Some thoughts on Content Na- um, er… I mean Build Moderators

And now, a post on a subject that some folks won’t like: SL9B build moderators.

(Okay, okay… I’ll wait until the booing and hissing stops… and… alright…)

The primary purpose of a build moderator is to help make this SL9B celebration the best and most enjoyable for as many as possible without the content violating any of the Linden Lab terms of service or cause any disruptions or problems to those enjoying it.

The build rules and event policies were put in place to help folks make it an enjoyable experience and to prevent any serious issues, like copyright and trademark violation, for instance.

The moderators are “not out to get you” or act like some kind of roving pack of Content Nazis trying to wipe all the builds off the sims they don’t like while getting their friends as much land as possible.

The SL9B moderators team is trying to help you be a part of the celebration and engage the visitors and participants in the spirit of the event.

Nobody’s keeping “kill scores” or notching their belts or mounting breedable animal heads up above their fireplace. What does that accomplish but cause hostility and frustration and burnt bridges and bad blood?

Plus, when it’s time for SL10B to look for sponsors, do you think that anybody who got callously manhandled and chewed up and spit out this year would come back next year wanting to sponsor sims?

No. Of course not.

So, it’s a balancing act… fair, but firm.

How can I explain this better… let’s see…

Ever hear about a dude named Wavy Gravy?

His job?


Okay, so he’s more than that… he kinda fell into the whole clown thing because he’s a smart dude, and when protesting he knew that cops would think twice about bashing a clown’s skull in (and the puffy wig would offer some semblance of cushioning the blow).

But he’s also a well-respected entrepreneur and pacifist and author and thinker and commentator and organizer who was involved in the Woodstock events.

And get this: he was a critical part of the security for the 1969 event.

A pacifist security guy?

Yup. Because his concept was based not on policing, but on “The Please Force.”

As in having volunteers address troublemakers politely with “Please” and “Thank you” and constructive suggestions to channel their energy to be a part of the whole experience without hurting others or being a downer.

Because back then, law enforcement’s way of dealing with hippies that got a little too exuberant involved batons, skulls, and ouchness.

So, instead of just beating up folks and handing them to the cops, he and his crew would engage the situation, find ways to invite people to join in the fun again, get it under control without violence, and make it a better experience for all.

It’s not about confrontation… it’s about inviting people to get with the spirit of the event.

It’s about making peace with peace-seeking others through peaceful means.

Wikipedia the guy, read his books, tune into his radio shows… he’s fascinating dude.

So, where was I? What was my point?

Oh right…

Look, some folks see SL9B as a celebration and an opportunity to share a 3-D immersive birthday card in which they show their appreciation for the potential of the platform to connect people in interesting and imaginative ways.

Others see it as an opportunity to raise awareness for various causes that people can get involved in.

And there’s a lot of people who see it as a way to introduce you to various communities or activities around the grid where you can explore and interact and belong.

But, sadly, there’s a few folks who cynically view it as nothing more than another fair, shopping mall, or expo in which they can peddle their wares and services, and the challenge is to configure their advertising build to fit the the letter of the rules, even if it violates the spirit of them.

It breaks my heart, man. Why why why why why do people do this kind of thing?


The application process is meant to prioritize the top three types of people while challenging the marketers and salespeople who represent the fourth to catch the spirit of the event instead of try to exploit it.

But, as with all man’s creations, nothing’s perfect, and reason must be prevailed on. (Can we get some added to the Library, please? Whowants to file the JIRA?)

So, when the build rules say this:

No sales or soliciting of donations will be allowed. Free gifts (aka “freebies”) and landmarks to external areas are fine.

It doesn’t just mean stripping out your vendors and removing the price tags from the build.

Because later, in the Building Policies:

Selling is prohibited. Free gifts, or “freebies,” are fine. Additionally, displays should have actual content, not just look like advertisements. This is a non-commercial zone intended to showcase the best ideas, solutions, craftsmanship, and community that Second Life Residents have to offer.

What constitutes an advertisement?
What constitutes showcasing content instead of soft-selling it?
What constitutes an immersive “birthday card” from a content developer instead of a sales pitch?

