Lies, Damn Lies, and SecondLie

April 1, 2009


SecondLie came out of nowhere, really.  He appeared on Twitter over a year ago and has gathered over 500 followers but describing just who – or what – SecondLie is gets a little murky.  Is he somehow a shadowy employee who seems to know more than he should?  A virtual world version of Deep Throat?  Or is he simply a wise ass and incisive critic of all things related to Second Life?  While the identity of SecondLie may be unclear, the reality is that there are often some kernels of truth buried deep within his tweets; I found our conversation to be no different.

If you don’t follow SecondLie on Twitter, here are some examples of recent posts:

  • “LL Support Staff wants in on this RP stuff. Users must now use ‘/me’ for all trouble tickets & in Live Chat, funny voices for phone contact.”
  • “Group voting will be removed in 1.23. It will be replaced by group bickering, fussing, and general apathy.”
  • “We’re pleased to announce the hire of Spam Linden. He’s based out of Nigeria, has no bear yet, but can make your boobs bigger & penis longer.”

I was able to meet with SecondLie Scribe on a bright sunny day on the beach outside my house.  Read what SecondLie had to say about porn, Gorean equality, Lorne Greene and the importance of laughter after the jump…

Charlanna Beresford: Hi!

SecondLie Scribe: Hello there.

Charlanna Beresford: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat; I know you must be so very busy.

SecondLie Scribe: There are only so many hours in the day, even if I keep hitting World – Environment Settings – Sunrise.

Thankfully, there is a capable staff that is highly skilled at making mistakes around the clock.   No need for one person to do them all.

We’re working on making these beaches more realistic. The logoff process will include ten minutes of getting sand out of your clothes in the next version.

Charlanna Beresford: It must be fun to have a feeling of omnipotence in SL! Are there any things you find more tempting to do than others?

SecondLie Scribe: Looking at everything around me, I find it extremely tempting to close the viewer and fire up World Of Warcraft. Problem is, they have large axes there and they really, really hurt.

Charlanna Beresford: But couldn’t you just go to a Gorean sim here and do the same thing?

SecondLie Scribe: I’m not a fan of the Goreans. I believe in equality for all. So when I see women being treated like property and so badly by men, I want to stand up and say “This is wrong! The men should be treated shabbily too!” Thank goodness we have Customer Service for doing just that!

SecondLie Scribe: It’s kinda hot out here. I should have worn sunblock.

At this point in the interview, Secondlie rezzes a plywood cube and places it on his head.

SecondLie Scribe: There.

Charlanna Beresford: Lovely! What’s the SPF of plywood?

SecondLie Scribe: Several million, I think.  The SPF of various clothing layers is in the next release, you know. If you get too much sun, you get skin cancer. Although it’s not so bad in SL to get it, since people go through so many skins.  But what do I know? I thought Ban de Soleil was some kind of activist movement trying to ban some guy named de Soleil.

Charlanna Beresford: So, what brought you to Second Life?

SecondLie Scribe: The Trademark policy. Linden Lab went from encouraging the use of their logo and trademarks to protecting them vehemently. Years of free marketing, advertising, and good will down the drain. A lot of businesses wasted a lot of money and effort in having to rebrand themselves.

Because of the lack of response and openness with the blogging community, a blogger’s strike was called. But nobody said “Don’t bitch about it on Twitter.” From that, I was born. I recruited a rather snarky malcontent of a blogger, then made them recruit other bloggers to be a part of my collective madness.

The goal was to construct a personality like Bob Zmuda and Andy Kauffman did with Tony Clifton – both of them could “run” Tony at an appearance and honestly deny being Andy or Bob. Identity in Second Life (and Twitter) can be so fluid. I’m the same appearance, the same look, the same feel no matter who has their hand up my ass at the time. Oh, sure, people think I was unmasked last year, but that group left and a new group has come together to do my bidding. In fact, maybe you’re one of me?

Charlanna Beresford:  But what makes you keep doing your thing?

