To Thine Own Self Be Zoo

Volume 1
Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4
Issue 5
Issue 6
Issue 7
Issue 8
Issue 9
Issue 10
Issue 11
Issue 12
-Issue α-

Volume 2
Issue 1
Issue β

Volume 1,
Issue α

Wish Knots

Hal, Mindy, Ice Pick

VR Policy Minutes


VR Policy Minutes

Persons present are Mr McKinney, Ms Hall, Mr Richards, Mr Schwartz, Ms Foster, and transcriptionist Ms Fuller. Meeting taking place in the Svarga conference room in the Mag Mell wing in the Vanaheimr building with all parties in person. The door is closed with the sound proofing indicator indicating that no sound is capable of exiting the room. Electronic devices have been turned over to Mr Sullivan-Vasquez who stands guard outside. No persons have brought any notes on paper. No persons save for myself transcriptionist Ms Fuller have brought any means of marking notes. The meeting begins at 7:01 AM.

McKinney: “Okay, thank you everyone, for taking the time to be here. I want to begin by saying that everything is ahead of schedule for the next quarter’s content, so a big round of applause to Mrs Harris’s team for helping us with that.”

Clapping from McKinney, Hall, Richards, Schwartz, Foster.

McKinney: “Taking advantage of this extra time that we might have on our hands, we want to start looking ahead to the following quarter. We had already planned big updates on audial haptics.”

McKinney gestures to Hall.

Hall: “Yes, everything in the labs has been, phenomenal, when it’s working. I know some of you have been up to try it out. It makes the immersion in battlefields, doesn’t it?”

Hall gestures to Richards.

Richards: “I have never felt so much like I was there. It doesn’t even seem like a game anymore. The um. The non-battlefield context demo was also remarkable. The, shouting, argument one.”

Hall: “Yes! Oh you tried that one?”

Richards: “Yes, I know the role fanatics are going to love it. Love it.”

Hall: “Have you tried it?”

Hall gestures to Schwartz.

Schwartz: “No.”

Hall: “Come on up any time.”

Schwartz: “It’s a little outside of my function.”

Hall: “Anyways. McKinney.”

McKinney: “Right, thank you. Big updates for the quarter after this upcoming one are audial haptics, a new 70s disco environment, a new Ancient Greece beach environment, and of course a wealth of new outfits and hair styles as always.”

Laughter from Richards and Schwartz.

McKinney: “But, since we’re looking at possibly an extra month of development cycles, we have the freedom to bring something new and unexpected to the relevant quarter. My understanding, unless something has changed since early yesterday, is that, Richards, you are proposing that we add bestiality content, into the experience.”

Sighing from Schwartz.

Richards: “Correct. That is still what I am proposing.”

Foster leans far back in her chair and begins flicking a fidget device in her right hand.

Richards: “Historically, you know, when we’re racking our brains for ideas on what to add in, we look to our most dedicated fans, one large subsection of those being the modding community. Based on the popularity of downloads and installs of those, it’s a very reliable indicator of what content people may feel is missing from the experience, what fixes they may want, what they feel should be expanded upon. At launch, the very idea that we would have sex in the experience at all was something we had decided against, but, over the years, it became clear the demand could not be higher, and Schwartz was able to get us through the legal aspects of endorsing sex as a part of the as-sold experience with no mods needed. And it could not have been better for sales or for community engagement. But, obviously we went after, you know, the” (Richards makes air quotes) “biggest slice of the pie first, with straight, gay, and bisexual, vanilla as most people would say, humanoid sexual situations. And we’ve added to it piece by piece, you know, bondage was a very head scratching one to pull off in VR, but, McKinney, the community is generally very pleased with what you and your team managed to come up with for that. And, if we’re looking again at the modding portion of the community, bestiality is the most popular mod category that is not yet actually implemented in the game.”

McKinney: “Most popular that we’re actually considering. I assume we’re not considering underage.”

Richards: “Beast is actually more popular than underage. There was a spike in underage a while ago but generally beast has always been more popular of the two.”

McKinney: “Oh.”

Schwartz has put his head down and is rubbing his temple.

