Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Whisperer Gets Schooled

Someone called The Whisperer - one of those bloggers who get off attacking everyone and everything - caught sight last month of an incident related by merchant owner LTD and why they chose not to support Relay For Life of Second Life this year.  Suffice it to say not much about it surprised me, and they were very clear about this being an SL-based issue.

Enter The Whisperer. He used this as a springboard to tear into Relay For Life and The American Cancer Society, RFL of SL and RFL of InWorldz.  Many of his rhetoric has no basis and is outright false.

Naturally, as with other megalomaniacal bloggers we've seen, their mindless minions respond in blind reverance, one even calling Relay For Life a scam.

This blogger seems to be on a hate spree, given some other entries I skimmed while tracking this one down.

I posted the following response. It remains to be seen whether The Whisperer will approve it to his comments.

While I agree with many of your points regarding RFL of SL behavior (I've documented it in great detail), your statements of where donations go both in SL and IW are **FALSE** and inciteful and need to be edited.   It is stated clearly that ALL money goes to the American Cancer Society.  The avatars collecting on both grids were set up by ACS staff. Clicking a kiosk on either grid takes you to info about where the donations go and what they fund.

You may have a grudge over people or a cybersocial site, but ACS is legit and their efforts should not be maligned so frivolously

As for Inworldz, I didn't post anything about my first season with them last year. I owe you at least an overview, and very soon.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Again a Question of Priorities

The committee was much larger than originally expected...
The Kick-off ceremony yesterday was very high energy and big on Ronco style hype.

During the ceremony - as part of the ceremony as one of the "But wait! There's more" pitches - came the details of a special resource HUD from which we could receive fundraising tools.   Right then group notices came through with the HUD.

Let's break this down...

The USA had just experienced a similar occurrence in which their president - a TV personality - held off denouncing hate crime incidents until he had everyone's attention at a nationally televised appearance during primetime.  His moral compass was called into question because exploiting these incidents were more important than addressing them as soon as they had occurred. Imagine a shooting not mentioned or condemned or an offer of support expressed to grieving families by any past US president in the past 40-plus years.

The Relay For Life of Second Life committee - which by its very name exists as a commitment to serve Relay teams and Relayers - is responsible for providing team captains and volunteers with fundraising tools. Captains must have these before kick-off as part of their booths to get the ball rolling collecting donations. These have always been available at least a day before kick-off weekend to give everyone time to load vendors of salable items and place kiosks. Why?

- Because this is what these tools are for,
- Because this is the purpose of team spots at a kick-off,
- Because the objective of every team is to get tools and collect donations, and
- Because it is the role of the committee to make it all happen FOR THE RELAYERS.

You'd think the parallel with America's State of the Union would have been obvious, and possibly something in someone's head may have clicked after strong feedback and thought: "You know, maybe holding off supplying something to our relayers..." because the fact is we're not the committee's followers "...just to put on a big show and hype basic equipment as mannah from heaven ISN'T the right approach or in their best interest."

It was just in the committee's best interest to put on a show while everyone was tuned in.

Add to that the fact that this HUD supposedly offers many clickable items for different resources.  The only problem is the graphic is poor quality. You can only read about half of the clickable spots clearly to know what they are. (Click to see it full size)

Image not resized or retouched. Anyone know what the upper right stamp says?
On the plus side, clicking TOOLS on it offers you several buttons from which to choose.  It is a definite improvement to contain vendors, kiosks, and auction supplies in each of their own folders and not get dumped with anything you won't need.

Their hype over the HUD would have been better pitched at last month's Relay Rap to give volunteers something to look forward to, with them coming through via group Notices this past Thursday or Friday, then spiel in-depth about new features during the ceremony to bring people not entirely with it back into the fold while volunteers in the know extoll the virtues of the new stuff around them.

The committee just can't get past the "they mean well" and "they're trying" phases. They just don't think things through, and as long as they think of themselves first and place priorities on the wrong things in the guise of acting in our best interests -while representing The American Cancer Society - there's always going to be a problem and a rut to crawl out of.

Addendum to previous post: Is this a Relayer-friendly option over ceremonies set at sim borders?

