Ban for group membership?

Before I go any further with this post I just want to make something clear: I absolutely agree with the idea that the owner of a private estate, or even a plot anywhere, has the first and last say on who gains entry. I own a business in SL, I own land in SL, I fully expect to be able to say who can and can't have access and I fully support anyone else's right to do so -- even if I think their decisions are totally wrong.

Earlier today I saw something that worries me a little, it's something I'd never seen before in SL. That's not to say that it doesn't happen -- I have little doubt it does -- but it's the first time I've seen it displayed in a location I go to.

I was at a sim that has a sign up displaying disapproval of a BDSM-related practice and saying that it's unwelcome on the sim. Now, of course, that's fine. Here at Raven Park we've got a few rules too; it's rare to have a hangout or playground that doesn't have some rules. Moreover, personally, the practice in question isn't one I have much like for either and I have some sympathy with disallowing it on a sim (I won't go into details but it's worth pointing out that it's nothing terrible, it's just a style of domination).

What it is doesn't matter too much. What bothered and concerned me is that the sign said that people would be banned even if they were a member of a group, or had a profile pick, that related to the practice. I'm not quite sure what to make of that. Personally, for me, that oversteps a mark that shouldn't be overstepped. It's one thing to say "please don't do X on this sim", that makes sense, it's another to say "if we even think you might have an interest in X, we'll ban you". It might be that it's more by accident than design but... it comes over more than a little Orwellian.

I suppose this does, in some way, raise a number of questions about how we see ourselves in Second Life and how we portray ourselves. Few would have a problem with a "no nudity" rule, or a "no childlike avatars" rule, etc... Those things are easy to police and, even if you disagree with the rule itself, you can generally appreciate that the sim owner doesn't want these things on their sim. The same goes with how you conduct yourself generally (how you conduct yourself in public chat, or how you IM people while there, etc...). But it's hard not to think of a profile as something else, something different. A profile is something others have to go out of their way to read, something others have to decide to read. I'm more than happy to change my clothing to conform with a sim's rules. I'm not sure I like the idea that I should hide groups and profile picks for the same reason.

Potentially banning someone because you've read of an association of theirs, in their profile... I'm struggling with that idea. I'm struggling with it a lot.

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