Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Cape Heron Lots

By Deaflegacy (Kalaya Karringten)

I remember the day I saw all these Cape Heron lots.  They are at a good size and have plenty of prims available.  I was living in an apartment back then.  I was paying one linden a week.  I really liked having an apartment but I couldn't resist asking myself if I'd like to have a parcel.

I talked to Stepin (stepinwolf.darkstone) about getting a parcel because he owns several parcel lots.  Stepin recommended that I talk to the manager of the parcels.  I did and got a parcel.

The parcel grew into two.  The next thing I knew, it not only grew into three, but into four as well. It was my desire to have a lot with some trees and a big house.

Soon enough, my lots have became a home to my family.  I also have some trees as well as a large gazebo for a piano so Ari (arisia.vita) could play on our piano for us to enjoy his music.  I did get some horses.  I have been taking care of horses for some time now.  I even named my horses after some people in real life. I cannot say who but I know who they are.  They are my inspiration.

I shouldn't say 'my lots'. Instead, because I'm sharing the lots with a few other people who are in my family, it should be 'our lots'.  So I think from now on, I'll say, 'our lots' because I like to share our lots with my family members as well as best friends.

For security reasons, I cannot say where my parcel lots are but I can tell you that it's Cape Heron.

I hope to have these parcels for a long time. I'm willing to pay for these parcels for a long time to come because I have started to consider our lots as a home.  A home to go to.  A safe place to be. It's a really good place to be.

I can definitely say right now that I have two homes – one in real life and one on Second Life.  Only that our lots are more beautiful than my real life home.  That's a fact.


Monday, October 15, 2018

My Horses on Second Life

By Deaflegacy

My horses are not just the most beautiful animals on Second Life. They are also on my lots for a reason. What reason is what? Some people might ask. The reason is simple. They are my inspiration and at the same time, good for my mental health.

It was Bixyl Shuftan who first introduced me to the whole idea of having horses, him having been given a few by a friend. At first, it was just two horses of two different kinds. Their names were Beverley and Lorne. I named them after my real life best friends. My real life best friends too are my inspiration. Over time, I would get more horses and name them after my real life inspiration. I have even named some horses after Bixyl.

With Bixyl's help, I am able to take care of my horses. I would check on them once or twice a day to make sure that they have their hay and salt licks. I would make sure that they are getting along just fine.

I love my horses very much because they are more than just inspiration. They are my family, too. The new horse got named Six String after my partner, Six String (roleplayismylife) because I love Six  very much both on Second Life and in real life. I hope to one day ride horses with Six. We did it before and have a lot of fun. But we only did it within the lots. We will be riding horses one day around Cape Heron.

My horses have so far taught me a lot about myself, some I already know and some I don't already know. I am very thankful to Bixyl for showing me the horses. Now I have something else to look forward to every time I get on Second Life. That is to take care of my horses. Thanks so much, Bixyl. The horses mean a lot to me.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Montecito Bay Versus The Slime And Maw Monsters

By Bixyl Shuftan

As Montecito Bay approaches it's first anniversary as an incorporated sim, things have been getting a little weird around town. Or if one considers that a number of it's residents are cruxes, a little weirder than usual. For the past week, there have been sightings of puddles of green slime. In one group chat, MoffettMephit (Moff) commented, "I take it y'all have heard about the emergency broadcasts? The ones that talk about the slime? All I can really add is, if ya see any of that around here, I wouldn't go touching it. Fact is, our top scientists are on this, and they think it has to do with the Gacha Guild." Asking questions only got various comments from various other local residents. Some were saying if ferals licked it, they would grow two extra heads. Others boasted they licked it with no ill effects, "tastes like jello." Other theories included the slime was the result of cruxes throwing up after having "the special" from a local diner.

A few casual glances around turned up nothing. Finally, one Saturday night I dropped by the "After Dark" event at the Magnum Opus club. There was scaffolding on the outside. I was told that this would be the last event at the "MO" as it's sometimes called before it was renovated. There was a small pile of furnishings ablaze in the corner. I was told that was furniture and things that were to old to reuse when the rennovation was done. Some of the locals were looking unusual, looking like three-headed cerebus dogs or sporting two heads, possibly a result of the slimes.

Asking about the slimes, I was old there was some on the beach and the Studio 86 club. "They were here, Moff used a vacuum," Twocoin told me, "He said 'Not in this club!' And then out came the bleach." Moff, who was DJing, responded, "Authorities have begun to suspect the origin being from another sim. Just don't touch that stuff." Kardinal Klo asked, "Do you think they have any idea what they're dealing with?" Moff responded, "We have put our top scientists on it." Emorald commented, "I have tried to get a close look at the slime. But, every time I try and get close, the scientists shoo me away." Magpie Hyena spoke, "One of the staff managed to uh... contain one of the beasties ... somehow. in a tiny bag."

Since the boardwalk and beach were just across the road from the Magnum Opus, I took a quick look over. Before long, I saw some slime. But on top of the goop was what looked like the lounge chair from Hell. It looked like an open set of jaws that had somehow been removed from it's owner, with a huge set of fangs. It looked like it was waiting for someone unwary enough to sit down, and then gulp them down.

I went back to report this to the people at the club. Hearing my description, Moff swore, "Oh s**t! Those are back too?! ... Those teeth things. After the show, we'll have to get the city flamethrowers." "What are those things?" I asked. Moff answered, "I have no idea." Magpie spoke, "They're certainly odd. I hear some local pets have been missing, and I bet they're to blame."

Moff went on, "One of them had a CRUX tongue! I mean, can we blame cruxes for this?" Emorald asked, "It EAT a crux ???" Moff answered, "I don't think so. It's too organized." Kardinal Klo remarked, "They show signs of intelligence, sentience, even." Magpie joked, "Seatience, that's a good way to put it, Klo." "Sentience!" Moff corrected. "No no! Seatience!" Moff then realized the joke and chuckled, "Oh! Ha ha!"

Twocoin asked, "Wait... Are we still talking about the pets or the crux?" Moff went, "If it were cruxes, there'd just be a big pile of slime covered teeth things." Emorald spoke, "They are like raptors" Magpie remarked, "Better hope those beasties don't go over your head like that joke." Twocoin responded, "It would NOT go over my head. My reflexes are too good. I would catch it." Moff then tossed a record his way. Twocoin joked, "Moff's breaking records in all categories.."

Magpie then looked around, "Anyone feel like they're being watched?" Moff answered, "What?! NO! I mean, I wasn't until just now." Klo went, "Yes, but, I mean, I have two heads." Twocoin remarked, "It's like there's some human with a camera pointed at the back of my head. Also, Klo's friend is staring at me," he pointed to a Halloween skeleton in a cage. Twocoin pointed out, "... there are dogs all around her."

A comment by Lem got Moff to joke, "Where's those teeth things when you need one? Sacrifice Lem to the slime." Magpie cautioned, "Hey Moff, I wouldn't wish for those teeth things, even as a joke you know. Don't wanna jinx this party." Moff didn't heed the warning, "I do! Let one bite that Lem butt!" "Gosh, be careful what you wish for!" Lem remarked, "My butt might swell up, nobody wants to see that. I got bit by a zombie one time, and the zombie died.]"

