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The Fall of Everwind December 28, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary, Everwind.
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The Everwind sims are soon to close for role play. Grace and Slip have announced that running the sims simply aren’t “fun,” anymore.

This is only part of the story, of course. The reasons for the crash are just a little more complicated than that.

The whole problem seems to have started over age verification, something that I considered a non-issue but something that the Princess keeps telling me is a BIG issue. The company that does the age verification, quite simply, sells the information they get—a fact that is apparently quite evident after doing any amount of research about them. She was insisting that I NOT age verify—she did not want the last four digits of my social security number or my driver’s license number going out to the highest bidder. That and the fact that there is no way that the company can REALLY age verify from the information we give them anyway. She feels that the company is running a scam, and she is usually right.

Be that as it may, Grace had announced that age verification was going to start for Everwind in early January. I was not even aware that it was out of beta yet, but again, no matter. The residents of Everwind, both through the forum and through the dropping of notecards on Grace and Slip, were mounting a campaign to stop it. I don’t know what the notecards said, but the forum was very polite but firm, trying to get them to reconsider, offering alternatives, and some people saying that they would stop coming to Everwind if this came through.

Slip, a litigation attorney in RL, was explaining that, since Linden was offering the option, that they HAD to do this to prevent potential lawsuits should teens get into the sims and become morally wounded; a strong argument. And the fact remains that Everwind owned by both Grace and Slip, and they can do whatever they want with it.

What happened was a rant by Grace at the end of the forum thread. I’ll include a snippet here, but let me assure you that I am not taking this out of context:

“I appreciate a great deal that you love and play in Everwind so faithfully. But I have to tell you, while that’s all well and good…I ain’t willing to put myself or the safety of a minor out there on a limb so you can have a place to play. Your threats to leave or your “disappointment” over this decision are not going to score you any points. Everwind has never been about traffic or dwell or income (obviously) or even entertaining other people. It has always been about my need to create and our desire to see people appreciate it. I’m not here for you….and you are not here for me. Everyone of us are in this for themselves. Other than your avatar, I don’t know you people. Anymore than you know me. You are essentially strangers…why on earth do you think I have some obligation to ensure your experience in Second Life is pleasant? Do you ensure mine?”

This little speech cam essentially be summarized to say that she isn’t going to take any risks (fine and dandy) and that she couldn’t care less about the people of her realm (not).

The thread was locked after this rant, and I opened a new one, tentatively and timidly, merely stating that I am indeed in this for myself, but part of myself is making other people happy, and that while I can not ENSURE that anyone’s experience is pleasant, I do my best to help make other’s experiences pleasant when I can.

This was very carefully phrased. I was in fact quite angered by her statements, and what I was doing was essentially offering her an opportunity to apologize. She did respond, but no apology was forthcoming, just more angry denouncements. And again the thread was locked.

And then, a couple of hours after that, she sent an in-world announcement that role-play in Everwind was stopping. I can’t help but wonder if my re-opening of the issue and her follow-up rant was what caused it. Oh well. I was angry enough over her attitude to leave anyway. I’m more that just a pretty ornament for her enjoyment.

Everwind was having a free-for-all last night, which meant that the entire realm was having one final grand battle—everyone against everyone else. I chose not to participate. I instead IM’d a couple of friends and tried to find out about another role-play sim to which we can move. Someone suggested Triskele. I’ll check it out when I can. Even if the King and Queen reconsider, I doubt I’ll be returning to Everwind.

Sigh.

Anger and defining the rules for one’s own sim is one thing. Treating real people as non-entities is quite another.

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Comments»

1. Mykyl - December 28, 2007

/me sighs sadly… 😦

I wish sometimes that I could take the angry reactive approach to some things, but it really does not work, does it? It would be easier for me in many situations if I did not care about everybody involved – but at least I know that my world will not become as lonely as hers.

