Lab announces change to e-mail preferences for Group notices

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021: Linden Lab have announced a forthcoming change to e-mail notification preferences in respect of the receipt of Group notices received via e-mail when users are not logging in to Second Life.

To quote the blog post in part:

We will soon be adding an option to email notification preferences. Currently, you can choose to receive IMs in your email when you are not logged in to Second Life. There will now be an additional setting that controls whether you receive Group notices in e-mail.
We are rolling this change out in stages. If you change your settings, it may be up to two weeks before it takes effect.
The default for the new setting affecting Group notices will be OFF. If you wish to receive Group notices in email, you will need to visit the web page and opt in.
This change is motivated by feedback from our community as well as residents frequently marking Group Notice emails as spam.  We want emails to our residents to be as relevant and useful as possible.

via Linden Lab

The ability to opt-in to receiving Group notices can be found on your account dashboard at secondlife.com (there is a direct link provided in the official blog post), under Account → Change Email Settings.

Note that this is an option subject to multi-factor verification when accessing it, and the option includes a check box and dedicated Save button that must be clicked in order to update any changes, as per the image below.

As from December 15th, 2021, anyone wishing to receive Group notices as e-mails when they are not logged-in to SL will have to explicitly update their account e-mail options in order to do so

Finally, and as per the comment in red on the Change Email Setting page, and the note within the official blog post, this option must be checked by anyone who wishes to continue to receive Group notices via e-mail when not logged in to Second Life, from December 15th onwards. Also note:

  • From December 15th the IM’s to e-mail preferences setting within the viewer will no longer be valid; only the web page options will work to change these preferences. Until the option is removed from the viewer, attempts to use the Preferences option to change the setting will return an IM directing users to the web page).
  • This change does not see any change in the current cap on IMs-to-e-mail caps. However, if Group notices are set to off (the default), the cap should only apply to off-line IMs, rather than counting both IMs and group notices.

Scylla’s study of the Virtual Toxic in Second Life

Kondor Art Square: Scylla Rhiadra – Virtual Toxic
Elven Years ago, I opened a new exhibit that tackled the subject of representations of gender violence in Second Life entitled Is This Turning You On? About a month and a half ago, Hermes Kondor asked me if I’d be willing to return to the subject of toxicity and hypocrisy within Second Life.  This exhibit is the result.

– Scylla Rhiadra, introducing Virtual Toxic

Thus reads the introduction to Virtual Toxic, what will be for some, an uncomfortable exhibition at the Kondor Art Square.

Without a doubt, whilst Second Life offers a lot that is positive in life – physical or virtual; however, it also attracts the more negative aspects of human behaviour. And while other platforms also suffer from their own forms of toxicity, negativity and hypocrisy, the fact that Second Life does offer the means for positive immersion leads Scylla to frame this exhibition around a central question:

Why do we persist in replicating the flaws and toxicity of our sublunary physical existence in the virtual world as well? We can literally fly here. Why then do we fetter ourselves to the dark places on the ground?
Kondor Art Square: Scylla Rhiadra – Virtual Toxic

Thus we are presented with a baker’s dozen of images that deal with what can be seen as the more toxic – or at least darker – attitudes that can be expressed through words and activities in-world.

Virtual Toxic starts in the north-east corner of the square with Imagine Dark, a piece that offers a narrative on the fact that in entering Second Life, we are presented with multiple opportunities for discovery and expression, light and dark – and ask the question as to which we might chose. From here, the remaining images progress clockwise around the edge of the square with the last sitting in the centre. Each has a particular focus on behaviours and activities that all have an uncomfortable edge to them – sugar daddy / baby girl role-play, direct violence, rape “play”, the objectification of the female, and more. Each comes with its own text element offering  either direct or narrative context.

Each image and its associated text is provocative in the statement offered for us to consider; statements that – due to the fact they are based on physical world situations, attitudes, outlooks, activities – obviously extend beyond the virtual and challenge us to think more deeply and broadly about how we interact with one another and why we might chose to engage in actions that are in the physical world abhorrent to us and / or why we opt to display toxic / hurtful attitudes towards others.

Kondor Art Square: Scylla Rhiadra – Virtual Toxic

The former of these aspects is duly noted in one of the three information panels on the exhibit in the centre of the square (Some Important Disclaimers), which should be read when visiting the exhibit. The latter is perhaps most clearly defined in the south-east corner of the square, and the pieces My Name Is… and Gaslit.

Within the former we see reflected the fact that there are some who have an unwillingness to view others as equals / individuals with thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc; the avatar stands with face blotted out by the word Whatever. It’s a term that can have both positive and negative implications – and here is the usage is reflective of the negative / passive-aggressive form (as in, “I don’t care about you or what you have to say or feel”). Gaslit, meanwhile, references our use of words to manipulate others into self-doubt or (possibly) taking an action they’d normally avoid.

Kondor Art Square: Scylla Rhiadra – Virtual Toxic

Offered for public consumption to overlap with the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which draws to a close on December 10th, 2021, a campaign specifically focuses on violence and abusive acts against women (1 in 3 of whom, globally, will be subjected to violent abuse at least once in her life, with that abuse extending well into digital environments, as seen through the likes of Gamergate), Virtual Toxic is an arresting exhibition. However, it is not polemic; in asking its questions – most clearly exemplified by the 13th image, Why? at the centre of the art square – it invites us to view, read and consider what is presented without undue sway on the part of the artist.

