The Art Galleries of SL List is available at http://sasun.info/ArtGalleriesOfSL.htm.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

List Migration

Well I must say I'm very happy with the migration of the list from this blog to http://sasun.info/ArtGalleriesOfSL.aspx. I've changed the "new" flag to automatically expire one week after the kiosk is first rezzed. Let me know if you think I should change that. Maybe it should be two weeks, or even more? How long should a new gallery be marked as "new"?

I've made some nice formatting improvements to the site to pretty it up. For you technie types, I've been working hard all day (and then some) learning all about ASP master pages, CSS, and ASP menu controls so that the site can have a more consistent look and feel and be much easier to tweak. Let me know what you think. Web design is hard, but fun :)

Gallery reviews are poring in, we're up to 600 gallery ratings, and there are 267 gallery owners left who have not upgraded to the review-enabled kiosks yet. If you are one of them, be aware that your gallery is sorting to the bottom of the list since you have zero ratings! So get that kiosk updated now :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Big Changes!

I've decided with how well the new kiosks are working to migrate the list completely to a new website. There are a few huge advantages of this move. The view on the new website at http://sasun.info/ArtGalleriesOfSL.aspx is completely up to date and very accurate. As soon as your gallery kiosk is rezzed and configured, it will show up there within seconds. Ditto with any changes you make. This means no more waiting a week for changes to appear here on this blog! Everything is completely live there, which saves me some time as well dumping all that data to a spreadsheet to be sorted and converted to HTML and posted here every week.

This blog will definitely continue to exist, but will be just a "normal" blog where I will continue to post news and thoughs about Art and Galleries in SL. I'm excited about this change and hope you will be too.

Next on the improvement agenda is the tour HUD. Today the tour HUD operates from notecards I stick in side it that are updated once a week. I have plans to just have the tour HUD talk directly to the same database that the list operates from, which means that the tour HUD itself will not need to be updated anywhere nearly as often as before (once a week). This is going to be really great - just wear the HUD and the galleries are going to be accurate.

So please go take a look at http://sasun.info/ArtGalleriesOfSL.aspx and let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adult Content changes and Art Galleries

I spent some time trying to catch up on all the new Adult rules after chatting about this with Doran Forzane. I searched a ton of chat logs and forum posts and thought I'd collect just the stuff that was real relevant to gallery owners here so if you've not been up to speed on this issue, you can get the important points here to help you decide what, if any, changes you may need to make to your land/gallery/location.

First, read Maturity ratings: an overview.

The following is excerpts from the Followup definitions meeting transcript:

JP: OK, question one from Katriana, "Have we determined yet a way to make sure that legitimate art galleries are not being censored or being asked to censor the artists that they host?"

Marty: Well, we think so. Here's what we're currently planning. The art will be able to be in a Mature Region. We're not going to get too deeply into trying to define what's art.

But what we will say is that if you've tagged the art with words that indicate an adult intent, then we will be filtering for those results. And if the intent with the art is to engage in an adult activity, then it will need to go in anAadult area. But if it's art for art's sake, then it can be in the Region. Does that make sense?

Marty: Yes, it should. Not tagging the parcel that contains the art with the words that would indicate that the parcel has or the user intends to engage in adult activity.

JP: That's the first question. I'm just catching up for the record. The second question coming in is from Lord Sullivan. "Is a word list going to be released for us, or do we need to continue to make it available on our wiki@slapped.me?"

Marty: The word list is not going to be published by us. The words that are on the list will evolve over time and will be tailored to the uses in Second Life. So it will not be a static list, and we will not publish it.

JP: Next question is coming in from Phoenix Wells. "Is the term 'photo-realistic' still going to be used to define adult? Or is photographic now going to be used when combined with nudity to define all adult? I'm asking because photo-realistic is still the term used to define art in skins."

Marty: I don't know where we used that word to define art in skins, but that is not the intent. The intent is pictures. So skins and art will... I mean nude skins and art can be in the mature Region.

The term "photo-realistic" is the problem, is that what you're saying? Well, maybe we'll use a different word. Well, maybe photography would be a better way to say it, but we're trying to make clear our intent is that art and skins -- nudity depicted as art, or art that depicts nudity and a skin -- are not necessarily adult. Although, the word "photo-realistic" probably won't be on the list.

The following are excerpts from Adult Oriented content controls: definitions meeting transcript:

Q: Nudity shouldn’t necessarily be adult, but wouldn’t be allowed in a PG space, right?

A: I agree about the nudity. Nudity shouldn't be allowed on PG. But I think nudity should be allowed on mature, because you can have nude beaches that are not sexual.

Q: But if you are going to turn that nude beach into a sex beach, then it becomes an adult thing. I think that is a pretty good definition of how to handle that…

A: Yes. That is exactly right. I just don't know that we have a very good way of drawing that line yet, so that is why we are still talking about. But you are right. Nudity is not sexual necessarily, but it is mature.

Q: Exactly. So I think that when it comes to talking about the PG section of it, there is no nudity. And I think that includes skins and shape sellers. They need to have bits covered. That is just the way it is. There is no nudity on those places.

Even art. I mean, art is subjective. You can have the exact same two pictures, both naked people, and you put that in a museum, and that is art. You put that in a strip club and it is pornography. So it is subjective.

However, on a PG sim, it is just purely not allowed. I think that definition...I think that PG has already defined itself. Honestly, I am not even going to take my six year old kids to a museum where there is T&A hanging out. They don't need that right now. They are going to get it enough when they are watching TV.

