black.

Maybe I am too ignorant or too different to understand these so called points of logic..and please use language other than profanity to assert your stance on this matter, thanks.

Ace Albion

Maybe there is hope. As more and more people come onto online social networks, such as members of my family who have never been interested in "computers" I think it may become harder and harder for narrow minded coders to maintain any relevance. The online world is still currently biased more towards geeks, but that is changing every day. When millions, if not billions of people demand rights, they may have to be accomodated. STFU or GTFO may end up being what is said to the arrogant geeks who used to chant it to disaffected users; if they cannot contribute something that the people want, then they will have to content themselves with a life of solitary code-masturbation, in obscurity and irrelevance. The ones who contribute according to the needs and wants of everyone, will be genuinely respected, cherished, dare I say it, paid.

micha sass

This was a lovely conclusive post. I think the internet is already more democratic than RL. I get to vote once every four years, and I dont get the option of a 'no' vote (so you must pick one person from two possibles). The internet with its JIRA/Mantis issue systems empower me to at least get a say in what the coders are doing. I try to limit myself to bug-reports and sensible feature request. I think the world needs a NEW political framework, democracy is a myth in real world politics. The internet hopefully will remain as a system of communication, and nobody will have to LIVE as a non-atomic digital form. Because if we do, we will become data, and things will change (like an evolution). So what you are starting here in 2009 may have implications on a horrid, singular digital future. Good for you Prokofy. But not all geeks are against you, as I am certain not all very conservative types are with You, or even understand what feelings and experiences you have had (on the internet). The first two thirds of this article was hard to digest, but I am glad I did. The last paragraph was beautiful.

Horus Vale

Yes, who rules?
The tools rule the product,
but the creators rule the tools.
And who rules the creators?
Demand rules them all.
But, who rules over demand?
Those who consume the products.
And who consumes products?
Ultimately, those who use them.
So, who rules?
Those that use. ;-)

micha sass

If only it were always that simple Horus :). I dont think any of the userbase of SecondLife Grid(tm) in any way "demanded" any of the more recent change to the LL sytstem/software/entity. Nobody wanted the openspace changes, nobody wanted the reduction of user feedback (i am sure there are other things).
This (blog thread) is becoming a great, and very positive focus on what is good for pretty much any software development.

micha sass

Of course it does beg a few questions. Are consumers as a democratic whole, actually capable of deciding the future of software? (or the human race for that matter). Are consumers as a group already misguided by consumerism its self? Is consumerism a REAL representation of humanity? Does democracy work?

Desmond Shang

>>" They are out of the loop of the typical power structure of the "white man", this makes them more prone to NOT being so utterly "sexist".But hey even non-power tripping men have those problems."

Having spent about 20 years in technical professions from junior engineer to executive management, I would say that most people in the field think a great deal of themselves, and their own opinions.

It comes with the fairly high level of intelligence that people in the field have to have, but this may or may not go along with emotional intelligence. All too often, it doesn't. I personally think there is a lot of truth to the idea that introverted, booksmart types do well in engineering without much need to develop social skills.

I've seen incredible, boggling amounts of sexism in the engineering field. From freewheeling 1990's philosophy environments of young engineers and scarily young management, where dating and sleeping with co-workers was literally *encouraged*. To more 'traditional' environments where middle-aged engineers of disparate cultural backgrounds basically would harass the early 20's (and younger) female interns at the slightest opportunity and *have to be told* that this wasn't appropriate.

Normally, most business environments are fairly boring, but this stuff does happen *all* the time. From the sort of things I've seen, you'd think it was Hollywood not Silicon Valley if only told about the shenanigans. The point: I would *not* consider software engineers as a group 'not sexist' at all. I left one company where a female was promoted to my former management position, and she instantly had problems ~ some of the men wouldn't do the tasks she assigned. Why? They were foreign born, and from cultures where women simply weren't accepted whatsoever as authorities in the workplace. It wasn't her, she was highly competent. It took clear threat of firing to even make a dent in the situation. Sexism is rampant in engineering, though if you are a male it may simply not reveal itself.

Finally, it is generally true that coders and engineers aren't top tier when it comes to management and corporate power. Yes, I know there are scads of successful engineers that became execs. I'm one of them. But far more frequently, it's the sales managers or others with more social and business sense that claw their way up to run businesses. Perhaps it's because they care more; most engineers have a different value set and are as likely to strive for technical goals as management. But in the end, I'd say the tech profession isn't a great way to the top, anywhere.

