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« The Wrong Hands Stalkers | Main | Linden Hippie Settings, the Gift That Keeps on Giving and Griefing »

September 16, 2011



This is way too long and nonsensical to read but LighlyToasted Ruben was Robble's account not mine!

Even the JLU know that!

Prokofy Neva

Oops, silly me! I mixed up my RR griefers *again*! Fixed!

Prokofy Neva

Problems with this post duplicated and its remarks getting lost.

Fleep left a comment saying she has blogged about this here:

For some reason her link didn't take, but links are allowed here, not sure of the issue.

So let me also cross-post here the comment I left on her blog which I urge you all to read, she has vast experience in Mainland community organizing.

Fleep, I think you bring some great perspectives to this issue. You don't have to have unwieldly confederations, you don't have to have top-heavy legislatures sitting to govern in SL.

But I hasten to say precisely because you unabashedly describe yourself as a "progressive" (I most definitely *don't* like that term and describe myself as "liberal but not progressive" for that reason) that I don't think this informal system is viable for real life. That is, I don't think we need something "new" or "special" because it's "the 21st century" that involves basically a lot of geeks running things by fiat from their smart phones bypassing elected representatives.

There are a lot of groups like that would love if life ran that way, where they could just buy a CREDO phone and fast-track their policy into notions. But no thank you. You're not elected.

You have only to study what happened to the obscene-Twitterer Anthony Weinstein, a Democrat, who lost his seat to a Republican, to understand the people change, issues change, certain forces come to the fore, life goes on, and you need responsible and *elected* politicians for government, not just people with smart phones.

By suggesting governance in *Second Life* should be "a verb not a noun" I'm trying to solve the problem of an illegitimate power in the first place.

That is, sure, a private company that put their own money in gets to decide what it wants to do -- on my sim level, that works for me, too, as Ravenglass. (Gwyn used to call me a "tyrant" merely because I ran *a company* instead of a "parliament" and because I had "customers" instead of "constituents". That was ridiculous because I set the goals as limited -- you pay, you abide by a notecard of rules, then you refund if you don't like it any more.)

Government by notecard and refund works great for me, and I've often said you only need two scripts to run things really in SL -- "give notecard" and "take notecard" -- if you have consensus to start with.

And that's really the issue, identifying the initial group of consensus. Chilbo works as you yourself explain because it is like-minded people on a like-minded task. You have the tekkie-wiki edu-punk open-source technocommies in a huddle, and they get along.

But I don't endorse their politics or prescriptions, i.e. over-reliance on freebies, etc. etc. So the "noun" of Chilbo is not something I want to support, belong to, or confederate with, even though some of the "verbs" of Chilbo, like the idea to be able to remove "grief prims" is an interesting thesis.

I've discussed it many times -- can the Lindens give us estate-manager powers on Governor Linden land, since it's all basically in a few groups? There should be no reason why they can't. If I've paid tier for 7 years, can't the Lindens deputize me to remove screaming particle spewers from either Linden Land or no-show land or ban people from infohubs?

But these are all acts that seem straightforward, until griefers begin to fret and Fisk and edge-case them and demand equal rights and harry the Lindens to death, on the one hand, or until just the ordinary person wonders if any of these land barons are going to get too heavy handed in the welcome areas if they have that power. (And I still think welcome areas should be policed by clearly-marked circuit-riding Lindens only).


The whole industry of games/VRs do not believe in Democracy.

So it only follows that none of these games/VRs have democracies.

To enforce a democracy in these areas would mean strong, central governments to create standards in the creation of these VRs. That is something we no longer have, since we are in the midst of crony capitalism which is eating away at many governments.

cube inada

games are art-commerce- craft-- and should be treated as such.. all delusions that they are more are from both sides/makers/viewsers// dangerous.

and using the Seinfeld Universe, without being a "master of your domain" all else is BS, and you'll end up in a second life for another decade....

one day, reality will overcome virtuality again, usually due to a flood.

back up whats important.:)

noah cube.;)

cube inada

i went to one of the new premium sandboxes..almost wanted to build something- i havent in sl in 2 years...

taxes.. nothing wrong with them when moeny used for public voted good. etc..

end all the "free" crap mentaltiy of SL..then you can at least get a working buisness that not a rigged game for the makers/FIC alone.

i dont need a government, i need a fair platform for commerce.. entertainment and communications/distribution.

but google+/facebook/ Second life. or any of these systems are not designed for that, they are only designed for the 5 year suck of peoples time/ money/ and eventually souls.

Victor1st Mornington

I like Gwyn, her blog posts are great but i had to leave a comment on her latest beating of the dead horse post...the one about democracy in SL.

