Friday, September 30, 2011

50L Friday featured item - one day only! (Sept. 30)

It seems like my internet provider keeps having extended outages on Thursdays/Fridays lately, so the 50L Fridays item -- "Fleur d'Automne" day gown and hat, in ruby -- is finally out on display at our "secret" satellite location in Clocktower Mall.

There are a dozen merchants participating this week, so be sure to check out their offerings as well!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Creepy Classics" hunt gift preview

Just in time for Halloween, Eclectic Dreams is hosting the all new "Creepy Classics" Hunt, and I'm excited that Montagne Noire is among the shops selected to participate.

Halloween being my favorite holiday, and Edgar Allen Poe being a favorite author, I decided to create a gift based on the Poe short story, "The Masque of the Red Death," originally published in 1842.

"Le Mort Rouge" features gifts for both women and men: a ball gown in red and black, and a "cloaked stranger" costume.

For those not familiar with the story, it follows one Prince Prospero as he hosts a masquerade ball in his castle, where he and other aristocrats have taken refuge from a plague called the "Red Death."

A masked stranger appears among them... well, Poe tells it far better than I ever could. You can read the full text here.

"Creepy Classics" starts Oct. 1 and runs through Halloween. Visit the Eclectic Dreams blog for more information on the hunt and participating shops.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Me and my big mouth

Earlier this month, I devoted a blog post to an ongoing controversy surrounding a "citizen watch group" in Second Life called Justice League Unlimited.

It seems that this group of SL residents has for some time been dressing up as superheroes and patrolling the grid to intercede in incidents of griefing, usually occurring in public sandboxes and welcome areas like Ahern.

The crux of the current controversy is the "wiki" belonging the JLU that was leaked a few weeks ago, which allegedly contains real life information on SL residents the JLU has deemed "griefers" or sympathetic to griefers.

I've said before I don't condone griefing -- but I also don't condone the collection of information on residents by a resident group who has set themselves up to be a kind of law enforcement entity, one that has not been vetted by Linden Lab to do so.

Indeed, the TOS states that third parties may collect information on SL residents. I don't have a problem with merchants keeping track of what I buy in their shops, or how often I visit a social gathering place. I've become accustomed to that in real life -- so why would SL be any different?

I also don't object to residents keeping their own notes on their interactions with other residents, particularly when that interaction becomes intimidating or threatening -- keeping track of dates and times of confrontations, which might show an emerging pattern or history of behavior, is an important support mechanism to use in tandem with the "AR" (Abuse Report) tool that Linden Lab provides to help residents protect themselves.

But I continue to be troubled by the emergence of the JLU as a self styled law enforcement group. Not only have they not been vetted by Linden Lab to conduct this kind of policing -- there's no evidence they've been officially trained in criminal justice issues or law enforcement.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting any members of the JLU, as I'm not a prankster, or a serial griefer. I probably never would have had any interaction with them otherwise, until I made the mistake of opening my mouth and publicly questioning the legitimacy of their group.

I also probably would have never had any interaction with a blogger named Prokovy Neva, who has apparently suffered greatly at the hands of griefers, and in his neverending crusade against them and their "technocommunist" sympathizers, has decided that I am a "fellow traveler" -- a term previously used in the 20th century to describe people who sympathized with the Communist Party.

Astolat Dufaux is another oversharer -- she tells you sadly that she has breast cancer and is getting chemo and that she used to work for a big British newspaper. She's another exemplary of the British left hating on Americans and the justice they wish to bring to the world against criminals that this selfsame British left would do better to loathe themselves because in fact they constitute a greater threat to that British left's freedoms than the overweening abuses of power of a vigilante group.

Astolat runs a Victorian store that I hope brings her income and relief from pain. Astolat may truly not "get it" because she's never seen a person traumatized by rape in cyberspace, which is really a soul-killing and awful thing whatever its remove from real-life physical trauma, nor has she seen sims groan and fall over under the load of tub girls and goatses, with her tenants moving out and costing her real money. This is all abstract to her.

There's more in a followup post, after I chided him for not doing his homework and proclaiming I was British -- I guess because I hang out in Victorian sims and sell Victorian clothing...

He was pretty easy on me compared to some of the other residents he seems to have longstanding antipathy for, who have also spoken out about the JLU -- though his most hurtful comments (viewable in other forums) have been critical of my personal decision to speak publicly about my experience with breast cancer treatment and recovery in the last year and half. All I have to say to that is "WTF"?

But back to the JLU.