Then Twocoin saw the party had a new arrival, "Oh! There is a tooth thing right there!" Magpie blurted, "WHAT?!" Klo wondered, "Is it attracted to music?" Emorald wondered, "How did that get here?" Twocoin then noticed, "And another right there." "We attracted them!" Magpie remarked, "with the loud kickass tunes!" Moff then noticed one had a long, striped tounge, "Oh sh**, it's the crux tongue!" Twocoin went, "Mateo is AFK quick sacrifice him!" Moff shouted, "GO POKE IT LEM!" Lem then changed into his Halloween avatar, "I need to be my ghoul." Magpie then warned me one had appeared near me, "U-uh... B-b-bix...?!" I quickly got out of the way.

Then Moff remembered their fire, "Wait! We have flaming furniture!" Magpie blurted, "Someone set it on fire!" Moff then grabbed some of the furniture in the fire pile by an unlit end and tossed it onto one of the maws. But it was soon clear it wasn't having any effect, Klo observing, "It does not appear fire helps."

With the creatures not making any more aggressive moves, Magpie was rethinking the idea of getting rid of them, "I'm not so sure. I know some of our authorities  have noticed that when its domesticated it doesn't seem to uhhh...drool as much." She then grinned, "Though I'm sure you could make it drool with the right treats?" Emorald asked, "But, how do you domesticate them?" Magpie answered,  "Someone told me that a whole damn mess of  sciencey types down at the SCP facilities have managed to tame these guys." Moff asked, "Tame them? For what?" Magpie went on, "They've boxed them all up and put 'em in a little machine, like some sorta snack vendor. Somethin' called a gacha." Apparently the folks down at the SCP foundation in Dewdrop have managed to breed these guys to just sorta...cuddle. They'll let you sit all over em and won't be bothered. I imagine they're still fixing some kinks, so, I'd be cautious."

Emorald commented, "They do look....kinda cuddly." Klo followed, "Hmm, one of you should try and sit on one." Moff suggested, "Again, Lem, go ahead!" Lem asked, "Go ahead what?" Moff told her, "Go touch the teeth thing!" Magpie was unsure, "I don't know, who here's a brave enough soul to give that little beastie a pat?" Klo commented, "'soul' you mean 'sacrifice'." Lem then began approaching one. Magpie reacted, "Be careful Lem." But whem Lem touched one, the result was, nothing. Magpie responded, "Hmm. Well they seem a lot more docile than we were anticipating." Emorald observed, "They haven't eaten him yet." Magpie suggested, "There's no blood and gore yet. Maybe it's scared of you Lem." Lem joked, "I'm not zesty enough."

Thinking it over, Magpie made a decision, "Well, I guess I've lived  a good life. I'll try to mess with that curious little purple and green one." Emorald wasn't so sure, "Wait Mags! Let me go first." Magpie asked, " A-are you sure?" Emorald answered, "I am small enough, I can get away fast." "Er... okay Em." Emorald then sat on the maw, and the reaction was, nothing. Magpie asked, "Is that slimy?" Emorald answered, "A little, but like, the tongue is soft, like, velvet." Magpie was amazed at the sight, "That thing is literally just letting you chill on its, tongue?!" "Yeesh." "I mean you ARE a mousey looking thing. I'm shocked it's not, just chomped! Well, maybe it isn't the thing that's been, making the local pets disappear, maybe."

Then Moff reappeared, with a weapon. Mateo Firecaster commented, "Oh s**t! A Crux with a gun!" Twocoin remarked, "That's not a gun, that's a rocket launcher!" Emorald, still on the creature, looked to the armed crux, "Why do you have a gun Moff?" Moff responded, "Gee, guess!"  Magpie tried to get him to back off, "Moff wait! It, I don't know! It doesn't look like it's hurtin' nobody! And it was immune to fire! I don't even know if a rocket will kill it!" Moff was unpersuaded, "Now move!" "Wait!" Emorald told him, "we sure we wanna do that? I mean, what if killing one pisses them ALL off?" Moff was unmoved, "Last warning." Twocoin wondered, "What if it makes babies?" That was enough for Moff, who then fired, "Welp! Sorry Em!" Magpie blurted, "Oh Jesus Moff!" Lem commented, "Hard hat for safety." Moff then grinned, "Potato launcher!" Emorald, still moving around, laughed. Magpie observed, "I don't think they liked that." Moff responded, "They don't like potatoes?! Then they are evil." Magpie then noticed one more, "There's another one that seemed to dig from the ground below you when you did that!" I commented, "It looks like they did like that and some showed up for more."

Magpie commented, "These things are tough, but, they're just kinda, chilling out." Moff had another idea, "Torch the building." Klo asked, "Is this akin to setting the house on fire when you find a spider? ... Set the MO on fire, the aliens are here?" Lem then called out, "Em!" Emorald asked, "What?" Lem sat on another of the maw creatures, "Come sit." Moff joked, "Lem and Em make out on one, maybe that'll kill it." Magpie was surprised, "That one's just... letting you two cuddle together with it?!"

Moff noted the music band that was playing at the time, "Clearly these two like The Scorpions." Klo responded, "Who doesn't like The Scorpions?" The white crux DJ then had an idea, "HEY HEY HEY! Could these be like the aliens in Mars Attacks? If we yodel....." Klo liked the idea, "Oh s**t, play some, uh, Indian Love Call? Is that it?" Twocoin joked, "Play some Jane's Addiction. Nothing survives that." Klo asked, "Do these things even have ears, or do they just feel vibration?" Another new one was seen in the room, Emorald saying, "What is that one over there? ... Looks like it was, sewn together." Moff finally had his musical weapon loaded, "Oh Em Gee! Are you all ready?!" He then started playing Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call." Magpie asked, "Moff are you gonna soothe these beasties with some great tunes?" then realizing what was being played, "Oh boy, YOU ARE!" "Here we go!" Klo remarked at the music, "If this doesn't kill them, we're screwed!" Moff responded, "If they start dancing, I'm leaving."

Then Magpie noticed, "One of them is gone. Moff, I think it's working." Klo blurted, "Oh s**t. Does 'Mars Attacks' again tell us the truth?" "This song is saving us!" Magpie exclaimed. "This song only has ninety seconds," Moff reminded, "So I hope the next one works!" But at the end of the song, there was not a maw in sight. "Are they all gone?" Magpie asked. "Seems they are," Emorald answered. "Welp, guess 'Mars Attacks' taught us a thing or two!" With "Piece of My Heart" playing, Magpie suggested, "If this song really is sending them scurrying back to their nests, they are missing out on some great taste."

Moff then loaded in the next tune, "The next song, is one you all can sing afterwards! Cuz it is true! Y'all ready!" Then came the song, "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life." Klo started laughing, "Moff taking all the credit for that is he." "IT TRUE THO!" Moff boasted. Klo remarked, "Nevermind he's who probably brought them here."