But yeah; exactly. It would be on a mature parcel, but does not have to be on an adult parcel, to my definition of it…

Q: I am interested in assessing the concept of photo realistic nudity as adults. With the number of European Residents we have with very different views on nudity, this could be problematic.

A: So if photo realistic nudity would be...We are trying not to evoke the words of Justice Stewart, "I know when I see it, " but unfortunately in this case that might be the case.

I think if it is a nude picture that is for something involving medical research, then that would be one thing. But if it is a nude picture whose, and I am going sound very lawyerly here, the primary purpose of which is to appeal to ones prurient interest, then that is going to be adult content.

The community standards that will apply to Second Life are probably going to be a blend of what you are considering European and American and Asian. We have people from all over the world using this service.

While US law is the primary law that applies to the company, we're going to try to thread a needle here. And hence the difficulty we're having because we are writing for a world community, and it's hard.

And just to be clear, when we say photo realistic, we don't mean avatars look more realistic than other avatars. We literally mean photos. And the types of nude photos that generally would be filtered out of say, a YouTube of a daily motion. That's more or less in line with European standards and US standards in terms of trying to filter off some of this activity on these types of platforms.

So to respond to some of the chat, "Hustler Magazine," adult. An art gallery that has artists who's work is nude and somewhat sexual, well, again, it's going to depend on what somewhat is. I would say, it could be in a mature Region, unless the somewhat sexual equals provocative gestures or two figures in the same painting doing things that are provocative.

I don't think that we're going to be able to get that granular with it. I think that when you go an art gallery, you expect to see challenging things. That's what art is about. But if you go to see a Maplethorpe show, there's going to be a sign on the wall and an expectation of an adult audience. Because of the bondage component. But yeah, I think that use has a piece of this. When I go to a Maplethorpe show, I expect that I'm not going to see 12 year old kids in there. Right?

Q: I have to absolutely disagree with you. I have seen amazing pictures of women in ropes. That's bondage. And someone with their hands bound in front of their hands, artfully, beautifully done. That's just not adult. That's not sexual. That can be art.

Yes, if you are going show something somewhere, that's going to be adult. But if you are going to just show it, just because they have ropes on them? What is ropes, how is ropes any different than maybe sexy underwear?

A: I think that it has as much to do with intentionality as anything else. We took a little field trip, the adult team, in our alts to a list of places where people were concerned about what their content might be.

The six of us have been thinking about this for a very long time. We don't have all the perfect answer but we thought how hard is this going to be for us to do as a community and as the group that is going to have to deal with where things go?

So to make those choices when we went to look at those places: is this adult or is this not? And actually it was really clear to us, almost unanimously what we felt was adult and what was not. This is a group of people from all over the world and all different roles here at the lab. It was not actually very difficult for us to decide.

It is ultimately true that some of this is going to have to be subjective and I don't think we actually want it not to be subjective. I would like my specialists to be able to come to your Regions and say, oh, you guys are fine. This is great. This is beautiful. It's fantastic. Good job. We love having this here.

And sometimes you might come and say, this is adult content and it's going to have to go in an adult place. What we like to do is get as good a working definition of what we think adult, mature and PG constitute, but there are going to be edge cases. There's no doubt about it.

If you say to me that there is a depiction of sexual adult behavior with whips and chains and ropes, I think that some people would find that challenging and put it in adult. Is it art? Yeah, I think it is. And I don't think that we can make blanket statements like art galleries should be exempt.

I don't think that we can say that actually because I think that that some of that is going to have to be subjective. And it isn't censorship. It's a discussion about how we want the community to encounter things in a predictable way.

So I don't think that we should get too... I don't want us to get too rigid. I don't want to say all art galleries have to be mature. Maybe some art galleries would like to be in the adult area. I would like it to be more about choice and discussion and less about lines.

Q: Absolutely saying anything related is adult is wrong because it doesn't have to be sexual to have ropes laid out, so to speak. So I think that's going to be a huge, gray area for that. and I think usage and how things are used is going to have to be a bigger consideration as to what the actual pictures shows.

A: Some of it is going to be adult. Sometimes it's going to be mature. Just like some sexual behavior is going to be adult and some is going to be mature. I don't think it has to be on one side of the line or the other.

Q: But that's going to dictate... you can have the same two sexual activities, one is in the privacy of your own home and one is in the middle of the floor at some club. That alone defines where it is. Adult Region or mature Region.

A: The intent of an art gallery is to be a public space, right? So that's a little bit different than what you are doing in your home.

Q: But it's still nudity and it's still art, as opposed to having sex right underneath those pictures so you emulate what's going on in the pictures.

A: So I think there's going to be, in the ambiguity between now and when we publish these definitions and start making decisions about what we're calling edge cases, that we're just going to have to live with. We won't really know until we start doing it what content is going to go where.

Because as I said, we have looked at a lot of content as a part of this project but we haven't looked at all of it. It's impossible to do and it changes all the time.

So I apologize for the anxiety that the ambiguity is probably going to cause. We're going to ask for some trust on your part that we are trying to do the right thing.

We hope these Brown Bags are evidence of our intent to try to do the right thing. We're not here to censor people, but Second Life is a service that we run. We're doing the best we can based on our education and experience with a lot of input from you.

And to that point, we're not excluding the content. There are a lot of companies and services whose policy is to exclude adult content, and we're not doing that. I would argue, in fact, we're embracing it by doing this.