Some random SLCC bits (UPDATED)

23 08 2006

Unfortunately I was a bit on the road yesterday and thus I did muss Mitch Kapor’s talk and the RL business panel. What I also noticed is that there’s not so much coverage actually going on except the live streams. So people, please blog, upload photos, videos and so on!!! πŸ™‚ (seems to be more common at other conferences, there it’s more like live coverage via blogs)

So here’s just a little list of things I remember:

The Main Land Group Communities & Projcts panel was discussing various issues. mentioned was griefing and control of land. Related to land control they wished to maybe have more control over a sim when you own all the land on it (because of griefers etc.). Along the lines of griefing prevention there was the idea of a banning system which was mentioned by Travis Lambert of the Shelter (afaik he and Mera Pixel are working on that). Robin Linden asked if it would be of advantage to share a blacklist. The answer to that was that griefers just want to get negative attention and thus move on when it’s not possible to grief anymore at one location. Thus sharing might make sense but not in general as other communities might have different rules (like gorean culture and shelter culture are somewhat different).
They also pleaded for some support by LL as their system is based on sensors etc. and this does not play good on the performance side and thus client support for it might be better. One wish would be to be able to use the hardware id for banlist so all the user’s alts are banned automatically as well and the ban list limit is not hit that quickly.

Then there was the sex and relationship panel. Actually it seems to me that the points discussed mostly are not really SL-centric as they apply to RL, too (and besides maybe we should better think of SL more as an extension of RL and thus it’s no wonder). IMHO one interesting point to discuss would be more your expectation when you see that person the first time (as in virtual relationships you don’t have that real visual experience only after a while (if ever) and you might have a different view of that person already and might be disappointed). Beside from explaining a bit about what cybersex is about we also had some entertaining talk by Stroker Serpentine and we had qDot Bunnyhug demonstrating a computer controlled dildo.

After that the Brand and Marketing panel was up featuring people like Catherine Linden, Fizik Baskerville and others. It was actually quite interesting in hearing about different ways to build your brand and do marketing in Second Life. Here are some points mentioned:

  • advertise your stuff in your Profile Picks, people seem to look there
  • maybe try cross-selling. Like when you have some prefab shop try to get some furniture guy to sell with out. Same for clothes and skin designers.
  • try to build trust which means to make high quality products and also try to spend a lot of time with support.
  • try to help new users. Every new user might be a customer later on
  • Use word of mouth. Try to get stuff out to well-connected people so they can spread your brand.

It’s not a lot different actually from a RL business as you have to decide on similar problems like pricing, location of your store and so on.

Then there was the media panel. This was moderated by Hamlet Au and featured some of the SL publications like New World Notes, SL Herald, SecondCast, Pixel Pinup Online, Metaverse Messenger (PDFs will stay) as well as cnet (so not really an SL publication ;-).
I wasn’t able to watch all of that but afaik one topics discussed was the ethics on fashion publications as to tell people which products were given as gift to them. And they mentioned me I think relating to but they were missing the name πŸ™‚

In general what is that it’s nice to meet all those people in real life and it creates stronger relationships. It maybe proves my point that RL meetings are maybe still somewhat more immersive than SL ones and thus that there maybe shouldn’t be that much of a wall between them. That rarely anybody will look like their avatar should be clear to everybody.

Update Aug, 23: Some more stuff has shown up in the meanwhile. Seems that people had better things to do at SLCC than blogging πŸ˜‰
So here’s a little list of posts:

3pointd has quite a series of posts about it (starting with a wrapup of Mitch Kapor’s keynote)
GigaOm write about it here and here
Kotaku has a story here
New World Notes has a open forum post
There are lots of photos on flickr tagged with SLCC2006 (or as slideshow)
The Second Life Herald is reporting here
The Secondlife Insider is having posts here and here.

Then the first video is up which happens to be the one about qDot’s demonstration, watch it here (more to come I hope).

I will update again once there’s more to tell πŸ™‚

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6 responses

20 08 2006
Torley Linden

“computer controlled dildo” sounds like qDot Bunnyhug’s ( work? Was it him?

There’s an underlying theme of the “long term” with marketing. Some people who have a hard time are experiencing such problems because they’re too focused on immediate results, e.g. the familiar example of someone who tries to sell you guns in a no-combat sandbox. πŸ˜‰

But there is a very good “real-world” reason why a lot of reputable businesses, as you allude to, Tao, say when they’re established–somehow meaning if you’ve been around a long time, then you’re venerable and are trustworthy, whereas lesser businesses may have… gone out of business.

Time, in all its ubiquity, is difficult for many to really value sometimes. But planting seeds and coming back to harvest them later can generate some pretty surprising results.

“Try to get stuff out to well-connected people so they can spread your brand”

^ hahaha

Was anything brought up about “niche” markets or holes that are surprisingly gaping and left unfilled by products? I like crafty approaches in this regard; someone like Sideon Ingmann who makes GOREAN TREATS!!! (In actuality, part of a larger market of eclectic Gorean products.) Who else does? Noone (yet), and that’s why I like his treats so much.

21 08 2006
Hamlet Au

Dude, you missed the part where Fizik said 20th Century Fox staffers called him up, asking “Who is Tao Takashi?”, because they watched your video of the X-Men premiere. πŸ™‚

21 08 2006
Prokofy Neva

I think it’s important that Travis Lambert and Robin Linden and others who go to SLCC and SL Views and everything else consult more with people who run mainland businesses before they design, script, and pitch to the Lindens with special pleading any one anti-griefing system — especially one that is going to affect thousands of other people who will then be so circumscribed by the vengefulness of SL that they’ll be forced to leave.

