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Old 03-20-2017, 12:52 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by louiegy View Post
Hi all,

Thank you for taking the time to read this message.

Just to quickly introduce myself; I'm a masters student in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. I'm a lifelong gamer with a particular interest in MMO's/virtual worlds.

I'm currently preparing a paper on the decolonisation of virtual worlds. Particularly i'm focusing on the history of SL, and what can be learned moving forwards as technologies like VR popularise online life even further.

I have always had a keen interest in SL, however having never dedicated myself to it, I have a few questions I was hoping the community might be able to clear up:

As far as I understand it, SL has age restricted places which came into place as it grew in popularity. From articles I have read and people i've spoken to, this seems to be due to Linden Labs wanting to make the world more 'business friendly'.

Following that, it seems lots of businesses, universities and other organisations established a presence in SL only to abandon it relatively quickly. This seems to have left a lot of the world unused, while I assume the age restriction has stayed in place.

Am I correct in saying this is what happened?

Many thanks for your replies in advance! And please if I have somehow got this all completely wrong, do let me know!

Louie.
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Originally Posted by Katheryne Helendale View Post
On the other hand, Eku raised a pretty good point. OP came, dropped off his question, left, came back to collect results, and really hasn't interacted with us otherwise. That kind of sours it for me.
I suspect it is because the op has no frelling idea what they are trying to say let alone attempt to write some sort of paper on. If you can't even attempt to investigate your chosen subject, then you deserve a big heaping helping of FAIL.

Also the bold part (my doing) is a serious WTF to me. I mean does the op even have a clue as to what words they are trying to use and their meaning or just hey, this word is long and sounds important so USE ALL THE WORDS!!

Quote:
Decolonization (US) or decolonisation (UK) is the undoing of colonialism, where a nation establishes and maintains its domination over dependent territories. The Oxford English Dictionary defines decolonization as "the withdrawal from its colonies of a colonial power; the acquisition of political or economic independence by such colonies.
I'm still trying to find out which nation made SL their colony, maybe the op could come back from their Dos XX buzz and clarify that.

Hell from an academical standpoint, the op's thesis is flawed from the start and any paper they turn in should be posted on the infobahn for all to read and mock. It takes like 10 minutes to make a surveymonkey form that would give a better foundation for a thesis than this poor journalistic excuse for an op-ed piece based on even more opinions and not first hand experience (of the op). This paper would at best be a he said she said dialog that probably would be thinly changed to make it sound as if it was a first hand account only they'd forget to find/replace in a few spots....

I'll go ahead and give you the final grade for your "paper"....

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Old 03-20-2017, 01:14 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Free Xue View Post
SL's future honestly rides on how a group of people on a web site talk about it
Said no one, at least in this thread.

What was said was that for being the SLUniverse, people around here seem to put a lot of zeal into cheering on its' demise as well as taking exorbitant pride in how long it's been since they deigned to log in and how they are ever so above it.

Caliandris' criticism is spot on.

Sorry.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:20 AM   #53 (permalink)
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I think I hear OP cutting / pasting the posts as we sit and wait.

If I lived next door to a city would I ask about it on a website or for free visit it? He says he's Been interested in SL but never spent the time -- probably never logged in.

Just has a conclusion in search of padding is my guess.

"For a virtual world to survive age restrictions don't work - they need diversity" blah blah
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:32 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
Said no one, at least in this thread.
Mm.

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If we want SL to survive, and I do, we have to interest other people in it, so that the people losing interest are replaced with others who see the possibilities in a virtual world you can create yourself, and that means being nice to anyone who is about to write a scholarly article about SL...
Interpret that however you want.

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Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
What was said was that for being the SLUniverse, people around here seem to put a lot of zeal into cheering on its' demise as well as taking exorbitant pride in how long it's been since they deigned to log in and how they are ever so above it.

