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Reader Comments (29)

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 1:12PM (Unverified) said

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Miss Tateru, at Grid Shuggard (or smth, sorry, can't recall correctly) they wrote it were even skins that have 'underwear' in the texture, so no 'naughty bits', whatever, can you confirm that?

(And I wonder, if 'child skins are not allowed', does that mind child avatars - which are allowed according to LL - should wear 'grown up skins' together will all the detail those come with?!!)

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 1:26PM (Unverified) said

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First, hENNIFER, look up 'tripe' and think of a better word to use the next time you get up on your soapbox. 'Tripe' would be more appropriately applied to your written comments then to a description of a virtual world.

The unpredictable iron fists at Linden Labs remind me of the USSR under Stalin. They never give a reason for thier frequent change-of-heart; they just bring the hammer down. In this case, I think they haven't gone far enough but do wish there was consistency in their actions and a better explaination as to why now.

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 7:58PM (Unverified) said

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Were you replying to a comment that was removed? I don't see "tripe" mentioned here.
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Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 1:50PM (Unverified) said

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I'm sure what this amounts to is someone who got freaked out when they saw a picture of a child avatar on a vendor, and then voiced a complaint to LL. Probably a corporate customer, or someone who gives the labs a lot of money.

Honestly, I don't see the problem, but then I don't see what the difference between a child avie skin and an adult avie skin is.. I guess I've never honestly paid attention.

But since we're doing content takedowns.. Can we do a takedown on anything that is remotely questionable? Let's start with those linden skins with the questionable anatomic parts painted on.. oh and let's modify the avatars themselves to be more generic.. no breasts, no coin purses. All avatars must have the same height and same build, and attachments are not allowed any longer. I want a completely androgynous second life please.

Tharkis

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 3:52PM (Unverified) said

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"Simply put, if you are selling skins for kids or teen avatars, as little of the product being purchased as possible must be visible."

This is utter nonsense. The point of merchandising skins in SL, is that you need a proper preview of the skin in order to make a proper purchase!

This sort of nonsense is doing Linden Lab's public appearance no favors.

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 2:08PM (Unverified) said

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What's changed?
Um... Obama got elected?

(ducks)

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 2:37PM J Brad Hicks said

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I don't pretend to have any inside knowledge about Linden Labs; I haven't even logged into my SL account in probably close to a year. But I have run into enough trumped-up pedophilia scares, having worked my fingers to the bone debunking the Satanic Ritual Abuse moral panic, to make an educated guess.

My guess is that someone saw one or more of these avatar skins being combined with some of the more sexually graphic animation scripts in a vaguely pedophilia-themed sim, screamed bloody murder to Linden Labs, LL realized they couldn't figure out how to block avatars that look like children or pre-teens from looking like they were engaged in sexual activity, they ran this by their lawyers, and the lawyers warned them that under current US court rulings, this would make them guilty of distributing child pornography. Yes, even if the "minors" involved were partially clothed and entirely fictional.

Was an actual prosecution possible, or even likely? Hard to say, but remember this about lawyers: if you ask a lawyer if it's safe to do anything, all the incentives line up behind a "no" answer. If the lawyer tells you yes and is wrong, it's a career-ender. If the lawyer tells you no and is wrong, and you listen to them, you'll never find out they were wrong.

But as often as they've been in this blog as party to one lawsuit or another, it's entirely possible that Linden Labs is just flat-out tired of spending money on court cases. Who'd blame them?

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 4:45PM (Unverified) said

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I was fearing the day SL turned MILF.

Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 1:24AM (Unverified) said

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Linden Lab is doing the right thing. Absolutely. A service like LL needs to avoid the appearance of promoting lewdness or endangerment regarding children in any way, and also needs to avoid promotion of a climate in which child abusers are tolerated, and this is exactly the right way to go about it. I, too, remove any vendors of any child skins like this if I find them in my rentals -- I think it's wrong, and it's a clear violation of the TOS.

Could someone please explain to me what you need to have a child avatar in her underwear *for*? I mean, seriously, that's just completely suspect. Even adults in SL don't go around in their underwear, they generally keep it private -- so what are the situations where you either have to have a child avatar in public in their underwear, or in private? Please. This is bullshit. Those insisting that this is "just like wearing swim suits in real life" are forgetting the facts of Second Life: you do NOT have to take your clothes off to go in the water because you don't get wet.

What's also COMPLETELY over the top is the claim that because LL is acting properly here, that they are "fascists" or "censors" or have "destroyed creativity" in SL.

The real fascists and destroyers of creativity are those that would endanger or destroy the innocence of a child.

Moe, you are completely fatuous and even sinister. If you can't tell the difference between the USSR under Stalin, when millions, including my in-laws, were massacred, and LL properly acting to prevent abuse of minors and acting properly to prevent tolerance of child abusers, you're missing more than a few screws. There's a difference between censorship and prevention of crime. Child pornography is crime, not creativity.

Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 7:07AM (Unverified) said

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> Could someone please explain to me what you need to have a child avatar in her underwear *for*?

