In this expisode, Episode 8 of Season 1, I interview the talented Sansar Content Creator Beverly Zauberflote in several of her well-known experiences, including Bedouin Nights, Witchy’s Sandbox, and Winter Wonderland. We also pay a visit to one of her newest experiences which is she is currently working on!
Don’t forget to watch through to the very end, where the editor left in some funny bloopers, as proof that things did not always go smoothly in the making of this video!
This is very much a team effort: Andrew William as producer/editor, and me as host. And if you want to support the show, may I direct you to my Patreon page, where as little as US$1 a month unlocks exclusive perks and benefits? Whether or not you are a Patreon patron, thank you for your continued support of my blog and this show! Your support means the world to me.
In retrospect, I realize that I have been more than a little cranky this week (here, here and here). So I will be taking the rest of this week off from blogging. I need to find some happier things to do which don’t trigger me. I’ll be back sometime next week.
UPDATE July 12th: My main avatar, Vanity Fair, has just been banned from Second Life and the SL Community Forums for three days, for (and I quote) “abusive behaviour”. So apparently, Linden Lab just bitchslapped me back.
I had a friend (fuck, all right, one of my alts) post my status update to one of the Tilia forum threads which I had originally posted to, and it was promptly removed (along with any responses to it). Fine. Let Linden Lab censor me. Let them ban me. At this point, I am beyond enraged.
I still stand by everything I wrote in my original blogpost. Linden Lab did absolutely the wrong thing by deleting users’ legitimate questions about Tilia, and I am still really pissed off at them for doing it. Banning me is just throwing gasoline on the fire. At this point, I am incredibly disappointed and disenchanted with Linden Lab.
I am taking an extended break from this blog. I do this because it’s fun, but it’s not fun for me anymore. I’ve had it, and I need a longer break.
SECOND UPDATE July 12th: Well, obviously, somebody spoke to somebody, because I have been rather swiftly (and unexpectedly) unbanned from Second Life and the SL community forums. I am now sitting at the Tilia Town Hall, and I am really liking what the Lindens are telling me. And I finally have an answer to my question about what the Tilia account inactivity fee will likely be (answer: probably less than 3 dollars). And all you have to do to avoid that fee is simply log in to your account on the Second Life website at least once a year. Good. Finally, we are getting some clearer answers.
BUT… I am still rather angry at Linden Lab. And I’m just tired of blogging. I’m feeling burned out. I am still taking a break, maybe a longer one this time. My hardworking producer Andrew William is still working on editing upcoming episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, many of which are set in Sansar, and those I will blog about when we release a new episode to YouTube (we’re still aiming for one per month). But don’t expect much other output from me for the next month or two.
I suffer from a chronic form of clinical depression, and my depression is mostly a learned response to bottled-up anger which accumulates over months and years. After many years working on myself in therapy, I can now accurately identify when I am feeling angry instead of suppressing it, but I still need to learn how to deal with it more effectively, and especially to STAY OFFLINE when I am upset. I owe Ebbe Altberg and his team at Linden Lab an apology for my diva hissy fit. It wasn’t pretty and I am ashamed of myself.
Frankly, I am feeling rather disenchanted with both High Fidelity and Linden Lab at the moment (which is ironic, since all the episodes of the Metaverse Newscast to date have focused on one or the other platform). It’s a clear sign that I need to step back for a bit, and that Andrew and I need to broaden the scope of the Metaverse Newscast to include other popular social VR platforms, such as VRChat. We also want to cover smaller projects such as NeosVR, and niche platforms such as Engage.
I’m still feeling cranky, and I’ve been completely overreacting to things all week, and it’s a clear sign that something is wrong is wrong with me. I just need to take a break, this time a real, longbreak from blogging. Take some time away from social VR and virtual worlds. I hope you all understand. But even if you don’t, I am still taking that break. I’m sorry, but I need to do this to recharge.
