Sunday, September 09, 2007

# Posted 3:14 PM by Taylor Owen  

SECOND LIFE? Few scenes better sum up the wondrous complexity of the evolving online world that the following paragraph from a Globe and Mail article on legality and justice in virtual online worlds:
Last year, Second Life claimed its first living, breathing millionaire, Ansche Chung, who had made $1 million US entirely by developing virtual real-estate and other investments, over the course of two years, from an initial investment of $10. Her in-game press conference was interrupted by a swarm of flying penises.
This is the new reality, and Second Life, Warcraft, etc, are just the tip of the iceberg.

One thing is becoming increasingly clear though, "second life" is a misnomer. The internet is not an alternative to life, it is life. It is us, in all our complexity, madness and brilliance, out in the open for all to see, critique and engage. No doubt that we are going to have to adapt, in some cases dramatically, our social and legal norms, built to moderate relatively innocuous forms interpersonal interaction.

But hey, I'm not sure the Craig press conference would have been that much more bizarre had it too, been interrupted by swarms of flying penises...
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

The G&M article seemed mostly focused on the "old SL" that really was aimlessness writ large, and it was obsessed by those who *would*not* defend their property when attacked. If nothing else, an avatar can be banned instantly by an island owner, or objects returned to them, or their builds excluded altogether.

Those who have a focused purpose inworld, as our team does, often have different attitudes. Our team works with NASA CoLab, in the Science Archipelago, called Scilands, to bring people inside and outside NASA together, to make faster progress in spaceflight possible. Some of them want to do some parts of training for real life (RL)in SL.

Our team's project at NASA CoLab is a 3 phase lunar base development. NASA CoLab got us land and resources to build the Phase I base, and we are now continuing on a nearby Island purchased by National Space Society, with Phases II and III.

Griefers have been a minor annoyance. I *have* had to use the banning function, but even that is not needed many times.

Last Sunday, a young avatar couple came to our island, while I was building one of the Phase II commercial modules. The male asked what it was about and we talked of it, though he seemed more interested in astronaut sex lives than spaceflight.

Then, at the prompting of the female, he pulled a knife, and said "since you've been a nice guy, even though I was going to cut you with this magic knife and drain your money, I'll just settle for the money, now."

I replied, "since you were OK till now, and even might become an informed person someday, if you'll be a good boy and put away that knife, you won't be banned!"


"I can do that."

He instantly folded, whereupon the female began a rant about how I'd "ruined everything", and "It's all just roleplaying pixels." I mentioned then that if it were RL, the young male would be dead on the floor by then. This did set off another discourteous rant by the lady. Still, they left.

Too many, in RL and SL, have the idea that courtesy is a nice appendage to living. In fact, courtesy is a *survival*skill*. Training oneself otherwise in SL is about as bad a misuse of it as I can imagine.

Still, if one shows one is *willing* to ban, it may not be needed. This is also similar to RL.

Later this month, I'll pull an SL security gig at the "Dawn" mission launch, on Explorer Island, also in Scilands. The enforcer down on the ground will be my patrol partner, a beautiful 9 foot long White Siberian Tiger. She's a sweet kitten, with a taste for griefer!


Sine Arrow
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