For the same reason I have adult avatar skins with no underwear on them; because it makes dressing them easier. I don't have to worry that pre-drawn clothing will interfere with anything I'm trying to put on my avatar, primarily.

> The real fascists and destroyers of creativity are those that would endanger or destroy the innocence of a child.

What child? Where? There is no child involved here.

I don't care about the censorship. I care that, like Teen Grid, this is a naive and knee-jerk reaction. Teen Grid doesn't protect children from adults, it merely separates them from adults who aren't willing to lie. This doesn't protect any children, because there aren't any children involved!

I may have to admit that LL have taken the action most palatable to the public, but could the public please start thinking things through a little more.
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Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 7:40AM (Unverified) said

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Prok, as usual your comments are filled with flamebait. I don't think you will find anyone who disagrees with the fact that child endangerment is a bad thing. But your premise is based on 2 things. These are children in child avatars, and they always engage in sexually provocative experiences. The former would mean that somehow a kid got on the main grid, in which case they should be banned. I mean they aren't supposed to be there at all right? The latter is no more true than saying every furry engages in wild orgies.

Lets be honest, a child avatar skin shop is no worse than browsing through a sears catalog or the latest Target ad where you *do* in fact see children in bathing suits and underwear.

You sir, and people like you, are the problem. People who fly off the handle at anything that is not "normal". It really makes me wonder how much time you have spent in SL, or if you just pontificate on an ignorant throne whilst spewing comments that are meant to incite panic and anger amongst the SL citizens.

Let me be clear on one thing though, I don't like child avatars myself. I have 2 in my first life, I shouldn't have to deal with them in my second life. That being said, I have no problems with those who do. SL is about fantasy, not reality.

Tharkis
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Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 11:53AM (Unverified) said

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> in my rentals

*stunned* You mean there are actually ppl that rent from you? :)

> Those insisting that this is "just like wearing swim suits in real life" are forgetting the facts of Second Life: you do NOT have to take your clothes off to go in the water because you don't get wet.

Yes, but the reason for wearing them in RL is usually to go swimming or to sell the suit. Neither of which is enhanced by wearing a full suit over it. Hopefully the analogy between selling skins and selling clothes is easy to grasp -- the customer wants to see what they are getting.

> Child pornography is crime

Nobody is saying it is not. Killing people is a crime too, so maybe we should just get rid of the people?
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Posted: Dec 4th 2008 3:10AM (Unverified) said

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Kara, no, not at all, my premise indeed is NOT based on the idea that "these are real-life children". They are likely NOT children (and the purpose of age verification isn't only to keep out children, which is hard to do, but to force adult accountability, which is easier to do.)

Real-life children don't tend to play child avatars -- they play adult avatars when they evade the light controls on age verification to get on something like Second Life, that's obvious.

That's not the premise at all. The premise of why you prevent the depiction of child rape online, or prevent lewd depictions of children, is about *avoiding the creation of an enabling environment*. Once you create that environment, you encourage and tacitly indulge child predators. Those who suffer from this dysfunction then feel they have a place online where they can implement this dysfunction, which is in fact a crime in real life.

Enabling such tolerance of lewd child depictions creates a zone of desensitizing, of constantly lobbying (such as what you are doing) for the "rights" of such persons to indulge in this "fantasy" as if it is "harmless" and "only adults are involved". It wears away at the idea that it is not acceptable, morally reprehensible and is in fact criminal. And that, of course, is the purpose of child predators, to justify themselves and rationalize what they are doing.

Those interested in the excessive hedonistic culture of SL are always battling to draw the line much broader than is acceptable by the public, but Linden Lab, even being liberal Californians, understand where to draw the line and *are* drawing the line.

Law-enforcers and psychologists have made it clear that child pornography, chat groups, and virtual worlds like SL in fact *do* create that enabling environment. Those constantly fisking and literalizing and quibbling about this fact are trying to get us to suspend disbelief that it *is* an enabling environment. But once again, I repeat the question: who needs to depict children in their underwear deliberately, if they do not suffer from a predilection to child abuse, or if they are not in fact creating an enabling environment for crime?

I've written more in detail here in the past:
http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2007/05/the_pedophiles_/comments/page/2/

And I've debated Tateru repeatedly on this subject, as she is an advocate of drawing the line very far out and very broadly in the name of "creativity" in ways that I find simply suspect and untenable.

The zeal with which people keep trying to portray this as innocent covers up the facts as we know them specifically in Second Life: that the individuals in all these child avatars and groups promoting "kids in SL" are -- *by their own admission* -- more often than not victims of child abuse themselves. As is known in this field, victims often become victimizers; but more to the point, they are all part of that problem of the *enabling environment*. And their acting out this abuse again online is not in any way whatsoever proven to be "therapeutic" (as is often mistakenly claimed) but in fact all part and parcel of creating the enabling environment again.

It's an entirely specious, typically Internet-forums sort of argument to say "killing people is a crime, so let's get rid of people". You cannot reasonably answer my question: who needs children to be in their underwear?! It's not about "being able to see the skin you buy" which is a literal and short-sighted argument. What on earth do you need to have that skin *for*? That's the issue. Intent and purpose.

