Monday, November 22, 2010

Bringing Teens to Second Life’s Main Grid and Work on Search

Last week, Terrace Linden gave an update on Linden Labs plans to merge the under-18 population of the Teen Grid with the Main. “Today, I’m happy share our plan to create rich and enjoyable Second Life experiences for teens, while keeping in mind their security and safety when joining the Main Grid. ... Our goal is to provide a safe, secure, and rewarding experience to all Second Life Residents, no matter their age.”

For those from age 13 to 15, they would be limited to places owned by a “sponsoring institution,” and would not be able to use ether the “Search” function or the Marketplace on the Internet. For residents of ages 16 and 17, they would have access to all land rated General/PG, both mainland and private sims. Moderate/Mature and Adult regions would be off-limits. But, they would be able to communicate (open chat and instant-message) and friend older users.

With nearly 5,000 General-rated regions in Second Life, the area that will be accessible to our 16- and 17-year-old Residents will dwarf the 100 regions currently available on Teen Second Life, giving them far more space to create, explore, and experience their online environment and what they can do there.

Our 16- and 17-year-old account holders will also be able to communicate fully with all other users on the Main Grid (unless they have been muted or otherwise restricted). This was an important decision for us, and one we think will make Second Life richer for all Residents.

Beginning in January, “13- to 15-year-olds will no longer be able to register for Second Life unless they are brought in through an affiliated organization.” Teens 16 and 17 can register on the Main Grid. Teen Grid residents will have their inventories transferred over, except for those under 16 not in any group moving to the Main Grid. Teen Grid residents ages 13 to 15 who cannot get on the Main Grid will have their accounts inactive until they reach the age of 16.

... the experience of teens in Second Life is only just beginning. We strongly believe that teens have as much to contribute to the Second Life community as their adult counterparts, and we do not want to restrict the flow of ideas and information between the two groups. We all have much to learn from each other.

Residents commenting below generally were skeptical to opposed. “You are opening up a tremendous black hole of legal jeopardy here,” one commented, pointing out a proposed JIRA to keep minors from looking into or interacting in any way sims with higher ratings than they could move about in. More than one resident expressed fear of arrest by police, branded as child molesters for the rest of their lives. Someone suggested that the best solution was probably the simplest, create a new General/PG continent the minors would be restricted to, or just freeze their accounts altogether until they turned 18. “How many teens are we talking about? 500? 1000?” one asked, “Was it really worth causing so much frustration for so many residents for the sake of 1000 kids?” A few commented that teens already had de-facto access, if they lied about their age. And there were those open to Linden Labs plans, but wary, "Do this, but please do it right. I don't want Cindy's dad knocking on my door carrying a baseball bat."

To read the complete Linden blog post and comments: Click Here.

Jack Linden stated Linden Labs has been making improvements to the Search function, “the SL Search team has been working hard to make Search results more accurate and prepare for the Teen Second Life migration to the Main Grid.” He stated there were new filters for Search to differentate General/PG and Moderate/Mature ratings of places, classified ads getting “content filtering to provide another level of rating validation,” “more sophisticated filters to identify spam,” and changes to the destination guide.

The coments below were generally skeptical to critical, one stating “Viewer 2 search is painfully slow compared to 1.x viewer search,” and another commenting Linden Labs was causing numbers of merchants hardship “just so a few hundred kids can come on the grid.”

For the complete post and comments, Click Here.


  1. When the whole Zindra thing occurred last year, we ASKED repeatedly for 3 continents -- a g one, the current one would be all PG, and Zindra would be all A. LL refused, saying there was no need for it.

    LL is going to become a footnote in the tech history books about creating a successful product, then destroying it by doing everything possible to drive customers away.

  2. I agree on the "footnote" above. They just don't want to listen, loose focus on their main user population, and always act as if they knew better. Only to slowly but surely degrade our unique experience and the assets they had. We do not need teens on the grid. As we did not ask viewer2, and for those new names that will only bring other issues to shops and some SL user reputation by abuse of name (and brand). We told them. They don't listen. One day they will be alone in front of their empty servers. Just with a bunch of teens that will not have the resources to spend and/or will to build.