Caliandris' criticism is spot on.
And so, what? Those with legit criticisms and concerns, anyone with anything nasty or denigrating to say about SL (even if it is POTENTIALLY TRUE), anyone bugged by being used, please keep it to yourselves so we don't frighten away the college kid who may write a paper quite nearly zero people will read?
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:39 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
What was said was that for being the SLUniverse, people around here seem to put a lot of zeal into cheering on its' demise as well as taking exorbitant pride in how long it's been since they deigned to log in and how they are ever so above it.

Caliandris' criticism is spot on.
This post makes me angry.

I've just made half a dozen attempts to reply to it but I'm finding it difficult to put together a cogent argument without getting uncivil. As such I will keep my reply brief.

Bullshit.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:48 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Free Xue View Post
And so, what? Those with legit criticisms and concerns, anyone with anything nasty or denigrating to say about SL (even if it is POTENTIALLY TRUE), anyone bugged by being used, please keep it to yourselves so we don't frighten away the college kid who may write a paper quite nearly zero people will read?
Who cares about the drive by? Do you think I do? I don't.

Show me where I said word one about the drive-by, being used, etc.

Go ahead ...I'll wait.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:56 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
Said no one, at least in this thread.
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Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
Who cares about the drive by? Do you think I do? I don't.

Show me where I said word one about the drive-by, being used, etc.

Go ahead ...I'll wait.
Since we weren't talking about you, and never were - go ahead and wait.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:38 AM   #58 (permalink)
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I suspect it is because the op has no frelling idea what they are trying to say let alone attempt to write some sort of paper on. If you can't even attempt to investigate your chosen subject, then you deserve a big heaping helping of FAIL.
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It's kinda hard to find the answers to things when you're not allowed to ask people who know.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:51 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
Thing is they don't NEED to ask questions. They can just go inworld and figure it out. Then, if things puzzle them they can visit a forum and ask their deeply philosophical questions about the SL gestalt (other questions are answered on Google).

So yeah, they get short shrift. Tough beans.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:41 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:13 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Thing is they don't NEED to ask questions. They can just go inworld and figure it out.
Now see there I HAVE to just flat out disagree with you. I dunno about you - but last time I took a little trip around where Linden Village used to be, all I saw was a whole lot of nothing - fields of empty parcels (I noticed some of them were set for sale, but only to Aimee Weber, which is weird but anyways) and a couple of empty clubs.

The old infohubs are no help either, as far as information goes. About the only thing you could ever actually learn within SL itself is how to use SL - how to change clothes, build things, and whatnot; the instructional places are still there IF you can find out about them. But aside from that? There is no central repository for information about Second Life, in Second Life. No cultural nexuses. Once there were, but no longer. There is nothing anywhere to tell you why SL is here, what it was originally hoped to be, who its pioneers were, or what they made. You would never find out there ever was a "Linden Village", let alone where it was, what used to happen there, or why it vanished. You might notice the names of the Color sims on the map, but you'll never find a clue to their significance. You can fly over Jessie all day long and never learn that at one time War Was Upon Us there, or the impact that event had on the young grid. You'll never learn about ad farms, or the Bay City land-spec crisis. Individuals might be keeping some bits and pieces of all this cultural history locked up or on display here or there on private parcels, but not anywhere a new person would ever have a reason to go and look for them.

And Google's not that big a help in this way either. Yes, I could probably do a Google search on AM Radio and find out about his amazing photogenic sims for example - but why would I, and how could I, if I've never heard of AM Radio or his sims? That stuff, you can only ever learn about, ever, by talking to SL users - assuming they tell you. Yeah okay, I'm as bored as you with the whole "why did you join SL? What do you get out of it? What do you do there? Who do you do it with? How do you think non-SL users feel about what you do?" thing that pollsters used to like to come in all the time with; I totally get it. But if someone comes up like "hey, I've noticed all these 'University of X' or science-agency sims that seem to be hanging around abandoned, what's the story with those anyway?", I don't mind spending some time to share that story.

I'm not saying everyone should if they don't want to obviously; I mean, do what you do, whatev. But since when were old(ER!) people so reluctant to talk about history of all things? I swear it's a condition I've never seen outside of SL forums.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:34 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
Now see there I HAVE to just flat out disagree with you.
And Google's not that big a help in this way either.
newp newp and newp...

firstly..
writing a thesis about anything to do with SL without going in and getting one's feet wet, is like a 30 year old virgin man writing about how multiple orgasms feel to women...
or perhaps like a teatotaller vegan writing about pairing wines with meat, fish and poultry

secondly...
may i draw your eye to #2 in the image below...




and last but not least.. LMGTFY is a treasure trove...
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:49 AM   #63 (permalink)
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First, let's please drop the idea that somehow only a structured list of questions in a survey counts as research. Another scientific method is to structure your observations and record the actions of your subject population.

The drive-by OP on the forum is neither of those.

This student is getting a masters in anthropology, and that field has guidelines on how you interact with a subject population -- that would be us -- and how you gather field data. He's basically asking us to do his background research, when he could read through any number of primary sources and get more verifiable results. (See Eku's post above)

"A bunch of people on the forum told me what happened 8 years ago" really doesn't cut it as valid data.

Perhaps we're just filler material for a more narrowly-scoped thesis built on data gathered elsewhere, or this just a throwaway paper that he really doesn't care much about. Either way he's interacting with a subject population in a careless matter that further erodes people's willingness to cooperate with studies.

In the entire history of SLU, we've had two or three researchers follow academic guidelines and present themselves in a professional manner, adhering to the standards and ethics of their field. This is not one of them.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:17 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Beebo Brink View Post
First, let's please drop the idea that somehow only a structured list of questions in a survey counts as research. Another scientific method is to structure your observations and record the actions of your subject population.

The drive-by OP on the forum is neither of those.

This student is getting a masters in anthropology, and that field has guidelines on how you interact with a subject population -- that would be us -- and how you gather field data. He's basically asking us to do his background research, when he could read through any number of primary sources and get more verifiable results. (See Eku's post above)

"A bunch of people on the forum told me what happened 8 years ago" really doesn't cut it as valid data.

Perhaps we're just filler material for a more narrowly-scoped thesis built on data gathered elsewhere, or this just a throwaway paper that he really doesn't care much about. Either way he's interacting with a subject population in a careless matter that further erodes people's willingness to cooperate with studies.

In the entire history of SLU, we've had two or three researchers follow academic guidelines and present themselves in a professional manner, adhering to the standards and ethics of their field. This is not one of them.
Bolded mine. There is absolutely no way of knowing what a representative sample we are (or aren't) without some damned structure to the whole thing.

Quite frankly, and much as I love us, there is NO WAY the OP could use any of the "material" on this thread without knowing something about those who provided it.

Which, if course, would mean *gasp* a survey or obtaining some data from us. After all.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:05 AM   #65 (permalink)
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He made some broad statements about his understanding of sl history and then asked exactly one question, "Am I correct in saying this is what happened? ". That is not a survey or a question that needs to representative.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:31 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Hi everyone,

First of all I'd like to apologise for my slow responses, and I do really appreciate the fact that you've all spent time replying to me and discussing with one another.

I feel like I need to clarify a couple of things, because there's obviously been some emotions rattled about my engagement (or lack of).

The main reason for the lack of activity is, yes, I am a student, but I also live in London and work 2 crappy jobs to pay the rent. One of which keeps me out until 3am most nights. Perhaps I underestimated the amount of interest my question might solicit, and I will certainly attempt to stay on top of that if anyone is interested in continuing this conversation. Again, my apologies to you all.

In regards to the thesis of my paper, Caete brought up the dictionary definition of decolonisation. I’m looking at this idea not from the idea of a nation state, but rather from that of neoliberal politics. When I look at the history of Second Life, what I see is something that started out as a communal project. A world dictated by the people living in it. Something full of experimentation and possibility. Virtual worlds much like the internet in general seem to carry this utopian promise. Now I am by no means saying this has entirely disappeared, and I’m sure many of you can point to a plethora of interesting things still happening in Second Life. However, it does seem that some of that ‘freedom’ - for lack of a better word - was curtailed to make Second Life appear more business friendly. This is, in a sense, a colonisation of Second Life by neo-liberal values. I imagine that as a community, Second Life residents are probably pretty sick of academics/journalists/etc fetishising certain communities such as furries, but the fact that all of this activity was ghettoised to an age restricted area seems very pertinent. Particularly as we live in an era where the world is becoming more racist, sexist, homophobic and so on. This is what I was trying to get at in my original question, although re-reading everything that has been said I believe I was too vague.

My paper is not so much about Second Life exclusively, but rather I see it as one very important development in the history of virtual worlds. What struck me when reading and looking at all the information available online about Sansar is the extreme normativity of it. The queerness inherent to early virtual worlds like Second Life seems to have entirely disappeared. Is this something that concerns you? It may not, and that’s ok. Personally it troubles me, as I believe virtual worlds will become ever more important as VR technology develops in the future, and automation of labour gathers pace.

I hope this has clarified somewhat where I am coming from.

Louie.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:04 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Thank you, louiegy, your clarification was very helpful.

If we approach your interests as a point of discussion, rather than a few throwaway questions for a vaguely described research project, then SLUers can defintely rise to the occasion.

Quote:
My paper is not so much about Second Life exclusively, but rather I see it as one very important development in the history of virtual worlds. What struck me when reading and looking at all the information available online about Sansar is the extreme normativity of it. The queerness inherent to early virtual worlds like Second Life seems to have entirely disappeared. Is this something that concerns you?
Yes, very much so. One of my major points of criticism of other virtual world projects -- such as Blue Mars -- was that avatar personalization was mundane and rigid, seemingly oblivious to the possibilities that VW technology provides in expressing queer gender diversity or even just reflecting the current range of even mainstream gender. This is my particular focus, which is very personal, but it applies to other aspects of unconventional expression as well. I'll leave those topics for others to comment on.

When even a game like Sims 4 has more overt recognition of individualism and gender bending than Blue Mars or Cloud Party, VW developers are falling well behind the curve of culture and innovation. Making avatar customization a low-priority "nice to have" feature speaks volumes of about their hide-bound assumptions and beliefs. So here they are, striving to create cutting-edge 21st Century technology with a 1950s mindset, which is truly pathetic. "Diversity in the workplace" is not just some PC window dressing, it speaks to broadening the creative arena in ways that benefit everyone. My wariness concerning Sansar is that so far all I've seen of it is golly-gee-whiz pretty pictures, as if that's the be-all and end-all of a new virtual world. The emphasis on one narrow aspect of a VW -- the visual impact -- always sends up a warning flag in my mind. This is eye-candy and nothing more. It's like a Hollywood spectacular with eye-popping special effects but no plot, no dialogue, and no character development.

The superficial can be fun, don't get me wrong, but there's only so much cotton candy one can eat. VWs should be able to deliver a three-course meal, but you need a chef to do that. VWs seem to be lacking that vision.

Linden Lab's early vision for SL was on entirely different lines, however, from what we're discussing here. The non-normative avatar customizations were more of an accident rather than an intentional design to express liberation from convention. LL was concerned with lofty goals of idealized virtual communities and yet has almost steadfastly ignored the "trivialities" of virtual individuals. They never made the connection that developing mechanisms of personal expression was fundamental to the communities people form. They couldn't even be bothered to refine options for privacy, safety, and group communications. They undermined their own goals and never understood why SL failed to realize its potential.

Ideally Sansar would show how much LL has learned from SL. They should have learned what truly interests and motivates people to come to virtual spaces, and what they need to develop the communities they inevitably strive to create. I'm not seeing any of that yet, not even a hint, from early promotions. So far, it's the same-old-same-old LOOK HOW PRETTY THIS IS! Look how realistic we can make virtual reality!

I'm waiting to see something more than a toy. It may be a long wait.