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Previewing the Linden Homes “Newbrooke” theme

Newbrooke Linden Home styles

Update: December 7th: The preview region has been closed pending an “update”, apparently due to the negative responses the Lab have received.  A forum note from Patch reads:

We have heard your feedback and we have decided to shut down the reveal region for an update.  It seems that this may not have been representative of our best foot forward approach we have taken with the homes over the past.  So I am here to make sure that everyone knows that we have not changed course, lessened our quality, mindfulness or retracted any of the heart and soul we put in to making these homes, themes and community building areas.  
Proof of the fact that I feel less present is actually due to how busy we are with continuing to do more, which is taking more and more of my time.  I am still present, we all do still participate in everything we can in world within Bellisseria, and we are always trying to find new ways to engage on everything we can, including some great Resident run efforts and projects that I know many are involved in.  
That said, the reveal region will be back Really Soon™ after we’ve put some touches on it to make sure our imagination is still reflected in our work. 
Thank you everyone from the team and I for being involved!

– Patch Linden, December 7th, 2021

On Monday, December 6th, 2021, Linden Lab unveiled the newest (at the time of writing) therme for the Premium Membership Linden Homes. I’m not sure what the official name for the theme is, but I’m coming to call them “Newbrooke” for now, as that’s the primary title given to them in their descriptions.

Comprising eight individual styles of Home, this theme has what might have once have been (still is?) called a “contemporary” look in the USA (and possibly elsewhere), and is interesting on a couple of counts:

  • It offers a mix of houses on 512 sq m parcels (5) and 1024 sq m parcels (3), marking it as the first theme to mix parcel sizes since the release of the Trailers and Campers in 2019.
  • The “contemporary” look to the houses, coupled with the general design of the landscaping around them is suggestive of an urban setting that carries something of a throwback to the Meadowbank style of original Linden Homes.

Given that the Newbrooke design is more developed in terms of landscaping, and the texturing suggestive of concrete and brick, rather than the wood of the old Meadowbank, the latter point is purely a surface resemblance, but it is one that tends to be enhanced by the trees used within the preview region, which brought to mind the Linden trees still available via the Library – although these are clearly nothing of the kind.

The Denver (lower house) and Bradbury (upper house) 512 sq m styles

512 sq m Parcels

  • Bradbury: a single-storey house with a large central main room with multiple doors to the rear aspect accessing the patio and an open plan extension to one side that could be split into a separate room. Two further rooms open off of the other side of the front door for additional space.
  • Denver: a single-storey rectangular design with a central front entrance directly accessing a large main room with doors to the side aspect covered terrace, and a front hallway accessing two further room.
  • Ender: a two-storey property featuring a large open-plan ground floor with a single bedroom upstairs, together with a large landing that provides access to a balcony at the front of the house.
The Faraday (512 sq m)
  • Faraday: a single-storey house with central front entrance opening onto the main central room with doors to the rear patio.  This main room is flanked by two rooms to one side and an open-plan space to the other, which also provides access to a third room.
  • Gatewood: a two-storey house with front entrance and vestibule opening onto the main room, with a smaller room opening off of it to one side. A staircase leads up to a single bedroom with doors opening onto a large rooftop balcony with views to three sides.

1024 sq Parcels

  • Aldridge: a boxy, two-storey house with a patio running the full length of one side and two-thirds of a second side,  each side providing access to the main ground floor room together with the front door. The latter accesses the room via an open-plan vestibule that incorporates the stairs and a door to a single ground-floor side room. The L-shaped landing at the top of the stairs provides access to three further rooms.
  • Coniston: a single-storey unit with front entrance accessing a large central room with four rooms / spaces opening off of it. There is a small room with a view to the front aspect, two rooms with views to one side, one of which has doors to the rear patio – as does the main room. Facing these two room from across the main room is an open-plan extension that could be divided into a separate room, if required.
The 1024 sq m Heaton
  • Heaton: a large two-storey house with the front door opening onto the main room with two sets of doors to the rear patio. Dogleg stairs provide access to an upper hall with two rooms opening off of it with views to the rear. A ground floor hall with windows to the front aspect provides access to an open-plan space with a further room opening off of it to the front.

Overall, these are light and airy builds in terms of their interiors, with plenty of windows. The floor plans tend to lean towards a more open-plan design with several of the styles (again typical of the Meadowbrook), which might a reflection on the popularity of the open-plan variants of some of the previous Linden Home themes that have been released.

Whether the invocation of the Meadowbrook design (also noted in the related forum thread on the preview) is intentional or not, I’ve no idea. While it doesn’t – at first look at least – appeal to me, I have no problem with the Lab looking back at their own history for ideas as well as looking elsewhere. Who knows, maybe it will encourage some of those retaining an old-style Linden Home to finally ditch it and make the move to Bellisseria, once these houses are officially launched and available.

The Gatewood (512 sq m)

I’ve no idea when these houses will be made available – presumably some time in early-ish 2022, if past releases are a reasonable yardstick – but in the meantime, the preview region will be open through until the end of the Xmas Expo on December 14th, 2021.

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