Nov 21, 2013

Stockholm Syndrome

I truly think you’ve all lost your mind in #SecondLife





Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.The FBI's Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.


Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be a threat.




Here’s the situation in a nutshell...


With the introduction of mesh into Second Life, Linden Lab forgot one very important detail that made clothing attachments not work correctly given the dynamic nature of avatar shapes. In response to this, the short term work-around was to create various alpha layers to hide parts of the body, and the community (seeing that Linden Lab had no intention of fixing this very blatant problem) decided to take matters into their own hands and started a crowd funding initiative in order to hire Qarl Fizz (former Linden) to code a Mesh Deformer that would natively and automatically resize mesh attached to the avatar.


The crowd funding was successful and Qarl was hired to do exactly this – create a Mesh Deformer code to integrate into Second Life in order to tie up that nasty loose end of Mesh clothing not fitting people without severe amounts of lengths with alpha layers or having to change your avatar shape


This project was ongoing for quite some time, and some places in OpenSim adopted the code (I believe InWorldz being one of them) while Linden Lab stalled, hemmed and hawed for as long as they could while pretending to be working on making this part of the viewer with the Mesh Deformer project. They dragged their feet so long that it turns out clothing designers were getting tired of waiting and created a quick and dirty little rigging hack called “Liquid Mesh” that sort of did what Mesh deformer was supposed to do in the meantime while they continued to wait for Linden Lab to get off their hands and implement Mesh Deformer.


Being that Mesh Deformer was (and is) pretty much complete and ready to go, it’s a wonder that it hasn’t been implemented already (or even long ago) since it’s been effectively collecting dust and consistently being buried as far as Linden Lab could dig the hole for quite awhile. In so much as logistics go, Linden Lab has effectively been putting petty politics and their own bruised ego over the common good of the community.


Come to find out, Linden Lab has now officially thrown their towel into the corner of Liquid Mesh and closed the Mesh Deformer project.


That’s not my biggest beef at the moment... but here is what is:


The community raised the capital needed to pay Qarl for his work in solving a problem Linden Lab refused to solve themselves. This was a shining moment (as far as I’m concerned) with the ability of the community to pull through and collectively make Second Life a better place as a whole. Many people put their hard earned time (and money) into the Mesh Deformer to make it a far superior solution to Liquid mesh, and Linden Lab has effectively flushed that down the toilet in favor of a method that will now force all clothing makers to re-rig all of their previous mesh clothing to work with this new system and make it harder going forward to accommodate this new rigging technique in order to utilize the simple resizing in less capacity than Mesh Deformer would have solved automatically and backwards compatible with pretty much all pre-existing mesh clothing without alterations (or very minimal at best).


As if that’s not bad enough... I’m watching the community act like this is a good thing and praising Linden Lab for this “innovation”, all the while forgetting that they’re now being served dog food instead of the 7 course meal they actually paid for. The community raised the money for a Ferrari and got a tri-cycle for the same price.


Linden Lab doesn’t deserve praise for this, they deserve scorn for this prolonged act of ego driven indignation and insult toward the community on the whole.







The analogy is this:


Imagine a Second Life pre-mesh. Sculpties were the quick and dirty “hack” to use textures in a way that simulated mesh but it wasn’t anything like it. It was a response to a community that really thought that Mesh should be a part of Second Life while Linden Lab didn’t give it a second thought. Now, under this scenario, imagine if the community said “We’ll raise the money and have it coded for Linden Lab and all of OpenSim, all you have to do is implement it.”


Sounds like a sweet deal right?


So imagine this happens and the community manage to get a working method to import and use mesh in Second Life (which technically actually happened if you realize that realXtend had mesh well before Second Life), and Linden Lab drags their feet on it coming up with every conceivable excuse why they can’t do it. This goes on for quite awhile and creators in the community (tired of waiting) create Sculpties as a quick and dirty workaround to kind of get the same effect as mesh while they are waiting for Linden Lab to get up off their asses and actually do something.