I'll say it again: the JLU is not a company that provides a service, like Linden Lab or Google -- as users we agree to the TOS of SL or Gmail before we can use it. We understand that they collect information, because they specifically mention that in their TOS.

And while the JLU may be considered a "third party" under the TOS, they are not a technology corporation providing a service, or law enforcement, or private detectives, or journalists, or prospective employers, or even retail merchants. They are simply a user group within a service, who agreed to the same TOS the rest of us did when we registered.

Regardless of what your activities may be on the grid, the JLU simply has no business to be collecting data on residents. The files they are keeping on individual SL residents is nothing more than cyberstalking: "threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications." Their actions are really no more different than those of the griefers they have pledged to "protect" us all from.

However this controversy plays out, it comes down to this: What the JLU is doing may or may not be illegal, or unethical, but damn -- it is just plain creepy... and, for merchants, landowners and Linden Lab itself, it is just plain bad for business.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"No Strings Attached 3" hunt gift preview

Montagne Noire makes its debut Oct. 1 as a participating shop in the popular grid wide dolly hunt "No Strings Attached."

I've been broadening my horizons design wise this year and trying some new themes out -- living dolls being my latest design experiment. Here's a preview of our NSA3 hunt gift, "Marionette":

In keeping with the theme for the third NSA hunt, "The Lost, The Broken, The Unclaimed," Montagne's Noire's dark Lolita dolly has seen better days... the most glaring and sad omission to her ensemble is her wind-up key. Perhaps she can find a new owner who will fashion a new key for her and bring her back to life.

NSA3 starts Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 31. Visit the "No Strings Attached" blog for more information on the hunt and participating shops.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sixty Linden Weekends sale item for Sept. 24 & 25

This weekend's Sixty Linden Weekends deal is "La Vendeuse" in copper. Find it in the entry alcove as you TP in to the clothing store.

Check out the other deals this weekend at the Sixty Linden Weekends Picasa Gallery -- there are always great deals to be had!

Friday, September 23, 2011

New release: "Le Redingote"

Montagne Noire presents "Le Redingote" (riding coat), a Victorian/Edwardian equestrian riding habit with breeches, two skirts, riding hat and gloves, in amethyst, emerald, onyx, ruby, sapphire and topaz.

Le Redingote features both a full length prim skirt for walking and a system skirt for riding horseback, riding in a stagecoach or wagon, or simple parlor sitting. The jacket waist ruffle is worn over either skirt as well as the breeches.

Le Redingote is modifiable, allowing you to tailor the garment to your proportions -- the breeches can be shortened or lengthened to match the height of your own riding boots (riding boots are not included).

As a new release, Le Redingote is 50% off regular price through this weekend, at our main store in Caledon Oxbridge Village (just 125L!)

50L Friday featured item - one day only!

Be sure to pick up the 50L Friday item, "Le Pelerine," in leopard, before midnight tonight, at our "secret" satellite store in the Clocktower Mall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The return of Le Chemisette

I've updated an old favorite -- Le Chemisette!

Many dresses in SL have lowcut bodices -- which would not always be appropriate for Victorian RP, unless you are RPing a "soiled dove," or other woman of questionable reputation.

Montagne Noire's "Le Chemisette" is the answer to that problem. In the 19th century, chemisettes of linen or cotton were often worn with day dresses, and could be decorated with tucks, embroidery (especially whitework), or lace.

Our chemisette is worn as an undershirt layer -- the chemisette and sculpted collar will give the appearance of a blouse or shirt worn under a low cut bodice, making your favorite gown "Victorian ready"!

Le Chemisette is copy/mod, allowing you to duplicate and color match it for as many outfits as you wish. Plus, it's only 1L!

Find it in the entry alcove as you TP in to the shop.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's new at Montagne Noire this week?

Stop by and pick up your very own FREE tinfoil top hat and monocle set -- especially made for the sophisticated conspiracy theorist!

"Septembre," our specially priced 100L Autumn Equinox ball gown in peridot green is now available in the entry alcove, and has a pair of matching 10L ball gown heels:

This weekend's Sixty Linden Weekends deal is "Domestique," our Victorian/Edwardian day maid uniform ... not just for maids, with it's tidy apron it's also an excellent gown for housekeeping or chores! Find it in the entry alcove as you TP in to the clothing store.

Here's a preview of the COTA hunt item, 'Apollo et Calliope," a unisex toga/tunic set perfect for ancient Roman & Greek or Gorean role play:

Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Justice for all in Second Life?

Some disturbing revelations have surfaced recently regarding a "citizen watch group" in Second Life called Justice League Unlimited, which allegedly has been collecting the personal, real life information of SL residents they view as "griefers."

