Keeping great sims on the grid is not Linden Lab’s responsibility. It is ours.

A Petrovsky Flux
A Petrovsky Flux

  A Petrovsky Flux is gorgeous and the work of two great artists – Cutea Benelli and blotto Epsilon.  Definitely one of the highlights of Second Life.

I love Cutea’s work and own many of her weird and wonderful creations. I wore one of her spooky dresses recently in a short film I made (as part of an ongoing film course). I particularly love the way she combined elegance with … skulls. It’s very Cutea.

I’m delighted that A Petrovsky Flux provides a platform for her work (and I hope that people who see it will also go on to explore – and shop from – the remarkable emporium that is Grim Bros.

A Petrovsky Flux
A Petrovsky Flux

Ziki Questi has written about the sim before, and has revisited it recently, and shares the sad news that it may be about to close very shortly. Do read her posts – she highlights some of the cool things you can do there.

However …

It’s harsh but true. Linden Lab are our platform providers, not our archivists. They cannot save every sim that has outstanding beauty or artistic interest. If A Petrovsky Flux is to be saved, then, if the University of Kansas needs to step back, it must be the community who judges it worth saving – and pays to sponsor it.

A Petrovsky Flux
A Petrovsky Flux

It would not be impossible for a group of concerned residents to form a trust, perhaps each paying 5 dollars a month towards the cost of the sim. Or donating an article to be sold on Marketplace in support of the sim. Or organising an event once a month that would raise money towards keeping the sim going.

Keeping sims like A Petrovsky Flux alive is NOT Linden Lab’s’ responsibility. It is ours.

27 comments

  1. I both agree and disagree with you.
    Yes we should fund these sims ourselves.
    Sim owners should be clear about how much money they need each month to be able to keep the light on and they should look into other ways of getting money from visitors as well.
    If I can do it with something that has as limited appeal as Berlin 1920s roleplay, anyone can do it.
    And we visitors should of course show our support with our wallets.

    But on the other hand I think that there are some sims that are a benefit to SL and thus LL, they showcase a side of SL that is often ignored, it is extremely well build, it is a great place for new users, they have great PR value, etc, etc.
    Some sims are not just fun and nice for the visitors, they are actually good for SL and losing them damages SL.

    I’m not saying LL should dramatically cut the tier for such sims but perhaps a discount or mentioning them on the SL twitter or FB pages now and then is also a kind of support.
    Ebbe Linden for instance, the new LL CEO mentioned this sim on his personal twitter account, that helps too!
    But if I were Linden Lab I would consider keeping an eye out for sims that are beneficial to SL and support them trough lowered Tier, publicity, etc.
    For instance, the destination guide sims are very important to SL, they are the gateway for new users, sometimes the only reason new users decide to stay in SL is a sim they found there.
    Why not give such sims a discount?

  2. I would say the reason for NOT giving a discount would be that it would mean that the Lab then had to enter a value judgement as to which sims were worthy of preservation and which were not, and that is a very dangerous road to go down.

    Two things are raised for me immediately.

    1) Many of these sims that are stunning and beautiful do date. If the community decide to preserve it as it is, that’s fine. They have made that call. But Linden Lab could end up finding themselves not with underwriting a stunning set of showcase sims, but a portfolio of ageing and increasingly broken installations,

    And, in passing, I hope that the artists wouldn’t feel obliged to keep updating something that they made five, eight or whatever years ago and wouldn’t do like this now if they had the option.

    2) Who decides which sims are beneficial? Who decides how to limit them (because so many really are gorgeous)? Does the Lab get in to making value judgements? And how do we perceive the Community? Is it only art sims? Could it be something like the First World War Poetry sim? What about a really stunning roleplay build? What if it were adult, like a very beautiful Gorean build?

    This is something of a devil’s argument as I too would like to see a way by which much loved sims could be helped to continue. But I don’t think it’s something that could have a simple solution.

    1. True but on the other hand, LL is already making value judgements bu adding some to the destination guide and now, picking daily photos from flickr often with slurls that promote a sim or by mentioning any kind of sim on blog, twitter, etc.

      The destination guide in my eyes is a good list of sims that do something beneficial for SL and it is very varied.

      But yes, my idea is a bit naive, finding an actual way to make this work will be tricky.
      But I also think that everyone can think of at least a few sims who’s leaving made SL a sadder place.
      The Far Away for instance.

      1. *shrug* If you see something compelling on the grid that wasn’t created by a Mole, ask yourself why the Lab is hiring mediocre prim-slingers instead of the masters of the art.

      2. Greenies.
        Arcana Nuevo.

        The destination guide, twitter, photo of the day and all that help. But every sim needs people willing to pay the bills each month.

        And the Destination Guide is very broad. There must be … oh, around 1,000 destinations in there. Some are full sims, some may just be a smaller build.

        Which raises another problem – are we ONLY going to preserve entire sims? Some of the greatest places in Second Life might be smaller parcels. And what of the ones that are several sims? Should the Lab just discount one?

        This is a very, very tricky area. Which means it’s probably really worth talking about!

    2. Another solution might be a SL museum, a proper massive museum of several regions where a Linden, perhaps the one in charge of the destination guide, asks those who run sims that stand out or are just good to have in SL for one reason or another, to build a small area in the style of that sim.
      Even if they get eventually dated, they would be interesting to show the history of SL.
      I imagine something like the SL birthday events with lots of small parcels giving visitors a taste of SL.
      Might be interesting to have an inworld sample version of the destination guide anyway.
      I remember that there once was a RP portal sim where you would walk around and see bits of RP sims you could then teleport to.

