Second Life sucks, then you die
May 9, 2007 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Secondlifefilter: The popular (and increasingly Euro-centric) site has certainly been getting some bad press recently. It's a little sad that a virtual world must now be patrolled by real policemen.
posted by chuckdarwin (72 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Second Life Prison!
posted by nerdpita at 8:31 AM on May 9, 2007

The idea that a sexual fantasy enacted between consenting adults is prosecutable as child porn is ridiculous. This protects children how exactly?
posted by Arturus at 8:32 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wait, there's porn on the internets?
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on May 9, 2007

Wow ... virtual child porn? virtual rape? I think I just became 100 years old.

PS to nerdpita -- that it hilarious. Although actually plausible, when you think of it. If you can have virtual crimes, then there can be virtual trials, prosecutions, prisons.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:38 AM on May 9, 2007

This can be read a couple of ways, much like the sale of Nazi paraphanalia on Ebay and Yahoo Auctions was prosecuted by the French and German governments. But, the essence of this is whether (much like Dworkin and Minneapolis City Council: pornography is sexual violence regardless of its intent), the acts taking place were done in such a manner that those involved would have broken crimes in their own jurisdictions. So, if a German player did have virtual sex with a child avatar, he would be breaking laws in her/his own country. The TOS of Second Life certainly would state something about breaking laws of one's own country, so the German may well have known her/his actions were illegal.
posted by parmanparman at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2007

Arturus: There has been some psychological research (I don't have a citation available) that such sexual fantasy role playing helps deter real life behavior. So, it could actually harm children in a sense.

Sure as hell doesn't stop it from being creepy though.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:40 AM on May 9, 2007

Like I said in my profile, I tried it for about one day and that whole Second Life thing creeped me the Hell out. Seeing how quickly I could get myself kicked out of there was a proud moment for me. Moral of the story: apparently eurotrash pedophiles are okay, but turning my avatar into a 300 pound, chain-smoking, Bible-toting strip club dancer made people impressively uncomfortable.

Good times.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:41 AM on May 9, 2007 [5 favorites]

BBC filter
posted by johnny novak at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2007

Also virtual Chris Hanson in "To Catch a Second Life Predator", with virtual SL cop dressed as a shrub. I'm sorry, there are serious issues here but it makes me laugh thinking about it.
posted by nerdpita at 8:46 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about grown fat men who like to wear diapers and be smacked... are the "nannies" guilty of child porn also? And that's in the real world.

This is just bizarre. Virtual Rape... come on that's just ridiclous. There's a thing called an off button on most computers I've heard of. Use it once and a while and you might feel in control again!
posted by twistedonion at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2007

It's a little sad that a virtual world must now be patrolled by real policemen.

As weird as this whole thing is, that's not only not sad but not even remarkable. Second Life isn't a "virtual world", it's a video game engaged in by people right here in this "real world", to whom the same laws and enforcement mechanisms apply as they do to everyone else.
posted by mendel at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2007

(mendel - I was stuck for a hook; sorry it came off a little cliché. At least I didn't misuse 'ironic'.)
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2007

virtual rape? ok, sentence the avatar to death and move on.

if i were a second life kinda guy, my character would probably be a remorseless sociopath.
posted by bruce at 9:13 AM on May 9, 2007

The virtual rape business makes more sense to me than the fake child porn charges. The off button fixes the immediate problem, but there's is still a damaged faith in the community which must be rebuilt.

This is, of course, entirely dependent on what the community is in the first place. There are a lot of online communities you don't want to have faith in in the first place.

I also think trivializing virtual rape underestimates the degree to which people become emotionally invested in their online representations as a manifestation of their self. This can be a very powerful thing, given the right circumstances. So while it's clearly not of the same severity as real rape, it's still an attack on that person, in a very emotionally charged and potentially damaging way.

