Monday, October 9, 2017
By Bixyl Shuftan
I talked to Luna via an Instant-Messenger. She described herself as quite involved in Second Life commerce, "I'm a major part of Furry Fashion. I was a premium member, and I had a business. ... I was also heavily involved in Quest Fur Cover and other events like Gacha Guild. ... All of which helped supplement my income in real life. I'm non-working disabled, and my husband and I are struggling as it is. My account was going on nine years old in November."
Linden Lab had blocked her entry into Second Life without saying exactly why, "My account was put on administrative hold. All I got was a lengthy notice that I broke TOS, and that's it." When I first talked to her, she could only think of one possible reason, one that she thought she had straightened out with Linden Lab some time ago, "The only clue I have is that my account was held before because I used my mom's card a couple times to buy Lindens, ... with her permission ... because she had no other way to send me money (according to her). I just provided her ID and my account opened back up."
And with that all was well, until now, "Then suddenly this, like months later. I've opened two tickets to appeal, and they were closed without (an)answer. And the direct case I filed last night, no longer exists." She wondered, "maybe her bank happened to flag it one day, or maybe she did by mistake. That's really what this all seems like is a mistake." She had explained the situation to the Lab back then, "in the last case I filed I wrote out a very lengthy explanation, the case that now no longer exists. ... The only reason I used Second Life to get money from my Mom, was because I processed credit periodically anyways, from sales of my own stuff."
Later on, Luna mentioned there might be one other possibility, "A couple days before I was buying demos of full perm stuff to look at." And she purchased an item that she found out later was copybotted, "I didn't realize it till after I purchased it, so I just deleted it. It was a whoops."
I would later get an email from a Rand.Lupindo.
I've known Albright (Luna.Pawpad) in Second Life for at least 7 years, and in that time she has been a stable, energizing presence, volunteering at my own Sim (Timber Wilds animal avatars and sandbox) and other communities. It is thus with sadness that I found that she was recently banned permanently from Second Life for unknown reasons other than an unspecified violation of the Terms of Service, and as far as I'm aware not given any warning, explanation, or recourse.
For what it's worth, I doubt this ban is deserved, it smacks of the impulsive shadow banning of content creators on flimsy grounds that occurred last year, and I can vouch for Albright as a fixture of our community and certainly not a greifer or criminal. If the ban is somehow deserved, she should at least be given an explanation as to the specific reason and some recourse for appeal.
If users are going to be surreptitiously expelled from the game after accumulating years of legitimate accomplishments and relationships, fully intending to be and believing ourselves to be in compliance with the rules, without warning and without explanation, not even allowed to come back on a new account, then it seems that no one can feel safe investing their time and effort into this space.
And then another from Bowno Scarbridge, saying she was talking to Luna the moment she was booted off Second Life,
I had logged onto Second Life on the 3rd of October into the Gatcha Guild event. The BRDMRT Raptors had just been added the night before and I wanted to see how many people were around and enjoying them. Luna Pawpad and a few other friends soon joined me in the Raptor fun! We were all goofing around, clicking people's noses and making jokes over voice. Good stuff and good fun. Suddenly, Luna vanished out of nowhere, completely randomly and without any warning. A couple minutes later I get a message from Luna that she had been banned from SL. Confused and shocked,
I asked her why. She had been transferring her L to her alt account, which is used to store it for safe keeping. She was locked down for 'suspicious activity' because she was transferring L.
SL replied to her appeal with :
'Thank you for contacting Linden Lab Fraud. After conducting a thorough review, Linden Lab has determined this account or an alternate account has violated the Second Life Terms of Service. Regretfully, we have determined this account and all alternate accounts will be permanently terminated. Per the Terms of Service, you may not return to Second Life on any account, new or existing.'
Luna Pawpad is a modder of the SL community. Her products are texture mods that she makes by hand. Her work is her own. None of it breaks TOS and none of it is Copyright. She is decently known in the modder community. She has a few enemies from working as security at Furry Fashion.... But that's really about it!
Luna Pawpad thinks that transferring L was one of the causes, but also the fact that she had to borrow her mothers credit card for a bit. Her mother AGREED to this and even let her use her ID as proof.