You may have seen them before patrolling the grid -- specifically, public sandboxes -- wearing superhero costumes. If you'd like to read more about their alleged activities, a summary thread is available at SL Universe, as is the massive 300+ page originating thread. Additional coverage can be found at the Alphaville Herald and Search Engine Watch.

Among the allegations leveled is that the JLU has a private wiki which contains intelligence on residents -- from both their "First Life" as well as their Second Life -- who may or may not be members of griefer groups. The "private," "secure" wiki has been compromised at least twice, mostly recently last month -- it remains unclear whether the wiki was hacked externally, or if there was a mole within the group itself that leaked the information.

I am writing about this issue now because as an SL resident of three and a half years, I'd never really heard of this group until recently. And I am concerned about the consequences of the JLU's actions.

Now I have fortunately only been the target of griefing, or the witness to griefing, a few times during my Second Life experience.

In each instance, I used the tools which Linden Lab provides residents to report abusive behavior of other residents -- whether that be the official LL Abuse Report system, requesting the assistance of Estate Managers on private sims, banning people from my parcels, or simply muting them.

And each time I have had no further problems with the resident or any objects created by that resident.

But apparently this is not a typical resident experience -- at least according to anti-griefing groups like the JLU. No, according to them, as SL residents we are all in serious danger of being stalked and harassed by nefarious griefer groups who reside in Second Life solely to make us all miserable.

Let me back up for a moment and be clear: I don't condone the serial harassment and stalking of SL residents, including "outing" the alts of SL residents, creating alts to further harass specific residents and circumventing account bans, or breaching SL resident privacy by publicly connecting their real life identity to their SL identity -- which, BTW, are all against SL Terms of Service. (More on that later).

But "griefing," as subjectively defined by the JLU, is a pretty broad spectrum of objectionable behaviors -- even something as simple as disagreeing with them (which for U.S. citizens, is a First Amendment right) -- in fact, by my writing this, I'm very likely now listed in their logs as a griefer, if you can believe that.

My definition of griefing is obviously far removed from the JLUs: When residents are purposely disrupting the livelihood of SL merchants and land owners, that's griefing -- oh, except most people call that copybotting, not griefing, which is a far greater disruption to the grid than self-replicating penises.

Before all this information became public, I probably would have welcomed a group that was devoting time reporting copybotting to merchants and to Linden Lab.

So why doesn't the JLU monitor alleged instances of copybotting? That would be a far greater service to the SL community. That absence of concern would seem to speak to the collective mindset of the group's membership... their "policing" methods are more closely aligned with those of totalitarian regimes than it is a selfless effort at true community service.

Obviously residents desire and deserve security on the grid. But it is simply not the job of any "citizen watch group" to be policing the grid. That should be LL's job.

While there is disagreement as to whether LL may or may not be providing adequate tools or support for some residents to protect themselves from abuse, that isn't tacit permission for any resident, or resident group, to be monitoring and reporting the activities of other residents.

There is also disagreement, however, as to whether Linden Lab is aware of -- or condones -- the activities of the JLU, and others. There is no longer an LL staffed Governance group, and this group's leadership claims they have several individual Lindens who are sympathetic to their cause. But I highly doubt the Lab would approve of a private resident group collecting the real life medical information of its residents. Or would they?

Obviously residents desire and deserve security on the grid. But for LL to potentially give what essentially amounts to a vigilante group free reign to enforce LL's Terms of Service is just wrongheaded. And dangerous -- considering they are using the exact same TOS violating tactics as the people they allege to be "protecting" us from. Tactics which are the very legal definition of cyberstalking.

I am glad to see that "stakeholders" -- merchants and landowners -- are slowly beginning to speak out about this. The more major landowners and merchants who stand up and publicly voice their concerns  -- the people who pay the electricity bills on LL's Battery Street building in downtown San Francisco -- the better chance the Lab will sit up and listen.

It would also put to rest the (erroneous) claim that anyone disagreeing with the JLU's mission must be a griefer, or a griefer sympathizer. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Whether you or a merchant or land owner or just an "average resident," I urge you to express your feelings to Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Linden about this situation.

Sixty Linden Weekends sale item for Sept. 3 & 4

This weekend's Sixty Linden deal is "Madame," a practical houndstooth wool day gown for the Victorian businesswoman, in granite... Find it in the entry alcove as you TP in to the clothing store.

Check out the other deals this weekend at the Sixty Linden Weekends Picasa Gallery -- there are some great deals out there!