Thy Kingdom Has No Clothes

Posted on October 24, 2008. Filed under: Communication, Controversy, Dealing with problems | Tags: , , , , , , |

The forums are a tricky, odd little realm of Kaneva’s product offering that is largely overlooked. Chances are, most of you here on this blog have spent at least some amount of time there. Many of you, tired of the moaning and groaning that is frequently the method (or topic), have avoided the forums. Myself, I couldn’t resist them, and have replied to many items, too many times. I’ve angered the autocrat in charge one too many times as well. Mostly because one subject in particular really gets my blood boiling; Nanny-ism.

I know that Kaneva reads the forums pretty carefully. When they hear a particular concern voiced repeatedly, they begin to assume this is how a majority of users feel about a subject. The mistake there is, the ones who post the most on the forums are the Flanders, nose-in-other-peoples-business, i-know-better, pushy, self-righteous, hear-my-demands-on-what-you-do type of people that the world (K and RL) would be better off not having to listen to.

I think the AP clothing conversation was laughably pathetic. I cant believe that anyone, save the one or two real conservative wackos in any room, would care one twit about what our Barbie and Ken dolls are wearing.

If YOU don’t like it, leave the mall, the party, the plaza, whatever. You don’t ever have to look at anything you do not want to.

If you think you need to protect MY kid from it, mind your own GD business. It’s my kid, I’ll take care of it. And all parents I know feel the same way.

Seriously, if you don’t have anything better to do than to complain about how much tan jumpsuit a barbie doll is wearing, you need to buy a tv, or a macramé set, or something.

AP is a strange animal. We have to prove we are over 18 by supplying a credit card, to get a “pass” that allows us to see…. swimsuits? underwear? knee-length boxers? (edit by SFNdust – but it is a great way to keep the trolls out of your home/hangout)

Those are all things anyone can see at the beach, on a mannequin at the mall.

Time for a logical argument:

Lets be realistic about this, and stand on the shoulders of giants. OK, in a movie, what does a G rating mean? It means it is appropriate for everyone. PG means that a parent may need to explain some more complex issues around subjects, violence, or sexuality, but that anyone can attend. PG-13 means that no one under 13 is admitted without a parent,(but anyone 13 or over can attend without parents) due to violence, sexual situations, alluded-to nudity without actually showing the nipple or genital, and or language of a sexual nature, including the “second tier” of cuss words, such as word for the behind, flatulence, and upstairs female genitalia. Also, drug references, logos, and items can be shown, but not used. Then, rated R means that no one under 18 can see the movie unless accompanied by parent or guardian, due to partial nudity including nipples, fleeting glances at genitalia, and sexual talk, as well as full on violence, and full drug use can be pictured. NC-17 shows insertion, graphic violence, etc.

So, as I understand it, AP pass should be, and marketed (at the very least) as, allowing R-rated functions and displays, (R at the very least. It could be argued even up to an NC-17. You prove you are an adult, you get AP. Means you can get into an NC-17 movie, right?)

Simply through the registration process, the world does not allow members to be in world who are not over the age of 13. So, the world itself is PG-13 without a pass… and (lets just say) R with the Access Pass.

So, with AP, I should be able to see avatars with full tan tights, with nipples, and tiny lingerie bottoms. I should be able to see people injecting drugs and smoking pot.

Without AP, simply in world, I should be able to see scantily clad people, as long as their genitals are covered, and they are not engaged in sex. I should be able to see someone with a Pot shirt, talking about pot, as long as i don’t see him toking it. (Edit by SFNdust – this post is making me hungry)

See where I am going with this? The rules are already established in a well regulated industry, also in the Entertainment category.

Under 13 is excluded, so abide by PG-13 rules.

That’s it. It is that simple.

And if you don’t like PG-13 movies or virtual worlds, don’t watch them, or visit them. Club Penguin is accepting new members. Toon Disney has some fun little games for your small little minds.

As it turns out, shortly after writing this article, my good friend FrayedKnot posted on the forums on this exact topic. I replied, voicing my support for him, and my disdain for those who try to tell us that they know better on how we should live our lives than we ourselves can decide.

little known fact – that tricky, odd little section of Kaneva’s product offering is a kingdom with quite the monarchy. Different from the World, or the 2D site, the forums are overseen by one person, who is in full charge of who has access and who doesn’t.  As it turns out, my opinion was not appreciated, accepted, nor tolerated.

I have been permanently banned from the forums for telling people to mind their own business. Strange twist of irony, I think.

