Author Archive

Passing of a Dream

Posted in Real Life, SecondLife® with tags on October 27, 2011 by hawksrock

Jell called me today with some sad news: she had just learned that one of our nearest and dearest friends in SecondLife passed away, Dreamer Demontrond. Dreamer was one of those shining star type personalities which were larger than life. Her wit, intelligence, sarcasm, love, and competitive spirit were all things that drew me to her. She will forever be the hostess with the mostess. She used to love to egg me on in private to always best Jell’s many suitors at Tringo who loved to drive the pot up higher than I could afford. She was the first person to know that Jell and I were becoming a couple in SecondLife and she had the honor of being my best “man” at my wedding. I spent many a late night/early morning due to the Australian time zone difference having a brisk discussion and “huggles” on a beach of her choosing. Her ability to cut through the crap and to the point with razor sharp clarity was amazing to say the least.

She is a living testament to the power of technology to bring about change and the fact that SecondLife can actually deliver some good with all the dramz. In real life her body was never capable of delivering on all the promise she held in her heart and mind. She fought a debilitative lifelong disease that at the age of 42 finally won the battle. It was her secret that was to be spoken of only in “hushed tones” to those she truly trusted. In SecondLife she was able to find her true love, Sal, and to experience running down the beach, climbing trees (which were craftily scripted by her love), surfing, and much much more. In fact, her RL mother created an account and logged in for the first time to be part of her wedding to Sal as she wept with tears to see her daughter so happy.

At this point I am filled with sadness and regret that as I moved away from SecondLife I did not do more to stay in contact with her. Although she was often in my thoughts, I didn’t make the time to let her know how much she meant to me. I think that knowing her as I do, she understood my thoughts and feelings about SecondLife and was happy that I found love through SL that I could carry over into RL. She was not the self pitying type, even though she justifiably would have had a lot more reason than most.

Dreamer was loved by many… but in the end no one can speak more eloquently than herself when I quote her poem that she wrote knowing her end was soon:

When I come to the end
of the road,
and the sun has set for me.
I want no rites in a gloom
filled room,
why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little -
but not too long
and not with a head
bowed low,
remember the love
that we once shared,
miss me – but let me go.

RIP Dreamer… I look forward to huggles on the beach one day in the future.

Pssst… Alts Are Taking Over The World

Posted in Op/Ed, Parody, Satire, SecondLife® with tags , , , , on October 17, 2010 by hawksrock

I recently had an experience akin to that of the matrix or terminator movie franchises, whereas I uncovered a nefarious plot by not the machines in this case, but by the alts to take over the world.  Luckily we the chosen few have been well trained in special alt SL-ops (or SLops) by some of the best masterminds out there.  I mean if you do not yet understood the new math of 6 degrees of Elexor Matador… then how can you even call yourself a Second Life resident?   I guess for the uninitiated, or simple minded out there…  you might be wondering what the new math is or maybe you slept through that period in SL-algebra?  First read up on the old school math here.   That was sooo  circa 1999.  You see Kevin Bacon was limited by the fact that he was only one person, and therefore was somewhat limited in his capacity to reach out and touch someone.  In the current world, through the power of alting, you  now have the ability to have an exponential impact on those around you.  You are limited only by your own imagination and ability to multitask conversations.  The new math dictates that one in 6 avatars IS Elexor Matador.  So yes… if you have had SLex with at least 6 avatars (a number probably on the low side of average driven up by the number of horndogs out there who seek the truth) then you too have probably gotten a lil blingy penis without even knowing it.

The reality is that the six degrees of Elexor Matador phenomena has just gone viral.  It has recently come to my attention that alting is taking over THE WORLD… well at least social networking which is our LINK to THE WORLD from our basement safehouses.  I will admit that I was taking life easy, enjoying a little sunlight and fresh air for a change, while venturing abroad into that great abyss known as the great outdoors during my self imposed hiatus from SecondLife.  When all of a sudden, boom… my SLops training started tingling and I realized that my 17 year old daughter was falling for the ploys of a Matador initiate.  It started when I noticed a little thing on that link to life Facebook called a “relationship status” change.   It appeared that our daughter was now “in a relationship”, and it wasn’t even “complicated.”  Well, Jellybean and I immediately dusted off our cyber-sleuthing skills and went to work.