I don't at all think that showing and shopping and wearing child skins in Second Life is anything like looking through a Target or Sears catalogue where children are shown in underwear and swimsuits. The purpose of the Target and Sears catalogues is to sell children's clothing to their adult caregivers. That is the manifest and majority usage of these catalogues, whatever their value for misuse by child abusers.

In Second Life, that manifest purpose -- buying clothing for children by caregivers -- *is stripped away*. There are -- as you keep telling us yourself! -- no children on the adult grid -- or shouldn't be. The purpose is not to buy the clothing for *real* children, but to act out fantasies involving in children. That creates an enabling environment for child abuse. Trying to liken what is a normal and functional use in real life -- parents buying clothes for their real children -- to a perverse function in SL -- adults needing a child fantasy because more often than not, they are victims of child abuse -- is completely perverse itself. There is no analogy that holds here.

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Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 5:12PM (Unverified) said

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Somebody barked again and LL run to act like a bunch of sissies again? Can somebody make a child av with adult skin? Or will the creators not sell teen skins with adult shapes now?
And will that make poor Robin's soul sleep calmly?

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 6:41PM (Unverified) said

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LOL. LL's knees jerk faster than a Thunderbird puppet.

Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 7:57PM (Unverified) said

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Oh, lordy. I was just chatting with some folks looking for modest kid skins, without obvious makeup or genitalia.

My suggestion was to get some of the Eloh skin downloads (photoshop) and alter them for appropriate modesty, lack of secondary sexual characteristics, etc. The makeup layers are separate from the face shading, so it should be relatively easy.

Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 5:07AM (Unverified) said

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It's true we all have a civic duty to protect children from abuse... however.... not all representations of children are about pedophilia. I'd rather think it was the minority. Panic stricken hand flapping over every representation of a child regardless of intent simply clouds our perception, and makes it more difficult to identify actual harm when it is taking place.

It also fosters an unhealthy societal preoccupation with the sexualization of children which makes society neurotic as a whole, and must reflect poorly on the psychological environment we expose our kids too. We may well protect our children from the merest possibility of threat, but at a cost of bringing them up in a threatening paranoid culture that sees danger in the most innocent things.

Arguably we already live a paranoid culture... so it is unsurprising - perhaps prudent - for the lab to implement policies which censor potential threats even when no potential of threat can be discerned. I can't say I like it though, as it leaves no room for innocence.

Posted: Dec 4th 2008 12:38AM (Unverified) said

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Ah Prok, clueless as usual. The reason you need to depict children in their underwear is so you don't depict them naked. Or are you saying we need to go back to having naked kiddie skins again? And what innocence of a child are you talking about? All people in SL are over 18. There are no children here, much less innocent ones. All the child AVs I know (like the urchins in New Babbage) wear clothes all the time. Usually even hats. But you can't sell a skin already clothed as you then can't change your jacket later. I think most child Avs are far more mature than you'll ever even aspire to.

Posted: Dec 4th 2008 3:01AM (Unverified) said

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Having spent an INCREDIBLE amount of time and effort to have a child skin that is NOT made up like Jon Benet Ramsey, or has PARTS, in order to protect NASTY MINDED ADULTS from their OWN LEWDNESS, i am rilly tired of all this "child abuse" war/fearmongering, SL and otherwise.

You want to get to the "root" of "child abuse problems?"
Try coming down on the GOR freaks, the sub/torture freaks, the abuse-sim freaks and all the other VIOLENCE-PROMOTING crap that passes for "adult play" and get off my back and let me skate and play on the swings and have my own NICE DISNEY FLAVORED FANTASY.

When LL cleans up THAT cesspool, you might be able to argue about me and my completely-PG play. Otherwise, as a kid, i react like any normal kid would to adults bull- i just ignore it, it's stoopid.

Posted: Dec 4th 2008 4:36AM (Unverified) said

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This is the stupidest thing I've heard since the last thing President Bush said. First of all, 1) it cannot be pornography, even if a child AV is nude. It is *not* a real person. It is an artistic rendition of a person, and thus, it fails to be porn.

2) This is a roleplaying situation. What kind of moron goes swimming in their clothes in RL? Of course an SL AV is going to want to dress down to go swimming because it enhances the REALISM of SL. Prokofy, you're a first-class idiot, and shouldn't be on Second Life if that's the way you see it. Go play with SIMS 2 if you don't want to act out realism with other people.

3) there are perfectly non-erotic reasons why a kid avatar wouldn't want to always be wearing shorts. I have a jungle boy outfit that my avatar wears so I can take snapshots to illustrate an adventure serial that I write. Mowgli wasn't pornographic. Young Tarzan wasn't pornographic, so it's ludicrous to assume that just because someone wants a kid skin without built-in shorts, it means they want it for a perverted reason.

LL is smoking crack on this issue, and hopefully they'll just give up after the sellers just put their vendors back up again each time they delete them.

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