First of all, in light of the inevitable backlash to my criticism of educators (who believe they are beyond critique), if you want a sad eulogy to the passing of the Teen Grid replete with edu-hype and self-serving nonprofit self-congratulation, go away, and go here. If you want an indignant post from an outsider merely provoked into indignation in the usual SL fashion by a few edgecasers, go away, and go here. If you want to hear educators wailing and commiserating about the Linden decision, go away, and go here. Oops, you can't, unless you're already a member of that precious little circle.
So, no, I don't do those windows. This is a sharp and indeed even *harsh* criticism of educators in SL (and by extension the Lindens, who are global educators writ large) -- and there's more coming. It's much needed. The Teen Grid, precisely because it was 13-17 year olds, had very little visibility -- and that means very little accountability from its actual managers, the Lindens, and from its would-be interlopers, the educators. That's wrong. That should not be.
I'm also not required to perform a full-fledged independent investigative journalistic exercise around this topic, any more than the hundreds of other anecdotal bloggers out there on this subject. So I'm no more required to post a "balanced" or "informed" view than any of them, praising the wonders of the indispensible Peggy Sheehy, as I've been ordered to do on Twitter by some irate fan -- as much as edupunks reading my blog will speciously whine that a more "balanced" presentation of their interests should be made. It won't be. Because they've pulled the blanket their way for too long, and correctives are needed.
THE LINDENS DID THE RIGHT THING
First of all, regarding the Lindens' decision to close the Teen Grid -- good! Great! Grand! It was an ill-thought and ill-executed venture that failed. It did not succeed at its primary mission: attracting teens to a safe online virtual world where they could be creative and sustain themselves. It didn't even succeed its secondary mission -- siphoning off the kids posing as adults on the main grid to a legal and safe place where their creativity and socializing could be encouraged. It failed at these tasks miserably for all kinds of reasons.
It's failure is why it is being closed. It is not that the Lindens are closing it because they are greedy for revenue and it didn't generate cash. The Lindens put their own money in this game. They are not about money. They are as idealistic as you are, and its silly to pull that victimized anti-capitalist rant on them, you're barking up the wrong tree. *Stop it*.
A SMALL FACTION IS WHINING
Yet there is a small faction of people -- very outspoken and determined -- that think the TG should continue -- under their rule -- and that it would be a good thing if it did. That's because a faction of educators, some with very extreme edu-cult beliefs, think the mandate of the Teen Grid was to serve as a platform for their federal- or state- or foundation-funded programs. Of course, whatever the Lindens' promotion of lefty edu programs, which they do sort of haphazardly even being enthusiastis, it's their wishful thinking. As much as the Lindens favour (in theory) education and promoting of non-profits, they don't *really* when it comes down to it -- because it doesn't yield anything.
FOR LINDENS, IT'S ONLY ABOUT SOFTWARE
Proof of that is what the Engineer-in-Charge told us at SLCC10. And that's his reason for closing the Teen Grid: Philip Linden said that he couldn't justify the constant headache of having to port every single change made to the main grid software to the teengrid software -- they are different. Why they are different I'm not sure, but there are certain key components of the TG experience that differ from the main grid. For example, you can't leave that grid to go elsewhere in SL obviously. There are also no Events, the Events list is empty. The land-sale thing works differently because it can default (or did) to the 16 m abandoned plots and people pick them up, there didn't appear to be bots, etc. (I'm diverging on to the difference between software and usage of software, but one could be contingent on the other). The old "Showcase" is what operates on the Teen Grid. Does Viewer 2 even go on the TG? I don't know. And other differences I don't know about, enough (or instead of these, others) for Philip to say "this is too much of a bother, I won't do it any more).
THE TEEN GRID WAS EMPTY -- IT HAD 300 PEOPLE ON IT!
Second, could we look at the facts please? Nobody, including the Lindens, is giving them! Before mourning the demise of this little world, could we hear about its size and shape and impact?
