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.
(Second Life Campers wander around Welfare Island)
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.
(Camping sign on Platinum World sim)
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.