Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Land Cutting

Many people have commented on the new Land Cutting policy. I've avoided it up until now, but it seems like there is no avoiding talking about it. This is an example of bad policy in service of a good idea. The problem with mainland is that you can't improve it, and therefore the value of land is alway s in stopping someone else from expanding who wants to. Almost all profit from the sale of land, sooner or later, is either holding it for a long time, or some form of land griefing. People who don't want to do anything charing people who do.

This being said, the current policy introduces a question that's relevant: should LL have a policy about what constitutes an easement for "views," and a policy that decides what is too high a price to charge. The answer here, to both questions, is no. The reason for wanting to use market forces is that they are built into every trade, whether fair or unfair, legitimate or not, the invisible hand pushes on all of us all of the time. Which is why it should be a skilled and dexterous hand, and not a blunt fist.

This policy does precisely the opposite, it does not fix the problems in the land market, and it makes the invisible hand less, not more, precise.

A better solution would be built in zoning. Allow each owner to set the minimum size of parcel that they want to allow the sim to allow for sale. The lowest value becomes the sim's value. So if everyone votes for 512, then parcels less than 512 cannot be sold. Going the other way if everyone in a sim votes below the current value, then the value will go down. Parcels may not vote for less than the size of the parcel. The value will be advertised on the land, so that buyers know what zoning they are buying into.

This way new sims can be zoned by the first buyer... and older sims cleaned up. People who want to buy into sims with ad farms can, presumably at a lower price. It allows cooperation, and competition. Since voting has to be unanimous, no one owner can move the sim unless they own all of it. This means it is worth buying into an uncut sim, because it won't be cut up underneath the buyer later.

Would there still be a place for ars? For things liek violation of Sim PG level, yes. For things like overhanging prims, yes. But to tell you how ineffective land advertising is, my partner ar'ed two ads that overhung our parcels. Two moths ago. The ads were removed, and they hav not been replaced. He checked last night while getting ready to send the last parcels in that sim over to the Arbor Project.

This should tell you that, since no one has noticed, that ads are merely land griefing in general. that they aren't really productive in any way. Since people are often willing to trade being advertised to for use of a free service.. like blogger for example ... there's every reason to want to make advertising more useful and less noxious. One of my big ones is physical rotating sings, that generate a great deal of lag in a sim, for no purpose whatsoever. These kinds of misuse would be fixed if we made processor, and not just prims, something that was charged for. But no one wants that, which is why sims decay down to the 21ms limit, since everyone has every incentive to use processor.

So while I welcome the effort to do something about noxious land griefing, this policy isn't the right way to do it.

But you know, that is the price of not second living in a Democracy.

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