The traditional National Pastime of the United States is baseball. I don't understand the allure of smacking a ball with a stick of wood and then running around in circles while making sure to step on white bags placed evenly around said circle. And then there are things about designated hitters and fly outs, and when you get a home run you instantly score, except if it happens to fly past some giant yellow posts and then it doesn't count. You can't swing at everything that the 'pitcher' throws at you, either, because sometimes he will try to trick you by trying to make you swing at throws that are far past where you can hit them, and then you are charged a strike, and if you get a few of those (three or four) then you get out. If you get three outs, you lose.
You only get nine turns, and your opponent gets nine turns, so there's really no rush. Baseball is pretty laid back. According to the statistics, the hitters do not even hit most of the time. A good 'average' is hitting 30% of the time. At your best, you're going to miss 70% of the time. If hitting balls counted as exams, baseball players would all get F's.
And somehow, America loves it. Philadelphia loves it too. We love it so much we had a riot over it when we won the World Series (which is the grand high game which determines the champion of the world, obviously). Of course, we riot over a lot of things, so that really tells you nothing. We love to riot. Rioting and causing trouble and being mean are like Philadelphia's national pastime.
Guess what Second Life's National Pastime is?
C'mon, take a guess.
Well, commenting over at Ari's blog (where I torment him with screeds on every single post) we noted that if there is anything Second Lifers love more than anything, it is questioning, examining, and squabbling over each action taken and word written by the Lindens. No post goes un-commented on. Like a religious ceremony, with each post on the Linden Lab blog, all Second Life blogs respond in kind, torturing information out of each paragraph and examining with detail that would turn an electron microscope jealous.
We've turned it into a religion. We get the Catholic and Orthodox churches chime in first (Tateru, Hamlet, the Herald when the urge strikes it which is rare these days). Then we get all the Protestants (such as all the individual bloggers like me) pick it over and interpret it. And then there's those other guys, the Scientologists, I guess Prokofy would be representative, who are just so far out there. Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism (and others) I guess get kind of shafted in this analogy.
But let's stay focused. There is no doubting that everyone in Second Life, without exception, will at some time or another critize and talk about Linden Lab and what they're doing right, wrong, or left.
There are rules. Just like baseball, these rules make little sense to those new to the game.
The first rule is you never ever talk politely to the Lindens if you're the opposing team. They are always stupid fucking idiots who bumble about and spill coffee on the servers because they are stupid idiots. Or they are deviously evil. Those fucking evil Lindens. They don't deserve to be talked to as normal human beings. Using polite language is a no-no.
The second rule follows the first logically and is be as emotional as possible. You can outraged at their policy. Or you can be extremely nasty to the other players. There is no such thing as calmly and objectively stating your point. The more shrill, the more points you earn. Nothing is too small to not be taken personally. Everything is to be personified and encased with such strong passion as to evoke reponses from the most cynical and stone hearted.
The third rule is that no matter what happens, it is not what you wanted. You lose if you say that what the Lindens have done has answered your prayers. You lose if you suggest they have even made steps in the right direction. It's NEVER ENOUGH. It's ALWAYS WRONG. Has Linden Lab increased support for the Mac and Linux viewers? HOW DARE THEY IGNORE THE MAJORITY WINDOWS USERS WHO ALREADY HAVE TERRIBLE SECOND LIFE EXPERIENCES! Remember: Linden Lab never fixes anything. They never solve anything. To admit they have done something right is to admit you've lost.
The Lindens have rules of their own to which they must adhere. They must never ever directly answer a resident's question. They must be as coy and as indirect as possible. Only when the residents are rude and aggressive, though. They must never admit defeat themselves. Direct everyone to the JIRA.
There are four playing fields. Linden office hours, Linden blogs, the JIRA, and individual blogs. A good player can switch hit on all four fields. The minor leagues would be the individual blogs. Anyone can debate and play the game there. It's where the players train up. The next step up would be the office hours where you learn the fine art of drowning everyone out in favor of your opinion and inciting a disgruntled mob to your cause. The Linden blog is the start of the big leagues. You have to volley with discussing everything in slow motion as the poor Lindens attempt to moderate and maintain some sense of order. Only the elite manage to make it on the JIRA and its complex system of call backs, consolodations, votes, and designated alt rules.
Oh, that's another thing. Make sure you have a few alts so when you take a controversial position, you have at least three other people who agree with you (in case you have no friends). Make sure your alts agree with you, by the way, because it's rather embarrassing when they don't. Unless... you could train them to attack your points in a bad illogical manner and put you in a sympathetic light, forcing people to side with you to avoid being on the same side as your alt asshole.
Ok, manage alts in a smart fashion then. Make sure they always reinforce your position.
If you're in Gor, you can always just enslave some people to agree with you. Bonus points if you drag your slaves to public meetings and make a huge production to obstruct all debate. Nothing makes a greater statement than your submissive to shout in the middle of conversation that she is rubbing inpatiently against her master's ankles in hope that he will leave this boring meeting and attend to his needs. Or something.
Me? I prefer to sit from afar and root for my favorite teams.