We have been here before. A feature like the old Avatar Render Cost (ARC) was used by what became known as ARC Nazis to abuse people. You see a type of person that has basic authority issues, control issues, or a bullying nature adopt a fascist mentality and start telling people what they can do. Some in those groups start trying to enforce their will on others. Abuse, shame, hate, anger… and more is called into service in attempts to enforce their will on others.
We could call this politics… In SL it is more often called drama. But, whichever we call it, it has the same source: human nature. Humans are different, unique. But, we all have the same basic traits, just in different degrees and we learn to cope with issues in different ways. We call the result character.
So, the SL Forum discussion of Avatar Complexity Information (ACI) feature in the current RC Second Life Quick Graphics Viewer version 184.108.40.2065942 can be expected to show the variety of ways people cope… or don’t. Knowledge and ignorance are both on display too. As is character or the lack of it.
- Rendering Complexity / Quick Graphics – This is a thread started by the Lindens. They are asking for feedback.
- Rendering complexity feature – This thread was started by Sassy Romano.
Several of the commenters’ expectations are that there will be drama about ACI. Some expect ACI Nazis to popup. I don’t, but I could be wrong. Some people just like to bully/boss others around.
ACI is different than ARC. The big difference is the viewer supplies the ACI information to the user by default. Not much room for emotional confrontation. ARC was a hidden setting few knew about or ever saw. The ARC Nazis popped up and, in modem speak, tried to raise awareness. How they went about it would have made Hitler proud.
This implementation of ACI doesn’t impose a limit on the user or designers. The user can change settings and render all avatars or a fewer number of avatars present. A user can wear a 500k ACI avatar and we can avoid being affected because we can set a cut-off limit that works for us and not render it.
With ARC that was not the case. If an avatar with high ARC came into a region with us, our viewer slowed down. We have no real choice. In combat regions there were actual things people wore just to slow down their opposition. That lack of control could be seen to have fueled frustration and driven people to be ARC Nazis. But, that is victim thinking… however, a popular thing these days.
The idea was pushed that one should be nude at events. The often heard line was, take off your clothes, you’re slowing my viewer. Right… Now, we can tell them to adjust their ACI limit and keep our pants on.
The ARC Nazis also had their ideas of what was a acceptable ARC. There were various standards and ideas of what was fair. This made lots of room for drama.
The Lab has made an effort to avoid setting up standards for ACI. Is an ACI of 100k good or bad? The Lindens don’t officially have an opinion. They seem to be going with less is better for this one. So, 100k is better than 150k. But, whether 100k or 150k is good or bad is rationally said to depend on what the designer tried to accomplish.
A pencil skirt shouldn’t have an ACI of 200k, IMO. But, an Elizabethan gown with an ACI of 200k could be reasonable. So, trying to set hard lines for good and bad ACI without regard for criteria would be an unnecessary arbitrary limit on creativity. The Lab tries to avoid stifling creativity. In general I think they have done well.
The new ACI feature is an excellent example of providing consumer information (think Consumer Reports) and leaving users free to do whatever they want. I think this is a great free market way to resolve a problem that affects everyone and preserves freedom.