SecondLie Scribe:  Oh, believe I’ve tried to leave. But in the end, I have nowhere else to go.  I tried Club Penguin, and so – I clubbed a penguin. BIG mistake.   Fled to World Of Warcraft. Hey, I’m a lover, not a fighter. There’s mages… thieves… priests… fighters… no lovers classes. Pirates of the Caribbean was cool, but have you ever tried to book a first class ticket on a pirate ship? The food SUCKS. And the parrot kept crapping on my shoulder. Lord of the Rings wasn’t any good, either, although when you’re a hobbit you don’t need to use your camera to upskirt the elves.

I went from world to world, but I kept coming back here. Folks say I’m in danger, but from what? I’m parody. I’m Fair Use. I’m protected, baby.

Charlanna Beresford: With so much to do and oversee, there must be some things that get really frustrating. Does anything really pop to mind as your greatest frustration?

SecondLie Scribe: Greatest frustration?  Well, we’re trying to prove that this thing works for businesses, so we use it for our own meetings, productivity suites, collaboration efforts, and so on…The concept is called “Eating your own dog food.”  Well you know what? DOG FOOD TASTES LIKE CRAP! UGH!

Charlanna Beresford: But you have such shiny hair and white teeth!

SecondLie Scribe: Wonderful. Let me know when Lorne Greene logs in.

Charlanna Beresford: Wait, isn’t Lorne Greene dead?

SecondLie Scribe: If he’s dead, he’ll just respawn at his home location.

Charlanna Beresford: What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Second Life at the moment?

SecondLie Scribe: I think the greatest challenge is adult content pornography, and sexually explicit material.  There just isn’t enough. People need to stop making all these useful medical simulations, educational builds, and collaborative conference systems and get back to the foundations of the internet – peddling smut. We’re never going to get press coverage with the useful stuff. The press eats up the crazy freaky junk. So, make more!

Charlanna Beresford: If you don’t mind, I’m sure everyone would be curious to know a little more about you. Like what do you like to do if you’ve got free time in-world?

At this point in the interview, SecondLie suddenly disappears for a few minutes.

Charlanna Beresford: Welcome back!

SecondLie Scribe: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

SecondLie Scribe: Just demonstrating our latest improvement to the system to reduce the number of crashes. Right before you’re about to crash, we disconnect you. No more crashes!

Charlanna Beresford: That sounds very useful!

SecondLie Scribe: It provides excellent metrics that we can use to dupe the investors.

Charlanna Beresford: But back to just before we were, um, disconnected. Did you see the question about what you like to do with free time in-world?

SecondLie Scribe: My favorite thing to do with my free time is complain about the stuff I do when I have no free time. Which is no different than when I am busy, but I’m usually drunker when I’m on the clock. It’s easier to watch the clock when you see two of them.

Charlanna Beresford: Do you ever get chance to build and create content in SL?

SecondLie Scribe: The only content I create is discontent.

Charlanna Beresford: I was looking at the forums the other day and I noticed that there was just a little bit of discontent. You must be having some success then.

SecondLie Scribe: Entirely by accident. Success is not a steering principle these days. I deny any claim to it.  If it happened on my watch, I was totally not responsible for it. I’d rather stick my head inthe sand.

Charlanna Beresford: I did notice that your neck seems rather long. Is that an evolutionary adaptation or just luck?

SecondLie Scribe: It’s my generous nature. Who am I to make the hangman’s job difficult?

Charlanna Beresford laughs, “Hangman? But isn’t that more of a WoW thing?”

SecondLie Scribe: Is it? I look in classifieds and see all the potential hang men. They say they are “well hung” and so on, I figure it’s a booming business here.  As it should. More press!

Charlanna Beresford: There have been so many articles about SL. Any favorites that you think REALLY capture the flavor of things?

SecondLie Scribe: Articles involve reading. Blech. I, for one, like all the lies that are spread around the press and media. Because it makes the dedicated users and residents react and shout out the truth. And no better testimonial comes from a passionate lunatic furry with ten piercings and a cybertail.

I think “The Ghost Of Ruth” by Kaklick Martin sums it up nicely.  Or is it The Ballad Of Ruth? One of those…but with these new puffy avatar clouds. One strong wind, and we lose all of our userbase!

Charlanna Beresford: Why not go back to Ruth, then?

SecondLie Scribe: Because people started to like her. Can’t have people liking stuff. GONE!  We’ll get rid of voting next. If folks want it back, they can vote to get it back.

