Opinion

Strawberry Linden (left) with Brad Oberwager (Oberwolf Linden) at June 21st’s Lab Gab SL18B Special

On Monday, June 21st, I attended the airing of the Lab Gab SL18B Special show with Strawberry Linden (née Singh). It was a lengthy, much-anticipated, and newsworthy show, as it’s only been less than three weeks after the passing of esteemed LL CEO Ebbe Altberg. The show was divided into two sections: in the first, Strawberry interviewed Linden Lab Board member and Executive Chairman Brad Oberwager (in-world name: Oberwolf Linden); in the second, she interviewed the Lab’s Leadership Team, which consists of VP of Product Anya Kanevsky (in-world name: Grumpity Linden), VP of Product Operations Eric Nix (in-world name: Patch Linden), and VP of Marketing Brett Atwood (in-world name: Brett Linden).

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As is pretty much always the case, I’m the last to arrive at the party when it comes to providing an analysis related to Second Life. This is intentional. When it comes to making sense of Second Life’s progress within a certain timeframe, I prefer to sit back and examine SL and its progress within the broader context, i.e. its direct and indirect competition, and the Real Life (RL) economic, social, and even societal factors that affect people’s willingness and ability to join SL, to stay in it, and invest in it. Sadly, far too much of the commentary fails (often willingly) to take these factors into account, and, by choosing a platform-centric perspective over a user-centric one, ends up painting a picture that’s either alarmist or unjustifiably flattering.

Tulum Reserve (Rated Adult)
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Yes, I’m talking about you. You fancy yourself as a perfectly well-meaning person. You’re a Bible-thumping, God-fearing, church-going, pro-lifeanti-choice, family values paragon of our society’s oh-so-WASPish moral standards. You’re a garbage-separating, recycling, vegan-and-proud-of-it, organic-eating, Tesla-driving hipster, acting all woke and shit, riding every bandwagon that you think’ll make you look more progressive. And there you are, on Plurk, on Twitter, on various forums “for those in the know”, regurgitating (sorry, did I offend you by not calling it “sharing”?) every morsel of mean-spirited, malicious, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, prudish, racist, oftentimes even libelous gossip you’ve found on the already well-known cesspools and voraciously devoured less than an hour ago.

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Second Life remains one of the most successful sandbox-style virtual worlds and offers a great outlet for the creativity of its users, despite its well-documented technical limitations. By “creativity”, I mean literally anything a user may do in-world: from taking selfie-style snapshots to making machinima and from building a small hovel to creating an entire virtual city. Of course, not everyone invests time, effort, and money, into creating something that only they’ll enjoy all by themselves. People generally want to share their creative efforts.

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NOTICE: The subject of this post is of an erotic, fetishistic and outright sexual nature. If you are not legally allowed to read such material, and / or if such topics and imagery offend you, I suggest you leave right now.

I’ve always been amused by the way most people in Second Life, especially those in the BDSM etc. communities, tend to position their “naughty” attachments – and by “naughty” I mean such attachments as anal and vaginal sheaths (usually for latex outfits), butt plugs, and the like. It’s just anatomically off. I’ll admit that those designers who make rigged mesh genitals and anuses are more diligent. But this is not usually the case with sex toys (especially anal ones), and it most certainly isn’t with BDSM-related avatar accessories: all too often, I see commercial photos on the SL marketplace with the anal toys inserted in the wrong place (i.e. where a human body doesn’t even have a cavity) and at the wrong angle. The same goes for vaginal toys that are attached to the avatar; wrong place, wrong angle. And I see these errors in photos on platforms like Flickr and DeviantArt, and I can’t help wondering if the people who make these toys and / or take these photos have ever actually seen a female body in the flesh.

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