Oh, dear. While everybody at Sharia Sluniverse.com is obsessing still in a griefer-laden thread about...things like...Ryokoshi's Robble Rubble's banned alt LightlyToasted Ruben (and Mr. Ruben sounds an awful lot like one of the Emeralds in the Youtubes of a few summers ago, eh?!)...oldbie extraordinaire Gwyneth Llewelyn is quietly taking over the world!
Or trying to, anyway. Her sectarian idea of a parliament (mainly a collective or collegium for a socialist sim) is always something I suspected she didn't want to keep on her own sim, FriesWithThat or whatever its new name is (the old Linden-feted Neualtenberg that self-destructed after a split with Kendra Bancroft, who later died in RL, and a return terrorist rampage from Ulricha Zugzwang). Despite the Trotskyist notion of "socialism in one country," Gwyn always aspired to Greater Things, and now she states in this typically lengthy post that she wants to spread her parliament to all of SL, and then all of the Metaverse. Sigh.
I wish the Lindens had a Grey Goo Fence that would stop other people's notions of governance of *your* land at the boundaries of *their sim* but the Lindens themselves, of course, are prone to flights of utopian fancy -- Philip Linden himself is said to be a Singularist and you would find varying forms of Technocommunism and Cyber-Libertarianism and Extropianism (Cosmic Engineering) throughout the leadership and staff.
One could go head to toe with those ridicularities at the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (with the accent on the *simulation* of democracy har har) but they self-imploded, too, after some of them became entranced with Islamism and the Caliphate and sojourned for a time in the Andulusa sims, which themselves then self-destroyed. Socialism is destroyed, need I say more. I was shocked to discover David Orban's calling card lighting up in SL today -- good Lord, I hope he's not putting spimes all over the place.
In any event, I look at the governance thing more simply. I've been through various resident-based attempts to make representative bodies, such as another ill-fated venture, the Metaverse Justice Watch, which was griefed by the old line of oldbie griefers starting with Jauani Wu. I've seen any number of consumer watch sort of groups get started, self-aggrandize, and die, along with Chambers of Commerce and Better Business Bureaus which usually involve having an elite set try to figure out how to throw the Better Business toward themselves and exonerate their own bad deeds (like putting in notorious ad-farm cutters and extortionists into their board, like that awful Chrischun Fassbinder, now gone, who created the network of 16 m2 parcels view-devaluing Mr. Lee's Hong Kong ad signs available for $9898 to "buy back the view")
You'd be surprised how many governance groups there are in SL. I stumble on them all the time as I see my tenants in them, for example. Did you know that there's an open group called Congress of SL with people you've never heard of in it like Kaipo Mokusei? They think *they* are going to run SL and maybe never heard of Gwyneth?
Usually what the kids do when they want to play government is *first* they make a police precinct and "secure the area". Then they make a president. Then they usually forget to make a parliament and a free press lol. I've seen that formula done over and over and over again.
I've often wondered if the way to govern Second Life is simply to begin. You know, like that old 19th-century bromide, "The way to begin the sublime life is to begin." That's why an avatar named Felix Frankfurter once started "16m Court" to adjudicate disputes taking place on owners of 16m of land or more. That way you didn't have to endlessly hash sandbox and copybot cases involving people with no land or payment on file -- leave it to the Lindens.
I've always thought land ownership had to be at the heart of governance: you need to have stake. Philip naturally didn't believe it, because as he frankly told him when we met him in 2005 and tried to establish something like a Magna Charta over him, he wouldn't concede that land ownership, particularly large holdings, meant anything in the world (although it meant a lot to his bottom line!) and he wanted wealth and land not to count in Second Life (Technocommunism). Er, I guess he mentioned clout by numbers of JIRA contributions or lolcubes rezzed.
I've always thought that the best way to solve the problem of the Linden entity's excessive powers is simply to start your own government without them, under Jacek Kuron's theory, "Don't burn down Party committees; build your own." This worked for Poland's Solidarity; it is all that really could work for SL. But when people make sim committees or regional committees they often didn't work for the usual reasons:
1. avatar anonymity and lack of accountability
2. alt sock puppets
3. griefing over and above land tools' ability to cope
4. amateurism and ignorance
These all end to endless squabbles. We all know the dreaded force that diploma-mill commuter-college departmental Marxists can wield in virtuality -- they can punch far above their weight even when their budgets are cut.
Then you have problems like the aggressively under-educated sex-bed king Stroker Serpentine, and the maliciously socially-maladjusted gopher-creator and early Internet nerd Pixleen Mistral. These represent people who either want to play real-life cards like "ligitation" or refuse to concede the validity of virtuality for anything but nihilist and cynical griefing.