Linden Lab, seeing the “out” in a situation they never intended to support from day one (because it makes them look incompetent for their community solving a gigantic flaw in their own system and hiring an ex-Linden employee they don’t like to fix it) decide to play politics, support Sculpties and put the final nail in the coffin of mesh import. This being absolutely regardless of the fact that sculpties are a poor man’s mesh and nowhere near as good.


Now you understand the situation. You just got screwed over with sculpties when you could have had mesh. This is in no way good for the community, since it was the community that paid for and supported Mesh Deformer.


Linden Lab just told the community to go fuck itself, and flushed your $5,000 and year worth of work down the toilet like the piece of shit it thinks Mesh Deformer is for having the audacity of going over Linden Lab’s head and solving a problem they were too full of themselves to acknowledge or fix.


And here is where it gets ridiculous -


If I didn’t know any better, the community is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Instead of being absolutely pissed off and livid about this highest of insult from Linden Lab, the community is praising this as good for the community and designers!


Let’s weigh it out, shall we?


Quick and dirty rigging hack that now requires designers to go back and re-rig their entire mesh clothing line to use it, needlessly complicating their future workflow and still not being as capable or robust as Mesh Deformer, which the community raised the money and paid for...


or Mesh Deformer – a native system to automatically refit clothing without re-rigging the pieces, and was essentially backwards compatible, requiring only a “default” set of sizes to work with and the system would dynamically change the clothing across the board.


See, a rational person would be absolutely losing their shit right about now. But no, instead I see countless posts praising Liquid Mesh and Linden Lab for “solving” the problem by adding a few extra “bones” to rig to.


I’m sorry... I have a hard time believing the community is this badly afflicted with a case of stupid. I imagined you were all better than this. I believed that you weren’t accustomed to taking pineapples up the ass and asking for more with a smile. Complimenting Linden Lab for taking the time to pick only the sharpest ones from the supermarket.


First the ToS situation and Linden Lab’s outright disregard and indignation to the community for it. Then the whole Skills Hax situation... and now this. In combination with going totalitarian with the JIRA, forcing TPV rules that favor and give ultimate control to Linden Lab for everything, shutting out OpenSim, and effectively making TPVs have to kiss their ass in red-tape and Caesar-like approval in a Kangaroo court of personal opinion and Linden Approval to get anything that looks like an advancement...


The JIRA and TPV overhaul for rules and regulations, the decision to force TPVs to make separate versions for Second Life and OpenSim – they are all very calculated decisions and weren’t (as Linden Lab likes to assert) a situation where they had their hands tied because of other licensing issues that put them in the victim seat. They could have just as easily chosen something that would still have worked the same or better and been conducive to OpenSim and TPVs.


With Emerald viewer and finally Mesh Deformer, these are two very large examples of the community going over Linden Lab’s head to fix a problem or advance Second Life. In the pre-debacle days, Emerald was the defacto TPV to use, much like Phoenix and Firestorm are that today (for obvious reasons).


With TPVs being more popular than Linden Lab’s own viewer, they decided to play dirty and essentially force the TPVs to play with Linden Lab or get out. They changed all the rules for being a TPV, all the submission protocols, invented “Shared Experience”, locked down the JIRA because all the public access and the fact they were looking like incompetent morons refusing to fix long standing issues (over the course of years) made them look bad in public.


You know what Linden Lab did shortly after they locked down the JIRA? They went through and closed bug reports in the JIRA en-mass. Not even bothering to take a look at it, or saying “Will Not Fix” or “Closed”. Just that... and nobody could really be outraged about it because you couldn’t really raise awareness about it when they essentially locked you out.


But this just takes the cake...


I sit here in utter disbelief at the total disdain, disregard, and indignation Linden Lab has for the community, and sit here absolutely baffled that the community is now trained to get bitch slapped around and praise Linden Lab for it.


Please, Sir... may I have another?


