Ageplay three months after the ban

It’s been just over three months since the ageplay ban instigated by Linden Lab. There’s been no reports of ageplay sexual exploits in SL since that time although there’d be no doubt it’s occurred. There also remains an enormous range of children’s clothes, skins and accessories on offer:



To test the level of risk for an avatar in child form, we logged in on an alternative account as a child avatar and spent some time wandering around a number of clubs in SL to see if any approaches were made for sex. In the hour or so we did this, we weren’t approached but on the other hand, no-one was at all peturbed by a little boy watching their activities:


Some clubs do have prominent warnings on the issue although just as many don’t:



Overall, the ban may have stopped overt displays of ageplay sexual activity and instilled significant wariness of those frequenting the more popular sex clubs, but all of the support mechanisms are healthy and well. What are your thoughts on the issue? Are there valid reasons for over-18’s to be involved in ageplay, sexual or otherwise?

Ongoing grid issues – how geography bites

The explanation by Linden Lab of ongoing grid stability this week is fairly technical but it once again illustrates the significant technical hurdles Second Life has to jump over just to function normally. Add to that the geographical distance and sub-par broadband in Australia and it’s not hard to see why we’re a frustrated bunch at times.


At a forum in May this year, we were told international servers would occur “real soon now” by expatriate Linden, Chris Collins. Here’s hoping “soon” involves the year 2007 – as voice in SL increases in popularity, the issues are only likely to exacerbate.

How have you found stability over recent weeks – worse or about the same?

Welcome to error-land

There’s nothing on the LL blog at this stage but there’s obviously a significant issue with SL at present. When launching the browsers a stock standard ‘Access Denied’ message comes up within the browser:


It’s not been a great week for stability in SL, that’s for sure. One important note – you can still log in to SL by clicking the Connect button.

UPDATE: Linden Labs now aware of issue

Blow up the pokies

Linden Labs have clarified in no uncertain terms their stance on gambling in SL – it’s not to occur, full stop.


The actual policy is:

“It is a violation of this policy to wager in games in the Second Life (R) environment operated on Linden Lab servers if such games:

(1) (a) rely on chance or random number generation to determine a winner, OR (b) rely on the outcome of real-life organized sporting events,


(2) provide a payout in

(a) Linden Dollars, OR

(b) any real-world currency or thing of value.

This includes (but is not limited to), for example, Casino Games such as:

o Baccarat
o Blackjack
o Craps
o Faro
o Keno
o Pachinko
o Pai Gow
o Poker
o Roulette
o Sic Bo
o Slot machines

It also includes Sports Books or Sports Betting, including the placing of bets on actual sporting events against a book-maker or through a betting exchange. Linden Lab will actively enforce this policy. If we discover gambling activities that violate the policy, we will remove all related objects from the inworld environment, may suspend or terminate the accounts of residents involved without refund or payment, and may report any relevant details, including user information, to authorities and financial institutions.”

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for compliance with the policy to be achieved. When I first joined SL in 2006 I was advised to pick up some free $L by using camping chairs. I still had a casino landmark saved from back then and I tried it this evening and took the pictures contained in this story. As you can see, this casino hasn’t done anything to meet the new policy as yet.

Whether you love or hate gambling in SL, the new policy will remove a cultural aspect of the grid. Maybe some will even miss the sight of rows of zombie-like chair campers:


Will you miss the casinos in SL?

Linden Lab offer resource directory

Linden Labs have announced the aggregation of a range of directories into a Resident Resources database. Any SL resident can submit information on a tool or service they’ve created, but it will cost you L$250 per category you list in. Allow up to five business days for your listing to be approved. It’s good to see the community side of things actually expanding a little since the reduction of SL forum options.

Philip Rosedale (Linden) appears in The Age

Interview is right here (reprinted from The Guardian).

As mentioned on SL insider, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking in the interview although Rosedale’s commitment to opensourcing and interoperability is demonstrably significant.

What will the real world tolerate?

The response to Daniel Linden’s blog post last week has been forceful and fairly widespread, demarcating along ‘freedom of expression’ and legal compliance lines.

The United Protest forum contains the full transcript of a chat with Daniel Linden’s colleague Robin Linden, in response to the concerns raised after Daniel Linden’s post. Robin goes to some lengths to emphasise that there’s been no change in approach in regards to freedoms within SL.

For me, the challenges arond the whole issue are encapsulated in two statements attributed to Robin Linden:

“I have to tell you though, that we can’t address every single corner case or possibility”


“In part because the real world hasn’t decided which of these things they’ll tolerate”

There are essentially two camps on the issue: those who believe that SL is a totally different medium and therefore conducive to re-evaluating what constitutes acceptable sexual expression and those essentially applying real world mores and taboos to the virtual world experience. On top of that are the legal requirements of Linden Lab. It’s a messy, complicated mix and one that everyone will continue to grapple with. And like it or not, it’s the real world that will be the arbiter in the end, hence Robin Linden’s comment:

“so we’re working with various governments to understand their individual concerns “.

It’s not hard to imagine there’s going to be a growing amount of governmental consultation going on in order to head off an all-out witch hunt once a morally dubious in-world issue arises, with widepsread community demand for action.

Linden Lab draws deeper moral line in the sand

The official Linden blog was the forum today for Linden Lab to encourage SL residents to report a range of issues:

– acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors
– real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual violence including rape
– real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of extreme or graphic violence


It’s hard to imagine a significant backlash against such restrictions although defining terms such as ‘extreme’ or ‘graphic’ is always fraught with inconsistencies. With tens of thousands of people logged in at any one time, following up complaints is also likely to be difficult. The hope is that the ‘haven of creativity and social vision’ desired doesn’t just drive the worst aspects of SL underground either within SL or elsewhere.

Update: veteran SL resident Prokofy Neva has written an extensive article on pedophilia and its SL implications.

Child Pornography – Linden Lab’s firm response

The Official Linden Blog carried one of its more serious topics today – allegations of child pornography. The blog post details the chain of events. Linden Labs’ reaction certainly demonstrates their belief in stamping out anything related to child exploitation and they deserve commendation for that.

Based on the blog post, I took the opportunity to use the SL search functionality and typed in ‘child’ – the result was everything from anti-child pornography groups through to childrens clothing and body-shape stores. The second location we teleported to contained the following images:


Another location appeared more innocuous but still contained body shapes like this:


We’re not asserting that the locations we saw are involved in child pornography. However, these images are obviously of under-18’s. I saw another picture of a child-like body shape for sale in nothing but panties which contained a sales description of ‘pert preteen body’.

That on its own may not constitute pornography but it’s difficult to rationalise the use of child body shapes beyond some very unhealthy intentions. There are people in SL who want to be carefree and live like a child, but arguably this isn’t the majority of the market.

We’ve contacted Linden Labs via their PR company for comment and we’ll report any response.

Update (November 2007): Reuters is reporting that the UK have undercover police investigating pedophilia in virtual worlds including Second Life. Second Life Insider is also running a story on Wonderland sim and Sky News’ reporting on it.

Update 2: Croga is an excellent site that provides confidential information to those concerned about their viewing of child pornography online.

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