Darien Caldwell

I wouldn't say it's because Sales people 'care more'. It's because they are better Socially yes. Better liars, better Politicians. When the fate of a company is being placed in your hands, people want someone they can trust. Not necessarily someone who is competent. :)

AlterEgoTrip Svenska

Desmond Shang- My auntie (it makes her sound so OLD :P) is an engineer within the area of astrophysics and although she pretends there isn't any problem with sexisim, when your within the minority, no matter where or who you are, its going to be a problem.. and she and her husband worked for NASA-- also very male dominated.. but I wouldn't say that sexism is as ingrained in this area as in other fields where people would just look at you and expect that you are there to get the coffee or answer the phone because you look a certain way, or dress a certain way or even have an accent or something.. its going to be there.. just as certain as men who have a certain religious background are going to think of women on one level even if they went to the same schools and courses and hold the same jobs and those women had better grade point averages.. ect.

I rarely have seen this set of values that you speak of, but I know that its only natural that these "types" do exist because they have been educated and RAISED to be this way. But not everyone has this and I'm not painting them into a corner with a wide brush either.

And this goal about striving for the top, that was basic work related psychology, you know those test the use to find out exactly which field your "psychological type" would be best suited for?

Those stupid massive numbers of test they give you at job placement offices and high school counciler's offices?.. A paragraph explained it very clearly... some people who are scientificly oriented rarely, it said make good managers or leaders.. not really due to what people consider
"people skills" but it can play a part, but rather about that leaders often don't care about the details (although this test fails to take in leadership styles) they care about motivation, wether its within their own ego or how to stroke the ego of others, perhaps this needs social skills.. but alas.. that's all the usefulness one can get out of me.. my own ablity to express what I know in words is limited and not as skilled as if I were to bust out into song, or paint a picture so I back off until later.

AlterEgoTrip Svenska

I sent in a reply.. it got eaten up.. Darien.. I think you got the answer better than I did.

Horus Vale

But you are mistaken Micha. Nothing is created without some user demand. Even if that demand is just for the creator's use of the product. You just have to cast a wider net to understand that. The creation of the Opensim project and the open source grids that it has brought into existence is a direct response to a user demand that Linden Lab was unable to satisfy. Users wanted cheaper sims that they could govern themselves. Thus a group of creators made opensim as the alternative product. The Opensim grids offered cheaper sims, so LL tried to complete with openspace sims in SL. As a result, the Lindens over extended themselves and had to revise that product offering. Programs such as Copybot and Second Inventory sprang into existence when users wanted to copy and keep virtual goods on their own systems and on their own terms, free from creator demands and Linden governance. When it became to costly to listen carefully SL's userbase, they responded by limiting the tools for user feed back. But that just makes the alternatives more popular. Linden Labs business model is to be the America Online of 3D virtual worlds. They wish to make Secondlife a singular one stop shop of virtual worlds, goods and services. But eventually AOL got superseded by other services on the public internet. This is already happening with the Opensim grids and they in turn may be superseded another 3D world protocol set. But in the end, it will be users of those 3D worlds, goods and services that will decide with their choice of consumption what will be successful and thus widely available. This is inevitable over time, even when the things that are consumed are given away for free. If consumers do not want a product they will cast it aside for another that they do want. Such is the judgement of history.

Prokofy Neva

Micha, you seem to have the usual technocommunist allergy to commerce and capitalism and go into a shudder or a rage at the thought of (ugh) consumerism. But, most people consumer and don't have these shudders and fainting spells. It's ok. No, there wouldn't be a "democratic whole" of "all the people on the planet" lol.

The Lindens want to "connect us all" but they have technical limitations, fortunately.

Yes, democracy works. Try it some time. Of course, you may have to get out of the way then.

Horus, I really think it's totally romanticizing OpenSim to say that it was created by a group of users who wanted freedom and independence from LL. It's more about being created by people who just wanted to code the way they felt like without any restraints.

They didn't really make any alternative product. They are making software, not a world. They'd be the first to tell you that. They hack around and bash stuff and sandbox. A few of them started up little businesses to re-rent sims but they are fraught with problems.

The concept of the Lindens too hastily offering OpenSpaces as a response to the appearance of OpenSims seems like a low-hanging fruit, but I wonder if in fact good analysis sustains it. Where is Thomas Malaby, who could look at this and give an informed opinion on whether it is true?

In fact, the Lindens had to have known how inferior the OpenSim sims were, and I can't believe them rushing anything to production when they had to have known it.

There is absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth or in cyberspace that says the Internet "has" to go along the route of the first iteration, or rather, the geeks' belief about its first iteration, where AOL was overtaken by events. Nothing whatsoever. Indeed, just the opposite. If you are scientific, you have to examine that option, too, and end your allergy to it.

You are right that the market will decide. But you can't seem to face the facts that the market *did* decide and it decided for SL, as it is now, not OpenSim, not anything else lol.

Prokofy Neva

Of course, I spoke too soon about Beth Noveck, she in fact was given an influential position, in the Office of Science and Technology ni the White House, where she spent two years.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Advertisement


  • Advertisement
Blog powered by Typepad

Networked Blogs

  • Networked Blogs