McKinney: “So, I guess, Richards, you are the proponent of this, as the Chief Community Engagement Utopiist. What’s on the table here, what content are we proposing gets added?”

Richards: “Well, at a most basic level, currently animal models in the experience are intentionally sexless, and the first place we would have to begin with is adding detail to the genital regions of existing animal models.”

Schwartz continues hanging head and stroking temple.

Schwartz: “We can do that.”

Foster continues leaning back and using fidget device.

Foster: “That’s fine.”

Richards: “And then we would add in the ability for humanoid models and animal models to interact sexually.”

Schwartz: “No.”

Foster: “Absolutely not.”

McKinney gestures to Schwartz.

McKinney: “Hang on, hang on. Let’s let him get through all of what’s being proposed.”

Hall: “I love it.”

McKinney: “Richards?”

Richards begins counting on his fingers.

Richards: “Adding detail to animal genital regions, adding humanoid-animal sexual interaction, adding animal-animal sexual interaction, adding animal mating routines into environments with animals, adding role sequences for humanoid-animal dating. Those would be the goals for content additions on this topic of bestiality.”

McKinney: “Hall, you think this is good?”

Hall: “I think it’s great. My department will be bored because I’d imagine we can already entirely use existing sounds for this, but just as someone with friends who play, I know people who would love this.”

McKinney: “Okay. There were some objections?”

McKinney gestures to Foster.

Foster: “Detailed animal genital regions or scripted animal mating routines are fine. Both of those together and or any of the other items absolutely cannot be included in the experience.”

McKinney: “Give us your perspective on why that is.”

Foster: “How much time you got?”

McKinney: “Until eight, if it’s important we can go over and I can reschedule my eight.”

Foster stops using the fidget device. Foster looks around at McKinney, Hall, Richards, Schwartz, transcriptionist Fuller.

Schwartz continues hanging head and stroking temple.

Richards looks across the table past Hall at the opaque light window.

McKinney and Hall return Foster’s eye contact.

Foster: “Adding detailed animal genitalia, or adding noninteractable animal mating behavior that doesn’t involve detailed genitalia, would be fine on the grounds of realism and non-erasure, while having both, and or any of the other proposed items, would bring this into the territory of pornography and encouragement of harm.”

Schwartz continues hanging head and stroking temple. With other hand, without looking up, Schwartz gestures to Foster.

Schwartz: “Legally, agreed.”

Hall: “Half the use case of the experience is pornography at this point, might I mention.”

Foster: “Not like this.”

Schwartz: “Exactly.”

McKinney: “What is the characteristic difference between this and the BDSM stuff?”

Foster: “Consent.”

Schwartz: “Right.”

Foster: “Obscenity.”

Schwartz gives a finger gun gesture to Foster.

Foster: “How this will come off as an endorsement or an attack on other communities.”

Schwartz gives a thumbs up gesture to Foster.

McKinney: “So there are sensitivity and legal concerns.”

Foster: “Big time.”

Schwartz: “There are.”

McKinney: “Are there further legal obstacles?”

Schwartz: “There is not enough of a precedent to say whether this type of content would be allowed in any of the regions we operate in.”

McKinney: “What do you mean not enough of a precedent?”

Schwartz: “I mean, no one has tried to make virtual bestiality porn experiences on a commercial scale as big as ours, and I can’t tell you that we won’t find ourselves without a product when we release that update.”

McKinney: “Well, wait wait wait, wasn’t. What was your mantra when we were adding gay stuff, initially, and a lot of the bondage? The law is the law, and the law is meant to bend to free expression.”

Schwartz: “That is a mangled version of what I said, but yes, it was to that effect.”

McKinney: “Is this actually different?”

Schwartz: “The difference is that in this case I don’t know. I. Don’t. Know. I. Okay. I.”

McKinney: “So it’s not legal or illegal?”

Schwartz: “Correct to an extent, although it depends on the region. Across all applicable regions, we are inviting legal liability.”

Schwartz slides his hand off of his temple, and sits back upright.

