Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Great Slow Sims, Part One

So... there's a brouhaha over a video and blog entry by Chris Pirillo and a followup thereto. Pirillo, in response to someone who asked what happened to Second Life, went on at grimacing length about how it had been "overrun by people addicted to porn and gambling." Never mind that it's trivial to check that Linden Lab prohibited gambling in SL over three years ago. Apparently Pirillo tried SL long ago (he's "Wicket Pixie"), didn't see a point to it, and couldn't be bothered to do any research before shooting his mouth off.

A visit to New World Notes would also suffice to disprove the stereotype of Second Life (one we all chafe at; it's been spread by a lot of lazy and/or dishonest journalists). "75 Year Old Navy Vet Recreates His Korean War Vessel in Second Life"; "Chestnut's Choices 8-12/8-18: Attend SL Community Convention Inworld or in Boston, Immersive Pink Floyd-Inspired Art Performance and Much More"; "Keiko Takamura Debuts Her 1st Album Co-Financed with Linden Dollars from Second Life Fans". Admittedly, nobody asked the Navy vet whether he was into gambling or porn.

So... SL residents didn't appreciate gratuitous ignorant bashing (people are funny that way), and said so. Also, Oliver Szondi offered to take Pirillo on a tour. Pirillo agreed, graciously allocating a few minutes to the purpose. The result was another video rant, this one about lag and about sim owners' choice of background music (which one can turn off, but I guess if you are more interested in kvetching...), and wondering why SL users took him to task for pointing out how slow SL is. (They didn't; they took him to task for painting them all as porn and gambling addicts.)

I can sympathize with being frustrated by lag; a lot of SL residents are. (OTOH, over at Parktown Progress, Boyd Doghouse raises an interesting question: did Pirillo set things up to make SL perform badly?) But here again we see Pirillo either omitting information or not bothering to research. He sees SL as being as slow as it was years ago when he tried it and bashes Linden Lab about that, but years ago, if you were on SL you'd watch it groan and regularly crash under a load of 20,000 simultaneous users. These days, the maximum runs around 60,000. Linden Lab hasn't been sitting on its thumbs for years as Pirillo insinuates.

Chris Pirillo has a following, and yes, to the extent that some of them haven't already drunk the "SL is all sex" kool-aid, he may have put them off SL. Did Linden Lab miss an opportunity, as Grace McDunnough asks? No. There's no point in discussion with someone whose mind is already made up.

P.S. Troy McConaghy delightfully punctures some complaints about SL in "The Piano is Dead".

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