"My grid’s better…"

If you’re of “a certain age”, and live in the US, you may recall an advertising campaign from the 1960s with a particularly insidious earworm jingle:

Lately, as various start-ups (and upstarts) vie for recognition and market share, there’s been a lot of “My grid’s better than your grid…” There’s nothing wrong in my book with bragging about the virtual home you’ve chosen — anyone who reads this blog knows how enthused I am about InWorldz — but there’s an important difference between boosting your own and tearing down someone else’s.

And yes, I know… I’m as guilty as the next guy or girl about criticizing Second Life. But, as more than one guy and girl have pointed out — to the extent that, by now, it really shouldn’t need repeating — we do that because we want SL to continue, to improve rather than stagnate, to lead the virtual worlds of its type rather than to merely endure by being the 800-pound gorilla.

Today’s blog entry was inspired (if you can call it that) by an exchange or two on Twitter yesterday to which I was exposed second-hand. I don’t know all of the details — in fact, I deliberately avoided tracking them down — and I’m not going to name names or repeat what was said. Best as I can tell, someone who I follow made mention of Aurora, which is a new-ish fork of the OpenSimulator server code (and was associated briefly with Imprudence/Kokua). Well… someone took the role of Troll upon themselves, and proceeded in multiple tweets to denigrate not only the Aurora project, but the person who mentioned it.

In my time in Second Life, when commenting about other avatar’s choices in appearance, activities, and lifestyle, I’ve often used the phrase “It takes all kinds to make a virtual world.” Well, guess what, Mr. and Ms. Troll: It takes all kinds of virtual worlds to make an Omniverse, too. The choices other people make about which ones they go to, or how many, or which software they use to start up their own, are not intrinsically wrong for the sole reason that they differ from yours. Interoperability is a worthwhile goal, but it does not mean “One code to rule them all.”

There is a point at which evangelism becomes fanaticism. Virtuality needs the former; it should have no use for the latter.

Be proud of your own world(s) without demonizing the others.


13 responses to “"My grid’s better…"

  1. Can you say “Second Life Viewer 2”?

    Thank you for this. I would only add: this applies to viewers, computer platforms, mobile platforms, cars and trucks, clothing…. even friendships.

  2. Also agree, and with what Bashful said too.

    Arguments over why one grid \ viewer \ platform is better or worse than another is so old and tedious.

    I wish people would just share what they love about a particular grid \ viewer \ platform where it is relevant without all the underhand digs and drama.

    As you say, Lalo, you are a proud InWorldz user. I've never seen you use that as an excuse to attack SL or SL users though, or to excessively push your preference for InwWorldz on users of other worlds. You've shared your likes and opinions, but never in a “my world is better than your world” manner. Which is exactly as it should be.

    Personally, I'm a content SL and Viewer 2 users and don't feel the need to look elsewhere. Doesn't stop me from allowing others to have their preferences or attacking their preference though.

    Mind you … if the chocolate, strawberries and champagne are in InWorlds, I could maybe be persuaded! :D

  3. Five years from now we'll look back on these acrimonious drama-fests like we do today about old flame wars between partisans of aol and CompuServe. It's ironic that some of us who are the most deeply involved in the cutting-edge of change are utterly blind that the issues du jour are a blip in time.

  4. I couldn't agree more. It is possible to critique a virtual world without being insulting. Critique means analysis, not merely fault-finding and mud-slinging. I've posted that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. I don't mean stop criticism and judgement, but offer it reasonably, with supporting data. If your personal experience was sub-par, report fairly if your own actions might have had any impact. Mindless insults of a personal nature or reviews that have nothing beyond “ugh” reflect poorly on the reviewer, NOT on the world being reviewed.

    On the other hand, despite agreeing with you completely, Lalo, you are now on my “never talk to again” list. I CANNOT stop hearing “my dog's better than your dog, my dog's better than YOURS”. Grrrrrrrrrrr. :)

  5. There's a good chance, that, as feature sets converge, all the server and viewer platforms will start to inter-operate.

    On the Web, you can run your website on an Apache server, or on a Windows server, or the Sun server, or the Google server… and you can visit the website using Explorer, or Firefox, or Chrome, or Safari.

    It's pretty likely that the 3D web will go the same way. We'll have grids run on OpenSim, grids running some future version of Second Life Enterprise, grids running on whatever Microsoft comes up with (or buys), grids running on Google's 3D server software… and we'll be able to access them using our choice of viewers.