On the grand scale of things, it's still minor, but turning it off, leaving the community, this is at best a short term solution. On the broader scale, the solution needs to come from the community.
posted by Arturus at 9:13 AM on May 9, 2007

Why can't these people just play NORMAL video games?!
posted by hypocritical ross at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2007

oh man
this brings back memories.
not mine, mind you. read that article three years ago in a comparative lit class
posted by es_de_bah at 9:20 AM on May 9, 2007

miss lynnster: there are places in SL where that kind of character would be just fine. From what you're saying, it sounds like your character was designed to sneer at the other denizens at your location more than 'to be funny', so of course they booted you.

Note, however, that you were booted from one particular place, not all of Second Life.

Newsflash: if you call people idiots, they may not like you.
posted by Malor at 9:27 AM on May 9, 2007

I don't know of any jurisdictions that acknowledge the concept of "virtual rape" as discussed in the Wired article. That seems to be media hyperbole, and no better or worse than harassment, which is already fairly well legislated against.

But the "virtual child porn" is not so easily dismissed. It seems inevitable that 3D modelling and animation technology will soon allow the trivial mass-production of photo-realistic virtual child pornography. I can't see how liberal attitudes towards what goes on in the heads of private citizens will survive the ensuing moral panic. Perhaps the question will be raised of whether the perfectly-simulated-murder in, say, Grand Theft Auto 8 must therefore be an even worse crime, but probably not. German-style anti-simulation laws seem unavoidable.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:27 AM on May 9, 2007

Actually, I don't even get how they could do virtual rape in there. My obese stripper wandered into a few crack dens (she was a troubled girl -- don't judge her) and it looked to me like both people have to click on some kind of ball thingie (pink for girls, blue for boys?) and specifically select an action to be committed in that specific place. From what I saw, people can't just "have sex" with some other person walking down the street on there, can they? Looked to me like the other person had to be in a specific sex-related area and select the action too.

But what do I know. I'm persona non-grata in virtual reality. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 9:28 AM on May 9, 2007

Obligatory Julian Dibbell link.

(Seriously, read that if you haven't already heard of Mr. Bungle... kind of interesting to see the same issues pop up again after almost a decade, but now in 3D.)
posted by ook at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

What if being in a specific sex-related area is the new wearing short skirts?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2007

Even more shocking, certain online communities have recently been experiencing a wave of VIRTUAL MURDERS. My Half Life 2 avatar has been murdered thousands of times, and I feel each one deep in my heart.

That's not to say I dismiss the trauma a person suffers after being raped online.

But I do! We need to come up with a word for these people, like we can call open source advocates "neckbeards" and shamefully obese people "buttereaters." There needs to be a word for someone who manages to get themselves raped on the internets, where escape is as simple as logging off, shutting off your monitor, walking away from the computer, or any of several options. Any ideas?

Specifically to Second Life, can't motherfuckers fly and teleport and shit in that game? If people could teleport in real life, there wouldn't be too much of a rape problem.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2007

maior, actually I was in a strip club at the time I was banned, not wandering out in normal society. I did a lot of different things during my day there just as weird sociological experiments. I also made my avatar look like a super super hot porn star type and then tried to make friends in a Bible study in a virtual church. They didn't like her much either. It was super interesting to me how people judge your avatar just the way people are judgmental of real people. I started getting a lot of crazy ideas of different ways to screw with people & see what would happen. I went a little crazy, but it was a blast. For me, anyhow.

At the moment I was banned, I was in some strip club themed on pink kittens... so yeah, there were strippers all over the place. Many people were dancing around my avatar & they were all skinny, hot looking things. Soooo I was having fun making mine stand out. I think besides being an obese stripper in black lingerie, it may have been the firmly grasped Bible that pushed people over the edge. She was a good dancer too, so that was disappointing. She was doing some pretty gymnastic dances, and never dropped her cig or her Bible ONCE!

