Thursday, July 29, 2010

Double Dips

I am wrong. I suspect I may even be dead wrong but I cannot help it. It just doesn't seem right to me and I have to say something. If I keep this bottled up inside me I am sure to explode like some hapless alien meeting the business end of a plasma cannon. That isn’t the ending I want. I want to die mostly intact so I am going to just say it and hope for the best.

Forcing your customers to pay twice for an asset is wrong! I don't care what you say. It is wrong. The funny thing is, if my shop actually had sales, I would be doing the same thing. Yesterday at least. Today I turn over a new leaf. From this moment forward, I will never ask a customer who has purchased one of my products to again purchase it on a new grid.

Crap!! What did I just say? Am I Mad? I think I just shot myself in the foot, financially speaking. Isn't it common practice to double dip when your customers change grids? Don't I reserve the right to decide when and where the content I have created is use? Some might even say I should even be able to control how it is used. So why not charge my customers twice for the same asset? After all, if the market doesn't like it, it can go shop someplace else damn it! Unless of course I am the only supplier. Then they have to play by my rules. My sandbox, my rules!

When the majority acts in one way, we tend to accept it. There is science behind group think and we have some understanding as to why we demonstrate an inability to personalize large numbers. But even at the extreme, when those numbers reflect horror as in the case of Darfur, we quietly follow the pack. We often know the majority's inaction or lack of outrage is wrong yet we cannot muster a voice against the wrong doing.

Pay twice for that asset if you must, rationalize it anyway you need too as well, but in doing so just for a second, try to remember your double purchase is supporting what I believe to be an injustice, albeit a tiny one in the big scheme of things.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Altruism is Dead, Long Live Altruism

Many a refugee from other grids, myself among them, have found a home here in Inworldz. While we are all individuals with unique experiences, I have noticed a common thread running though the community. A thread which intrigues me to no end. I am speaking of the general altruistic nature of many individual residents of Inworldz, and of the community as a whole.

Anyone who comes to know me realizes quickly that I am a cynic by nature. After all, we are all products of our environments and wear our spots, like it or not. So when I ran into Scotsgraymouser Janus on my second day in Inworldz, I wasn't sure how to take her. She was warm and good natured, as most acquaintances are upon first contact, so this didn't alarm me- but what followed did.

Having spoken to me for all of 15 minutes, mouser, as I have come to refer to Scotsgraymouser as, offered me unlimited access to her sim with full rights to build whatever tickled my fancy. Naturally, I hesitated while I tried to find her angle, but I came up empty handed. For the life of me, I could not figure out what mouser's game was, nor could I see the catch that would indebt me to her. So I uncharacteristically took a chance and agreed to follow her to her sim, Equilibrium.

It was at Equilibrium where I was given the time, space, and most importantly, the freedom to discover my path in Inworldz. Mouser quickly set me up on a floating island and then simply left me to my devices. That is it. I remember still questioning mouser's motives when she left me standing on that floating island. It wasn't until I watched her mentoring at the welcome center and had several brief exchanges with her that I realized her true motivations. Mouser subscribes to an alien, to me at least, notion of altruism. Mouser asked for nothing and expected the same. Later when I asked why she does what she does, she didn't answer me directly but I understood. She does this because she enjoys people, enjoys Inworldz, enjoys art and artists, enjoys herself, and enjoys helping to bring things to life.

Mouser is but one of many residents of Inworldz who share these common traits, a common thread of altruism. Spend a few hours in Inworldz and you will see what I am talking about. It is evident from the moment you first rez in Inworldz, and are greeted not by opportunists, but by nurturing volunteers. Take it from a cynical papa-grid refugee, Altruism is Dead, Long Live Altruism.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inworldz, is it for you?

It's just come to light that owner of Major Islands, Scott Major, recently closed shop and pulled out of IW. According to the forums, his original plan was to wait until the last renters paid period was over but, unfortunately for the renters, it did not work that way. He closed down his sim, returned the objects to their owners, and scooted on out of IW.

Why did this happen? Frustration is the only answer. Why was he frustrated enough to completely screw over his residents, who in turn are also residents of IW? Because IW is a pioneer world and crap happens. Sometimes it happens daily and often to the same cluster of sims. The founders try their hardest to keep up with the bugs, they work hard and fix things as they go along. But it's not an overnight process. They've never hidden that IW is a pioneer world. It's on the forums about sims crashing and needing restarts. It's on the forums when things break or lag is extremely high. Not only are the shoutouts for help there, but the founders themselves touching base with users who are having the issues.

Anyone who decides to buy an entire sim (or even rent a parcel) needs to remember that Inworldz is a pioneer world. A person cannot own a sim in the papa grid, come to Inworldz, and think it's going to work the same exact way. It won't. Looks are deceiving and because we look so much like papa grid, we often forget the behavior is much different. A person needs patience and understanding when working and playing Inworldz. If you can't handle it, if you don't have the patience or the ability to simply log off when your level of annoyance starts to overwhelm you, then maybe Inworldz isn't right for you......yet.