Faeria is not a RP sim, but please tell all of your friends from Everwind that they are most welcome if they would like to come and sit in the forest to catch their breath. This particular Queene loves them all, even without meeting them.

2. Mykyl - December 28, 2007

/me sighs sadly… 😦

I wish sometimes that I could take the angry reactive approach to some things, but it really does not work, does it? It would be easier for me in many situations if I did not care about everybody involved – but at least I know that my world will not become as lonely as hers.

Faeria is not a RP sim, but please tell all of your friends from Everwind that they are most welcome if they would like to come and sit in the forest to catch their breath. This particular Queene loves them all, even without meeting them.

3. Princess Ivory - December 28, 2007

I was stunned and speechless at the way she lashed out at her members. She was swearing and everything. No one else was talking that way, only her. And then she would lock the threads as soon as she did it.

She may have role played a gracious and caring queen, but last night she showed her true RL personality. And that person is not someone I care to know. I will be withdrawing my alt from all Everwind groups, and looking for a home where people are treated and listened to with respect. I do not care to be part of the landscape of someone else’s “ego build.” We are people, and deserve to be treated as such. We were part of a community, and it was real to us. We aren’t just trees or flowers she had dotted about the landscape to suit her personal vision. If all she wanted was a showpiece of her creation, then she should never have opened it up to role play. What did she expect? Of course people would come, and would have opinions and personalities that she cannot control. And that is really what this all boils down to – control.

Sigh. What a disappointment. I’m back to my eternal “why” do people treat other people the way they do?

4. Alpha - December 28, 2007

Aww… sorry to hear that, O Cleric. Perhaps this is a Trial that Castan has placed in your path, to see if you can overcome it or not. After all, if you have built something great there, then surely it will survive hiccups like moving home ;-).

I’m a little surprised that a “Litigation Lawyer” isn’t comfortable with the LL TOS, which states from section 2.2 “Users under the age of 18 are prohibited from accessing the Service other than in the area designated by Linden Lab for use by users from 13 through 17 years of age (the “Teen Area”). Users age 18 and older are prohibited from accessing the Teen Area.” (etc etc). Isn’t this sufficient to counter-sue any “minor” who happened to be found on the Adult Grid?

Ergo, any minor who is “damaged” by the goings-on of Castan during his lutefisk parties ;-), is already going to Burn In Hell for being in the wrong grid anyway, and nothing that A/I scammer does is going to “prove” otherwise.

Once more, “Times change…” Enjoy what you have today, for tomorrow it may be gone.

See you tomorrow, unless you’re gone :P.

5. Alpha - December 28, 2007

Aww… sorry to hear that, O Cleric. Perhaps this is a Trial that Castan has placed in your path, to see if you can overcome it or not. After all, if you have built something great there, then surely it will survive hiccups like moving home ;-).

I’m a little surprised that a “Litigation Lawyer” isn’t comfortable with the LL TOS, which states from section 2.2 “Users under the age of 18 are prohibited from accessing the Service other than in the area designated by Linden Lab for use by users from 13 through 17 years of age (the “Teen Area”). Users age 18 and older are prohibited from accessing the Teen Area.” (etc etc). Isn’t this sufficient to counter-sue any “minor” who happened to be found on the Adult Grid?

Ergo, any minor who is “damaged” by the goings-on of Castan during his lutefisk parties ;-), is already going to Burn In Hell for being in the wrong grid anyway, and nothing that A/I scammer does is going to “prove” otherwise.

Once more, “Times change…” Enjoy what you have today, for tomorrow it may be gone.

See you tomorrow, unless you’re gone :P.

6. Wren - December 29, 2007

I thought your post in the forum was well written and carefully crafted. I too hoped that she would respond, if not with an apology, then with a clarification that her rant was about the age verification problems, not the people of the realm. However, sadly, it seems it was the people that it was about, and a silent garden IS what she wants. For me it has been an amazing 6 months in the realm, and I wouldnt change it for the world, its been a privilege to roleplay with you, and all of the other wonderful people I have met. I hope the adventures continue, and perhaps we will meet again. In the meantime, keep up the fantastic blog Alphonsus, I’ll be dropping by regularly for a read.