This proved extraordinarily hard to get. I asked 6 Lindens, starting with Philip and working my way down the list I could find there, what was the Teen Grid concurrency. What were the 60-day uniques' log-ons? What were the number of islands sold? What was the traffic on the top 10 venues? What was the number of total educational programs in TG? How many served K-12, or the technical age group of 13-17? How many only served 16-18 in RL? What were the real FACTS of the USAGE and IMPACT of the TG, i.e. how many grant dollars had it attracted, and how many teens were served by what was usually *public* money on this grid?!
No one could answer me. NO ONE COULD ANSWER ME!
Even Philip didn't know the concurrency -- or especially Philip. In part that's a function of lack of regular visibility. Apparently, when you log on, the concurrency showing is for all of SL, not just for the TG. But surely the Lindens have those numbers. They could give them. Maybe not all of them. But enough to make their case, which I support.
I asked several teens who happened to show up there in Boston, who had recently been on the TG. They said "300 people go there". I was shocked. I would have said "3,000". They seemed strangely unmoved by the educators' howls in the SLCC10 workshop. One young guy said to me that he couldn't understand all the fuss about 16-17 year olds migrating to the adult grid because there would be very, very few of them out of this...300...that logged on. And few that would likely bother after that, it was hard enough and boring enough to discourage them.
And I could point this out: young people of 16 and 17 who played by the rules, and who had parents monitoring them, and went on the Teen Grid as required in the first place, instead of merely grabbing Mom's credit card and making an account on SL's main grid, are not the sort of young people you need to be suspicious of. They sound like good citizens, and whatever few that might become disruptive with all that heady glee of the main grid (*snort*), it will be offset by the emergence of a creative group of content-builders who now finally have the market and audience they deserve -- let's hope.
And that's another thing -- Shava invoked in her interview with Philip the first Facebook story of the 16-year-old who brags that he shagged a 30-year-old housewife on SL to start the backlash on SL again. But in fact, it's that 16-year-old making a store with products that scares the shit out of the main-grid mavens and net nannies. The educators, as we'll see in my next post, HATE commerce on the grid with a passion, and for them, a kid making money and insisting on protection of IP as a result instead of the usual share-bear edu-socialism is more horrible for them than the prospect that he might have an affair with an adult. I'm serious.
WHAT REALLY BREAKS KIDS' HEARTS
So I sent a few teens I know on a quick research mission. This was a highly imperfect affair, because they weren't motivated or interested the way I was, and were impatient. One of them, my son, doesn't log in much anymore, for many reasons which I can't recall if I've blogged about, but which I've told to anyone who would listen.
So I will go into this long aside now, stop me if you've heard this one and skip to the next rubric.
My son and about four or five of his friends used to LOVE Second Life. I gave him an account as a 13th birthday present. Every day after school, they rushed home to play it together, sitting in a group with a mixture of desktops we have and laptops. I told them the $25 plus subscription was my limit on this game, and eventually they would have to get that paid back every month or I'd put it down to 512 and $7.25 a month again.
They took this task seriously and spent hours planning how much land to buy; where to buy it; what to put on it. For days, they crafted their first store, that sold battle avatars and weapons -- they were coming out of the WoW and Yugio card stage of life and it was natural for them to make a mall with war game stuff. They even accepted trades in their other games of WoW and Runescape for stuff in SL. SL was a kind of staging area where they met in between other games, and made stuff resembling those games, but which took a funny turn to be what *they* wanted, and not a game dev somewhere.
Every day they told me enthusiastically -- passionately -- about their adventures. How they got people to rent their mall spaces (I sent them the Hank Ramos OS rental script on email to use, after asking Philip if he minded). How they made a fun game for people to play they called "Sewer Safari" with various funny things in it and prizes to get through the maze. Incredibly, these 13-year-olds learned to script and made an elaborate basketball game with robot battle avatars, a HUD that showed damages, and a ball that could go in a hoop. I was amazed. They spent hours planning their budgets, arguing over every bit of tier contributed and what that should yield in income from the revenue, trying to attract people selling stuff, fighting with griefers and annoying deadbeats, etc. etc. and then branching out to make more content. They made prefab houses and ships and tried to figure out how to get them move. The lightning speed with which they raced through build menus astounded me, as I have trouble lining up two prims.
