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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Elders Summit - November 2013

Periodically a secret society of elders come together for a 
summit to discuss the health of the virtual world; Second Life.  The last summit seemed to be filled with uncertainty and questions about the fate of this virtual world and the unraveling of a community due to negative activities and griefers.  

The elders questioned if Second Life would ever be taken seriously by the real world. Many would agree that this argument is an ongoing struggle to encourage people to understand what this virtual world is all about and how important it is to those that utilize it daily for a supplemental income, creativity, improving skills, fundraising, education, entertainment  even companionship and love.

The secret summit took place at a remote location away from the daily virtual world activities and consisted of a handful of elders who wish to remain anonymous. These elders have been immersed in Second Life for over eight years and have a well rounded perspective of the many facets of this virtual Gem.

The challenges that the Second Life community face are generated from people who have not done their research and think it is a just a game with no real value that can be conceived from it.
Another issue is with those that use the virtual world harboring hidden agendas and motives. They poison the atmosphere and hurt other’s opinions of the possibilities this platform offers.
The elders feel there is a wealth of information within the virtual world and with the rapid growth of technology; the virtual world is the future of global communication.

The elders’ reasoning behind that thought was clear. Second Life is unique and allows people to work and play together on a grand scale that unites many cultures and countries around the world.

Some may argue that this is a farfetched concept and an impossible transition between virtual and reality based perspectives if Linden Labs cannot weed out the troublemakers and cater more to the business and creative side of the grid. “Free will is the torch that continues to light the way for SL residents”, a concerned elder explained. “That cannot be messed with”
The elders agreed that free will is the catalyst of this working virtual world environment but some leadership needs to be involved to keep things in order.

Other factors include lag and management of capacity. “Can Linden Labs handle the flow of users it has now and what about when more discover Second Life?”, asked one of the concerned elders.

 “Lag has always been a problem, but it is possible at this time there is no cure available and residents just have to wait for new technology developments that can handle hundreds of thousands of users, their issues, needs and concerns.”, said another elder.

With the challenges discussed by the elders, it did not detour from the fact that things seem to be on an upward path. The elders are beginning to look on the bright side.

 “It has been a decade of virtual world growth and the new ideas and developments created by the residents are astounding”, one elder cheerfully said.

 I agree, said another.  “During Second Life’s infancy, there were no voice chat options and live music and video streaming. Now avatars can create and debut machinima movies, talk shows, perform live music, DJ, ad hold important discussions for educational purposes.”

An elder with a taste for fashion shared, “The quality of clothing has also improved from prim to mesh. There are multiple viewer options that residents can choose from and the SL marketplace is booming.  As time goes on residents are mastering their building and scritping skills and creating new and innovative gadgets to help organize business practices.”

 An elder pointed out Smartbots as a wonderful tool for business promotion. “It reduces the time it takes for promoters to send notices one by one through their accessible groups.”, she said.   Another elder familiar with the program stated, “This program can auto send notices to multiple groups on a schedule as well as include landmarks and products directly through groups for a small monthly fee.”

“I use this product daily and see positive results because it keeps my group members up to date with our activities, products and services”, the third elder said. A fourth elder chimed in that he will need to try it out for his business.

“Second Life isn’t all about business, this is a platform for some people to live their fantasies with others”, another elder included while changing the topic focus.

“There are people who have disabilities that prevent them from engaging in certain activities in the real world, Second Life is the perfect place for them to experience things they cannot in the real world.”, she continued.

“You are absolutely right!”,said one of the elders with her own story to tell.  “There was a resident that really opened my eyes to the possibilities back in 2007”, she continued. “This resident was a writer for a recognizable media source here in Second Life and his name was “Fasttoes”. One day the editor of the newspaper asked him what inspired such a name and what he said amazed her.

Fasttoes was a paraplegic.  Paralyzed from the neck down and was confined to a wheelchair with around the clock caregivers catering to his every physical need.

 Second Life was his way of releasing his creativity energy. He typed with his toes using a custom home setup that allowed him to communicate with others in the virtual world. His story is just one of many inspirational uses for Second Life.

An elder added, “Think about those that are hearing imparied or suffer social anxiety and have a difficult time communicating with people in the real world” he went on to say “In Second Life people with illnesses, disabilities and anxieties can communicate with anybody on their own terms and in any language just by using a translator system.”

“None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for a community that was built on creativity and the belief in the possibilities of this virtual world.” another elder added.

The question, “What do you see for the future of Second Life?” was asked during the summit and it excited all knowing elders. They practically all started talking and sharing their visions at once. Some of their visions were clear enough to visualize but out of fear of manipulated the natural plan of the virtual world, the elders refused to reveal that information. Instead, they each recorded their views in the summit doctrine for future reference.

The summit was adjourned with satisfaction on the faces of the elders who pulled up their cloaks and disappeared into the virtual mist until the next gathering.



  1. This is quite a non-news event. A bunch of sell-appointed yet anonymous "elders" (if such a term can be applied to eight year-olds) has a secret chat (which is hardly a "summit"), wearing clothing that covers their identities. Photos without content, comments without context, and no verifiability of anything - this is not news, Conspicuously missing is any mention of LL from a customer service point of view. While SL customers are indeed here for far more than business purposes, LL is a business, but it's not run like a business - more like a junta with contempt for its customers. I hear this everywhere! It's one basic concept that so many agree on, and it's a very serious problem with tremendous ramifications. Odd that self-appointed "elders" would not think to discuss the conduct of LL itself, only us customers of LL.