A quick backlink trace showed that this initiate was either a bit sloppy or at least pretending to be.  You see it appears that his wall, photos, info, and historical files were all readily accessible.  The first redflag appeared when we checked his date of birth which showed 1989.  I know many of you are still reeling from the SL-algebra above, but I will help you out and explain that this would put his age at 21 years which ranked up there in the “oh hell no” of ages.  Second, it was time to check his wall.   It appears he was speaking in some sort of code or foreign language.  It appeared that all of his status updates were pure gibberish to the uninitiated.

A few examples:


“u showd me nuthin but hate but just like thy say, wat comes around gose around…”

“luvin du fuckin life im livin… its like a DREAM…”

At this point the daughter was brought in for questioning.  A few things were brought up such as her moral imperative to be additive to the global gene pool and not to assist with the dumbing down of America.  How was a 21 year old attending high school?  Do they not teach spelling in school any longer? Is this really the best option on the table?  She then dropped the bomb.  You see this facebook account wasn’t a true depiction into the intelligence and moral aptitude of the new relationship.  He just chooses to “act this way on Facebook”.  He put his age in as older so he looks “cooler.”   OMGWTFBBQ!!!   Does he have a blingy penis?  And you better not be able to answer that yet missy, since this is only day two of the new relationship status!

Well needless to say, this sort of put me back on high alert status.  It appears that there is a new push to hide your true identity on Facebook.  People are alting under various guises at various ages and with varying intelligence levels.  They are seeking to infiltrate the very fabric of our social existence.  They are on the lookout to RULE THE WORLD!

Freaky Sex vs Ethics?

Posted in Op/Ed, Review with tags , , , , on June 13, 2010 by hawksrock

So one of my little time wasters lately has been playing around with Dragon Age Origins.  It is a basic RPG format, where you are in charge of a party of 4 players who specialize in different types of combat and fight their way through ever increasingly complicated enemy scenarios.  It is a very visually well done game, with enough entertainment value to keep you busy for at least a few weeks of time.  One of the aspects of the game that I enjoy is that it has a built in reputation meter that takes into account what choices you make when responding to the dialog of the NPC characters that advance the plot throughout the game.  It isn’t quite as integral to the experience as some RPG’s I have played, but it still allows you to either kill, mangle, and destroy your way through… or take time to help every sorry excuse who stumbles along your path with a sob story.  The choices you make don’t make a huge difference in the rather linear game-play, but your decisions do impact your reputation with the different characters in your party.   It doesn’t take long to figure out that if you wanna get into Morrigan’s freaky virtual pants (I mean she isn’t nicknamed a Witch of the Wild for nothing) you are going to be rewarded for taking the lowest moral path.

Morrigan’s visual aid:

This relationship got me to thinking about how I have seen this scenario play out before… in many different RPG’s that allow for you to take control over your characters actions (like StarWars Knights of the Old Republic franchise).  If you happen to live under a rock and not understand how the gameplay works in these RPG’s it is very similar to the old choose your own adventure books, that I used to love as a kid.  You are presented with a scenario, you then choose option A, B, C, or sometimes even D in response to the scenario.  Instead of now skipping ahead to the correct page number, the software does all the work for you, and the situation responds to your input.

Let me give you an example scenario:

You come across an old man, whose one and only daughter has been taken by a group of brain eating zombies back into a castle.  He is not aware if she lives or not, but he has the utmost faith that she still is alive, but he is too weak to go in after her.  He requests your aid to go into the castle and either retrieve his daughter or at least bring him back confirmation of her death so he can grieve and put the matter behind him. Do you…

A.  Swear to him you will sacrifice your own life and limb to assist him to find his daughter.

B.  Tell him you do not have time to assist him with this matter because otherwise the entire world will be consumed by the plague.

C.  (Force Persuade) him that he does not have a daughter.

D. Kill him for wasting your valuable time.

If you think you are a male player who always picks option A:  Then you are going to end up with a really “chummy” veteran male soldier willing to swap spit with you, and a loyal dog.  If you are an option B or C kinda player:  You are going to end up working through the plot line without any real close companions, and you will be forced to go it alone.  If you are an option D kinda player… you will have all the hot chicks thinking you are the next Colin Farrell.

So what is it about the psyche of these programmer types that think that only the bad boys are going to get the hot chicks?  Is it the traditional cliche?  Is it true that to really become appealing you are always going to put yourself ahead of any other thing?  That altruism is a turn off every single time?

