Sunday, November 23, 2014

Paying Thanks

Thanks to everyone who came to see my knickers this week on Paradise sim in Nara's Nook. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this is a mediation on why none of the things I make are for sale. Anywhere.
OpenSim  freebies have a reputation (fostered by people who want YOU to pay for THEIR Content) for not being very good. When someone says to me, as they did this week, "Oh yes, I put out some crap - I mean basic items - as freebies", that makes me sad.  My content is free because I want to crush that 'free=Crap' nonsense out of existence. There are a growing army of creators providing amazing avatars, houses, mesh items, and so on without charging anything.  I want to be a part of that. In the olden days in SL, it was a village where people shared and worked together. There are still many pockets of generosity in SL, but in many ways it has sunk into the same grasping, money-oriented economy you can find in the real world. Let's not permit OpenSim to fall into that trap.

The outfit modeled in this photo is 'Maura' a lingerie set I made the other day. It took about 8 or 9 hours to create in Photoshop; in that picture, you're looking at about a week's work/entertainment. Just because someone charges you money for something doesn't make it better than a free item, or that more effort went into making it - that is the real-world bs. In fact the price of free things may be higher. 
It seems immensely presumptuous when someone takes freebies but expects others to pay for their creations. The excuse is often "Oh, but I sell my things to cover my costs." Wait a minute. The rest of us are not set for life. We all have expenses, whether it's sim rent or the phone bill. Virtual reality is not essential to living, it's entertainment. Using that excuse for charging for your creations while taking freebies from others is as cheesy as asking your fellow film-goers to pay for your ticket at the cinema. 
Angelic Aaack Aardvark
Here are some of my Free Heroes. Which one could you emulate?
People like Aaack Ardvark who spend hours tutoring in Blender, or Fuschia Nightfire who makes fantastic videos and installations, or Taarna Welles whose shoes on La Baronnie are to die for, or Mattie Mcbride, with her lovely houses and wearables, or script guru Ferd Fredrix with his online Library and endless patience, polymath Oddball Otoole's tutorials on all aspects of building, or Mata Hari's dance systems. Galleristas like Art Blue and Roxelo Babenco. Singers like Truelie Telling and Wolem Wobbit, and storytellers like Caledonia Skytower and Shandon Loring. Think of Lani Global and all the builders who exhibit on her sims including Pete Camino, Cuteulala Artis and Tina Bey. What about the mesh clothes you can download from Damein Fate's site, or the skins of Eloh Eliot? Think of Zia Frimon, Sarah Klein, Tosha Tyran, Cornflakes Woodcock, Wordfromthe Wise, Hylee Bekkers, Garry Beaumont, Cherry Manga, and Avia Bonne. Educators like Michelle Techland and Aime Socrates. Travel writers like Paul Merken and Virtual Christine who let us know what's out there to visit with no thought of profit, and Portal keepers like Shaun Emerald and Spike Sol who provide us with the means of getting around the hyperverse with ease. Then there are all the people who built your viewer. and of course, think of the Queens of Free, Arcadia Asylum and Linda Kellie. For every name mentioned in this post, I could substitute a dozen others, and you can probably think of fifty more.
Gill Beaumont donates a sim to HG Safari in Francogrid
What about the land donors all over OpenSim who will pay the server and electricity bills for you if you have an interesting project - Safari thanks Bob Wellman of PMGrid, Nara Malone and the people at Zetamex, and Francogrid's  Gill Beaumont who have all donated sims to HG Safari - (and a grateful shout-out to Pathfinder Lester and the good people of Osgrid who have let us have parcels there too!) but these are just a handful of the people out there who are willing to give creators, and indeed Residents of any sort, a place to call their own, without charge.
Spike Sol visits the lingerie store on Nara's Nook
This is not to slag off capitalism. I have a little graphics job in SL that pays for - well, to be honest the money just sits there, because making stuff is way more interesting than buying it. The beauty of open sim up until now has been that everyone was a maker. Obviously, as newcomers arrive from the Old Life, we're going to see an influx of consumer minded people, but wouldn't it be great if they came in with the idea of giving more than just cash? The lack of a money system is for me one of the great strengths of OpenSim. Don't think I'm right? Take a minute to imagine how much worse the OSGrid fiasco would be if they had had Linden-dollar type currency. And when everything is free, there is much less temptation to rip off someone else's creations.  
No money is just another way to escape the pedestrian values of the real world. It distances us from exploitation, pushes us to learn more about how things work in the virtual environment, and to reach out and help others, which is soooo good for your karma. The connection of gratitude that I feel to the OpenSim Freebie creator is more real, valuable, and enduring than my connection to the SL dressmaker who gets my 300L. It's a feeling that is worth sharing. And to all who have made this happen for me, I give Thanks.


  1. I'd like to add Jamie Wright (a very prolific content creator from OSC) as well as SUNNY and a slew of other people who posted with me on opensim-creations. I'd also like to add Vanish Sands who created and nurtured our community for years and gave us ...gave me... a nurturing place to learn my craft.

    I also think that Selea Core deserves much, much more recognition than she recieves. She creates and gives away a slew of free content (houses, furniture, a plethora of landscaping items) and she approaches her builds and her distribution with a level of professionalism that matches ...and in many ways, exceeds... that of many commercial content creators.

    I'd encourage everyone to check out her G+ group, her web page and visit her world if you haven't already...

  2. And Han Held! And JP! Dammit I wish OSC was still here so I could just link it:)

  3. Thanks to you both, and well said!