      This would still involve someone at LL making a judgement call, but it would also avoid a situation where someone gets discounts.

  3. As someone who was a partial owner of an art sim that is no longer on the grid primarily due to cost, I have strong feelings on this subject.

    I agree completely with Saffia’s well thought out post and comments so I will not restate any of her ideas.

    What I will say is LL already underwrites the SL art world by offering a large number of free sims to LEA. The LEA board make judgments about what art should be supported all the time. Perhaps they could be convinced to set aside a few sims for a rotating exhibit of museum quality builds with themes from art to RP to education or even commerce. Maybe LEA should use the vast resources they have been given to create the SL historical museum.

    Just a thought.

      1. … which then brings you back to an even stronger incentive for private art sims to throw in the towel because they’d be fools to pay for something the Lab is giving away for free.

      2. But there won’t be space for ALL art projects and I’m sure some artists are not welcome at LEA because maybe their art is more for an adult audience.

  4. Yeah. Well, Art Screamer was a victim of the LEA as far as I am concerned. We stopped paying tier because we felt like chumps. Bye bye beautiful art sim! Bye bye best project I had in my 7 years in SL. But no, I am not bitter. Not at all.

  5. Saffia, thanks for your post and for linking back to my posts. It’s a complex issue, and I’d like to make it clear that I’m not advocating for the Lab to underwrite a Petrovsky flux. I hesitate to go into details (because it’s really between the Lab and the University of Kansas) but there were some billing issues — and KU was paying full tier, not the educational discount (which they weren’t even aware existed). I’m rather hoping for something like a stay of execution so that an alternative solution might be devised.

    I agree that it would be easy enough for a consortium to provide support for key installations, and Caer Balogh and I have been talking on and off about organizing something. It was heartening and remarkable today that, in response to my suggestion, Ebbe Linden visited a Petrovsky flux and stayed for quite a while talking with others who arrived. But as Jo said (as I agree too), there are sims that are assets to the Lab — and sometimes things have worked in difficult directions — Sextan Shepherd became quite annoyed that the Lab was using his Nemo sim in ads when he was paying full price for the sim.

    1. Have you thought about setting up a support system?
      We have that in 1920s Berlin, people pay an X amount per month in exchange for getting their portrait on a wall in the sim, a group title and a few other nice bonuses and such.

    2. OK, now I must post a correction to my own comment, because it turns out that (contrary to what I was originally told) there were no account or billing problems between the Spencer Museum and the Lab. Sustaining the sim is really a decision that the museum has to make — whether it wants to continue to underwrite on its own or through partnership with inworld patrons. I’m posting some clarification here — http://zikiquesti.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-petrovsky-flux-revisited-again.html

  6. This type of debate can go on ad infinitum. How about LL simply making land tier R E A S O N A B L E for ALL? Prime example being Kitely, where one can have a full sim for $15/month. :::shakes head in utter disgust:::

  7. There are only a couple of things LL should do, one is cutting tier across the board, the second is making it easier for people to donate tier or tier funds to a sim.

    Linden Lab should not be involved in picking and choosing sims to preserve.

  8. My two cents, as the curator of an art installation space (Split Screen) that’s now downgraded to a sort of sculpture gallery…. I agree that the responsibility for keeping great sims going is up to “us,” which I assume means lovers of Second Life art (as opposed to the artists — though they have some responsibilities too). But I want to raise doubts about creating a trust. As Saffia suggests, a trust would face exactly the same problem that requesting LL sponsorship has: who would decide which sims to support, and on what basis? The difficulty is likely to raise hackles just as the existence of the LEA committee has: some people think it’s some sort of authoritarian group of self-appointed art judges (obviously I think this view is unwarranted and unfair, but some people believe it). So a lot of people may prefer to avoid the potential for “drama” and just directly support the sims they personally like.

    But there’s already a mechanism for that: tip jars. People *could* tip, say, L$1000 (less than USD $4) every month if they wanted to. However, I doubt many gallery or sim owners get anything like that. Split Screen didn’t: over the course of its two years, it garnered maybe one month’s worth of rent through tips — and rent was only L$15,000 (less than USD $60), since it occupied merely half of a homestead sim. Actually, for a while Split Screen *had* a monthly sponsor. She paid fully half the tier. But even so, after a few months she had to withdraw. In my information kiosk I had a notecard inviting people to become monthly sponsors, but I had not a single taker. In fact I doubt anyone ever read that card.

    So I think both a trust and a program to promote individual sim support would face a very steep uphill climb. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t even be tried, but they would need a lot of thought, a lot of work, and restrained expectations. Start with the math: it would take 76 people paying L$1000 per month to pay for a full sim’s USD $295 tier.

    Regarding the idea of having sims to preserve works, that’s harder than it sounds. Even if their tier were covered, sim software is constantly updated, and the effects can be significant. For example, Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield’s “Flowerball” recently re-opened, and according to Doug, Desde had to rewrite the scripts because LL had changed some aspects of LSL. It’s possible that some works couldn’t survive sim updates at all. Also, what would happen if an installation used a parcel windlight installed via Firestorm’s hack, which LL doesn’t support? Finally, somebody has to maintain the servers, deal with problems, and so forth. So, not so straightforward.

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