I felt that I should write a final entry here to clarify recent events and the current situation.
What have you done?
I have removed every building and item of mine from the Grid, most notably, Caledon and New Babbage. (At least, I think I have; there may be a few bits and pieces left scattered about.) Ordinal Enterprises is no longer a functioning operation. I have not abandoned my land - for the moment I will hold onto it. It just won’t contain anything of significance.
I also do not plan to write any more in this Journal for a considerable time, though I may change my mind there.
Does this mean you’ve left Second Life?
In practice, I can't think that I will be around much in the immediate future - though I expect I will pop back occasionally, either in relation to work, or to feed the parcel meters.
My intention in doing these things was not to leave Second Life, but Ordinal Enterprises is (or was) such a significant part of my existence and day-to-day behaviour that without it, I find it hard to imagine what I would do now.
Why on earth would you do that?
This is quite a difficult question, and may not have a coherent answer at all, but I will do my best to produce one. It will, I expect, be very self-indulgent.
The purpose of Ordinal Enterprises
Originally, Ordinal Enterprises was a framework and context for the silly things that I built, providing me with a well-understood means of distribution (i.e. a “shop”) and a Victorianesque mercantile narrative within which the products could exist - which in itself then generated inspiration for further creations. The challenge of competing in the general marketplace, too, was stimulating; the narrative was always the most important part though, a framework in a world that, as is often pointed out, is otherwise a blank slate.
The Increasing Problem
For a while now I have found myself increasingly less productive in terms of producing items and scripts, and this is not for lack of ideas - I have been generating notebooks full of ridiculous concepts which I would then plan out as systems or items, enter onto my Lists of Tasks to begin, not do, avoid looking at for a while and then mark “someday/maybe”.
This is a painful process and I hate it. It makes me feel completely impractical and without any willpower whatsoever, particularly when I looked at the series of items that I had already created, back when the Grid was younger, which sat there as a constant reminder on the ground below my skybox, which I visited less and less frequently.
On the occasions when I entered Second Life at all, I found something to irritate me, and I would become bitter and argumentative and also fail to achieve anything. Quite often this would be a technical issue - rarely a severe one (grid and regions used to be far less stable and reliable, believe it or not) more often one that was just stupid. Alternatively, and increasingly more so recently, it would be a political or social issue arising from dictat or commentary or mistake or some such event. The list of recent topics in this Journal provides examples of the sort of thing.
I am not saying here, by the way, that this is all the fault of Lindens, or anything like that: I have, though, increasingly felt “this world is not for me”, particularly with issues such as the increasing split between “consumer” and “creator”, which I have written about previously.
The actual Removal
I decided yesterday to try once again, this time to clear out those projects which had been hanging around and making me miserable, sometimes for years. Just release the ones which were even vaguely saleable, perhaps for free, and then cross them off my list, mark them “done”. (I even came up with some more ideas for items while I was planning this - I had no intention of coming in to stop.)
Two things happened. Firstly there was the ridiculous business with the Avatars United site - by the way, I don’t blame the site itself for anything, it is quite clear about how it works and I’m sure does a great job in other contexts, what I am criticising is its immediate promotion as being for use in SL, without a thought to identity verification. Anyway, that business. Secondly, later on that evening, I had just finished the release steps for one of the products I had planned, boxing it, adding textures, final checks, even having made a video, and at the last stage I tested it with a friend and it began to show script permission errors.
I’m afraid that something broke at that point. First of all I decided not to release the item after all. Then I decided not to release any of them, and just delete them. And then I looked at the lighthouse and my little shop, and it just seemed to me that all this time I had just been fooling myself, that instead of it being an inspiration it was now a parody of something that I used to deeply enjoy; that I was using it to pretend that I was still enjoying it and that nothing had changed over the years, either in myself or in the wider world. So, I deleted it all.
Are you sure about all this?
No. Not at all. I’m afraid that I just couldn’t come up with any better solution.