Why SL Can’t be Taken Seriously

    January 17, 2007

I read this on BoingBoing yesterday:

After France’s extreme right, anti-immigrant Front National opened an official HQ in Second Life, it was swarmed protests- which quickly devolved into open war conducted with surreal weapons

machine guns, sirens, police cars, “rez cages” (which can trap an unsuspecting avatar), explosions, and flickering holograms of marijuana leaves and kids’ TV characters

Wow, that’s just great. Second Life is trying to be people’s, well, Second Life, and if we needed more proof that it will never work as a second world for regular people, this is it. There’s no accountability in these virtual worlds, worse than in chat rooms or message boards. Incidents like this and the “flying penis” incident, just prove to me that as long as people can interrupt public forums without fear of consequence, then the Second Life world can never offer significant real-world value beyond that of entertainment.

You can’t hold political discourse, because someone could drop a giant virtual poop on your stage. You can’t run a business, because if a group doesn’t like you, they can just throw up pictures of porn stars around your workplace. You can’t rely on anything legitimately serious, because your neighborhood is populated with the same adolescent idiots that populate every non-moderated discussion forum on the internet, and this time, they don’t even need to be able to type to ruin your day!

And I say this assuming the party being attacked was a hatemongering Nazi-loving political party. It doesn’t matter, and if you don’t understand why, you don’t understand democracy.



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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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