Look, I know a lot of you are into the whole BDSM stuff and that’s fine... to each their own. But don’t you think this is taking it too damned far? Did we collectively forget our “safe word” or something when playing with Linden Lab?


Why are you acting like you have Stockholm Syndrome?







  1. Is it possible that the upload fees for mesh items are so lucrative that LL would want to deliberately adopt an inferior solution in favor of one that would force people to upload everything a second time allowing them to get the fees again?

    That's probably silly and a bit on the conspiracy theory side of things but I can't say I know enough about this liquid mesh to be able to make an informed opinion about whether or not it is or is not inferior to the deformer. But I do know the deformer is already here and apparently working so I don't see why adopting that would be a problem rather than messing up every mesh clothing item already on the grid.

    I did check the SLU forum after reading this and the few people making arguments that the liquid mesh is superior to the deformer are people who seem incapable of being critical of LL so I'm currently inclined to be distrustful of this move. LL hasn't done anything of late to deserve the benefit of the doubt on this.

    1. Reina - you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. Just about every person who has told me "Liquid Mesh" is better has been of that group who have Stockholm Syndrome with Linden Lab - no matter what happens, they praise them and act as the poster child. There's no reason Mesh Deformer couldn't have included support for the extra rigging points/bones and had a default "Automatic" mode to cover all the clothes not rigged specially (which is a few years worth of content now).

      If the Mesh Deformer did not detect the rigging for the extra bones in the garments, it could then default to an "Automatic" mode instead of the Liquid Mesh mode. There was no reason to waste a year of time and other people's money to make a statement of politics.

      In that statement of politics, the word "backwards compatible" went right out the door in favor of "quick and dirty".

  2. I would suspect this goes back to all of the changes made to protocol after Emerald viewer. Part of that was the Lab's official viewer wasn't the defacto and that 3rd party viewers were ultimately more popular than their own. During that time, TPVs were implementing things that weren't part of the "shared experience" but still innovative nonetheless.

    So the premise being that the community was essentially going over Linden Lab's head for a lot of things and then not necessarily including Linden Lab in the advancement or that Linden Lab didn't want to include those things on their own. So the changes made to "shared experience" and the TPV rules were rewritten to grossly favor Linden Lab and force TPVs who made viewers for Second Life to get permission from and work with Linden Lab - a major shift in power out of the hands of the community and into the control of Linden Lab for all things dealing with Second Life. if you wanted to make a TPV, you had to play ball with Linden Lab or else. We saw this with the Emerald viewer situation where Linden Lab was making a lot of demands on Phoenix team for who can and cannot stick around to contribute code to their team and then later the total overhaul in protocol for them to adhere to in order to remain TPVs in Second Life.

    Mesh deformer, was one of those "loose ends" in how the community did things before emerald, where the community (whether it was 114 people or not) got together and independently raised the money to have Qarl code a solution to the issue of mesh clothing not fitting and then submit it to the repository for implementation into TPVs and of course Linden Lab could also use it. But that was the problem... in that it wasn't "sanctioned" by Linden Lab and they were now in a situation where they didn't like not being in control - especially when an ex-Linden (one whom they aren't on good terms with) was hired to do the job that they didn't want to do. But they couldn't just come right out and say that, so essentially what they did was drag their feet for a year and not really give that team (or Qarl) any indication as to what such a solution needed to adhere to, and if it didn't adhere to their future plans, Linden Lab could have easily ponied up the money to pay Qarl as an independent contractor to code it in a way that would have been favorable to the total situation.

    1. Therein again is the issue - Linden Lab (having more money than God) could have easily done that a year ago and worked tightly with that team as a collaborative effort. So Liquid Mesh comes along, in much the same manner as Sculptie came along in the void of Linden Lab not having Mesh - as a make-shift interim solution to sort-of get the same results in the meantime while clothing designers waited for something better. Just like Sculptie, it was a quick and dirty hack of existing things used in a manner not originally meant to be used in that way, and even in the Notecard for Redgrave, they made this clear that it may or may not be broken going forward because they were using the rigging in a way that wasn't normal.