I like to think that I am smart enough to see through it, but you kinda have to wonder about all the young pre-teens out there who are being taught the stereotypes from their actions.  I am not a big proponent of video game violence causing real violence, and don’t want to get into that here… but it does seem to be a play to modify behavior types to teach kids that you are going to be rewarded with the girl by picking all the least altruistic options.  It is also built from a sexist viewpoint, because a female playing can easily still find male suitors by picking from the high road options.

Art of Leaving SL

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife® with tags , , , on May 31, 2010 by hawksrock

So in my attempt to continue to cover every single aspect of Second Life from every single angle of every single position of every single ball… errrr wait, I think I lost my train of thought there.  Well anyways, ahem, the one aspect of Second Life that I have never written about is the art of living life after it.  So here you go…

I left Second Life immediately following my public declaration of my intention to leave it on this very blog which happened on October 18, 2009.  I know that you all suck at math, with the exception of those few builders out there who actually know what X, Y, and Z coordinates hafta do with why your picture won’t line up with the wall on your house.  I mean hey, I lived with Jell long enough, I got kinda use to having a lot of angles to work around.  So anyways, I can relate to the odd time flux continuum stuff that happens within Second Life which distorts such rational concepts as math.

So let me explain to you how long ago that was in terms that you can actually understand:  it was right about the time Jiggly boobs came out.  Okay, well at least the guys have some perspective now.

For the rest of you, let me try to find a few more ways to explain just how long ago that was:

  • It was prior to SL gaining a number… we were still back in version 1.18something or other.  You know… back before you could check out your shadow as you lag through walls.
  • For the average SL’er it was about 6.7 relationships ago.  And only 4 of those were with the same people… just not in the same order.
  • It was back when copybotting was bad, before people’s ideas about fighting copybotting were worse, and way before people were like wtf is copybotting?
  • It was way before plurk developed trending topics which showed that 14% of the discussion was about fashion designers, 25% of the discussion was about fashion bloggers, and 61% of the discussion was around bloggers who criticize fashion designers.
  • It was back when Prad only had like 12 blogs he was writing on, instead of 145.  My personal favorite of which is the daily crackberry photo of his bellybutton lint in 365 day time lapse format.
  • Truth, Troof, or Troofa deleted his plurk account only to add it back because he missed it only to delete it again because he can’t stand it to miss it and add it back again to delete it again to add it back again.
  • SCD hired 37 writers for their outstanding propensity to generate a veritable shitstorm to then end up firing 36.5 writers for their outstanding propensity to generate a veritable shitstorm.
  • It was back when new viewers were the cool rage, and not some sort of identity theft hijacking personal information destroyers of the universe.
  • It was a little over 100,000 views on the Rev, which just goes to show that you don’t need me (or anybody for that matter) writing on the Rev to keep that traffic coming.

In other words it was back in the salad days of SL.  Well honestly, I said that just so I can now check “salad days” off the list of my “top 1,589 cool words that I have no idea what they mean, but I gotta work em into a blog post” list.  But anyways… I seem to be in a digressing kinda mood atm.  If only I had a site with a cool little emoticon I could flag this entire post with as “in a digressing mood” then I would make millions I am sure.  But seriously back to the story…

I don’t think it is possible for anybody who has made SL such a huge part of their lives as Jellybean and I had, to quit SL cold turkey on your own, unless you just went through some sort of major SL or RL drama which is at the root of your departure.  So my personal first step to leaving SL was to turn my entire friends list off so they couldn’t see if I was online.  Because, by god if I said I was leaving… the last thing I need is people catching me when I am sneaking back in!!  But surprisingly to myself, I really didn’t find that I was sneaking back in all that often.  Literally I was in maybe once or twice that first week, and then maybe once a month if that since then.

I even went so far as to cut my bloglines down to only 3 SL blogs… one of which was this one.  Next up, I went and cut down my plurk list from right around 400 friends to only 24, so I could focus on just the ones I felt like I had a connection beyond SL.  I didn’t mean it as an affront to anyone else on my list, I just needed to get back in charge of my time.  Then all of a sudden I had all kinds of time, and I found that I was still needing something in my life to keep me busy.  I think that certain people in our generation are just wired to hafta be in some sort of online community or activity.  For me, I started playing WoW again.  In fact, I started putting a lot of time into WoW, and made a switch over to the Horde that I was really enjoying for a while.  But then I found that I was putting too much time into it, so again I pulled the plug (well at least until Cataclysm comes out.)  So now, here I sit pretty much gameless, although I will admit I am messing around with Dragon Age Origins a bit – although I don’t see it holding my interest for long.

