Friday, July 3, 2009

Zoo-Bar-be-Zindra, Zip-a-Dee-Ay

The Continent of Dildos and Heaving Bazooms (© and ® me, yada yada) has claimed its first victim in my Second Life: after real life kept me out of SL for a couple days, I logged back in to find that Chaddington Boomhauer & Shale Nightfire's Zoo La La, home of Zoo Bar and the much-loved weekly Shotgun Trivia game, was being packed up and shipped off to Zindra, Second Life's new continent exclusively for adult content.

The gutted shell of the floating Zoo Bar in Ishel Down.

I guess I should have told Chadd & Shale that if they wanted to ban me from the parcel, they could just use the access controls—there was no need to run off to a whole new continent! I had no idea I inspired that kind of fear in people. (Kidding!)

Zoo had kind of become a touchstone for me in Second Life: I stumbled into Chadd & Shale's weekly Shotgun Trivia event shortly after starting in SL, and being "noticed" there was the precipitating reason for starting this Lou's Clues blog in the first place. For folks who don't know Chadd & Shale, they are key figures in the Second Life trivia scene—check out the two part (one and two!) interview Lette Ponnier did with them on her Virtual Trivia blog. But they're so much more than trivia. Chadd is famous (infamous?) as much for his sharp wit, impish whimsy, and enthusiasm as well as for his elaborate duck avatars—I made Chadd a badge!—although I've also seen Chadd as a raven, dragon, wolf, strange little anime characters, and even a human! And it's no small compliment that I refer to Shale as the brains of the outfit—tall, elegant, with way-cool hair, often a strange shade of grey or turquoise—I'm pretty sure Shale built most of Zoo, and her style, grace, and often hilarious demeanor probably defined the place for me more than anything else—I recently had a long conversation with Shale while on Zoo's little patch of shoreline watching the sun come up…and at some point I noticed I was my usual fashion disaster, and Shale's avatar was a 2m tall line drawing of a stick figure. I laughed until my sides hurt!

Chadd has a habit of randomly giving me wacky things (what immediately springs to mind? A gun, a clown nose, and an afro! Oh, and a landmark to the pits of hell!), I'd pepper Shale with questions about building and land (and Shale tried to help track me down when I was a disconnected ghost avatar). Every once in a while I'll get a random teleport offer from Chadd—one was to see a spectacular fireworks display being put on by New Citizens Incorporated (NCI) in celebration of an anniversary; one was to attend a Linden's office hours in about the transition to the new Adult Continent, where many residents—including Chadd—were protesting its creation. For all the good that did: the Lindens' minds were already made up.

Chadd & Shale have become central figures in my Second Life experience—they're smart, funny, way patient, and infinitely more knowledgeable than me…and they both kick my butt at trivia, which just makes them that much cooler.

All that was left: a floor, some stairs, and a Zoo La La sign.

Looking back, Zoo Bar's official opening in late 2008 was probably my first real non-trivia social event in Second Life—I even expanded my wardrobe to attend…and it was also the occasion for the first commission piece I ever built. Chadd & Shale made a real effort to set up Zoo Bar as a hang out for their friends and acquaintances, even creating an area where "homeless" regulars could set as their default location for logging in or emergency teleports—I certainly took advantage of that, and Zoo Bar became my de facto rez point whenever I logged out, logged in, or just needed somewhere to go. You never quite knew what you might find at Zoo…I recently stumbled into the making of a music video, was bodily consumed by a giant spider Shale had let take up residence over the patio…and once was greeted by the sight of random ride-able "newbie" mannequins flying around through the place.

I don't really know why Chadd & Shale have decided to move Zoo Bar to the Zindra: I don't think anything I saw at Zoo would have qualified as "adult" under Linden Lab's new content regime. I suspect the move has to do with avoiding headaches: on Zindra, Second Life residents will be able to do pretty much anything they want without fear of repercussions or being reported for somehow violating terms of service or offending someone. Plus, everyone on Zindra will be verified with Linden Labs (or will have at least lied their way through the Lindens' age verification system), meaning Zindra will be less prone to griefers and disruption than other portions of the Second Life grid. That just means fewer headaches for everyone—or, at least, everyone who can go to Zindra.

I wish Chadd & Shale and all the Zoo regulars well in their new home, and I hope to see you all around the grid!
[Just a quick note, 04-Jul-2009: I'll fix typos and formatting glitches and maybe add links to these entries after I've posted, but I don't go back and try to edit history: I wrote what I wrote and I'll live with it. So I'm not changing anything above about Zoo's move to Zindra; however, please click through to the comments to see what Chadd had to say about the move. First-party information beats my speculation any day.]

