UPDATED! Linden Lab Caught Deleting Users’ Questions About Tilia

There has been a great deal on conversation over on the official Second Life community forums about Linden Lab setting up Tilia accounts for all SL user accounts to meet U.S. regulations. In response, Linden Lab set up an official FAQ thread which has seen many comments and questions posted.

SL blogger Chic Aeon, who has been monitoring the situation closely, reports that Linden Lab has been deleting some users’ questions from that thread:

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 official FAQ 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.

Smarten up, Linden Lab!

*sigh* The Tilia Town Hall meeting this Friday should be interesting…

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.

One commenter on this whole situation said something I agree with:

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.

And another commented:

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.

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Philip Rosedale Talks About His 30 Years of Experiences with Virtual Worlds and Social VR

Philip Rosedale

Numerous people have posted the following YouTube video to various social media and community forums in the past few days: a classroom presentation by Philip Rosedale at the University of Washington in Seattle on May 21st, 2019, as part of their Reality Lab Lectures series.

Philip is a pioneer and a visionary, and he is an engaging speaker, leading his audience through a history of how he became enamored and involved with virtual worlds and virtual reality, and how he built Second Life, founding Linden Lab in 1999, and then, in 2012, starting his new company High Fidelity. You need to watch this; it’s great! (There are a few minor sound issues with the video.)

In response to a student question, he talks about how High Fidelity is working on an app where you can take a single photo of a person and create a 3D avatar from that (at the 43:30 mark). I love this idea (especially since I happen to live a long way away from the closest Doob full-body scanner!), and I hope that HiFi has not dropped this project in their recent pivot to the remote business teams market.

He also says that they already have a version of High Fidelity that runs on the Oculus Quest (at the 1:00:25 mark), but he’s not sure when they will release it. The company may decide to allow people to sideload the app, which would get around having an official release on the Oculus Store.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts for Men from the Man Cave Event and a Complete Summer Outfit from Hoorenbeek

Men sometimes find the pickings to be pretty slim when it comes to freebies in Second Life. Well, today I have news about some fabulous freebies that are just for male avatars.

First, did you know that it is the 2nd anniversary of the Man Cave shopping event? And to celebrate, there are free gifts available at most of the vendor booths, hidden in bunches of balloons. All you have to do is join the Man Cave group for free, and the gifts are yours for the taking.

As just one example of the many free gifts you can pick up, here are the Marcus dress shoes, which come with socks on which you can adjust the height, colour, and pattern using the included HUD:

You can also adjust the buckle, sole, and base colours of the shoe. It’s a fabulous freebie that will go well with any dressy suit or formalwear. Just head over to the Volver booth at this exact SLURL, and click on the leftmost set of balloons to get your gift:

And since you’re already there, why not pick up all the other wonderful freebies for men at the event? The Man Cave event ends July 11th, so don’t wait!

(In case you’re wondering, the suit I’m wearing in the top two pictures is a former group gift from Bakaboo, which is unfortunately no longer available.)

While we’re on the subject of great deals for male avatars, check out this wonderful summer outfit from Hoorenbeek. Everything this avatar is wearing—shirt, shorts, belt, beaded bracelet, sandals, sunglasses, even the shark’s tooth necklace—is included, for free! And check the details; they are all superbly done:

To get this freebie, just teleport to the Hoorenbeek main store, join their group for free, and click on the vendor at the entrance:

The unpacker HUD for the Hoorenbeek gift offers versions of this outfit for classic avatars, as well as for Slink Physique, Signature Gianni, Signature Geralt, and Belleza Jake mesh bodies. Happy shopping!

Second Life Machinima: What Living in a Virtual World for Seven Years Taught Me About It

The following three-minute machinima (i.e. a video shot on a computer platform) was put together by a Second Life user named Luca, who says:

Second Life for me began with curiosity which turned into something really fun for me to express myself that I enjoy a lot, then it became a platform of creativity and self-discovery. And something that I didn’t realize or really think of until recently, is that how by allowing people to see each other for who they really are inside, it also helps unite people by shedding lights into people’s inner selves which would otherwise be shrouded in mystery, and dissipate our innate fear of the unknown.

I found her work captivating, and I felt it deserved a larger audience, so here it is. The final quote of her machinima is:

A bridge that gives way to the unknown content of one’s heart is a bridge that spans the dark chasm of divisiveness and fear.