Last month, we announced our plan to begin the process of introducing Adult Oriented content controls to Second Life. Key elements in the transition will include geographically separating Adult content, filtered search results and account verification.
A sneak peek at some of the infrastructure on the new Adult Only continent…
Following our initial announcement, we’ve been discussing this initiative in the forums, and in several targeted in-world ‘brown bag’ meetings that we held to discuss specific groups affected by this initiative and the definitions behind the new maturity rating system. These conversations have been very productive, and Residents have shared some valuable insight with us, which has helped to further our plans and refine the definitions we’re working on to ensure that this initiative is implemented in the least disruptive way possible and is aligned with the standards of the community.
You can read a recap of some of our key takeaways from the forums and find recordings of the in-world brown bag meetings here:
Brown Bag Meeting to discuss AO with Solution Providers
Brown Bag Meeting to discuss AO with Educators
Brown Bag Meeting to discuss AO with Merchants
Brown Bag Meeting to discuss AO with Landowners
Brown Bag Meeting to discuss AO Definitions
We have heard your concerns, specifically in the areas of: 1) Enforcement 2) Definitions 3) Scope 4) Business Impact 5) Impact on Private Estates 6) Personal Information / 3rd Party partners We’ve addressed some of these issues in an updated FAQ, which can be found here
So, what’s next?
Today, we’ve published a working draft of the definitions for PG, Mature and Adult here. We want to continue the discussion about our definitions and then finalize them by the end of April. The forums will stay up through the end of this process so we can continue to hear your feedback. Next week, we plan to release the Release Candidate (RC) for Viewer 1.23, which will be the first to include the new functionality related to this initiative. If you want to get an early look at setting maturity ratings and filtering search results, you’ll be able to do both with the new RC. Over the next few months, we’ll be continuing to work on the main viewer, which we anticipate will be ready by the end of June. When Viewer 1.23 is final and ready to become the main Viewer (again, estimated to be by the end of June), the full implementation process will begin – all regions will need to be maturity-rated, search will be filtered for everyone, Adult content on the mainland will need to move to the new continent, and access to Adult regions and search results will be limited to Residents with verified accounts. This process will of course take some time and the feedback we’ve received from discussions so far will help guide the details of the implementation process; we currently expect it to last through August. We’ll of course update everyone with the details of the timeline as they are pinned down.
The level of engagement we’ve seen has been terrific – the time and effort you have put into explaining your sensitivities and concerns is much appreciated! We look forward to continued dialog as we work on this challenge together.
Adult-oriented content controls FAQ
Why is Linden Lab choosing to do this now?
While Second Life® (as opposed to Teen Second Life®) is fundamentally directed to an “over-18” audience, some content is clearly more conventionally “adult” than other content.
As our community continues to grow and the range of uses for Second Life continues to expand, we’re committed to preserving the openness that is a cornerstone of the experience. At the same time, we need to ensure that all Residents can engage in our virtual world in a manner suitable to their needs.
To this end, we will begin to implement certain access controls designed to better serve certain constituencies — specifically, educators and professionals, as well as the creators and users of adult content. Our goal is to make Second Life more enjoyable for all Residents by giving them greater control over their inworld experiences.
Our community is growing, and the range of uses for Second Life is continually expanding. Numerous Residents, from adult content vendors to educators, have requested additional controls to provide a more predictable Second Life experience.
What are the short- and long-term plans?
The short-term plan for this project is to separate (geographically, and in search) content designated Adult from other kinds of content on the mainland, as well as filter adult search results and require that Regions be designated according to their content and activities; this way, we can provide an additional layer of assurance for our Residents that adult content will be for adults only.
The first step is discussing the components, processes, and effects of this initiative further with the Residents of Second Life. After about a month of discussion, we’ll be ready to lay out the specifics of the plan and begin moving ahead with this initiative.
Ultimately, the long-term plan is to create the infrastructure necessary to support and enable the widest range of use cases for Second Life.
Is this something that Second Life users have asked for?
Yes. Numerous Residents, ranging from adult-content vendors to educators, have requested that we provide additional tools to enable them to tailor their inworld experiences and make them more predictable.
How does this move prevent minors from entering Second Life or accessing content?
As part of this initiative, we will require Residents who access adult content (or view Adult search results) to go through an account verification process — either being verified through our age verification provider, or have a verified payment method. While no such system is truly infallible, we believe these steps will make our platform safer, and will give providers of adult content an additional layer of assurance that only verified adults will be able to access their content.
Will this initiative affect Teen Second Life?
There are no immediate plans to change Teen Second Life.
Will this initiative prohibit certain kinds of content in Second Life?
No. It will not affect the kinds of content that are permitted in Second Life, just how they can be accessed, and by whom.