"I'll play a couple more after this, but then I'm running away," Moff told everyone, then started singing

There's not a problem that I can't fix
'Cause I can do it in the mix
And if your man gives you trouble
Just you move out on the double
And you don't let it trouble your brain
'Cause away goes trouble down the drain

Magpie then had a thought, "That's it! I bet they use the sewers to get to and from the sims! ... You sent those troubles down the drain, Moff. (grin) ... you never know what those sneaky SCP  foundation scientists are workin' on. Maybe someone installed some sorta tunnel to and fro." Moff responded, "Those sons of bit ... We need to go get them! Where are they at?" Magpie answered, "Well I think they're opening up their facilities to the public soon. But I know you can hang out in the lobby in Dew Drop. They're having some sorta, 'Gacha Guild' sale. But, there's been word that a lot of little beasties from different corners of the SL  world are inhabiting the place. Maybe that's why they're opening up their labs soon. Maybe they want help from patrons and consumers. Maybe we need to help them track down all the escaped monsters! I'm trying to find an old clipboard I found  at the place. I think it said..that they'll be opening the doors to the labs on the, 12th? But anyone is welcome to the gacha guild event they're having above the labs now. Just, be careful. You never know what sorta things are lurking in the dark corners."

And so ended the night of the slime and maw monsters. But this is unlikely to be the last Montecito Bay sees of them. And even if it is, no doubt some other form of zaniness will emerge to take it's place.

As for the Gacha Guild, it is at -

Bixyl Shuftan

Note: The preceding was a "fun article" based on some interactive RP at the time

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tales From Outside SL: Plagued Doctor at the Furry Con

Over the years, a few furs in Second Life have complained about harassment from human clubs. But it seems one has encountered it at a furry convention in real life.

JB Raccoon told me about one of his Second Life friends who went to "Furry Migration" in Minneapolis. His costume wasn't a fursuit that most associate with these cons. Rather, it was something from medical history, a plague doctor outfit. For those who don't know, this was the outfit often worn by doctors during the Black Death and other epidemics in late Medieval times. The outfit was all black with a hat or hood, and a mask with a birdlike "beak." In times of old, it would often be stuffed with smelling slats or other substances with strong aromas due to the belief plague was caused by bad odors. But at a modern con, it just makes someone look like a character out of Mad Magazine's "Spy vs Spy."

The man had a few props with him, his cane, a lantern, and claws. "All of yesterday day and today, I walked around with these props and other staff members did not say a thing about them," he explained to JB, "I wore my claw in the left hand, leather one on my right, cane and in left, lantern in right for the later hours. Most of the morning if wore one claw and glove with just my doctors bag. Any other detail, I can get is people commenting how good it was, suiters waving at me. I think some staff liking it, or volunteers." But on the evening in question, " I was walking out of the 4th floor and back to my room when this staff member asked me about my props,and now that I think of it was was something about putting a sticker on them, but I said I’m leaving them in the room for tomorrow."

"So he was there from the opening to current and had no issue 'till then," JB told me, "He had all those props on him since yesterday when he first arrived, and none of the staff approached him. Now, all of a sudden it becomes an issue and he needs some sticker or Lord knows what, that no one seems to know anythng about. I asked some other sources I have about this 'sticker' and was asked what I was smoking. ... Sounds to me like someone just didn't like his outfit. That has been rumored to be a problem there at FM that I have heard from several other attendees over the last couple years. ... I just do not understand why they didn't say something when he went through registration, the staff didn't seem bothered then by it. ...He's not the only one that does cosplay there, they have tons of anime outfits as well."

JB then showed me a youtube of the Furry Migration Parade ( He also showed me a few still pictures, "About midway through," he told me, "there's a suiter twirling a staff, but with the restricted vision, that's dangerous yet allowed. I see a lantern being used in the parade. Someone else as a plague doctor with a spear type staff in the parade." He also showed me one picture of someone in a hockey jersey with a hocky stick, "You and I both can tell that's no prop, that's the real deal there and can be used as a weapon. This pisses me off."

JB demanded an explanation for why his friend was singled out, but never did get a response, "I'm blasting them on Twitter and all I'm getting from them is silence." So since some furs are in Second Life, he asked the Newser to have his side of the matter explained. He did ask that his friend's virtual identity be kept quiet, at least for now, "He wants to just be named as 'The Attendee.'"

Later on, JB would tell me, "He had someone speak to staff today, before the closing ceremony. They told them without a name of the individual that did approach, nothing could really be done. However, they did offer the 'zip-tie' that was referenced as what is used to indicate accepted props. I am guessing they had some colored cable tie to indicate to other staff it was approved." So it seems the issue was resolved finally, though not without confusion and a damper in what should have been a fun trip.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 6, 2018

Reader Submitted: Partial Furry Ban

By Lia (Female Winslet)

On August 2, I visited The Lounge: Jazz By The Bay. I was promptly asked to leave by the host on duty, Benj Mimulus, a member of the furry community, because I was wearing a quadruped avatar. The Lounge bans feral furry avatars. The owner, xaphyre.ansar, confirmed this partial furry ban and that feral avatars will be asked to leave.

Upon arrival at The Lounge: Jazz By The Bay, my first impression was that the venue was small, possibly a recently opened club. DJ Speelo was playing reasonably good tunes, although his mic work needs improvement. He seems to interrupt tunes haphazardly and sounds as if he is shouting over the music. I had been there before in an anthro form, and this was all what I had experienced before.

Mr. Mimulus immediately began sending me instant messages telling me that formal dress was required. Confused by why he would be telling me this, I said I understood that and I was using a quadruped avatar. He again told me that formal dress was required. I pointed out that quadruped avatars typically do not wear clothes. He again reiterated that formal dress was required.

It took me a few minutes to realize why Mr. Mimulus kept telling me that formal attire was required. Until then, my experience had been that clubs either do allow furries or they don’t. And the typical dress code at a formal dress venue, if furries are allowed, is something like the one at Sweetheart’s, which states "4 legged furries must wear fur and 2 legged furries must be fully clothed please."

Eventually, I realized that the problem at The Lounge: Jazz By The Bay was with my avatar. Because quadruped avatars do not normally wear clothing, Mr. Mimulus wanted me to change avatars, not just clothing. I told him that I do not change avatars for anyone except myself, but I would leave if my avatar posed a problem for him. He confirmed that he would like me to leave, and I did.

I reached out to xaphyre.ansar, the club owner, to describe what had happened. I asked if it was correct that quadruped avatars are not welcome at The Lounge. She confirmed it was, explaining the policy this way: "[W]e discriminate against anyone not wearing clothes[.]"

Discrimination against furries is nothing new in Second Life. Frank’s Place is a particularly infamous example. But this was my first experience with a partial furry ban, in this case one affecting only the feral members of our community. It was also the first time that I have seen a furry choose to work enforcing a ban on members of his own community.

I hope that the club owner will recognize that discrimination is not the way to go. Until then, I hope that furries and our friends will boycott this club. And I hope that Benj Mimulus will stop enforcing a discriminatory ban against a part of his own community. He should never have taken this job and, if the policy does not change quickly, he should resign and go work in a place where all are welcome. As a furry himself, his active participation in discrimination against his own community provides xaphyre.ansar with a degree of cover to claim that the partial furry ban is okay.


Editot's note: the picture is of the avatar in question at a club that is happy to have well-behaved visitors, regardless of appearance (as long as larger ones are careful where they step).