She has tried to make tickets, and LL continues to close them without replying. Her email that she has sent will likely never be replied to or if it is.. it will likely just be a copy paste message. ... Linden Labs is being very unprofessional about this entire thing. The LEAST they could do is tell her what she did wrong. Right now, all we can do is assume. Luna is a paying customer to SL and deserves to at least have her tickets answered and a chance to defend herself.
This hasn't been the first time Linden Lab expelled someone from a popular business from the virtual world. In 2014, Meissa Thorne, one of the major contributors to the popular fishing game 7Seas, was banned for refusing to provide her Social Security Number and other ID directly to Linden Lab as part of their new Identification Policy at the time. Although the team had time to prepare for her exit, there were lasting changes, such as no further "Fishversary" celebration events.
As for what to do now, Luna wasn't sure where she could go from here, "I've submitted tickets, Ame wrote an email. I don't know if any of my other friends have done anything, but at this point, getting enough people to vouch for me might be my only hope at this point. I've seen people get banned for legit TOS violations, but returned because enough people protested."
And so, as Furry Fashion's team gets ready to celebrate Halloween, the mood has been darkened as one of their own has vanished, not at the hands of a monster, but the heavy hands of Linden Lab, with no clear explanation as to what the reason was for, or if it may happen again.
Friday, October 6, 2017
By Bixyl Shuftan
For my furry friends at the Sunweaver/Angels community and elsewhere, one of their pet peeves is being harassed or banned about their appearance when they go out looking at different places and clubs. Some consider it common to the point they'll hang out only at places they know have other furs or call themselves "furry friendly." Grease Coakes wrote about his experience, and I've written on the topic myself. Personally, I've found it a rare experience, though still annoying.
So it got my attention when a "coconuteater" wrote on "Blog Veridical" about being banned at a club "within three seconds of my avatar entering the building." He Instant-Messaged the owner, "Hello, why am I banned?" The owner's answer was, "I smell a lot of trouble, and I'm not up to it today." "Do you think I'm a griefer or something?" "So you think I'm an idiot?" While he didn't give his account name, he did show his appearance. This was a human avatar, but it was oddly porportioned, with a huge chest with wide shoulders, tiny arms, and big ears. He was also barefoot.
There were a number of comments after a link to the article was posted on the "Second Life Friends" group in Facebook. Some offered sympathy. Some suggested he simply go to a different club, "Shallow sl saddens me this is what it comes down to judging by a persons looks shame on all of them." "Even pixels get judged these days........sad times." Some were saying he needed to update his looks, "Thats the lesson here.. leave those noob looks back in the past where they belong. this is 2017 .. not 2005 .. noob feet ( AKA Duckfeet ) are out.. Noob hands out. block head.. out. layer clothing.. dead as dust." "If we were friends I'd strongly encourage you to improve appearance. You don't have to have a mesh body. ,,, Put some effort into making the visual experience more realistic or at least show you care about what you look like."
Others were saying his odd appearance was the kind favored by griefers, "I definitely think 'troll' seeing this avatar. ... you know what they say, first impressions matter." "I cant help but feel your intentions were to stir the pot, everyone knows that extreme noob looks are usually a griefers preferred appearance. If it was my club and i saw you come in looking like that, i would also be atleast worried drama was coming." "i have to admit u look like alot of the griefers ,j\s. nothing aginst u. jus really u look like a griefer" "If you've been in Second Life for more than a couple of years, and have been to clubs or gatherings - you KNOW that many (not all) griefers like to drastically deform their avies to look crazy. You know this. So if you're not a noob, why would you drastically deform yourself to look like a griefer? Come on now. Keep it real. People who've been griefed are going to have their guard up and when you manage a CLUB, you MUST keep a lookout for people who look every bit like a griefer. You don't wait for them to do it. ..." "That avatar looks like a classic griefer avatar."
