Thursday, March 16, 2017

Better Places

Stop me if you've heard this one.
Person A tells Person B about a great deal, or scheme, they're working on.
Person B gets excited, and tells their friend, Person C, all about it.
Person C invests.

The scheme or deal goes wrong,  not necessarily in a malicious way; Person A isn't a crook.
Nevertheless, Person C loses their money.
Now, who do you suppose Person C blames for that?
Exactly. Their friend.
Sure, Person A is a jerk - but Person B, the trusted friend, is blamed more.
And that's how friendships die and feuds begin.
If you've never heard of this happening, live a little longer, and you will.

So this is why recommending or promoting virtual currencies seems like a really bad idea, because it's your reputation at stake, and your reputation is the most valuable thing you own.

That is not to say that any or all virtual currencies are a scam, no, of course not.

But stuff can go wrong. You've been in OpenSim long enough to know that's true, and how devastating it can be.  It's devastating when it's pixels. It's worse when it is real money.

It's even worse, when there is a perfectly nice no-money economy going on all around you, because if a commercial deal goes wrong, you'll be wondering why on earth you exposed yourself to the paranoid and avaricious one-upmanship that swirls around the almighty dollar.  Virtual is supposed to be a different, a better, place than grim reality.

Money is great. It's necessary. This post is not some kind of loony left rant. The Free Community of Opensim counts among its supporters people of all political persuasions, and some of the most money-oriented people you'll encounter inworld are super liberal in other respects.

Servers cost real money.  Unless you're operating a grid on your home computer, or you're talented enough to have been given a free region, you probably have rent or membership fees to pay. And this is not a moral judgement of the many oldbies who have for years made OpenSim a better place, thanks to their free creations, and who now charge money for selected items. More power to them.

What "free stuff" are you getting the benefit of? Scripts, textures, advice, mesh, the Viewer you're using, the protocol that makes hypergridding possible.  You have been presented with a huge amount of gifts; you don't have to give back, you may not care if people think you're a bit of a weasel. You may measure your value by your wallet, not by your heart. Thing with that is, people can't see your wallet, but they can see your heart.

Pretty much any hobby or pastime costs money. People who go bowling expect to have to pay to rent the shoes.  Supposing you showed up at the bowling alley and started asking your fellow bowlers to fund your shoe rental. What do you think they will think of you? Can you visualize the look they would give you? That is exactly the same reaction people have, if you take all the free stuff, but then charge money for your own creations - or worse, for the free stuff you took.  Of course it's tempting to do that, especially if you're being paid in a currency you can cash out into real money. That's kind of my point. Drama. Not good.

It's so bad, that just one or two people behaving like that will destroy the reputation of an entire grid, because, even if a Grid Owner declares that he or she is "not responsible for nefarious goings-on," popular opinion differs. Your grid, your residents, your drama. Dodgy content that is free, most people will overlook... dodgy content that people are making money off - good luck with that.

You don't have to comment this opinion, you're a grownup and you don't have to care or agree with what's written here. It's written here because to say nothing, well, that would be worse than saying something, even if it's unpopular. I don't think that virtual currencies help virtual worlds to be better places. Seems like, if they did, none of us would have ever left SL.


  1. I couldn't agree more, and recently commented in a thread saying pretty much the same thing.

    The response? The first person didn't and the 2nd person said "oh well". Both arguing for commerce.

    They simply cannot comprehend, they are part of the commercial systems, they can't see there are other and better ways that would pay off in a much more calm and enjoyable time.

  2. Relevant for me as I am adding currency to the Dreamworlds. I don't think it will drive away a single person. It's a feature, not a bug.