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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Fear of SL London Becoming a Police State

We all know that being a greeter at a place where new people arrive into Second Life is a heck of a job, you need patience and time to explain to the dazed new people who arrive, just exactly what they can expect, as well as giving them handy hints regarding how their avatars work etc. All this and it’s a voluntary thing too, so most greeters are genuine people who want to help others. I realise too that some newbies can be trouble, you always get a few people who step over the line, and the London Team, I thought, had always been very fair with their dealings with them.
I often scout for stories around SL London and drop into the Hyde Park sim to watch how the newbies are getting on. London Team members Seany and Brie spend a great deal of time helping people, as do greeters Clive, Bernadette, Menolly, Boone, Dougal, Elizabetta and Rail and some of the Mentors from other sims too, and I have the utmost respect for them. I try to answer newbies as well, if they approach me, as the greeters are sometimes overloaded with questions.

However, over the last few days the greeting area has become a bit of a place for ‘posers’ talking in ‘voice’ and acting like SL police, and I am afraid this includes a new greeter and his friends. It may be a good idea for greeters to have some sort formal training and guidelines in respect of what they can tell people, as brand new avatars do not need to be loaded up with myths about SL on their arrival, before they even have a grip of the basics.

I had heard previously that SL role players from the vampire sims are discouraged in SL London, and it is such a shame, as they too are customers to the sim, just the same as everyone else. Ok if you have never met a vampire av and he/she sends you a message asking if he can bite you, you may be a bit surprised, but you have the option to say ‘no’. Although SL itself is not a game, vampire 'role playing', just like any other 'role playing' groups in SL, i.e. Gorean sims, Mafia sim, Medieval sims, Combat sims are all games within SL, you have to abide by the rules and regulations set up by the sim owners or groups. If SL London wishes to stop vampires asking people for blood they can carry on what they are doing, by asking them not to ‘role play’ while they are in the sim, but otherwise they should be made welcome to socialise with the London community, just like any other avs. (In fact one Mayfair shop had some lovely Goth clothes, the sort of thing Vampires wear, and we could do with some more of those clothes stores in SL London, the outfits are usually really nicely made too.)

So it was quite amazing to stand there in SL Hyde Park to hear these so called helper's (wearing animal avatar shapes as pictured) total obsession with vampires, as they constantly talked about how dangerous the vampires were and that they took blood without asking (first I’ve heard of that one!). One of them even said an avatar could die from the bites as the vampires gain your SL serial number and get you deleted. Well these serial numbers are no secret and part of the every day information freely available about every avatar. I have no idea how these myths get around, although I had been to one of the meeting areas outside SL London (Ahern meeting area) and heard someone spouting the same nonsense there. Please be sure that only the Lindens can kill your account off and if someone within SL tries some magic trick to cause your avatar harm you can complete an ‘Abuse Report’ and get them banned. You cannot die from being bitten by a vampire!! In fact both Hibiscus and I have both been bitten whilst on our travels, it’s a bit of fun, they give you the vampires bite to wear on your neck as well if you want it, I still have mine in my inventory.

With these people taking over the Help area, the newbies arriving were receiving no help at all, instead of approaching them and asking if they needed assistance, they were too busy showing off, trying to impress people with their quirky ideas. I asked what this obsession with vampires was all about, but they just continued in the same vein (haha sorry about the pun). I pointed out that we need all the traffic we can get in SL London, including vampire avatars. One of them said, to my astonishment, that the amount of traffic into the sims was not important. I told him that to keep the sims viable we needed people to come here, residing, shopping and opening shops to pay rents etc. It got worse because they insisted that Hyde Park was a sim on its own and not part of SL London! I tried to explain that SL London was a mirror image of the real life London and in fact included Knightsbridge, Kensington, Mayfair and Chelsea, but I had to conclude, in the end, that I may as well have been talking to a brick wall. More arrogance I have yet to meet!!

On a better note though, Seany showed me some of his excellent photography at the Help Gateway in Hyde Park today, he has taken pictures of the rest of SL London, if the newbies click the bottom part of the board, they are given a note card with the Landmarks on, so they can zoom off to visit Knightsbridge and the other London areas.
If you want to find out more about the vampire’s Bloodline game in SL, you can visit their website at

I wonder how the new people feel coming into this arena of people trying to impress and dictate instead of helping, I for one would rather get help from the Vampires!!!

P.S I went back to the greeting area again tonight and it is getting like a witch hunt, the new greeter is more concerned with finding vampire groups in people’s profiles, than he is helping people. I also spoke to a very new person who had got himself a job travelling sims and advertising giving away Lindens. He had been thrown out by the greeter and was very hurt, He said they only gave him two seconds before they ejected him. He had also been told that his long black robes were not permissible. I talked to him and explained that they did not allow advertising, he told me ‘They are upsetting many people its like being in the army 50 years ago’ I said that he was very welcome in the London sims and would meet many nice people here. He took off his advertising sign and agreed that he would give it a try. My main worry is that the other greeters and London Team may inadvertently be influenced by this high handedness and turn many new and older avatars away. I was shocked at what I heard there tonight.


Anonymous said...

As an avi who regularly visits SL London, I have been in the Hyde Park sim and I too have watched the greeters "working". I thought it was a sim where people first joining SL were supposed to get help, but the past few days, I have yet to see certain new greeters actually being helpful, but instead, showing off as you said in your blog, Janey.

I truly hope the London Directors and Managers take a good look at who they have on their Greeter and Mentor team to see if certain people are really appropriate for the position, because the "help" some people are providing is not really helpful to new avis coming into SL...

Anonymous said...

The greeters seem ok. Of course when you see them carrying their copies of "Mein Kampf" it makes you a little suspicious.

A little power in the wrong hands certainly couldn't cause problems could it?

- Drax