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Old 03-20-2017, 10:51 AM   #68 (permalink)
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"A bunch of people on the forum told me what happened 8 years ago" really doesn't cut it as valid data.
I didn't read it that way. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is simply trying to get his understanding of SL history straight, so he has some sort of context when he gets round to designing, conducting and interpreting his research, whatever it's about.

That's why I was prepared to reply as helpfully as I could.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:17 AM   #69 (permalink)
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Beebo Brink: Thank you for your really insightful message. I couldn't agree more with you on many points.

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They couldn't even be bothered to refine options for privacy, safety, and roup communications. They undermined their own goals and never understood why SL failed to realize its potential.
Would you mind elaborating on this a little. What kind of privacy and safety options need refining? And what kind of adverse affects do you think this has had more specifically?

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Old 03-20-2017, 11:40 AM   #70 (permalink)
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In regards to the thesis of my paper, Caete brought up the dictionary definition of decolonisation. I’m looking at this idea not from the idea of a nation state, but rather from that of neoliberal politics. When I look at the history of Second Life, what I see is something that started out as a communal project. A world dictated by the people living in it. Something full of experimentation and possibility. Virtual worlds much like the internet in general seem to carry this utopian promise. Now I am by no means saying this has entirely disappeared, and I’m sure many of you can point to a plethora of interesting things still happening in Second Life. However, it does seem that some of that ‘freedom’ - for lack of a better word - was curtailed to make Second Life appear more business friendly. This is, in a sense, a colonisation of Second Life by neo-liberal values. I imagine that as a community, Second Life residents are probably pretty sick of academics/journalists/etc fetishising certain communities such as furries, but the fact that all of this activity was ghettoised to an age restricted area seems very pertinent. Particularly as we live in an era where the world is becoming more racist, sexist, homophobic and so on. This is what I was trying to get at in my original question, although re-reading everything that has been said I believe I was too vague.

My paper is not so much about Second Life exclusively, but rather I see it as one very important development in the history of virtual worlds. What struck me when reading and looking at all the information available online about Sansar is the extreme normativity of it. The queerness inherent to early virtual worlds like Second Life seems to have entirely disappeared. Is this something that concerns you? It may not, and that’s ok. Personally it troubles me, as I believe virtual worlds will become ever more important as VR technology develops in the future, and automation of labour gathers pace.

I hope this has clarified somewhat where I am coming from.

Louie.
Thanks for the clarification, Louie.

As I tried to suggest in my earlier reply, I think your historical thesis is flawed. I speak as someone who is very much involved in adult content, since I make it myself and I'm also involved in running a a large group of Adult-oriented RP regions, known as the "Freedom Continent".

You need to understand, I think, that when Maturity ratings were introduced, their impact was almost entirely restricted to activities on the Mainland, where everything was forcibly relocated to the new continent of Zindra.

Private islands could carry on as before, simply by switching their maturity rating to Adult.

Maturity ratings were primarily, I think, a temporary difficulty for creators of Adult Content, and for people who run Adult venues, in that they made selling goods in the Marketplace, and advertising goods and venues inworld, difficult for a time. Most of us, though, managed to adapt our advertising to comply with the new regime without too many problems.

I'm very aware of the disruption the forced (and completely botched) move to Zindra caused, but they were a problem for a subset of people involved on Adult Content, particularly clubs and communities based on the Mainland.

M Linden, who was primarily responsible for the doomed attempt to make SL more attractive for businesses, didn't stay too long, and both Rodvik and Ebbe Linden, his successors, have been a lot more friendly and supportive (so they should be, since about 30% of LL's private regions are set to Adult and about 60% are set to Mature, where "adult" activities are permitted in private and a lot of Adult content gets used).

They don't push Adult content when they're marketing SL (thank heavens -- I once saw a draft LL video promoting SL's adult content, and it was as bad as you might expect) but they don't dislike us. I think that applies to Sansar, too.

