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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Jan 20th 2009 11:39PM (Unverified) said

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I would take Second Life so much more seriously if they WOULD make it for all ages.

Let the freeko leather plaid 40-sumthin' swingers take their dildo factories elsewhere.

Granted, SL must have made TONS of money from the pervs, but how much more seriously would it be taken if they didn't allow for flying boobs everywhere?

Hell, just give all the adult one big area and sign it off. Every time I see something beautiful in SL, I am taken away from that because some guy decided to walk by with a giant penis on.

It's all so cheesy. I wish SL would take itself seriously. Did I say seriously enough?


Beau

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 1:09AM (Unverified) said

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People forget that the purpose of the Teen Grid was not only to keep teenage users from accessing "adult" content. It was also to keep adult predators from accessing teenage users. Hence the extensive background checks required of adults wishing to go onto the TG.

If the two Grids are merged, this protection goes away. Does LL no longer consider this important? I can imagine the field day the press will have when there's an assault on a teenager as a result of that teenager having met an adult predator in SL. LL doesn't need that kind of bad press, any more than they did when they set up the TG in the first place.

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 3:38AM (Unverified) said

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I remain largely unconvinced by the predators angle - mostly because so many other online anythings lack such restrictions, and because there are so many other avenues for attack anyway.

On another note, teen grid registrations outside the US were actually fixed last week (with personal apology from Joe Miller). They also resolved my longstanding complaints about the mapapi not working on the teen grid last week - look to the right on slurl.com and you will see the teen grid in its entirety. It's the tiny jagged copy of central SL.

I'm generally happy with LL's treatment of us right now.

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 4:19AM (Unverified) said

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Integrating the teen grid would be a positive step. It should be done.

Arguments that separating the grids are necessary to protect teens are hollow. Only a service who's primary purpose is cyber sex would need to. Facebook doesn't do it, Twitter doesn't. Flickr doesn't. AIM and YIM don't. WOW doesn't. Halo doesn't. HMMM. Do we really want to argue that SL needs to separate the two with that in mind? Instead of separation, LL must tackle the 800 pound gorilla of smut it has allowed in SL.

LL Desperately needs to clean up the adult grid . . and this would be the prefect catalyst for it. Some of the clean up steps have already been taken. Banning xxx rated adds on the main land was a very good thing. It was a tentative start to doing the rest of the work that needs to be done.

Does SL NEED to condone slavery, prostitution, escort services, rape role play and strip clubs to survive? Do we need to be subjected to private parts swinging in the breeze, and to basically undressed avatars on public streets?

If SL does NEED this, then it is not worth saving.

Look at SL from the point of view of a business doing business with other businesses in an international network of laws. Subjecting a employee to some of the "normal" sexually oriented activities in SL could constitute harassment and be legally actionable in many places.

No legitimate business want's to be connected with a place awash with smut. No school or learning institution can tolerate even a whiff of smut. SL DOES need these, and it becomes a better place for all as a result.

For serious educational use, for serious international business PUBLIC areas of SL must do what the cultures of every single civilized area in the "real world" have done. Enforce basic decency in public.

What people do in PRIVATE is their own business. I don't want to know and don't care what someone is doing on their own private island. They can set their access to group only, and if the are doing something that could get them arrested if they have teens involved, they can rethink what it is they are doing, or develop their own screening procedures. That same process is enforced for every bar serving liquor now. You can bet if they DON'T, they WILL be investigated and face legal action.

It is about time the whole of SL grow up. Letting teens in would be a big step in helping SL mature.

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 2:26PM (Unverified) said

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My reservations about merging the teen and adult grid are:
1. Having to deal with people's unsupervised kids. People don't supervise their teens at Walmart, imagine how they'll be in SL. And don't lecture me about how many are already in the main grid, that's no answer.

2. Cleaning up "adult content." Define adult content? Whose definition do we use? The American prudish puritanical definition which allows gross violence but cringes at any sex, the European definition which would limit the violence but allow much more intimate content, the South American definition?

3. What content besides "adult content" is inappropriate for teens to view or participate in?

4. Intrusive age verification?

5. Think outside the box for more concerns.

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 5:53PM (Unverified) said

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There is already a relatively large sample of exactly what teens do in SL. It's called the teen grid. For the most part, we make stuff and talk to eachother. Also a fairly large group of people form armies and wage war with the other armies, but in reality it's not at all intrusive. Though "You're flying! You have 0.1 seconds to stop before you get teleport home!" *teleport* is annoying.

Personally, I'd imagine something similar to the system which has already been in place for teen accounts on the MG for years to be used (why is that system in place? I have absolutely no idea.) We can't teleport into regions marked as "mature,", and we can't see into them - they appear as holes in the world. PG sims offer no issue whatsoever, when used correctly. And we've seen that Linden Lab have no issue with deeming a massive group's use to be "incorrect" and booting them out. This distinction would not be new.

Additionally, I feel that issues two and three are already resolved - the Teen Grid has fairly clear cut rules on the matter: no sex, no nakedness, no swearing, no real life information. Violence is apparently fine, though there's never been any discussion of extremely graphic violence (because nobody's ever tried it, that I know of.)

Intrusive age verification is entirely unnecessary (the MG currently has no verification, and the TG requires you to be over 18 (eh?) to register). But I wouldn't put it past Linden Lab to demand it anyway, given previous attempts at it.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2009 8:36PM (Unverified) said

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I can see no reason why they should merge the grids, keep the adults and the kids separate. If they want to make a new family friendly grid then fine, but be prepared for the influx of news reporters trying to get an adult to proposition them as they pose as a 14 year old.

