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I always have to smile a bit when I hear the term “Disneyfication” used with Second Life. Truth is, I’ve seen more than one official Disney build in Second Life, but that never opened or became public.

The term “Disneyfication”, in this case, refers to “the processes of stripping a real place or event of its original character and repackaging it in a sanitized format. References to anything negative are removed, and the facts are watered down with the intent of making the subject more pleasant and easily grasped.” (thanks Wikipedia for finding the right words for me).

The Lab has been accused of the progressive Disneyfication of Second Life, but what actually amuses me is that it is that very process that was apparently a key factor in keeping Disney out of Second Life.

You see, back at the time that some elements of Disney were looking at Second Life (in the post-Eisner era) with some interest and thinking about pitches and operational models, Second Life only had two ratings for content. All content was PG or Mature.

So, where’s the problem with that then?

Well, neither content rating matched the sort of ratings that you find with films. Second Life’s PG rating was actually milder than a movie G-rating, while Mature mostly covered everything over and above that, in one monolithic lump.

So, 95% (or more) of Disney’s bread-and-butter content would have violated Second Life’s PG community standards. The alternative would have been to set up shop under a Mature rating – which sends the wrong message for starters. Not to mention that either way, any Disney Second Life site would have needed a cadre of supervisors, 24×7 to keep an eye on users, dress, and conduct.

Even now, with the new ratings system (General, Moderate, Adult), Disney would still need at least a Moderate rating, on a par with SL’s burlesque clubs.

So, every time I hear about how Linden Lab is engaging in progressive Disneyfication of Second Life, I have to smile and think, “More Disney than Disney.”

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