Also if they think cancer shaming volunteers or extorting them with RL info is going to be an answer to criticism...  Let's hope NOBODY sees that ever again.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

RFL of SL Kick-off: How Sincere Are Reparations?

View of Relay For Life Kick-off stage from the sim line.
Wish they'd bring this road texture back to the track.
I'm having one of those rare moments to myself at a small table in a local Starbucks.  In truth, I only like the smell of a freshly opened tin or jar of grounds.  Or - back when I was a little kid - found myself dragged past a self-serve coffee grinder at some A&P supermarket, where the rich smell of 8-O'Clock blend permeated the aisle.

But Starbucks sufficiently dresses up coffee with flavours so that one is not subjected to the betrayal of a bitter beverage when it is finally partaken.

I've done most of my blogging here or sitting in some coffee shop or diner while watching people pass.  Before an entire team was let go and I lost my job of 14 years the subway was where thoughts were collected.   Before blogging the subway was a place to compose fiction or plan a homepage on a Windows CE pocket PC.

You have to give New Yorkers credit:  most of us spend our commutes reading books, newspapers or magazines.  Or writing.  It is a mandatory timeout most of our nation is deprived of.  It could be what's wrong with it and why human civilization has reached a sorry crossroads.

At any rate, philanthropy has become THE method of support nowadays, and not just for specialty groups.  Mainstream needs such as basic healthcare resources for women or upholding basic rights have gone crowdfunder.

With our country causing a domino effect globally and basic human well-being hanging in the balance, it's hard to imagine Relay For Life of Second Life will end on a high.  They should expect anything and without passing judgement on their benefactors.

Most of all, as they attempt to put their reputation back together, they must never EVER lose sight of their number one audience to win back respect: The Relayer. 

As mentioned previously my own reasons for not captaining a team this year is strictly a time factor.  If life works out favorably - or even passably - in 2018 Hearts & Souls will not only return to Second Life but I may resume fundraising.  It all depends on what transpires, and that indeed includes how RFLofSL perform.

Sunday 5 March is their season's kick-off, and once again they've provided booths for teams (last year the committee only thought of themselves and a handful of sponsors).

The first fail is in and it is the fact that teams won't really be able to kick-off. 

The tools won't be ready in time for Sunday.  No kiosks, no vendors... No, it doesn't make sense, and yes, it IS a major fail.  The whole point of having a kick-off is to hit the ground running with collecting donations.  Your team's kiosk as you DJ, the traditional BYOK on Sunday night.  What's the point of having a fundraising event without fundraising? 

What could possibly hold up team tools with SEVEN MONTHS to prepare them?  Absolutely no excuse within reason.  If there were restrictions preventing the use of past team kiosks and vendors?  If someone was taken on as just some friend, teammate (nepotism AGAIN?) or in answer to a favor but isn't capable of the job then replace them.  This is ludicrous.

There's another fail unfortunately, and it's right there in the image at the top of this blog post.

One of the sticking points of last year were poor planning for ceremonies. A third of available attendee space difficult to access on Relay Weekend.  The Halfway There Fair, in which ceremonies were placed on one sim with most attendees AND some committee members forced to cam in from a distance.  Back in RFLofSL's heyday it appeared that Relayer access was paramount, with everything planned around that.

Looks like someone needs retraining.  The Kick-off stage is situated in the middle of one sim. I am on the sim line in the image.  Why oh why wasn't the stage at this border?  Because someone did not consider the Relayer a priority, and that needs to be addressed ASAP or they'll never crawl out of the hole they've dug themselves.  It's hard to believe this even has to be brought up, but that's where they are with priorities.

They have a long way to go to remove the bitterness. I wonder at this point if they even have it in them?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Relay For Life of Second Life steps on SL Privacy Policies

Well that didn't take long.

Presumably using their theme for 2017 as justification, Relay For Life of Second Life REQUIRES  these First Life details if you want to register a team with them:

- What country is the team mostly from?
- Languages spoken by your team members

Do they seek to segregate or assign teams to certain sections of the track based on their origins and regardless of what the team may have in mind for their build? 

No matter, these are in violation of Second Life's many rules (as covered in my post this past January), and those rules are in place for a reason.

The info the committee requires is none of their business and irrelevant for the task of fundraising and fighting cancer. It also poses a security risk to residents.

I want to add that if you happen to know a language and have helped with guides and information, that did not involve giving personal info about you and your virtual friends or forfeit having a team.

How quickly the appearance of respect for volunteer relayers melted away.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Relay For Life of Second Life: Is There Hope in 2017?

The Relay Rap session last weekend suggested that promising changes were under way, with less committee titles and a more hands-on presence from the American Cancer Society.  I'll watch from a safe distance this year and see how things go.  Team registration begins Sunday 12 February 20.

As with last year I'll be signing up with Relay For Life of InWorldz for credit card and PayPal donations.  Very soon I'll have posters in Swing Moon and Cartoon World which launch the donation webpage.  I will remain in Relay For Life Information Only group and expect all official announcements to reliably make its otifications, be it a heads up for Relay Rap, times for ceremonies, or advanced warning of campsite registration.

InWorldz has gotten a bad rap. Many years ago SL merchants flowed into their grid, then jumped back out when a copybotter followed them in.  You're not going to be rid of them save a private server.  The difference between a place like Second Life versus a place like InWorldz is that there's less red tape and complexity in IW's staff taking swift and effective action.

Thanks to this lack of rationale, merchants such as Akeyo deserted IW residents and ones such as Truth Hair never bothered.  On the plus side, I haven't seen evidence of a malformed mesh cracker avatar.

InWorldz' RFL team tools were to have reverted to general donations after their 2016 season. Instead they self-destructed.  My goal was to maintain a year round shop in Hope Village, and regret not having anything to offer for Valentines Day.  My sole incentive in IW is to raise money to help in the fight against cancer.  Hopefully this gets resolved later long before their fundraising season.

In the meantime, those headed for same in Second Life always keep in mind:

- You are volunteers. RFLofSL is not your employer. They should be grateful to all volunteers for putting in any time and effort and investment without pay.  Many people give generously who are on a fixed income or live with oppressive medical bills from THEIR battle(s) with cancer.

- RFLofSL leads serve YOU.  Their role is to get you what you need, provide info, and make things happen so you can make things happen.  It's not the other way around

- Let no one tell you that you aren't raising enough or what you do isn't good enough.  Every Linden counts

- Hold RFLofSL accountable for failing to inform or taking a position that you should have known without them posting in all official outlets, be it all groups or social media. Cliquish behavior has no place in Relay For Life and is against its very spirit.

- Report anyone in RFLofSL who struts around too cocky or bosses volunteers (volunteers comprise individuals, team captains, co-captains, team members).  Take it to HopeWalker06, the ACS liaison.  We'll trust she is on YOUR side and will put the disrespecting party in their place.

Good luck, SL Relayers!

Tribute to Pro Recreant remains intact following rennovations

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Revelations & the Aug 2016 RFLofSL Wrap Ceremony

Disclaimer: When I post about negative experiences it is rarely if ever out of any smug satisfaction.  There are no winners.  It is a "buyer beware" as I stumble through the metaverse.  This post definitely serves this purpose.  You have an opportunity to learn from any mistakes I've made and spot warning signs in advance.  Those who know these people and find me relating a story: take it for what it is; there's no glory in it for me. I am sure to lose several from my contact list.  I always blog with the expectation that someone is going to find out, whether there are tattlers or not. This is The Internet.  Just keep in mind that my opinions may not be that of the Hearts & Souls Relay For Life team, and that taking anything out on the team or creating difficulties getting the team resources or preventing them from representation or fundraising is an attack on innocent people - both from the team and American Cancer Society - who have nothing to do with this post

Feedback form

1. If anything, what could be done to improve any of the special events? IE: Paint SL Purple, Kick off, Halfway There, Wrap up.

Whoever thought it was cool to hold Halfway There opening ceremony in one sim didn't have the Relayers' best interest. Also so many committee no-shows  didn't look very good.

2. What is your most positive take away from our Relay season this year?
Less lag on Relay Weekend.

3. What was your most negative experience in this Relay season. (if applicable)

complete disregard of last year's feedback, a gluttonous & nepotistic committee lineup, double standard rules re events on the track like privileged big shots re T1 events and Fight Back ceremonies. Bitching over the cost of track sims which were sponsored anyway, then having a surplus of filler parcels while we lacked a sim in the activities regions.

4. What suggestions can you offer for improving our Relay season?

Stop treating Relayers like employees when you should be [acting] on our behalf. We are ALL volunteers, many with limited abilities and income from our fights with cancer. How much more disrespectful can you be? It's as if you're being pushed because YOU have some sort of political or material thing on the line.  Each and every relayer is a valuable asset regardless of what they are able to do as long as they do something.

5. What was your favorite part of Relay Weekend?

Less lag. Also Sue and Grace were very kind and eager to help. Nevar and Kammie were very nice too.

6. What if anything could be done to improve your experience at Relay Weekend?

Move media row off the track and make them a wing of the activity area. Then they can hold all the events they want without impacting the track.

7. If anything, what could be done to improve the ceremonies? IE: Fight Back, Luminaria ceremony

Move them back OFF the Track. Whoever thought it was okay to move Fight Back to the track, and during the Relay no less - again no respect for the Relayer, and Relay weekend is all about celebrating the Relayer.  You forgot.

8. If anything, what could be done to improve the awards presented Relay weekend?

We havent seen our fundraising awards yet. How about that?  Was a time we could display those at the campsites. Tonight it's 2 weeks since Relay.

3 weeks later we got them after I contacted a committee member. 
Thinking Aloud Feedback: one copy-trans version, one copy-mod version (the captain gets a special one?)
Antipathic hipocritical dumbass did not make the copy-trans one phantom.
Most teams did not receive a trophy.

9. Additional suggestions or comments

  1. Remember that wake up call in January? Remember 2-3 years ago how much better the totals were?  It wasnt about us, so stop treating us like we failed you. It's the other way around and you drove some heavy hitters away last year. 
  2. Purge the committee & go back to objective members who are not with teams.
  3. If anyone is unable to fulfill their role then they must step aside and let someone else take it over. This isnt a status thing it's a responsibility thing. They need to get their priorities straight.


A World of Hope

They announced during the wrap up ceremony that it would be...

Passport to Hope


RFL of SL's Red-headed Stepchild Group

For 2016 I just wanted to be aware of official events and sign ups. As an alternative to the Volunteers Group for socializing, networking & massive advertising traffic, there was the Info-Only Group.

In addition to the purpose mentioned its group chat was utilized for live text transcription during ceremonies and Relay Rap radio programs.

It became evident that the committee neglected this group except when it came time for a live transcript.  I got on them in the Captains group for not having known of upcoming changes of Rap times and audience locations. They initially indicated that it wasn't what the group was for until I mentioned that certainly its chat was good enough for closed-captioning that someone can find in themselves to remember to post about a committee radio show.

They spent the rest of the year stumbling over attempts at inclusion. This was a recurring discussion in the Captains Group chat as the committee time and again failed me (and subsequently my teammates) and anyone else utilizing info-only.

It was as though you were nothing if you didn't belong to the clique social group.  So why make info-only? To look responsible then walk away?

It became evident yet again, when during the wrap-up ceremony, content added to the website was not shared with Info-Only members.

Transcript from audio:
[10:11]  Little Miss Waffle: Random [Darrow]: Thank you to Saffia Widdershins, Cinders Vale, Zander Greene, Elrik Merlin, Eclair Martinek, Lukeflywalker Fittinger for doing our track side interviews this year.  Keep watch on our youtube channel for those interviews and our ceremonies to be posted.    I would also like to thank Jara Lowell for doing some great videos of our Relay weekend.  Jara does these every year without us even asking!