I never subscribed to the whole "FIC" thing, although some of it is true, the REALLY OLD oldbies looking at SL and seeing the once small community explode into the massive world it is now. The problem with folks like Gywn is they really are totally out of touch with whats going on in the real world of SL. The fact that the adult community comprising BDSM, Goreans and so forth is the money making oil that makes the cogs of LL spin round. Sure, theres folks like Anshe Chung who own vast swathes of land, but the real income is from the spenders, the big spenders.

You only need to look at the donation totals for Relay for Life to realise that the Gor's and the BDSM'ers and the adult community are BIG spenders, the gor's alone raised millions of lindens in the last RFL event.

Can you imagine if Gwyn's dream came true? If there was an election, if there was a "parliament" of 50 or so big names...

Now, take that image and then throw in 2 or 3 big Gorean community leaders. Into that mix throw in about 3 or 4 BDSM community leaders. Ontop of that throw in a representative who believed in freedom of womens rights...then sit back, and watch as a bloodbath ensues between them all.

The simple fact is, democracy in SL is a lie.

Emperor Norton

The only type of government that works in Second Life is benevolent dictatorships. Democracies only work in real life because the people have a shared stake in the result of the decisions.

Those JLU threads at SLU are an excellent example of what a SL parliament looks like; the entire conversation monopolized by the loudest winners and nothing done.

Roger Blackhawk

@Emperor Norton

Because GLE is a coward who ran away to a lesser known forum, and Kalel's such a baby and a coward he can't and wont defend his own actions outside his own psyop "blog".

He's been asked and given the opportunity but he wont and continues to bury his head, so get your facts straight idiot sock puppet.

Desmond Shang

There is governance all over the grid. Moderated and tempered by the ability for people to move, or leave, if they want to.

On larger estates, it's even more subtle than such a brutal thing as "like it or leave" ~ people can make their wishes known before it gets to that point, and land barons are directly, financially motivated to listen.

The only place governance is somewhat lacking is on the mainland. There actually is governance there, but it's a distant sort of thing. And clearly not terribly effective. How many land barons would have allowed a paying resident to be harassed continually for five years? Not many. But it happens on the mainland.

As for gridwide parliaments or whatnot, I reject these utterly. Caledon is over 8000 dollars a month, exists only by the honest happiness of the people therein.

Any outsiders seeking dominion over our land, or seeking to constrain the format of gridwide discussion, is going to face stern resistance from us. With all options on the table, not just courtly political wrangling in a farcical, backstabbing parliament.

Certain personalities thrive in such a political intrigue, and may actually enjoy it. Others of us simply tire quickly of argument and have no use for it, let alone interminable meetings, power~seeking personalities and all the disfunctionality that goes with it.

* * * * *

Incidentally, we declared an end to slavery ages ago, it's in our covenant. Gor or BDSM concepts will *never* hold sway with us at a gridwide, public or political level.

Though I might make an exception just once, and outright purchase any Senator suggesting otherwise, box him up and gift him to FurNation as a present from friendly Caledon.

Desmond Shang, Guvnah
Independent State of Caledon

Ann Otoole InSL

$8000 a month for Caledon? How much would that be at Inworldz? Maybe you should put it to a vote eh?

Desmond Shang

I keep all options on the table at all times, Ann; if it made sense to move I would.

It doesn't make sense on a number of levels societal, financial and technical; quite a lot of us simply do not want to go there, and of those who do, they already have their own lands.

Most importantly, with the incredibly low margins there, I'm not willing to spend four hours a day dealing with resident issues, on average, for pennies. I'm very honest and up front about that.

If anyone has issue with it, they can work quite hard for a few months for say, two dollars an hour, to fully appreciate why I won't value my time so cheaply.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

"Disinformation (a translation of the Russian word dezinformatsiya) is false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately with intentions of turning genuine information useless". From the Wikipedia.

A proper reply to this would take a whole post, so I guess I shall restrict myself to some topics:

1) Calling people "socialists" because one doesn't agree with them is as silly as McCarthyism. AFAIK, promoting representative democracy, a system shown to work on almost all *capitalist* systems is not being a "socialist". It's arguable if representative democracy works under a "socialist" system. But then again, I guess that all depends on the definition of the word "socialist". For me, reading about a long list of your "governance tools" under which residents will have to submit, but where they cannot participate to decide how those should be implemented, is the worst form of authoritarian collectivism; for you, allowing all people to freely elect their representatives to talk with Linden Lab, and subject them to public scrutiny (as opposed to the current "Star Chamber" approach) is "socialism". That's definitely stretching the definition of the word, but that's ok. I'll stick to the definition of "representative democracy" to describe the system in place in the vast majority of free countries of the world as well as on most organisations (even a Board of Directors, elected by a company's shareholders, is nothing less than representative democracy).