Has Linden Lab consulted third parties as part of this initiative?
We’ve conducted extensive research on industry standards and are working with experts who have extensive experience creating content-access policies for large Internet services.
Doesn’t this move go against the free spirit of Second Life and the internet?
No. From its inception, Second Life has been an open place, where Residents are free to explore a wide diversity of creative pursuits. This openness has fostered a tremendous amount of amazing content inworld and helped make Second Life what it is today. We are committed to preserving that openness while at the same time, ensuring that Residents can engage in Second Life in the manner most suited to their needs and interests.
By enabling a Resident to exercise greater control over their experience, we believe Second Life will remain as open an environment as it ever was, albeit with the enhanced ability to tailor the experience in such a way as to allow Residents to exercise discretion with certain content when it is appropriate to do so.
Is Linden Lab trying to deemphasize the community so it can focus more on the enterprise market?
Not at all. There are many communities in Second Life — from educators, artists, entrepreneurs, gamers, enterprise users, and many more, including those interested in adult content — and there’s room for all of them in Second Life, just as there is on the Internet at large and in the real world.
This initiative is about enhancing Second Life for all Residents by giving them greater control over their experiences. Many may choose to keep their experience much as it is today, while others may prefer to exercise the new controls to further tailor their Second Life experience.
If I have already been age verified, or have a payment method on file, will this carry over for the new initiative?
Will this bring any benefits for vendors in Second Life?
Vendors in Second Life already enjoy the benefits of a full-service virtual environment with a large and growing audience of consumers and a strong inworld economy. With these policy changes and search controls, they’ll be able to more easily target the customers they intend to reach, and will enjoy the density of a focused market (both in search, and geographically). For adult content vendors, this initiative will also provide an additional layer of assurance that only verified adults can access their material.
How will this program help attract new users?
It will make Second Life more attractive to new users by making it more customizable and easier to search for relevant content, whether adult or non-adult.
How will these changes affect XstreetSL?
XstreetSL already separates Adult content, so we expect no changes at this time.
Will landmarks update automatically? Is that something Residents need to do manually?
Landmarks can not be updated automatically. However, for Residents who have moved from the Mainland to the Adult continent during the two-week priority move, we will leave their old parcel untenanted for at least 30 days, and they may leave a landmark giver to their new location.
Can Residents move between the mainland and the AO continent if they have “Adult” items in their inventories?
How will having a completely new continent impact overall performance? Should Residents expect a higher crash rate while Linden Lab works to launch and support the continent?
The new continent has already been created, and its existence should not impact performance.
If someone clicks on a SLURL that leads to “Adult” content but they don’t have the right settings, where will they go? Will people be able to teleport directly to the AO continent via a SLURL?
It behaves like any other attempt to teleport to regions you can’t access: you remain in the same place and are shown a message about how to access Adult regions.
If a region is flagged “Adult,” but the Resident believes it to be M or PG, how do they / can they protest their rating? What’s the process for doing so?
Private Regions’ owners will be responsible for setting the maturity of the Regions they own. Mainland Regions will only be set to Adult by Linden Lab if they are part of the Adult Continent. Renters on a Region that has been set to Adult will need to either contact their landlord about why the Region has been set that way, or will need to move to a Region matching the maturity of their content.
If a Resident feels their classified, event, or other content has been flagged as Adult incorrectly, there will be ways to request a review. Content is flagged as Adult in two ways:
- Use of adult keywords in names and descriptions
- Location on an Adult region
As always, Abuse Reports can be used to report content that is not appropriate for the maturity rating. In addition, we have a PJIRA issue where people may comment if they believe their content has been incorrectly rated due to adult keywords: SVC-4149
Search results vary according to the maturity checkboxes and search tab chosen.
Certain keywords are only allowed to be used for: Adultflagged search entries. If you attempt to search using these words and the adult content checkbox is not active, you will get a popup message telling you “some terms in your search query were excluded due to content restrictions…”
The following keywords are known to be filtered:
(Note: Common words from the Dictionary of sexual terms through the letter B have been tested.
- Ageplay (1)
- Loli (1)
- Pedophile (1)
- Pedophilia (1)
Non filtered keywords
The following keywords are not currently filtered
- Tgirl / T-girl
Variations on the exact words are treated thus:
- Capitalization does not matter, it is still filtered
- Spelling does matter.
- Use of one or zero instead of lowercase L or letter o makes a word unfiltered
- Use of international characters such as tilde or umlaut makes a word unfiltered
- Plurals mostly are not filtered
- Split or joined filtered words are not filtered
- Filtered words which are substrings within longer words are not filtered
- Words in other languages than english are not filtered
- Hyphenated words are generally not filtered
1 This term is blocked from any search, even adult level