The notice was sent out in the Great Canadian Flyer group earlier today buried among the music event postings and advertisements for the Easter Hunt. "We have 2 residential units are available with 1,000 prims each, cost MC$0/month. We are looking for NEW MEMBERS ONLY (NO ALTS) who are looking for a home to start a life in GCG. Thank you..." The ad was placed by Manitou Tourism concerning rentals on their Massey region.
This is the first advertisement, that we know of, to be posted specifying the desire to not have 'alt avatars' moving into the region. Is this discrimination or just strategic development?
For those of you who are actually new to the Metaverse here is a description of an "alt avatar" by Winter Ventura of SecondLife, "ALT" stands for "ALTernate Account".. and it's just another SL account created and controlled by a single person. Often Alternate accounts can be handy for doing things like testing next-owner permissions in products you plan to sell (you can SEE the permissions yourself by logging in as the alt, instead of trusting a friend to know what correct permissions should look like).
Alts are also good for compartmentalizing different roleplay experiences. For example, if you have interests in both adult roleplay like Gor or BDSM, but have times when you prefer to seek refuge in innocent, non-sexual age-regression.. You might create a special Alternate account on which to build a child avatar... keeping all traces of adult group affiliation away from your child alt. Alts are also good for situations in which people wish to compartmentalize their lives in other ways.. whether it's a dedicated alt for a certain kind of roleplay, or an alternate account to sell items that wouldn't make sense being sold by your main.
From managing business assets and advertising costs, to running automated "bots" to send group invitations and store newsletters.. Alternate accounts have proven extremely useful to many people in Second Life. Because of their ability to be used to "hide" certain aspects of your SL life, many people have become quite obsessed with trying to discover or "link" multiple-account holders in some fashion.
In the end though, an alt is just another face you use to log into Second Life.. just like having multiple journals at Livejournal, or multiple GMail accounts. What you do with your alternate account(s) is what makes them useful to you."
"It's all about providing homes for 'new' members and not the alts of existing ones", Winter Silversmith CEO of Manitou Tourism said earlier today. "Recently we rented a couple homes to 'new' members. We've since determined these were alts of an existing member. They were actually quite easy to spot, clearly the individual created them solely to rent out our houses than to have any real existence in GCG. This individual created these alts to fill our capacity and thus new members would turn to them for available housing." The two individuals have been evicted and banned from Manitou regions. "It is sad really, to think you need to compete over free housing?" said Winter.
How can you identify someone as an ALT? "If the 'never been in the metaverse before' Day zero member is wearing designer clothing has a professional looking avatar and doesn't walk like a duck... chances are the person is an ALT", said Winter. "That's how we were able to identify the deception of this individual, I mean seriously if you are going to lie and deceive someone try to be a little more like the newbie character role you are playing." <laughing>
The Great Canadian Grid boasts over three thousand members, however recently some have started to question how many of these are alt avatars. "It's not a rare thing you know, most grids allow alts and this boosts traffic numbers. It's not meant to deceive anyone. The grids are just allowing people to express their creativity through a variety of characters", said Winter. "The problem comes when these alts are used for deception or griefing others. I believe there should be a limit to how many alternate avatars you can create, I don't see the need for more than one or two at the most personally." Many grids, including SecondLife, allow the creation of one avatar for every email account entered, this means the number of alt avatars than can be created is virtually unlimited.
We asked Roddie Macchi, Great Canadian Grid Owner, his views concerning ALTs.
CJ: What is the positive side of creating an ALT avatar?
Roddie: "As a creator myself I believe having alts is essential when seeing how animations line up and how they work. It's just smart building to see how things look in perspective to others before selling your creation or furniture or homes. As a grid owner I believe they need to have alts to do that because I know first hand they do."
CJ: Is there a downside?
Roddie: "The down side of allowing alts is like a lot of grids do... they cheat... they pretend to have over one hundred thousand residents when really half of them are alts. Or a grid wanting to make it look like they are gaining popularity... the grid owner could make up a bunch of alts under his own account. It is the same way they do it with regions.... take grids for example that sell a lot of variable regions... meaning variables that go into the three by three, four by four, five by five... and so on."
CJ: How does such deception work to their advantage?
Roddie: "If they wanted to show on Hypergrid Business that their grid is growing in demand, they could easily make themselves, meaning the grid owner, a ten by ten variable and voila - their grid just went from zero to one hundred regions in a day <laughing>. This is why Hypergrid Business algorithm of using how much land on a grid makes it look popular is bogus. Always look at how many are online on that grid per day, that is where the action is - that is who is popular."
CJ: Any final comments you'd like to share with our readers?
Roddie: "Always remember that a Grid owner can fudge how much land there is, and how many residents there are on their grid... BUT! the one thing they can't fudge is how many is online at a time...well...unless they use bots...then they can <laughing>. So really the only true thing to do is be happy where YOU are... that's bottom line. So do I like the alt thing....yes...as a creator it is very essential to have."
In conclusion, ALTernate avatars are they good, are they bad, in the end it is all about how you use them.
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We are a roleplay publication featuring activities in the Manitou, GCG regions and beyond.
Kevin M. Klerks, Editor
(aka Winter Silversmith)