2) The whole purpose of my post was exactly to show how no single resident — and much less Linden Lab — is in touch with *all* groups and organisations in Second Life. SL is way too big. Lindens have to work on the *assumption* of what they *think* that some groups think. They certainly are in touch with a few, but not with all. Representative democracy allows that gap to be bridged, by freely electing, from *all* groups — and not just a selected few — who is supposed to speak for them at LL's policy meetings. I'm not saying that there aren't other models for accomplishing the same purposes; I'm just defending representative democracy as a valid and well-tried and known model to accomplish that in fairness.

3) Desmond's (and not only Desmond's...) fears are unjustified in the model I proposed. I'm not suggesting a system to "rule the world", as so many have carelessly suggested in this comment thread. I'm suggesting a transparent *advisory board*, where we all know who the members are (because we voted for them!) and can subject them to public scrutiny. The purpose of that advisory board is just to give *representative* feedback on what people actually think about LL's proposed or current policies. Not feedback from "some" people whom we don't know why they were "selected" or "hand-picked" by the Lindens. Not a form of adhocracy like some left-wing Americans tend to favour — the notion that one opens a discussion to the public, and decisions are taken by anyone who happens to be able to participate. Just look at the Linden Office Hours. They're great! But... we don't know the agenda before the meeting, and transcripts are sporadic — and also a pain to read to keep in touch with the hundreds or meetings — and, if they lead to results, these are never published. LL does not even refer to "decisions" made on Office Hours to "justify" their "policy decisions". This is the total opposite of what I'm proposing — a model where everyone knows who is going to talk to the Lindens, where the agendas are known in advance and publicly discussed, where meetings are openly transcribed, and where minutes are taken to publicly display what has been discussed and/or agreed with.

Then it's up to LL to make a decision to implement those recommendations or not. But at least if they say "no" they know very well that they're going against public opinion.

4) To make it clear — I'm not *against* any of your governance measures!! In fact, I think (as far as I understood each and every one of them) that I'm in favour of *all* of them. They're excellent proposals, and were excellent the first time you suggested them publicly — some of them years ago. The *only* suggestion I'm *adding* (and not suggesting as an *alternative*) is that each of those proposals is publicly discussed in a forum with the Lindens that is democratically elected and subject to the residents' public scrutiny.

5) Everyone is against "favouritism" (including Linden Lab, who have so often used that argument to avoid implementing one or another issue, even if it made a lot of sense...). But *my* point is that today (as in the last 8 years...) we still don't know who the "favourites" are and why they're "selected" — and how their "opinions" shape LL's policies. By contrast, there are no "Linden favourites" if the "advisory council" (or however one wants to call it) is simply elected out of all residents.

Any other distortion of my words or putting words in my mouth is simply disinformation — a good strategy used by the KGB and similar communist organisations to distort the opinions of naive idealists like me who just happen to think that representative democracy is the fairest model of governance ever invented by the human mind :)

And for the sake of completion, in the last elections on my country, I voted for the right-wing conservatives :) I dislike their puritanism and hypocritical morality, but they are strong believers in transparency, honesty, and public accountability of elected representatives.

Prokofy Neva

1. Some socialists shy away from being branded as such because they fear that it will reduce their popularity and attractiveness. But I'm not calling people "socialists" because I "don't agree with them"; I don't agree with them because they *are* socialists. State planning, control of commerce, lack of separation of powers -- these are three features of socialism that are all features of *your government* Gwyn, so I don't see why you deny this. Your "Confederation of Democratic Simulators" is also overrun with self-avowed socialists. It's silly to invoke McCarthyism when *accurate* and *legitimate* labelling -- and criticism -- is made of your model. If these sims were open to any one who wanted to rent a store and start a business in an open market, free enterprise model, gosh, you could have fooled me. In fact, from my observation, it was always *heavily* controlled with various clearances, permits, schemes. Your "Scientific Council" or whatever you called it was a socialist planning body. You would natter on and on about how even democratic congresses in free-enterprise countries like the US have parliamentary planning committees. But your council was nothing like that, and again, limited to the like-minded safe comrades.