Friday, August 3, 2018

Reader Submitted: Collection of Places That Restrict Furry Avatars

By Lia (Female Winslet)

The sole purpose of this list is to help furries be able to explore Second Life without running into hostile receptions, including bans or being asked to leave because of their avatars. I understand that some owners may feel their restrictions are justified by a desire for historical accuracy, a certain ambience, or other reasons. The reasons for the restrictions are irrelevant and I do not pass judgment on them. I only note that they exist. However, because I do not want to reward these policies or encourage harassment or other bad behavior, I will not provide landmarks to their locations.

I have reviewed the TOS and this list appears to be completely legal. However, I want it to be very clear that this is ***not*** a list to be used for harassment, punishing, or otherwise acting badly. This is a list of places to avoid so that you don't get instantly ejected, banned, asked to leave, etc. No aggressive acts against any of these locations. If that becomes a problem, I will end this list.

The vendor, the list, and the script are copy and trans, but no mod. This way you can distribute copies of the list if you so desire. But the admonishment not to harass cannot be removed.

For questions, corrections, or to report other places that should be on the list, contact Lia (female.winslet). If you are an owner whose location has been erroneously included, please contact me to let me know and I will correct the list.

From the place profile: "No avatars under 60 days aloud [sic], no child avatars, only human avatars."

Aux Bains du Paradis
From the place profile: "Human avatars only."

From the place profile: "HUMAN AVATARS ONLY*

Berlin 1920
Excerpts from the SIM rules:
Our rules;
-1920s clothes only
-Realistic avatars only

-Animals shouldn't talk, walk on 2 legs, be half human, etc. And yes... in Berlin people didn't have wings, pointy ears, claws, vampire teeth, etc, except on stage.

Bogart's Jazz Club

This is a part of Frank's Place, which is one of the more well known anti-furry spots. Please see the entry for Frank's Place.

Cage and Cell Club
From the place profile: "Human avatars only."

Club Texas
The rules posted on the community forums include "No Furries."

The Dreamer's Island - Surf
From the place profile: "Human avatars only."

Fairweather Beach
From their place profile: "Human avatars only."

Feral Woods Beach and Farm
From their place profile: "Human avatars only."

Frank's Place
Franks The Elites and Franks Place Jazz Club do not allow non-human avatars to use these facilities. You may be ejected and banned if your avatar has any "non-human" features (tails, cat ears, ect.).

Frank's also has a notable reputation for homophobia.

The F**k SPOT - Gangbang and Bukkake Room - Human Avatars Only

They put it right in their name. 'Nuff said.

Gianfar Peaks of Pern
Pern roleplay community. Furries are okay as long as th-ey are not engaged in the roleplay at all. But only certain canon feral avatars are permitted to engage in the roleplay.

Golden Sunset Beach
From the place profile: Normal human avatars only[.]

Grandpa's Interracial Warehouse
From the place profile: "human avatars only."

Gregfield 1 and 2
From the place profile: HUMAN AVATARS ONLY!

Hook-Up Hall - "Let's Hook-Up" = %100 Human Only
From the place profile: %100 Human Avatars Only

House in the Woods
From the place profile: Adult human avatars only.

House of FED
From the place profile: FED Home of human only sadists and victims.

Isla de Amores
From the place profile: Human avatars only. No children or furries.

From the place profile: Human avatars only. Exceptions; wings and mermaid and mermen.

~ The Lounge: Jazz By The Bay ~

Cocktail/evening dress only. Quadraped avatars are deemed not compliant with the dress code because quad avatars do not wear clothes, so quad avatars are asked to leave. Anthro furries are allowed. Since there are multiple clubs with similar names, to be clear, this one is a jazz club founded by Xaphyre.Ansar. Xaphyre.Ansar confirmed the policy and called it discrimination.

From the place profile: Human avatars only.

Manatee Naturist
From the place profile: Human avatars only.

Masters/Mistresses Harem
From the place profile: "Human Avatars only!"

Playa Perdida
According to their place profile "Adult human avatars only[.]"

Pleasures XChange @ Serendipity CMNF
From the place profile: "Respect and tolerance is expected. Only human avatars."

Ramshackle Gentlemen's Club
From the place profile: "...NO animal Avie or Child Avies Human Avatars Only..."

Ritz New York City
Club owner says furries are "a problem" and not welcome at her venue. This is a venue created specially for RFL fund raising and RFL official policy does not tolerate this type of discrimination. Current status is unclear.

*Secret Life Lounge*
From the place profile:

From the place profile: "HUMAN AVATARS ONLY."

Tom's Prisoners
From the place profile: "Male human avatars only."

Tranquil Tiki Island
From the place profile: "Human avatars only and no weapons allowed."

Turtle Coast Adult Beach
Sim rules do not allow furry avatars. Neko is reportedly fine. Apparently sim management may be somewhat lax in enforcing the policy.

U N I F I E D - Adult MEN/MALE AVATARS Only Culture Connections:
From the place profile: Adult Human Male Avatars Only.