At the exact moment I was banned, some guy was calling his "friends" over to watch her dance, saying "Hey guys! Look at this... uhhh... 'dancer'! What the fuck? This is hysterical!" And then suddenly the screen went blank and I got a notification that I had been banned from that section. Immediately after I was banned, I got a message saying that guy had tipped me $20 for making him laugh. So, ONE person got it.

When people are trying to pretend they're in some kind of exotic fantasy world that doesn't exist, an obese chain smoking Bible toting stripper kind of wrecks that fantasy I suppose. Funny part being... I wonder how many of those "hot" people in that room are actually the obese ones in real life?
posted by miss lynnster at 9:44 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

And honestly, who did I just call an idiot? I just said that something wasn't for me. If you are going to put words into my mouth, I'll just move onto the next post and stop participating in this one.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:46 AM on May 9, 2007

Getting the sense that soon all of the Second Life people in Mefi are going to now hate me for being someone who obviously has fun screwing with people sometimes. Uh oh. Shall be quiet now.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2007

Europeans comprise more than half of the number of "Second Life" users, according to a recent comScore study. "The average true work week in Europe is under 40 hours, whereas in the United States it's more like 50," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan.. "So it stands to reason that Europeans have about 15 more hours a week of leisure time to spend on these games."

True. Very true.

Another explanation is that Europeans tend to have higher connection speeds than Americans and would be in a better position to enjoy a high-bandwidth site like Second Life.
posted by jason's_planet at 10:02 AM on May 9, 2007

miss lynnster: the attitude I read in your first post was "jesus these people are idiots, I'm gonna fuck with them." So of course they didn't like you.

Your second post sounds more interesting; that kind of thinking is much more in line with the original Second Life crowd. If you find 'old' people, ones that were created early on, you'll probably fit right in and get along famously. That said, however, if you have a genuinely ugly avatar, folks tend to assume you're a griefer until you demonstrate otherwise. You will usually have to work harder to demonstrate that you're not just there to sneer at people or make trouble. And even in the old-timer crowds, there definitely seems to be a prejudice against the uglies. It's kind of stupid, because if everyone can be beautiful, aren't deliberately unattractive avatars more interesting? Regardless, even back in the beginning when only very bright people had stumbled into SL, it really seemed like ugly avatars had to work much harder to make friends.

With so very many people in SL now, the average citizen has gotten pretty mundane. Back in the 'good old days', about three years ago, virtually everyone you met was highly intelligent. You could walk/fly up to anyone, say hello, and be essentially guaranteed a good conversation. Nowadays, you have to look much harder.

I don't play it much anymore, I just log on a couple times a week for specific events, but it's far from a worthless experience even now. If you can find 'old' people, you will probably have a much better time.
posted by Malor at 10:09 AM on May 9, 2007

Paradoxically, the use of the term "virtual rape" is both overstating and understating what it actually is. By calling it "rape," you're inviting comparisons to violent trauma in the real world which is likely to get your argument dismissed outright by most rational people.

But by calling it "virtual," you're saying that what happened was inherently unreal, with the fundamental assumption that it has no real consequences. This is also inaccurate, because (simulated or not) having your personage violated is emotionally harmful.

I don't think we're going to be able to rationally discuss these issues until we stop using "virtual" willy-nilly. "Virtual rape" is simulated assault but real harassment. In talking about it as a (real) crime, we need to focus on the latter.

"Virtual child porn" can be just as confusing... is it real child porn in a virtual environment, or simulated child porn in a more traditional medium (like hentai)? Since the original term is too ambiguous we're better off just dispensing with it altogether and using the clearer versions.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

My god! I VIRTUALLY MURDERED thousands of people over the last few years playing Unreal Tournament 2004. No doubt some of those were children.

I guess that means I am a virtual child MASS murderer! Which trumps virtual child rape.

I virtually nuked somebodies town a few weeks ago. Then I virtually shot all the survivors. That is CLEARLY a virtual violation of the Geneva Conventions and a virtual War Crime.

I await virtual prosecution in the Hague. But they will nave take me virtually alive! Just try it coppers! TOP OF THE WORLD MA!

Newsflash: if you call people idiots, they may not like you.

Especially if they really ARE idiots. And I think maybe people that believe in virtual rape may classify.
posted by tkchrist at 10:14 AM on May 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

Whats really shocking is that somethign as boring as a VRML chatroom gets this much press.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on May 9, 2007

miss lynnster: I've been in Second Life a bit, and it must be repeated that it doesn't sound like you were booted from the service at all, only one spot, out of many, in the service.

Your argument presents a subtle kind of straw man: you got booted out of one "place," by that place's owners, not the general people of Second Life, or by Linden Labs. You are projecting their attitudes onto "Second Life" in general, which is far too diverse a population to lump together so readily.

It also sounds like you were performing your act on a business site, which could get you ejected by the business owners for reasons unrelated to your message, just like it would be in real life if you started advertising a real estate firm on the premises of Century 21. But it is acknowledged that this may not be true; there are some in SL who will eject for fairly minor reasons, and there are even scripted objects that can eject people from a plot automatically, without human intervention.

Note that, by claiming to be booted out of SL itself, it seems like you're trying to actually project the attitudes that got you booted from one plot onto Linden Labs, who may have faults, but a lack of permissiveness isn't one of them.

I can kind of understand how you might not perceive the experience that way. Second Life's plot ownership and permissions system may seem a little arcane to newcomer avaters, and, being used to worlds which enforce fairly authoritarian TOS, they may assign responsibility for bannings and ejections to the maintainers of the system instead of the owners of that plot of land.
posted by JHarris at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2007

Um, seriously, how do you even rape someone in virtual life? It's not like you have a virtual penis and it's not like they have a virtual vagina and it's not like you can force your virtual penis into their virtual vagina.

Or am I missing something here?

Sexual harassment, sure. But rape?

I'm inclined to believe that calling anything that happens to a little 3d person on the TV "rape" seriously dilutes the real meaning of the word.
posted by jaded at 10:33 AM on May 9, 2007

Whats really shocking is that somethign as boring as a VRML chatroom gets this much press.

There's a lot more to it than that, Artw. It's more like a 3D Moo, if you're familiar with those old text games. The scripting language is pretty limited, but with sufficient intelligence can be made to do some pretty amazing stuff.

As an example, I have, in my inventory, a fully-working, perfect implementation of Settlers of Catan done in the SL engine. It's a virtuoso bit of programming; I have some experience with scripting and I wouldn't have thought it was possible.

No VRML chatroom anywhere would give users enough creative power to recreate Settlers of Catan entirely in-game. :)
posted by Malor at 10:33 AM on May 9, 2007

but with sufficient intelligence

posted by maxwelton at 11:01 AM on May 9, 2007

Second Life is just not my bag. I prefer my avatar child porn to have a half-decent frame rate.
posted by brundlefly at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2007

I am familiar with Moos, and consider them to be similarly fancy-ass chatrooms, and the paelotechnical version of the scanadals above (cf. "a rape in cyberspace", by some lamdamoo feminist type) to be similarly overblown and self important.

Still, building an in-game minigame is kind of neat... though like all of these things a bit gimmicky and a lot less useful than an out-of-game version of the same thing.

And it still looks like VRML, ie ugly.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2007

As an example, I have, in my inventory, a fully-working, perfect implementation of Settlers of Catan done in the SL engine.

Can I virtually rape it?
posted by SweetJesus at 11:08 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

What if I approach these virtual ersatz child prostitutes, and instead of buggering them I cut off their heads and eat their brains? Would I be arrested then? Or would I end up at the head of some sort of parade?
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're lumping many very different concepts together into one universal rejection, Artw. Rape overblown and self-important? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean that the whole enterprise is completely worthless. You can do things you can't do any other way.

