For a while now, the press, tired of talking about "sex" and "freaks" and "addiction" and "escapism", and, later, after a couple of years of talking about "business", have found a new way of misinforming the public: now the 7.7 million users of Second Life are portraited as criminals.
This is a new phase of the press. Probably they think that they can indeed insist on this new theme to gather the attention of their readers. After all, if sex doesn't sell a story, crime is the next best thing. And thus we're now labelled as people engaged in all sorts of criminal activities: from paedophilia, to gambling, to exploitation. There hardly isn't something every week to make the press happy — from the Bragg vs. Linden case to the German government's allegations that Linden Lab has to control content better (Linden Lab, in fact, is considering giving RL governments the necessary tools to enforce this — which might be far more important to stimulate growth in countries like China than Germany, anyway), to all sorts of scams and dubious business surrounding the World Stock Exchange or other SL-financial institutions, or pure and simple content piracy (always a recurring topic). Get a grumbling resident on an interview, and they'll have a story to tell. In a world where journalists hardly require to verify their sources (they can always apologise after the fact and retract their words), this is starting to worry 99.9999% of all residents, who definitely are far from being anything but "criminals", but are all thrown into the same bag by the ever-stereotyping media.
Well, it's time to fight back. And this is what Mario Gerosa/Frank Koolhaas is promoting: the Stop the SL Criminalisation campaign. His purpose is very simple, in his own words:
These days the italian press is representing SL as a bad and dark world.
I don't subscribe to this point of view. As I say in my book SL is very eclectical, art oriented and full of creative people. Don't let that a few people destroy the reputation of this world!
Let's fight the crimes in Second Life but let's also contribute to know this world better!
For this reason, I launch a campaign against the criminalization of SL and I invite all the ones who read to send me a photo of their avatar like the one I posted, taken in Imogen (227, 253, 28).
It's not only the Italian press doing this, of course. Thus his campaign might be well worth considering as a worthwhile endeavour — world-wide. All it requires is taking a picture and mentioning it to anyone who asks the infamous question: "Is it true that Second Life is a world of crime?" Which it most certainly is not.