And a few were saying yes, it did look like the stereotypical troll avatar, but avatars like these they encountered weren't always that. "That being said a lot of people have used this game to bully and harass people in a certain manner. You can understand why some people are so quick to judge, but it should really be by your actions not how you look." "There was a time when the 'different' avatars were the ones with big boobs, tans, perfect hair and giant pectorals. The avatars that people consider 'griefer' avatars were once the far, far more common avatar you'd see on the grid. Insisting on looking 'different' *is* a choice. Some people don't want to look like a cookie cutter copy of someone else's distorted notion of perfection, or acceptability. They just want to express themselves. Your comment reminds me of how outcasts were treated by the popular crowd in high school. As long as people don't act out, or have an avatar emitting giant Bill Cosbys, I say let them be. Even if you have had a rough day, ejecting people just because of their appearance is lazy."
One comment got my attention, "What it comes down to is how much time you are willing to put in to growing your group and making it a place for all... last night I had a potential griefer on my sim (1 day old, dressed like it and a naughty word name). So I TPed to him and asked him how he was doing... it took me a short ten minute conversation to find out that A) he was new and B) he was really liking SL... I made a friend, not a potential enemy down the road. A**hattery like the club owner pulled will make more enemies than friends...if you don't have an enemy before you ban someone, you usually do when after you do... in this case, an enemy that will post about you on his blog."
About the only thing most agreed upon was ultimately "his sim, his rules." Even those who sided with the writer, there was an admittance he was within rights to do what he did. They just felt he shouldn't have.
This isn't quite the same as the situation furs and other fantasy/sci-fi avatars such as faries and elves, who can spent plenty of time on their looks. But still, it brings to mind the old story of those who are different being singled out and being told they are not welcome.
Do you the readers have any stories of your own, or stories about handling someone new who stood out?
Scources: Blog Veridical , Facebook
Monday, October 2, 2017
By Gemma Cleanslate
Jadyn Firehawk of Yosemite let me know that the region was hosting a Gurl Scout Jamboree this past weekend. I went over to visit and see what was going on. I arrived early in the morning and found sleeping scouts so I tiptoed quietly away. Later when I came back there was a rowdy bingo game going on which all were enjoying. I saw by the colors of the tees there were quite a few troops taking part. These are adult gurl scouts.
I was interested in background of the gurl scouts in Second Life since I actually bought some cookies last year from a scout. WixenWednesday introduced me to the founder of the movement , April Loire, and we had a nice chat. April told me she started a troop way back but then sort of let it go until someone approached her to ask advice on running a troop. The project then took on a life and at this time there are about 400 gurl scouts in nine troops around Second Life. Eight troops are involved in this first jamboree.
WixenWednesday, leader of one troop, says, “Troop Honey Bee 754 is all about focusing on scouts, friendship, community, and fun. We are a small troop that is looking to grow while remaining a small close-knit family.The sense of community and solidarity filled with happiness and love plays a key role in the troop and it is something that is certainly felt throughout our troop home!”
April Loire handed me a book of badges so I could see what it was all about. Remember this is an adult project so some of the badges are indicative of that fact. In the front of the book I found the pledge which is similar to the actual Scouting pledge. It begins,” I will do my best to be honest and understanding, considerate to all, helpful and kind, ...”
The work to earn a badge is difficult and must be proven. They each take a lot of work! The badges cross a variety of activities from growing to fishing and into the arts and all aspects of Second Life. She explained that they work closely with the Digital Farming System and that is reflected in many of the badges. Cookie Obsession is the name of the Scout badge book and it looks like there are new badges being created all the time. There is cookie selling in Second Life and half of the proceeds go to a charity of each troop’s choice and the rest of the money is used to support the troop. The uniforms are cute and the banner with the badges is worn with pride across the front.
There are other activities through out the year according to each troop’s choice also. There is to be an Octoberfest coming up. April interrupted her fun at the jamboree and took me over to see the Headquarters where each troop has a Kiosk with something indicative of their troop.
Later in the day I went back to Yosemite to check out what was going on and they were all preparing for the first jamboree group photo. In the evening there will be skits , campfires and finally a sleepover in the John Muir camping area.
It looked like all were having a great time. I saw a few boy scouts were visiting also. One of the troops is going to be sponsoring an Second Life kid’s troop very soon. The jamborees will be held quarterly with a season theme in the future. The women have formed a bond that carries over into their Second Lives though they may all be different and live in different regions and involved in many projects.
