Some of the most impressive builds at past years SL birthday celebrations or “Burning Life” festivals were created by child avatar artists. Linden Lab’s poor decision to prohibit exhibitions of the child avatar community at this years SL5B celebration is turning into a major PR desaster for the company. Just type something like “SL5B child” into your favourite search engine to see what people think about intolerance and discrimination against us. Here are some of my favourite quotes from various blogs and forums:
“If LL does not dare having an exhibition showcasing all the diverse weirdness in SL, that is a perfectly reasonable business choice as well, really. Then they could make a birthday celebration themed around… education, the color yellow, whatever.
The problem is having an official event about (sub)cultures, and then banning subcultures which are perfectly within the ToS.” (Tali Rosca)
“What happens when the media find child avatars at the event?
Media: THERE WERE CHILDREN WALKING AROUND!!!
LL: Those child avatars are in fact adults. Indeed many of them are the only residents of SL who have actually gone through a rigorous age-check procedure. (Add: Some of them have actually gone throgh the procedure more than once. Don’t ask! Our explanation of that is in beta.)
Media: You say they are actually adults. So why then were they not allowed to contribute to the event like other adults? You’re trying to hide something.
LL: Actually, they are not child avatars at all. Sorry about that first incorrect statement from the PR ex-employee. We’re having lag and asset server issues again. Those small avatars are a rendering bug triggered by network and database problems.
I don’t believe that LL ever think things through.
It’s all short term for them.” (Sling Trebuchet)
“Every time I hear about some new restriction LL is applying to certain people or things on the Grid, I wonder how long it’ll be before they work their way down to me. Let’s say I do land a gig DJ’ing for part of SL5B; would LL suddenly find it necessary to tell me which songs I could or could not play? I can imagine that someone might take offense to, say, “Bilingual” or “Crazy Bitch” or most songs by Children of Bodom. Would they have to pre-vet my playlist, and maybe forbid me from taking requests because someone might ask to hear an “unacceptable” song? Don’t laugh; yesterday, you might have thought it was inconceivable that the highly-popular SL Kids builds would be banned from the celebration. As far as I’m concerned, LL has now thrown everything up in the air as regards SL5B, and I question whether I’d want to be involved at all under those circumstances. (In this, I am joined by SignpostMarv Martin and Ariel Otafuku, two of the main organizers of the event. Hey, M, Philip, are you getting a message yet?” (Evans Avenue)
“First they came for the child avatars, and I did not speak out
Because I was not one of them
Then they came for the furrys, and I did not speak out.
Because I was not one of them
Then they came for the goreans, and I did not speak out.
Because I was not one of them
Then they came for me, and there were none to speak out.
To punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty is not a good idea, leads to far more trouble than it’s supposed to help.” (MortVent Charron)
“The recent clarification that Child-Like Avatars will be permitted attend, but not exhibit, makes the situation even more ridiculous. Clearly the Prurient will take this as confirmation that the Laboratory is quite happy to promote all of the things in their imaginings, and it will simultaneously serve to confirm to the Childrenish concerned that they are not considered worthwhile, and in the category of the Second Class in Second Life.” (Ordinal Malaprop)
“If you want safe and sanitized go to There.com or sponsor some furniture in the Sims – but you’d better realize that this IS the Wild West, and it’s that way for a reason – because THIS is the frontier, this is where the great ideas are arising, this is where the creative classes, the prosumers and the hackers, the griefers and the savants are mashing up the future, and if you want some sort of hint of how the future’s going to unfold you’d better at least suck it up and have a look around.” (Dusan Writer)
“It’s cowardly. Everytime SL has been attacked by these media whores, LL has never done anything , at least as far as I can see to defend SL , and all of us. The either bury their heads in the sand, or run around like a Chinese Fire Drill, isntituting bullshit policies that just cover up what those idiots are railing against. There is a thread scolding us for not making more of SL, for making it a place that some feel ashamed to visit. How about LL starts taking some initiative, and responding to these types of attacks? Show these clowns what SL really is, and take real steps to do away with the things that are offesnsive , illegal and detrimental to the platform.” (Brenda Connolly)
“Linden Lab (according to staff) is apparently afraid of the whole of Second Life being shut down at a legal level if it should show any implicit support of — well, an activity that mental health professionals tell us we should be trying to find ways to do more of: Childlike play, and reliving our respective youths in positive and nourishing way.” (Tateru Nino)
“I just dropped this notecard (and a truncated form, in IM) on 3 Lindens: Jack, Dusty, and our illustrious leader, M:
“The Terms of Service and the Community Standards specifically forbid intolerance.
Yet Linden Lab, the author of those documents, has forbidden a group that is well WITHIN the Community Standards and Terms of Service (those using child avatars but NOT in a sexual sense) from participating in the 5th Birthday celebration.
I cannot begin to express how this blatant ignoring of Linden Lab’s own stated policy sickens me. I am not alone; there is a rising swell of ill feeling, and it’s spreading beyond SL itself… just Google ‘SL5B’ and take a look at a few links.
I am calling you out, sir. I’m calling on you for an explaination of how a group, a community, within SL that is not only within the ToS and CS and one of the LEAST sexual groups in this virtual world, comes to be excluded from an event that supposedly celebrates the communities and diversity within SL.
I challenge you, sir, to explain it. And to take action to rectify this gross injustice.
I have expressed myself in this fashion on your blog and the forums:
“LL, in its infinite wisdom, has forbidden SL ‘childrens groups’ from having a build/exhibit at the 5th birthday celebration. Oh, child avatars can attend, but they’re forbidden to contribute. Way to go, LL. Trying to set new standards for politically correct cowardice?
Speaking of standards… why do the TOS and Community Standards shake the finger at discrimination if LL, the author of those documents, is going to freely engage in it?
Hypocrites and cowards. Every one.”
I do hope that you will give me reason to rescind this statement.
Yours, Solomon Dovoix”
Kirk is a dumbass but he isn’t the one to blame. The ONLY entity to blame was the one that made the corporate decision to ban child avies from participating and the others that supported this decision. LL should have gone the opposite way and encouraged the children’s groups to expand thier effort and participation this year. This would have sent a very clear message that what the Senator is saying is BS, instead they have by default, agreed with his findings and in the process broadly painted the entire children’s community as deviants. Unacceptable. (Jesse Barnett)
A JIRA issue has been filed on the SL5B mess: “Missing Cultures & Communities from SL5B”. You can vote here: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MISC-1231