Monday, July 13, 2009

The Trouble with Maven

Before I moved to my current RL home in Jackson Heights, I lived in Astoria. Astoria is a contradictory place. It's a blue collar neighborhood by nature, being situated near warehouses and a power plant. The train is elevated, which is a sure NIMBY factor. But it's close to Manhattan and the trains have a short run through Queens before submerging to cross the East River, thus attracting the pseudo Manhattan crowd and commanding high rents.

I dont know when things got funky in Astoria where I lived, but during the early 90s a vigilante group was formed called PACT (Police and Community Together). We had monthly meetings where we discussed trends of crimes (like a rash of break-ins), local politicians would discuss proposals and improvement projects, or something like the recycling committee would come with a demonstration and materials to distribute. Some members would go together out on "patrols" which included one cop - vigilante as far as crimefighting is clearly against the law and the city cant be liable for anything which happens to someone foolish enough to pursue it. The group's primary goal were to be a presence after dark and deter criminals from lurking about.

I was an area captain. I helped to answer questions of neighbors (like the proper recycling etc) and how best to contact the police and their priority for certain types of calls etc. My roomate and I worked together putting up meeting flyers, going door to door with petitions, etc. I got to know the police and came to respect their job, which isnt an easy one. With all the bad press a handful cause in the media, there are thousands who suffer because of stigma. The NYPD is about community and diversity, protecting inhabitants and giving them the knowledge - tools if you will - to exercise prevention.

So you'll have to pardon me when some Second Life skinhead dons a police uniform and insists he isn't engaged in role play or fetishism. No, our friend Maven is NOT playing. But he's not a Linden either. So where does his alleged law enforcement activity come in with regard to Mainland? Other than his own property it really shouldn't according to Second Life's Terms of Service.

What do his activities include? Heresay suggests he and/or his goons - noobs he's recruited for his "force" - snoop around neighbors' shops & scrutinize residents' friends & clientelle profiles. That's what I heard.

My own experiences with him are outbursts of a more sociopathic nature. Case in point:

Bay City held a flea market in Hau Koda last spring, which filled up quickly thanks to the MOTD login screen link. Maven insisted on standing around in uniform while people lined the border to come in. I whispered from the Docklands that people were waiting to get in, and he responded very "unpolicelike" and said he could close down the flea market.

Well not really. As with law enforcement, only the Lindens have that right on Mainland. What his duty amounted to appeared to be alternately posing and keeping his own booth well stocked.

Apparently the flea market was initially Maven's idea. While he was absent from the planning portion of a Bay City Alliance meeting, we worked out the details with Blondin Linden with regard to price cap of items offered, access rights, promotional details, and so on. Maven arrived just as Blondin left, and seemed disappointed ("oh.") that he would not be able to price freebies or jack up costs of unwanted stuff. Everyone else thought more about freeing up their inventory and giving nice stuff to folks who otherwise couldn't get them. Go figure Maven.

His megalomaic line of threatening to disrupt a Linden community event was worth an AR.

The second incident occurred this past weekend, and this time not very discreet.

With the opening of Hau Koda came LL's current load balance bug, where the newest infohub is sent most first time users following their start on Help Island. This was an issue with Bay City Moosehead for a while when Moosehead Beach opened up to the north. There were griefers rezzing junk in the streets and the spillover lagged. Many residents were very Zen about the situation and offered to donate some space for NCI to put infonode stuff. I vaguely recall impromptu backyard parties...

At the meeting, Maven whined and whined AND WHINED about current predicament which had befallen Docklands (it borders Hau Koda) and the terrible lag and griefing. More than what Nova Albion experiences on a regular basis? Not likely. He wanted the only rez spot in western Bay City be changed to no rez/no script/no object entry (the latter needed for vehicles). He's put in for a land swap for Zindra, where I guess he'll pose by the front door of his new precinct without his pants.

One of our recent issues has been Linden Lab adding object entry and noscripts restrictions on all local infohub land. There's one thing to deter griefers from rezzing objects etc, but to prevent people from riding through compromises those who pay for the experience. And as you know we all paid a great deal to be in Bay City. Quality of virtual life takes many forms.

Why is this an issue? It just so happens that several landowners in Bay City have alternate locations in Nova Albion and/or homes in Shermerville. Many of them "commute" between locales. The recent addition of Hau Koda has served as a new route by air versus following Route 66 (which the Bay City Trolley follows), then changing course in Barcola. Skimming the corner of Moosehead Beach before turning north into the Gulf of Lauren or flying through it towards Barcola Sound now amounts to skidding to a hard stop in midair with no choice but to unbind from the vehicle, fall off, fly up, and take it. Then navigate somehow to a rez point on protected land (good luck with that). Or forget the excursion altogether.

This is an issue with enough Bay City residents that a compromise is justified: minimize grief and lag while allow residents to make use of roads and airspace. The bridges are clickable over canals so that those who sail through the waterways can raise them, but boats must be allowed to function. Perhaps moving the rez point from the airship tower in Docklands and the Hau Koda southeast corner at the tower's border to a defined strip of runway on the other side of the infohub buildings, at worst the last patch before water. Or even special access rights for genuine Bay City landowners.

Maven definitely had issues with this. The concept of anyone driving a car or riding a plane in Bay City, much less to go from a point A to a point B entirely escaped him. Which means it was a worthless and meaningless concept - along with anyone who did anything short of posing in a cop uniform I reckon.

He interrupted my concerns and included the phrase "I don't give a rats ass..." I found very sophisticated for his ilk, even though none of the words used were more complex than one syllable each. It was important for the other BC members to see what sort Maven really was. Later on when Blondin arrived and I brought up the vehicle use and issues with locals commuting, Maven asked me what my problem was.

It's amazing sometimes what passes for adult or mature, isn't it? A black-&-white view Maven seems to have for Linden Labs to accommodate his needs full on and no plans to accommodate the needs of others. Short of that anything LL does is unacceptable to him. I still think he's some rich kid who got by the age verification. He doesn't behave at all like someone who knows how to speak to people and he blatantly disrespects the kids (I've seen that as well. Holograms and children). He obviously has no interest in community activities for the sake of community*. And the guy is desperate to leave anyway. You'd think this would free his Sunday evenings up instead of wasting time at meetings just to insult people.

*I caught him happy once. When he saw the traffic stats in Hau Koda's properties following the flea market, he got all excited and wanted another flea market planned RIGHT AWAY.

It takes a type, doesn't it? A type who embraces the brutal image of cops and forgets dedication and empathy to a community.


  1. Oh, the stories I could tell of him, from some of the IMs where he is clearly trying (very poorly) to curry my favor, to his current addition of a Zindra build on one of his Bay City parcel.

    I hope he does get a Zindra swap and goes off to focus on that. FWIW, I think he'll be a whole lot happier. I know a lot of us will be.

  2. I recall he whined to you because you excluded his police station from your Bay City travelogue video. Seems like he still hasn't a clue about the spirit of the place.

  3. Who the hell is this idiot, anyhoo? Does he have an real power or just some fruitloop?

    p.s. "I guess he'll pose by the front door of his new precinct without his pants." LOL! snorted tea thru my nose reading that!