Friday, November 1, 2013

Editorial Revisited

The Trouble Started When the SL Enterpreber Illustrated my Editorial
About Camping With This Picture of a Camping Sign
On the Platinum World Sim

Back in April, 2008 I wrote an editorial for the Second Life magazine SL Entrepreneur. My piece was called The Case Against Camping and it was clearly marked as editorial in nature. You can read it here, and I've reproduced it in text. You can see the fallout it caused just below.

My piece was editorial in nature-- an op-ed, because I was a writer for the magazine and not the publisher or an editor. Editorials by their nature express opinions. They are not meant to be balanced. They by nature praise, criticize, explain, or persuade.

Second Life Jobs Editorial

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.
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. 
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 10 minutes.
That was it-- an editorial, an opinion piece. It ran with two illustrations not of my choosing, selected by SL Entrepreneur editor Averie Parker or the staff photographer, or both.

Before long I got an angry IM message from Platinum owner Rebecca Vacano. But here, let Averie tell it. You can read it in its original form here.

Second Life Jobs: Response to SLENTRE.COM's Editorial, The Case Against Camping
April 23rd, 2008 I Published in Second Life Jobs
33 Comments (#comments) 
By Averie Parker 
There has been a recent complaint regarding the camping editorial published in SLentrepreneur Magazine. I would very much like to give opponents of the views expressed by the writers of this publication a forum in which to express their own opinions and views. It is in the spirit of open and uncensored communication that I am publishing the complaint here, inviting a dialog on the subject. Here's an excerpt from the inworid chat sent to me by both SLENTRE.COM editor Cheyenne Palisades and the disgruntled owner of Platinum World sim, Rebecca Vacano.

Here's Rebecca's note to Averie, which includes the chat log.

[15:37] Rebecca Vacano: Is this how you run your paper? Unbalanced views and when someone complains have someone say to you - go fuck yourself. Please see notecard of conversation with Cheyenne and I would like to launch a formal complaint against SL Entrepeneur.
[15:39] Rebecca Vacano: Please sort this out-- or I will have to go to all your sponsors and explain what has happened.
Conversation with Cheyenne Palisades on the 23rd April 2008

[15:27] Rebecca Vacano: Unless you retract your article or take down pics of my camping in your article, I will have to consider taking RL legal action against you for defamation of character and my business. You article implies I use bots and give nothing to the community. You have 24 hours to respond or make changes.
[15:27] Cheyenne Palisades: Which article is that?
[15:27] Rebecca Vacano:
[15:28] Cheyenne Palisades: You are Wellfare Island?
[15:28] Cheyenne Palisades: Just looked at article
[15:28] Rebecca Vacano: No I own Platinum.
[15:29] Cheyenne Palisades: Just read down to the Platinum part.
[15:29] Rebecca Vacano: No one bothered to contact me prior to the article being written to allow me to comment or contribute-- its just a provecative article that is one sided and implies I do not contribute to SL and use bots.
[15:30] Cheyenne Palisades: I wrote the article and I stand by it. I mentioned no one in particular. I did not choose the images with which to illustrate it. If you have an issue with them, you need to speak with the publisher.
[15:30] Rebecca Vacano: You hae my word on it and I will be taking legal action if its not amended.
[15:31] Cheyenne Palisades: Earth to Rebecca. I did not mention you in my text and I did not choose the images for the illustration. I do not publish the magazine.
[15:31] Rebecca Vacano: Feel free to copy my text here to the publisher.
[15:31] Cheyenne Palisades: I merely wrote an editorial.
[15:31] Rebecca Vacano: Your name is on the article. You are who will be involved.
[15:31] Cheyenne Palisades: No, no, no, if you have an issue with the photos, it's not my job to take it to the publisher.
[15:31] Rebecca Vacano: And - its an unbalanced article
[15:31] Cheyenne Palisades: There is nothing libelous in my text and I stand by it. It's a frigging editorial.
[15:32] Rebecca Vacano: Completely unprofessional. No research-- just a rant and a rave. No balanced opinion.
[15:32] Cheyenne Palisades suggests you look up the words editorial and libel. And you and your lawyers can go fuck yourselves. Now you are muted.
[15:32] Rebecca Vacano: Hey - if you want a fight-- you just got one. I will consult my legal team tomorrow.
[15:33] Cheyenne Palisades: Muting accomplished.
So yeah, in a one-to-one conversation that wasn't meant to be viewed by everyone, I was less than polite to someone who threatened to sue me without bothering to understand the article wasn't even about her. It was an editorial about camping in general that happened to have a single illustration chosen by the magazine and which I hadn't even seen. And yeah, fuck her for threatening me with legal fire and brimstone. I stand by my fuck you remark. :)

There were lots of responses, some seemingly generated by Rebecca. Like her, some commenters didn't seem to understand the nature or purpose of editorials, or that as a writer I'm under no obligation to play nice when threatened. Here's some of what was said, edited for length, and in Rebecca's case, to remove excessive bragging about the high quality of her sim and products. Those interested can read all 33 comments in their entirety from the link above. See if you can pick out Rebecca's friends below.

Rebecca's account is no longer active and there is no longer a sim called Platinum World.


1. PrinterBrian ( says: April 23rd, 2008at 4:51 pm(# (#comment-295))
Interesting, however I do not believe this person has a legal case here. Should be interesting to see if it is pursued.

2. Zillion says: April 24th, 2008at 1:50 am(# (#comment-296))

As I understand the meaning of 'Editorial', it is an opinion piece, and designed to provoke a debate. As with many editorials this piece is disappointing in its lack of research (and logical argument) but comments can compensate. It seems that the problem here lies in the choice of illustrations, which would seem to be the editor's responsibility.

Both Rebecca and Cheyenne seem to have over-reacted here and to me it would be ludicrous if RL legal action were taken. I'm sure the editor has learned several lessons-- not least to hire writers with nicer manners. Well done, editor, for opening this conflict up for comments.

4. MonyMarkova says: April 24th, 2008at 9:59 am(# (#comment-3O1i)

Legal charges? I wonder what the damage would be... Judge "Since 2 dollars and 50 cents were lost, Cheyenne will pay triple that amount! Take her to the wall!!"

And now I will hear Rebecca Vacano explaining to me how she has made hundreds of dollars and Cheyenne has well destroyed her totally...

5. Brooklyn Peterson says April 24th, 2008at 11:05 am(# (#comment-303)
Quite frankly I am shocked.

I am shocked that the writer has published an article using someone's business pictures without their knowledge and right to reply.

I am shocked that when that business decided to confront the writer, they got the attitude they did and told to go f*k themselves

I am shocked that even that withstanding this publication has decided to violate that person's privecy by copying their conversation and making it public

I am a serious business owner in SL, I used to read this publication, but after seeing the actions of this writer and now the editor, I will be conveying to everyone the business ethics and practices they use.
It seems to me that this publication is a method to bash people or business approaches, not giving the right to reply and then after people complain, publically trying to have a debate on something that should have been handled professionally and privetely.

I know if the writer worked for me and represented my business I would fire them for the way they treated this person.

Shame on you SL Entrepeneur

6. Juana Matova says:

Secondly and much more importantly, although the copy may not mention any specific places the image blatantly does and the title below it reinforces this. The name of the camping place is not relevent to the story or the writers opinion.

If I decided to write a scathing article about stupid profile pictures with people wearing masks and used Cheyenne Palisades' photo to illustrate my point, along with a title reading Cheyenne Palisades in a mask, I think she would probably feel used and abused. Just remove the title and black out the name of the place in the photo. If it isnt meant as a personal attack on a specific place, dont make it personal.

7. Alexxis Laszlo says: April 24th, 2008at 1:48 pm(# (#comment-308))

I have to agree with Brooklyn, this is a complete violation of privacy. It would have been much more professional to just say "a few business owners responded angrily" or something of that nature rather than posting the conversation. It definitely makes me question the morals and ethics of people working for SL Entrepreneur. Shame on you for allowing this type of post.

I almost think this is actually worse than the original article and if not worse it sure comes in a close second. It was unresearched and incredibly imbalanced. Did anyone think to ask what the campers thought about camping? I know for a fact that not everyone can afford to spend real life money on linden, they come here for an escape and if they choose to camp or do any other activity of their choosing to earn money then it's nice for someone to provide them an opportunity for that. Do business owners forget that a lot of their income is from people spending money they've earned by camping?

8. Cheyenne Palisades says: April 24th, 2008at 4:42 pm(# (#comment-312))

I would like to point out that my suggestion that Ms. Vacano and her attorneys go perform a feat that is generally considered anatomically impossible was a privileged communication, meant for the ears of Ms. Vacano only.