White Horse Hollow
Quote from sim rules:
~~~~ What is not allowed in our sims:
Bronies; Furries; Trolls - not welcome


* * * * *

Editor's Note: There was a small miscommunication with Lia when she handed me the list, I thinking she intended this for publication. As it turned out, she didn't. But she was okay with it.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The "Two Vixens And a Wolf" Radio Show

By Bixyl Shuftan

There's a new radio show done by three residents of Second Life: Two Vixens And a Wolf. The vixens would be Svetlana Snowpaw (Sarah Golem) and Roxy Noir-Snowpaw (creatureofthenight2011 Resident). Greigh VonGottreich (Greigh Dingo) is the wolf. Svetlana has a blue and white fox avatar while Roxy's is purple and white. Greigh's coat is a simple black. The show appears on the AllFurRadio stream, an Internet radio frequency aimed at fans of furry science-fiction and fantasy. I met up with the new media stars at their station in Rabbit Valley, and they invited me to take a seat.

On the question on how the radio show got started, Svetlana told me, "I want to say I was the one who initially pitched the idea to the All Fur Radio station owner, Markus Damone, when he had asked me if I wanted to DJ for him again since he was reopening the station for a third time and I had done DJing for him back when it was first open years ago back in 2007 I believe? Well anyway I was excited to do that, however after over ten years and four computers later I had lost a lot of my music and wanted to help out anyway I could. So It didn't take long for me to ask Roxy, my mate at first if she would be comfortable doing a talk show, and she agreed, but we both knew we needed a bit more, so we got approached Greigh about joining our little venture to which he seemed delighted by as he had recently got a new studio mic and wanted to put it to good use."

Asked how the first days went, Greigh responded, "Here's what happened from my angle. Initially, I was anxious and outright nervous as I never did anything like this before ever. I've performed DJ'ing in the past but never talked on the microphone. Some folks call me DJ Deadmike or The Jukebox because of this sort of thing. But once we started off with the show (initially with the test shows), I felt more comfortable once I've warmed up to being on the air for that moment."

Roxy spoke of what they have, "We have different segments throughout the show, Greigh's 'The List of Greigh' which he talks about incidents that are realistic and can range from bizarre to hilarious. Svet has a news-broadcast update entitled 'The Good, The Bad, and the Furry' which there are all sorts of articles from social media to real news that we discuss. My segment is a media review, somewhat like Ebert and Rupert did in the 90s. We discuss media, music, film, and even upcoming media releases that we are interested in. We have done trivia games where two of us go against each other, and even have storytelling moments where we jawjack about life, the community, and interesting topics. We never discuss religion, politics, or race since these tend to be topics we hear in the real world. Everything about our show is to bring a smile or to brighten one's day.

"We have had one guest thus far on the show and we ended up have a great reception with the audience even bringing in our segments with 2 The Ranting Gryphon. The show is all about having fun and smiling even when the world around us seems to be falling part. We are constantly revising the show and this is something we enjoy doing as we want to relate more to our audience. Greigh's segment is my favorite."

Greg broke in, "The fun part is that the show is flexible, given with what we're working with from time to time too." Svetlana nodded, "Yes so if our work gets in the way we can flip around the schedule of how the show flows, seamlessly and get stuff reorganized on the fly."

I asked more about their interview with The Ranting Gryphon, whom is one of the furry fandom's personalities. Greg told me, "The way our first guest came about was by surprise by the boss. We didn't expect anyone wanting to do a guest session with us at all. Plus it was a neat treat to have 2 onboard with us." A nearby friend of theirs, Shoshi Darkpaw, remarked, "God you should have seen excited Svetters was." Greigh grinned, "Heard nothing but 'EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!' for at least 15 minutes." Svetlana kept a straight face, "Oh yeah, apparently our boss, Markus Damone, knew 2 The Ranting Gryphon from years back. And so it wasn't to difficult for us to get 2. However I recently got a hold of Uncle Kage to do an interview with us or be a guest on our show some time after AnthroCon.  Getting guests is kind of like fishing, you just have to put your line into the water and see what bites." I asked when "Uncle Kage" (another personality of the fandom) apperance on the show would likely be. Svetlana answered, "It's still up in the air, we are to speak with him after the con, but we are trying for late July, but we have booked the Youtubers, Moms of Furries for August 6th.."

I asked how often Second Life is discussed on the program. Their answer was at the moment, not much, "... we dont get out much. We talk about our personal SL stories and pasts." The did say they would read the Newser more often for stories.

And this being live radio, I asked about their funniest bloopers. Svetlana grinned, "Oh let me tell you. ..." Greigh commented, "Two words: Murphy's Law." Svetlana continued, "Well yeah since the show is relatively new we are still working out bugs and everything that could happen did happen. The best one though ... down stairs someone was cooking and set off the smoke alarm, which was audible on air. So we decided to go to break after joking that we may be in danger." Shoshi, who was still nearby, chuckled, "Oh, I wish I heard that! I would have been dying!" Svetlana continued, "So our breaks are usually 1-2 songs long with possible ads and then we come back. Well we resumed the show like normal after two songs and five minutes into the next segment. I was talking, and then looked over and noticed we were no longer broadcasting, to which we immediately hooked back into the server and apologized to our listeners and joked about the situation and actually had to ask our listeners, 'What was the last thing you heard?' "

Svetlana moved on to another blooper about concerning a rookie mistake, "The other blooper came from the purple fox across from me, Roxy, when she was discussing how new she was to the fandom and said 'I'm the baby fur' while we had 2 Gryphon on air with us, to which we all just went 'Noooooo!' and laughed because being that she is somewhat fresh to the fandom she doesn't know all the terms and we had to immediately explain to both her and the listeners that was the WRONG terminology." "Et Tu Murphy's Law?" Greigh asked. Svetlana responded, "It's something you just can't make up." When I asked if the furry fandom had it's own term for newbie, Svetlana answered, "I haven't found one that I really like other than 'NewFur.'"

And then there were their reactions to bloopers, Svetlana saying, "We have an  inside joke during the show, because we all manage to slip up now and again, however when we start dropping F-bombs like B-52 I slam my fist on the desk and go 'This is a family show DAMNIT!' and it puts us back in check for the most part but the show is still a PG-13 show." I asked how creative they could be about using otherwise clean language to describe something that wasn't quite. Svetlana answered, 'Well there is a lot of sexual innuendo which is not planned, but both Greigh and I are smart-asses and sometimes cannot control what comes out of (our) maws." So who at least had some control? Roxy answered, "That would be me. I end up biting my lip and blushing uncontrollably as I have the thoughts and just start randomly giggling. I end up yelling at both the vixen and wolf as they make me blush the whole show. But that just shows even though I am innocent, I'm not completely."

And what were their future plans? Greigh answered, "At this point, we're wide open to things in the future. Depending on how things turn out over time. We're going to also target on attending cons as best we can as well in the future." Svetlana told me they'd be doing a live show at a panel at a con in Philadelphia from August 10-12, "Also our show lands on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. So we will definitely make a Christmas Eve Special as well as a New Years Eve special, I will have to talk to our boss, Marcus, and do a extended four hour show to bring in the New Year."

We would talk about a few other things, such as goings-on in Second Life, and eventually, it was time for me to check out another event, so I bade them good day and left the radio station.

"Two Vixens and a Wolf" broadcasts every Monday from 5-8PM (8-11PM EST) and rebroadcast on Wednesday at the same times. Besides it's station location in Rabbit Valley, it has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, July 9, 2018

Grease Coakes' Tarot Card Readings

By Bixyl Shuftan

Grease Coakes is known in Second Life for his DJing, such as his performances at the Happy Vixen. But there's something else he does: Tarot cart readings. At his skybox at Perfect Paradise, he does the readings for 250 Lindens. But he occasionally offers them as prizes for a contest.

Welcome to my humble home here in Perfect Paradise. I offer tarot readings at an affordable rate of 250L

Confused of what's going on? You need a question answered? Things seem dark and tragic? I can help clear things up for you with a Celtic Cross Tarot reading.

I read from Dragon Tarot or also Incidental Tarot. Or also a diffrent dragon deck called "The Dragon Tarot." The posters you see are actual cards from those three decks.

