• 18Jun

    I received an interesting comment from someone last night. He said that his first impression of me, from reading this blog, was that I was an “angry SL pessimist”. You know the type: no matter what happens in SL, they’ll bitch and moan about it.

    Thankfully, he said that further reading had improved his impression, and I explained to him that the reason many of my posts are critical of LL, is because the things that get me riled up enough to write about are often things LL has done which I strongly disagree with. So, my blog only reflects the extremes; the other stuff doesn’t get blogged.

    In an interesting and related occurance, my friend Goldie Katsu tweeted a link to an article by Louis Gray, The Five Stages of Early Adopter Behavior. (You might want to go read it now, or at least skim the bold headings.)

    Gray’s description doesn’t fit me well at all, I think. I never did any promotion to outsiders. I never built up a “following” (I don’t have the personality to be a cult leader). While I’ve had numerous ideas on how to improve things, I only really interacted with the Lindens after the open source client was released and the JIRA set up. All in all, I’m not an attention whore like Gray describes. I just love Second Life with a passion.

    Nevertheless, I paused when reading about the fourth stage, “Sense of Entitlement, Nitpicking and Reduced Use”. Reduced use certainly rings a bell. But do I feel entitled, feeling that SL must be the way I say it should be? Is my complaining just the sign of a disgruntled early adopter who feels neglected?

    Well, maybe, but I don’t think so. The stuff I criticise tends to fall in a specific category: bad (or at least controversial) policy decisions by LL.

    Service outages and such I can deal with. The Grid is a friggin’ huge, complex system, and the Grid Monkeys (an affectionate term) who bang on it, and the Code Monkeys who write it, are but mere mortals. It’s gotta be a tough job, and shit happens.

    I have far less forgiveness of deliberate policy moves which, in my opinion, are harmful to Second Life. I may be a bit disgruntled, but only because I perceive Second Life as being sullied by unwise decisions by the government, LL. What I feel is the same thing that one feels while watching her country decay under incompetent, corrupt, or oppressive rule.

    I’m not an early adopter desperate for attention. I’m not a pessimist who claims at every turn of events that the world is ending. I’m a patriot, and Second Life is my country, my home and native land. [Update: See my comment below about what I mean by "patriot"]

    I’m loyal to it because it’s the best damn idea I’ve seen in a long time, and damned if I’m going to hold my tongue while it’s strengths are cut out one by one in the name of political correctness and corporate relations.

    So you see, my loyalty lies with Second Life, not with Linden Lab. Where I perceive the actions of Linden Lab to be in conflict with the best interests of Second Life, I side with Second Life.

    Posted by Jacek Antonelli @ 3:31 am

10 Responses

  • Loaf Says:

    Never seen you as a pessimist, more a voice of the people :)

    And I agree, as a fellow techie, I understand the complexity of SL and have total sympathy for the guys who are probably having sleepless nights just trying to keep it running. But if not for voicing our indignation at the political chances made to SL, we will end up being restricted so much that the spirit of SL is lost.

    So keep up the passionate ranting, wouldn’t be the same without it!

  • Gwyneth Llewelyn Says:

    Bravo, Jacek, this is definitely an outstanding article, and exactly my feelings too but I should add that Louis Gray, no matter how interesting his “five stages” are, starts from a basic assumption: early adopters come from that strange social group which borderlines on autist behaviour, short attention span, and the “Bored Generation” (something I write about on my non-SL related blogs, which I will not quote from ;) ).

    What you describe comes from an “older” generation (sorry to call you “old” :-) ), or, if you prefer, a different style of “early adopter”, which has quite different motivations, aims, goals, and makes quite different choices. Or we wouldn’t still be promoting Unix after 40 years. Or the Internet. We would be jumping to what’s shiny and bright. The point is that there is a different style of “early adopters” that become patriots as you say, and once they become that, they’ll stay in that stage. Forever. No matter what happens. But their “patriotism” is towards the product, not the company that developed it. We might not like AT&T/Bell Labs, or Berlekey U, but we’re still using Unix… even if it’s “disguised” as Ubuntu or Mac OS X. :) And the Unix analogy extends further: it was only when “Unix”, as a concept of an operatin system, broke free from the greedy hands of IP lawyers protecting individual lines of code, that it started getting mainstream acceptance.

    Second Life, as a concept and a product, is coming very close to that stage. The client is open source, and there are many derivative products that are better than LL’s offerings. OpenSim is an open source server-based solution, which slowly will acquire all necessary features to be an alternative. Sure, LL will still “control” what SL will “look like” in the years to come; but I feel that Second Life as a concept is escaping LL’s “absolutist control” over time (and they’re not unhappy about it!) and, as you so well pointed out… there is no competition. And, in my mind, there won’t be. I’ll point again to Unix and the Internet: lots of alternatives have been suggested, implemented, even sold. But after 40 years, we’re stuck with both. Granted, neither look like what was developed in 1969, when both were “invented” but we can all look back and see the common elements, philosophy, and concept. They were there in 1969, they’re still here in 2008. The “companies” behind both have long relinquished their absolutist control over either technology.

