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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 Meta-life.net and Slapt.me, 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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  • People still care? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vohar ( 1344259 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:38AM (#30170862)

    Oh no, now the world will...well, continue to not care about Second Life I guess.

    It was a fairly neat concept, but I always felt like media outlets were pushing it a lot harder than it was really worth. It's basically the internet given form, so there may have been some gems of innovation in there but there were a whole lot of dirty, disgusting places as well.

  • They are (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scarboni888 ( 1122993 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:40AM (#30170882)

    Greedy fuckers

  • by santax ( 1541065 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:40AM (#30170888)
    For real, here in the Netherlands media hyped about 2nd life about 3, 4 years ago. Some banks even bought some land etc. But nowadays, I personally don't know anyone using it. So where is second life big? This is not meant as a flame or anything, I am just curious. 1000 protests doesn't seem like a lot. Check the protests on Forza 3 missing custom lobby or the Modern Warfare missing custom servers... That's a bit more than 1000...
  • We Should Care (Score:4, Insightful)

    by u4ya ( 1248548 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:44AM (#30170936) Homepage
    Not so much about Second Life, but about the way in which what is happening there parallels what we have in the real world. Powerful interests consistently manipulate our world's system to benefit the interests of a tiny few at the expense of the great majority. Hopefully massive protests will stop this from happening, in both SL and in the real world.
  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:45AM (#30170948)

    Even going so far as calling them merchants is silly imo...

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:47AM (#30170980)

    'They [free listings] garner so much attention that Residents are driven toward the freebies instead of quality, fairly priced items.'

    How dare people give away their fairly created goods instead of charging through them! How dare they be non-materialistic in this fictional world! That's just un-American!

    If you can't sell your product, you're pricing it too high. If someone can make it cheaper, expect to lose business. Welcome to reality.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:05AM (#30171184)

    Second Life has always been a mediocre-to-awful virtual reality primarily filled with furry perverts.

    What happened is about 3 years ago, they hired the BEST PR TEAM EVER. They got companies and even some governments to set up shop in there, thinking it was the next big thing. They got stories in the news almost every day-- if you visited this site, you probably remember how often it came up here. It was remarkable, when you consider what product they were actually selling!

    Either people actually tried Second Life and realized the marketing was all lies, or their awesome marketing team is gone. For whatever the reason, in the last year or so all the hype has virtually disappeared, and now Second Life is back to being a mediocre-to-awful virtual reality primarily filled with furry perverts again.

  • Re:We Should Care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:08AM (#30171222) Journal

    >>>Hopefully massive protests will stop this from happening, in both SL and in the real world.

    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.

  • Hanlon's Razor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#30171240) Journal

    Or we could just apply Hanlon's Razor: Never ascribe to mallice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    While some collusion _is_ possible there, it could also be that they just listened to the wrong crowd. That's also a "welcome to reality" kind of thing. A vocal minority can often seem like they're the majority, or at least representative enough for a majority of players. It's not just a Second Life or selling goods issue, it's that a tiny number of vocal people can generate more posts and whole circle-jerk treads, than the vast majority... who's too busy playing the game or coding flying penises for Second Life and doesn't bother much with posting.

    Just look at almost any gaming board and you can see the same phenomenon: a minority of fanboys or malcontents can generate more posts than everyone else combined. And if left to their own devices, can actually gang up on anyone saying otherwise and try to drive them off. It can be about off-line single player games too (about half a dozen fanboys were enough to insult anyone who had a problem with Morrowind, back when that launched), online games (just read the Stalker boards in COV and you'd think that (A) 99% of the players want only PvP, and (B) everyone agrees that Stalkers should be able to one-shot any other class, including tanks), etc.

    And occasionally you see some game screwing up spectacularly, because they listened to the wrong crowd. Without any anti-communist ideology being involved at all. E.g., it seems Vanguard owes half its screw ups to listening too much to the gang that, basically, went, "I've played WoW for 2 years straight and raided every night, and then discovered that everything about it sucks and only an idiot kiddie would like it." If you figured out by now that whoever makes such a claim, just called himself an idiot kiddie, and that only an even bigger idiot would take design advice from a self-confessed idiot... well, then you'd be smarter and more perceptive than some designers ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#30171354)

    Suppose you're so fat that (1) you can barely walk and (2) everyone looks at you at the mall. An exoskeleton can fix the first problem, but SecondLife fixes both.

  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <abacaxi@NosPam.hotmail.com> on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:23AM (#30171408)
    A company that runs its servers on Linux griping that free stuff will drive the big costly stuff out of business

    I like Second life ... it's graphical chat with some wildly creative visual artists. (not all the furries are perverts, and you don't get issued a freenis when you join.)

  • by megrims ( 839585 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#30171452)

    Unfortunately, Drupal stands out from the crowd by actually having documentation, despite the inadequacies.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:36AM (#30171576) Homepage Journal
    SecondLife is basically a gigantic Internet Drama Engine. Worse, because it creates so much drama, it tends to gain the attention of the mass media who seem to think it's the final realization of "cyberspace" that they were promised in the 80s. In reality, it's Deviantart with a crappier interface.
  • by Random Walk ( 252043 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @12:14PM (#30172082)

    It's a big hit among the people who have the creativity to actually do something, rather than just consuming. It's a big fail with those who expect a game with a set goal, those who need to cling to someone/something telling them what to do.

    I'm doing freeform roleplay, and it's great fun. There's plenty of roleplay communities in SL.

  • by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noruaduolconorc>> on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:45PM (#30176818)

    Second Life has built in voice chat....and people use it. The majority of female avatars are played by women and of those who are played by folks who were born male, a bunch of those are transwomen. I've referred to SL as "a world for women". They run it, they own it. The number of geeky guys scripting helicopters and whatnot are easily outnumberd by the women making clothes, buying clothes, making art, playing music.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @10:25PM (#30181182) Journal

    I do love the irony of someone on Slashdot talking about other people not having a life. I can just imagine them, foaming at the mouth as they bash the keyboard - hypocritically complaining about other people complaining, and ridiculing people for spending time on an online environment - whilst sitting in their dimly lit mother's basement, spending all their hours online on Slashdot.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian