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Kindly Do Not Carry On Camping

I wrote the following a while back in relation to Forthcoming Restrictions on Traffic-Related Perversions, regarding matter unaddressed in that specific Laboratory Announcement:

Camping, for instance: offering camping chairs, which are then occupied by bots belonging to somebody else, is a symbiotic relationship between landowner and bot operator. In fact, if said chairs are occupied by residents, said residents are effectively becoming trafficbot subcontractors - "crowdsourcing traffic distortion" if you will. Whether or not bots are being used is fairly unimportant, and a campsite owner could certainly claim that they were not using bots, in the knowledge that by putting out large numbers of chairs and paying money to those sitting on them, some bot operator would shortly be along.

The LindenFolk, who despite my occasional disagreements with some of their decisions are none of them Fools, quite the opposite, are clearly aware of the relation too; thus we read the following penned by Mr Jack Linden:

The policy we announced is about Traffic, how that relates to Search, and how a deliberate attempt to falsely drive up the traffic score will no longer be allowed. We know from your comments that you want Search to be fair and relevant, and we want that too. Whether a landowner uses Bots or Camping Chairs, or Camping Chairs with Bots in them, the effect is the same - the traffic score for that parcel is inflated unfairly.

Are there other uses for so called Camping Chairs other than for Traffic? If you know of some please let us know in the comments below! However, the feedback and data tells us that by far the main reason for large numbers of Camping Chairs at a location is to unfairly gain a Search advantage.

So the policy statement is that where we see a Resident unfairly increasing their Search ranking, regardless of how that is achieved, it will be considered as 'gaming'. We will give a first warning to begin with and direct people to the policy. However continued gaming can result in suspension or removal from Search listings altogether.

The part that I have Bolded is absolutely the sort of attitude that should be taken and I applaud it (though it seems peculiar that a rule based on Preventing an Activity - unfairly increasing Search ranking - should need to have it explained that yes, it does mean "whenever this is done" rather than "in a small number of circumstances that one might avoid yet carry on the same activities". I suppose this is the world within which we live, where many expect that everything must have exact criteria at the outset, rather than this sort of open-ended definition relating to intent - cornerstones of all working Systems of Justice, of course, without which there would be little point to Judge or Jury.)

If one wishes to experience a brief moment of amusement followed by increasing waves of nausea and the eventual desire to kill, I would advise reading the Comments that have been left on the linked Article, wherein many attempt to answer Cpt. Jack's request "Are there other uses for so called Camping Chairs other than for Traffic? If you know of some please let us know in the comments below!" Reading these one might be led to believe that Camping Chairs were the major contributor to the fortunes of New Residents and that Campsite Operators were Dedicated Philanthropes, donating fortunes every day to the New and Poorly-Skinned with only the minor return of distorting search results as reward.

This is Utter Bunk of course; for one thing the rates themselves are pitiful. I do recall a time when some Return could be made from sitting on the Damnable Chairs, but the rewards have declined to practically nothing with the advent of Traffic- and Camp-Bots. Ms Tateru Nino says "The most common camping rates I'm seeing at the moment are L$1/80 minutes" which conforms to the results of my amateur investigations; perhaps one might buy two frocks per month of non-stop camping with that.

And quite apart from the rewards, paying people to perform an unethical activity does not make that activity any more ethical. I have attempted to argue this very point with my brother Cardinal, in reference to his Kitten Factory, which is not, I must shamefully say, a place which constructs kittens at all; more, items involving kittens in their manufacture; kittens as Input rather than Output.

"Silly girl," he routinely replies, "my Factory provides gainful employment to literally dozens of people. Would you deny them the four shillings and sixpence (a very competitive wage in the current climate I might add) that they receive? I thought you Socialist sorts were concerned for the Workers! This is the Failure of the Left, you know, that they care more about kittens than people." And then he laughs in that annoying way that he has. However I do not consider his argument at all valid, and neither do I consider that the arguments for Camping Chairs pass muster.

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Cinco Pizzicato's picture
24 May200902:07
Cinco Pizzicato (not verified)

Camping Chairs: They're What Turing Would Have Wanted

I have land in a sim that is mostly owned by one person. Sadly, that person is not myself. The majority of the land in this sim is devoted to a very very very very large zyngo parlor. In the center of the zyngo parlor is a device which allows one to 'log in' by touching, and then repeatedly pays out the sum of one Linden dollar to a random someone standing near it who has logged in. Then, at some point, the user must touch it again to 'log out' and collect the booty.

