Just what is it that we want to do?

The answer to that is fairly straightforward – no need to formulate complicated transitional demands, or debate maximum and minimum programmes. We only need to think about the things that SL residents (or SL bloggers at any rate) are always moaning about.

A major gripe is the Lindens’ propensity to change fundamental aspects of the resident experience without involving the user base in the decision process, or at best engaging in some token consultation exercise. A second, and not unrelated, complaint is the belief that the Lab privileges some residents and businesses over everyone else, by uneven application of the Terms of Service, or commercial favouritism, aggravated by their reluctance to adequately regulate commercial relations between residents, most contentiously in the realm of intellectual property rights.

The steps needed to resolve these issues broadly correspond to two features usually associated with western liberal democracy; executive accountability and the rule of law. We can therefore formulate two central demands that, one might expect, would be supported by a majority of SL residents.

  1. An elected forum with the power of veto over major changes in Second Life.
  2. A robust judicial system operating independently of Linden Lab.

Obviously some of the finer details, like suffrage, will have to be worked out, but I think the basic concepts are enough to get the SL democracy ball rolling.

And when we’re done? Then we’ll get loaded.

2 Responses to Just what is it that we want to do?

  1. According to your previous post, I would be one of the Bourgeoisie class of residents in Second Life. In regards to this post, things have changed quite a bit since I came into Second Life three years ago. I would be the first to admit that I am not always happy with the rules that the Lindens impose on us. But I have never kidded myself that there is anything democratic about being in Second Life. Nor is there ever going to be. Linden Lab is a privately owned company. They make the rules and have the right to do so. If we don’t like it we can leave. It’s harsh but it’s reality. How much you pay them each month or what you may contribute to the community as a whole has no bearing on the fact that it’s still their “world” to rule as they please. We cannot, or will we ever be able to, control their decisions. To think otherwise is to delude ones’ self. I for one chose to play in their world. Therefore I play by their rules. When I get tired of it I’ll go to someone else’s world. And play by their rules! {:o)

    • johnny says:

      The “rules” that operate in a community like Second Life don’t arrive pre-formed on tablets of stone, but develop from the interaction residents have with each other and with the authorities. Like any other social contract the laws and customs of SL are in a constant state of flux, and depend on the power differentials between the various players.

      At the moment the Lab is all-powerful because the residents are disorganised. If we were united in a common purpose it would be a different story.

      You don’t have to be a hard-core communist to believe in the concept of consumer power. The Lindens are nothing without their customers, and if we get our act together we can make them realise that.

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