It's not just about accessing PG areas, it's interaction with adults, it's disclosing details that shouldn't be discloses, it's the lack of liaisons. The main grid is like a bar that has an 18+ policy, sure kids could go in and drink pop, but the rule is 18+ and that's how it should stay.

However Linden Lab explain it much better than I can, just pop along to:

http://teen.secondlife.com/parents

Extremely good reasons why kids aren't allowed on the main grid are explained there and those reasons are just as valid today as they were when they were produced.

Say no to kids on the main grid.

Posted: Jan 21st 2009 8:48PM (Unverified) said

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Well, at this stage, it isn't clear that teens *will* be permitted on the main grid. There may be a solution involving an additional grid - or something else that we haven't yet thought of.

The only things we do know from talking to the Lab is that (a) Identity Verification is still in the works, and is neither dead nor forgotten, and (b) that as yet they don't themselves know what they're going to do with the Teen Grid.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2009 10:32AM (Unverified) said

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They have two grids now, and should keep them, for the best interests of everyone. Make one grid a vanilla grid, G-rated, for kids, families, educators, bible-thumpers and others who are so horrified by others being able to experience adult-oriented fantasies in a safe role-play environment.

The other, a spicy grid, where consenting adults with similar interests can live out their fantasies unhindered by the folks who don't believe anybody should be able to do so.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2009 3:16PM (Unverified) said

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I just want to be able to work on our teen related project on a closed estate, but still have access to products and supplies for sale only on the main grid. Trying to imagine everything you are going to need for an educational project and "packmule" it over to the teen grid makes absolutely no sense at all.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2009 12:02AM (Unverified) said

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Hmmmmmm... Well this is good. This is very good. I have a maybe not-so-novel thought? When I read the article's mention that "some have taken this to suggest that adult content would be expunged from the grid" or words to that effect, my reaction was sort of forehead-slapping. Wow! How about making the separate grid not the youngsters, but rather the sexual thrill-seekers! That encompasses alot, I know, a range of activity from genuine relationship to complete fantasy, but how about moving that activity over to its own grid. Just sayin'...

Posted: Jan 23rd 2009 1:27PM (Unverified) said

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Scott they already have their own grid, it's called the main grid. This is why it's not suitable for under 18's!

There's no need to reinvent the wheel, if they want a family friendly grid, create a new grid where adult content is banned from the start.
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Posted: Jan 24th 2009 7:02PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah I can certainly see that perspective. Everyone wants the metaverse for their own use, and it would be unthinkably difficult to just pack up and move either all the useful educational content or all the adult-themed "inappropriate" for minors stuff and just move it over anywhere. Once any faction is split off into its own grid, it loses all the richness of the main grid as well.

I'd take exception to the notion that the main grid is "their grid" (the adult 'thrill-seekers') though. It's everyone's, even the folks who envision its educational potential.
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Posted: Jan 30th 2009 9:00AM (Unverified) said

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While I'm actually happier in a world where people don't have to worry about the kind of content they display, these are complex ethical questions really, which also tie neatly in legal and business issues.

Right now, there are two grids because ethically, legally, and business-wise they make (made?) sense.

From a business point of view, running several separate grids is more costly, though — extra staff is required, and if there is not enough profit to be made from a Teen Grid, in the long term, it can only be shut down. It's the solid decision to make, specially in 2009. SL's average age is close to 35 years, and it's the 45-55 age group that is the most interesting (more user-hours, more spending in the economy, etc.). However, very recently, the earlier age bands have grown slightly above what has been the norm.

From a legal point of view, only very recently LL was actually allowed to do that:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jRV56VA0tEHLT3hwWxdBgnetBD4Q

Let me quote a comment from there: "It is not the role of the government to decide what people can see and do on the Internet," he said in a statement. "Those are personal decisions that should be made by individuals and their families."

So, once more, and rightfully so, protecting children from pornography is the parents' responsibility, and not the State's or a company's or any other person.

I'm sure they have been waiting for the "go ahead" on the legal status of this discussion :) Now they are legally allowed to mix the Teen grid with the Adult grid and fear no legal cases against them.

All that remains is the ethical question. And of course there are two solutions. Both are easy to implement, and both will make residents angry.

The first, of course, is to re-establish age validation and do what Katharine so well suggests: Make mature areas/items inaccessible to non-age-validated residents (inaccessible as in "content is not shown", ie. holes in the Matrix... :) ). This means that anyone relying on newbies to provide traffic (or sales) will have to think twice — people will most likely enter SL and NOT validate their age unless they think it's worth the trouble. Then again, as NWN reported, the number of active participants in the economy is around 100,000, and these are the ones that very likely will not have any trouble in validating their age (or at least a vast majority won't).

The other alternative is the Disneyfication — banning all mature content, and turning SL into a slightly more complex version of There, IMVU, Kaneva, etc. This will make 16.5 million residents *very unhappy*, for the sake of the handful of non-adult new residents that might happen to drop on the grid. It's pretty clear what the *correct* choice is, but LL has a terrible reputation on never picking the correct choice...

Posted: Jan 23rd 2009 10:11PM (Unverified) said

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The term 'Disneyfication' amuses me a little, as more than half of Disney's for-kids films exceed Linden Lab's PG limitations for the Teen and Adult grids.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2009 10:15PM (Unverified) said

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Point taken, Tats :) Perhaps "Puritanisation" would be a better word...

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