Generally, too, I think that if you take the time to explore Adult SL in-world, you'll find that your main thesis isn't particularly sustainable -- SL still has large communities devoted to just about every form of kink imaginable. Certainly as a content creator, too, I'm not aware of any restrictions on what we can make and the restrictions on advertising our products are not particularly irksome.

Last edited by Innula Zenovka; 03-20-2017 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:56 AM   #71 (permalink)
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I'd like to add that non-humans [furries, nekos, elves, demons, et al] are not automatically adult in content. I play a non-humans exclusively, and have worked from G type venues to adult; as a DJ and as a teacher.

However, most furries, for an example, do tend to gravitate towards the adult end of the spectrum, in my experience.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:24 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Particularly as we live in an era where the world is becoming more racist, sexist, homophobic and so on.
Do you have some data to back this or is this your perception? I still remember the 1960's so my perception is very different than what you claim.


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The queerness inherent to early virtual worlds like Second Life seems to have entirely disappeared.
Forgive me for being dense if this is obvious but do you mean queer in an alternative sexuality sense or queer as in odd and eccentric?In either case I am not sure how much has really changed and how much is nostalgia distorting our views.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:48 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Do you have some data to back this or is this your perception? I still remember the 1960's so my perception is very different than what you claim.


Forgive me for being dense if this is obvious but do you mean queer in an alternative sexuality sense or queer as in odd and eccentric?In either case I am not sure how much has really changed and how much is nostalgia distorting our views.
This is my perception, however I would think it's fair to say that the last couple of years has seen a turn away from the values that - at least in public - defined Western Europe and North America. The election of Trump, Brexit, Marine le Pen etc...

In terms of queerness I mean the latter. However I do think you make a valid point about nostalgia. I think there is probably a bit of both going on here.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:58 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Thanks for the clarification, Louie.

As I tried to suggest in my earlier reply, I think your historical thesis is flawed. I speak as someone who is very much involved in adult content, since I make it myself and I'm also involved in running a a large group of Adult-oriented RP regions, known as the "Freedom Continent".

You need to understand, I think, that when Maturity ratings were introduced, their impact was almost entirely restricted to activities on the Mainland, where everything was forcibly relocated to the new continent of Zindra.
Thanks for the in depth response Innula. I see your point in that the move to Zindra wasn't particularly disruptive in the long run, however I do think the very fact people were forced to relocate in the first place is problematic. Maybe not so much for residents of Second Life, but as precedent for the future of virtual worlds im not sure this is a good thing.

Also, if there's an invitation to visit your Freedom Continent regions, I'd definitely be happy to take you up on that.

Louie.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:02 PM   #75 (permalink)
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This is my perception, however I would think it's fair to say that the last couple of years has seen a turn away from the values that - at least in public - defined Western Europe and North America. The election of Trump, Brexit, Marine le Pen etc...

In terms of queerness I mean the latter. However I do think you make a valid point about nostalgia. I think there is probably a bit of both going on here.
Marine le Pen has not been elected yet (I know your sentence didn't say she had been, but... a rather large proportion of us in France are rather hoping she will not be).

As a Brit, I tend to think that Brexit is less a case of people turning away from certain values than a case of some pretty effective and not terribly honest propaganda from the "Leave" side. But that's personal.

But here you have a forum that is not particularly into alt-right values, so please take that into consideration.

As somebody who edits academic papers for a living, however, I would strongly advise that you avoid, wherever possible, subjective judgements on "values" in a political sense. *

Much as I agree with you, many a good bit of science has remained unpublished because it wanders off into political speculation and bias. Unless, of course, you are focusing on a link between SL and world politics but even then please be careful about bias.

*For info, I recently edited a really rather stunning paper on bees and honey in South America. It contained some scathing political commentary about the political stance of the country in question. The (very well respected journal) sent it back to the authors and said "lose the politics, and we'll publish". So I edited it all over again

We could, of course, get into a discussion of whether science and politics go together. In articles related to SL, research may link the two. But bias is - as I'm sure you know - definitely out of bounds in anything you write for academic review.
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