Send me an IM or notecard or email if you're interested from a reading from me. I have been doing tarot for a year or so so I have plenty of experience and intuition to help guide you on your journey of life.

Grease offered to do a reading for me, and so I headed over to the skybox, "I did a reading exchange here the other day. ... The cards I drew reflected what he was thinking about. I won't say exactly what I drew to respect his privacy. But the cards were shuffled for him and it was happening around him and his future." Grease stated he wasn't a raw beginner at tarot cards, " It took me a lot of practice to learn the cards and meanings to link them together in a reading. So the investment of time and buying tarot decks is why I charge for the readings a mere 250L. Others have more experience, so they might charge more. My readings are more affordable for the average Second Life user."

Grease then drew a card, "So the first card I draw for you is the ace of swords but it's reversed. You're in a state of lacking clarity. Something isn't working for you. You have to take a step back and find a better way of doing things. Swords are air cards. Thinking and problem solving. The ace card is telling you stop tripping yourself up and find a new way of doing things."

He drew another, "Nine of wands is your current challenge your second card. Wands means fire and action. You're low on hit points,but you can still fight forward. Even if you're a little beat. That makes sense if you said this is your busy time of year." I nodded, "Yes, the Second Life Birthday, and the Relay season, notably the Relay Weekend."

Drawing more cards, Grease went on, "Five of coins reversed means you're watching your money. Coins or pentacles are earth/money cards. You're in a financial mess and you need to dig your way out. But in your past you had guidance of the high priestess upright. Which means your inner voice was guiding you. Your intuition was moving you forward. The hermit reversed says you want to get out of the house. You're tired of cabin fever. You want to get out and enjoy the sunshine and beach." Grease sent me some images, "So as you can see I'm not making up these cards."

Grease drew still more cards, "Strength reversed shows your soon to be future. Oh, by the way, the card layout is called a Celtic cross. Which means not physical strength. But your mental strength is fading. Emotionally you're getting tired and worn out." I did admit, "Quite a bit has been happening lately." "Ten of wands and nine of wands early on says the same thing. There's a lot resting your shoulders now and your plate is full. So there's lot of action surrounding you and it's overwhelming you." I nodded, "That's how things often are for me this time of year."

Grease's next card showed not all was bad, "But amazingly I draw the ten of cups. You're happy despite these challenges. ten of cups is the ultimate happy card. You're happy being a writer and being with friends. Cups is water emotion." I agreed, "Yes, I'm satisfied with the course on how things are going, at least how I perceive them to be going." The card after that however, "But your magician card is dizzy and he fell to the floor. You can't seem to get your projects moving. It's like his spell backfired and he's knocked out for now. The magician card is about making things happen through everyday means."

 Grease drew another time, then winced, "Ouch nine of swords is the last card. Nine of swords means severe stress like a living nightmare of challenge and shutdown one after another. But this will pass." I mentioned, "Well, it's on the record my computer was shut down for almost a week, stuck in the repair shop, but that was a month ago. But I wouldn't quite call that a nightmare. ..." "Hmmmms ... Nine of swords means a tough future though not your past."

Grease's tune then changed, "But not all is lost. After the nine of swords you get the star. So when your magician gets better, your star will come to inspire you. After all the hard work and future of nine of swords that star will regenerate you so you can move forward with that star guiding you. So with the summer time pushing your limits I'd say in the fall things will turn for the better. Listening is a good idea. I drew the star above the high priestess which was your inner voice in your past granting you wisdom and ideas. So the high priestess wandered off but the star will shine in your future."

"I hope this reading gave you a lot to think about," Grease concluded, "about your present and future." It was just we were interrupted by a bit of real life, then Grease had to log off.

So a busy, stressful time in which I manage to stay fairly happy and things get easier eventually. For someone reporting on news in Second Life, the summer can have a lot to cover to the point where choices have to be made and even good topics have to be put on the back burner for later, or even shelved. While one can always make a temporary extra effort, one can only burn the candle at both ends for so long, especially if things are going on on the other side of the computer.

So what will a tarot reading by Grease reveal to you? Perhaps a warning, perhaps a chance to relax, or perhaps of an opportunity in the near future.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, July 6, 2018

What's In A Name? Defining What To Call SLB Events.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Overall, the Newser coverage of the Second Life Birthday has been very positive. Though one reader messaged me about one small detail. "Why call the Cake Explosion an 'unofficial event' when it's in the schedule?"

Well, it was, and it wasn't.

Strictly speaking, on the timeline page of the SLB website, it just says:

Sunday, June 17 to Sunday, June 24: SL15B open with performances!!
Saturday, June 23: Official 15th Birthday!!!
Monday, June 25 to Sunday, July 1: Regions will remain open for viewing. No performances.

Well, obviously there were performances on these days, especially the Cake Explosion and other events that day. They were simply not mentioned in the timeline or stage schedules. So yours truly made the decision to describe them as "unofficial events." The reader in question wasn't so sure that was the right term, feeling the wording I used made them sound unimportant.

It wasn't my intention to trivialize these performances. Especially the Cake Explosion, which itself has become a tradition that many look forward to. I certainly do. But when the official schedule says the last events occurred days before, well, what's to do? To add to confusion, the official webpage only mentioned the Cake Explosion after it happened in an announcement.

Perhaps there's a better wording I could have used when the official schedule says there's eight days of events and seven days when there aren't. If so, I haven't found it. But in any case, the Cake Explosion was a fun and loved happening that it and the other events after the "The Birthday" was supposed to end demonstrate that after fifteen years, the enthusiasm for the Second Life Birthdays remain high. And that we can all agree on.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Satirical Aritst Kake Broek Banned From Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

Adolf Chaplin, known as Kake Broek in Second Life, has been known in some circles for his satirical artwork. Often strange and weird, and sometimes not safe for work, his art (Flickr Page - warning definitely not safe for work) was described in a New World Notes article as "Broek’s challenges convention without fear of offending." He was mentioned in a Newser article as having one of the few pictures in "Avatars Against Trump" made in humor. But satire can be a difficult art to understand even when done by an expert. Sometimes it's too subtle for the point to come across easily, or someone just doesn't get the point. Or sometimes when pushing limits an artist gets a much stronger reaction than expected, which may include lasting consequences.

On May 31, Kake posted a letter in his Flicker page sent by Linden Lab in which they stated he had been banned "for severe or repeated violations of the Second Life Terms and Conditions ... or related policy." The violation was "Misrepresentation as Linden. Falsely identifying oneself as a Linden Lab employee, a representative of Linden Lab, an official Mentor volunteer for Second Life or otherwise claiming or acting as if you are in position of authority within Second Life is a violation of the Second Life Terms and Conditions." He had appealed, and the Lab's response was, "we have determined that the permanent closure of your accounts was justified and correctly applied. The evidence shows that you have severely or repeatedly violated the Second Life Terms of Service or Community Standards and therefore your account and any alternate Second Life accounts are now permanently inaccessible." The Lab went on to say the matter was over and done with and there would be no responses to further communication.

In an article by Hamlet Au, Kake was quoted as saying, ""Maybe 'cause sometimes I'm wearing overhead text, 'I'm not a Linden'. But clearly I'm just a common good citizen old clown invested in the grid [for] 11 years, never griefing, harassing, hacking or any aggressiveness. And anyway, this conviction is so enormously disproportionate. I'm shocked sad and so disappointed!"

Others began writing to Linden Lab in support of Kake, and his alts which were also banned, including DrFran Babcock whom wrote for the Newser in the past. But the Lab's response was, "While we appreciate your concern for your friend, we are only able to discuss account matters with the owner of the account. Please have this person contact us if they are having issues with their account." So in effect, he was in a catch-22, the Lab telling his friends if the person had a problem that he himself should contact the Lab, but telling him not to bother calling again as they considered the matter closed. Not everyone commenting was in support of Kake, one remarking in the comments after Hamlet's article, "People who do this kinda expressive work and then fall into the abyss they have created for themselves, remind of me of how a Bart Simpson concert goes. Opening with Love and closing with I Just Can't Help Myself."

