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Censorship The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Second Life To Remove Free Content From Web Search 187

Outland Traveller writes "In a move that continues to shake the Second Life community of content creators, merchants, and consumers, Linden Labs has declared that free virtual content will no longer be searchable without listing payments on their website portal; and additional fees will be added with the intention of discouraging content listed for inexpensive selling prices. The move is particularly troubling because the online Web listing service is the de facto search engine for virtual content in Second Life, since the in-world search tools are unable to provide information about an object beyond name and location — basic textual descriptions, pictures, or descriptions of licensing, size, or content-category are not possible. While initially the change was explained as a response to community feedback, the residents involved in this feedback process were revealed to be fewer than 100 in number, primarily larger merchants among a community of millions. Within 24 hours of the announcement, the feedback thread has swelled to over 1,000 overwhelmingly negative responses. Additionally, in-world protests have erupted throughout the day, and over 20,000 objects have been voluntarily removed from the online store by angered merchants." Read on for more details on the brouhaha.

Adding to the controversy are the officially stated justifications in the FAQ, such as 'They [free content listings] hinder the shopping experience because a "sort by price" puts all freebies first,' and the perplexing statement 'They [free listings] garner so much attention that Residents are driven toward the freebies instead of quality, fairly priced items.'

Various independent virtual content listing sites have been proposed, such as and, but attempts to post this information on the Second Life forums has been met with aggressive administrative censorship of these links.
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Second Life To Remove Free Content From Web Search

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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:49AM (#30170998) Homepage Journal

    Second life is a big hit among people who have never played a competently developed computer game. Just navigating the world is intensely painful. The tools for content creation are even worse. The documentation reminds me of that for drupal... inadequate, and when you point this out you're referred to a fucking video tutorial. Second Life is a huge fail because it's almost as big a pain in the ass as FIRST life.

  • Re:We Should Care (Score:4, Informative)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:16AM (#30171320)

    Well ebay instituted similar policies in 2008 and 9 to discourage small-time sellers (i.e. people like us selling used games, videos, whatever), and there was widespread protest on the forums, but nothing changed. eBay simply deleted the negative posts, banned people with repeated "This is bad policy" postings, and nothing changed. Now the portal has become a place that favors big businesses with deep pockets.

    And all the people cleaning out the garage, like me, went to craigslist. So, where is 3rd life? (shudder)

  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <> on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#30171356)
    I examined the logs of the three "office discussions", and a total of thirty-five merchant avatars showed up. It was 3 hour-long discussions, held on a single day, that didn't even discuss all of the supposedly discussed changes.

    There were no e-mails, although they claim to have twittered about the office hours.

  • by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:42AM (#30171670)

    Just before the announcement of listing fees, there were 1.15 million items listed on [] , their web commerce site. Many of them were just color variations of the same item, or free items. By not having a listing fee previously, people had no incentive to be efficient in what they put there, in fact they had incentive to spam the listings with as many items as possible to be seen (just like email spam occurs because sending emails is essentially free).

    So this move will force people to be somewhat efficient in what they put there. Note that the fee is L$10 per month, which equates to about a postage stamp for a year's worth of listing. Big surprise that people whine about the changes in a social media space (not). They were whining before the changes that it was cluttered with too many listings.

    For those who say it's not popular, they have 750,000 active accounts (people who log in more than once a month), which is probably more than the active accounts here at Slashdot. It does not appeal to everyone, but then *nothing* appeals to everyone. It does, however fit with some of the tropes at Slashdot, the people who like to make their own stuff, and mess around with open source. The viewer code for Second Life (the client software you run on your PC) has been open-sourced for a while now, and around 40% of players are using alternate viewers (especially the one that has enabled "breast physics" *heh*).

    Disclosure: I'm a top 20 currency trader in SL and derive a moderate monthly income from that and other in-game activities. I'm also a developer for Blue Mars, a new virtual world that's in early beta (much better graphics, using the Cryengine2 graphics engine from the Crysis games), so I'm agnostic about virtual worlds if they are good ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:46AM (#30171714)
    Maybe we should talk nicely to this guy. I'm sure he's just confused.

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  • by the_fat_kid ( 1094399 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @12:01PM (#30171904)

    "realistically vibrating penises"

    Ok, maybe you are new to the idea of what a penis looks like and what it does.
    untill the Parkinson's disease takes over, they don't vibrate.
    That thing in mom's drawer is a vibrator, not a penis.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @12:33PM (#30172436)

    Merchant Banker -> Wanker.

    Just FYI, HTH.
  • by Araneas ( 175181 ) <pgilliland@ro[ ] ['ger' in gap]> on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:43PM (#30174714)
    "2: People who have tried SL and left unimpressed have little clue what goes on there and are therefore little more qualified to make informed judgements of what goes on there."

    No, people who have tried SL and left unimpressed are making an judgement informed by their experience. To say that they had little clue about what goes on there simply means that Linden and the cabal of initiates in the know have done a piss poor job in exposing "what goes on there" in a simple, attractive and easy to use fashion.

    The rest of your post was interesting - I hadn't thought of SL's possible uses by the disabled community.

  • Re:Who gives a rip? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TravisO ( 979545 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:05PM (#30176150) Homepage
    I know it's easy to pick on Second Life but my wife use to play it obsessively so let me give you some real insight: The game gives you a lot of power to import models, animations and textures, think of it as an in game "make your own Sims game", where you can set rules, scripts that execute on other people's models, etc. The game is flooded with woman, usually stay at home wives, these aren't necessarily your traditional "fat goth chicks". I'm a hardcore gamer myself, mostly just Xbox 360 lately, so I wouldn't touch Second Life with a 10 foot stick, it's not that it's a game as much as it is a social adventure that allows you to build more of the game. Unless you want to just be a consumer and shop for things people have made (clothes, animations, items) and just play what others made. My wife spent 99% of her time creating and selling items, there's no money to be made in Second Life anymore, unless you outright scam people somehow.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.