All computer implementations of Catan are inferior to the boardgame versions in all respects but one... you can play people all over the world. And Second Life's implementation feels more like the real thing than most, as you have "people" sitting at a "table" and interacting that way. It's still just text chat, but you can run a voice client in addition if you wish. That's not an official part of SL, and thus quite infrequent, but it's easily done. So yeah, it's inferior to the real thing, but not _that_ much, and you can play against people thousands of miles away in your skivvies.

No, it doesn't look as good as other 3D games. The reason is because it's being built, live, as you watch. I'm not aware of any other games that let multiple users collaborate on building arbitrary objects that they can all share. With the cooler-looking 3D games, the levels are built from a mesh of triangles, and compiled into a final form; they can spend hours of computer time massaging levels to run faster. Surfaces you can't see, for instance, are quietly removed. This isn't just removing the end of the corridor that you can't ever see; this is doing things like removing the inside surfaces of crates, since you would never be inside looking out. That way, the engine and video card don't have to waste time rendering those textures.

SL can't do any of that; to stream an arbitrary build quickly, it limits users to building with predefined shapes with a number of parameters for things like 'twist' and 'shear' and 'hollow'. (this part is very much like VRML.) This lets users add objects to and remove objects from the world at will. I can build a car (or pull a prebuilt one from my pocket), hop in, wait for some passengers, and drive off. SL can't precompile any of this stuff, so it can't even do hidden surface removal, one of the most basic forms of acceleration. So it runs slower than it otherwise might, and doesn't look as good as professionally designed game levels. But it can still look pretty good, and the ability to collaboratively shape a world is really a lot of fun.

It's kind of like the world's biggest Lego set. If you didn't like Legos as a kid, you probably won't like Second Life now. :)
posted by Malor at 11:28 AM on May 9, 2007

Yeah, I guess I could analyze Second Life a lot more, who booted me & whatnot & what all of these people are really about and all of the cool benefits I could get out of the site. Well, if I actually freakin' cared to. So yeah, I'll just leave my impression as it stands & concentrate on my first life.

[Opens up door. Walks outside into the sun. Takes a breath of fresh, REAL AIR. Smiles.]
posted by miss lynnster at 11:29 AM on May 9, 2007

Should have previewed:

Can I virtually rape it?

Well, it can't consent, so I presume any genital thrusting in the immediate area could be construed as rape, yes.

miss lynnster: you are, once again, projecting scorn. You are not a superior human being because you don't like a particular game.
posted by Malor at 11:30 AM on May 9, 2007

BBC Technology News should just rename to Second Life Daily and be done with it.
posted by influx at 11:31 AM on May 9, 2007

I still haven't found a decent explanation of what really happened. In SL, every time your avatar performs an animation that you did not explicitly request, the system first asks for your permission. Permission being the antithesis of rape, I'm wondering the story is. Was someone tricked into pressing OK? Or did the perpetrator just come up from behind and describe the assault in text form?
posted by bicyclefish at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2007

Maior, actually what I'm sensing is that you are taking everything I say WAY too seriously simply because you like said game. And since it's already established that I'm simply a silly person who enjoys screwing with people, sensing this sensitivity in you is inspiring considerable inner conflict for that mischevious button-pushing gremlin who resides inside of my brain.

Must. Be. On. Good. Behavior. Must. Be. On. Good. Behavior.

posted by miss lynnster at 11:43 AM on May 9, 2007

bicyclefish: I have been told, but I haven't seen any credible source, that the woman bought some kind of genital attachment (avatars, by default, are Barbie dolls), granted it animation permission, and left it switched on. She went away from the keyboard for awhile, and some guy with a compatible item walked up and switched his on too. They were humping merrily when the woman got back. She's all horrified that this happened.

This would be almost exactly like playing WoW, turning on your PVP flag, going AFK, and then accusing someone of murder for killing you.
posted by Malor at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2007

bicyclefish - that is a good question.