Be a responsible person and remember to do your research into a grid to make sure it's a good fit for you. That you're ready to take on a task that can make you pull your hair out and pound your fist on your desk sometimes.

Inworldz has come very far but they do have a ways to go so do your research before buying. What we don't need here is people who decide to pull their toys and run home with no care that they left a whole bunch of people stranded and scrambling.

Thoughts on Content Theft

Content Theft, Content Theft, Content Theft...say it three times and it must be true. At least that is the theory of some. If they say it, they claim it, they insist upon it, then it must be true. Right?

One of the larger issues surrounding IW for some people isn't the grid maintenance, it's not the lack of Truth hair or the fact that the prims are so much more tiny or larger then papa grid. It's not the sims that crash, sometimes not being able to figure out the whys behind the crash for a few days. And it's definitely not the ever loving techno-color bug that makes avatars turn into sparkling rainbows.

It's the content theft.

Now, before we go any further and you sit there going "WE DON'T HAVE CONTENT THEFT IN IW!" you may want to take a few deep breaths and read just a bit further. You might even enjoy this post. Although, then again...maybe you won't. Time will tell. It's a long post, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee and get comfy, cause here goes...

It's not an uncommon occurrence to sit in the IW coffee shop, welcoming new residents and a freshly minted person suddenly starts yelling from the freebie area "you stole this stuff!" at anyone willing to listen. These particular people are fond of traveling to different stores and laying into any poor soul who happens to be there claiming they are thieves and will be reported. Sometimes it's after they have de-ruthed themselves into the supposedly stolen content and other times it's done in ruth form. The more interesting part is when they say "That belly button on that skin looks like 'x' skin on papa grid. It's stolen! But I'm not telling...hey anything for good content."

Face palm much?

Before I get into whether or not IW has content theft, I would like lay down a few ground rules for content theft police people, here after referred to as CTPP. Please, if you wish to be taken seriously, at the very least don't use capital letters and shout at anyone. You have seriouz bizness and shouting gets you nowhere. Second, as a content creator myself, I would be mortified if those who liked my products started randomly accusing people based on leaf texture or belly buttons or any other likeness. By all means, drop a note card on the creator with your suspicions and let the creator handle it. I heard a story once where information was dropped on a creator in the papa grid about their alt in IW. You never know who is where and what name they are using. It's always best to keep things on the low lest you embarrass yourself or worse...give a bad name to the content creator you love so much by bad-mouthing their alt.

Now for the Big Question: Does IW have content theft. Let me ask you this...does any virtual world have content theft? If I answer no, would I be lying to you? If I answer yes, would I have a residents of the world after me for lying to you? If I say I don't know...would I be speaking the truth?

I'm going with the last this point...I really don't know. IW has had content issues in the past and the founders have done take downs. They've had drama surrounding some content (due to refusing to take it down until alleged original creator came forward) and then took it down. As to whether they currently have stolen items on their grid...I really can't answer that. You can wave an object in front of my face and scream at me "EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS 'enter x creator here'!" stomp your feet and demand that I accept it's content theft. The only response you're probably going to get is a blank stare as I tell you to contact the original creator so they can handle the issue properly. Probably because other then a few select creators on the papa grid, I really won't know one from another just because you do and I'm not going to assume others are as knowledgeable about content as you are.

Inworldz takes content theft very seriously. If you suspect someone has stolen from another, please do the right thing and contact who you believe to be the original creator. Proper DMCAs must be filed in order to have a take down completed (rightfully so) and if something has not been taken down, then don't always assume the worst. Creators have no obligation to inform you of their alts, if the item was really theirs or just a similar product to one they make. It is not up to CTPP to decide if something is stolen or not and often, the more you scream about it, blog about it, and throw tantrums about it...the more horrible you look and less seriously you are taken by others. It also makes a mockery of real content theft and makes it that much harder for creators to be taken seriously when true theft actually occurs.

Remember, Inworldz does not want stolen stuff on the grid any more then you do. Please handle the matter like the adults we are supposed to be and do the right thing by reporting it to the original creator. Anything else is immature and lacking of manners with no real accomplishments towards ending content theft.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do No Harm!

I logged in tonight to find two of my scripted objects were returned to me by the land manager where I live. The manager tells me that the scripts were killing the sim, so she had to return them. Fair enough. I don't want to be the cause of pain. Now comes the rub. The scripts in the troublesome objects have been running on this sim for just over 2 weeks without an issue. Today, there is an issue. Today they have suddenly become sim killers. What went wrong??

I learned that a patch was put into place on the server running the sim I live on. That patch it seems, changed the environment in such a way that my scripts suddenly became hostile to the environment. The result, was that the scripts were now, well on the way to killing the sim before they were returned.

Do No Harm! Had I been selling this object in my shop, they could be spread all over the grid. If that were the case, as this new patch is distributed across the grid, several sims would be choked into submission by my now, rogue script.