      This was exactly the "out" that Linden Lab was waiting for, and so they jumped on it, throwing their support behind it and dropping the fractional shred of fake support they were giving the independent Mesh Deformer project. By doing it that way, they didn't have to take the stigma of arbitrarily snubbing the Mesh deformer team and Qarl, but now could say "But Liquid Mesh is a better option" so their decision seemed totally legit.

      But it wasn't a legit decision, because at no point in the entire year or more than Mesh Deformer was ongoing did Linden Lab say that adding a few more bones and rigging points would have solved it satisfactorily, and even if they did, nobody at all got together (most importantly LL) to figure that out with the existing project and team who was already trying to solve the clothing issue.

      And this all ties back into the prior post (Emerald City Blues) in that Emerald was the most popular viewer for Second Life and it posed a very real threat to Linden Lab and their official viewer, much in the same way Phoenix/Firestorm posed a threat (and still does). That's why "Shared Experience" came about - because the TPVs had this nifty little feature where you could tell what viewer each person was using because of the tag over their head. It was blatantly clear from that tag that the official viewer was the equivalent to Internet Explorer and it made Linden Lab look bad - so they enforced that new "Shared Experience" and are doing their best to homogenize all the TPVs to fall into step with Linden Lab at the helm.

    2. Where it gets interesting is that after dictating the dismantling of Emerald viewer and then dictating who is allowed on the team for Phoenix afterward, people like Skills Hax were on that Blacklist as a condition for Linden Lab giving them their blessing and allowing it (Phoenix). What's to gain there? Their biggest rival in viewers was all but dismantled, major players in that team blacklisted/banned, and Linden Lab was now dictating to Phoenix team what they can and cannot do - something Linden Lab wasn't able to do prior to Emerald. So now, Linden Lab has the TPVs tightly controlled to make certain that a third party viewer doesn't overstep what Linden Lab is doing or introduce functionality that Linden Lab doesn't have themselves - and they are making sure that TPVs are playing at a big disadvantage to the official viewer.

      After all, Linden Lab doesn't have to maintain two viewers (Second Life and OpenSim), and their coders are being paid for the effort on the official viewer. Whereas TPVs are coding for free, and double the effort to keep up with Second Life and OpenSim separately. And in the instances where the community raises the money to pay a coder to introduce new features or fix issues, the circumstances are now in favor of Linden Lab to send the message "You're wasting your time and money, and we're going to continue wasting your time and money if you try."

      So there's the take-away, and who benefits. It's a game of politics and control now, and Linden Lab is at the top of that hierarchy by force and deliberate manipulation. After all, who would have thought after dictating that certain members of the Emerald Team couldn't be involved with Phoenix (to make damned sure Emerald was dead and buried and Phoenix was immediately on a tight leash) that Linden Lab would have had Skills Hax cleared to contribute code to the official viewer without making a public statement about it, and while also acting like this wasn't a big deal when it was brought up?

      They jumped on the bandwagon to dismantle, block and punish the team responsible for Emerald - dictating a laundry list of conditions for Phoenix Viewer to exist, and after they decimated the biggest TPV competition while making sure the new version (Phoenix) was essentially under tight reign from Linden Lab, they went ahead and had one of the same people they forbid from contributing to Phoenix team start quietly contributing to their official viewer.

      So when we ask "Cui bono?" (Who benefits?) the answer is ultimately Linden Lab on all accounts, at the express and deliberate expense of the community on the whole.

      There really is only one word that can describe Linden Lab at this point - and it's the combination of Dastardly and Bastards. Bastardly.

    3. I think the TPV issue is similar to content created for SL. Linden Lab sees TPV's as just more content created at no expense to them. Linden Lab has been, for a long time, all about getting other people to do their work for free, then taking all the credit for it.