7. Slip Barrett - January 22, 2008

I hope those that posted responses can see this.

Firstly – Mykyl; it’s not that Grace didn’t care about people, it’s just that she didn’t know the people. HUGE difference. You’re naive if you believe that everyone sitting behind their computer playing Second Life can be trusted 100%. That and the fact that we caught underage roleplayers in Everwind on a DAILY basis. As far as Faeria and how their Queen feels, who cares really. A comparison to her over Grace Loudon who ran Everwind for a long time, and dealt with the crap – you pretty much said it, it’s NOT a roleplay realm. Everwind was. Point proven.

Ivory – Well shit, she was swearing? God forbid. You don’t know Grace, and looking at the quick snap judgements you pass on people – we certainly don’t care to know you nor do we want you around Everwind. I’m sorry you ever step foot in it. What Grace and I wanted for Everwind was a successful roleplay community to visit and enjoy.

How Grace roleplayed was how she was. What BOTH her and I took offensive was how people reacted to age verification. People said some very rude things to us not so much on the boards, but in private. While everyone is entitled to opinions, there is a fine line between your opinion and complaints. Complaining is something we got daily, and we were sick of it. So – to put it quite bluntly, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

The fact of the matter is that Everwind wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for us. And while some of you can sit there and complain or pass judgement on why we did what we did, or why we said what we said – quite frankly, I find it completely repulsing and SELFISH on your part. You complain about the comments she said – well, you’re just as bad. You only complained about your self enjoyment and a place to play in Everwind – not about the people that provided it for you. If you did, there wouldn’t have been issues over age verification – AGE VERIFICATION WAS THERE TO PROTECT THE SIM OWNERS FROM LEGAL ACTION. And obviously, you people don’t care about that we would be under that protection.

Alpha – I’m not a “litigation lawyer”. I’m a Criminal Court Investigator and I work directly under judges and attorneys whom have prosecuted cases both civily and criminally. While laws are different in every state – a person can sue anyone for anything. Age verification was, as LINDEN LABS put it – legal protection for sim owners. By not having age verification engaged, there is this nice little thing in which most civil jurys find judgement on in the plantiffs favor called NEGLIGENCE. Grace and I were not going to be negligent in any way shape or form. I’ve pretty much explained the rest on the forums.

You’re welcome for Everwind – I’ve realized that closing Everwind to roleplay was a smart move now, more so than ever.

As far as age verification – it is quite safe. They do not retain anyones personal information – both Linden Labs and the third party company. Where do you get your information? A bunch of SLers that are starting rumors?

At any rate, take care of yourselves…I guess.

8. Princess Ivory - January 23, 2008

All I can do is repeat the final paragraph of my original comment earlier on this page. It still stands, now more than ever:

“Sigh. What a disappointment. I’m back to my eternal “why” do people treat other people the way they do?”

Can’t we all just get along? And if you choose to disagree with someone, can’t you do it without swearing, put-downs, and name-calling? Age verification is supposed to ensure we are all adults. It’s time people acted like it.

9. GraceLoudon - January 23, 2008

All I can do is shake my head…not only have you taken what I “ranted” about out of context and twisted so that you become a victim, you have truly proven my point. This is and will always be about you and your needs and nobody else. I hope you find enjoyment in your new “homes” because you certainly are not a part of mine.

P.S.

Be sure you are spotless before you start pointing out my faults. I can assure you, you are not.

10. Slip Barrett - January 23, 2008

Exactly Ivory – and it certainly wasn’t Grace nor I that you’re speaking about.

We kept Everwind open for OTHER PEOPLE. We gave up our land for OTHER PEOPLE.

It wasn’t for ego.

It wasn’t for money (We paid a collected 700 dollars usd roughly).

It wasn’t for some contest.