Say what you want about papa grid but one thing I know they never do is break existing content. There is no excuse for breaking content. I understand why it may happen, but the lack of due diligence isn't an excuse, it is a problem. A problem, if not addressed, will cripple this growing grid faster than any other problem that comes to mind. So with this in mind, I would like to propose a rule for IW development:

Rule #1: Do Not Break Existing Content - EVER.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


When I first entered into the papa grid, I found my way to a sand box and was promptly welcomed to the world, griefer style. I was shot, dragged, altered, kicked, beat and I think someone even held me up at gun point and demanded I hand over my bling. It was a scary time and I refused to go back to a sandbox with one exception, the Ivory Tower.

Inworldz has a cluster of four sandboxes for users to build their wares if they should need it. So today, I decided to venture back into a sandbox for the first time since my early days on the papa grid. Only this time, I was going to do it Inworldz style. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few people building and even more surprised to not get yelled at when I landed on one of their builds. Even though there wasn't much conversation going and the builders were spread out, it was still a pleasant visit. There were no griefers, no obscenities screamed back and forth and nobody asking me for money or trying to lure me to the darker side of virtual worlds.

Which got me thinking....I've been active in Inworldz since the beginning of April. Not once has someone asked me for money, griefed me directly, or tried any pick up lines. Sure, IW themselves have been griefed and they have had problems with spamming at the coffee shop and possibly other issues that tend to plague virtual worlds; unless the founders step in and put a firm foot down. However, it's a pleasant surprise to think back and not remember one single time that I was directly harassed in ways that are all to familiar on the papa grid anytime someone leaves their private parcel.

If your looking for a peaceful place to build, the Inworldz Sandboxes are easy to find the map by typing Inworldz Sandbox then teleporting over to begin your building adventure.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Diversity, it's a beautiful thing...

When taking into consideration that Inworldz, up until about two months ago, was a relatively small community with around 1k users, the growth that has occurred is amazing. They are currently sitting at around 7k users. Sure, it's still small in comparison with papa grid and some of those 7k are alts, name savers, or people that were just not ready for IW and the pioneer spirit that requires patience and even more patience at times. Because of the small original community within IW and the needs/wants of the community at that time, diversity was minimal. There may have been a few furry avatars available or you could be a human.

However, things...they are a-changing in IW with more and more content creators making their way into our once small community. They are bringing changes, concerns, and products that they hope the masses will enjoy and purchase. Others are bringing their expertise at building wonderful sims for the community to explore. There is no cost to explore the sims as they have been created out of kindness and add a much needed level of diversity to the world.

One community, Raglan Shire, appears to have the patience, the enjoyment of pioneering, and the diversity to bring in a whole new level of user experience. I've always been familiar with tinies and own a few on the papa grid, but never heard of this amazing community until they burst into Inworldz full blast and started to create a home for their tiny friends. Ok, maybe it wasn't so dramatic that they burst in, but they are Inworldz, offering an amazing delightful sim full of whimsy and fun for exploring.

The sim is centered around a huge magical tree that sits in the center with teleporters to take you to the many different areas. I met up with Zauber, a tiny dragon, by the ship and he explained that it took about two weeks to build as much as they have. By appearances, they do have a bit more to go, but watching the progress is one of the best things about seeing new sims come online. The diversity that Raglan Shire is bringing into the community has urged others to create tinies. Some for free and others at a cost, all are well done and a welcome addition to Inworldz.

It's the special touches like creating a world for tinies so they have some place to go that makes Inworldz continue on it's path of supporting creators and their endeavors to use their imaginations to create a wonderful world in which we can live and play.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I was sitting outside my local Starbucks slowly sipping a Grande Chai. A truck drove by. A big truck actually. A really big truck, which is sort of unusual for the neighborhood I live in. It was a Walmart truck. Big blue letters screaming Walmart. It stopped at a traffic light, so I got to stare at it for a moment and that is all it took. My mind flooded with images.

I saw a big box outlet coming to town. No name on it mind you, it was a day dream and mine seldom have much detail. You know the story, mom-and-pop operators get a stick, and everyone else gets cheap crap. And just like all the stories you ever heard, everyone in town was excited about the big box's arrival, until they realized the hidden ugliness that comes with the big box.

Some of my neighbors enthusiastically helped draw the attention of the big box outlet. They made lots of noise about how they wished they had more choices in what products they got to buy. Others worked day and night to ready the ground, that it would be ever so easy for the big box to set up. Still others started to save their pennies, so they could be the first to burst though the doors when the big box finally opened its doors. With time, the big box heard their cries, looked at how accommodating the community and its leadership was, and decided to come to town.

I fear this scenario is unfolding in IW. We have wish lists in the forums, people pointing out what would make IW a more user friendly place, and we are growing in numbers. All of this is natural and I do not find fault in any of it. My only concern is that collectively, these activities sing a very sweet song. A song only the big box operators on papa grid can hear. Once enchanted, they will come, and they will come in droves.

Some will welcome the big guys with open arms while others will feel the influx is turning IW into an extension of papa grid. It doesn't really matter. Once the big guys show up, the little guy will get the stick once again.