Wrap ceremony chat logs sans gestures:
[2016/08/14 10:12]  Holocluck Henly: I guess that was missing from the captain and info group notices? best kept secret those videos?
[2016/08/14 10:12]  Rowena Dubrovna: YAY KAMMIE!!
[2016/08/14 10:12]  TS (TS Darrow): Website  holo
[2016/08/14 10:12]  TS (TS Darrow): seek and u shall find
[2016/08/14 10:12]  Tony Wycliffe-Mousir (AnthonyMousir): i saw notices
[2016/08/14 10:13]  Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash (Arizona Ballinger): itison the website and was sent out a few times Holocluck
[2016/08/14 10:13]  Holocluck Henly: Depends on which group
[2016/08/14 10:13]  Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash (Arizona Ballinger): the website is open to everyone....no group needed
[2016/08/14 10:13]  Rowena Dubrovna: Also weren't they posted on FB too? Pretty sure
[2016/08/14 10:14]  Holocluck Henly: FB likes to hide youtube links. it's really a pain. ty Row I'll look there
[2016/08/14 10:14]  Rowena Dubrovna: I thiiiinnkkk they were Holo- but def on the relayforlifeofsecondlife.org

Because everyone visits each day for 7 months to seek out any changes made in every nook and cranny of a website?  Of course they don't!  'Because they were put up' is a snotty excuse.

I re-added my block on TS after the two lines - something I forgot to do after Relay Weekend (as a captain some things are a necessary evil.  In fact for those two days I also belonged to the main volunteer group to promote our Lap hour, then dropped back off).

It was shortly after this at 10:22 I received an IM from a complete stranger:

"I have seen you make such negative comments in group chat all year, why are you so miserable?"

They went on to make desparaging remarks regarding my cancer, including details of the surgery from one year prior.

I kid you not.

Like many people in SL I hold my personal cards very close.  Among my dearest friends in Second Life I may not know real names or the exact details of one's cancer or treatments.  Others I may know everything.  It's their perogative and their right to volunteer what they feel comfortable with for the support they seek.

I'm no different. As much as I share, you know very little. That's the way I like it. I have a persona and those few times I break the wall and admit to not being a sentient projection are mine to choose. On the Internet one's privacy means one's safety.

I shared those details with less people in SL than fingers on one hand.

A Committee Member's Alt?

Who was the person? Did I know them? I never saw their name before. 

After submitting an AR with logs and profiles I looked further into it. 

- They left quickly and were not on radar when I checked. Someone logged into the account to IM me then left.

- What they said strongly suggests they belonged to the Captains / Co-Captains group and had been on hand time and again when I expressed the lack of informing members on Info-Only.   There were no captains, co-captains or volunteers listed on any team's roster by that name. Ditto in the Captains or Info-Only groups.

- The only indication of this avatar was a "Why I Relay" image in photog Catalina's collection.  It was a garden variety overbulked male avatar, the sort which defied my many years of figure drawing and anatomy training.

Conclusion: It was an alt. But whose?

- If it wasn't a captain or co-captain then only committee members could have seen my group chats.

- I had blocked TS Darrow by then. Could it have been his alt? He's not the sharpest blade in the drawer.

- How did they know?  That one I could have an answer for...

Flashback to 2015.

I had been diagnosed and needed assistance. I let in an SL friend who was on the committee and not far away in RL. We spoke on the phone a couple of times. Following surgery she was in a special skype text group for updates with a couple of other friends. Not 2 days into recovery she made a rather demoralizing outburst. She was off Skype contacts so fast. This person - who saw herself as Queen Caregiver - had many opportunities to make an apology for her behavior and was obviously satisfied with it. Some champion of the cause...

- This former friend was also a member of Harmony of Hope.  99.9% she was the one who disclosed details of my cancer to the others (that too was mentioned in the AR). 99.9% certain this was not one of her alts as the remarks betrayed a special ignorance.

But bottom line is she was the only one in the RFL community who could have abused my trust. I sure made a slip in judgement letting that one in.  What a shame.

Linden Lab - if they did anything at all - cannot share with me any actions they may have taken.  For all I know they took no actions.  But there's plenty on file including several profiles. At the time they could glance and compare IP addresses. 

Because nobody is anonymous in Second Life.