What also bother me is that SL is now soaking up the NON Virtual bandwidth or Law Enforcement Institutions. These resources are already stretched so thin that REAL rapists and murders are not being caught.
posted by tkchrist at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2007

(miss lynnster, another way to put "enjoys screwing with people" is "is a disruptive asshole." Just saying. I personally can't stand Second Life, but I wouldn't wander into a bible meeting there dressed as a hooker any more than I would in real life.)
posted by ook at 11:49 AM on May 9, 2007

It's kind of like the world's biggest Lego set.

In so far as I've determined, you can't rape Legos...
posted by SweetJesus at 11:51 AM on May 9, 2007

If I was a prostitute who needed help & thought I could get it from church then I sure as hell would go there. And I would hope that the people in church were kind to me. Jesus hung out with prostitutes once in a while... just sayin'.

Actually, from the way you describe it, Jesus was also a bit of a disruptive asshole.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:56 AM on May 9, 2007

miss lynnster: it's a game. You don't like it. That's fine, but all your protestations about breathing 'real air' just imply scorn. All your posts have. If you were the same way in game, and it sounds like you were, of course people threw you out on your ass.

If you don't like it, you don't like it. That's not a big deal. It's primitive and crashy and just often doesn't work very well. Many of the people are pretty boring in text. But all your posting about how you didn't like it, the people are terribly shallow, and now you're going to breathe real air... that's not about the game at all. That's about you. You're indirectly saying that you're ever so much better than the sad, sad people who would actually enjoy this particular method of online interaction. You were fucking with them, and you think you're smarter than they are because they didn't see that.

Now, the strip club scene isn't exactly composed of the brightest bulbs in the pack, but I think it's entirely possible that they understood exactly what you were doing and, rightly, threw you out. It sure looks to me that the game you were playing was "I'm ever so much better than you are, and thus I will fuck with your prejudices to prove it to myself."

On preview: I see you said: "Actually, from the way you describe it, Jesus was also a bit of a disruptive asshole." Wow. Think well of ourselves, do we?

It looks likely to me that you've gone into superior fuck-with-people mode in this thread, miss lynnster, so I'm going to cease talking with you. I prefer dealing with less manipulative souls. I had thought well of you before this conversation, but you've pretty thoroughly changed my mind.
posted by Malor at 12:09 PM on May 9, 2007

It seems like attempting to defend SL against the critiques of those who don't like it and don't play it is pretty similar to attempting to defend Burning Man against the critiques of those who don't like it and don't go. There's so little shared, common ground for a real discussion that the conversation devolves quite rapidly.
posted by treepour at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2007

I tried Second Life for. . . about an hour.
Most of which was spent creating my character- as I chose the physical specifications for my virtual representation, a tendency towards exaggerating those physical features which I found most attractive emerged.
The person I created looked more alien than man, and this, coupled with the fact that I was still attracted to the other worldly assemblage of polygons, terrified me.
And that is why I only tried Second Life for about an hour.

Oh, and when I actually started playing the game I had no idea what the hell to do.

I'd form some sort of hypothesis that the way people choose to present themselves in Second Life can be reflective of what they find attractive- but miss lynster kindof disproves that unless she has a thing for Smokey the Stripping Whale, it's probably just indicative of some sort of problem I have.
posted by Esoquo at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2007

treepour - The parallel could only be closer if we were back in the 90s and being bombarded every 5 minutes with hype telling us that Burning Man is this brilliant, awesome, paradigm shifting thing that will change the world forever and not just a self-absorbed yuppie festival.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on May 9, 2007

treepour: well, there's lots to criticise. Some aspects of it are quite cool, but overall, it's just not that great anymore.

My biggest complaint is that everything is done halfassedly. They get a great new feature idea, and then do a bullshit half-baked implementation that doesn't work for shit. They had this big thing about XML-RPC, which would let you connect a Second Life object to outside servers; they had everything working and debugged, and then out of fear of 'DoS attacks' they butchered it so that it doesn't work well at all. Instead of figuring out a method of, say, preventing DoS attacks (like looking for a keyword in the robots.txt file before allowing connection attempts to a particular webserver), they removed all ability for objects to contact anything at all; instead, you have to set up this weird push polling thing on the server side that's a real pain in the ass. That one function would have completely transformed Second Life if it had been implemented properly, but like always, they dropped it without finishing.