It was all so heartening to me because I felt like they were in a safe and fun club-house with the avuncular Blue Linden in charge as a kind of stand-in for their real-life uncles. It didn't take away from their real lives because they inevitably, being kids, would run downstairs and ride their bikes and play real basketball too, and I could always shoo them out towards dinner time. But instead of mindless drilling and skilling on the other games they'd been on, and mindless killing and maiming and ganking and healing and reviving and battling, they were creating and thinking and planning and socializing in ways they hadn't with each other and other people.
They were thrilled whenever their mall got to the top 10 spot and it gave them a great incentive to keep trying to adapt and change and attract people. The happiness and creativity that I saw in these neighbourhood kids and my son during those days -- the light in their eyes -- were among the greatest points I have seen in their lives and I will always remember it.
That's why it terribly saddened me -- ANGERED me -- when I began to hear their reasons for falling away from SL. These reasons they arrived at completely independently of me. I didn't hang over their shoulder or tell them what to do -- I was busy doing my RL job which I mainly do at home -- so I told them they were on their own, and I wanted to see the $25 every month hopefully -- and I was amazed when they surpassed that amount and began to make real money, more money than I could pay them in allowance at that time.
And their reasons will sound familiar to many of you:
o the camp script. Why did the Lindens allow this evil to enter the more controlled world of the teen grid? My kids didn't want camping -- they hated the way it covered up their real merits and real feedback in their business. They hated the expense of it. They were furious that their hard collaborative work genuinely trying to attract people was killed off by fakers who flushed avatars on to their parcels artificially and kept them there, sometimes pinned over night with AFK scripts. The Lindens could have simply ruled in that smaller setting especially that it was not allowed. But they didn't. Their software religion held fast, and they accepted it as "emergent behaviour". This increasingly infuriated my kids and then sent them into despair as they watched all their hard, authentic work and their real following get edged out by campers.
o Linden favouritism to what emerged as a teen FIC. I was astounded when these kids arrived at this complaint entirely on their own. They said that there was no land auction and full sims were not put out for sale openly for people to buy with a right-click. Lindens essentially first hustled and pre-sold them, and then put them out already sold. They'd ask the top wealthy kids or top businesses inworld if they wanted more land, then put it out. Or they'd plan to roll out more pretty land, and ask around to see among the teen FIC who would like to buy it. This riled my kids, even though I told them I'd definitely not be letting them buy a whole island, it was too costly for me and too hard for them to maintain. The 4096 -- which they'd parlayed into a 8192 with a shared group tier arrangement with even more friends -- was perfect for them to start and 8192 about enough to handle even with 6 managing it. Even so, they thought that land should be able to be bid on or available in a free market to those who wanted it, with the best spots not being handed out to favourites.
o Lindens constantly drawing to their own activities and venues, siphoning traffic off to themselves, i.e. competing with their own customers. Just when the kids at my house were running their "Sewer Safari," Chuckle Linden or Boopsie Linden would use the blue drop-down screen (!) to say "Party at the Hangout Spot Come On Over Kids!" and draw people away. It was infuriating. I kept asking why they didnt put anything on the Events List. They didn't understand. It turned out there wasn't one, possibly because it was too hard to make a separate one that would screen out the main grid adult content? I don't know.
o Forums FIC and nastiness and banning. I won't paint my kids as angels, as some of their bans were for cause, but all in all, it sounded like the same horrid FIC bullying was going on and know-it-all bullshit that plagued the adult forums
o Arbitrary bannings from the world that couldn't be fixed easily. Kids being kids, they constantly share their accounts and the Lindens too strictly forbid this. One kid who came to our house was using what in fact was originally his brother's account. And his brother, mind you, was *nine*. He had illegally joined from his home, likely with Mom's card, and played for two days before getting frustrated and bored. It was here Older Brother got excited and decided it was great, and since he was already 13, he could now legalize the account. So he took it over and played for months, making many creative things. Somehow, in chat, or through an AR from an enemy, it came to the Lindens' attentions and they banned him. I seem to recall myself even writing a petition to Blue to undo this idiocy. If the parents wrote a fax, or made a phone call, my God, couldn't this be put right? But it wasn't for months on end, needlessly. My own son got banned arbitrarily for some months too, mysteriously. None of us could understand why, as he had no disciplinary notice. I finally got a non-answer by calling, again, because tickets "went nowhere". There was never any explanation given. Perhaps it was because they saw one address logging on to both teen and adult grids, but since we share the same computer, they'd have to accept that. I supervise the computers in my house closely, and I was in the room with these kids when they played SL, as they played any game, and I believe they behaved in this regard. So it was frustrating.
