I am not anti-SL or anti-LL. I am deeply involved in Second Life, and like many others I have committed a great deal of time and money to being there. It is natural and acceptable for me to analyse my time and the conditions under which I work and I do not think it "disloyal" for me to critique Linden Lab. I have tried to be careful not to merely slam, but to organize the strains of thought I read and am exposed to inworld and outworld [not counting the Hamster Dance, which was personal].
History repeats itself
I'd like to give you some history as to my perspective:
I was deeply and fully-involved in the genesis of the WWW as well as the first VWs in 1995-1999. Those first primal "grids" went dark because of various business and technical decisions and problems, but what really shattered things and set back the tech 10 years was factionalism. People got tied into parochialism and narrowmindedness, dividing their efforts and the community with their petty little highschool politics. What hurt me more than the worlds going dark was that the community of which I gave my heart, soul and hundreds of hours of work to destroyed itself and dissolved because a lot of the people involved were uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics. They squandered any kind of cohesiveness, vision, determination and aim in their childish "loyalty wars."
This fracturing is what set back the VW idea and tech for years. It set back the WWW too. In fact, it screwed up almost everything those people professed to love because they couldn't get out of their tiny selves long enough to have a good look at the big picture.
I see the same thing happening today and it makes me sick.
Since my hammer example seemed to be understood easily by people, let me make another one:
I want a guitar. Everyone says Strats are the greatest. I try Strats; I try several of them over several years and I just can't get comfortable with them. I don't like the "thin" sound of them. My hands don't like them; they like Gibsons and Takamines and Ibanez's. So I won't buy a Strat.
Do I then go around slamming Strats? That would be idiotic, as many people find Strats to be a most-excellent instrument; I do know that they are well-made and professional-level guitars, and I hear people play Strats and I like they way they play them. My own preference is for Gibsons. But I don't knock any professional-level instrument. And I certainly don't start knocking the entire music industry because I happen to prefer one guitar over another. And let's not talk about the bass/guitarist/lead singer/drummer crap either.
Such a preference will not stop me from paying attention, analysing and critiquing Gibsons. Some have super-heavy bodies that hurt my shoulder; some have different models of pickups I don't like; some have ultra-fat necks many people like but that my small hands cannot get around or work efficiently. So I have my preferences as to models. I have opinions about craptastic models Gibson put out as well as fantastic models they issued. But with those opinions and preferences I am in no way wishing Gibson to fail or go away.
I believe in the virtual worlds; post 3 of Reply will make clear why I do and what I see possible with such a technology. I am registered on at least 7 grids right now. Some offer me one thing; others, something else. I do not believe in putting all my eggs in one basket. I saw what happened with that before, and it broke my heart and made me flee the whole stupid mess and go waste my time and bury myself, removing myself from community.
In the same way I have declared myself a citizen of the net and not identified myself with a narrow subset like Facebook-follower, Tweeter, blogger or gamer, I am a citizen of the multiverse/grid/cyberspace. I haven't done much critique of InWorldz because I really haven't been there long enough, nor am I connected enough to people there to formulate any quick opinion about IW. I do know that the Founders there are present often, are approachable (at least to me) and that most people seem pretty friendly there. I am relatively new there, and I work alone a lot in my little space so I haven't much else to go on. Likewise OSgrid, which I don't visit often, or Craft or Avination, I just don't have the 3-year experience I have in Second Life to draw any conclusions yet.
My position has always been clear to anyone who might ask me, and I have tried to make it clear in this blog title and my posts: all grids are good grids. You might like the service you get from one; the prices of another; the ability to run certain scripts on another. That's your preference and your choice. But pushing political agendas to get one grid "favored" over another is, in my opinion, missing the whole point. If you're worried about the stability of this newly-born tech, proliferate; create more grids; become a citizen not just of this grid or that grid but of Gridworld. Get with the bigger picture.
I don't hang out in one block in my physical life, cursing and complaining about other blocks. I don't champion my apartment building and spit on others who live in different buildings. I go hither and yon; I shop one week at one store and another week at a different store. I watch girly movies and I watch The Matrix. I don't eat only salads and I don't eat only hamburger. Monoculture is deadly in biology, sociology and technology.
I don't get involved in South Carolina vs Ohio; in the Green Bay Packers (do they still have that team anymore?) vs the NY Yankees (yes, I know one uses a funny, brown, oval-shaped ball and the other a round white one with pretty red stitching on it) or even US vs The World. From my perspective, these are as important and engrossing as two children arguing over whether teddy bears are better than bunnies. They are parochial, myopic and waste time, energy and materials that could be used for something constructive, like getting to Mars or the stars or feeding hungry people or teaching kids to make and understand art.
My recent critiques of Second Life and Linden Lab are my attempt to digest and order all the information and experience I have picked up in 3 years about something to which I have given a tremendous amount of personal resources and time. Since the proliferation of grids, I have gone exploring these new islands and continents with an open mind and a happiness that this technology is not being held in one vulnerable and central location, subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as happened before.
Critique is not "hatin." It is not "slamming." If I thought that, I'd never have gotten past the first critique of my guitar playing, my first brush-to-canvas, my first metal sculpture or my first writing assignment for class. Maybe I should have done all 3 parts of the Reply in one huge, long modem-choking post to make clear the point that this is critique, not slamming. I wasn't sure Blogger could handle that [not counting the comments about "nice post, but so long!" :D]
You get and give critique in order to help someone improve their skills and abilities so that they are free to express their creative vision. What my Reply posts have been addressing is my sadness at watching LL make the same mistakes I have seen countless times before in countless companies over this 15-year genesis of the WWW and this technology (not counting the 10 years before that when the tech was mostly "niche geeks"). That's 25 years of experience being involved with and observing tech companies, virtual communities and the turns and twists of the long road. My posts are one person's observations & frustrations, but also contructive suggestions on how to address problems that I think are seriously hurting LL as a company and SL as a product. Why do I bother? Because I don't want to see LL fold and take SL with it. Duh!
So that's that about my aims, methods, experience and perspective. As the sign atop my House of Cards at Burn2 [taken from Steven King's The Dark Tower series] said, "Go then... there are other worlds than these." Populate, propagate; the Earth/SL is one small planet and subject to disasters natural and unnatural. It is a small, confining and vulnerable place for an expanding civilization. Go to the other planet-grids; make your home there; make a flag, yeah. Show some team spirit. Become a citizen of many gridworlds. But don't forget you're part of the solar system, galaxy or universe either; without that, you don't really have anything but a standalone world and a standalone mind.
You can still catch me in SL, where I continue to pay rent and server fees to Linden Labs in the hope that they love their world and see the awesome potential of it as much as I do.