Thursday, 27 December 2007

Life in the garden

Age verification is coming to Everwind, to ensure the safety of minors and to protect the owners of the realm from litigation.
However, it will, sadly, mean that many players will be lost , either through choice not to verify or through inability to verify due to technical or practical difficulties.
I have managed to verify, remarkably easily and with little fuss, and I am not to bothered about security (after all my own government just lost a disk with my address, children's ages and names, and my bank account details on it, which is much worse). I don't have any money for anyone to steal anyway.
I understand why Grace and Slip have decided to do this, and respect their decision, and yet I am wondering if I will stay or not.
The thing which has me thinking, is a message from the Queen of Everwind and sim owner, on the forum board about this issue.
It reads:
"I appreciate a great deal that you love and play in Everwind so faithfully. But I have to tell you, while that's all well and good...I ain't willing to put myself or the safety of a minor out there on a limb so you can have a place to play. Your threats to leave or your "disappointment" over this decision are not going to score you any points. Everwind has never been about traffic or dwell or income (obviously) or even entertaining other people. It has always been about my need to create and our desire to see people appreciate it. I'm not here for you....and you are not here for me. Everyone of us are in this for themselves. Other than your avatar, I don't know you people. Anymore than you know me. You are essentially strangers...why on earth do you think I have some obligation to ensure your experience in Second Life is pleasant? Do you ensure mine?"

This whole episode is extremely sad, and this posting by the Queen I find deeply upsetting. I will allow that the posting was made in anger and frustration, however it seems to say that the people of the realm don't matter, that she has made this place for her own gratification and to show off to people, like a show garden at a festival.
I know gardens like this, perfect, neat, cleverly planted, wisely pruned, yet devoid of life.
And while they may look good, they lack a heart, a life beat. There is no bird song, no buzzing of bees, no richly coloured butterflies.
I come to Everwind to be with people, not just to appreciate its beauty, and the people of the realm are more important to me than the virtual 'bricks and mortar'.
The Queen has 'no obligation to ensure my experience is pleasant', but I would hope that she had the heart to care about the other human beings who are here. And I have no obligation to Everwind either, and yet I do feel that I wish others to enjoy themselves here, otherwise I wouldn't spend hours and hours teaching acolyte classes, writing about virtual herbs, creating quests and dealing with enquiries. If I didn't care, I just wanted to play things my way, I wouldn't do these things, I certainly don't do them for personal gain or gratification, I don't want everyone to think how great Wren is, I just want fellow beings to have the chance to experience something wonderful.
The world that has been created in Everwind by the King and Queen, is also created by all who dwell here, we all make up the whole.
I love this place, and I recognise all that they have given to us, in time, money and effort, and believe me it is appreciated, but I don't know if I want to be in a perfect place where the 'wildlife' is seen as an ornament to, rather than a part of, the garden.


Anonymous said...

Hello Wren,
I have found your blog through a link from that of Alphonsus, and I must say that I am grateful to him for posting it.

In creating my own world here in SL I have followed much the same path as your Queen and I certainly understand what she is going through, but at the same time I also know well what you are saying. I recognized long ago that the friends who have helped me have done as much as I to create Faeria, and I feel a deep obligation to them to keep it alive. There have been times when it got very difficult, and I am sure that those times will come again, but I have many friends who think like you - and for them I must do everything that I can to keep it alive.

I think that your Queen should take a closer look at how she views this, for without people like you her own creation will fall apart.

I would love to meet you sometime - perhaps Alphonsus would consider bringing you to my village and introducing us.

Be well.

Alphonsus said...

Thank you, Mykyl. I must admit that I also find the queens comments to be deeply upsetting, and I'm afraid that she may lose people over her rant more than she stood to lose over age verification. While neither she nor I can ENSURE that we have a pleasant SL experience, I do what I can to help people along, and I have done what little I can to even help her in the past. Yes, I'm in it for myself, but part of "myself" is about making people feel better. And I don't particularly care if it is just a "stranger" that I'm making feel beter.

The post was no doubt made in anger, but it very dissapointing to read. It is not a post that I personally could ever have written, no matter how angry I was, because the heart of it goes against who I am. I couldn't really care less about age verification, but I do not ever want to forget that there is a human being behind the avatar, and the experiences we share, even if just role played, nonetheless can be very, very real.

Everyone out there is more than "just" an avatar.