Second Life is very clear about privacy, and privacy used as a weapon on their grid:

Second Life Terms of Service


6.1 You will not post or transmit prohibited Content, including any Content that is illegal, harassing or violates any person's rights.

You agree that you will not:

(iv) Post, display, or transmit Content (including any communication(s) with employees of Linden Lab) that is harmful, threatening or harassing, defamatory, libelous, false, inaccurate, misleading, or invades another person's privacy...

Second Life Community Standards

Residents are entitled to a reasonable level of privacy with regard to their Second Life experience. Sharing personal information about your fellow Residents without their consent -- including gender, religion, age, marital status, race, sexual preference, alternate account names, and real-world location beyond what is provided by them in their Resident profile -- is not allowed. Remotely monitoring conversations in Second Life, posting conversation logs, or sharing conversation logs without the participants' consent are all prohibited.

Policies & Policing
While Residents may choose to play Second Life with more than one account, specifically or consistently using an alternate account to harass other Residents or violate the Community Standards is not acceptable. Alternate accounts are generally treated as separate from a Resident's principal account, but misuse of alternate accounts can and will result in disciplinary action on the principal account.

(This includes using an alt to get around a block or to anonymously fling threats. Taking a chat to Skype for the purpose of disclosing a resident's identity or any of their personal details could still count as a violation)

As for a committee member cancer shaming via an alt:  Why should it come as any surprise?  Look at what I've documented since 2014.  Ditto someone earning trust then violating someone's rights. They've all been down a long dark road for so long they wouldn't know how to redeem themselves.

Today is the first Relay Rap of 2017 in anticipation of registration month.  Let's see whether they've learned anything.  Prepare to be nonplussed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Relay Weekend 2016 - The Pros Versus The Cons

Some of the Hearts & Souls team

Disclaimer: When I post about negative experiences it is rarely if ever out of any smug satisfaction.  There are no winners.  It is a "buyer beware" as I stumble through the metaverse.  This post definitely serves this purpose.  You have an opportunity to learn from any mistakes I've made and spot warning signs in advance.  Those who know these people and find me relating a story: take it for what it is; there's no glory in it for me. I am sure to lose several from my contact list.  I always blog with the expectation that someone is going to find out, whether there are tattlers or not. This is The Internet.  Just keep in mind that my opinions may not be that of the Hearts & Souls Relay For Life team, and that taking anything out on the team or creating difficulties getting the team resources or preventing them from representation or fundraising is an attack on innocent people - both from the team and American Cancer Society - who have nothing to do with this post.

Breaking down the purpose of a committee for any fundraising venture, they exist strictly to represent volunteers, provide the resources needed, and act in fundraisers' best interest.  They stand with us, not below us and most definitely not above us. Most veteran Relayers in Second Life have distanced themselves from Relay For Life of Second Life as the committee has distanced itself from those basic roles. As already mentioned, the committee had taken to treating volunteers like employees.

To review: Relay Weekend is when volunteers get together to celebrate the spirit of Relay and take time out to honor those fighting cancer, those sharing in the fight, and those who have triumphed.  It is a time of remembrance for those we've lost.  It is also a great opportunity to offer some stuff for donation at one's campsite.  Relay Weekend in Second Life has historically enjoyed a boost in revenue.  In recent years however the committee has given consideration for the Relayer a back seat while pushing the fundraising aspect in their mantra.

Relay For Life and Relay Weekend are about community and camaraderie.  There were many instances of this in SL but a majority of driving forces this year had special ways of showing that they did not give a crap about their fellow volunteers.

First, the track itself. 

As you may recall the big argument over initial campsite requirements - sims which were either sponsored or endorsed by The American Cancer Society, therefore covered - was a need to use less regions for campsites and leave out those who did not raise more than a pittance.

As per a prior blog entry, I initially requested a small campsite. However I was placed between two large spaces where our parcel would easily get lost (it was decided by the team to have an actual camping ground). Across the road was a modern tile walkway and vessels from Sail For Life.  A narrow forest between a village and an airstrip across from a pier the length of an entire sim.  We would become swallowed up.

