From Welfare State To Laissez-Faire Capitalism

The Linden Welfare State

What was the cause of the increasing enthusiasm about Second Life in 2004? The early days of glamour and glory, when both residents and Lindens rubbed their noses in a common environment, where everybody knew everybody else by name, were long gone. The “Spirit of Beta” was long over. Lindens were remote entities, seldom seen, except for their occasional intervention here and there on the grid – to launch ideas, to settle disputes arising from Abuse Reports, to do technical support (Liaisons hung around on the Welcome Areas). So people focused on producing content (building, scripting, and events) and establishing the groundwork of the society and economy of Second Life; there was something like the “spirit of Second Life”, where people generally helped each others, griefers were quickly dealt with (they always existed), and creativity, communication/socialisation, and commerce were just starting.

People started “poor” but not “hopeless”. You got some money to start with. Most new users were very curious about the potential of SL, and the usual path was to start on the Orientation Island, spend hours tweaking your avatar, arrive fresh at the Welcome Area, get greeted by a lively and happy crowd, absorb as many freebies you could take, and wander to the nearby Sandbox, where you finally met the “work in progress” of everything that was being built. Day-old newbies stumbled upon week-old ones, as they exchanged tips and tricks, gave bookmarks to the immortal areas like the Ivory Tower of Primitives, the Particle Laboratory or simply Yadni’s Junkyard.

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