Monday, November 2, 2009

The Return of Voice at New Desperation Isle

[NOTE: If you are viewing this post from within Second Life, click the Open in My Web Browser button to properly view the page.]

A few weeks ago I disabled Voice Chat on New Desperation Isle because I was getting frequent reports of people using Voice to harass other visitors. I have since gotten some requests from regular visitors to bring Voice back, and I am doing that, but I want to equip our guests to deal with voice griefers if we have problems with them in the future.

First off, if you simply wish to disable Voice (so you can neither speak in-world or hear others speaking), you can easily do that by going to Edit > Preferences, then picking the Voice Chat tab, and deselecting Enable voice chat. When you click OK, you will no longer hear other people using Voice.

If you simply want to block a specific individual's voice, there are detailed instructions on how to do that at the Voice FAQ of the official Second Life Wiki.

In addition to muting individual players, I ask that you report people who are obviously griefing other players. You can do this by both filing an Abuse Report against them (Help > Report Abuse), and also by reporting the avatar to me or one of my deputies:
  • Wildefire Walcott (island owner)
  • kelly Walcott (estate manager)
  • Vivienne Schell (deputy)
  • Lunashee Dagger (deputy)
  • Lancelot Auer (deputy)
  • Zaldon Barbosa (deputy)
It really helps if you can provide snapshots and/or chat transcripts of griefing incidents. Unfortunately, it's not possible to get transcripts of voice griefing, but all the info you can provide helps.

Here's a video produced by a Linden that may provide some additional helpful info on Voice Chat in SL.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FAQ: Adult Maturity Ratings at Desperation Isle Estates

Important: There are many ways for Linden Lab to consider you age-verified now! You don't have to go through their official age-verification process if that doesn't work for you! Please read on for complete info!

There has been a fair amount of recent confusion among residents all across Second Life because Linden Lab sent out a bunch of emails warning people to flag their land as Adult, but then said that many of the emails were sent out in error. Unfortunately, if you are a resident of Desperation Isle Estates (or any other private estate, for that matter) and you received the email, it was NOT a mistake.

Here's the list of questions we answer below:

What's going on?

Beginning this month, Linden Lab is going to be hiding Places listings for land with 'adult' keywords in in the Name or Description fields if the parcel is not on a so-called "Adult" sim. You will still be charged for the listings, but no one will be able to see them. Additionally, if you continue to use those adult keywords in your listings while you are on a non-adult sim, you run the risk of getting banned or suspended from Second Life.

We have held out for as long as we could, but unfortunately the time has come: We must convert some of our islands to the Adult maturity rating. Please see this knowledge base article to learn Linden Lab's new definitions for PG, Mature, and Adult sims.

What happens when a sim is flagged as Adult?

Once a region is set to the Adult maturity rating, the following things happen:
  • Places listings with adult keywords will show up in searches that age-verified residents perform, assuming they have enabled adult content in their Second Life clients.
  • Only residents who are age-verified will be able to access the sim.
What's the difference between an Adult sim and a Mature sim now?

It's kind of hard to tell, yeah? Basically, Mature sims are now very similar to PG sims, only you can have sex toys in your private skybox
or a store that sells skins with naked bits on a Mature sim without getting in trouble.

If you sell naughty toys that can only properly be advertised with Adult search terms, or if you have a public sex play place, that has to be on an Adult sim. (Strip clubs count as Adult locations too, but I don't allow those on our regular sims anyway.)

Clear as mud, I know, I know. Please check out this Adult Content FAQ with the most comprehensive description of what "Adult" means in Second Life now.

How does a resident become age-verified?

Achieving age-verified status is not as difficult as you might think. You can do it in one of several ways:
  • Have a "payment info used" or "payment info on file" status with Linden Lab. This happens once you use some method of payment for purchasing Lindens or paying Second Life premium fees.
  • Add US$ to your XStreetSL account via PayPal.
  • Go through Linden Lab's official Age Verification process.
Most people who regularly use Second Life are basically already verified. They just need to enable Adult content in their clients. Go to this knowledge base article for detailed information.

How do I enable Adult content in my Second Life client?

You need to be using the latest version of Second Life in order to have access to all the proper content options, or use a third-party viewer that is based upon the latest official code. You can always get the latest official viewer here.

Next, you have to enable adult content in your Second Life preferences and Search settings. Go to this knowledge base article and scroll down to the How to opt in to view Adult content section for step-by-step instructions and a video that walks you through the process.

What does this mean for the Phase 1 islands?

Phase 1 of the estate consists of Desperation North, South, East, and West, as well as New Desperation Isle, which holds them all together. Because New Desperation Isle is an explicitly sexual location (as are several private and public builds on those islands) we must convert those sims to the Adult maturity rating in order to avoid being blacklisted from search, and to avoid having our Second Life accounts suspended.