And she richly deserved the remark. I stand by it as well as the language in my editorial. The pictures were not of my choosing. I had never heard of Rebecca Vacano or of Platinum before she rang up out of the blue and proceeded to threaten, insult, and abuse me.

Editorials are meant to provoke opinion and emotion. They are _by definition_ one-sided. As opinion, they are just that; no fact-checking required.

And finally, no, no, no, business owners are NOT privileged to consultation before their stores are mentioned or pictured in the press. I rather suspect Ms. Vacano has enlisted the aid of like-minded citizens to fill up this space.

9. PrinterBrian ( says: April 24th, 2008at7:39 pm(# (#comment-315))

Its amazing to see the very distinct and clear divide that exists in SL. Glad this has sparked this type of outlet. I suspect both side will gain from the exchanges, although change is something humans often fear and fight tooth and nail against.

10. Billy Laffer says: April 25th, 2008at 4:04 am(# (#comment-328))

After reading the original article and this conversation again, I really think the magazine is doing itself a disservice by attempting to make an example of Platinum and Rebecca Vacano. It's fine to stick by the article, but presumably, the article is not about Rebecca, per se, but about camping in general. There's really no reason to push it to a forum about one person or one business. I think the respectful thing to do is remove this topic and fuzz out the name on the picture.

11. Friendly Minx says: April 25th, 2008at 4:36 am(#)


Your post here – just confirms what kind of charactor you are and why you originally wrote a biased article that can only be seen as a front for you to personally attack certain individuals. If it wasn’t a personal attack then:

1. you wouldn’t have included certain people’s land pictures
2. upon people complaining you and your paper would respect you were giving out a personal message and would take the pics down and amend the article

Instead your paper has decided to disrespect and cause upset to people and have now decided to make that upset worse by disregarding privacy and Second Life TOS by publishing private logs.

I would think that after this episode no one will take you or your paper seriously, and also that Avarie Parker will have some explaining to do when the Linden’s knock at her door asking why she violated TOS of her in-world account. (Cheyenne Palisades smiles and waves to Rebecca the Friendly Minx).

12. Rebecca Vacano says: April 25th, 2008at 8:05 am(# (#comment-340))

Please find my official response to the complete and utter violation of my privacy and position I find myself in having to defend.

Before I write my response to what SL Entrepeneur has done, I wish to let everyone know that I at no point gave permission for my complaint or feelings to be made public in this way. (How about [15:31] Rebecca Vacano: Feel free to copy my text here to the publisher-- Chey) In fact I asked Avarie Parker to deal with this in a professional and pftvate way, which to my expectation would have been to evaluate my complaint, which was namely that Platinum's name and sim picture were represented in an article that wasn't about Platinum and that the assumptions made by the writer about camping (i.e. ugly places consumed with bots) had nothing to do with Platinum either.

It may have been an innocent mistake on behalf of Avarie Parker to use example pictures of Platinum World in a camping article, but I would have expected when I outlined the upset and explanation that the content was inappropriate for her to take action and amend accordingly.

Instead Avarie Parker decided to publish a private chat log without consent, which not only violates my privacy, it violates that of her employee Cheyenne Palisades. Avarie Parker asked me to publish my comment on here three days ago, which I refused as I don't feel it appropriate to do so. It was a private matter that needed to be dealt with privately and professionally. Unfortunately with all the interest this has caused (which I should imagine was Avarie's reason for violating my privacy), I feel the need to explain what has happened.

Platinum will continue going from strength to strength as thousands of people lo the sim and business. With over 1000 unique visitors a day to Platinum and countless messages of support and great feedback, it gives me the strength to continue to prove what is a sim for great socialising and camping as well as a shop with some of the best designs in Second Life.

Platinum remains one of the most popular sims in Second Life-- through its own merits and not by placing bots.

Thats all I ha to say on this matter

Rebecca Vacano

13. Kasumi Rieko says: April 28th, 2008at 12:30 pm(# (#comment-360))

I think this is a laugh, maybe because I am still new to SL, but to want to bring a RL lawsuit about an editorial is funny to me.

As Cheyenne has said it was not her choice of pictures and not once was Platinum's name used in the actual artical. An editorial is more of an opinion than a full story write up. Rebecca should be asking SLentrepreneur Magazine if it is true that the pictures were chose by them and not Cheyenne.