When I went to the HQ to look at the kiosks I met Truuli and commented on all the work for each badge and she said ”Oh yes, we want them to feel a sense of achievement and proud of the work they have done... (laughter), when we say that you earn badges, you really do earn them (smile). It is up to each troop to decide what they want to do.“
If you are interested in the concept visit the headquarters http://maps.secondlife.com/
Monday, September 25, 2017
by Chigadee London
Our Second Life friendship graduated to real life friendship with Skype conversations and phone calls, and I learned that she did not have an easy real life which was fraught with health issues. She rarely complained, even though she came close to death many times but fought back with such courage, she seemed almost invincible. We all thought she was going to bounce back from her last bout as she had done in the past but I think St. Peter and the angels were finally ready for her arrival.
In the last months of her life, I was in constant contact with her family, particularly her daughter in law (Brenda) who was completely devoted to her. Brenda was sincerely touched and appreciated the outpouring of sentiments by friends and communities Breezes was involved in. The following is a short message Brenda sent me after learning about the Tombstone Memorial which was organized to honour Breezes. It gives a glimpse into the real-life Breezes (Jeannie).
"A few things about Jeannie. She absolutely loved to sit on the deck and watch birds. Bluebirds were her favorites followed very closely by cardinals. She really liked her Kindle. She would read detective and murder mystery. Her TV was always on the food network. 24 hours a day. She loved shopping online. Food, clothes, dishes, etc... (laughter). The family had a beagle named Daisy about 40 years ago and she always talked about her Daisy. Still has a picture of that dog. She was smart, but very naive in an old fashioned kind of way. Very friendly with a soft marshmallow for a heart. I told her she was my magical genie. She would laugh and joke about falling off of her magic carpet because she never learned to drive or to even ride a bike. She was born with tremors in her hands and it limited her. She always hated that. She especially hated to eat in front of people thinking they would notice. She was right handed but had to learn everything by using her left hand. Very determined lady with a desire to make it work." - Brenda
So as you all see, Breezes was as kind, sweet and smart in real life as she was in Second Life. Rest In Peace dear Breezes. I was truly blessed and honoured to have you as a friend in Second Life and real life. I miss you.
Friday, September 22, 2017
By Bixyl Shuftan
I then asked about her writing commentaries following her decision to put her fiction writing on hold. She told me, "I've spent most of this year neck deep in the controversy that has pretty much destroyed The Furry Community." And why did she think it was destroyed with so many fans of this genre of written and visual fiction and art, as well as the many users of furry avatars on Second Life. She answered, "To enjoy being a fan of anthropomorphic you have to leave the community. In the community is nothing but identity politics, hatred, and threats." Hadn't the community faced challenges before and more or less recovered from them? She told me there was one that it hadn't, "The only challenge that approached this magnitude was the Burned Fur War. And the community never recovered from it. We've lived in its shadow ever since, and it has a lot to do with why there are bad people in positions of power all over the community who look on this new attack on the community as a chance to finally have their way with Furry Fandom. ... The damage is permanent and will only get worse. You can look at Marvel Comics and any other company, fandom or web site that has been invaded by these same people. Their objective is to destroy, and they will continue to hammer away at the fandom until nothing remains but ruins."
As Perri continued her commentaries, they were less about the community of anthro fans and more about analyzing political trends. She told me, "What's happening to Furry Fandom isn't an isolated incident. It's part of a massive political movement that is causing irreparable social destruction all over the world. It would make no sense to try to address what we face in the Furry Community without dealing with the worldwide disaster that is currently unfolding. ... Much of Europe is already devastated beyond repair, but the same tactics that are being used against The Furry Community, most other fandoms, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook."
Perri told me the response she got was mainly positive, "I was mainly preaching to the choir. Those being attacked in the fandom looked to me as one of the few concerned who could write well and get their message out that they are not what they're being accused of. But those attacking them just call anyone who doesn't agree with them a Nazi, say Nazis don't get a right to speak, and they use every underhanded trick they can come up with to silence their opposition, as well as to close the ears of everyone else with treats of blacklisting, doxxing and real life character assassination. And every day another major Furry site falls under their agenda, Fur Affinity being the latest to implement their kind of censorship. Though we lost Flayrah and Dogpatch Press as far back as last year. So there is no longer any freedom of speech in The Furry Community, and everyone is under threat."
