Mark “Rape Rooms” Kirk, Follow-up

child avatars, law, policy, thoughtcrime 1 Comment

If I may take the liberty to speak for a few in my class, we don’t like US Representative Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.) because of this and this. His cheap political gimmicks may have helped his career, but they protected no one and led to a summer of harassment and disruption of service for hundreds of Second Life users around the world who choose to present in child-like shapes, and others who are just shorter than the imposing norm. Linden Lab, which like many user-content-driven internet resource providers is often reactive more than pro-active in matters of community standards, was caught off-guard, and instituted a lasting change in atmosphere, if not policy. On a larger scale, Kirk’s unfounded accusations in the forum of the US Congress harmed Second Life and the business interests of an individual US private business, Linden Lab, for no good reason. Nothing was gained. Two years on, Kirk hasn’t revisited this issue, despite having presented it as a crisis threatening our nation’s children. Now, he is running for Senator, and obviously we hope he doesn’t make it. Therefore, here is some well-deserved dirt on Mark Kirk, via a DailyKos diary.

Mark Kirk has a bit of a problem, that’s likely to soon be a very big problem. See, it turns out he’s been less than truthful about his own military service, and that it’s looking like it’s a bit of a habit with him.

In 2005, a political tussle in Ohio led to Rep. Jean Schmidt claiming that Rep. Mark Kirk (who’s currently running for Barack Obama’s former Senate seat) was a “veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” It was news to me that any politician had served in Iraq by that time and, as it turned out, it wasn’t true. Mark Kirk was claiming on his campaign site to be “the only member of Congress to serve stateside during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which was true, but on his official web site he claimed to be “the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Then there’s this:

From U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk’s official website.

The U.S. Navy named Kirk “Intelligence Officer of the Year” in 1999 for his combat service in Kosovo….

…Try doing a Google search for “Intelligence Officer of the Year” and “U.S. Navy…

It doesn’t surprise me that a slimeball like Mark Kirk would add Theft of Valor to his crimes against large numbers of innocent Americans he’s never met. He’s fundamentally a coward, and I hope his career in politics is soon to be finished.

-Big Adz))

A Strange Game

policy No Comments

The only winning move is not to play.

Dedric Mauriac, in Suspended, writes,

I looked in my email and saw that I received a suspension notice yesterday. The contents of it shocked me as I was not in violation of what they were claiming. “Residents may not extend or overhang objects onto other Residents land or land owned by Linden Lab without permission.” I take precautionary measures to ensure that I am within my parcel space.

A minute after the email, another email had come stating that all of my objects were returned. I’m pretty confused about all of this.

Dedric’s post includes his best guess about what (false) AR was responsible for this summary action, and it concludes with a 10 point suggestion for improvement of AR.

I’m sorry for your misfortune, Dedric.

Massively — How to get yourself unbanned

policy No Comments

I’m not sure the article can deliver what the title promises, but what is written here does seem pretty reasonable.
Tateru Nino Jul 6th 2009 : How to get yourself unbanned from Second Life

The Humboldt Squid And You

child avatars, policy, science No Comments

The Humboldt squid is pretty big. It can be up to six feet long. It lives in the Pacific ocean, near the western shore of the US. They are carnivores. They have strong tentacles and a razor sharp beak. This species of squid has long been known to attack divers and fishermen, but the attacks are much more common when they are being fished. Some researchers decided to figure out why the squid fight back. It is rare for a fish to know it is about to be caught. How do they know who their aggressors are? How can they be so smart? Read the rest…

SLNameWatch Disabled for 3 Days

last names, policy 11 Comments

I have temporarily disabled SLNameWatch or 3 days. A countdown timer on the home page indicates the latest point at which I will re-enable the site.

I have done this out of protest. The Linden Lab software responsible for tracking friend referrals stopped working one year ago, today. As far as I know, Linden Lab has not publicly addressed the issue.

About the only acknowledgement that there even is a problem is that WEB-841 was assigned to WorkingOnIt Linden about six months ago. There are no comments from Linden Lab representatives.

This site isn’t very expensive. It runs on a shared web host. The data collection bot continuously requires a small amount of processor and network resources on my home network, which I don’t mind lending. However, the Google Ads alone are not quite enough to cover the expenses. I’m slightly in the hole, here, going by cash alone. Before the refer-a-friend system stopped working a year ago, I received dozens of calling cards per week (You can see a blurred out picture of a volume of calling cards in my inventory, here) Occasionally, these accounts would upgrade to premium. The bonuses associated with the upgrade went a long way to offset costs and were a great motivation for me to invest more into the site.

Then, it stopped. LL launched a new registration portal, and my best guess is that the developers neglected to include the referal id handler. This affects referral urls, slurls with referral ids, and postcards.

I’m not asking for a freebie, here. I assume I am still driving a modest number of new registrations to Second Life. Without the stream of calling cards I have no way to know exactly how many. Over the last year my traffic has grown, so I feel it is safe to assume that traffic I driving to Second Life has stayed steady or grown. According to, Linden Lab offers L$2000 (about 7.50USD) for each new account that is upgraded to premium. Linden Lab is not making good on the offer, simple as that.
I have written a few words about this on the disabled website, and on SL’s pJIRA issue WEB-841, which I created over 9 months ago.