I tell people that their opinions alone shouldn’t decide the game, shouldn’t ruin the experience for the rest of us, that their opinions of who is wearing what are the minority, and that they have no right to decide on their own what is appropriate, rude, or unacceptable.

Then, I get told my opinions are the ones that are not welcome, by being banned. Permanently.

Interesting. So, my fellow reader, be sure that you tell people they are harassing you with their clothing, tell them they are a disgust to the community, tell them they are inappropriate and should know better. Tell them that if you saw them at the mall that you would call the cops and have them arrested.

But don’t tell someone that they are being silly and should leave other people alone. That sort of thing will get you banned.

The king will ban you from his castle. And so goes the monarchy. Random and capricious.

-Paynomind

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Brain Storms Bring a Chance of Lighting, But Likely Just Wet Ground

Posted on October 20, 2008. Filed under: Suggestions for Improvement, World Updates | Tags: , , , , |

My last post talked a lot about my frustrations with Kaneva publishing new and more, rather than fixing what is there currently. One of my biggest complaints was that there was not only new content, but entirely new games, that are completely contrary to the point of Kaneva itself, which is a chatting, talking, and social networking.

The responses were amazing! I love hearing what you guys think. While technically this is SFN’s blog, he allows me to post my opinions, and the comments are where you guys get to speak your mind. We have the eyes of several people inside Kaneva, so it’s a nice platform to be able to speak about Kaneva, vent a little, and to suggest solutions. Not just bitching, but solutions, right? That’s the rallying cry.

“If you hate it so much, just leave,” missed the point so entirely, it flabbergasts me. I don’t hate it. I love Kaneva. I am frustrated by how close they are to having an amazing social networking world. I just believe they are adding on new rooms to the house before they paint the walls in the existing rooms. Or, more specifically, I think they are adding a horse stable to a house in the city, where the oven doesn’t work, and you have to change channels on the TV with a broomstick. Fix the damn TV, and what do we need with a place to keep horses anyway?

But, complaining never fixes anything. At its best, it only serves to motivate someone else to fix things. At worst, it makes those best capable to fix things resentful and they reject your input, however valuable. There is already a forum for input with Kaneva, the Kaneva… well, uhm.. Forums. But, as we all know they are flooded with posts. I fear that some real valuable input and ideas get lost in the white noise.

So, here are some ideas for games that could be integrated into Kaneva, while allowing and embracing the community, and social togetherness.

The most excited I’ve been to walk around a building in Kaneva in a long time was when the Help Center launched -Grabbing coins? Holy Mario Brothers flashbacks! I LOVE grabbing coins, and the ‘cling’ sound makes me grin like a 7 year old coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. So, obviously that technology exists in the world, right? How about a coin grab game? Set the coins around Kaneva City (the most underused section in the game. Also the most poorly named, but I’ll get into that another time) and have a timed game where you run through the city, find the location of all the coins, in the quickest time possible. Challenge your friends. “I can get them all in 1:32 i bet you cant get under 2 min.” Then, randomize the locations either every time you play, or once a week. You fly through the corridors of the city, your friends harassing you, making fun, then when you get the last one, your score pops up. reset the scores every two hours or something. I think this sounds fun, and I’d play!

The card games have been well documented. Poker, Hold Em, Canasta, even Black Jack. If there is a betting concern, just have a game begin with everyone having 500 “monies” and let them go wild. Cards are a social, talking, playing, fun game that everyone knows. They would allow talking, teasing, getting to know each other.

Tag. How simple a game. Your name or tag glows a different color, when you are “it” and you would need to chase down other avatars. Once you were able to touch someone else, they would then be “it.” And of course- no tagbacks for a certain period of time. The most important part of this game would be the ability to play ANYWHERE. Special hangouts could be built to play, or you could get a game going in the plaza or the mall. I have seen people playing their own version on the Kaneva Football Field, for hours. So I know that people would enjoy it.

Also, as stated elsewhere, a random number generator in the chat window could facilitate many other betting or guessing games. Type /number 1-100   and out would spit: 37.  type /number 1-10 and out comes 7. Easy!