10 comments:

  1. Wow, go Chadd and Shale! Glad I made my video when I did, it's an odd little bit of the old Zoo bar. I'm sure the new Zindra one will be just as cool, of course. But wow... no more Ishel Down? Crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We're going to re-enable the home spot soon, just trying to figure out where to put it. Shale had to resize the bar and I had to move a bunch of sky stuff around because the land isn't square like the old spot. For our group members, we hope everyone will still want to come to our events. It is unfortunate that not everyone will want to come to the new bar, but we made our decision in order to act responsibly based on what made the most sense for our content. For trivia events - they won't change at all, you won't be required to be Xcite compatible to answer questions ;)

    Why did we move? My store's adult items, some activities at non-trivia events that are specifically in the new TOS , and one of the classes we put on is sexually explicit. If we didn't list our parcel in classifieds we might be okay but then we would never show up to anybody searching. To make it worse we'd always be wondering if things were okay - A few times lately we questioned if some of our graphical questions would qualify as adult because they had realistic nudity. We have a backlog of unused ones that are now A-okay :) With a bunch of uncertainty and somewhat grey definitions it became apparent to us that “Adult” is what we thought “Mature” was.

    While for some time we were averse to moving to Zindra, somewhere in the process of reading LL blogs, going to office hours and then seeing the new TOS, it became apparent that we could be forced to move. Despite the possibility of lag-inducing neighbours, no mountain, and a loss of group members we decided we would apply.

    There are some misconceptions about Zindra, you touched on some of them in your old post too;

    Everything in Zindra is the same as what's already in the rest of the grid. Okay, it is super-concentrated right now ;) , but it's the same stuff you can find outside Zindra. Maybe in six months it will all be moved here, but right now you don't need to go to Zindra to find it.

    One key thing to visitors - you can't do anything you want in Zindra. The rules are still basically the same as other mainland, the TOS applies. And if you disobey the landowners rules or do things generally qualifying an AR, you'll get the AR or ejection.

    The last one – griefers. I don't think they're going to verify their alts with their real identification. In fact I am beginning to believe due to the concentration of titilating content it may actually attract them more.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My, oh my, what a wonderful day [Not!]

    I guess this hobo who rarely shows up anyway, will simply show up no more.

    *sniff* Good luck, ZooLaLa.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Chadd!

    I have absolutely no doubt Zoo Bar/Zoo La La's move to Zindra was carefully considered, nor do I think the move was undertaken lightly or frivolously. Until reading Chadd's comment here, I had no idea Chadd had a store: there was mention in an announcement about the move to Zindra, and all I could think was, "Stores? What stores?" At some point I'm sure I wandered the highs and lows of Zoo and never saw stores, but that means nothing; I never saw anything at Zoo that could be deemed adult, either, and I had no idea there were classes until Shale mentioned it in the profile on Lette's Virtual Trivia blog—and that comment remains the sum of my knowledge. It's a measure of my own SL experience that I had to look up what "Xcite compatible" might mean.

    Bottom line: Chadd and Shale are far more in-the-loop than me about Zindra, Linden Lab's terms of service, and especially what it means for Zoo—I'm just a little avatar who wandered through sometimes. The move just hit me as a surprise: I'm out of SL for a few days and >poof!< Zoo Bar is gutted and gone. I'm sad to see it leave Ishel Down and that Zoo won't be part of my SL experience anymore. But I will be among Chadd & Shale's biggest (OK, most ardent—I'm still short!) fans and advocates until I rez my last pixel. In all seriousness: I've benefitted from your generosity, smarts, and presence more than I'll ever be able to repay. Thank you.

