Second Life bans all in-game advertisements that are ‘political in nature’

    
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Second Life bans all in-game advertisements that are ‘political in nature’

Launching into political rants in global chat or hijacking the guild discussion to make everyone uncomfortable with views on election candidates is seen as a trolling tactic or a faux pas in most MMOs, but in Second Life, encountering politics is all but unavoidable. The game’s landscape has traditionally been dappled with giant ads vouching for or ranting against various figures, especially as US election seasons heat up.

That’s all changing as America heads into its 2020 elections. Linden Lab updated its official policy on in-game ad farms in late August, saying that no ad erected on land parcels may be “political in nature.” According to Second Life blog New World Notes, this was seemingly done after campaign ads were getting out of control in the game.

While some players worried that this set a troubling precedent for the game that would be hard to enforce (good luck putting a hard definition on “political,” LL), others celebrated the end of what they called “eyesores” that dominated parts of the virtual world’s landscape.

Update
Linden Lab has issued a statement essentially reiterating the above, that the policy applies specifically to ad farms, meaning that regular ol’ gamers can keep their political signs in their yards, as long as they don’t violate the game’s existing code of conduct and ban on hate speech (which… OK that’s still gonna be hard to adjudicate in our current climate – be glad this isn’t your job).

“Linden Lab holds core to its values a respect for diversity of opinion and free speech, which is abundant in Second Life. That’s why political content is not banned from privately-owned land and estates within Second Life. As with many social platforms, we do have community standards [link] that restrict hate speech, harassment and illegal content.

“However, there was a slight change in our policy that only impacts ‘ad farms’ and networked advertising in Second Life. For these types of ads, there are some newer content restrictions including a rule that ad content ‘may not be political in nature.’

“For context, this policy change does not impact anyone who wants to stick any political or advocacy signage in their virtual ‘front yard’ — whether it be an election sign, a BLM sign or rainbow flag. Rather, the change impacts only mass proliferation of advertisements in our Linden Lab-controlled public spaces.

“Thus, this policy applies to ‘networked advertising’ businesses in Second Life that dynamically distribute ads widely across multiple virtual world regions or small parcels. Further, it applies only to public areas on Second Life (known as Mainland) that are maintained by Linden Lab. In those public spaces, we have never allowed ‘ad farms’ (which are defined as advertising or content intended solely to drive an unreasonable price for the land parcel it is on and/or that exists to spoil the nearby visual environment for others). For reference, see our public policy at [link].”

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draugris

That´s why I don´t play such games, real-world politics are awful enough irl, I do not need that in the games I play.

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kelvar

This still exists?!

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StormKat

I just lost my husband of 11 years to this thing. He’s divorcing me so he can dance with pixels. Wouldn’t mind seeing it go away.

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Bruno Brito

WHAT?!

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StormKat

Yep… 4 days before our anniversary which was June 1st. I’ve been sleeping on the couch since. I can’t work so I have no money so I’m stuck living with him until I can get sorted. He told me to find and exit plan and I can stay If I cook an clean for room and board. Quite a champ eh? 2020 has been a shite year.

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Loyal Patron
George Wilson III

Wow, so sorry to hear that. 2020 has been a terrible year for so many. Hope things start getting better.

Lighthope
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Lighthope

I saw some news magazine a few years ago on the same subject.

Married woman was having a virtual affair with some guy on Second Life. (Husband knew about it.)

She left him and somehow got the kids. She met the Second Life guy for real and he moved in with her.

Year later, he had left her.

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John Kiser

There was very likely more going on that wasn’t picked up on. Small issues build up into a larger one etc. May seem happy in the surface but ehh

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Sorenthaz

Well hopefully they enforce that across the board and don’t give preferential treatment like some social media sites love to do.

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Bryan Correll

As a resident of a swing state, I can say that anything that reduces the political ads I see is a good thing. But there is a worrisome gray area once you get past the obvious “Vote Candidate X 2020 stuff.”

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styopa

17 years since the War of the Jessie Wall
https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2003/07/war_of_the_jess.html

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

That dastardly investment group is taking control!

