The Metaverse goes open-source
May 15, 2005 3:29 AM   Subscribe

Tired of virtual dictatorships? Maybe we'll soon have a proper Metaverse (def.) instead.
posted by Tlogmer (11 comments total)
Er. On closer inspection, the "def." link doesn't actually define "Metaverse". Here's a much better page.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:38 AM on May 15, 2005

Uh, the "better" page seems to devolve into insanity 2/3 of the way through. Just ignore that.
I should stop posting late at night.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:41 AM on May 15, 2005

I swear, I thought this post was going to be a back-hand slap to #1.
Excellent bluff!

From the better definition: "it is also possible to interact with other system users in 3D real time."
Wouldn't that be "in 4 dimensions" then? Or, as 3D is actually 2D in makeup, perhaps only "in 3 dimensions with makeup".

I should stop posting early in the afternoon
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:02 AM on May 15, 2005

It's ironic that this FPP links to Wikipedia, as Wikipedia is rapidly becoming an authoritarian dictatorship itself.

A case in point: recently, a Wikipedia "sysop" decided to permanently bar from editing a user who had posted comments disagreeing with that sysop's interpretation of Wikipedia policy. The reason given for the ban was that the dissenting editor had the word "trolls" in his username, and had made his first edits to Wikipedia "policy" pages.

When another editor pointed out the blocking sysop also began his Wikipedia career by editing policy pages, that was removed as a "personal attack", and that editor was labeled a troll. (Pointing out what people don't want to hear is a personal attack, but calling someone a troll is apparently not.)

On Wikipedia, policy proposals are put to a vote. The same sysop who blocked the "troll" has engaged in a year-long effort to label policies that failed to win enough votes to be enacted, as "Semi-Policy", deleting the edits of anyone who disagreed with his initiative.

The sysop then proceeded to label the failed polices that he likes as "Semi-Policy", without consulting any other editors. Almost all of that sysop's changes to policy are to make it easier to police and ban users; few or none of his changes are devoted to how the encyclopedia's articles are to be written.

When someone finally called him on this and put one of those failed policies to a second vote, that sysop then declared that "polls are evils" and voting at all "ridiculous, querulous and irrelevant". He'd prefer to see it called "semi-policy" by fiat, rather than see a straight up-or-down vote.

This from someone who was promoted to sysop based on a vote, on a Wikipedia where everyday votes are held to delete articles considered "unencyclopedic". If a vote is good enough to delete an article from the encyclopedia, why is it not good enough to determine policy -- and if it's not, why have all prior polices been voted on?

It should also be noted that the sysop in question makes about nine edits per day to Wikipedia policy pages, but only about two edits per day to articles; and indeed, there seems to have generally arisen on Wikipedia a class of sysops who make much of running the place and banning user and arguments with which they disagree, but who contribute very little to the actual business of writing an encyclopedia.

Whether you agree or disagree with the way Wikipedia is administered, you should ask why an open encyclopedia, built by its users, devotes such great effort to deleting any criticism of the way it is governed; or why its elite, which actually contributes little to writing the encyclopedia, wants to end the tradition of voting on policy but has little objection to policy changes strong-armed by one sysop, roughshod over serious objection by non-elites.
posted by orthogonality at 5:19 AM on May 15, 2005

Ummmm...because somebody wants Wiki to be blog?
posted by alumshubby at 5:41 AM on May 15, 2005

Second Life is a pretty intersting place, I've been playing with it for about a year and half. Unfortunately, they're having terrible scaling problems... their fundamental architecture seems pretty broken and incapable of scaling past a certain point.

You can check it out completely free for a week, and then a permanent basic account is $10 once. (no recurring fee). They're trying to upsell you on owning virtual land, which many people go for... you have to buy the land and then pay a maintenance fee. But you don't HAVE TO do this, you can just fly around and check things out, and if you make friends with someone who owns land, you can build there (with permission).

I would very very strongly suggest that if you want to check it out, just get the basic account... don't commit to buying and owning land until you understand the (many!) technical glitches and problems you will encounter. When it is working, it can be a lot of fun, but that seems to be less and less often the case.
posted by Malor at 7:04 AM on May 15, 2005

how are these different to muds? just better graphics?
posted by andrew cooke at 10:02 AM on May 15, 2005

A million deaths were not enough for Yueh Ludlow!
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:19 AM on May 15, 2005

Croquet is cool, but the language and interface are a little goofy for programming. An MV definitely seems like a direction that a lot of people would like to take all of this, but it's going to be a while, still.

And the people who write open-source programs seem to be really bad at making things pretty.
posted by blacklite at 12:19 PM on May 15, 2005

Give it some time.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:43 PM on May 15, 2005

orthogonality On the off topic, I just want to mention that due to the fact that the Wikipedia is open source if it ever does really slide into true nastiness another group can fork simply by mirroring the content, implement less nasty policies, and rolling along.

Since the people who started the Wikipedia chose to use the GNU documentation license they cannot prevent anyone else from forking the project. The only limitation is that the new project must also use the GNU license for all modifications.

This has happened with several open source programming projects: the original dev team gets too dictatorial, makes changes or decisions that many other people disagree with, whatever. Sometimes even big projects fork in such a way that the original project essentially dies, the furor over the X windowing system is the most recent example.

Open source is wonderful.
posted by sotonohito at 3:41 AM on May 16, 2005

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