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The Case Against Camping (2008)

The Case Against Camping (2008)

Source: Denny, Dallas (As Cheyenne Palisades). (2008, 2 April). Second Life Jobs Editorial: The case against camping. Second Life Entrepreneur.





In the virtual world Second Life, camping refers to avatars earning money by sitting in chairs, doing menial “jobs” like washing windows, or engaging in other animations for extended periods of time for laughably menial sums of money, paid in Lindens, Second Life’s currency. Typically, campers early about one Linden (about 1/250th of a dollar). Some owners of virtual businesses increase traffic (the number of avatars on their property) with campers, which places them higher in search results, theoretically earning them more money. Some property owners create large numbers of “bots,” unmanned/unwomaned avatars, sometimes placing 50 or more on their property, using a single computer. These bots slow things down, creating unpleasant experiences for legitimate customers and visitors.

I wrote the following editorial and submitted it without artwork. The images the editors selected to illustrate the story included a picture of a sign from a store run by avatar Rebecca Vacano, who made use of camping on her property. I had no prior knowledge of the photos that would illustrate my piece.

Rebecca took great offense at the illustrations and turned her venom on me. She threatened to sue me. Telling her I did not select the images made no impression on her, nor did she seem to understand just what an editorial is. I eventually told her to go f**k herself. It made for a most interesting comments section.

The Case Against Camping

Downloaded Version (in case online version disappears)

Response to The Case Against Camping

Downloaded Version of Response

My Blog Post About the Brouhaha


The Case Against Camping

By Cheyenne Palisades

Camping— enticing avatars to remain on your property by paying them small sums to sit in a chair, stand on a ladder pretending to wash windows, or pretend to sell virtual hot dogs from a cart—can raise your traffic rating and can theoretically entice people to your place of business– but at what price? What price to you, what price to me, what price to the grid? Consider: By keeping avies sitting in chairs, you encourage deadbeat behavior. Don’t kid yourself; $2L an hour isn’t going to buy a camper much, but it will certainly prevent her from engaging in meaningful in-world activities. While she sits in your poorly-textured camping chair, she won’t be exploring, learning the interface or building skills, engaging in interactions with other avatars, or contributing in any meaningful way to the economy of Second Life.

Second Life Campers Wander Around Welfare Island

Second Life Campers Wander around Welfare Island

Many new avatars and more than a few older ones think SL is a game and that accumulating Lindens is the goal. Camping chairs encourage and perpetuate this type of thinking—there the chairs are and how easy it is to sit! But when campers realize they’re making real-life pennies to be bored stiff for hours, they typically leave in search of a more interesting virtual world.
So think about it–you’re arguably driving people from the world. Avatars who might otherwise become content generators or heavy-spending fashionistas go to There! or World of Warcraft, and Second Life is robbed forever of their potential creativity, talent, and real-world income.

You would serve your fellow citizens, yourself, and your society better if you eliminated your camping chairs. Or better yet, script your camping chairs to explain to those sitting in them that camping is stupid before kicking them out Lindenless, but with a list of alternative and engaging places to visit.

Consider also: You are paying for this foolishness. Sure, 2L every 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but if you have four camping chairs and they stay filled three-quarters of the time, you’re spending more than $3 US every day or $95 monthly–enough to pay tier on half a region! And not only that, you’re promulgating what is questionably the biggest problem in Second Life—grid clogging by inactive avatars.

Linden Lab’s open sourcing of the Second Life client has allowed the development of text-only browsers that consume little RAM or processor power, enabling a single computer to run dozens of instances of Second Life. This creates an excess of sim-clogging bots that are scripted to find and sit in camping chairs. And you know what happens to any sim when there are a couple of dozen avatars present? Right– the sim grinds to a halt, creating a miserable experience for everybody. And when tens of thousands of these bots share the grid with real citizens, it leads to crashes, failed teleports, misplaced attachments–collective misery no matter how you look at it. If you don’t think people leave Second Life to escape this, you’re mistaken.

Camping Sign on Platinum World Sim

Camping Sign on Platinum World Sim

And finally, consider the theory behind camping in the first place–which is that the avatars “paid” to camp will become customers attracting other avatars to your site. That’s nonsense. Before the ban on gambling, many campers spent their Lindens on site. But now they’re more likely to keep their pennies. They can get by without that butt skirt you so proudly display, thank you very much. Most campers will never become productive citizens. They will remain virtual leeches and in the very best scenario, you’re going to get only a portion of your lindens back. As for attracting others to your land; you’re kidding, right? Most citizens steer clear of laggy, clogged areas—and if they do choose to investigate and find a bunch of robot campers and a time dilation of .38, chances are they’ll leave immediately. I mean, wouldn’t you?

Finally, let me share with you a search technique practiced by myself any many of my friends—we simply disregard the top three or four hits in Search and skip down toward the middle of the page. Why? We know those places with 999,999 traffic counts are going to be bot-ridden, ugly, laggy, and probably pornographic–places we don’t want to visit. The places we DO want to visit will be a feast for our eyes and ears, filled with high-quality merchandise we’re happy to buy. And if the place is laggy, it’s because the avatars present are spending money— not costing you $2L each every ten minutes.