I understand, mistakes happen. New features introduce new bugs. Some business decisions that make good sense at one point in time outlive their usefulness. I get it. But, what is promised on the Second Life official web site for the last year does not match reality, to put it in the most generous terms possible. It is way past time to confront reality.

I will re-enable the site early if Linden Lab

  • Acknowledges the problem, offers an explanation, and articulates a plan to repair it, which includes at least addressing the issue of the payment backlog, and/or
  • Removes the false offer of 2000L from the official website, accompanied by a public announcement of the end of the program. Again, the announcement must at least address the issue of the payment backlog.

I don’t pretend that this will have a strong impact on Second Life’s thousands of new registrations per day, but maybe this will raise awareness of something that is clearly unfair.

See you in 2 days 8 hours, ….
-Big Adz ))


last names, policy, research 9 Comments

While the economic stats published by Linden Lab have been frozen (see JIRA WEB-948 ), the SLNameWatch bot has been indicating something different. Sometime in the last two weeks, more than 430,000 accounts have disappeared from the in-world search. Last names that previously had a consistent number of residents under them, query after query, for 1.5 years, suddenly have seen their usage count reduced by as much as 50%. Read the rest…

Rpt: Online Threats to Children Overblown

law, policy No Comments

NYTimes article, “Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown“, seen on Slashdot, “Internet Not Really Dangerous For Kids After All“. The government commissioned a task force to see what could be done about our rampant online predator problem, as highlighted by “To Catch A Predator” among other things. Instead, the task force reported back that “Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.” The report went on to suggest that the government instead focus resources on child-on-child bullying.
One of the key state attorneys general pushing for the report spat out this gem of a response, Read the rest…

Slashdot: The Slippery Legal Slope…

child avatars, policy, thoughtcrime No Comments

(( This article I am about to link to is not relevant to what I want this blog to be about. But, it does deserve a least a link considering Linden Lab’s policy dilemma I discuss here from time to time. M.S.M. articles with on this topic always make me cringe, and dredge up some bad emotions from multiple origins; so, I usually avoid clicking them. I took a risk with this one. It is interesting and link-worthy because of the “+5 Insightful” SlashDot comments on the matter. As always, there is an unreasonable perspective out there, but I think that the default +5 filter does its job in this case.
Slashdot: The Slippery Legal Slope of Cartoon Porn.
I’ll resist the temptation of quoting the comments I find particularly insightful and simply recommend that you read them all.
The only further comment I will add on my part is that for the sake of Free Speech in America, I hope the discussion continues. You can find a link to the text of the ruling in the comments. Much of it is beyond my grasp, and I would be out of place commenting on it directly here. If you are inclined to read it, yourself, let me add that the opinions of the individual justices are sometimes more reasonable than the ruling as a whole.
-Big Adz ))

Depiction of Lewd Act Involving a Child

child avatars, photos, policy 14 Comments

I thought I’d never have a chance to do this, as this blog has some dare I say attention outside of the child-like-avatar-wearing community. But, here it comes: a (real-life image|avatar portrayal|other depiction) of a (sexual|lewd) act (involving|appearing to involve) a (child|minor)*, right here on this very blog. Ready? Read the rest…

[WEB-841] Refer-A-Friend System Is Broken

last names, policy, software development No Comments

[WEB-841] Refer-A-Friend link no longer exchanges calling cards with new signups. No referral bonuses for accounts created after July 2008.

This coincides with the launch of the new registration portal. My theory is that the new portal does not honor the u= parameter in the Refer-A-Friend url. (Refer-A-Friend URLs are described, here, on SL website).

Please note: If someone signs up for Second Life using your code, your name won’t be auto-filled on the registration form, but we do keep track behind the scenes. This is prevent folks registering from being confused by the sight of a potentially unfamiliar name.

Remember, anytime you use one of these methods to refer someone to Second Life, that resident is tagged with you as the referrer. Once they upgrade to premium, you will receive a referral credit of L$2000.¹

The L$2000 promise aside, Basic accounts should at least have a calling card exchanged with the person who referred them. This allows the fragile new SL user to have contact with the SLexperienced referrer without needing to navigate in-world search. Normally, a little blue dialog box would pop up telling the new signup where to find the referrer’s calling card. It would say, “You can now contact Nicolas Biddle, or any other resident of Second Life.” or something to that effect. That dialog box doesn’t come up anymore.

The absence of a calling card for the referrer in the new signup’s inventory indicates that the referral was not recorded “behind the scenes”. It is a difficult system to debug on the user side, indeed.

The last word from LL on the Refer-A-Friend program that I know of was in this blog post.
Refer-A-Friend Program Changes Thursday, October 12th, 2006 at 2:49 PM by: Jesse Linden

Anyway, please take a look and vote. Thanks. Here’s the JIRA link again: WEB-841.

Also posted on SL Forums and SLUniverse.

-Big Adz ))

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