Hangars Liquides, a cyberpunk city created in Second Life by an elusive 3D artist known only to the SL community at large by her avatar name, “Djehan Kidd”, is among the virtual world’s greatest works — shadowy, moody, awesome.
Unveiled into the metaverse in June 2007, it has surely attracted hundreds of thousands if not millions of visits over its 12 year history. As its reputation spread through the virtual world, numerous cyberpunk roleplay groups flocked to it, adopted it as their oven, turning it into their staging ground for ongoing stories they created on the fly.
The blogpost includes an interview with the creator and an overview of the 12-year history of the project, so you might want to hop over to Wagner’s blog to read it in full.
I decided to transform into a cyborg and do a little exploring of Hangars Liquides before it goes away forever:
Vanity Fair is wearing:
Animated Headpiece: Queen Sarra headpiece by Shu Mesh
Cyborg Outfit with Skin Applier (Maitreya): Cyber Braver Lady by Bare Rose
Cyborg Arm, Cyborg Mask with Scrolling Japanese Characters, and Animated Upper Arm Attachment: Cyborg Geisha outfit (I picked all these up years ago in a different sci-fi themed sim hunt)
Cyber Prim Eye: by Omega Point (store no longer exists)
I am not going to comment much about Tilia and the upcoming changes to Second Life here until AFTER the Tilia Town Hall Metting on Friday. I am hoping some adjustments will be made to the original announcement; there certainly has been enough outcry to warrant some rethinking of position.
I and others have been VERY vocal however on the SL Forums (Tilia Takes Over thread). It is very BAD form to make an officialFAQ thread and then delete many long, thoughtful and important questions — let alone not answer any of the hard questions for over a week now.
Post deletion continued throughout the day with many people repeating their original questions and demanding answers. Unfortunately comments continued to be deleted and the week and a half thread remained volatile with arguments within the questions — most to be deleted once again when a moderator returns to work.
I am not a big fan of censorship in order to control the conversation. Linden Lab needs to step up to the plate and address everybody’s questions, instead of deleting them and pretending they didn’t exist.
UPDATE 12:42 p.m.: Someone pointed out to me that LL said in the introduction to the FAQ thread, that “off topic commentary may be removed or moved from this thread”.
HOWEVER, who is deciding what is or is not “off topic”? That’s right, Linden Lab. According to Chic, people are posting perfectly valid questions, and Linden Lab is just deleting their questions instead of answering them. THAT. IS. WRONG.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the whole Tilia situation, Linden Lab need to seriously reflect on why they bother paying their PR team anything. The vast majority (but not all) of the complaints raised have been down to their poor wording of their initial announcement; and overzealous moderation at a time like this is akin to pouring petrol on the flames of outrage. It’s been amateur hour around here, and the damage is almost entirely self-inflicted.
One might actually expect a semi-competent PR team to, as Blush says, “control the conversation”: that is what PR teams are for! And yes, that is a form of “censorship”: controlling the narrative, manipulating the online “buzz” to your advantage, absolutely does attempt to shut down damaging counter-narratives. And we should be entirely unsurprised about any attempt to do that: LL is not a government, it’s a privately-owned corporation trying to make profits, or in this case retain disgruntled customers. This is not exactly a new or weird thing, right? Every corporation with a public presence does this, when they package good news, or try to contain the damage from bad news.
What’s really weird about this is that they are doing such an honestly gawd-awful job of it. There is almost no apparent logic or pattern to the stuff that has been removed. And it’s not just questions that have been deleted, but sincere attempts by residents to answer the sometimes panicky and generally poorly informed posts from people who have heard rumours of what is happening, and haven’t bothered to read through the FAQ at the beginning of the official Tilia post. And indeed, so poorly presented and organized is that material, that its no wonder. If this is “censorship,” it’s a laughingly incompetent version of it; if it’s “public relations,” it’s an utter disaster. It’s like they want to be evil, but are almost endearingly awful at it. And in the final analysis, there’s a chance that it will not just be LL and SL that suffer as a result, but everyone with any kind of stake in the ongoing health of the platform.