Then, there are scheduled-event-type games. Things that would require some GM/Advisor participation, set up, administration. But, nonetheless games that I feel would be of great fun:

Kaneva Klue – Somebody done it. Assemble the “Klues” to find out if it was Gaelin in the Plaza with a 240″ flash screen, or maybe GM_Andre in the mall with an arched window.
Scavenger hunt – Distribute a list through a community, and have players search for the items, which would be like coins, in all public locations. But, maybe not animated and flashing. They could only be picked up by a player once, then they’d regenerate for the next person. They would be added to the player’s inventory, and they could come use them in front of the person leading the game, to show a completed list. This could be done in teams, collaborating to scour all sections of the world, or even solo.
Builder contest – Building the best hangout or home, with a holiday theme is cool, but to the credit rich go the spoils, often times. A more “Creative Builder” contest could be done. Each entrant would be given is list of 7 different items, (the number could change.) Then, they use ONLY those 7 to create something interesting, beautiful, funny, or clever. The most creative use of these items would be given a prize.

These are just some simple ideas that I’ve thought of, or I’ve heard friends come up with. What do you think of these game ideas? Do you think they fit the social network better? Do you have any game ideas of your own?

-Paynomind

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So close, So tantalizingly close.

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: Dealing with problems, World Updates | Tags: , , |

Kaneva is fun. Or, rather, it can be. The drama that circulates within it is annoying and reduces the fun levels more than a clown with his pants off, but the thing that really annoys me about my time in Kaneva is… Kaneva.

If the place royally sucked, like, I dunno, IMVU, or Bud Light Lime, I would be ok with it. It’s the fact that they are so tantalizingly close! Argh! If they would quit the work they have wasted on time-sucks like DanceBoring3D and Kerflop, and actually fix the bugs and improve the usability of many features, this place would be rock and roll awesome.

What’s wrong with those games? You have fun with them? OK, sure, let’s pretend that they are fun and the activities in them weren’t better on Sega Genesis or even a key chain I got in the bottom of my Kellogg’s Smacks. Let’s just pretend, ok. Seriously, I know it’s hard, but follow me here, ok? Alright. So, what is Kaneva? Easy, before you answer, I will for you; it’s a 3D social network. I don’t know what all the marketing campaigns say, or what the board meetings pitch it as. But Kaneva is MySpace where you run around and say hi and meet people or keep up with the friends you have. Kaneva is all about the conversations, the interactions, the building your personalized space and having 100 people come see it, telling stories, learning about people, even in some really odd cases, falling in love.

So, naturally, the big featured game activities embrace that, feature it, improve it, right? Oh, but of course not. When you play the dance game, you have to pay strict attention to the arrows, not your fellow dancers. And you have no idea how well they are doing, or how well they did. You can’t challenge someone, you can’t play jointly, and you can’t talk in more than 6 word blasts between levels. And the shooting game? Yeah, no chatting in there at all. Run around, shoot people. You remember Duke Nukem? Yeah, the cool part of that WAS the gore and blood, so naturally that’s all been taken out. And where do these shooting fests take place? By secret ambush while in a club you built with your friends? In the mall? NO! In a completely separate location, away from everyone and everything.

Both of the featured games completely abandon what Kaneva IS, and just throw a simple game structure at you. Why didn’t anyone think of this? Why hasn’t anyone asked for a social game, like automated trivia, card games, even just a simple random number generator to allow people to make up their own games while in world? Oh, that’s right… people ask for that on a weekly basis on the forums. Huh. Well, I’m sure the next big thing to come out of Kaneva’s game minds will surely be one of those, or maybe something even better, like a memory game where you have to guess items people were wearing, or spell their convoluted 9 number usernames correctly, right? Nope. Its gonna be a driving game. Imagine there will be any chatting while you drive?

There are staunch defenders who will tell you, “Oh, the fifty-leven bugs you just mentioned are ok, because it’s Beta.” In all the copy in all the pages in the entire Kaneva website, in exactly zero places does it tell me that the software is beta. Now wait, you are thinking, I know I’ve seen the word beta somewhere. Well, you have, but not only on GMail for 3 years. “Beta” appears just to the right of the logo at the very top right on the 2d pages and launcher. Never anywhere in the actual game. And in text smaller than 8 point font. That really drives home the Beta point, huh? Or, how about the fact that you have to give Kaneva REAL currency, real money, for certain features of the game? That you spend real cash on building supplies, AP passes, costumes, clothing, deeds? Know of anything else in the history of software that took money while in beta? They give Google a hard time for being in beta so long, but at least they have the courtesy of making their stuff free.

This is simply the introduction of a many part series on the “area of opportunity” in the Kaneva software. I’m sure they are aware of most of them. I just think they are of the mindset that people want new and exciting instead of stable and functioning. Or new for the sake of new instead of able to be used easily.

As a usability guy, I believe the complete opposite way, so you can expect more posts on this subject.

