Will the Lindens shut down En Garde?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The latest pronouncement from Linden Labs is that they are going after camping chairs. People who try to artificially inflate their traffic stats by using camping chairs will be warned that they are in violation of the Terms of Service.

This is a continuation of their previous policy banning traffic bots. Traffic bots are almost universally despised as a drain on the server resources, providing no benefit to the population at large. So that move was largely applauded by the residents. Camping chairs, however, have a larger base of supporters. And this move leaves some people wondering—if camping chairs are banned today, will games like En Garde be next?

I don't deny that En Garde can be used as a traffic draw. In fact, I promote it as a key feature. I added features such as Local Scoring and Teams to give people more reasons to visit a particular site. Rez a copy of En Garde on your land, and people will have reason to stick around.

But I don't think anyone has any reason to fear that En Garde will become illegal. And that's because: It's All About Appearances. Linden Lab is concerned with the image of Second Life, above all else.

Consider, for example, the Linden Lab policy on gambling. Many people are confused by the Lindens' confusing and contradictory pronouncements on gambling in Second Life. Casinos across the grid were shut down, and games like poker and slot machines vanished. Yet other games where people can wager and win money, like Zingo, are still thriving, even though winning at Zingo takes arguably less skill than poker.

The policy becomes clear, though, when you think about appearances. How does it look to someone else—someone visiting Second Life for the first time? Everybody knows what a casino looks like. Everybody knows how a slot machine works. You can see poker games twenty-four hours a day on ESPN. "Everybody" knows that's gambling. It looks like gambling. Zingo, on the other hand, isn't well known outside Second Life. If a newbie wanders into a Zingo game, they might be puzzled over it, but nobody is going to be offended.

Now consider camping chairs, and the appearance they give to Second Life. Imagine you're a newbie. Hey, there's a space with lots of green dots! There must be a lot going on there! You teleport, and indeed there's a crowd of people. Some of them are dancing, or sweeping up the place. You greet them, "Hello! Does anyone want to chat?" but they ignore you. Nobody, in fact, seems to be talking at all. After a few more frustrated attempts, you try another crowded place, with the same results. Second Life seems to be full of avatars doing nothing, affording no chance of interacting with another person. Camping chairs make Second Life seem dull and lifeless.

En Garde, to the contrary, is a fantastic spectator sport. I often enjoy just watching people play. And of course, in order to play the game, you have to actually be at your computer. So if some new player is curious about the game, all they have to do is ask. I've had some people tell me that En Garde is the only reason that they still play Second Life. En Garde makes Second Life fun.

So, don't worry about having an En Garde game rezzed on your land. The Lindens aren't going to ban it.



I agree with you that En Garde won't be banned, some will say it's fraudulent traffic but there's nothing fraudulent about someone coming to play En Garde on a parcel advertising En Garde!

Traffic bots and camping bots are a scourge, they don't do anything but Jack should have been more careful with his wording. This really should be a common sense issue, running one or two camping chairs does little harm, running 20 is abusive, running 80 bots in the sky is a disgrace.

Ciaran Laval said...
May 23, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

You could use that same logic on a camping chair palace. If they advertise lots of camping chairs with generous payouts, then it's not fraudulent. But it is unsightly, and it harms the appearance Second Life presents to people.

My point is, while the Lindens are using traffic as an excuse to clean up camping sites, the real reason they want to get rid of them is the same as for the gambling dens. It just looks bad.

Rifkin Habsburg said...
May 23, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

I think you are booth missing the point. People playing En Garde are actually there and there is nothing fraudulent about someone visiting a place to play En Garde on a parcel... (Labeled as a place to play En Garde or not!)

It draws people and the people have fun, chat, interact... nothing even similar to camping chairs, or bots of any kind.

En Garde generates real traffic! (for Sim and SL)

Ben G said...
June 4, 2009 at 11:07 PM  

You mention that En Garde! is a great spectator sport. With as many participants as EG has, I think it deserves its own program on Treet TV (Second Life's virtual TV network). I can already suggest the perfect host of the program in Constantine Paulino, a high-ranking player who is also a comedian.

Anonymous said...
June 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM  

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