They do this over and over.... nearly everything added since launch has been half-baked at best. They did custom animations, streaming music, and streaming video well, but not much else.

Add to that the fact that they can't even keep the existing features running, and they refuse to stop signing up new people to let stuff stabilize, and I'm of the opinion that it's mostly not worth wasting time with. It's just too damn unstable and annoying. I do my two events per week and just ignore it the rest of the time.

The basic idea is great, and I had a huge amount of fun with it in the first year, but it's been a steady downhill slide ever since. They've never been good at infrastructure, and it's gotten so horrible that I can't remember a single session in ages where everything worked as it should.
posted by Malor at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2007

From a virtual law blog:

Child Pornography Allegations in Second Life Draw Worldwide Press Attention

"Unlike in the United States (where the Supreme Court, in 2002, struck down a law prohibiting “virtual” child pornography on First Amendment free speech grounds), many countries criminalize non-photographic images that appear to depict minors in sexual situations. A complete survey of the law in this field is beyond the scope of this article, but a quick search reveals that a number of countries, including at least the U.K., Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Italy have laws on the books banning virtual child pornography."

There's also a link to the original German news video that broke the child porn story (although it appeared on Grman public television, is it NSFW).
posted by Quiplash at 1:42 PM on May 9, 2007

Maior I can see that you're very very sensitive about all of this. And so with all due respect I sincerely apologize for pushing those buttons in you. My experiences in Second Life were many months ago & they were just me having fun. If you take my occasionally mischevious & silly attitude as a serious personal attack against people such as yourself and against something that means a great deal to you then that's a shame. And if I have inspired you to hate me forever, well that's your decision to make considering that we honestly don't know eachother at all & I'm generally considered a pretty thoughtful & kind person in real life.

All of that said, you may feel free to judge it as a flaw in my tarnished character, but I am still entertained by my memory of being banned from Second Life. (Dislike me for that if you wish, it's cool. Totally your prerogative & I respect that.) Just know that as it was a one-time thing, it's not like I'm on there sadistically tormenting people such as yourself on a regular basis, not that I actually felt I was tormenting anyone to begin with. Main fact here is: I have never returned to Second Life & have no plans to again, so you don't have to fret. The bad woman has left the virtual world.

As I said before, I was just getting a kick out of committing harmless acts of silliness. Wrong or right, sometimes that's just how I roll. Nobody's perfect, right?
posted by miss lynnster at 2:03 PM on May 9, 2007

So I wonder if this novelty chart (via a burningman-related mefi thread I can't find at the moment, sorry) could apply to SL as well . . . if so, I guess were in stage 4 right now?
posted by treepour at 2:06 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I sort of think Malor was the good guy and mrs. lynnster the bad one in this exchange.
posted by Catfry at 2:37 PM on May 9, 2007

I sort of think Malor was the good guy and mrs. lynnster the bad one in this exchange.

I don't know, I think he overplayed it: a) he falsely asserted that she had "called people idiots". b) he called her a "manipulative soul".

But a propos to the topic (heck, why not?) my first thought is that these incidents ought to fall under sexual harassment law, and that "virtual rape" is Wired-style media hype.

Riki tiki
was on the money, I think.
posted by flotson at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2007

Huh. I can never really fathom why it's so necessary to keep score & categorize things as black & white, one person in a white hat, the other in a black one. Seems to me that these debates are filled with many shades of gray & that human beings are far more complex creatures than that. Well, leastwise I am assuming you all are, and I know I am. But hey, YMMV. As usual.