The complaints (Read the comments above by yourself, mykyl, wren) are a point you prove yourselves.

Two regular people such as ourselves provide a place for people to play, Everwind was a Second job…

And in the end, because we want to close it – and because we say a few WORDS (Sticks and stones…hello?) that YOU don’t agree with (It’s an opinion, right? Touche!), you label us as horrible people.

We provided you with a home for a long time, and because we say a couple of offensive things to you – you get all bent out of shape.

You ask why people treat others the way they do – start with yourselve by taking a look in the mirror. And that goes for the rest of you.

11. Alphonsus - January 23, 2008

A war in my blog. How exciting. 🙂

Grace and Slip, let me say that I truly do appreciate what you did in Everwind. I had a wonderful time while I was there. I am, and always have been, a major supporter of your right to run your sim in any way you wanted.

This said, I truly doubt that there is anything I can say that can make you not hate me. Nevertheless, I do feel that I want to reply as reasonably as I can. I am merely stating my thoughts and feelings. I am not trying to be offensive in any way.

What you say, Slip, is that words cannot hurt me. This is very true, and I was not and am not in any way hurt by what you or what Grace said. Just as you, however, have the right to run the sim in any way you want, I also have the right to respond to words in any way I want.

Grace, you said, “(Everwind) has always been about my need to create and my desire to see people appreciate it. I’m not here for you…and you are not here for me.” This is a blunt truth, and fine as far as it goes. But it can be interpreted as holding a certain callousness on the part of the people of your realm. It can be read as the only purpose for your creating the realm was for you to receive praise and accolades. I have no problem giving praise and accolades, but I see myself as a worthwhile person as well, in my own right. The impression that I took very strongly from your writing was that you didn’t care for me as anything other than a praise giver, and as something to help enhance the beauty of your creation. Whether this is true as to your feelings or not, it is very the strongly the impression I got from them.

And I, as an individual, chose not to stay if I was considered as nothing more than this. This is my choice, and my right as a human being.

Slip, my wife did considerable research on Aristotle International. They are, quite clearly and openly, a data-mining company. This is born out through their own website and through articles in Wired (http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2003/12/61543/) and Business Week (http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2000/nf20001026_969.htm) magazines, among many, many others. While it is true that they make very clear statements that they will not retain or sell the information the obtain from age verification, such is the negative light that many people hold such companies that they choose not to believe or trust them. I’m sure you can state what they’re liability would be on lying about such a thing, and whether the potential profits they would gain from selling the info would make it worth it to them. Paranoia? Perhaps. But soundly reasoned paranoia I think you’d have to agree.

And, finally Grace, while I am disappointed by your decision to kick me out of the Everwind group based on my mildly expressed anger and seconds after my wife’s comments (who was trying to be conciliatory), I do have to admit that it saves me some anguish over my decision to quit the group myself and gain myself some valuable group space.

Safe paths to you both.

12. FD Spark - January 23, 2008

Isn’t age verification up to the individuals and not mandatory by Linden Labs?
I am not age verifying. I have no need or interest in participating in rated X activities. I am sorry
role playing sexual or violent activities is important enough to share more information then I have.
By the way Mykyl, Alpha and myself have never played Everwind, we just know Alphonsus.
I didn’t comment on this post original because I didn’t know what to say. When I read it I thought about how much Alphonsus had loved rpg and had mentioned it often. I even thought about joining but often I had other things to do.
It sounds though like some people were hurt.

13. FD Spark - January 23, 2008

oops I should checked over what I wrote oops. I meant sexual and violent role play isn’t important enough to disclose more information to Linden Labs to me.
And I bet there are a lot of others who feel the same.

14. Mykyl - January 23, 2008

I am sorry, to both Slip and Grace. My response to Alphonsus post was to him and to the others who you lost. I did not intend to address you, because it was obvious from your words and actions that you did not understand – and this bashing of the people who offered a hand to Alphonsus and the others only drives that point home.

