The New World Order

Recent changes announced by Linden Lab? have shattered the whole of the community. Unexpectedly, in a maneuver claimed to reduce inflation (ie. the amount of money in circulation), LL has decreed that it will not support contest events any more. Ratings will go up to L$ 25 apiece, instead of the “token” L$ 1. And the extra weekly stipends will be cut in half.

One thing is the economic side of it. Any good economics technocrat would say: “Good! Finally LL had the guts to stop the ever-increasing inflation! It was about time!”. And the short-term results were favourable: take a look at GOM, and you see the L$ stabilising at around US$4 for each L$1000 block. There hasn’t been big fluctuations since then.

A measure which has also been almost overlooked was the end of any LL-funded projects. The announced Incubator Program – a new model where LL would support finantially with US$ high-quality content – was abandoned. All projects that had LL support (there weren’t many, so there were not many people affected) stopped suddenly. The “New Order” states: all projects should be financed by the community. Not by Linden Lab.

The immediate reaction was a serious drop in “sexy avatar contests” and trivia events, which were perhaps 90% of all events. Residents voiced their complaints with bitterness – in the forums, in the blogs, even in-world. People dropped out of SL, threatening never to return. New projects, which relied on a steady flow of free L$ for events, both to attract visitors and to enable the project leaders to cover their initial costs, were abandoned overnight. At the same time, the residents relying upon the ratings system to survive, gave up on SL – who is going to rate other residents, now that the cost (L$25) far outnumbers the benefits? (much less L$ received from ratings) The rating system grinded to a halt as well – no more “rate parties”!

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