Speaking of improvements… Sure, the Windlight water LOOKS great, but it tastes much much worse than the original water.

Charlanna Beresford: And Hippos, what about Hippos?

SecondLie Scribe: The hippos taste the same as always. Delicious!  Ten million things wrong with this place, and they want the hippos back. Crazy people here! We love them! We love their money, too!

Charlanna Beresford: You mentioned the passionate Resident community a minute ago. It seems like so many are starting blogs, Plurking, on Twitter and Facebook. Do you think it helps SL?

SecondLie Scribe: If they’re using “SL” then they’re hurting Second Life. It’s a valuable trademark, and we cannot allow such misuse of it. We’re working on taking the letters S and L out of alphabet soup, too.

Charlanna Beresford: I’m sorry, but I just noticed this. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a younger version of the preacher from Poltergeist 2?

SecondLie Scribe: Now you know why I have a bag over my head on Twitter. All those crazy fans saying “You know, I think that crazy preacher is sexy, but he’s just too darn old.” What a hassle!  I’m sure he has an unlisted number by now.

By the way, you have me to thank for the typing gesture. Mitch Kapor wanted it to be a telegraph sound and gesture.

Charlanna Beresford: Not filling out some sort of spreadsheet?

SecondLie Scribe: I told him two words: “Microsoft Excel.” That shut him up fast.

Charlanna Beresford: What do you think SL will be like in two years?

SecondLie Scribe: Where will it be in two years? That’s a good question. One that I have absolutely no hope in trying to sweep under the rug or dodging.  I honestly have no idea.

Charlanna Beresford: And where do you think you will be in two years?

SecondLie Scribe: On Twitter, driving just the right people crazy. The best thing about being me is that there’s more than one person behind me. We’re an example of crowdsourcing. When one has a funny idea, they post it. Others jump in. We riff off of each other. Different styles, different attitudes. So in two years, I think there will be so many people being me, the only residents of Second Life that aren’t me will be the Lindens themselves.  Because Twitter is simple, easy, and scalable. Second Life is not.

Charlanna Beresford: Couldn’t that end up being a bit like a dog chasing its own tail?

SecondLie Scribe: Doesn’t Carrie Tatsu make one of those at Zooby’s?  I want one! Not only would it be cool to look at, but I wouldn’t have to eat my own dog food anymore. I could give it to the dog!

Charlanna Beresford: So here’s the last question: When people have finished reading this interview, what would you most want them to know about SecondLie?

SecondLie Scribe: All of my selves have a simple core principle: we want to laugh at what doesn’t work, we want to laugh at what works, we want to laugh whenever we can. And we love it when others laugh. Laughter heals. (Of course, it doesn’t fix totally messed-up code.) Try not to take things too seriously. Otherwise, you’re just as screwed-up, crazy, and perverted as those jerks in the media say you are.

SecondLie Scribe: Now I have one question for you.

Charlanna Beresford: Yes, please!

SecondLie Scribe: We’re standing on a beach. And yet, you’re wearing six-inch long heels. ARE YOU INSANE?

Charlanna Beresford: Well yes, but at least I’m wearing a short breezy skirt, Mr. LongWoolPantsAndJacket.

SecondLie Scribe: Ah, but my client is set to Midnight. Nyah nyah. Einstein was right. Time is relative.

Charlanna Beresford: You’re related to Time? Can I have this hour back please?

SecondLie Scribe: Yes. In November. When Daylight Savings Time ends.

Charlanna Beresford: Thank you so much!  And thanks for the interview!

SecondLie Scribe: You’re most welcome. I am delighted you forced me into this madhole.

Charlanna Beresford: Force? Don’t you think coerce is a nicer word?  At any rate, thank you!

SecondLie Scribe: You’re most welcome. Now I wonder where there are people I can drive crazy…



  1. And don’t forget that Second Lie is a contributor to Prim Perfect Magazine.

  2. I’d contribute more often, but people haven’t been sending in Amuse Reports.

    Kinda sad, really.

  3. tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  4. Second life heels are *always* insane.
    I like to cam in behind them and watch people’s faces disappear.

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