Linden Lab's governance team has started removing vendors for Second Life skins (that is, avatar textures) that are intended to portray teens and juveniles. It is not exactly clear why the action is suddenly being taken, as Linden Lab themselves approved the skins which have underwear 'baked in' to avoid any licentiousness. All in all, the affected skins are less lewd than a K-Mart kidswear catalog.

However, since the vendors depicted the skins 'as is' (that is not completely clothed, so that you would be unable to see what you were trying to purchase), Linden Lab has unexpectedly reneged on previously granted approval and is now acting to remove them. The removals that we are aware of have been appealed, and those appeals have been rejected.

The only comment available from Linden Lab about the removals is "Real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors are never allowed within Second Life." -- which does not appear to describe any of the materials removed. The Lab declines to discuss anything related to enforcement actions or content takedowns, as a rule.

Simply put, if you are selling skins for kids or teen avatars, as little of the product being purchased as possible must be visible.

It seems unlikely that these actions are simply the result of a misinterpretation by a single staff member. As Robin Harper, Linden Lab's VP of Marketing and Community Development has previously assured us, "Our staff has a huge wiki page dealing with every known complaint, so staff members can see how we've addressed problems in the past. We do our best in training to make sure there's consistency in response."

If the action did not reflect policy, it would have been overturned on appeal.

Considering the trend with Sony's Home service and ai sp@ce and other worlds, where it is increasingly difficult to have an avatar that resembles an actual adult, this indirect action against skins for SL-kids avatars seems quite unexpected. All the more so because Linden Lab only quite recently felt that these self-same skins and their sales representations were fine and appropriate.

What's changed?


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This article was originally published on Massively.
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