    Zindra misconceptions: the grid is rife with them. To the best of my knowledge parcel owners still control their land, same as always, and things that violate Linden Lab's terms of service are still abuse-reportable, same as always—so no "ageplay" even on the Adult Continent between verified adults, for instance. On the griefer thing, only time will tell whether either of us is right. I personally hope we're both wrong. :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have been to the new Zoo Bar now, and I feel obliged to boast that I beat Thornton at chess there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I dunno, Lou. Part of being an adult is having the option to be non-PG. Whether you choose to act on that or not is totally up to you, of course, but the whole point of having mature and adult areas is to simply allow people the option to express themselves. Chadd and Shale's move is a perfect example of this -- they're not running a pixel porn ring or really doing much heaving or bazooming at all (well, maybe the duck bazooms just a little). They're simply relocating because a few of the things they do/sell/talk about wouldn't be appropriate at a child's birthday party. Even with those innocent ears of yours, I suspect you'll be bored off your ass if your SL becomes really and truly confined to what the Lindens are defining as PG -- not to mention the fact that you won't be able to hang with certain good friends and play trivia (a generally dildo-free pastime, Chaos excepted) at places like the Zoo Bar. Missing out on quality stuff with quality people just because it's on an adult continent seems kinda silly, especially since you aren't an alt or a griefer or a teenager with any need to conceal your age/identity. We are adults. Don't fear the Zindra.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mako: I totally agree adults in SL should be able to do, say, and sell things that are non-PG and that wouldn't be appropriate at a kid's birthday party—and I'll back that up 100%. I'll miss Zoo, but I don't doubt Chadd & Shale are going the right thing.

    I don't "fear the Zindra," but here's the thing: most of what the Lindens say they *intend* for Zindra to support are exactly the sort of things that make me bored off my ass in Second Life. I have pretty much zero interest in "expressly sexually themed content, spaces, or activities," photorealistic nudity, or intense violence—and that is, to the letter, what Zindra is about. What the Lindens have *also* created, however, is a situation where I—and people in the same non-verified boat as me—*are* explicitly being excluded from what you aptly describe as quality stuff that have no adult content. Leaving aside the (significant) issue of how Second Life's adult verification works, by verifying as an adult I am implicitly saying, "Why yes, I'm here for expressly sexual content, photorealistic nudity, and/or extreme violence." Guess what? I'm not.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow - I didn't know Chad and Shale moved - so thanks for the info. I don't really get to go to Zoo Bar because of a conflict in times, but it will be interesting to see how the first 'Adult' trivia event gets on. (And I use the word 'Adult' not because it is - but because it's moved) I also didn't know Chad ran a shop - lm please Chad;)

    I am one person who will be able to get to the adult continent. Not because I want to surround myself with all kinds of sexual perversion(I don't?) but because I was curious one day after reading the forum, and decided to see how easy it was to age verify. Plus, I am an adult, so why not prove it. Payment info on file and regularly used apparently doesn't count, but I still found it easy to do. We all know there are under 18s lurking around, and at least I know i've done my bit to prove that, even though I act like a big kid, I'm not.

    The problem for landowners has always been 'where's the fine line to cross' between adult and mature, and I'm sure the decision for most of them to move the Zindra hasn't been easy.

    I also know how difficult it is for some people to prove to LL that they are old enough to be here, and that in itself needs to be looked at too. For Zindra to work, those who are here need to be able to verify their age a little easier. Payment info on file and Used, apparently should be enough (Particularly if you use Paypal in the UK as you've already proved you're over 18), but it isn't. And age verification doesn't necessarily mean you want to be part of something crude - it simply means (or in my opinion anyway) that you're saying I'm an adult dammit so treat me like one! SOmething which LL seem very reluctant to do.

    I must remember to go back to see what Zindra's like too - when I went for a peak, I landed in the sea and there was just odd bits of empty land.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ...by verifying as an adult I am implicitly saying, "Why yes, I'm here for expressly sexual content, photorealistic nudity, and/or extreme violence." Guess what? I'm not...

    I'm not either. And I disagree with you here, Lou. I think there is a key difference. By verifying, I'm saying, "Why yes, I'm mature enough to encounter expressly sexual content, photorealistic nudity, and/or extreme violence." (Things you see every day in RL on the news, in movies, in common advertising, etc.) As in, I'm an adult, I can handle those things and respond appropriately should they cross my path.

    Determining your individual appropriate response is where personal preference comes into play. One av's neato is another av's nightmare. But the act of verifying should not (and does not, as far as I'm concerned) involve a judgement call about whether an avatar is seeking those things out or even whether or not they enjoy adult content (which happens to bore me also, for the most part). For me, verifying as an adult is simply about being able to come and go as I please. It's about limiting and governing my own SL experience/behavior rather than having Linden Labs do that for me...

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think I see where you're coming from, Mako: I don't know if we disagree so much as express similar sentiments differently. I have no problem with people verifying as adults just to be able to go anywhere they want for whatever reason.

    I still think there's a significant disconnect between the ostensible reasons Linden Labs wants to verify people (controlling access to adult content, etc.) and the reality the regime is creating (lots of non-adult things will apparently only be accessible to verified adults).

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated. You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>. If you'd like to contact me privately, use a blog comment and say you don't want it published.