    Thus, I’d totally second you on your loyalties I’m all for Second Life, Linden Lab or not.

  • Nexeus Fatale Says:

    Thanks for not calling me out, I would rather point the finger at myself and wait for the pies to fly (yes that person was me!). It’s always interesting when I come across new, vocal people in Second Life, and their blogs. I feel there are usually two sides, the pessimistic all hating Second Life users, and the all loving, everything is fine Second Life users. While I may be more towards the later of this subject, rarely is there a sense of objectivity when discussing controversial or related matters in Second Life. Then again, instantly grouping people into one or the other is a mistake that everyone does make (including me and in this instance, my bad!) Many people choose one side or the other and just rail against a company without really thinking the thought through.

    It does bring up an interesting note that you discussed, where do your loyalties lie? And can you be critical from a more “centered” place? I feel that many people love the technology but have certain issues with Linden Lab, many which are unjustified. More importantly some people seem as if they are looking specifically for the issues and that their loyalties don’t lie with the technology or the company but more of an opportunity to promote themselves. Being an older-gen-resident (@Gwyneth :-P) not only have I’ve seen SL grow and change, but you can really see its progress and where it is heading. I don’t think that many of the angry SL pessimists understand that, instead something changes and they get all riled up over nothing.

  • Gwyn’s Home » We’re not fans, we’re patriots Says:

    [...] of drama that deserves its own blog post the insanely clever Jacek Antonelli came out with an impressive post on our relationship with the Second Life world. Picking on Louis Gray’sThe Five Stages Of Early Adopter Behavior, Jacek describes a [...]

  • Rheta Shan Says:

    Im loyal to it because its the best damn idea Ive seen in a long time, and damned if Im going to hold my tongue while its strengths are cut out one by one in the name of political correctness and corporate relations.

    So you see, my loyalty lies with Second Life, not with Linden Lab. Where I perceive the actions of Linden Lab to be in conflict with the best interests of Second Life, I side with Second Life.

    Ive rarely heard or read someone put it so succinctly, and I can only applaud the feeling. Im with you on that, and I was going to say all the way , if, well if there wasnt that word.

    Patriot. Ho hum.

    Le citoyen Chauvin comes to my mind, as do generations of men (somehow always men) in uniform swearing they did it all only for the greater good of the country they dearly love it being everything from furthering drug trade in support of bloodthirsty guerillas to trying to exterminate a sizeable part of the population.

    Im sorry, but I think Ill have to pass on that one

  • Ordinal Malaprop Says:

    Good god, if you are an “angry SL pessimist” what would that make me?

  • Jacek Says:

    To Rheta: I’m glad you applaud the feeling, but saddened that one word would put you off of it so much. But, I can understand how you feel; “patriot” is loaded with many connotations, most of them unpleasant.

    In the Plurk discussion, you brought up Chauvin and Oliver North as being “patriots” in the worst sense — men who kill and perform other unconscionable acts in “the name of their country”. That is not the sense of the word “patriot” that I’m using.

    These days here in the US, “patriotism” is the word the propagandists use for “blind obedience to authority”. People are called patriots for supporting US military aggression, for paying their taxes, and even for putting the right bumper stickers on their giant, fuel-guzzling SUV. That’s most certainly not the sense of the word “patriot” that I’m using.

    The atrocities and inanities that have been committed in the name of “patriotism” are bad, but not because they were done in the love of their country. They’re bad because the actions themselves are harmful, idiotic, etc., regardless of whether they were done for one’s country, one’s ego, or one’s pocket book.

    So, I defy the connotations of blind obedience and thoughtless violence that have latched on to a word which means simply “love and loyalty towards one’s country”.

  • Lunette Says:

    I confess that I am a little uncomfortable with the word “patriot,” too. I am much more inclined to feel love and loyalty toward the ideal(s) upon which a “country” is founded, rather than the country itself.

  • Rheta Shan Says:

    Jacek, ta for the long and thoughtful reply (and as a side note, ta also for finding a good reference to M. Chauvin, seeing my own link is obviously broken). I have heard many attempts to rehabilitate a term the French did, in fact, both invent and take to its excess in less than half a century, but it has never changed the fact that my first thought, when I hear  Allons enfants de la patrie  sung is  Speak for yourself, buster  ;-)

    There are many things I love in my country, both atomic and virtual, but my love for it is something I give like I give my love to my dearest friends (you, for instance) a gift I can take back any time, that has not to be earned (for it is mine to give), but has to be merited in my eyes. It is not something that makes me what I am, or that tells me what to do. Patriotism, to me, is a very bad word for that love, for it implies much it is not, and disdains much it is.

    But please, dont let this disagreement over one word make you think I disagree in essence. I dont. Like you, I have too much love for my adopted country of Second Life to let it to those who think they own it wholesale.

    Hugs and bisous.

  • Laetizia Coronet Says:

    Bravo. Well done. Thank you Gwyn, for pointing me here.

    It reminds me of that US Marines adagium: Long live the Marines, f*** the Corps.