People are whining that freedom of speech is being violated since Linden Lab seemingly turned away age players and Gor and similar things from Second Life's Fifth Birthday Bash.
My only response is, So?
What is the point of this birthday party? It's just one giant group hug between Linden Lab and Linden Lab as they congratulate each other on a virtual world well done. The entire idea is stupid. I don't want a booth so I can make some Linden (like Torley :p ) proud of what they've done. The only impressive thing I can see is how people still want to attend and hold booths at this thing despite all that LL has done.
There's no reward. At all. The only thing to be said about flaunting your SL culture is, I suppose, spreading the word about it which is done better by other methods.
I'm not just talking out my rear, either.
Thousands of years ago, Sparta had a proud military tradition. Sure, it was brutual and violent and violated seventeen basic human rights but it served a real purpose and was a unique part of their culture. That was Sparta, as they say in the movie. It was acknowledged back then as something alive and vibrant. You felt it. Then, stuff happened and a few wars and Sparta became a tourist attraction. People came to gawk at the silly Spartans living their, uh, spartan lifestyle.
That's just one example. Other cultures have had similar experiences where most of it is stripped down to a few pieces that people think are weird. Look at Chinatown in any city. Here, there are even signs to point tourists to "Chinatown", so they can gawk and pretend they're in China and maybe take pictures of "those funny people".
This is what is going to happen if your group takes up a booth at this thing. You're in Gor, then people are not going to admire your culture or want to sign up to it, they're going to point and laugh and say, "Look at the funny Goreans! They are not like us so they are funny! They have slaves dur dur durrr" Like a sideshow. Is this really what you want?
Frankly, I think unless you're some big business or builder in SL, any booth you make will reduce you to sideshow status. If you want to be taken seriously, I suggest not setting up a booth. People will come to it alright, but they probably aren't going to sit down and actually appreciate the depth of your religion and sims and customs. They're probably going to say, "LOL LUK AT TEH CHILDRENS AVIES SO KEWT" or "GROSS ADULTS AS CHILDS SICK SICKO".
Hence, why I will not or ever consider setting up the Church of Nunchuck in a similar fashion. If people want to appreciate my 'culture' then I want them to really live it and understand it, not perceive it as some display to take photographs of and brag to their friends that "I saw the funny peoples".
And that is all assuming that everything goes smoothly at this event. Looking at the past history of all these LL events, it is an ugly track record. There was Christmas '06 event, with the skating rink in New York and lighting that Christmas tree. That was a total disaster as the crowd I was with didn't even realize anything had gone on. The other events that Christmas lagged so badly that once I had to wait about four hours for the simple reason that every time I logged in I couldn't stay stable enough to teleport out. Ah, teleport failures.
Valentine's Day this year was another one. If you have a Ruth fetish, then that party would have been your heaven because the sheer volume of people caused delays in rezzing. I didn't crash that time, but it was worse in that I didn't want to log out but I wasn't really doing anything in world either. I ended up going out to a Qdoba nearby with a few friends in real life. When I came back a few hours later, I found I had crashed at some point from the helpful redmap notice.
There have probably been more events than I've been to, I'm sure of that, but when I do go to these things I never enjoy it. If I wanted to lag out terribly I'd go to a SL club and enjoy the company of friends and a DJ instead of being shown about stupid 'events' that I can't enjoy because they won't rezz or the sim crashes. No, thank you.
What is the list of things to do at this birthday extravaganza? One week of listening to speeches from Philip and M, followed by exhibits where we all get to be virtual tourists and see what other people do with themselves in Second Life (which I predict will end up turning into a virtual zoo of culture). About the only thing I would go to see is the art, machinima (what the hell is that word, anyway? Why can't we just grow up and call it 'movies' or 'videos'? Why this weird ass name?), and music. And if the latter two don't load on my viewer and the art doesn't rezz well....
The second week is more exhibits from the big businesses in SL. Like education (colleges), health care, nonprofits, IBM and General Motors and AOL and so on. Oh gee, I get to go to this event to hear my school preach at me how wonderful it is and what it's doing. And if I couldn't care less, I can only imagine what those past college are probably thinking. "KILL ME NOW, I ALREADY PAID MY FOUR YEARS". And don't let these people fool you with 'it improves education'. I have yet to see anything significantly improve education in SL that wasn't a gimmick. "Golly Gee Whiz! I can make a model of a CFC molecule! I could have done that with plastic models in real life, but I chose virtual world for some reason so it would take two more hours than it normally would! Yippee!"
That's just the education side of it, too. I'm not even going to touch the companies and corporations, most of whom don't give seven figs about SL except as an advertising vehicle. None of them have probably done anything significant for any community, unless you count their private islands as the "community". To hell with them.
Finally, they rap up with a special guest speaker! With a special announcement! What, is Steve Jobs rolling out "iLife" or something? Is SL closing down and this is the big Adieu? Who is the speaker, Torley? Maybe it's Prokofy. Torley? Or Maybe it's me! Oh the mystery! I HAVE TO GO NOW. It's not like it will be blogged by HALF THE FREE WORLD (I admit I will blog about it, too, because I am such a loser ;_; ).
Notice anything about those events? Here is a clue: Linden Lab does essentially nothing. Oh, I spoiled it and told you the answer. Oh, sure, they host the sims and provide the two CEOs and a mystery guest to speak (how generous), but that's about it. The rest relies upon the people of Second Life being suckers and buying into building their own exhibits. That's cool, but shouldn't Linden Lab be doing something besides plain ol' host? I don't know, have a "tour Linden Lab" ride through a SL recreation of their home base in San Fran. Or something. If they are doing anything, I haven't heard about it.
So no, thank you. I have better things to do, and honestly, the entire idea doesn't excite me. Better luck for the Sixth birthday bash next year.