This activity occurs in order to crowd the sim and destroy the experience of other landowners in the sim (myself included). All neighboring land is set to allow damage, and wouldn't you know it sometimes avatars get randomly killed. Ostensibly before they have 'logged out' as well.

When this person has taken over the sim, I wonder what they will do next in order to fill their time.

Ceejay Writer's picture
24 May200920:24
Ceejay Writer (not verified)

Here's a novel notion. Create a build that is interesting, engaging and personable. Get the word out through blogs, communities, in-world publications, and word of mouth. Hang around the place and engage your visitors. Make them feel special. Make sure they are entertained.

In other words, create a space people WISH to spend time in, rather than a space you have to pay people to occupy in hopes of tricking others into coming to see what all the fuss is about.

My wee build usually has a nice traffic rating (not huge, but respectable) without the use of campers or trickery. People just feel comfy there and spend some time. Natural traffic! What a concept!

Dale Innis's picture
25 May200905:03
Dale Innis (not verified)

While I mean to no degree to defend Camping Chairs (or Camping Pads, or Camping Cages, or Camping Beds, or other sorts of Camping Furniture and the Practices therewith associated), I must admit to some hesitation in Whole-heartedly endorsing this move by the Lab.

Too-specifically delineating the area of the Forbidden does, as you point out, equally specifically indicate the area of the Permitted, which will almost invariably include some things which are Still Obnoxious, although Permitted.

But on the other hand, and perhaps this is only my own Pessimism as Regards Authority speaking, describing the area of the Forbidden in general terms, such as "unfairly", leaves us open to the danger that Different Enforcers may interpret those terms Differently, or to the Advantage of their Friends and Associates, or (most essentially) in ways with which I Do Not Agree.

Camping Chairs unfairly increase search ranking, but what of Lucky Chairs? Or random gift givers that do not require Signing In and Signing Out, but merely present the occasional gift to a Nearby Patron? Perhaps this is not Unfair if the Gift is a Product of the Particular Establishment, but is unfair if the Gift is mere Linden Dollars? What if the Gift is a product of a Sister Establishment, or an Unrelated Establishment, or some Token easily exchanged for Linden Dollars? If Lucky Chairs giving out Products of the Establishment are not Unfair, what of Lucky Chairs giving out Linden Dollars? And so on and so on ad infinitum.

Which is to say only that, while to some degree Sensible, this new policy of Not Being Unfair does not seem to me an Unalloyed Good, with the dangers of Favoritism and Controversy and Self-Censorship, and I wonder if we might in the Long Run be better off with something like the Model Due to Goggle, where rather than forbidding World Wide Web Sites from attempting to Unfairly advantage themselves in Search Results (because of course that option was not available to Google), the search algorithm is instead continually Refined and Improved, in a dynamic balance with those on the other side, in the field of Search Engine Optimization. This Model of course has its own Disadvantages (such as being Non-Transparent, and A Big Secret, and the like). But still I cannot help but wonder...

frenzy's picture
27 May200915:54
frenzy (not verified)

My wee build usually has a nice traffic rating (not huge, but respectable) without the use of campers or trickery. People just feel comfy there and spend some time. Natural traffic! What a concept!

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
27 May200918:45
Ordinal Malaprop

Well, yes, Mr Innis, it could certainly be interpreted in different ways by different enforcers, and I am sure that it will be, though I expect that for the sake of clarity there will be further guidelines along the lines of this one produced ("camping chairs bad, lucky chairs good" et cie).

On the other hand, really, almost everything which relies on any discretion at all can be and often is interpreted in different ways. Furthermore, algorithms are the product of decisions regarding content just as much as any direct action, and I don't believe are all that suitable for a world such as this, the components of which are far harder for an algorithm to analyse than any piece of necessarily-parsable semantic code (and that is hard enough). At least, one can't simply rely on them for more than crude filtering, and must have folk manually filing down the edges afterwards, using rules such as this.

Stinger Eel's picture
29 May200901:36
Stinger Eel (not verified)

You sound is good, but is there way to kill this bots and bot runner who is siting home and drink beers with our money?

i am not looking traffic rating my place but givig free 8 prims space for each and adding socalled camp stuff. just for fun and help.

but the bot runners are all over. if you can point way to kill tham there is no need any guidelines for that i think

MichaelRoger's picture
16 Jun200904:09
MichaelRoger

I wonder if we might in the Long Run be better off with something like the Model Due to Goggle, where rather than forbidding World Wide Web Sites from attempting to Unfairly advantage themselves in Search Results (because of course that option was not available to Google), the search algorithm is instead continually Refined and Improved, in a dynamic balance with those on the other side, in the field of Search Engine Optimization.

camper trailer