Friday, October 12, 2012

On Being a Good Neighbor

Yesterday's post was on Home Security.  There are certainly times when you'd like a little privacy in Second Life, and so how to establish that (at least to some extent) is important.

But the avatar who walls herself away from all others, all the time, is not being a good neighbor.  A fortress mentality harms not only the people who live next door to you, but it harms you as well.  Second Life is all about community.  If you want total privacy, set up an OpenSim region on your own computer and go live in your own little world!

Here are some things that other residents do that strike me as Bad Neighbor stuff!

  • Ban Lines.  There I am, flying blissfully along and taking in the scenery.  Suddenly, BAM!  I run up against yellow stripes of police tape in the air.  Ick, ban lines.  Now I have to find a way over or around this annoying obstacle.  It's even worse if the ban line creator lives next door to me.  Depending how my house employs alpha textures, the ban lines can appear to be INSIDE my home (even when they are not, really.)  Vehicles can become mired in ban lines.  But the silliest situation of all is when you teleport to an empty parcel that is for sale, and find ban lines around it. 
  • Security Systems.  A properly set up security system is one thing.  But one that spreads out to cover supposedly public land like a canal or a river are totally annoying.  So are the ones that are set up to boot you ten seconds after issuing a warning.  If you're traveling in a slow vehicle like a sailboat, that's far too little time to notice the warning, figure out which way is "away", and get to a safe distance.
  • Privacy Borders.  OK, I get it.  You don't want to have to look at the neighbor's Really Ugly Castle, or their Midnight Black Cube of a club.  But if you MUST put up these tall "walls" around your parcel, just texture them on YOUR side.  Make the outside of them transparent, and be sure to make them Phantom as well.  You are not really hiding yourself behind a screen like this, you're just creating an eyesore.  A much better choice, if you have the prims for it, is to put landscaping around your parcel.
  • Ugly Builds.  Yes, I know.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But surely, we can all agree that some builds are just...ugly?  Amateurish, cobbled together.  Garish, clashing colors.  Buildings that are completely at odds with everything else surrounding them.  Go ahead, be creative!  But please do it up above a few hundred meters, OK?
  • Building Up To the Border.  On small parcels especially, the desire is to use every precious square meter.  But a couple of meters back from the property line!
  • Low Skyboxes.  Draw distances are up these days, as video cards get more powerful.  I can see your ugly sky platform at 200 meters.  Put them up high, please, unless you can build something really visually pleasing.
  • Slash and Burn Terraforming.  Try to avoid those land transitions at parcel borders that look as if they were cut by a knife.  Talk to your neighbor and arrange a smooth transition between your parcels.  It's quite possible if there is a little compromise on both sides.
  • Encroachment.  Get your prims off my land! No, not even one centimeter over the border!
  • Abandoned vehicles.  This one I don't mind so much, because I know that most people don't abandon their vehicles on purpose.  They crash, and are unable to find where the vehicle embedded itself.  Still, please take your vehicles with you if you're able to do so.
  • Blocked water access.  It's your land, and you can do what you want with it.  But when what you do means that you block the passage of water vehicles for everyone else, you're being a Bad Neighbor.  Think about what you are building, and see if passage can't be incorporated into your design.
  • The Silent Treatment.  I don't insist you come over for tea every time both of us are on line.  Neither of us would get anything done!  But it's nice to meet and talk to your neighbors at LEAST once.  
See you around the neighborhood!


  1. Maybe it is part of the "ugly" section.. but full bright.. please turn off full brightness on your house. No sailor is going to use it as a beacon in the night