I actually found myself logging into SL a few times over the last couple of weeks.  Partly because Jell was feeling the itch to do some machinima, and partly to try to figure out how to turn off those last few subscribomatics that keep hitting my email.  In the end though, I ask myself if I miss it.  The answer is that yes, I do miss certain parts of it.  I specifically miss the high times of Tringo back when it was booming, I miss hanging out/DJ’ing at Clockworks with Alex/Myg/Wrath and the gang, I miss writing on the Rev and still hate that there isn’t really a decent replacement out there for our niche for our readers, I miss the dramz…because sometimes it is just fun to get in the middle of the craziness if you are opinionated like myself.  But unfortunately, most of those don’t exist anymore.  At least not for me when I am logging in.

So at least for now, I am still going to be staying away.  I don’t have any big pull drawing me back in.  In fact, I even have an entire machinima scripted out, but for now it is shelved on my bookcase until the urge builds up a little more.

I really miss every one of you Rev readers, and I wish you all the best.


Blame it on the zyngo!

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , on October 18, 2009 by hawksrock

I think that at some point in every writers’s life (well with the exception of these guys and gals) there comes a time when you need to take a break: provide a chance to recharge the batteries, save your soul, or even just keep things fun and interesting.   I know that bloggers rank pretty far down the writing hierarchy but when you reach a point in time where you feel like you have already written on most topics, and things are just repeating themselves over and over, then you start to lose interest in writing.   I seem to have reached that point in my life at the moment with Second Life blogging, and to some extent with Second Life in total.   Whether I am writing about relationships, drama, plurk, cool sims to explore, or whatever topic I bring to mind I think I have already touched on it at some point in the past on one of the old blogs.

Two Fruit, One cucumber

Combine that feeling, with an increasingly active RL social life and things have gotten a little bit hectic for me.   I think I can probably multi-task with the best of them, but frankly I always prefer to find something and go in deep and strong rather than just lick along the surface of a lot of different things.   Recently Jell has brought me over to Twitter.   Twitter in and of itself is yet another form of social media junkyism, but the benefit it has brought into our lives is an incredibly active group of local tweeters who merge their online and RL identities into one.   It has had a profound impact on both of us, since in the past I am used to hanging out with a group of interesting personalities that look nothing like what they portray, and that I would never recognize on the street or ever meet in person.  Now all of a sudden, I am running into people at every event and all over town that are extremely wired into both lives that they lead, and it is fun to literally have an option for a social function any night of the week.   The only downside is that all of a sudden I hafta shower and stuff before I can go hangout with friends.

I am not saying good bye, because I do expect to still be around in some capacity.   I can see myself logging in to make machinima or to just see what has changed.   I am however going to excuse myself from blogging on the Rev and participating in plurk for a while.   I am hoping that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I will be back after a while.   In the meantime I have high hopes that the Rev will keep plugging along.   Right now we are at 102,000 in traffic which is pretty damn good for the very first year, and only posting every 4 days or so.  I hope it continues to grow by leaps and bounds, due to the quality of the people we have writing on here.   I want to thank everybody who has read and/or commented on my posts in the past, and I wish you all continued success in your own ventures in whatever life you lead.

Yes Men and Group Think

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , , on August 30, 2009 by hawksrock

Wow, I have not seen such examples of group think and yes men in quite a while.   Allow me to elaborate.  In the old days, people used to comment on blogs that they either agreed with or disagreed with and explain the reasons why.   Then there would be some public commentary and discussion around it, people would see the reactions of both sides, make their own decisions and move on.   That is so passe , and like 2008 and stuff.   The new fad is to hide behind private timelines, block anybody who has any sort of disagreement with you, and then openly bash amongst like minded sheep.