Comment for me, and tell me what little annoyances or bugs or usability flaws you see in the same every day. I’d like to eventually have a comprehensive list of not just the flaws, but recommended solutions. I’ll go so far as to make mockups, because when it comes right down to it, I DO care. I DO want Kaneva to be the most awesome online experience ever.

It’s so close right now.

– Paynomind

NOTE: Comments on this post count for the Kanevian Blog Halloween Contest

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Importance is where you find it

Posted on October 2, 2008. Filed under: Controversy, Dealing with problems, Events, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , |

Howdy reader,

I have been given the great honor of posting my own thoughts and stories here, alongside the supremely talented Mr. SFNdust. Try to keep the two of us straight, because while I know the rumor was floated out there that we are one in the same, you will soon be able to tell which is which just based on the fact that he writes well, and I hack away like everything i write was for an IM or Txt. Which explains why I like IM and Txts so much, I suppose.

Kaneva is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There are thousands of stories. Some use it as an escape from their own boring or abusive reality into a world where people are friendly and accepting. Others are forced to use it from their beds, and their only reach into any form of socialization. Unfortunately, some use it as a place to push their agenda. Others use the world and its people as their drama sandbox, to see who they can push around who they can fish-hook with niceness, then gut with drama, rumors and lies. Others quickly pop in and out to say hello and go on with their lives.

Myself, I originally started Kaneva as a past-time. Like having baseball on the tv in the background while you write checks for your bills, or like the Nascar race playing while you do the dishes, vacuum the carpets, and mate socks. As a past-time. Something to do when there simply is nothing else going on.

As you can tell by me, since I am writing a blog about Kaneva, and I can tell about you, since you are reading a blog some guy wrote about Kaneva, this game’s roll in your life changes as you go, and one finds themselves much more ingrained that they expected.

I started out hitting up the world for hellos, dances, and to build and see interesting buildings with my lady by my side. Since that time almost 2 years ago, now I have 10 communities with ambitious building projects in all sorts of levels of completeness, I am one of the chief officers of an in-game clan, I am an in world DJ of some renown, and I have almost 1800 raves, 300 friends and 300 more pending friend requests.

What happened?

Well, I guess I ended up with more spare time then I thought. Or more specifically, I created more spare time. Its amazing how 2am on a work day doesn’t seem late when you’ve got about 12 more floor panels to lay and texture, to get a new building complete. Or how it easily buys another hour of your time when someone in the club you are DJing shouts that they love your music, or that the song you just played as their jam.

However, I think that type of system has its disadvantages. I haven’t gotten all the sleep that I’d like. I have new building ideas all the time, so of my 10 communities, somewhere between zero and none are complete. There are RL friends whose IMs i have ignored because i was looking up a song someone requested. My freelance graphic design work has almost completely dried up.

But the big disadvantage for me, was that recently the cruel roulette wheel of misfortune dislodged from its moorings, rolled through the city, with fleeing Kaneva citizens screaming and running, and ran smack into my head, knocking my vision blurry, my head dizzy, and the arms full of people in the game I loved, scattered all across the road like the gummy snack wrappers and fast food cartons from someone’s minivan’s trash bag tossed aside.

Drama hit, and it hit hard. It hit long. An issue that should have been over in a weekend went off for over a week. Feelings were hurt, long term friendships were severed, events were canceled, members quit, cell phone records were subpoenaed, real physical relationships were tested and strained.
All in all, it was a really bad week.

Which is why I encourage people to do one simple thing. Chill.
Remember and remind yourself that its a game. Its an option. Its a past-time.

Recently, a guy who was a big part of the Mafia, who was responsible for a large part if its success, a guy whom i spent countless hours next to, building, talking, or simply dancing in a club, announced that the reason he hadn’t been in game for a while, was that he was battling cancer.
At 24.

It really put the game in perspective for me. Here we are, moaning and bitching and hastily pounding out IMs to people about what she said about her statement about him… and an in-game friend is laying in a  hospital bed waiting for the doctor to tell him his chance of survival.

Made me very self-aware at how silly we had all been, how seriously we had all begun to take it, and it humiliated me. I felt guilty. It was that creeping heat up the back of your neck like when you were 8 years old, and you could hear your mother’s (or worse, father’s) footsteps behind you as you were up on the counter, reaching your hand deep into the Oreo bag, less than an hour before dinner. You knew you were wrong, and the prickly heat of guilt told you so.