I contrast this with WoW, where transfer of accounts, bans that seem arbitrary, various problems get solved instantly because they have mammoth numbers of customer service people who don't have a mandate that says "never share accounts". The WoW people understand that sharing accounts is what gameplay is all about for these boys. So they simply set up rules. Yes, you can give your account to another person. But you have to tell us. And here are the steps for doing that. Yes, you can now take your account back again, and here are the steps. In SL, ostensibly because of IP or age security rules, this becomes a stupidly insurmountable hurdle that I think is consistently exaggerated.
Faced with all these frustrations, the camp script and the venue-competition from Lindens themselves being the most frustrating, these kids quit. I begged them to at least keep their stores up selling content, which they did, and passively, they continued to make some money. Occasionally they'd hear about a new feature or a new friend trying and herd back in and pick it up again, but the thrill was gone. For awhile, one of my son's friends made a comeback busking with music, he's very talented in RL, but he gave up with other frustrations of the changes in the viewers, the crashing, etc. I couldn't persuade him to stay.
I will never forgive Lindens for breaking their hearts like that, and subjecting them to adult cynicism and nihilism at such an early age, and such sinister adherence to the cult of the Internet -- that if you can do it, it's ok, that if you can steal it, it's not a crime, that if you can defraud it and get away with it, it doesn't count, etc.. They didn't learn this from me, their community, their school. They learned it from Linden Lab -- favouritism, greed, cynicism, software extremism, unfairness, injustice -- everything that goes into this awful California Business Model. This really made me mad.
To be sure, despite my only family's -- neighbourhood's! -- negative experience with this platform, I would be happy to describe the Teen Grid as a wonderful place for creativity and learning. It has that potential.
But let me tell you the latest findings of these kids.
As I said, some hadn't logged in for awhile. And when they do, they tend to just stay on one sandbox and noodle around, or go to one hangout and chat with the same friends who always long in there, and don't explore. Their stationary habits from Meebo, Facebook and other chat interfaces seem to stick with them.
WHERE IS EVERYBODY?!
So...back to the research jaunt. I asked them to report back on the map. How many islands? How many green dots? How many education islands.
At first, they said they were surprised to see a lot more islands then they had bothered to realize. But when I saw the screenshot, I was shocked. THAT is all there is?! Why, there looks to be about 300! They tried counting -- it was likely a bit more, but not much. Same for green dots. At prime time EST, it was only about 100-200 people. My God, that's ALL???
My son said there were a lot of new islands which he hadn't bothered to notice before. Turns out these were mainly the education projects. There were about 50, but this isn't a scientific account, because apparently some of the builds are replications of real cities that take up many sims. I asked for names of projects, but they didn't persist on this -- apparently there is something called "Smart Brain" or "Discovery" -- things like that, sounding an awful lot like educational TV.
They had zero green dots on them.
Their traffic was...in the low one digits.
The kids were all clumped up on other hangouts, some of which were in a Destination-like bar, the old Showcase tab, and others that mattered to them.
I couldn't persuade the kids to stay and keep reporting -- they were bored out of their gourd.
So -- again, unscientifically, from a couple bored teens -- about 100 people on 300 islands, about 50 of which supposedly devoted to education were empty. OK, put a professional journalist or verified teen grid adult worker on this job, come back on a Friday, if you must, and see if it might...double. But those are the facts. Dispute them if you like. But you can't tell me it is worth the expense and trouble and liability to the Lindens to keep only a separate grid used by...300-500 people at the most.