Though I’m sure that many Second Life players won’t miss the obnoxious political spam. It’s bleeding into too many games and while I’ll avoid naming parties and whatnot there sure is one group that’s PARTICULARLY vocal and obnoxious in my experience lately. My ignore lists are getting pretty long as a result.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Launching into political rants in global chat or hijacking the guild discussion to make everyone uncomfortable with views on election candidates is seen as a trolling tactic or a faux pas in most MMOs

Erm, are you sure you’ve been playing the same MMO’s I have?

That’s become so common on ‘general chat’ that nowadays people just ‘Uh huh’ agree with it, and don’t bother correcting it/reporting it/doing anything about it…so these people sit in their little echo chambers getting reinforcement from their own ‘Hehe, I’m right, aren’t I?’ tactics. Not realizing that many people DON’T agree with them. The whole ‘don’t feed the troll’ thing has lead to a proliferation of people that aren’t trolling/are really convinced of their nonsense…

Never touched Second Life, so I can’t comment on that specific one, but it’s a common refrain on many others I’ve played…

When it’s also effecting game development it’s a serious problem…for example, I believe New World was accused of trying to create a racist paradise (IE Colonialism)…up until there was uproar, then all of a sudden it was pulled back, and ‘cleaned up’ and re-released…with a lot of hush hush about that topic all of a sudden. Meaning they just don’t want you TALKING about it…and others have similar stuff going on…

I’ve been playing ESO and the racists have practically taken over general chat on numerous areas there…even though there is quite a lot of push-back still…and SWTOR and Runescape(To the point where I was purposely flying a rainbow kite during events to troll the homo-phobes) have also had issues. ESO is an interesting case, because racism is an actual part of the Elven lore…they don’t like ‘other’ races, and want to keep them off their island/actively shun them, and the point being shown is that they are STRONGER having joined another 2 races in an alliance to work together towards goals.

I haven’t played LOTRO enough recently to see if things are cleaner over there, but from what I remember from the times I did play it, people were way more accepting of others on that game. Granted, there was the occasional malcontent, but it wasn’t a ‘common’ theme…(at least when I played…I did just hop on recently and just got my 9th year frame, so things have probably changed over time…).

STO used to have practically none of that, because it was Star Trek fans who grew up with the whole range of cultures being shown…and they were adaptable to it…but even that game started seeing some of it with an influx of the younger generations trying it out…having come from console games where it was so common to bandy about a racist/homo-phobic/etc term when you lost, or things didn’t go your way.

People have normalized the hatred so much, that I would argue it’s not even considered a ‘faux pas’ anymore, and a lot of people won’t even speak up unless it’s a blatant ‘toxic’ person..and even those get away with it for a long time because ‘report’ features are mostly placebo effect buttons for game companies now…

It’s one reason I’ve become such a misanthrope and practically refuse to play with people anymore/would rather solo…

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Does not check email

Regardless of the mmo, regardless of your beliefs…. all I want to do is beat up an orc, throw a fireball and largely ignore the politics and fighting of the real world for an hour. Why does it have to be in chat channels, forums and in games? There are personalities on line that just-won’t- give it a rest.

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styopa

I’d agree with you but let’s recognize that the moment gaming companies made the active decision to embrace ‘activism’ in their approach, they invited it.

If you run up a flag, don’t be surprised that some people react negatively to that flag. That’s what a free country is about. And the contrarian nature of the US would imply that the harder you push, the harder the resistance will ossify.

Believe me, I understand that the current climate means neutrality – ie just wanting to publish a game and NOT take sides on hot-button issues is no longer tolerated ‘Silence is approval’ – so I don’t see that they had a choice. But this is all pretty predictable from that.

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Jon Wax

The harder we pushed the more freedom we gained til we become independent

Then we created the web and fucked it all ip

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Jon Wax

Because certain groups still don’t have the same freedom from abuse to sit at home safely and play games without having a no knock raid kick in your door and kill you.

Sorry if politics is inconvenient.

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Bruno Brito

Isn’t this the game that brands were using it as paid advertisement? Like, companies actively purchased things in SL to use as some kind of virtual outdoor?

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yeah. It’s also held political rallies and townhalls, mostly back in its heyday though. It’s not exactly a traditional elves-and-spaceships MMORPG.

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Bruno Brito

I’m all for forbidding mmos to be political factories financed with party funds, but Second Life doesn’t have the best track record for keeping out of corporate bullcrap.

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John Kiser

They do these days. Residents drove them out heavily