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.