IF *YOU* BUILD IT THEY WON'T COME
And that brings me to my other main thesis -- the obstinant insularity and narrow-mindedness of these educators in looking at this issue.
I'll be first to admit that I have only a kids' very bored and anecdotal report of something like "50" educational islands -- please go do a scientific count if you have access. And we know they're empty, like such NASA type islands are empty in the main grid.
And that's because real life is not NPR. Real life is not even the more popular National Geographic. Real life is Youtube and Facebook. As much as educators want to impose their leftist vision on us, they can't. People won't go. They can try holding them captive -- and they can do that with the TG! But they don't stay. They leave. They *rush* to the doors. It does NOT catch on. It doesn't matter if it is a build built by edu punks with the latest collectivist fad theory -- people still won't come. Didacticism in any form is a buzz killer in virtual as in real life.
But let's not let the physical build of 50 (unscientifically counted) edu islands fool you. Even if there are invisible islands the public can't go to that would make 100, that would only be bad news, not good news.
Because it would be a visible statement that aside from Linden cynicism and nihilism regarding normal life and commerce and incentives and individualism -- phenomena they killed by their siphoning of people to their own venues, their refusal to allow the kids to govern the world even at that level, their permission for the destructive camp script under a laissez-faire cynicism -- there was something else killing this off, which was over-fertilization with do-good edu projects that cluttered up the map but didn't have buy-in.
In his several years of intensive use of SL and enthusiasm about his own projects, my son could never once be persuaded to go to things like Global Kids or ECPAT because...they were lame. I couldn't convince him, even being a supporter of ECPAT myself in RL at various jobs. This was boring stuff that adults do who are politically-correct. It's off-putting to a kid, and they won't go. That these programs likely had their fanboyz doesn't undermine my essential point: PC education on various PC topics of the day aren't what kids want when given the possibility of a free world.
If you want to dispute this, don't angrily scream that your program funded by the state or a philanthropy wasn't like this and I'm full of bile. Because that's utter bullshit. Instead, publish your numbers, before I file a FOIA on you. Seriously.
WHY IT'S CLOSED
And we all know that if 50 or 100 or programs using the Teen Grid REAAAALALY had money and success and numbers -- if the eduational proposition instead of the business proposition (SL Enterprise) REAAALAALYYY had success, THE TEEN GRID WOULD STILL BE OPEN. The Lindens wouldn't kill off a cash cow growing thousands of islands and doubling concurrency every month. But it didn't. So they did. Let's be adults about this please, and don't give me your communist propaganda about it.
In the education workshop I attended, the moderator asked for a show of hands of those who had a K-12 program on the TG. There were...two or three. A show of hands for those who had college-age (i.e. then not on the teen grid) was almost everyone in the room of 40 -- but that's just it, a room of 40 in a conference of 300. Mindful that the workshop didn't have even every one in the conference interested, I went around the hallways. I came up with...three more people with K-12 programs, two of whom had plenty of heads up that the TG was closing. So...hey...there were...six?
And perhaps of these, there were...what...two who didn't get the memo?
I totally get it if someone had a grant lined up for a year in advance and plans made and their professional reputation at stake and their administrator shaking their head in disapproval and cutting their budget next year. Awful stuff, and not for the first time in dealing with the Lindens. We've all been there.
But there were...how many people REALLY in that situation? Like...two? Please. And Ciaran gets to scream then forever, and everyone gets to sulk in their IRC channels for ever?
For God's sake, take $70 out of your own pocket and go to OpenSim and restart, the skills are transferable, even if the content shouldn't be.
THE ARROGANCE OF THE EDU MISSION
And all of this makes me aware more than ever of a really awful proposition: that the educators thought, just because there was something called the Teen Grid, that they *deserved* to take it over. That it should be "theirs," just because kids were on it. Our kids!!! That everyone should accommodate to their needs. That it *had* to be educational. That the serious games ethos, that awful didacticism of politically-correct doctrines disseminated through modern media, got to rule. That the Lindens, who are serving a larger public, *had* to listen. That now that it is closed, that they STILL have to be accommodated and that the TG "should" be turned into an educational grid.