Schwartz: “This meeting is not illegal, I don’t mean to imply that us discussing the concept of adding it to the software is illegal. You all can talk about it all you like. What I can do is listen, and then, if we are going to go ahead with this, in my own time, when I have my resources at hand, I can begin attempting to prepare a report on the legal roadmap ahead of us, if we did go ahead with this. I’m not saying the legal challenges would be impossible. I am saying that they are present, and that, professionally, I can’t tell you that this is wise.”

McKinney: “I’ve heard that, that’s lawyer talk for yes.”

Laughter from Hall and then from Richards.

McKinney: “I mean, you sound pretty against it from a legal point of view, is there anything to discuss at all, or is this your personal opinion?”

Schwartz: “I don’t have personal opinions Mr McKinney. My professional statement is to caution you that doing this would present legal challenges that I am professionally averse to.”

Hall: “I still like it.”

McKinney: “Um. Foster, you raised three items.”

Foster: “Yes I did.”

McKinney: “Consent.”

Foster: “Yes.”

McKinney: “It’s software.”

Foster: “It’s software we have made a point of making comply with consent or any sexual encounter terminates.”

McKinney: “Right, but, since it’s software, we have made consent more clearcut to achieve and more lenient to maintain.”

Foster begins using her fidget device.

McKinney: “In a simulated scenario, is it so impossible to imagine what consent cues would look like? We came up with it for that deaf mute character.”

Foster: “Very different.”

Richards: “The community is aware of our consent policy, and the more vocal opinion is agreement with it, but, there are extensive writings people have done outlining how they think our policy on consent could reasonably apply to animals. That people agree to, whether or not they agree it applies to real animals, the general consensus is that in VR consent cues could be made by animals that would align with our policies just fine. I find it persuasive. You know, in, a platformer, you have your first obstacle that teaches you you need to jump, and, piece by piece, shows you the mechanics and how to figure them out. In an animal dating scenario, we would be able to teach our mechanics of consent, what to look for in the animal, how to obtain it, and just like a humanoid interaction, losing it would end the interaction.”

Foster: “The point of the consent mechanic in the first place is to make players not completely lose sight of how such ideas are relevant to real life.”

Richards: “The community would argue that you would know in real life very quickly if you haven’t gained consent with an animal, based on our mechanics.”

Sighing from Foster.

Richards: “If you haven’t gained consent with an animal or that you haven’t gained consent with an animal, whichever way you feel is prudent to put it.”

McKinney: “The next issue you raised, Foster, after consent, was obscenity.”

Foster: “My vocabulary to describe that point sensitively is lacking.”

Laughter from McKinney and Richards.

Foster: “I know, I know, Chief Sensitivity Utopiist. Obscenity may not be the right word exactly, but, image, impression, very bad. Very nausea-inspiring. I’m. Choosing not to use some words that are coming to mind. Filthy, beyond what a large portion of our userbase would consider acceptable.”

Richards: “That is not what my data finds.”

McKinney gestures to Richards.

McKinney: “Well, hang on.”

McKinney gestures to Foster.

McKinney: “What is the worry there?”

Foster: “It’s the least of my points. But as it stands we have skated above the tide on being transgressively sex positive, and I have reservations that this would tank us into being regarded as immoral.”

McKinney: “Richards?”

Richards gestures to Foster.

Richards: “I will acknowledge that global public perception is more your wheelhouse than mine. My impression of our existing, very large fanbase, is that it would be celebrated. And be very good for existing user engagement and userbase growth.”

McKinney: “The third item you brought up, Ms Foster, was that this might be seen to be in support of or in defiance of some groups?”

Foster: “Very much so.”

McKinney: “Do you have some examples?”

Foster: “Very directly it would be seen to be in support of real life zoophilia.”

Hall gestures to Foster.

Hall: “I’m gonna stop you right there, I don’t see any reason we shouldn’t endorse real life zoophilia.”

Laughter from Richards.

Hall gesticulates.

Hall: “I’ve got kinky friends! A member of my direct family is a zoophile and he seems cool to his dog wife!”

Foster drops her fidget device.

The fidget device remains on the floor.

