The Role of Lindens in Agni - Second Life's Feedback Dilemma

I've seen more and more people, mainly of James Wagner Au's readers (of which I am one of them) complain that the Lindens don't do enough to get user feedback. I'm not surprised as to why people are, as I've always seen Linden Lab as the group that comes out of the woodwork every now and again, a Minarchical (as in Minarchy) organization whose domain of Terra Agni, Second Life - for those not used to my customs of referring to the platform - usually is busy at work improving things on the platform and handling administration and economy.

It's weird to hear me refer to the lindens as a Minarchy when it comes to the governance of Agni, as you'd assume at first glance that they'd be your run of the mill corporate government that administrates with a iron fist, which, unless you're engaging in Ageplay or fraud, they don't.

Yes, they're a part of every part of life in Agni, but the thing is, it feels as if the Lindens have nothing to do with the process except in the most blunt ways, such as administrative and maintenance actions, like bans and rolling restarts of the simulators that make up the greater grid.

The marketplace, the map, the land system, the Lindex.. they all feel as if they're.. for lack of a better word - hands-off. Yes, Linden Lab will adjust the economy on occasion, and the marketplace is moderated actively, but the Lindens still feel as if they're a mile away doing something related to viewer development rather than doing that in the daily perception of their presence, at least to me.

The recent changes to the platform's premium prices and simulator prices does challenge this, yes, as I personally am in a mixed position.

Some say that the Lindens need to be more present in SL. I do have to agree, but not in a administrative capacity. Linden Lab I believe, gives landowners and residents the proper tools and resources needed to counter griefing and other nuisances, whilst dealing appropriately with more egregious TOS violators. Linden Lab, especially being in the PC capital of the world, San Francisco, walks the perfect line betwixt authoritarian and anarchy in their administration of Terra Agni.

I am reminded of the 2016 elections, where emotions and politics were rampant in the United States, and in parts of Agni thereby. I am reminded of a group of residents who came out in support of Trump, promoting him and having town halls in the sim they owned - Linden Lab held no objections, and rightfully so, as regardless of your opinion of Trump, in Terra Agni, unrestricted expression of beliefs is vital to a healthy community.

Of course, the (ACTUAL) Nazis and general unfavorables, outside of what I believe to be SL's Overton Window, the Lindens treat them appropriately with administrative action. Obviously, debate about such things is not prohibited, but the presence of Nazi / White Supremacist materiel on display outside of a solely historical means (Like a virtual museum dedicated to the Holocaust, or to WW2, for instance), is bound to raise the ire of residents and lindens alike.

I am reminded of the early days of GrunSolutions, the organization I had ran in SL and elsewhere before shuttering it in 2018. Operating out of Squire's Gate, I had been witness to people calling out one of my contemporaries - a fellow owner of a hangar at the airport - for owning aircraft with Nazi roundels and the sort adorned on it. Believing it to be out of historical accuracy and not of an actual support of the Nazis, I defended him, being the staunch defender of freedom of expression that I am.

It ended up with me getting a message from the owner of White Star airfield at the time, Crim Mip, forgot his name, going somewhat roughly like this.

"You have been banned from White Star Airfield. People like you are not welcome in this community."

I had been labeled a Nazi by a someone who didn't even understand that I was acting in defense of someone who I had, in genuine belief, only was interested in historical accuracy and German WW2 memorabilia, and not some actual Nazi.

I was unbanned a while ago without a word, however, I believe it has to do with Crim having surrendered White Star to another user, and thereby, I assume the new owner had purged the ban list, as I'm able to go to SLWS with no restrictions.

Note, that the man I defended, nor me, as far as I am aware for the former, were never banned by the Lindens. Social discourse ran its' course, and landowners and group owners, be it on legitimate grounds or no, took action.

This laisez-faire approach to SL in most situations is what gives me respect for Linden Lab, when most people bitch them out for every little thing. (Me included, but most of the time it's out of my usual angry humor than actual full-fledged hostility)

However, people believe that the Lindens should be more present in Agni. I do agree to an extent. Having lindens pop into the various major infohubs and LL-operated sandbox and rez areas throughout SL would be a good thing - mingle with residents, talk to them, get to know their thoughts. I don't believe however, that the Lindens should be forced to do this as some people suggested.

If I were forced to clock several hours a week active in SL, I'd personally grow tired pretty fast and find it more of a job than something I appreciate. My suggestion is for Ebbe and the LL head honchos to give the other Lindens incentives to do this of their own volition, rather than make it a requisite for employment.

The Lindens should be more present in SL casually, talking with residents and meeting with them, discussing the platform and their feedback on it. While I don't feel it a neccesity for the Lindens to commit to, I do feel that it would help public perception of Linden Lab in the long run.


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