I could talk a lot about what is needed for such a vast and diverse (but actually more homogenous than people admit) world but it's late, so let me suggest my concept of governance. I think until you have the rough equivalent of Committees of Correspondence and a Constituent Assembly and a Constitutional drafting committee and so on, you can't have a parliament. Parliaments should only consist of landowners, as archaic as that may feel because stake is too hard to pin down otherwise. JIRA-obsessive sandboxers, beta-testing furries and day-old griefers are always welcome to make their own parties and fight for suffrage and seats in the parliament but that would mean too much organization for those chaos-inciters.
Rodvik Linden represents a hope of a better Second Life to many. Not to me, given that among the first things he did was remove the vote from the JIRA. This most definitely has to be put back in, and a "no" vote has to be devised even if it means dumping Atlassian software itself if they won't cooperate. Rodvik is British, and perhaps that explains why he joined Sluniverse.com, which other Lindens tend not to do, especially the chief ones -- as one denizen of Sharia-Slun explained, it is noteworthy for its "British mindfucking humour" -- and that about sizes it up. Slun is filled with nasty Brits of the left or extreme licentious type who are impossible to reason with (Lucifer Barphomet and some of the others showing up in these endless JLU threads). The British haters of Americans and under-the-wire British anti-semites, the kinky lifestylers and vicious BDSM queens and identity-politicking victimologists from the LGBT set -- these are all in full display at Slun and make it a horrid atmosphere -- it's a hive mind with a conscious hive mind honcho, Cristiano Midnight. While it has hundreds of viewers at any one time and thousands of regular visitors, it's only one old aspect of SL and not representative of many constituencies especially non-English speaking.
Rodvik may have demonstratively joined this group-think set for the British mindfuckery which may have felt like home to him, I dunno - or just because it's a large group of residents and he felt that he had to get down with the people, as he does on Twitter. But it sends a signal, and not the best one -- Linden feting of the Feted Inner Core, if you will.
1. In my view, the first rule of these Lindens should be that they not play favourites and not join resident groups or forums or have fan groups. If the Lindens would end this practice of obvious favouritism, it would at least fix the optics that are so badly askew.
2. The second thing Lindens should do is close all the public sandboxes. They've set the stage for this with the creation of the Premium sandbox -- a brilliant idea that Philip would have hated. For the first time you can go to clean, non-laggy, *nice* sandboxes to do your chores like fix pesky big rezzed houses, or create things in peace. I visited Goguen and Ahern and some of the others to compare, and I couldn't even move in one it was so griefed and lagged out with scripted crap. I struggled to put out a house and even though there appeared to be space, I was beset by zombie scripted walking newbies with juvenile hover texts like "stick it up my pooper shooter". Ugliness, stupidity and weapons-toting furries reign in these places, and make them impossible to be in or even be on the same sim with (like Columbia, where I struggle to run rentals next to Bryan Ruxton, ugh -- several times a month I need to get the sim reset due to his sandbox idiocy.)
There might be some socialist screaming about shutting down the public sandboxes, but if you type "sandbox" into search, the Linden sandboxes aren't first. There are numerous privately-run sandboxes like Fermi and people can go there. They are run better than the Linden boxes because people can eject and ban in real time without being summoned, usually. Even some pro-Anonymous goon runs a sandbox with advertising and rules -- the furries can all go to these establishments and stop plugging up the AR system with Linden v. sandboxers ARs. The Lindens also fuss and fume about people putting things out for sale in sandboxes, which is stupid in a game where you are supposed to be able to make and sell stuff, and what better place than a sandbox where everybody is gathered to see what each other are making. So -- end the Linden socialism around this and the players' socialism demanding public resources endlessly be provided for NPIOF accounts and let the charitable private sector take it up if needed.
3. Return voting in groups. Just because this wasn't used much doesn't mean it was a bad idea. There was no objective reason to remove it. It had various annoyances but could be improved.
4. Make it possible to ban people from groups even if the group remains open. This is an often-requested boon that really could make a difference. There are persistent griefers who always exploit this feature which is an advantage many kinds of groups don't want to turn off for all kinds of reasons. I'm all for open society and open groups, and a way to handle crime through banning individuals. Geez, if you can *mute* an individual person within a group or not give them chat rights, why can't you ban or freeze their *membership* as a whole? *So that they cannot set prims*.
5. Make it possible to ban groups from land. Often griefers tell you this is pointless because they will "just make another group". They're not the ones to listen to about this. Trust me on this, griefers are fiercely loyal to their groups and HATE changing them. Do you think The Wrong Hands griefers would shrug if their beloved branded TWH went down tomorrow or was banned and they'd "just make another one"? They don't. They stick to *that* one. By banning by group, you erode their ability to go on pretending the old "guilt by association" fallacy applies and enables you to end the "grief by association" actuality.
