Saturday, 21 March 2009

Oh Linden, how can you be so stupid? Adult Content Filters

Some sad news from Linden Labs about new censorship:

At the same time, we must ensure that all Residents can enjoy the virtual world.
In particular, it has become clear that some Residents are interested in
pursuing certain “Adult” activities in Second Life that others would rather not
casually encounter. To address this, over the next few months, we will need to
implement some changes around Adult content to ultimately give all Residents
more control over their Second Life experiences. We believe we can implement a
better system than we have now for managing this content -- one that is
respectful of everyone’s personal preferences, yet does not detract from the
creativity and passion that define Second Life.

The system we build will have three main features, which we will describe in great detail over the next few months. First, it will provide a way to geographically separate Adult
content and activities to a part of the “mainland” designed to accommodate these
activities (Estate owners with Adult content on their land will be required to
flag their content; they will not be required to move). Second, it will filter
search results, so that those who do not wish to see “Adult” results will not.
Third, it will require that those who access or see “Adult” content (whether on
land or in search) have had their accounts verified – such as by a payment or
age verification method.

The core goals of this initiative are to improve Second Life for everyone – by giving Residents more control over what they see, and by providing the best available method to make Adult content accessible only to those who ought to (and who desire to) access it.

Flickr tried such a system a few years back and like all such systems it is doomed to fail. It like parent advisory stickers on CDs, a CD can not sell without the sticker so people, forced to be marked as dirty or nice will make their work, or spaces, more dirty.

I have been all over SL, probably know the place better than anyone at Linden Labs and I can tell you then sex is the life blood of much of Second Life. These procedures will make areas of adult content that will dominate Second Life. As with Flickr the filters will only make the place more "dirty" with sexually fun places forced to tag themselves and a culture of "red light" emerging.

Come on Linden Labs, you are not that stupid.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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