On June 6, there was apparently a protest in the Amsterdam sims in Kake's support (article not safe for work). He had an exhibit in a gallery at the same area, at Amsterdam (23/166/25) which has since been modified into a memorial of sorts by his supporters. On the wall is a sign, "This was the residence of SL's most dedicated artist Kake Broek. He was expelled from SL for making satire." On the sidewalk rests a picture of one of his oddly-shapped avatars with candles next to it, set up as if honoring the dead. In the next sim at Amsterdam 2 (141/210/25), there is a carousel set up also to protest Kake's banning made by Dekka Raymaker, "If it ain't Broek, it ain't worth a Linden." A panel in front of the interactive artwork reads, "This Round-a-Bout art piece was made in support of Kake Broek, who was expelled from Second Life because his world view and satire of Second Life probably doesn't match Linden Lab's management." On the carousel itself were messages like "censorship reflects Second Life's lack of confidence in itself."

As the Lindens do not go into great detail about why they ban someone, such as last year when buisnesswoman Luna Pawpad was banned from Second Life for no clear reason, Kake's expulsion invites speculation as to the exact reasons as to why. As Linden Lab has spoken out against the actions of the current President in the past, the artist's poking fun of Donald Trump can be ruled out. As his art can be strange and weird, it's understandable people would have a problem with it. But is making art in questionable taste reason enough to throw someone out of the Grid?

There was one satirist whom got some attention in Second Life a decade ago, Christophe Hugo. His "Caricavatars" was the subject of controversy, both for it's political humor and that he would sometimes ban people from the area. He would state that his time in Second Life led him to conclude a "for-profit" virtual world wasn't the best place to express satire as the owners "want to be mainstream, and will avoid controversy at all costs and aim for political correctness, even if it means curtailing freedom of speech." Christophe though stated he wasn't banned, but left on his own. So except for inside the corridors of Linden Lab, just exactly why Kake was banned may remain unexplained.

Sources: New World Notes, Apmel

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Looking Back: The Podex Exchange

By Bixyl Shuftan

Over time, the Second Life Newser has had a number of sponsors. Farshore Radio and Lorena Chung have been with us for a few years, and more recently Montecito Bay and the CDS. But our first and longest lasting one was the Podex Exchange. Sometimes called the Podex Bank in it's first days, they were a virtual currency exchange service, exchanging Linden dollars with US dollars and other real-life currencies such as British Pounds, Euros, Japanese Yen, and others. Early on, one could both buy and sell. As they were faster than Linden Lab's Lindex, many who used Second Life as a source of real-life income saw Podex as a good alternative as the official Linden exchange service could take days to complete a transaction of Lindens for real money.

The owner of Podex, Jacek Shuftan, approached me in Fall 2010. Although the Newser had done an number of advertisements since it's founding a few months earlier, it had yet to find a cash sponsor. Jacek had done business with our predecessor, the Second Life Newspaper, and hearing about us was interested in this higher level of advertising. The deal was done, and their banner soon appeared on the Newser's front page near the top just underneath the banner for the Sunweaver Estates, which was our land sponsor.

Soon after that, we had a short article about them on November 30, describing who they were. In January 2012, we interviewed Jacek about buying Linden dollars from Podex. “We can describe buying Lindens and the risk with it as a pyramid,” Jacek commented, one with levels of safety, “At the top is Linden Lab, there is no risk buying from them. The next level are third-party exchanges. They are usually registered real-life companies with real-life addresses and telephone numbers, operating on the market. There is a tiny risk as they are not Linden Lab and not as large as they. However, most do not have prices as competitive as Linden Lab." Podex was competitive with it's prices, and had more options in what real life currencies to use and how to make the payments, such as credit the payments, such as credit cards and Paypall.

“Finances are not the sexiest part of Second Life,” Jacek once admitted. And after the first couple articles, I wondered how I could write more about him as I was interested in doing some free adverts for him as a bonus. Then I had an idea: do a fictional story as a commercial of a satisfied client. So on February 2011 came the first of our fun adverts. For the one next month, I had the idea of a dumb bank robber who failed hilariously and it turned out there was no chance of success even if he was competent. I went ahead and asked Jacek ahead of time, and he told he to go for it. And that would be the first of many of the misadventures of "Clumsy Cooper" as the raccoon bandit came to be known. Later on, Jacek would do a "Bank Robbery" video of his own.

So for a few years, my "Polish Cousin," as he called himself as we had the same Second Life surname, continued to do business with us. In April 2013, they moved their inworld location from Moonburry to Coda. But also in April 2013, the US Treasury Department published a paper about guidelines for the regulation of virtual currencies. Jacek thought it was potentially good as "if (Linden dollars) were virtual currency, it would be more trustworthy, and (Second Life) will have more investors."

But instead the following month, Linden Lab announced the biggest change in Second Life's economy since the ban on gambling: third-party Linden exchange services were no longer authorized. Jacek called it a "Really strange move of LL. … I really do not understand (their) motives." He tried to keep Podex open and tried to contact the Lab to talk to them. But instead they suspended his accounts and by doing so shut Podex down. But thanks to an outcry of the residents, some whom were saying they couldn't use the official Lindex and were talking about leaving Second Life for other grids, Linden Lab did a partial backdown. Third-party Linden exchangers could operate, but they had to register with the Lab, and could only sell Linden dollars. Linden Lab would insist on a monopoly of buying Linden dollars for real money. This was satisfactory for most residents, though a couple people from outside the United States would complain to me they couldn't use the Lindex and had a pile of Linden dollars they could no longer sell for their country's cash. Linden Lab would not authorize Podex to resume operations for almost three weeks after it reauthorized others, possibly because they saw his wanting to talk instead of shutting down right away as defiance.

Despite it's rough treatment by Linden Lab, Podex resumed business as a top Linden exchanger, and even hosted an art gallery in it's new building. The commercial articles featuring satisfied customers and more of the misadventures of "Clumsy Cooper" resumed. All went well for a couple more years. Then out of the blue, Linden Lab announced in June 2015 that as of August 1, they would no longer allow third-party Linden exchangers to operate, claiming improvements to the Lindex were satisfactory of the needs of "the vast majority of Second Life users." While some residents were highly critical of this, "it smacks of bullying for LL to usurp those income streams by fiat." Jacek remained hopeful at first,  "Linden Lab is not stable in it's decisions, as history taught us before, so I do hope that their decision would be changed in the future, as it happened before with 3rd party resellers closure." He was quoted as saying, "the Lab is only shooting itself in the foot ... Payment methods wich they offer are not accessible in many countries, so they will not only lose profit but also their best clients who invest real money in (the) grid, and now will not be able to do it."

Despite a petition to the Lab for them to change their mind, Linden Lab stubbornly stuck to it's decision. Then in late July 2015, a few days before the Aug 1 deadline, Podex closed operations in Second Life. On their website, they used the words "temporarily suspend," suggesting they were holding out hope. I would check by the office building in Coda every so often. When I dropped by on November 1, 2015, the office itself was gone. After five years, our first and longest-lasting sponsor was gone from Second Life. "Clumsy Cooper" would make one more appearance at the end of the month in the last of the fictional articles about Podex.

While the loss of Second Life as a market for Podex was bad, it wasn't fatal. Starting with the InWorldz grid in 2014, they had been moving to a number of smaller virtual worlds. Today, they boast services in over two dozen. While there is no doubt they don't make as much money as before, they are still around. Just outside Second Life.