Specifically, one of the pictures in the last round Curbside Confessions showed four recent Truth hair releases with the title “New Styles from TRUTH!?”   Obviously the point of the slide was to suggest that they were somewhat similar in nature – but no point beyond that.   But step back for a minute and examine the reality of the post.   What I did was just showcase 4 styles from Truth in front of over1,000 people.   There was zero commentary on that post outside of a ?.   I am sure that quite a few people were exposed to the styles who had not seen them before, and probably went out to buy them.   So Truth is now convinced that we are destroying his business?   There is a pretty big break between perception and reality there.

His method was to first block both Jelly and I from his timeline, and THEN go off about us just to make sure we can’t speak up about it.   In reality though that is not enough, because he is going to take it one step further and the 4 other people who spoke up to say that either the styles did look similar, or that they tried to support us during the bash fest were also summarily removed from his timeline.   Heaven forbid somebody have an opinion that is different.  I was most upset when one of the nicest people on the grid Tymmerie Thorne was banned for making this statement, ”  They are not identical but certainly similar enough that I wouldn’t buy two of them.”  I mean jesus, that is some sort of revolutionary hardcore Truth bashing there..???

So in hindsight, this is just a really good example of how something can get blown way out of proportion when all you have are a bunch of like minded fan girls running around telling you how great you are.

I would like to take a minute to call out a few people I have come across who have demonstrated the ability to think independently and to thank them for that breath of fresh air.   For the record – many of these have disagreed with me once, or even many times, but I appreciate their honesty and ability to think for themselves.   Thank you Cajsa Lilliehook, Luth Brodie, Daila Holder, Ivey Deschanel, Prad Prathivi, and Moggs Oceanlane.   The world is a better place with you here.    Also, I am sure there are others out there, but these are ones who have made a difference in my own life.

Curbside Confessions – Round 3

Posted in Satire with tags , , , on August 29, 2009 by hawksrock

Hey all about time for another round of Curbside Confessions.  Enjoy!








Art of Machinima – Part 2 – Getting Started

Posted in How To with tags , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by hawksrock

So in my last post I covered the basics of some starter software to give the foundation you need to film machinima.   Now that you have your software it is time to start filming!   Obviously you will want to play around with some different shots before you take on a big budget epic production.   The easiest thing to film and make look romantic is a scripted couples dance.   Basically you find one good angle, some nice lighting, and then just let the camera roll.   Slap an audio track in during editing, and voila you just scored you first machinima and some brownie points with your significant other.

But before you begin there are a few commands that you need to know to hide the UI and your huds from showing in the shot.   The first command is to hold down Ctrl-alt-F1 at the same time which will hide the UI (user interface).  This way you will not see any chat, or the menu bars at the top and bottom of the screen.   The second useful command is Shift-alt-H which will hide any huds you are wearing.   For both of these commands you simply press them again to reverse it and turn them back on.   Everything still operates the same way, but now you see a full screen view of SL without any things in the way which will detract from the film.   Along with the basic camera controls you will want to perfect the art of holding down Ctrl-alt-shift while moving the mouse to be able to pan the camera in either a vertical or horizontal direction.   Just those three simple tips, will move your machinima from noob to intermediate level.

There are some definite pros and cons to filming machinima in SL.   The big pros are that you have access to the most fantastic settings for your backdrops.   There are amazing new sims and builds out there every day, with any type of setting you can think of.  The biggest con is trying to get your avatar to do what you want it to do.   Unless you are a grade-A animator, know a grade-A animator, or else are willing to pay lots of L’s for custom animations it is very difficult to get the avatars to “act” in the way you need them to for a scene.   Even basic facial emotions can make or break a scene, and you are limited to the strength of your mood hud.   I also recommend you find a partner in crime for filming.   It is almost impossible to film yourself walking, driving, or doing just about anything and make it look worth a crap.   One option is to log in an alt to film yourself doing basic actions, but unless you are on two computers you are going to severely impact your FPS rates.   The best option is to go into it like Jell and I do where you take turns filming scenes, or angles to try to get the right footage to work with.  Just make sure you are using the same windlight settings!   :)

I think that with this much info you are ready to go give it a go.   The main thing is to just keep it fun.   I try to balance making a really good machinima with keeping it light and fun and not agonizing over every shot or the editing process too much.   If we can bang something out in two days, that is usually just about right which allows for one day of setting up and filming.   One day to edit, and reshoot anything that we need to.

With that I am going to debut for you our latest machinima project – Want.   I came across the audio track first which is Want  by Recoil, and it inspired me to throw this together.   I hope you enjoy it.