2. Your sim wasn't representative democracy. It didn't represent the population of SL. As some have pointed out, given the slave-owning Goreans and torture-condoning BDSMers, you'd have to reason whether allowing the illiberal in to representative liberal democracy wouldn't kill it off, sort of like Algeria. It's a problem in a virtual world. But you really should cease calling yourself "representative democracy". A group of left-leaning like-minded friends got together and formed a commune. Let's not call that democracy in SL. It's just a group of pals doing their thing.

3. The governance tools that identify as *process* and as the "verb not the noun" are all things that any group would benefit, like the group tools. Everybody running an open group would love to be able not merely mute people but ban certain ones from the group -- period. This is constantly raised by all kinds of businesses and RP groups and such. If you want to be a hippie type you don't *have* to use that tool. It's an on/off option the way mute is. I can't imagine making a group and then muting the people in it. I don't use mute in any of my groups -- I don't have to because I use organic notecard policy -- I ask people not to attempt to contact managers via the group, but write them directly. That reduces 50 percent of the chatter right there. People do that technique to reach people they can't see online because the Lindens have never enabled a simple "I'm online" system in the client the way every other client with communications has. It means people have to contact 10 officers in a group or chat in the group. I encourage them to write directly and tell them matter-of-factly that messages in fact DO NOT cap if you LINK THEM TO YOUR e-mail -- I get all my messages in an email connected to the account.

These are simple house-keeping governance tools that don't contain within them the authoritarian monstrosities that you're pretending, as you've always pretended that people running companies like rental companies are -- you always seem to forget the refund button. Do you have a refund button in your socialist paradise, Gwyn?

4. When all the resources for the servers and code are originally put out by LL, you can't exactly ask them to submit themselves to democratic election by every passing sandboxing furry without a dime and ever humper-bunker cybersexer with $25 a month, just essentially draining resources. So *in this setting* that's why I look for tools that enable people to create their own more free set-ups with their own resources, while recognizing that the entire context is an unfree one.

5. Who says "residents cannot participate"? I've said that you can't have governments until you first have committees of correspondence and constituent assemblies. Those were the building blocks preceding the US constitution and congress as it broke away from the King. And the same would apply to SL. These basics aren't there.

6. Yes, SL is big and diverse. But I don't buy this idea that it is therefore futile to begin governance or that in fact governance doesn't exist, or that you can't possibly making anything representative. Just because you can't do everything doesn't mean you can't do something. The way to begin the ideal life is to begin. You obviously think you get to do that on your sims, and you even demand that your constrictive model be spread to everybody else by means that are pretty hazy, but evidently involve overthrowing the executives of SL and convincing them to take your model. Geez, that's worse than McCarthyism, that's *Stalinism*, Gwyn. Stop it.

7. Desmond is absolutely right to fear foreign powers off his shores who want to do things on his land, that he and his tenants pay for. Full stop. I'm with Desmond on this one.

8. Transparent advisory boards, my ass. There are no such things in SL. Who is Ashcroft, who invaded your sims and rammed through a "judicial program" that was breath-takingly authoritarian, and hidden under complexities? Who voted for Ashcroft, whoever he is? You guys?

9. I really, really oppose the "tyranny of who shows up," popular among the code-as-law open-source autocrats. I utterly reject it. Governance has to be broadly open and asynchronous and not depend on who "has no life" and can sit online in silly committees all day. This notion of hyper-transparency is just a fiction behind which one group rams through their policy under a welter of chatlogs and blog posts that substitute for real democracy which, at the end of the day, is about power-sharing. The Lindens have never shared power. They won't even share the ability to return non-group prims. When you can persuade them to yield on a restrictive basis the ability to return non-group prims, then you might begin the long journey of the Magna Charta.

10. I absolutely, totally reject the idea that some sort of "democratically elected" organ could appear now in SL and "be authorized to negotiate with the Lindens". That's because those initial steps of committees of correspondence, constituent assemblies, and constitutional drafting -- leading to separation of powers! -- have all been skipped in that sort of silly "direct democracy online". You cannot have democracy until FIRST you share power -- otherwise, it's just a gaggle of fanboyz clinging to office hours and pretending they represent something. There is no mass media in or even around SL except what the Lindens run -- it would be impossible to conduct a free and fair election without a free mass media. There are no formed and identifiable parties. And so on -- hundreds of elements that don't exist and can't exist until first, the fundamental premise is raised about sharing power.

11. Um, there isn't any "KGB" or "disinformation" involved in calling out your fake claims of "representative democracy". You and a bunch of your friends and your Linden-designated favourites get together and say now there is "representation"? Bullshit.

12. As for your vote for the right wing in your country, this often happens with geeky leftists who have socialist ideas and notions of big government, they wind up with conservative forces who are actually for big government as well.

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