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    Posted March 25, 2010 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Stories from Second Life

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    Good Bye Victoriana


    I have lived in the Nation of Victoriana since November, 2009. On Tuesday morning I came into Second Life to discover a notecard sent by the Mayor of the Nation of Victoriana (owner of the sim), LittleBlackDuck Lindsay, to all the members of the group. In it he explained that because of technical problems created by a recent maintenance update by Linden Lab he could no longer manage the estate properly and therefore was closing it down. In effect what had happened was that the Mayor had no more permission rights over the objects on his estate so that he could not work with anything. Despite contacting Linden Labs many times nothing was done to fix this and he would have basically had to rebuild the estate, which consists of 13 sims. In addition there have been large inventory losses and numerous other problems: general difficulties with the grid, such as lag, logging on problems etc. making the experience of living and working in Second Life less than optimal, copybot issues and the devaluing of land. I am afraid this very brief paragraph does not in any way begin to illustrate the amount of trouble, frustration, irritation and sadness the Mayor must have had to endure over the past few weeks and probably months.

    What a shame, too, because the Nation of Victoriana is one of the most beautiful sims in all of the grid, the kind of place I would have thought Linden Lab would be proud to have as a part of their virtual world. The buildings are lovely, well constructed and detailed. Community spirit has been developed and individuals with many different interests are welcome to the sim. Victoriana is really a model of the many wonderful things that can be done in Second Life but instead it has been allowed to disappear due to poor customer service and lack of attention on the part of Linden Lab. At the moment their business plan seems to be focused on those who are new to Second Life, which of course is very important and laudable, but for those who are more established, the opposite seems to be happening. The case of the Nation of Victoriana is perhaps one of the more spectacular examples of this.

    My friend and colleague Janey Bracken has written an excellent iReport on what has happened to cause the Mayor to decide to shut down the sim, and fellow iReporter Kiko Hunniton has made a video of the sims, but I want to also present a report from the point of view of a citizen and business owner in the sim, to show how all this affects the individuals behind the avatars. There is a human aspect that can be easily overlooked. This is not just an example of a sim disappearing; there are currently 304 members of the Nation of Victoriana group who are directly affected. In my case I will lose both my business and my home in Second Life.

    After reading the Mayor’s notecard I decided to go for a walk around Victoriana as a kind of farewell. I visited all my favourite spots, knowing that they soon will disappear and while on my travels I ran into other avatars, in a similar state of shock, hardly able to find the words to describe their feelings.

    I began my tour at the train station in Victoriana Square, where I had worked as a greeter, a job I enjoyed a great deal, meeting and welcoming people to the sim. I then went over to my friend Boye Jervil’s Pre-Raphaelite Gallery. Victoriana Square is the perfect place for the gallery. The artworks had found a place in which they could feel at home, comfortable in an environment that brought back to life the world in which they were originally created.

    After this I went down to Victoriana Lakeside, one of the more upscale areas in Victoriana, where I paused by the lake to look at some of the beautiful homes surrounding it.

    Then over to Hedgemaze, where I stopped at my favourite tea shop. I think the tea shop is a prime example of the care and thoughtfulness that have gone into the creation of the Nation of Victoriana. Nothing is out of place, it all “belongs” and creates an atmosphere that a tea room should have. I sat and had a cup of tea before continuing on.

    I made my way through the lovely and slightly mysterious forest, with beams of light slanting through the trees. Spring is arriving in the sim and I passed a home with a beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom.

    Next I arrived in Carnivale, with the games and rides one would expect to find, but I did not stop. I moved on to my own home sim, Victoriana Harbour, but I did not end my walk there, either. Instead I walked to the newly opened Tinytoriana, a recreation in miniature of many of the features found in the Nation of Victoriana. Tinytoriana opened only a few weeks ago, and just the other day Janey Bracken and I donned our tiny avatars and sat in the Tinytoriana teashop for a snack and a natter, as Janey would say. I think Tinytoriana exemplifies the Mayor’s approach to life on the grid, welcoming to all and making everyone comfortable and at home, no matter what their size. And, as with everything else, Tinytoriana is very finely crafted, down to the smallest detail.

    Passing through the gateway between Tinytoriana and its “big” counterpart, I arrived at Victoriana Pavilion, with its magnificent exhibition hall. This was the end of my little journey of farewell, and I returned to Victoriana Harbour and my beloved gallery.

    Even now I can scarcely credit that all this is soon to disappear. It is a very strange feeling, realizing that where I was walking so recently will cease to exist, relegated to photographs, happy memories and the vague feeling that it was all some kind of dream. Perhaps the rise and fall of the Nation of Victoriana will be immortalized in a business school study. That might be fitting, as education is one of the aspects of Second Life that we often hear about. Sadness, regret, disbelief, all shadowed my walk around the estate. But I think the most powerful feeling was one of anger, that such a thing has been allowed to happen, and the word that keeps going through my mind is “shame”. Shame, shame, shame.

    However, I don’t want to end on that note. I would like to thank the Mayor and acknowledge all that he has done, along with others in the Victoriana sims. Many people enjoyed living in Victoriana or participating in the life of the sims, including me, even if it was for such a short time. I made new friends as well as discoveries about myself, opening up new avenues of interest and broadening my horizons. I’m very grateful for that and will cherish all the memories I have of my time in Victoriana. And what a shame that it all has to end.

    1. Victoriana Harbour, my home and business were there

    2. The  Pre-Raphaelite Gallery in Victoriana Square

    3. Walking through Victoriana Forest

    4. A home in the Nation of Victoriana

    5.Victoriana Pavilion

    6. Janey Bracken and me as tinies, having tea in Tinytoriana.

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