Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Commentary: Who Else Would Have Gotten "Man of the Year?"

By Bixyl Shuftan

The "Man of the Year" will be an article we hope to be doing this time of year from here on. We've gotten a few complements on it (thank you). Though there was a question raised: Who would have won if the Newser had done this from it's first year?

For 2010, the winner would likely have been people whom sadly had lost their jobs. The news that Linden Lab had given 30% of their workforce, including some popular Lindens, shook the Second Life community like few things ever had. People began wondering if the Grid was on a downward slump it couldn't recover from. That some popular Lindens such as Blue and Teegan were given pink slips gave others the impression the people in charge were sending a message to the others: "No fraternization with the masses." So the title would probably have gone to "The 30%." Others whom would have been in the running include Jessica Lyon for organizing Team Phoenix which created what would be Second Life's most popular viewer, Team Emerald for demonstrating how *not* to run a Third Party Viewer team with their hacking of a critic's website and the outright defiance against Linden Lab that led to the banning of a number of members. and Philip Linden / Philip Rosedale for coming back for a few months as interim CEO.

For 2011, the probable winner of the title would have been the new CEO Rodvik Linden / Rod Humble. His arrival with years of experience in the computer gaming industry gave many residents hope that Linden Lab was back on track. Others whom figured large in the news included zFire Xue for his controversial RedZone that raised many privacy fears, and for being among the few whom went to prison as a result of his activities inworld, Battlestar Galactica roleplayers for successfully negotiating with the real-life Universal corporation and being able to continue their games and therfore providing a precedent for similar groups in future years, Ozimal and Ammaretto for the lawsuit filed by the former on the latter (pointless in the opinion of the writer) which Ammaretto would eventually win, and Second Life's "pony" fans for introducing a new type of avatar and a new community that despite their first sims being taken down due to griefers soon bounced back and was on the Grid to stay.

2012's most influential newsmakers, and therefore whom would have been the collective "Man of the Year," were probably the SL9B team. When Linden Lab announced that they would no longer be sponsoring the event and suggested the various communities hold their own celebrations, various residents refused to take the news lying down and instead banded together to organize it themselves. Second Life's Ninth Birthday proved that while Linden Lab may have provided the software and the sims, it was the residents that truly made Second Life what it is. Other newsmakers included Crap Mariner for his publicizing SL9B with his series of videos, Rodvik Linden for his decisions such as new games and platforms for the Lab such as the "Patterns" game, Qarl Fizz (formerly Qarl Linden) for his work on the mesh deformer, and the Star Trek Community for successfully negotiating with Paramount to be able to continue their roleplays in Second Life.

2013 was dominated by two controversies, both about Second Life's Terms of Service. One was about third-party Linden exchangers, which Linden Lab tried to ban. While most folded, the Podex Exchange headed by Jacek Shuftan remained open, saying they had a duty to their customers and tried to talk to the Lab. But the Lab would not listen to him and temporarily gave him the boot. It was ultimately up to the Second Life masses whom rose up at once in protests, many threatening to leave, who got Linden Lab to partially back down and allow third party exchangers to remain (but not buy Lindens back). So for his work Jacek Shuftan would have gotten runner-up. The second controversy was the longer lasting Terms of Service Content creator controversy, of which the opposition was organized under the United Content Creators of Second Life group, founded and headed by Kylie Sabra. Despite that Linden Lab wouldn't budge until the following year under a new CEO, Kylie Sabra's efforts would have gotten her "Woman of the Year" for 2013. Others in the running would have included Tuna Oddfellow for his protesting the ToS issue by moving his performances to the InWorldz Grid, which spurred numerous others to take a look at the alternative virtual world, the SL10B team for organizing the effort to celebrate the Grid's tenth anniversary, and the Relay for Life volunteers for their "100 Years of Hope" season which celebrated the American Cancer Society's centennial.

Just as we take a look back to see whom made a difference in Second Life in the past, the Newser team looks forward to spreading the news about who does so in the future.

Bixyl Shuftan

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