I’m glad that Travis is conceding that different communities have different needs. His venue which is FREE and providing mainly newbie help for short-term stays is a target of griefing, but the heavy-handed means they’d like to use on griefers, and their reaching for all kinds of draconian and nasty methods to hound them, grab their IPs, and computer hashmarks for ever and eternity without due process is not a good recipe for Second Life. SL does a really cruel thing to people. They advertise their game with huge screenshots of people in armour with weapons and they give them a big come-hither. Then, when they arrive, they are told after the fact that they have to be herded like rats only into a few combat areas around the grid and barred from combat everywhere else. So they need to decide whether they are going to go on pitching a combat game to the hordes of FPS and war gamers on the Internet — or not. And if they keep advertising the game like that, then they need to supply the infrastructure to manage those expectations. Otherwise, the dudes in the armour and the war stuff has to come out of the front page, the literature, the machinimas.

I have frankly have a lot more to say about the suffering from griefers due to having many more venues and a lot more tenants who aren’t newbies but older residents who just want to reside on their property. Unlike Travis, who merely loses a short-term visitor and traffic scores and the chance to do good and shine as the leading helping institution, I lose actual hard cash when griefers force my tenants to move and they have awful experiences that make them either have to spend more money moving or even leave SL.

So I’m very, very motivated to find anti-griefing systems, but I am very concerned about what it means for Second Life to have a giant shared blacklist run by the feted inner core. I refuse to use the *illegal weapons* of security orbs like Psyke’s Defense system which in the hands of their buyers often bounce without warning and teleport home, often crashing the game. That’s just not on, and I won’t resort to that sort of aggressive tactic.

I’d like also to question a widely-spread notion that Travis’ plan is “decentralized”. I’m not seeing that and I’d like to see further elaboration. If it is scripted and pitched by him — that’s centralized, especially if he or his friends put it all on their own third-party sites. Ugh — we’ve had a LOT of problems with third-party sites which grab IPs and scrape data and destroy people’s privacy, such as The quest to end griefing shouldn’t end up whacking so hard at privacy that it also harms non-griefers as well.

I’ve frequently encountered younger players who get caught up in a griefing group led by some total asswipe because they aren’t aware of, or have any other outlet for, their desire for fitting in and socializing. And I don’t think that the chance people in such groups should also be facing automatic harsh banning when they aren’t always specifically perpetrating crimes. There also has to be a notion that when a person does the crime and does the time that they are not harmed forever in Second Life. And that’s what I don’t like about these harsh systems that take a person and put them on the shitlist for all eternity.

The group called SLAM run by Jenna Fairplay has also been inaccurately portrayed in these discussions, such as the tendentious treatment it got from alt “Lost Newcomb” on the forums, where it was described as a “centralized system”. Perhaps it is for Jenna, but I doubt even for her. There are simply too many griefers all day for anyone to keep entered even into the most master of data bases. Rather, SLAM I view as more like a police radio tune-in. You see who is out there making havoc at a given time. If you see those same individuals come to your venue or rentals properties, you give them more than a second glance to see if in fact they may be coming to attack. You may even give them a warning that they are not allowed to shoot or play mafia/police/etc roleplaying games. It isn’t necessarily an instant blanket ban all over.

When you have people who really aggressively grief, like invade strangers’ homes and strew crap and speak obscenely and behave like total asses, you don’t have to give them further benefit of the doubt. If they are alts, you want swift punishment. You want them removed from the People List and pronto. But the WAY in which this is done is important. It has to be done more publicly and it must be through due process.

I also dislike the way in which Travis has implied that there is a hugely discretionary method to getting removed from his master shitlists. He says people must “ask in a mature manner”. Well, somebody wrongfully banned outraged at being set up to have a ruined SL may be a little torqued. And that has to be factored in. People shouldn’t have to be bowing and scraping to oldbies who run high-profile venues in order to get into the walled garden.

21 08 2006
qDot Bunnyhug

Yup, I’m the computer controlled dildo guy. ^_^

22 08 2006
Kyrah Abattoir

then what should be the removal condition prok?

22 08 2006
Ordinal Malaprop

Prok, Travis’ system is decentralised in that each individual member has their own ban list, and they subscribe to other people’s selectively (as I understand it). It isn’t really a global ban list as much as a global ban list network.

The system makes it harder for someone to get in and “infect” the list with people that they simply don’t like, thus getting them banned from everywhere, but it would be extremely susceptible to mass hysteria IMO. I’m not sure whether lists “cascade” (A bans X, B is subscribed to A so also bans X, C is subscribed to B so bans X etc etc) as I’ve not actually seen it operating in detail – if they do, one dubious person in the chain could mean somebody getting a big fat global ban. Even if there are mechanisms to prevent this though the fact that it is so *easy* to add somebody with automated systems, and it’s so *quick* to be informed of a new offender, combined with the apparent generally increasing level of paranoia, could mean we end up with the same situation. Why *not* ban somebody? Better safe than sorry, eh? Just click the button….

I’m actually less worried by Travis’ system than by some of the others that seem to be popping up, which really *do* seem to be global ban lists and also say that they’re targeting not just griefers but “scammers”, which is of course a tremendously fraught category.

I was arguing about this inworld last weekend, but I was doing it with a rather resigned attitude I have to say, because I know that the basic scripting for this sort of system is pretty simple, particularly for a global ban list. I was surprised it took this long to appear.

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