Business in Virtual Worlds, Identity and Expression, Privacy and Protection, Second Life

Barbarians at the Gate: Policy in Virtual Worlds

OK…I had this stone in my shoe. I kept popping over to Pixels and Policy to see what was up and finding myself grindingly irritated. And I wrote the editor something along the lines of: stop posting provocative-sounding pieces with so little basis in fact. At which point I figured I’d call it a day and remove the site from my reader.

But phrases like the following on PixPol still jumped out at me:

- “Now, no one at Pixels and Policy believes Second Life will be dust in five years – Linden Lab is turning a profit off of its virtual playground, after all – but the era of rapid growth in active accounts may be drawing to a close.” (Um, we’re in a period of rapid account growth? Damn. I missed the rush!)

- “Even the Navy’s project – complete with nuclear submarines and some cool lookout points – is doomed to the footnotes of Second Life history. In over a dozen visits this week, no one was ever there. Its foot traffic hardly ranks in Second Life’s search feature. For corporations and ambitious government bureaucrats, every business is an island. ” (All of which presumes, of course, that traffic is why the build is there in the first place).

- “Second Life players” (The gravest sin of all is to call the Residents or users of Second Life players).

But then it struck me as incredibly unfair. As much as the PixPol posts seem to have a lot of, well….misguided opinion….the reality is so are my own. Now, mind you, I spent a year in Second Life before I started posting random thoughts, and another year before I posted anything that came close to being a statement of fact rather than some highly footnoted speculation, but still. Even now, I don’t claim to actually KNOW very much, or if I make those claims I try at least to make them with reservations.

So I started writing a longer response to one of the posts, and the longer post turned into a rant, and then after a pause I decided that it’s far better to have intelligent voices in the metaverse than not, even if those voices are a little wobbly at times, or I disagree with their slant. The more voices the better, and we can always self-correct as we go.

So in that spirit, I edited my rant and sent it along. It covers my own view of the policy issues in virtual worlds, and gives a bit of a status update on where Linden Lab is at with governance of Second Life.

You can read my post here.

Oh, and as the editor of PixPol said in relation to my posting: “We’ll see what kind of readers we can attract to the Dusan Writer Web site”….so…well, welcome all you new readers. :)


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