The closing of our longest-lasting sponsor was bad, but for the Newser, it's misfortune was compounded by the closing of our other longtime sponsor at the time: Steelhead. Although it's owner then, TotalLunar Eclipse, had a number of real life troubles, it was Linden Lab locking out his account in a dispute that pushed him into making that decision. 2015 would see other questionable moves by LInden Lab, such as locking the account of Flea Bussy and almost closing Grendel's Children, one of Second Life's best known malls, if not the best known. And then there was the closing of the SS Galaxy, the largest build on the Grid, that had been doing well until hit with a series of griefing attacks that the Lab was little help with. It was, from my point of view, "The Year of the Linden Screw-Up."

Eventually, the Newser would weather the storm and get more sponsors, Farshore Radio, Lorena Chung, Montecito Bay, and the Confederation of Democratic Simulators. But we never have forgotten our first, and so far our longest running cash sponsor.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, May 21, 2018

What Happened With the CDS Elections?

By Bixyl Shuftan

It wasn't quite "Suppose they gave an election and nobody came." But the number of people who did was, less than expected.

On May the Fifth, the campaign for the Confederation of Democratic Simulators election was supposed to begin. But there was a problem. There were five open seats for the Representative Assembly, but only five people announced they were running. It was the same story for the Chancellorship in which there was only one declared candidate.  Lilith Ivory announced the news in the community's group.

Usually at this time campaigning starts, but with only 5 RA candidates for 5 seats and only one chancellor candidate there are no real elections necessary.

The members of the 29th RA are:
Bagheera Kristan
Lady Kiki Whatever (inekeb)
Laura Azalee
Rosie Gray
Tanoujin Milestone

Chancellor for the 29th term is:
Hannah Marie Bloodtempestwolf (han.held)

Congratulations and thank you for your willingness to serve.

I had a few words with the Chancellor-elect (by default), Hannah Marie Tempestwolf (Han Held), ": Hiya! Sadly, we only had one candidate for each of the open seats (5 candidates for 5 RA slots, one candidate for Chancellor) so we wound up deciding the election and giving it to the folks who offered to run for office. ... Trying to increase participation is an on-going issue we deal with. We have roughly 64 people but a lot of them don't run for office."

Hannah wondered if perhaps there was simply a lack of interest in politics by the local residents this time, "A lot of people come for the scenery and the quiet, I think, which is both flattering and vexing, especially around election time (smile)."

Hannah stated she would have more to say later on once she's officially in office, " I don't want to step on Rosie (Gray)'s toes, and she's still our Chancellor."

Current Chancellor Rosie Gray would also have a few things to say, "This time we didn't have an actual vote, because the numbers of people running for election were the same as the number required for the RA and for Chancellor.  So, this means everyone is acclaimed. ... it's in many ways similar to getting people in real life to participate in elections, to run for office, and offer their time (in) municipal elections, that sort of thing. It is a giving back to your community, without reward, at least in the CDS that's essentially it. And of course, many people aren't in SL to do anything like that, they primarily want a nice place to live and let other people figure out how to manage it. So in the last number of years there have been quite a few times when people have been acclaimed."

Rosie reminded that she might be stepping down as Chancellor, but not out of CDS politics, "I am until the end of the month, then I am on the Representative Assembly (smile), because I'm one of those people that likes to participate! And I also believe that if you don't participate, then you get what you get, and really can't complain about anything"

When asked to sum up her term, Rosie answered, "This term has been quiet. We've had a fun event each month. We've initiated a new building project that will make a big difference in the Neufreistadt region. And other than that, it has been a day to day administration of people's comings and goings. So not a particularly eventful six months." And what did she anticipate of Hannah as leader? "It will be interesting to see what Han brings to the position of Chancellor," the current leader answered, "as she hasn't done it before. I know she has some different ideas that she'd like to initiate.  Of course the Chancellor needs to have the RA ratification on anything that is really different. It will be a learning curve for her, but I'm sure she is up to it!"

 And so this round of elections in the CDS this month has become a formality due to the small number of people stepping up for public office. Will the public of the community be satisfied with the work of those getting the position by default, or wish others had also stepped up so the candidates would have to explain their intentions and how they planned to carry them out? Time will tell, and in six months they'll have another chance.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, May 11, 2018

News and Commentary: Is Second Life's Population Not Growing in Numbers Because It's Growing Older?

By Bixyl Shuftan

In late December, it was reported that in the past year the number of private sims had gone down by 667 from 16,783 to 16106 in 2017 or a loss of about 4%. While this is lower than the 4.4 percent of 2016, it is still a continuation of the long slow decline Second Life has had in the past several years. This is in spite of that thousands still sign up for an account every day. So why don't they stay? Chic Aeon, when commenting in a post by Hamlet Au in New Worlds, had one suggestion: Second Life wasn't really designed for Millenials.

Chic described how she found the place, and her observation that most of those who were doing things were Generation Xers or Baby Boomers.

... I was drawn to Second Life because it was listed as the world for CREATIVE and TECHIE folks. I am undoubtedly both of those things. The techie attribute has cause plenty of problems over the years; SL is simply NOT easy to learn. Items came in boxes that needed to be unpacked in an area where people could rez things and open them.

Think about that sentence and all you had to learn just to get some free clothes to try on your avatar.

It takes a real interest to stick around and learn all you need to know to navigate these virtual world waters. For many years, my theory has been that the peak of SL's popularity gathered up all those techie and creative folks -- those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60 and a few beyond; they stayed and became the baseline populous of our world.

While some young folks do come and participate, most all of the people I know -- the creators, land barons, educators etc. -- have a few decades or more under their belts. They were willing to put in the time and effort so that they could enjoy the world on a daily basis. I am certainly one of those folks that make up the 90% of inworld hours. I am here about sixty hours a week, creating, blogging, helping others in the forums, chatting with friends --- pretty much in that order.

Yours truly came in when I was 39. So adding 15 to 10 years means those who were in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, are now in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. While some might have more leisure time after their kids go on to college, others end up getting too sick to get on. And of course heart disease, and other ailments of middle and old age can mean death, and the end of their time in Second Life as well as their real one.

So Second Life has a problem that earlier electronic entertainment products such as the Atari 2600 never faced, a declining number of users not because of them leaving to a better product of the same kind, but that the users are getting older and there are fewer signing up than those dying. It's not that there aren't any in their younger 30s, 20s, and late teens coming in, there are. But the numbers are smaller. Which leaves the question as to "Why?" To Chic Aeon, she felt the idea of an open-end virtual world where it was up to the users to make most of the content just didn't appeal to Millenials, "They want things NOW, not later. They want their fun handed to them, not earned." Personally, I have my doubts as to this theory. Daniel Voyager stated the Teen Grid, when active, had it's own content creators.

Something else I've heard is that younger people want their own place, not the same one older adults are going to. I've heard some players on the Grid with teens say they're not worried about their youngsters logging in, saying they've heard them grumble, "Second Life is for *old* people." The response of many teens and young adults to older adults getting on Facebook was to stop using it and go to other social media such as Snapchat.

So could Linden Lab try to advertise Sansar as "The choice of a new generation," a slogan that helped Pepsi Cola increase sales in the 1980s among young adults then? It could, but so far Sansar's user base remains tiny. If any of the next generation virtual worlds is getting much of a population, it is VR Chat. It could be that while young adults do have a taste for virtual worlds, but many are looking to VR Chat instead of Second Life. So we could have a situation in which Second Life is inhabited mainly by Gen-Xers while VR Chat is the choice of Millenials. While this generational divide might help Linden Lab keep an audience for a few years, an inability to attract younger customers will hurt it in the long term. Such customers would need to be those Millenials who don't fil the stereotype of "Here we are, entertain us." But that shouldn't be a problem.

Sources: Daniel Voyager, New World Notes

Image Source:Turbotax

Bixyl Shuftan