In the bad, old sooty days before methane or carbon monoxide detectors, miners would carry down caged canaries into the dark tunnels with them. If dangerous gases leaked into the mine-shaft, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners.
I’m beginning to believe that Hosoi Ichiba might just be our canary in a coalmine.
Neither Harvey or I can personally take any credit for Ami Hosoi’s courageous decision to move from total abandonment to the preservation of 50% of her Sim area. Nevertheless, I can only hope that the hours we spent in repeated talks with her and her people since the crisis began helped to influence the course of events in some small degree.
I feel for Ami, I really do. Having invested a mere fraction of the time, money and energy she has into my own little corner of Second Life, I can only marginally appreciate how devastating it would be for the digital expression of one’s heart and soul’s creation to instantly evaporate with the careless flick of a server switch.
But this, I fear, is much bigger than Hosoi.
As Yordie wrote in her post announcing Hosoi’s decision, yes, this is a very good example of what a few persuasive voices of encouragement and support, not to mention a little creative thinking, can do.
Despite the good news that there will be life that still breathes in Hosoi in at least the short-term, I can’t help but see this entire situation, and what it represents, as the shape of things to come.
This time, the canary survived, albeit half the bird it used to be. But have the miners taken heed?
On August 22nd, Gridology reported the loss of “849 private Secondlife sims in the last 8 weeks“. When I read that, I did a double-take.
Now, just think of that number for a moment. Let it really sink in… 849 of the current 22,015 private sims have been lost in just two months. That represents 3.85% of the private sim area in Second Life (not including Linden Sims).
Now, to some, that number may not seem so big. Should we be concerned? Well, I don’t want to be an alarmist, but…
Sometimes, it takes something a little more close-to-home to really get these kinds of points across. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a nifty visualisation just lying around. So, in the interests of clarification, I made my own.
Yes. That’s what 3.85%, or 5,775,000 square kilometres, of the Earth’s land mass (150,000,000 square kilometers) actually looks like. Or, pretty much the continent of Europe, if you don’t include the Russian bits. Please note, I’m not comparing like virtual land area for like physical land area here, only the proportion of private areas lost when compared to all the private areas in Second Life. This may not be a perfect visualisation, but it’s pretty close.
3.85%. Not so little anymore, is it? At this rate, every Second Life private sim will be nothing but a memory in just over 4 years. And that, frankly, just stinks.
Let’s also not forget that Linden Lab is a for-profit business first and foremost. They’re not, like the Captain of a sinking vessel, going down with the ship. No, they’ll hop overboard, pulling the plug well before you see that smokestack immersed. Once the company dips below the tipping point of profitability that makes it solvent – which will happen well before all of the private sims are lost – at that point, it’s hasta la vista baby.
Meanwhile, in other news, the non-profit OSGrid saw a similar shift, but in the other direction, with an increase of 864 new regions.
Is it just me, or is there something rotten in the state of Second Life?