Perhaps you should read my reply again, as you seem to have found some words there that I did not say, and you missed most of the point.

You asked me “Who Cares?” – as strange as it may seem, there are many who care. Every single person you just slapped here cares very deeply.

I know that you will probably laugh at this, and that you probably will not care, but the truth is that even you are welcome in Faeria. I would actually encourage you to come and visit, and find out how wrong you are about me.

I did visit Everwind once – I was with Alphonsus the very first time he visited. I saw Grace, and I saw a beautiful sim. Out of deference to her I removed my title of “Queene of Faeria” as I was humbled by the beautiful world I saw and did not feel worthy of my crown in her presence. I remember her plainly adjusting some plants, and I made a donation to a tip jar to help support what I thought was a really neat project, and I mentioned to her in an IM how beautiful I thought it was and thanked her for sharing it. She stopped, looked at me for a moment, then walked around me and continued adjusting plants without even a single word. Perhaps it was because I was speaking OOC, or perhaps a the Linden Gods had a glitch and my message did not go through, but I got the impression right there from the way she walked around me that there was no feeling in her beyond the creation of her dream and that the people who RP’d in the sim were somehow chattel to her. It made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, and I never returned.

I had thought that my impressions of her were wrong after Alphonsus became so deeply involved, but her reaction, and yours, and her further comments in this blog just keep driving the point home.

It does not have to be this way. There is joy in the world, and there is joy in the hearts of others. Don’t you understand that ALL of these people are sad not because Everwind fell, but because the both of you have gone out of your way to step on them?

But these feelings and impressions of you could still be wrong, as I really do not know either of you. My home, and my arms, are open to both of you should you wish to prove me wrong, or to simply bash me some more if you need. Either way, there is no anger in me, still only sadness that you have so badly missed the point.

This particular Queen loves you both, even without meeting you.

15. Mykyl - January 23, 2008

I am sorry, to both Slip and Grace. My response to Alphonsus post was to him and to the others who you lost. I did not intend to address you, because it was obvious from your words and actions that you did not understand – and this bashing of the people who offered a hand to Alphonsus and the others only drives that point home.

Perhaps you should read my reply again, as you seem to have found some words there that I did not say, and you missed most of the point.

You asked me “Who Cares?” – as strange as it may seem, there are many who care. Every single person you just slapped here cares very deeply.

I know that you will probably laugh at this, and that you probably will not care, but the truth is that even you are welcome in Faeria. I would actually encourage you to come and visit, and find out how wrong you are about me.

I did visit Everwind once – I was with Alphonsus the very first time he visited. I saw Grace, and I saw a beautiful sim. Out of deference to her I removed my title of “Queene of Faeria” as I was humbled by the beautiful world I saw and did not feel worthy of my crown in her presence. I remember her plainly adjusting some plants, and I made a donation to a tip jar to help support what I thought was a really neat project, and I mentioned to her in an IM how beautiful I thought it was and thanked her for sharing it. She stopped, looked at me for a moment, then walked around me and continued adjusting plants without even a single word. Perhaps it was because I was speaking OOC, or perhaps a the Linden Gods had a glitch and my message did not go through, but I got the impression right there from the way she walked around me that there was no feeling in her beyond the creation of her dream and that the people who RP’d in the sim were somehow chattel to her. It made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, and I never returned.

I had thought that my impressions of her were wrong after Alphonsus became so deeply involved, but her reaction, and yours, and her further comments in this blog just keep driving the point home.

It does not have to be this way. There is joy in the world, and there is joy in the hearts of others. Don’t you understand that ALL of these people are sad not because Everwind fell, but because the both of you have gone out of your way to step on them?

But these feelings and impressions of you could still be wrong, as I really do not know either of you. My home, and my arms, are open to both of you should you wish to prove me wrong, or to simply bash me some more if you need. Either way, there is no anger in me, still only sadness that you have so badly missed the point.

This particular Queen loves you both, even without meeting you.


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