Chicken little for the big time?

Colour me gobsmacked.

Is the grid so laggy that April 1st has JUST arrived at Linden Lab’s offices? I’ve just read this, and I’m utterly floored.

Don’t get me wrong….I think the Linden Prize is a great thing. For those of you perhaps not familiar with it, the Prize is an annual award LL give (to the tune of $10,000 USD which is given to the “Second Life Resident or team for an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world” [emphasis mine, for reasons that will become clear].

The listed finalists include very worthy projects such as AIDS / HIV awareness; NASA’s Colab educational facility; the Open University (potentially the world’s foremost distance-learning university, with a global student intake of over 200,000), Virtual Helping Hands, that links volunteers who help individuals with disabilities, various education-based projects…

…and Sion Chickens….

You read that correctly. Sion Chickens. Yes. Those chickens. The ones people (allegedly) love to kill – or more particularly, the ones that eat up sim resources faster than a politician can simultaneously kiss a baby and steal its lollypop.

Now, it may well be that “raising”, “feeding” and “breeding” virtual chickens could well be a fun thing to do (even if it does see your estate “owner” suddenly ignoring you entreaties for help, or your neighbours looking at you peculiarly while holding knives or handguns or large blunt object-shaped prims….). But come on!!! Are we really supposed to believe that this sim-screwing, resource-gobbling, lag-spewing pyramid scheme actually, improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world??

Well…yes, if by “improve” Linden Lab means the potential for those suffering from the impact of said chickens conspiring via real life to locate those owning them, pay them a visit and casually persuade them as to the error of their ways*- then I suppose there might be some logic to including Sion Chickens in the list.

However, the only reason I can find for the inclusion of the Chickens among the finalists is because they apparently stimulated the SL economy in 2009, encouraging an alleged 60K of “new users” to participate in the economy by buying the chickens and their associated, um, goods.

Again, I’m not against stimulating the economy (I’m a content creator, after all). It’s a good thing; it’s healthy to see more people get involved in SL: and if they buy chickens, what else might they buy / rent? Land (they’re going to need somewhere to put their chickens); a house (where they can sit and watch over their chickens); furniture (so they can have something to sit on while watching their chickens)….

But this isn’t the (alleged reason the Linden Prize was founded. Period. End of discussion. As such, for the Lindens to place it in the final 10 is nothing short of cynical, promoting as it does the view that making money (for yourself and LL) is as merited improving the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. What is worse is that if, but some godforsaken chance  M and his gang actually declare the chickens their winner (or even a joint winner), then they will have undermined any credibility the Prize currently holds among residents.

If not actually reduce it to outright farce.

*aka “beat seven bells out of them”

3 thoughts on “Chicken little for the big time?

  1. Wow, I completely missed the bit about Sion Chickens being on that list and “gobsmacked” describes my own reaction to it pretty accurately. Checking back at the blog post, it appears that they were nominated by Sion Zaius himself – he’d certainly deserve a special award for sheer chutzpah if nothing else.

    The post also promises “individual posts that highlight each of the 10 finalists. Paired with short videos”. I’m *so* looking forward to the one on sion chickens…


    1. Self-nomination is understandable in a the broader sense: if we’re brutally honest, the vast majority of SL users are so indifferent that if not for self-nomination, the chances are that the Prize would get few worthies listed; and to be fair several of the others are self-nominated.

      But “chutzpah” certainly is a way of describing Zaius’ self-promotion of what is clearly an in-world commercial activity. And by “chutzpah”, I tend to mean “bear-faced cheek” (and I suspect you may as well…). However, the blame for such a nomination making it to the short list (rather than being thrown out on its ear) lies squarely with M and his fellow judges.

      Its inclusion leaves me with two thoughts:

          A) perhaps next year I should subject my own business for the Prize (it does after all have a blog devoted to it, and it is frequently mentioned here and has generated resident-to-resident interaction / communications outside of SL
          B) leaves me wondering just what criteria will be used as a yardstick by M and his fellow LEA judges when it comes to granting free use of Linden land as a part of the whole LEA project? Will proposals be judged on artistic or commercial merit?


  2. Gobsmacked is right! I’m still too gobsmacked to even know what to say about the sheer idiocy of the idea, so I’m glad you could instead.


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