I was just made aware of another great resource from the Rev’s very own Luth Brodie which can be found here.

Art of Machinima – Part 1 – Technical Software

Posted in How To with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by hawksrock

I am no expert at making machinima, but after having collaborated with JellyBean Madison on over 30 machinima videos during a two year period, I do feel competent enough to at least put together a little advice for some of the up and comers who think they might like to try their luck directing their own machinima feature in SecondLife.   I think that the method of machinima can be divided into two segments:  technical and artistic.  This post is going to focus on the technical software requirements.

I am going to start by sharing the very first video I ever set up, filmed and edited in SL, which was done in November of 2007.   I remember being shocked when Sine Wave contacted me about wanting to use it on their website, and they also sent it on to a lot of the dancers which they recruited to do Mo-Cap for them as an example of what they were trying to accomplish.  I filmed this the first month that windlight became accessible so everybody was still ooo’ing and awww’ing over the sky and water.

My intention is to take you through my own personal evolution as a maker of machinima by showing some of our work over the last couple of years.   You can see from this first one I was still enamored with transitions and glowy fonts…   :p

In order to film basic machinima, you need the following three software components:

  1. A video capture program
  2. An audio editor
  3. A movie editor

So let’s start with the video capture program.   Jell and I both use Fraps.  Fraps is available for purchase at the price of $37 USD.   Luckily, it is the only purchase you have to make to be able to do machinima.   If you want to just practice with fraps, and not pay for it, then there is a free version you can use, but it will include a watermark over your film that reads at the bottom.   Basically what fraps does is it records everything it sees on your screen from the point in time you hit record (F9), until you tell it stop (F9).   There a few basic settings that you want to check before you start recording.   First of all, make sure that the “No cursor” button is clicked, or else your mouse pointer will show up on your vid.   Secondly, I always make sure the record sound button is off because we typically set our videos to either a song or a backing track.   One cool feature of fraps is that you can turn the record sound button on, and then you will hear any audio that plays through your speakers when reviewing your playback.   This means you can use fraps to record SL voice if you want to do interviews, or create some sort of tutorial program.   There are other video capture programs available which allow you to create a box on your screen of exactly what video you want to capture, or that do some basic editing and effects while you are recording.   In my estimation, for the cheap price and ease of use, fraps is all you need.

Secondly, you are going to need an audio editor.   Technically you can get by without an audio editor, and just layer in a full length song, or not have any audio in your vid, but I think over time if you do machinima then you are going to want an audio editor.   I recommend using Audacity.  It is a free editor, that lets you easily trim music down, or add multiple tracks of audio.   You can record voice, and layer it against the audio all in a very simple to use format.   Most video editing programs, only allow one audio track to be layered against the video.   This means that if you want to combine music, dialogue, and any sound effects then you need to layer it together in Audacity, and then it will blend it into one track which can be input into your video editor.  There was one battle scene in Tank Girl we filmed where I had 15 layers of audio going at once, because every gun retort, reload, explosion, and breaking glass were all layered in against the backing music track.   I really can’t brag enough about Audacity for basic audio layering.

Third, and perhaps most importantly is that you need a video editor.   My personal favorite is Edit Studio 6.   However, there are numerous options out there, and I am not sure this one is necessarily the best, but it is the one I am most comfortable using.   Luckily for you, there is a fairly robust video editor provided free with modern versions of Windows called Windows Movie Maker.   Your editor is where all the magic happens.   It is where you end up taking a lot of video footage and weeding out the slow or weaker shots, to get at the kernels that make up the story line.  In the editor you arrange the clips in the order you want to see them, you work on timing the audio and visual together, and voila… you have your first machinima production!

This segment concludes the overview of some basic software requirements that you need, and in the next installment, I am going to cover the basics of camera movement, lighting, export settings, and other information that you need on the technical side of filming machinima.   Then I will follow that up with a post which gets more into the artistic side of thinking through a storyline, and selecting elements, etc.