As it appears, there are different opinions on camping, but this story can be "used" both ways. Those of us that think camping is a wasite of time for the amount of money you earn and those of us that see this a advertsing for Platinum that we will now go there since we might not of heard of it before.

14. Judge Dread says: December 11th, 2008at 8:35 am(# (#comment-5622))

Rebecca Vacano is about as dishonest a Business owner you can get in SL. Aside from falsifying traffic figures through the use of campers, she also practices other deceptions. If you 'visit her sim Indulgence you'll see invisible prims at the bottom of the sea by using "Highlight Transparent". On viewing these prims, you'll see that their sole purpose is to contain keywords to assist her in All search. This is even more unethical than the camping. You can also add paying people to add her locations into their Profile Picks. These are all unethical ways of how she manipulates Searches.

My advise to readers is to support and shop at honest hard working creators who stand by the quality of their products. You don't see Celestial Skins or Nominee Skins or Laqroki Skins behave in such a underhanded way. Quality speaks.Rebecca is just a professional gamer, nothing more and nothing less!

15. Shack a Khan says: January 12th, 2009at 2:38 pm(# (#comment-7229))

© Judge Dread alias Tracey Sassoon from Alady. lnvisibleboxes that boost search? Next you will be saying she uses magic to be at the top of the search. Prims in SL can now be set to search (actually its been like this for about 6 months, where hae you been???!?). I am sure the ones you are referring to are ones that are named as the things she sells which is why LL changed the search to allow people to add boxes to search.

How is that gaming the system? This blog and comments are nothing but an attack on a hard working and kind business owner that pro'Ades hundreds of SL people money from camping and quality products. Jealousy does seem to bring out the worst in people.

Tracey Sassoon is a cheat and defrauds the SL people by using 30 bots at her sim Alady Island - under the premise that they are models.....Alessandra uses 80 bots.......B&B Skins and More uses 80 bots........ Pigments Designs uses 60 bots.......Awori Cassini uses 70 bots.......

So who is gaming who? Someone that promotes camping and pays newbies and people that need it thousands of lindens a day, or people like Tracey Sassoon that get traffic by cheating with bots. Any one can Asit Alady, Alessandra, Skin Oasis to see for themsel'es.

16. Miss Polly says: January 13th, 2009at 2:34 am(# (#com ment-7248))

Rebecca's sims ha' some of the best products in Second Life - this is why it's top of the searches and popular and people come to buy things. Usually when Sims are popular people add it to their picks, which causes them to be higher in the search. How is that gamed?

Sims that have simple childish builds, laughable vendor pictures and rubbish products are bound to be lower in the search. Perhaps the person targetting and stalking Rebecca would be better off spending their time making their stuff better and then they would succeed in SL.

Judge Dread's post just sounds like jealousy and uses the same word terminology as Tracey Sassoon from Alady on other blog posts. Rebecca tells me she has had a problem with Tracey Sassoon stalking her, ever since Rebecca complained to Tracey about putting her SL brands keywords in her parcel description 18 months ago.

21. Rebecca Vacano says:August 6th, 2009at 6:55 pm(# (#comment-7704))

I am angry - because because of your article they made me take my bots away and causing my business to shrink to rubbish! My product is superior and I needed bots to generate traffic. How am I to pay my tiers?

Jealous fools!

22. Rebecca Vacano says: August 6th, 2009at 9:42 pm(# (#comment-7706))

If I change my mind about a post I created here - how do I delete it? I do not want to be stalked by all of you!

23. Heather (http:llnone) says: August 16th, 2009at 9:43 am(# (#com ment-7712))

Wow, SecondLife just went from fun to immature... you are are rediculus. Isn't second life full of "adults"? Act Ike it.

24. Rebecca Vacano says: September 8th, 2009at 3:07 pm(# (#comment-7718)

I am not immature... I create the best products in SL bar NONE you are just jealous of my success of being better than you all.

1 comment:

flamesburning said...

People forget that a personal opinion is just that, personal...doesn't make it right or wrong, just yours.
I agree with your piece, being a role-player in Gor its irritating to find pumped up traffic numbers in cities as well as businesses by campers, bots and empty avatars parked. They are not worried about that deception, but by it being pointed out? Seems a slightly off kilter sense of morality.