Thursday, March 12, 2009
Down with Adult Content!!!
Today, Linden Labs released their plans to address the issue of "adult content" in world. Three major steps make up this plan and include moving adult content to one area on the grid, creating a mechanism in search to filter out adult content, and the idea of toying with age verification for adult content access which may or may not include particularly bloody (or particularly violent) games.
Several bloggers have commented on this topic but two SL heavy hitters stand out to me: Nexeus Fatale and Crap Mariner.
Let me make this clear: I object!
I find it frustrating that people "need" someone to censor their behaviors. I have been in SL for a long while (two years in April) and never once have I voluntarily set foot inside a sex palace or any other place of "adult" content. (I must admit however that I was once sim hopping and accidentally landed in a Gorean sim and I also, at one point, stumbled into a rather risque position while shopping by sitting on a shower pose ball.) Despite these occurrences, for nearly two years I have self censored my travels and avoided all things "sex". I also firmly believe that while I may have an opinion about such things, not everyone agrees. Forcing my standards on another is disrespectful of their soul and right to make decisions and in no way inspires "better" behavior (as I see it). In fact, it instills in people resentment which often leads to more anger and more less desirable behaviors. Again, my personal opinion, one I realize in which a lot of people will disagree. They are entitled to their own and I respect their right to have it. (I just hope it is well thought out!)
Nexeus makes two excellent points about this: what exactly is "adult content" and what about privacy? LL has stated that only 2-4% of content on the mainland is classified as "adult". This is the content which we are discussing, not "mature" and not "PG" rated entities. I applaud efforts to reorganize certain content to one grid. And I am delighted that I might be able to soon filter my searches to keep out what I consider to be smut. I am also broken hearted when I think that theoretically, without verification, I would be unable to visit in the future many art galleries, sculpture gardens and other artistic expressions depending on how LL chooses to apply the new regs.
Censoring anything, which the age verification regulation will do, is a slippery slope. Make one change "for the good of all" (or to "protect" all or to "help" all) and the next change towards stricter rules is accomplished with much more ease and much less resistance. History tells us this is how fascism begins - making changes to "protect" us from ourselves and supposedly, others. It is because of this reason that I have VERY mixed feelings about the new verification standard.
Luckily LL is welcoming your two cents. Visit Upcoming Changes for Adult Content to weigh in.