Not an easy thing to define, man.

Yes, we can think back to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who uttered the timeless phrase “I know it when I see it!” when dealing with a pornography case (Jacobellis vs Ohio), but now you get into the problem of WHO DECIDES, and WHO DO YOU APPEAL TO, and WHO THE HELL DIED AND MADE YOU KING BECAUSE THIS IS RESIDENT RUN YOU CONTENT NAZI and WHY BOTHER HAVING RULES IF THEY’RE TOO WISHY-WASHY TO ENFORCE and all that hoo-hah.

Once again: Far, but firm.

Which is why when I saw a build that was a handsome but sterile advertisement for various building and community management services, I called in two other staffers to look it over, confirmed my instincts, and wrote up as pleasant and apologetic a notecard I could that invited the builder to re-read the build policies and retool their build to better fit the spirit of the event.

Aaaaaaaand…. their response was to tear the build down and ragequit.

Dang. (I’m sure Wavy Gravy would pat me on the shoulder and say “Um… you’re a very weird and smelly person. Say, want to buy some jars of cruelty-free honey?”)

On the other hand, a moderator called me in to check on another build which had a very large-sized sculpty which extended into the sidewalk.

I messaged the creator, who’s a friend, and let them know that it would be really nice of them to set it to phantom.

They thought they wouldn’t be able to do it, but they were!

Cool… not only was this an opportunity to fix a build, it was an opportunity for a person to learn something they didn’t already know.

(I’m sure Wavy would put his hand on my shoulder and say “No. Really. You need to go take a shower. My hand is sticking.”)

R. Crap Mariner

PS: We’ve been thinking about how we can highlight what we mean by following the spirit of the event, and Saffia will have some thoughts to share in a bit.



Filed under Land, SL9B

7 responses to “Some thoughts on Content Na- um, er… I mean Build Moderators

  1. I saw that Booshies really got into the spirit! They had a lovely display before but now that they got “birthday fever’ it is even more awesome!

  2. isfullofcrap

    I saw. It really, really brightened my day and cleared away a lot of the clouds.


  3. Great post! I love the Wavy Gravy reference so much too. He was an amazing guy and a great example to mention.

  4. DMom2K Darwin

    The Mods and EAs simply rock! These are folk who are volunteering their time to help make this event as fantastic as possible. Please don’t kill the messengers. They may have to send the Angel or Angela of Death after you….. The policy is there for a reason and it pushes us to be that much more creative in how we present ourselves and our interests to the community at large.

  5. Pingback: Prim Perfect Jigsaw: Every garden has its lurking snake! « Prim Perfect

  6. It always makes me sad when Volunteers such as EA’s get bashed over the head by people who don’t like the rules that where created originally by Linden Lab to protect and provide a safe haven for all ages. The Birthday Party is supposed to be fun, its not sectioned off this is the Adult section, you are not allowed here because the Adults are here and its naughty. My point is don’t shoot the messenger.
    Someone rightly told me that I had gone over my line with a barrier I had placed and I agreed and removed it from the area it was protruding into.
    You see I have great respect for all the EA’s that are working on this project and will do what ever needs to be done to keep them happy. If they said I had over scripted or over textured I would happily rethink my script level or texturing designs. Thats their job after all.
    On another point, we applied and we where accepted, does that not make us the chosen ones, the guests who need to respect and thank our kind hosts for giving us the land to project our dreams.
    Happy Birthday Second Life 9 thanks for who ever wrote this for writing it. Give the EA’s and many other volunteers a huge cheer for giving us this opportunity to shine, have fun and make merry.

  7. I am one of those terrible, jackbooted, goose-stepping mods and I want to let people know that I sometimes cringe at the thought of having to ask for removal of something.
    I am very liberal-minded indeed and I have a healthy hatred of censorship. But I know also that if the event would be run according to my personal standards, it would have to be held in Zindra and then lots of people would not be able – or willing – to come at all.
    So yes, I may be the one telling you to remove or edit certain references, but I don’t tell you that for my sake and I am not giving you my personal opinion.

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