Monday, May 2, 2011

Grid Factionalism: You Have Teh Dumb

Another in-between post while I try to get Part III of my Reply done. This one's been triggered by a recent incident and I'd like to make my position clear here in light of the Reply posts and they way some have received them.

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.

Hammer-on, Garth

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.


Skylar Smythe said...

:) Exactly! I'm right with you there and about ready to pop anyone in the nose that finds it necessary to consistently put down Second Life while elevating the merits of other VW's.

We are internet community. Wherever we hang our hat. And everyone is entitled to their preferences and respect for their choice of preference.


Talia said...

I don't normally post many comments to blogs, but I think this was a good discussion topic.

I think a lot of the dissension from start-up grids comes from being on the defensive. Speaking from experience, having been both an active member of SL and an active member of Inworldz, I can see both sides of the fence.

Perhaps the defensiveness comes from accusations from SL'ers on forums and whatnot, that these other grids are havens for copybotters and criminals that have been banned from the legacy grid.

I, for one, take offense to that. I'm not a copybotter, a criminal, a delinquent, or any of the derogatory labels that are repeatedly tossed around about members of these "other" grids. Nor are any of the numerous past rumors floating around about my chosen grid true.

So, although I don't condone "grid-bashing," I do understand where it can come from. When people are passionate about something, they become defensive when the object of their passion is attacked.

Now, come over for tea and cookies and I'll do the same. *hugs Skyler and Miso*

Astra said...

Don't worry what anyone else says or thinks. Its like shopping at the same grocery store, who does that? Remember the art work of the clown you gave me not to long ago? Replace the word "art" with the word "VW" :) Hugs Miso.

Miso Susanowa said...

@Talia: yes, I know. I am in the other grids also, and I am no copybotter. And such talk is idiotic in the extreme; some people in NY have guns they use to kill other people; they got them in Cleveland and LA too. Maybe I shouldn't visit Paris because I heard there's pickpockets there. I might not visit Moscow because I know there's bound to be thieves there. Plus I heard once in Atlanta there's confidence men, so I guess I can't go there either. All those people in all those places must be the same as those criminals; after all, everyone is the same everywhere, right?

... SHYA! ha-ha (nelson laugh)I don't THINK so! (lancombe lady)hoot! (Kiko the Gorilla)

Tea and cookies sounds FABOO!

@skylar: "Home... is-a where you hang your HAT!" - Lord John Whorfin

Talia said...

Miso, you are just a big bundle of kickass! I love the way you express things!

Iggy O said...

Miso, I never have seen you as a carping critic of LL or SL. You do step on Hamsters, however, but I forgive you this.

If we didn't love SL's potential so darned much, we'd not be as critical as we are of LL. I want what Lalo called "The Old Country" to be alive and well as I explore, even reside, elsewhere.

sororNishi said...

My biggest wish would be for me to have to eat my words, move back to SL and pay LL tier again..... however, being naive is not gonna sort out 800k lines of code into something that works as it should.

Bad company management is going to be criticised where ever it appears... if anyone was interested I could blog at length about how terrible my ISP is.... however, SL is what we have in common, our nursery, and it is obviously going to get the most flack. It has made the most cock-ups.

Sectarianism, like nationalism, is a dark force, however, and one I would fight too.... well said Miso.

Brinda said...

Dear Miso...
We chatted about some of this yesterday.
We chatted about our love for virtual worlds.
I stopped into a shop today where one of the employees has known me for over 10 years, recently she has been telling me that there has been a dramatic change in how I act and how she views me, I've become a softer more approachable "me". And I'm convinced a lot of it has to do with these last four years in Seconondlife.
It can't be because I'm growing up, I just passed my 69th birthday, any dramatic change has to be something I'm recently doing.
I'm doing virtual worlds... so far three of them.
I take exception to those that see any honest criticism as hate. I don't criticize things I don't care about, and neither do you.
Those who know me know I refuse to engage in ad hominem attacks... even when I read some things that seem to be written by some that may not be as emotionaly well balanced as what we perceive as normal. This applies to those at Linden Lab who have made what many of us see as terrible decisions. If I didn't care... I wouldn't care enough to complain.

I know, 'SOOO LOOONG' heh heh.
Darned well said Miso, I'll wait patiently for part three

Brinda said...

Ooops, "This applies also to...."