    Platform convergence is inevitable. If one platform gets a must-have feature that users like, the other guys will roll it out at some point or other – it's much easier to copy a feature than to invent it. And there's nothing stopping a non-OpenSim grid from joining the hypergrid (or whatever it evolves into) once the feature sets more-or-less match up.

    Meanwhile, there's no point in getting upset about the arguments. They'll all be moot in six months when everything changes, and six months later when everything changes yet again.

    Just remember: everything you say on the Internet lives on forever. You don't want to go down in history as the guy who swears never to use any other search engine but Altavista.

    But a discussion of the merits of various platform is valuable, and can help guide adoption and future development. And if folks can't discuss things reasonably… you can always unfollow them.

  6. @Sandi (a.k.a. Bashful): I confess, I'm guilty of “V2 bashing” — in my (admittedly weak) defense, I'll offer that it was the original 2.0, and I know things have improved in the year-plus since. Eventually, we'll all have to be running a V2-based viewer to get the full SL experience — yet my choice of which to use (probably Kokua) will not cause me to hate on LL's version, Firestorm, or any other.

    It's like that old saying about why there's chocolate and vanilla… and strawberry, rocky road, butter pecan, Cherry Garcia…

    @SueElla: /me makes another shopping list ;)

    @Botgirl: Indeed — and as Sandi/Bashful said, it's applicable to all aspects of life, not just tech.

    @Ahuva: Sorry 'bout that… but that's why there was that warning in the first sentence ;)

    @Maria: as with Botgirl – Right you are, and the keyword (as always) is “reasonable”. [And btw, I'm not hesitant about using the Unfollow button, or even a preemptive Block, which I did in the case of the guy trolling against Aurora.]

    @No One In Particular: For examples of how to get it right, check out two of Inara Pey's recent blogs, about InWorldz and Avination.

  7. I'm really glad to read this post Lalo. We've caught a lot of flack over many months for forking our code. From people trying to take a moral high ground about the essence of open source, to others saying we'll be dead in a month (and repeating the prediction month after month) because we “can't keep up”. All InWorldz has ever tried to do is make it's own customers happy and give them what they've requested. We took control of our own destiny to try and better serve the wishes of the people that keep us in business. So far it's worked and has been a pleasure.

    I located the exchange you mentioned and I found it really upsetting. I sure hope we're not in an age where having a different idea and trying to run with it is unacceptable and threatening. If we are, we might as well kiss innovation goodbye.

    I say good luck to all implementers in current and future endeavors.

  8. I was appalled by the stream of comments about Aurora in that thread. I know the developers, and was associated with the group for a while and can tell you Aurora came about because of frustration with the political process and in fighting of the Opensim dev team. Frankly there were too many great ideas being squashed rather than encouraged for the main team to stay contributing to the core code. So a tiny team with a code wizard boy genius set to work and produced an opensim fork so advanced it made the core team look quite silly. Yes – it has it's problems and yes, it's very much a specialist version but just as there are various flavors of viewer ro accomplish different tasks, so will there be server variants. I'd love to see convergence in the future with everyone singing Kum by yah together, but until we establish some kind if common purpose I see that as unlikely. We all occupy a tiny tiny corner of the universe, and have much more in common than differences so it seems to me that our internal squabbles need a heavy dose of perspective. A management guru I have followed for years has an expression that applies here: “success = external integration / internal disintegration” our little virtual world community is thoroughly internally disintegrated and until that is remedied our chances of success are limited. I hope to see factions understanding this and working to reconcile their differences for the greater virtual world community.

    Soapbox over. Peace out.

  9. You know how I feel about partisanship Lalo; it only hurts all of us. Such divisiveness is why we are 10 years behind where we should be and why the interests of business and government are able to chip away at the net as they are doing; “divided we fall.”

    And since I had to realize that not everyone acknowledges my title as Princess of the Universe and naturally understands that the choices I make are of course the smartest and correct ones, I have grown mellow in my ability to let them make their own mistakes, as long as they don't mind “I told you so” later down the road :D

    ps: thanks for the earworm warning! I avoided that deadly trap :D

  10. “The smaller the stakes, the pettier the politics” or something of that sort.

    Don't let the SL fanatics get you down. Enjoy your grid, Lalo :)

  11. I am a SL girl myself, But still time to time DJ Inworldz, I found No difference since it was upgraded except I have invested 4 years in SL and refuse to give up my avatar, those that complain about other worlds, and their own for that matter, need to take a step back and think about who is really listening.

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