I can tell you that I look much, much better in black. White always makes my skin look too pale. So, if it's all right with you, I think I'd like to be the bad guy this time. The hat'll look a lot more attractive on me.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:36 PM on May 9, 2007

So, miss lynster, you had multiple avatars, knew where crack dens, churches and strip clubs were, and yet only played for a day?

I played for a day and got a standard vanilla avatar and found a strip mall.

What was I doing wrong?
posted by Sparx at 3:41 PM on May 9, 2007

Oh, man. I have no real inclination to read through all those words, it's getting late in my world, but if Malor said that your objection sounds reasonable flotson. It just annoyed me that lynn wrote 'Maior' all the time. How silly to comment based on that.
posted by Catfry at 4:40 PM on May 9, 2007

Actually, from the way you describe it, Jesus was also a bit of a disruptive asshole.

I propose the Godwin Corollary: As an online discussion gets longer, the probability of a participant comparing him or herself to Jesus approaches 1.
posted by aaronetc at 4:51 PM on May 9, 2007

I guess I'm a quick learner. I got on a roll & figured out how to use the search function & customize my avatar pretty quick. Then some guy in a "Orgasm Donor" t-shirt gave me a bunch of crazy lingerie. And the monster slowly came to life.

Did that really bug you, Catfry? What else should I have called him? If I'm responding to a direct comment from someone in a community of 50,000 people I just figure it's good practice to make it clear who I'm responding to. Kinda like how I just called you by name too.

Oh, and FWIW, I wasn't comparing myself to Jesus. I'm not into that & I don't consider myself a disruptive asshole in the slightest to begin with. That comment was in reference to the "hooker in church" comment only.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:43 PM on May 9, 2007

I propose the Godwin Corollary: As an online discussion gets longer, the probability of a participant comparing him or herself to Jesus approaches 1.

Can we fit Galileo in there too? He's quite the favorite among the "oh woe is me, I'm being suppressed!" crowd.
posted by PsychoKick at 8:09 PM on May 9, 2007

I feel that Malor's objections were valid. Either way this thread has been almost entirely derailed.

"Virtual Rape" is neither. The problem isn't about the "rape" in the game, it's about the harassment of the person playing the character.

My experiences in Second Life were hurt by a poor framerate. It took me out of the game and irked me too much.
posted by Rictic at 9:40 PM on May 9, 2007

i don't think miss lynster needed to apologize. i make no apology for being a disruptive asshole myself on occasion. any fantasy role-playing situation is going to be a synthesis of its participants, and if they were all saintly innocents, it would get boring fast. the whole point of these games is to be somebody different from your real life persona, so you can experience new things and hopefully gain new insights from the safety of your desk. in real life, i would never kill anybody and rape their corpse on a whim, but in a game i just might, so you better make me laugh!
posted by bruce at 1:11 AM on May 10, 2007

Much of this 'debate' is kind of a surprise to me - I didn't think anyone would care this much.

I can't get SL to run worth a fuck, so I haven't bothered with it much. Plus, I have a First Life to worry about.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:44 AM on May 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well I'll tell you this... if I was going to be in a crack den in virtual reality, I'd rather think I wasn't doing it with a SERIOUS desire to spend time in a crack den in virtual reality. Because I'm not sure what that would say about a person. Most of the time people end up in crack dens solely due to the fact that they have lost all perspective because THEY NEED CRACK. The people in virtual crack dens are there because of some kind of sober choice for their virtual selves to be hanging out there pretending to be hooked on crack. Which... huh?

[Once again... not judging. Just not comprehending.]
posted by miss lynnster at 5:31 AM on May 10, 2007

miss lynnster: I think Catfry was pointing out that you're calling Malor "Maior".
posted by mendel at 6:14 AM on May 10, 2007

Ahhhh. That's what happens when you don't wear your glasses. No idea why I read that L as an I, but I always have. Hmm. Oh well, considering how many people call me miss lynster I've been punished tenfold already.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 AM on May 10, 2007

Rape? Really? Sorry I don't buy it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:11 AM on May 10, 2007

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