What if I am a Phase 1 resident who doesn't want to be in an Adult sim?

In anticipation of this possibility, we have just added a brand new class 5 full-prim region to the estate: Desperation Juno. (NOTE: It should be ready for new tenants by Thursday, it may not be visible until then.) This is a Phase 2 (Mature) sim, just like Desperation Vivienne and Desperation Kelly. It is a standalone island (open ocean on all sides) and has a normal day/night cycle like the rest of our full-prim sims.

If you currently live on one of the Phase 1 islands and you decide that you wish to be on one of our Mature sims instead, we will offer you a free week of rent once you move over to the new sim.

If you decide that you no longer wish to rent with us at all, please let me know. If you tell me when you've cleared off your parcel I will refund what remains of your rent. Do note, however, that ALL private estates are facing this same change. (It's not just us!) Any sim that allows places with explicit adult content on their land or in their search terms must convert to Adult status or the land owners will face disciplinary measures.

What happens if I'm a Phase 2 resident?

If you are on one of our Phase 2 islands (Desperation Vivienne, Kelly, or Juno), and you do not have any explicit content on your parcel or in your search terms, nothing will change. If you DO have or advertise adult content, however, you will have to either remove those items/terms or move to an Adult-rated sim. I offer the same deal to my current Phase 1 residents who may wish to move to a mature sim- if you decide to move to one of our existing Phase 1 Adult sims, I will give you a free week of rent on the new island, and roll over any existing rent you have on your current place.

You may be interested to know that we're making a number of improvements to the Phase 1 regions, to make them more attractive. Please check out this blog post for more information.

What about the special islands (Desperation Andromeda, Desperation Lancelot)?

These islands are not really Phase 1 or 2, and they don't really qualify as full-sim rentals either. Depending on the content on those sims, and the Search > Places listings, we will likely have to set those sims to Adult very soon. This is to protect not only the estate, but the tenants currently occupying those sims.

What if I am renting an entire Homestead or Regular sim?

I will not enforce maturity ratings on my Homestead or Regular full-sim tenants, but please understand that it is your responsibility to make sure your sim is flagged appropriately, or Linden Lab might give you problems. See below to learn how to change the sim rating.

How can I change the maturity rating of a sim I am renting?

This only applies to complete homestead or regular sim rentals. In order to change the sim's maturity rating you must be on that island's list of Estate Managers, and you must be using a recent version of the Second Life viewer.
  1. While standing on the sim, go to World > Region/Estate.
  2. On the Region tab, select the desired maturity rating next to Rating.
  3. Click Apply. (Note: You MUST click Apply for this setting to stick.)
By default, all Desperation Isle Estate full-sim rental islands are set to Mature, but you may choose whichever rating you like.

When will these changes be taking effect?

As of September 1, Linden Lab is supposedly policing search listings and processing ARs filed against offenders. We are planning to hold off on changing the Phase 1 islands to Adult until next Monday, September 7 to give existing tenants time to decide what they wish to do. If we need to change earlier than that (i.e. if Linden Lab threatens to ban me), I will let you all know.

What if I have more questions?

Please IM me, Wildefire Walcott, directly. Even if I am offline, I am usually able to respond directly to IMs via email. Also, keep an eye on this post. If any new information or clarifications are necessary, I will add them here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Phase 1 Island Changes On The Way

Last week I conducted a survey of residents on our Phase 1 islands (Desperation North, South, East, and West). I very much appreciate the input I got from respondents and wanted to share with you both the results of the survey and the changes we will be making as a result. (You can view the published survey here, although responses are no longer being tallied.) This is a long article. If you wish you can hop straight to the summary.

Should we have a day/night cycle?

Survey results:
  • Yes - 40%
  • Don't care at all - 24%
  • Prefer dark, but don't really care - 32%
  • Would move away if sunlight were enabled - 1%
My response:

While I had always intended New Desperation Isle and the surrounding areas to be an adult playground bathed in moonlight, it is an unfortunate fact that with Windlight and the limitations of some users' monitors and computers, night time in Second Life is often just too dark for many users to see anything. I don't know how many screenshots I've seen that people have taken on New Desperation Isle where they have obviously forced their local sunlight on in order to take pictures. There is also the economic fact that I have lost many potential customers who did not want to live on an island that never had sun. I have chosen to enable "global time" on the Phase 1 sims, including New Desperation Isle, which will add a regular day/night cycle to those islands.

Should we continue to allow security devices at ground level?