Um, says who?
Awful, awful stuff -- and I'll have more to say later.
But it's just not the case. The Lindens didn't open the Teen Grid with the implicit promise that this was the edu grid for lefty social engineers to have a field day with taxpayers' grants. It was supposed to be an open-ended creative world where the premise of the rights of the individual and free enterprise were fundamental, and collectivism and socialism didn't get to suppress people.
To be fair, a smart guy like Barry Joseph portrays the lesson-learning of the Teen Grid not only on formal edu sims, but in the world itself, where teens got to be self-made entrepreneurs. However, that happened *in spite* of even more thoughtful educators like him, and not due to their encouragement of the TG as *world* rather than as edu-space. That was *not* their plan, and was even only accidently the Lindens' plan. Most educators LOATHE commerce and want it scrubbed. Even the educators' darling Peggy Sheehy praises another teacher's use of the TG to have a flea market and learn about buying and selling, but she'd likely sing along with the choir run by AJ Brooks and others demanding that commerce be disabled for the greater glory.
So now that we've clarified that what's *left* of the teen grid of its population 300, soaking wet, and even a few hundred hidden edu island dwellers is NOT worth taking the entire company's resources for one more minute, let's go over the aftermath.
The apocalyptic wails were of course completely fake and even if genuinely felt in a very tiny few cases, completely exaggerated -- it's merely public posturing by a few to put the agenda of the edu-sect over on the public.
Everyone knows that content and avatars can be moved at will. They *are* moved at will. For all this shucking and jiving educators do about claiming they "must" have a copyleftist regime "for the sake of the children," it's bullshit.
Routinely, contractors who didn't want to be bothered with going through a lengthy and time-consuming vetting process to work on the teen grid with children would simply make their builds on the adult grid, and the Lindens would quietly move the entire avatar and his inventory to the teen grid to distribute it and move it out or kill it off.
We all know that entire sims and builds can easily be copied by Lindens and third-parties and moved to OpenSim, so anyone whining about that is merely trying to use the incident as a hobbyhorse to push their ideology once again.
If there are a few tiny edge cases of people stuck with content they need but that can't be accessed as the avatars went away with the school year, good Lord, the Lindens will solve it on a ticket basis. No need to nerf and morph the entire friggin' world to accommodate your selfish desire -- which you shouldn't have been indulged in, in the first place.
PINNING AVATARS TO ISLANDS
The Lindens can easily find solutions and will. Just as they can move 16 and 17 year old accounts and their content to the adult grid with a bunch of clicks, so they can move 13 year olds to sequestered islands that work like Wells Fargo or the San Jose Tech Museum and other private builds did, that are on the main grid, but not accessible through regular teleportation.
They are not likely to do that, because I think they have found the excuse they sought to dump this -- not enough customers, end of story.
But it's doable, and possibly a halfway house until a program completes in a few edgecases.
In fact, I learned, that a deal initially offered by LL to the ill-fated Woodbury University is that they could buy islands and have them for their school, but only if they agreed to have their accounts pinned to those islands. This is doable -- and more importantly, was *going to be done*. There would have been a separate university where the avatars in it couldn't come to the rest of the grid on those accounts - and visa versa.
The problem is that for whatever real or arcane reason, the Lindens refuse to offer this as a standard feature set open to the public on demand as a toggle on an island. Maybe it's too hard or staff-intensive. Maybe it goes against their One World religion. Who knows. But it's certainly technically easy to do and has been done already.
Whining educators then could be quieted by the ability to close down their islands from public view, and lock their students on to them. Just the sort of excessive control they love having over people!
But it's never enough for them, you know?
FIELD TRIPS TO THE MAINLAND?
Immediately, some guy with a NASA build or something on the main grid begins to edge-case and say that how can kids go on a field trip if they are locked down?
Well, you move your sim to a continent made by a consortium of people in the educational community and serve the K-12 or other defined age group there? What is stopping you from that? Oh, the desire to have your cake of "the general public" and eat it to by insisting on the entire platform borking to your edge case?