In order to make myself feel better, selfishly, and in order to help make a difference in this world, selflessly, I conceived of the lasted large effort in Kaneva: The Kaneva Mafia Cancer Benefit group and event. You can visit the community page here: http://www.kaneva.com/channel/TheKanevaMafiaCancerBenefitPage.channel I also encourage you to join and rave the community.
Here is the simple version of the plan; We will spread the word, collect credits, world items, world clothing, as well as cash. We will create one bundle, and post it on ebay for sale. On October 12th we will have a big event in world, to raise awareness. We will announce the total donations to that point, and direct as many people to the ebay acution as possible.

At the event, we will accept additional donations, to assemble a second bundle to sell on ebay. The proceeds from both of these auctions will be donated, in our Mafia brother’s name, to the American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org

I’m hoping people in world will be generous. I’m also calling for everyone in world to politely ask their local GM to donate to the cause as well. I’d love for this to be a featured event in admin blasts, for the GMs to donate large ticket items, exclusive items, etc. I’d really like this to become bigger than me and my Mafia friends expressing our love for our brother. I’d like for it to become a large rally, with Kaneva as a company involved.

Please donate as much as you can. If you would prefer, I am also accepting donations through PayPal, so as to shortcut the credit-buying process, if you prefer. Just contact me here or through the KMail feature.
All in all, I think this now gives us reason to take Kaneva so seriously. Something serious and important and urgent. Much more so than the Nascar race on the tv while you vacuum.

– Paynomind

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I Support Freedom of Speech on the Internet – Do You?

Posted on August 29, 2008. Filed under: Controversy | Tags: , , , , |

I was recently contacted by Kaneva user Paynomind and informed that one of the threads he had started had been removed and he has been banned from the Kaneva forums.  Although, I don’t know that I necessarily agree with everything Pay has to say… I do believe in free speech on the internet.

Therefore, I have decided to publish the post from the thread that was deleted.  I am also in possession of the Kmail that was sent to Pay from Corelli, however, I will not post this because I do not believe in posting what is meant to be a private discussion.

As you read this post – please bear in mind that these are the views of Kaneva User Paynomind and not myself.

Without further ado –

I’m not leaving. BUT.

I really hate seeing people bring up that its in beta. It has been for two years now.
I really hate seeing people telling us to stop complaining. Complaints and constructive criticisms are the only way they will know what users want, and what they need to improve.

I really hate seeing anyone pretend that “you had preview server to register your complaints” when *I* personally posted a message telling them that the guys faces looked terrible, that the hair was pathetic, and they DELETED that post, even after no less than 6 other users replied agreeing with me. Many of you said the guys faces looked poor. Many of you replied that the lighting was dark, that there were issues.

I really hate the fact that in my 18 months on Kaneva I have noticed a pattern: Kaneva cares WAY more about launching the “new exciting thing” than they do about fixing bugs in the game, in usability, in the way things work.

I felt is really hard in my backside when they reduced rewards to practically nothing. This was ignoring what got most of us hooked. The building, the clothes, then, we bought credits. Doesnt matter. Here is your piddly 100 credits.

Can you imagine any other product you use that required you to throw away the old one to use it? Can you imagine any other product that required you to delete all of your cookies, temp files, reboot the computer, and reinstall the product just to use it?
Can you imagine buying a product that had a problem that the manufacturer told you would be fixed, and it wasnt, over and over?

There is simply no excuse that Kaneva has had “bugs” and poor usability for over a year, while they launch Dance Game, Dance Fame, World Fame, New Faces… all while every one of us asks them to simply let us skip a track while we play a list of videos. While we want to sit DOWN, rather than hover. While we cant message multiple people who are online. While we cant texture the 5 thousand credit boats we own.

Kaneva has shown a willful choice to ignore bugs. To ignore user complaints. To ignore what we really WANT, to shove crap down our throats like World Fame. Like these new horrible faces.

What I have determined is this: Kaneva does not care.

They had meetings over a year ago, where lists were presented to management. From Corelli. From the forums. From users of the game. These lists contained the same complaints we have today. Kaneva management said, “these are not important, only new features are important.” So they discarded is disregarded these request, these complaints.

Kaneva does not care what its user base wants or thinks about the product. If they did, things would be smooth, clean, work well. We would not have new, unneeded features and products. We would have a product that worked well with no bugs.

Do you have that? Neither do I.

Its because Kaneva doesnt care about us. They just want to sell the software platform to another large company, to make the owners another couple of bucks.

I hope you enjoy being used. Thats all this is. You, being used by millionaires and billionaires, trying to get richer.

Comments are open.  I would love to hear what you and Kaneva have to say about this situation.

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