Filler parcel
Upon wandering the track it became clear that a LOT of parcels went unassigned.  Apparently they still had an excessive number of regions with corners and empty sections throughout (there were only a couple of team no-shows).  It was easy to get reassigned a full size campsite surrounded by gardens and more forestry for neighbors.  It was perfect.

Throughout preparations the committee hawked spaces for volunteer builders to fill in; one of our former neighbors expanded to fill our former spot (or 1-1/2 of a large campsite).  Anything not claimed or assigned was turned into a simple lake area with a couple of trees or shrubs and a kiosk.

The other issue were redundant campsites for the same org.  It's no secret that the Relay Rockers is a closed team consisting of T1-Radio personnel, so why do they have an additional campsite for their station on "Media Row"?  T1 Radio is home to the Relay Rockers. End of story.

Another parcel redundancy was for Fantasy Faire. They had a sponsored sim and took up one half, then another parcel on Media Row.  At best why not just give credit where due and make it a Radio Riel campsite on Media Row for providing FF their stream?

More on Media Row later.

Last but not Least a Survivors designer sim. Since American Cancer Society region has become part of the track there already IS a dedication to Survivors.  This was an unnecessary presence, just like any staff or committee related campsite should have been replaced with more active attention drawn to the key region where this all converges and still offers the best information & spots to reflect or pay homage.  I still cringe at how they desecrated Pro Recreant's memorial to make way for the kickoff day build.

The Low Lag Pitch

As you know there was emphasis in keeping builds phantom and linked to a root prim way beneath the terrain. I visited some committee builds to view the depth of their foundations and followed suit, but the Pathfinding aspects were largely bullshit and not applicable to the track.  It was easy enough to humor them and ours was among the few campsites who complied.  Almost everyone used phantom and the water spaces helped as well.

Sue Peregrine and Grace Devin get major kudos for planning and helping teams prepare for the most stable Relay Weekend on record.  In fact Grace went out of her way to help our team get re-settled and was always on hand for questions or to check out track anomalies.

Grace also redesigned the archways and eliminated trackside infostations.  The assorted callouts and decor on the archways provided lap theme swag and information.

An archway under construction

The only problems in the design were that directional arrows appeared only once per sim and there was no center line to align automated walkers to.  These both fell under feedback in 2015 as being Relayer-unfriendly over prettiness.

Activity Sims Fail

Their idea of land conservation wasn't in the track with its zillion filler spaces (we could have had so many less but rather in having only three Activity sims instead of four.  Not only that an Activity sim turned out to be "Relay For Life", which traditionally served as the landing point for visitors.

So think about this: You have an opening ceremony which usually requires 4 heavily populated regions with the committee set in the center for everyone to follow.  This time it is three regions, one which has a forced landing point hundreds of meters up with displays and an introduction to Relay For Life for those who connected via viewer MOTD's or the Second Life Destination Guide.  The other sims were filled and this was your only means to get to the ground level ceremony.

What were they thinking? Not of the Relayer, the survivor, the caregiver, the ill participant on disability who donated some of their living expenses for their team total.  What a gesture of disrespect. Whomever planned the Activity area had a lot to answer for after that one.

Reasoning Away the Lack of Participation & Revenue

Random Darrow had decided why numbers were down:

"I picture Relay For Life in SL as a rose bush.  We were large with long tangled up branches.  We produced a lot of roses.  You could find us easily because of our size. Some roses died quite quickly others worked hard hanging on.  Yet ,we were strong and proud.

"But along came a pruning...

"...I think seasoned Relayers will agree with me that for the last couple of years we have seen a decrease in the number of teams and our totals have declined.  There are several reasons for that, but the largest I believe is the fluctuation in sl users. All of SL is feeling this."

Whatever you say Random.  Anything to turn away from the truth or for the committee to be held accountable.

The Rude & Disrespectful Lackey

Then, despite the archway and its streamline design it was decided that a BOX be placed on the track as well.  Some Committee lackey came by to place it not inside the archway but a ways and in front of our campsite.