LACK OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BY THE 'CIVIC-MINDED'
It's that lack of social responsibility among these people who pride themselves as being the teacher of civic values that infuriates me the most. They are willing to force copyleftism, disabling of commerce, forcible all-ages regimes, etc. etc. on the entire population just to suit their own narrow agenda that in fact doesn't have public buy-in -- and they know it, which is why they seek to achieve by Bolshevism what they can't achieve by democracy.
It's a Town and Gown sort of war write large. The educators demand eminent domain. They demand a special grid and a special case and won't use the obvious workarounds available on private islands!!!
They don't adhere to the values of the larger town and view the townspeople as stupid. The townspeople view the non-productive socialists who don't work for a living as merely a suction on their taxes.
And I constantly hear them talk out of two sides of their mouths. A whine that we shouldn't live in a world where teachers and platform providers have to monitor obscene material and keep it away because parents can't or won't, yet a whine that administrators looking over their shoulders insist on locking down liability about kids and providing blocks and curbs and no-teleports. A whine that we should remake everything about virtuality just like the Internet and let people and content "roam free," and yet all kinds of fussy little special pleadings and demands to accommodate this small group.
To which I can only say: um, compromise, like the rest of us have to? Find a way. And shut up.
GO TO OPEN SIM...PLEASE!
The obvious solution for those demanding copyleftism, lockdowns and other special pleadings is for them to go to Open Sim. Please do! Buh-bye! And don't steal our content on the way out.
I'll have more to say about all this -- because more definitely needs to be said, and not only by me. Ify ou think you can get people to show up on your edutopia, by all means, have a go at it.
Yes, there are expenses if you don't own a server. But there are companies that cheaply host servers now. Yes, there are difficulties in changing mid-stream. But there aren't many of you doing this, so don't lie about it. Yes, you may not be able to take all the content. But so what? You should have content production built into the flow of the educational process itself, and recreate some of it anew. It's not like you people paid for prefabs; you took them free from businesses in SL which you have no intent of patronizing ever!
Educators on the Teen Grid got a pass. They lived in a world with mute subjects who didn't talk -- kids don't blog, and their parents might not want them to blog. No public saw what they were doing and they didn't have to stand on their merits. They were a closed, self-referential circle that congratulated each other on the Love Machine endlesslly in the closed, repeating loop of their own blogs, seminars, lists and plurks and tweets, but which didn't feel any need to be responsible to the adult world.
None of them articulated and debated openly the Teen Grid issues in such a way that the larger community might have become involved and "saved it" or "changed it" -- assuming the legal and software headaches were something the Lindens would want to maintain. But they decided it's not their core business. They shed it, like they shed Burning Life, SL Enterprise, and other stuff. Good! Back to basics!
Any one of these educators could have seen the teen grid concurrency and island sales crashing -- or not growing -- and begin to report about it and take concern about it. They didn't. Because they were self-serving, and wanted to take it over and turn it into their own edutopia, and not a real world where people made their own experiences without helicopter parents or -- more importantly -- helicopter teachers.
In sum, it looks to me that the Teen Grid closed, and a few special FIC educators got a big heads up. Maybe a few didn't, and are screaming with a sense of righteousness over that. It also looks like they have nothing to scream about - their are two and a half of them.
More to the point, it looks like these well-funded edu programs were chasing their tails and visiting each other, as the larger community looks to be about...300 people concurrency.
Their venues have no traffic.
No constituency of ordinary teen user or parent seems to have vocalized any dissent about this whatsoever. I'm a parent of a teen who used to be on the TG. Are you? Then shut up. They don't care. Do yours? Then shut up. A tiny handful of these people will come to the main grid. Fantastic! And a few more will bother, instead of going on Facebook or WoW. Great! If you have a sex club, it should be in Zindra behind an age wall. If you have a mature rentals and you suspect you have a 16-year-old girl on with a 45-year-old man, abuse report it and let the Lindens sort it. And stop whining. It works like the rest of the Internet does.