But why resort to calling someone you don't like a Nazi, considering the unofficial rule in internet discussion that once someone invokes the name of Hitler, the discussion is for all practical purposes over on the grounds there can be no further rational argument. Perri commented, "True, but there is someone worse than Nazis. Someone who could be considered the parent group of Nazis. The people accusing everyone who doesn't agree with them of being Nazis are Communists. They march through the streets of America and Europe bearing the flags of Communism, while burning American flags, and turning our streets into riot zones. That is typical Social Justice Warrior behavior. That's how they took down 2 The Ranting Gryphon, by accusing him of encouraging suicide with his free speech."
Perri believes what happened was that one or more of the people she was criticizing complained to Facebook, which responded by shutting down her account. She had gotten no warning about changing future or present content, "It just went poof." She felt there was no point in contacting them about restoring her account, "They won't talk to me unless I have some kind of official document with the name on the account on it to prove Perri Prinz is a real person. They don't have to show mercy to Second Life characters. I've been in violation of the TOS from day one. And I'm not going to be bullied into opening an account with my real name. It's not worth fighting. This is one of the things that makes Furries vulnerable to Social Justice Warriors. All it takes is one well placed phone call and there's nothing we can do to defend our sites."
So as a writer, was what happened with Livejournal and Facebook hard on Perri? Not necessarily. She told me, "Actually, it was being involved in this situation that was hard on me. It's not easy trying to write things that will get through to people who openly reject common sense. I'm enjoying being out of the spotlight for a while." So she was taking a break from writing, "I think I've done enough preaching to the choir. It's going to take someone bigger than me to tackle this business."
So what were her plans now, in and out of Second Life? Perri answered, " I plan to be in Second Life as much as possible, with REC (Recoyote Mindes) being in such bad shape, and Erik seems to need me here as well to give him a sense of security. I may tinker around with Spectral Shadows over the next few months and come back next year on the new site Niko is building. That would be my plan. But The Furry Raiders are still after me to keep being their voice. I expect I'll be asked to write some stuff for their site. I'll do my best on that."
At one point, Perri slipped on a varriant of the "Furry Raiders" armband, one that was pink and blue, "Back in the 70's and 80's we used to wear these. They were for holding cigarettes and other small items."
Perri and I talked a little longer. At one point, she expressed concern that Second Life's furry communities were not necessarily free of the threat of the radicals she had been criticizing. She felt they could easily come here, infiltrate, and try to cause division and discord. Part of their strategy of divide and conquer.
Spectral Shadows picture by Tigers Kitten
Friday, September 15, 2017
By Adrian Wise
It wasn't before long the dust shook off the gal, and a Lady walked Allen Street in search of her next wild west adventure co-starring everyone in Tombstone.
If I had to retell of Miss Breezes days in Tombstone, I am far from over.
If I had to let you in on a little secret to her magic... I just may be persuaded to do that.
One footprint at a time~
"Miss Bree" steadily gobbled up folks hearts daily as she journeyed the dusty landscape living in the town of Benson until finally settling in Black Diamond Hills for her Role Play home. There she would become that town's Doctor, Owner of the Cantina "La Cantina de la Brisa", Baker for the Orphans of Tombstone and some how or another went head to head with the most outrageous Outlaws as Teller in the Bank of Benson... later- Head Teller of the Territory. It was no secret she had her eye on a young sturdy Calvary Officer and would be seen at dances and Meet and Greets with him.
One Prim, two prim, three prim MORE~
Tombstone celebrates each and every holiday likewise "Miss Bree" saw to it that garlands or flags flew, appropriate flowers bloomed, treats were baked, candies distributed and (naturally) her surmounting wardrobe matched. Yes.. that "Santa that gives Hot Cocoa" was ever present. Be it Dias de los Muertos or Mardi Gras Each holiday perfectly sparkled to match her eyes.. after all- it was another reason to go shopping!
