Friday, May 21, 2010


Tabitha Eichel made a great long comment on the Linden's drive to link our SL and RL identities, which was republished by Hamlet Au on his New World Notes blog. Here's the heart of the matter:
Why is it so hard for some people to believe that a large portion of the Second Life community is there for escapism and not to interact with real identities? This escape was what made Second Life desirable for many people. Not everyone is beautiful, popular, confident or whatever in the real world. There are many difficulties interacting with real people, that were negated in Second Life. It didn't matter what you looked like or where you were from. That made Second Life great for us.

But now, just like in real life, the beautiful, confident, fully-abled, popular people are calling the shots.
Quite right*, and it's why the Lindens are absolutely wrong to force this integration. Read the rest here.

I'm not quite as happy with the word "anonymity" though, because I think that our identities in SL are not truly anonymous but rather pseudonymous: I don't know the RL name of the person behind the SL avatar "Agatha Macbeth," but after talking to her for half a year, I feel that I know that person quite well.

We are not blank pages. We have identities in SL, we have reputations and histories and connections here. I'll expand on this idea later.

* I'm a bit uncomfortable with "escapism," but that may be just a question of vocabulary.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Dusan Writer wrote a really interesting piece about the direction that the Lindens seem to be taking SL: integrating it into our offworld-but-still-digital real lives. I find this direction really worrying, because I do not wish to have my lives commingled in this way. There are some people offworld whom I tell about my time in SL, just as there are some people inworld who have also met my meat avatar, but that's as far as it goes. Right now, I control who knows what about me, and I wish it to stay that way. The Lindens' new plan feels like it will take that out of my hands.

Augmentationism is one of a set of words describing people's opinions (or opinion-driven actions) about what SL is for. Augmentationists believe that so-called real life is the only valid reality, that anything that happens outside of RL cannot possibly be other than a more-or-less meretricious form of entertainment. Hence they believe that SL exists to enrich and enhance our offworld lives. They believe that SL has no separate existence, no culture of its own, and no community.

I suppose there's no reason why an augmentationist could not have a differently-gendered avatar or be another species, but those whom I have met tend to believe that these things are false, morally wrong. Some even reproduce their RL appearance in their avatar (though these too are often suspiciously tall and fit and beautiful).

(The opposite of augmentationism is immersionism, but that's a subject for another day.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010


There should be many of them. Yes.

Graphics preferences
Appearance editor

Actually, it's probably not a good idea to make a list of topics, let us rather let them arise as needed.