6. Rodvik is likely to think putting in "make that person's prims invisible" like some of the TPVs have as the great governance boon winning back the view on the Mainland. But it's not a solution. You would still bump into those prims. You would still have to constantly get each new set of tenants or visitors to join you in that "remove the view". Tools are not a substitute for organic policy.
7. Speaking of organic policy, many people want Rodvik to denounce the JLU or ban the JLU or announce something about an end to police groups. Well, that better be balanced by an equally forceful denunciation of Woodbury/PN/The Wrong Hands. Knowing of his deep EA.com culture in which the game gods never mentioned groups by name and even forbid criticism of groups on the TSO forums (a grave mistake) we're not likely to see this from Rodvik, who has never really made a policy/philosophical post at all (as Philip used to do -- Philip's early posts would talk about big ideas like theories of the corporation from 1937 and that sort of thing.) I suspect Rodvik will say nothing. But what he could do is say that to end the endless cycle of griefing and vigilantes, henceforth Lindens will no longer accept massive ARs and ARs about situations not on your own land. Hey, that will take the wind out of their sails pretty quick.
Lindens encourage mass AR parties and people have become completely acculturated to the idea that you need 20 different people to report a situation to get their attention. Ostensibly this is because they can't pick out serious situations in the stream of thousands of reports. But you wouldn't need that if the stream was radically reduced by being *unable to be made unless you own land or have estate manager permissions*.
What to do about sandboxes? Well, those are closed by now, remember? And if you have a complaint, you either go to your landlord or to the sim owner of where you are. If that is Governor Linden, you go to the Gov Linden appeals page and get in line. Buy a premium account and land if you want to move ahead of the queue. It has to be that way. Governance has to originate in land ownership so as to be rooted in accountability and stake.
Shorn of their ability to massively AR other people on land that isn't theirs, not only the JLU but the Woodburies, who frequently launch ARs on each other or on people like me exposing them, would all be put out of business. I'm all for the JLU making a *public* wiki. What are needed aren't ARs, but public reports *naming names and locations*.
8. I've long proposed that the Police Blotter be brought back, but not only in its old highly selective form that again, consisted mainly of sandboxes and obscure estate sims with murky dealings. There should be NAMES or every *successfully completed* disciplinary action (not allegation in a report, but completed action) which should include a) the name of the Linden prosecuting the case b) the name of the abuse reporter c) the name of the abuser.
Please don't start whining about retaliation. If the Lindens can't control their sims enough to prevent retaliation against people reporting legitimate griefing episodes, then they shouldn't be in business. If you don't want your name publicized with you allegations, hey, don't make them. Like real life, you know?
This would do wonders also to cut the huge flow of reports -- with the ability to report ONLY on your own land about incidents you are directly involved in; with an end to AR parties; with the *publication of your name* if your claim is successful, the huge firehose of ARs will be reduced to quite manageable proportions.
As an alternative, the Lindens could have an option of either public ARs, where your name will go on the record, or anonymous tips or private ARs -- where the queue will be a lot longer.
9. Now that G-team and concierge are all really merged, the Lindens should drop this silly idea that concierge can't respond to ARs about griefing. Of course they can. If there are grief-prims on a no-show neighbour on mainland, concierge should deal rather than me waiting four months to get a Torley Friendly Greetings grief prim removed from a sim where its driven everyone batty because sound isn't restricted to the no-show's parcel.
All of these things I'm describing don't address the sorts of thing Gwyn likes to play with -- socialist systems that she endlessly chases despite having come to the baffling awareness in RL that she earns enough money from her various jobs -- if only she doesn't have to count taxes. Due to taxes, she is forced to work even extra jobs!
Governance in SL will do better when it's a verb, not a noun. What is needed isn't a parliament, a resident body that the Lindens fete somehow, or self-appointed busy-bodies who want to run *your* land. What's needed is functionality -- the ability to minimize grief in groups and get better traction on mainland complaints revolving around neighbours' and Governor Linden land.
10. The Lindens should drop the notion of "defamation of individuals and groups". They erode the very meaning of the word even in lawsuit-happy Great Britain by implying that any criticism on an avatar profile or a forum post gets to be called "defamation," defined only by the target. Without the ability to criticize, you can't have justice. You can't have civil society when there is no free press that can openly discuss the wrongs in society. In SL, that means open discussion of griefing and privacy disruption and open discussion of land scams and shoddy merchandise and poor service. Unless someone brings a judge's order from a successful libel case, they should be allowed to make allegations as needed and others can always counter them.
Except for the "missing comrades" Stalin-type of solution for griefing ("no person, no problem") as a tool in the viewer, I don't think Rodvik will do a single one of these things I've outlined.
Yet anyone of us can start to live as if they all apply and thus strengthen the ability to govern the metaverse to keep its freedoms from destruction by its enemies.