Survey results:
  • No (keep them in the sky only) - 32%
  • Don't care - 40%
  • Yes - 28%
My response:

First off, I apologize for the awkward wording around that question (I mixed up the "yes" and "no" but, luckily, clarified what each survey answer meant). Anyway, it is clear that there are at least a few people who really rely on their security devices at ground level, so I am going to allow their continued use on the ground (on Phase 1 sims only), but due to some additional feedback, I am going to require that the warning time be set to a minimum of 30 seconds. In other words, trespassers should have 30 seconds to exit the premises. This will keep strangers off your sex beds but will give someone who accidentally wanders onto your parcel due to grid lag ample time to escape without being ejected from the sim.

How much should we change New Desperation Isle?

Survey results:
  • Make it an adult commercial sim where other content creators can sell their wares - 40%
  • Rebuild some areas to attract new visitors - 28%
  • Leave it as-is - 12%
  • Make it a residential island - 12%
  • Don't care - 2%
  • Just get rid of it - 0%
My response:

Well it is clear that people in Phase 1 like New Desperation Isle and don't wish it to just go away. I am now left between updating the island to draw in new visitors and making more space for adult retailers. It will be one of these two options though.

Should we update the ground textures on the Phase 1 islands?

Survey results:
  • Yes - 64%
  • Don't care - 28%
  • No - 8%
My response:

When I first started out I just went with the generic default ground textures for my first few islands, and they remain today on Desperation West, North, and South. This wasn't so much of a concern since at night time you barely notice the textures anyway, but once we enable daylight, I want those islands to look both unique and attractive, so I will be updating the ground textures. They will still be a regular grass/sand/rock progression- just new textures.

Another cosmetic change

One person mentioned that our Vacant signs, while easily visible to people looking for land, can detract from the surroundings of existing tenants. I agree, and I am going to design a new kind of sign which does not impact the view so much.

One last thing (and it's a biggie)

Sometime soon I will be forced to flag New Desperation Isle and the rest of the Phase 1 islands as Adult sims. I and several of your fellow tenants have received warnings from Linden Lab that if I do not mark the sims as adult, that anyone who currently has Search > Places listings with adult keywords will be removed from search, and that Linden Lab may start suspending the accounts of residents who fail to comply. I cannot risk having my account locked, and no one running an adult business or meeting place wants that either. I am about to write another post specifically about this issue, so please keep an eye on this blog.

When's all this going to happen?

I plan to make all of these changes by next Monday, September 7. It will probably happen in phases, but I will try not make the switch to Adult until the 7th. If I am forced to switch over earlier, I will notify all tenants.

  • Phase 1 is going to be getting sunlight.
  • Security devices on Phase 1 islands may remain at ground level, but the warning time before ejecting trespassers must be increased to 30 seconds.
  • New Desperation Isle will stay right where it is, but will likely see some changes to bring in more traffic.
  • We will be updating the ground textures on the Phase 1 sims.
  • We will soon be using Vacant signs which are smaller and less noticeable to existing tenants.
  • All Phase 1 sims will be flagged as Adult. (We are going to add at least one new sim for anyone who wishes to live on a Mature sim instead of an Adult one. Again, keep watching this blog.)
  • All of these changes (except New Desperation Isle remodeling) are slated for completion by Monday, September 7.
Thanks for your feedback, thanks for your support, and thanks for your business. I believe that these changes will help improve the quality of living for most residents of the Phase 1 islands and keep us all on Linden Lab's good side.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PayPal Subscription Sign-up

This post contains the sign-up buttons that you can use to begin paying your rent to Desperation Isle Estates via PayPal, instead of with Lindens purchased in-world. Please see our PayPal announcement to learn how to subscribe, and why you might want to do it.

Important: Please do not subscribe here until speaking with Wildefire first! (We need to make sure we've got an island available for you before you can start paying.)
If you have already requested a PayPal subscription, please click the button that matches your current rent agreement with us. If you don't find a match, please contact me (Wildefire Walcott), and I will fix it right away!

Click the Subscribe button below the parcel size/rental period of your choice.

Full Homestead, 3750 prims, $28 USD Weekly

Full Homestead, 3750 prims, $112 USD Monthly

Now Accepting PayPal!

We now offer our customers the ability to pay rent via PayPal! You can choose to pay weekly or monthly (and if you do the math, you'll find that paying monthly is a savings, since most months are longer than 4 weeks).

You will be billed automatically until you choose to end your rental. Please note that we cannot offer refunds to PayPal subscribers.
To begin a PayPal subscription with us, you must already have claimed or reserved one of our regions from Desperation Isle Estates, and inform me (Wildefire Walcott) that you wish to pay via PayPal. I will make sure that our subscription page has the correct information for your land and then give you instructions on how to subscribe.

Please don't attempt to set up a subscription online before contacting me first. Thanks!