Not your Mother’s CNN

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , , on August 4, 2009 by hawksrock

Okay people, I got news for you.   We are not CNN, hell we aren’t even FOX, we might sorta aspire to a Daily Show sorta level, but even that might be a stretch.   Some of the recent action in the comments section regarding the standards of journalistic integrity that the Rev must aspire towards to knock off New World Notes as the next news source were sorta like…. ummmmm  WHAT??    It did get me to thinking about some things though, which is often dangerous…

Most specifically I have been thinking a bit about blogging ethics (if there is such a thing.)   Let me start though with a general declaration which I hope that everyone has figured out about the Rev.   We have very stringent hiring requirements to join this blog.   It takes a unanimous positive vote from JellyBean Madison, Rosie Shark, and myself to get someone onto this blog (although I have the rep for being the most picky).   The criteria we look for are the following:  strong eloquent writing style, someone who is willing to voice opinions about issues, and that they compliment our current mix of people/personalities.  Once on the blog, they are free to write on any topic – any way they see fit.   We don’t always agree with each other, or with the topics, but overall I am super excited about what our writers have done on the blog.   We are still not a year old, but we are growing by leaps and bounds.  We do not enforce any set of rules, we do not have an editing step in the equation, and the writers are free to go for it.   In other words, if I speak to a personal set of ethics it reflects my own perspective and is not a guideline for this blog in general.

So with no further ado, here are Hawk’s general guidelines for blogging:

1)  Bloggers blog  –   Well duh, right?   What I mean by this is that if I come across an issue with a virtual retailer, or a person, or something specific, then I am going to blog about it.   I have a commitment to post every two weeks for the Rev, and I am always on the look out for material.   If I find myself embroiled in something, then it is likely going to show up in a blog format.   A blogger shares the good, the bad, and sometimes the fugly with YOU who are reading this right now.   Nonbloggers who come back with, “why didn’t you just handle that one on one and mute/ban/complain to the person”, don’t understand the blogging mentality of someone who is always looking for something to write about.  I need material people, if I didn’t write about situations in my life, I would end up with a blog that looks like this.

2)  Drama sells – If you believe in a free market economy approach to life, then you would be blogging drama 24/7 because a blog post with controversy attached to it will get triple the hits of a best of SL piece hands down any day of the week.   As a blogger who likes to see traffic increase, you are naturally incentivized to be on the lookout for something a little edgier and controversial to post about because you know you will get action on it.   Personally, I crave feedback as a blogger.   I get the best feedback from humor pieces and things that stir the pot.   Therefore, I am incentivized by YOU the readers to move in that direction.  All that being said though, I would say that I write probably 1 drama piece out of 20 – although ironically those are the ones people remember.

3)  Honesty above all else – I have zero tolerance for someone who makes up an issue, or alters the facts in some way shape or form.   Your post cannot have incorrect facts or falsified information. You have to believe in what you write.   As the author of a post, you need to believe heart and soul in what you publish.

4)  Confidentiality – I personally would never publish a personal chat log with someone, especially if the information was given to me with the expectation it would be kept private and confidential.   It might help you with research for a post, or point you in the right direction, but I do not think it should be shared publicly.    I have no issue with taking public information that is represented on the web (including plurk) and using that in a post.   There is a big difference between something sent only to me, verses something that is out there for the masses.

5) Naming names – If the basis of a post revolves specifically around certain individuals or an event, then I have no issue with naming the people or the event.   I think it gives context to the post.   From experience though, I am learning that by naming names you actually can lose the readers comprehension of the issue at hand because of the inevitable backlash of the person’s friends.   People get caught up in all the hooplah of the fact you named a name, and totally forget WHY you named the person in the first place.  Ironically if you take Cat’s approach and speak to the question in a general sense then you end up with people clamoring for the name in both public and private.

6) Unedited feedback – I do not support censorship in any way shape or form, including the rights of people to respond to your post.   If people have a differing view, then by all means share it!   In fact, one of my personal goals for this blog is to engage the readership to participate via commenting.   If you agree or disagree with the author, then share your response, and we will NOT edit you.  In fact, if you look at the sidebar one of the first things we put up there was the open invitation to someone to write a formal rebuttal or post on a topic that they feel strongly about, and we will publish it for you (assuming it is written in an eloquent engaging manner.)

In conclusion, blogging is for fun just like so many of the other pursuits we do in Second Life.   We are living a more public life, than other people who prefer to just keep to themselves.   We share a large part of our experiences with each of you who come back to read our blogs on a consistant basis.   We all blog for different reasons, but I have shared many of the guidelines that shape the posts that I write.   At the end of the day, I hope that I connect with you the reader in a way that makes you think and that you can see my perspective that shapes the words on the page.


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