As you may remember, last July I announced my decision to leave virtual worlds. You may have missed this due to that announcement being contained in several threads being cleaned up by Elenia, including my replies to the earlier horrible messages of hate.  My decision was due to several reasons. However, I was not aware that I would hear only a week later that InWorldz servers would be shut down. But when that happened, I felt an obligation to both Elenia and to the people of InWorldz to do whatever I could to help capture as much content as possible, and help get that to the content owners.

Later, after the community contributed generously and offered such incredible support for restarting a grid on new servers, I was again drawn in to continuing to do what I could to help.

And that was to do a lot. A lot of the old procedures and files were lost, because we were so focused on trying to save the contents of about a thousand user regions. The templates we used to allocate new regions, the “places” map website, the CloudIDE, DreamShare and InShape servers, asset servers, inventory servers, and setup and configuration for the central grid services and all regions, and a lot more. We saved as much of the region content as possible, but as I’ve said before, the house was on fire and we only had time to grab a few things and get out before it was all gone.

So almost everything needed to be rebuilt, on new and different servers, new asset and database servers, and new procedures and code. And my assistance and recommendations to Elenia for product offerings on AWS, new code (including the “app” website) and opt-in policies and supporting code for ensuring strict protections for creators and their creations.

It’s been a very demanding unpaid second full-time job, on top of my very demanding regular day job. Not so much due to residents’ demands, but due to my personal desire to ensure that the work is done as fully and professionally as possible, given limited time and resources, but still a solid and expansible foundation for Elenia to use going forward.

It’s been very hard on me physically. I’m 56 years old and I can’t stay up until 3am or later every night trying to get things done, and then make it into my day job before 9am where I then lead a team working (for the Department of National Defense on a Canadian Navy base) developing server/client software that manages all networking and communications on Navy ships. If you think InWorldz or Islandz is a high-pressure, high-demand working environment, you should try a meeting with Navy commanders and NATO representatives. It should be obvious that this work duality is something I could only keep up for a limited time.

Today, I am sick at home, headaches and other problems. A lot of the things that keep me healthy have been shelved temporarily for a productivity burst that has now lasted six months.

To keep doing this also takes an emotional foundation which has been rocked repeatedly since the summer. First with the unspecified accusations from Mike, Misty and Benski that I am Very Bad for the grid, and that they won’t be part of a world were I have a role. This led to my decision in July (which has been delayed but at no time did I consider reversing that decision). There have also been a couple of somewhat toxic members of the community who try to achieve personal goals through attempts at bullying, shaming and intimidation of other residents. We are all supposed to be adults here and Elenia is trying to keep drama to a minimum and does not wish to apply discipline in these specific cases, even temporary timeouts, so that aggression takes its toll on a few targets including me.  It adds to the emotional burden and adds to the questioning of life goals and how this aids my attempts to reach them. (I only have one, and that is to be happy, and this kind of completely needless conflict does not contribute to that goal and has led to me questioning why I am still here.)

I will never work in a more challenging job, be it paid or unpaid (and for the record I haven’t received a penny since May or June, instead contributing to the GoFundMe and occasionally paying for some Islandz services myself) nor will I, in spite of this effort and workload and recent accomplishments, need to face accusations that I am harming the grid or virtual worlds. I don’t need to accept this; folks, if you can only criticize when someone is volunteering to help you resolve a problem, you should take a step back to look at your own sense of entitlement.

On Monday, my 91 year old mother is having eye surgery on her only good eye. She is already today legally blind but still capable of living mostly independently. She has no short term memory, and combined with blindness, it means notes and signs to jog her memory are less than ineffective. I will be staying with her Sunday night to get her to surgery early in the morning, and all day Monday and then overnight again. My sister will take over Tuesday, and my brother has taken Wednesday off to drive from New Brunswick to take care of her that day. We will take turns, supplemented by a personal care worker when we need a break.  The recovery could take 3 weeks or more, and at her age likely to be problematic in her proper care. She may need a second surgery after a few weeks. There are many care-related calls and probably moving to deal with there. So on top of everything else, I have that to take care of too.

I have been scrambling to get complex creator-filtered OAR file loading completed as quickly as humanly possible, before the surgery. That OAR work is by far the most thorough attempt to recover content ever, while also being the most thorough protection of creator content and intellectual property (copyright) protection ever.

So I really have no idea why the Creator’s Guild folks wouldn’t be thrilled with the protections implemented; it is miles beyond anything any other grid has provided, including Second Life.  Except perhaps that their demands to only allow restores that don’t include any of their assets have delayed our ability to deliver the OARs, and also rendered the OARs nearly worthless in some cases. They may be angry that they will be getting exactly what they asked for, opt-in only for all assets leaving InWorldz (which includes loading on Islandz).  Or perhaps just convinced by others that something was wrong, that we wouldn’t protect them, themselves victims of the propaganda campaign of character assassinations.

The negativity towards me personally may also be because Tranq abandoned InWorldz and didn’t tell anyone (especially me) and I eventually clued in and filled that leadership void without his public acknowledgement; both the leadership vacuum and my picking up the ball (with both Elenia’s and his private approval) created technical issues as well as drama.  Months ago, I delegated management of the Halcyon project to Ricky, who has been instrumental in helping fill the vacuum left by Tranq there. He is also very professional and diplomatic in his approach, and is a wonderful contributor to the project. Behind me (appurist), he (kf6kjg) has been the second-most active contributor to Halcyon and related projects.

And while there are many very positive and wonderful people in the Islandz and wider virtual work community, it is also so disappointing to spend every waking moment volunteering all this work for others only to end up with so many who are unsatisfied and have the nerve to claim it isn’t enough. (Well, it’s true, it’s not enough. That’s why the work items needed to be triaged, prioritized and noted for later, and dealt with in order as time and resources permit.) But to those people I will just say that it has been far more than my fair share, and it has been far, far more than those who have been critical contributed (combined). I will judge my performance over the last six months, and last 8 years, as exceptional and look back with pride on what was accomplished.

For now, my mom’s health and needs come first, then Leanna and my family, then my full-time day job. Going forward I will continue to contribute to Islandz and Halcyon where I can, when I have time. This means advising Elenia, doing behind the scenes work (oar exports, maps, etc), enhancing the app (e. g. new user registration and region orders come to mind) and contributing advice and fixes to the Halcyon server team.

What I won’t be doing is actively participating in ongoing Islandz #General Discord discussions etc. I certainly won’t be doing anything with support issues such as region reports. (This includes private messages to me that bypass issue reporting, things like region performance, regions down, crossing issues, etc.) Elenia and Mai have been taking care of those for years, and they need to be aware of all reports, and I need to focus my limited time.

Islandz needs your support to survive. The servers are still expensive, and to even get through the month, Elenia has needed to cut a few corners. If Islandz can grow, fewer corners will need cutting, performance and features will improve. (You still need to report serious performance issues so she can check, such as sluggish walking and errors, but for percentage decreases in performance such as drops in the stats reported, know that it will get better when the number of regions grows to 80 or 100.) Amazon has server instance limits she is working on getting raised, it’s just not there yet.  If you stick with it, it will get better. Unlike InWorldz on Rackspace, there’s a solid foundation now, still missing a few things, but ready to build upon.

Be kind to each other. Everyone is hurting and disappointed.  Many have left and many others will leave, but this work has been applied in order to give those who stay something solid to build on.