The Genuine Article~
We will forever remember "Miss Bree" to whom no goal was set too high. No challenge left unabated. No Storyline incidental. In court as Witness or Juror, patching up folks after Small Pox outbreaks, Apache raid the town or attend their Pow Wow (In full regalia I must add) Rodeo, Round-Up or Posse; Hunting, Fishing; Celebrating Wild West Life.. she wore so many Hats... so many.
It's a Kind of Magic~
When you reside in a Sim garnished for roleplaying it's rare to know the typist for who they are beyond the well constructed words on your monitor, that is unless you have the passion "Miss Bree" had for everything going on around her.
Typically referred to as "OOC" or "Out of Character" it is the moment you echo the thoughts & experiences of the typist to share who you really are. In real life, our Outlaw characters do not kill people, our Judges do not sentence folks to hang and our Doctors do not tend to mass quantities of Children with the Small Pox. I myself, although known to be long winded, am not a politician.
On rare occasion the tale of a rattlesnake (for instance) would surface prompting "Miss Bree" to not only instruct the townsfolk how to kill it, but offer tasty recipes and advice on how to tend to the skin and bones for jewelry ... something we'd come to find out she'd practiced in her youth for survival. Thus a new chapter unfolded. For most of us, the Wild West is our dream world, for Breezes Babii it's where she grew up, educated and raised a family. It would not be long before many of her musings were stripped away to reveal the genuine article- the strongest of beautiful women battling though thick and thin only to chose to grace us with what laughter and free time she had left after years of various challenging illnesses.
When Tombstone joined the Second Life "Relay For Life" Breezes recalled the "Relay Rockers" Team to us- another of her HUNDREDS of fond memories on the grid. She was simply never short of compatriots who about her cannot say a discouraging word. "Miss Bree" had a simple code of ethics. You need not try so hard to befriend her.. you just already were and possibly always was....
A. Wise, Mayor
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I asked GoSpeed why she chose her particular account name. She answered, “When I first signed up in 2006 I was going through the list of available last names. As I scrolled past Racer, I saw the GEICO Insurance commercial featuring Speed Racer (on TV). So, on a lark I chose GoSpeed Racer.” Recently, she has been using the display name "GoSpeed Rasere." She explained, “This past year I changed it to Rasere because I am using GoSpeed as a character in my writing and I wanted to avoid intellectual property issues with my name.”
which was in the Newser for a cartoon in 2011. When I asked her if she had ever raced with it, she said, “No, it's a very fast vehicle and that often leads to crashes and horrible sim crossing snafus.” She won a nice sports car from 2Zm as a prize for winning the Miss Bay City Contest. That it had a "5" painted on it, GoSpeed smiled, calling it "Pure coincidence."
When I asked if there are any other peaks to winning the Miss Bay City Contest beside the title and bragging rights, she answered, “Nope, nothing else!” There are no specific events she has to attend, or/and responsibilities of the title, but GoSpeed intend to attend as many Bay City events as possible. Of the crown, she says she will wear it mainly at these events. GoSpeed has been attending events in Bay City since 2009.
GoSpeed would like people to know that KONA Stream is still alive and kicking after nearly 11 years inworld, "Our homepage is www.konastream.com . It's (been) doing quite well the past year. Listenership in and offworld has increased.”
GoSpeed is also a budding novelist, who has completed the drafts to two novels She is working on a third. When asked what they were about, she explained, "They are novels about a futuristic simulation where SL avatars are reconstituted as living AI. Our social media presence is preserved and then used with computer algorithms to synthesize personalities." That is, their personalities are based on how their users used the avatars in actions and virtual speech, and, "on how the algorithm interprets the imagery, blogs, etc... You may have read an article where researchers say that based on a person's lifelong Facebook and other social media postings that an somewhat accurate represntation of their personality can be emulated. So, our avatars live on, but they won't totally be us. I hope to self publish by the new year."
You can go to her personal Second Life blog at https://gospeedracer.wordpress.com/ to read more about her stories and other things about her. The link to GoSpeed's blog as well as her other media sites is: http://about.me/GoSpeed_Racer .
Pictures from Bixyl Shuftan and GoSpeed Racer.