[11:46] Holocluck Henly: hello what are you doing
[11:46] Holocluck Henly: not in front of our campsite thank you very much
[11:47] Committee Lackey: Okay listen up
[11:47] Committee Lackey: ]yes in front of your campsite
[11:47] Holocluck Henly: I'll check with the committee
[11:47] Committee Lackey: I am [Committee Lackey] and Random wanted the volunteer shrts at all 33 Landing points
[11:47] Committee Lackey: I am on the comittee
[11:47] Committee Lackey: I made all the t-shirts this year
[11:47] Holocluck Henly: I dont know you. and she didnt inform us of anything
[11:47] Holocluck Henly: I'll double check
[11:47] Committee Lackey: be my guest
[11:48] Committee Lackey: and thanks for the attitude instead of a little grattitude
[11:48] Holocluck Henly: for what
[11:48] Committee Lackey: go running to random
[11:48] Holocluck Henly: just coming here to plop a sale prim down I dont know you
[11:48] Holocluck Henly: yup
[11:48] Committee Lackey: I am doing what I was told
[11:48] Holocluck Henly: if you're right you have nothing to worry about
[11:49] Committee Lackey: I don't

According to Random, the lackey was asked to leave these boxes "at or near" Relay archways.  As usual someone was expected to use their better judgement and were incapable of exercising a minimum of empathy behind their actions on behalf of a Relay For Life committee or the American Cancer Society.  They only had one job...

...and were made to move the box into the archway rather than upstage one of my teammates' luminario memorials and its hovertext message.  Because callously dumping boxes in front of campsites not only spoils dozens of presentations after two weeks or more of hard work, it makes a mockery of cancer struggles recalled trackwide.  It was a shame there was no place for a link on the arches themselves, given their surfaces already contained clickable design elements for freebies and info.  The very purpose of the archways' design was to eliminate the need for boxes.  Her actions also disrespected those who painstakingly planned, designed and built this year's track. 

A fucking soulless jerk. Send them to this post's first paragraph following the disclaimer.  Tell her to "listen up" as to the committee's purpose.

Double Standards and Relay User Unfriendliness

Remember those restrictions to keep the track clear by limiting all events to the Activity Sims? And how T1 Radio was granted some sort of exception by virtue of committee affiliation and hosted several on the track while leading up to the big weekend?  They kept their dance machines out and touted guest DJs who in turn promoted their shifts.  Media Row became a problematic piece of lag all weekend.

One of T1 Radio's track events

The Fight Back Ceremony usually held in the Activity sims was on the track for the first time.  It monopolized a corner region, forcing Relayers to skip.  It was pointless to move this to the track other than to cause a disruption and thereby disrespect Relayers, the ACS brand, and the spirit of Relay itself. Very unfortunate.

The Fight Back Ceremony was held on the track in RFL Hope

Why did they keep extra sims for the track and pepper over 20 filler parcels throughout when they should have had 4 dedicated Activity regions with the RFL sim set apart as a landing point as it had been up until this year?

All events other than relaying belong OFF the track. Also being an exhibition sim - and no longer a vantage point for Prim Perfect or Treet TV no one live streams Relay Weekend on video any longer - Media Row should be OFF the track as well, perhaps situated beside the Activity sims and right over the border from the track at that point. 

Burma Shave style messaging along our campsite

More Bright Lights

Nevar (an oldschool organizer & co-founder of Fashion For Life) and Kammie were fantastic as Activity sim monitors.  They were kind, selfless, and seemingly tireless.  They were party to a veteran spirit all but extinct from the current order.

Our Campsite

This year I resolved to build the campsite solo and it turned out pretty well. For someone who lived in apartments all their lives it was quite a challenge to take on a forest preserve as recalled from my time in Chicago as a child.  It was a low LI backdrop for a quick journey with wellness advice and links plus cancer stories at a campfire based on actual occurrences. 

I made a machinima of it for posterity. Click the video title as it runs to open it larger in a YouTube window.

It was well received and a bit of a triumph considering. Thank you to those who stopped by, and a big thank you to those who never lost the spirit of Relay and what this weekend stand for.

Seven told me that campers gather with a myriad of chair types

NEXT: RFL of SL Wrap Up and the Curious Case of the Cancer-shaming Alt