Life on the grid is fraught with bickering and opinions on what is right or wrong. Whether we are talking about "community spirit" or "AFK & NPC avatars" on regions, everyone has an opinion. Some just love a good argument and others will take it to the next extreme and run mini crusades to hunt down the offenders of their dislikes. Others are standing on a sandbox craving for attention and demanding to be seen and heard.
I hear so many people slag off Second Life and its users for being unfriendly, money grabbing perverts, all chasing after sex. Well listen up. There is plenty of sex in Opensim too. There are plenty of perverts and kinks in OSgrid and if someone charges for a service that is not necessarily wrong. It is their prerogative and nothing to do with anyone else. A buyer buys if they want to. It is their choice - period!
Recently the talk of the town has been AFK avatars and NPC's over inflating statistics on regions. It has been a fairly hateful debate with Opensimworld caught in the middle. The general consensus of opinion would be that people really do not care. Even LBSA has days when there are a large number of people hanging around all AFK. People are not obliged to be there for your convenience. They do hang around and drift off and come back. Some NPC's actually serve a purpose too. If the region has tenants, a helper avatar might remain AFK online while they work in RL. This is a fact. It happens.
At our welcome region we have a main greeter and a secondary greeter. Many of you will know Emerelda Sunlight. She is there specially to take messages for our rentals. She wanders off in RL and does the housework, cooks dinner and drinks coffee and when she is at the PC she monitors her avatar. Just recently there have been a whole host of people ignoring her because they think she is a bot or an NPC. Imagine their surprise then when she answers and even starts to tell people that she is a bot just because she can and because she finds it amusing. That caught a few people off guard for sure. We even had one guy explain to his girlfriend that this was the new series of intel bots based on Google's ChatGPT AI. Even when Emerelda made a spelling mistake it was not picked up.
So why does Emerelda stay logged in? Well there are two reasons. Firstly, she keeps an eye on the place as much as she can and picks up the IMs when she can. We have a rentals chat support system which she answers on her phone or on the PC. With her avatar still logged in she can then send them the group tag pretty quickly and efficiently. This is why she is here. Call her a bot if you wish but the fact she is answering and helping a high number of visitors directly and processing our rental group invitations is providing a very valuable service to our tenants and newcomers.
If you are running NPC's on the region they can often provide false stats to the Opensim World beacons. If you right click on your beacon and go to contents you will find a notecard called exclude_list. This is where you can add the details of your NPC's so that they will not create false stats. It is a little more tricky with tenants because you cannot control what they do or how long they stay whether AFK or otherwise.
We live in a selfish all consuming world of want, want, want. There are also many people wandering around actively looking for trouble. We used to hear a lot about things being "In the spirit of opensim". The only time you will hear this nowadays is when someone wants something from you and you refuse to provide it. You are clearly not acting in the spirit of opensim. I have even had people quote this to me when I have refused to give them copies of my oar files for regions I have built. Why on earth would I do that? No wait let me give you the shirt off my back and bend over for you!
People in Opensim are not much different to people in Second Life. It is a myth. It is just a choice issue. Many of us are in both SL and Opensim. What I have noticed is that over the years people in Opensim have become more and more like people in SL. We get a constant stream of people passing through our Welcome Area during the day, mostly heading for the information office and the teleports. Many do not even have the courtesy to reply to a pleasant greeting or hello. Others expect everyone to automatically converse in their language and refuse to acknowldege any response in the English language.
That said. Hats off to the people that do make it all worthwhile. Thankfully there are still enough decent people around to keep the wheels turning. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could just get along fine without all the drama.