Richards: “To Ms Hall’s point, supporting zoophilia is maybe not the worst thing in the world. Like I said, I’ve read a lot of posts of people talking about this. These are. Well. From some I see why you have reservations, I’ll say that first. But a lot of these people, my impression, is that they’re just people trying their best to be decent, in a world that hasn’t given them the tools it gives others, to learn how to be decent. Maybe we could be a part of that.”

Foster: “I disagree with that. And I disagree that this is the most productive use of our company’s time and efforts, if the goal is cultural uplifting.”

Richards: “I disagree. I think it’s a perfect use of our company’s time and efforts if the goal is cultural uplifting. These people are dying of being underserved.”

Hall: “They are. This would be very meaningful to them.”

Foster: “I haven’t conceded anything by the way, but just to get this last point out there to see if I’m completely alone.”

Schwartz: “You’re not.”

Foster: “Thank you, Mr Schwartz. Last point, point three part two, about how this will negatively impact other groups. There is a longstanding history of hateful talking heads making the argument that homosexuality, transgender, what have you, will lead to so much social collapse of morals that soon enough bestiality will become permitted. Given our reputation currently of being trangressively sex positive, we would be giving credence to all of those alarmist proclamations, tacitly saying they were right, undermining positivity on things we do endorse.”

Hall: “I don’t see it that way at all.”

Foster: “Is this your area of expertise, Ms Hall, Chief Sound Utopiist?”

Hall: “All I’m saying is my zoo friends are trans, they love themselves, I’m a lesbian, I love them. I think you’re coming from a place of giving those intentionally harmful talking points too much credit.”

Foster: “This would be a disaster caused by our company.”

McKinney: “What if.”

Hall: “I don’t. Sorry McKinney. Quickly, let me just say. Ms Foster, I don’t want to discount your perspective either. My trouble is your perspective seems to be harmful to people I care about in a way that I’m surprised to hear coming from you, expert on sensitivity. But, sensitivity doesn’t mean your job is to be a pushover, it is to stand up for the sensitive, many different varieties of the sensitive, each of which have their own sensitive areas, I know that, and, that’s what I’m wanting to acknowledge. I just wonder if there’s. Never mind. I apologize for my tone, that’s all.”

Foster: “Thank you, I appreciate that.”

McKinney raises his hand.

Hall: “Would you be willing to meet with my zoo friends, if they would be willing to have lunch some time?”

Foster: “No.”

Hall: “That is a blatantly disrespectful attitude from this company’s sensitivity expert and I will be making a big deal out of that.”

Richards: “McKinney, I think, has an idea.”

McKinney waves his raised hand.

McKinney: “What if we did everything with made up animals? A dragon-dog mix, a cybernetic horse, golem sheep or something like that? Would that work?”

Foster: “Yes.”

Richards: “Yes.”

Hall: “Yes.”

Schwartz: “Yes.”

Clapping from McKinney.

McKinney: “I’ll get to work on the drawings and the design considerations. Richards, email me which animals we most want versions of.”

Richards: “Dogs, but I will send you a more complete email with fantasy motifs that might be of interest as well.”

McKinney gives a thumbs up gesture to Richards.

McKinney: “Foster, please please please send me an email of stereotyping or cultural appropriations to watch out for here.”

Foster: “Already composing it in my head.”

Laughter from McKinney and Richards.

McKinney: “Hall, you think our current suite of sex noises will work?”

Hall: “More than likely, but I will ask my expert friends on the matter.”

McKinney: “Legal, any concerns with this approach?”

Schwartz: “If Ms Hall promises not to sample any sounds from real life material of bestiality, no concerns.”

Hall: “Fine.”

McKinney: “Alright! Very productive, glad we got there. Let’s get at it, team.”

Meeting ends.


Most within To Thine Own Self Be Zoo written by Eggshell Ghosthearth.

This website contains works of literature, including narrative fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Within this literature, any resemblances to any existing copyrighted materials, trademarks, or persons is completely coincidental, or is used for artistic purposes within the bounds of Public Domain, Fair Use, or Public Figure Status. Much of the literature on this site contains themes of sexuality, though is at no point intended to be pornographic. To Thine Own Self Be Zoo is a personal project and is not a for-profit endeavor.