  2. Hi Robbie, thank you for your colorful comment about the self appointed Elder's and our non news content. You are right! We are a bunch of 8 year olds with our own opinions. We are the ones that have stuck around in second life for that long to see the many changes that have occurred. Despite the Lindens lack of governing standards, Second Life is a community that is still here thriving due to the creativity of the residents and bonds we all have with each other. You are also right, we could have addressed some of the issues and conduct of LL, like we did in the last summit. (which you must have missed) but for this summit, our focus was more about the positive outlook on the community and those that do great things in Second Life. The positive residents are the ones that keep the energy going. We just observe and speak our minds. Perhaps you should get more involved in Second Life media and have a voice much louder then this comment box. Also, just a thought, I am not sure how adult avies might perceive your child avatar standing on a soapbox voicing an opinion that seemed a bit rude and immature to begin with. Apparently child avatars seem to add bad side effects to the reputation of Second Life too. Let's not forget, we all have the power to voice our own views and opinions, some just do it with more tact.

  3. I only now realized there was a reply to my comment. I wish I had seen it sooner, because you have expressed an ugly prejudice faced by many of us who enjoy SL, and it has now gone unchallenged for several months, with the unearned credibility of being expressed by someone worthy of the title of elder. While these comments are directed to you, "One of the Elders," they apply to a great number of people in SL, the good members of this good community that is thriving yet does so at the expense and exclusion of others. Someone needs to call this bigotry out.

    Two things would be obvious if this prejudice didn't exist: Adult avies are pixels and do not perceive anything, nor would the perceptions of their users be more important than the perceptions of those who use child avies. We users (with avies of all ages and many species) are equals, and we are all adults. You call my comments rude and immature. That would be made meaningful if you said what you're talking about. Where is the rudeness? The immaturity? In the age of my avi? My comments were neither rude nor immature, only critical. So what is your basis? You're "not sure" what adult avies might perceive. "Apparently child avatars seem to add bad side effects to the reputation of Second Life too." These are non-comments about non-facts that you use to justify and spread your prejudice. Who perceives what? Apparent to whom? Seem to whom? What "bad side effects?" You are saying nothing, but implying, as if from afar. Kid avis don't do bad things. Again, pixels. Some users do very bad things, yes, but those of us who have fun and play child-like are not a homogenous group of bad guys, though your comment is that we cause harm. Yet you distance yourself from that comment with "apparently" and "seem." Why?

    Bigots cause harm, not the use of kid avis. I learned at age 43 that I am autistic. I want to have the kind of fun I missed out on as a kid. I've gone on scout trips to tour the Pyramids of Egypt, the Titanic, the battlefield at Gettysburg, and theme parks. I'm a student at Hogwarts. To me this is fun - a lot more fun than I had as a kid with undiagnosed autism. Yet there is such a pervasive social mentality in SL, which you only strengthen, that I am causing harm, or that I must be up to something nefarious. Merely visiting the Mainland in SL is a risky thing to do for someone with a kid avi. There are the griefers, who feel their cause is just in our case. There are those who assume we're looking for adults to have sex with, and therefore hit on us, regardless of the maturity level of the sim. There are also those who follow the rules in ways that harm us. When I was two days old in SL I was ejected and banned from a sim because I took off my shirt to show a friend my new avi skin. There were people swimming in the river right next to me wearing considerably less, but the sim owner had a problem with a 12 year-old boy avi taking his shirt off. Why is such a thing worthy of sanction in SL but not in RL? It's not. It's just bigotry.

    Kids exist in 1st life. Kids exist in 2nd life. No, we're not real kids, but no one in SL is real. You're not a real elder. You and your friends are not as you say "the ones that have stuck around," but a few of the many who have been around that long, several of whom are friends of mine. You don't speak for the masses. You have not earned that credibility with me. Let's keep this in perspective. You're a user who has been in SL longer than I have and who therefore feels justified in admonishing me to use more tact with the grown-ups. You have spread the word that kid avies cause harm. Well, grown-ups such as yourself who think it's ok to impugn other grown-ups with their own prejudice, other grown-ups who have also come to SL to live a creative fantasy life that is different from theirs, need to be challenged, and if they find it upsetting, perhaps it's because they have a little growing up to do themselves.

  4. Interesting long winded comment there Robbie. Sorry you have taken such an offense to the way many residents feel about child avatars in Second Life. You are right not all child avatars do unsavory things but the ones that do make it difficult for "adult" avatars to accept children at their events and activities. Calling the elders bigots for sharing opinions and their own personal thoughts is a little bit over the top. For future advice, keep your shirt on, it makes adult avatars feel uncomfortable. BTW This summit isn't even focused on child avatars in Second Life, it is a combination of thoughts shared by those of us that have been around a long time who observe the community. With all due respect, if you don't like what you read, look for second life news somewhere that suits your needs better.

    1. I did not call the "elders" "bigots." Calling you "elders" is over-the-top enough for me. I called you, the individual to whose comments I was responding, and your attitude bigoted.

      Apparently I need to use a parallel example in order for you to see your bigoted comments for what they are. Substitute a minority for people who use child avatars. The ones who do unsavory things make it difficult for people who use adult avies to accept the rest of us. This attitude is not acceptable.

      People who use adult avies have made games out of rape and murder, and they make real money in SL as prostitutes, all according to the rules of the game. And if you spend a few hours using a child avi on the mainland or other public area not intended for kids exclusively, you'd see how many of the good "adult avies" feel perfectly comfortable soliciting you for sex. People who use adult avies are no better than those of us who don't.

      Your private chat was not focused on people who use child avies, but your own comments in this section made clear this prejudice. As you said, it was meant to be focused on the good people in the good communities that are thriving in SL. There are lots of good things happening in the SL kids communities that you will never include in your private chats because you have chosen to ignore them in favor of your advancing prejudice, which you still feel justified in defending.

      Perhaps this issue is worthy of its own story here in the SL Enquirer?