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Second Life? Are you in??

I have to say that I’ve been pretty cautious in regards to online identity and personal information of myself via Internet, but probably not as cautious as I should be considering the increase identity fraud that happens on a daily basis. Back a few years ago when I was in junior high, I had an American Online screen name, or a pseudonym if you will, which consisted of my first initial and a few letters of my last name, followed by two of my favorite numbers. I remember AOL have an option of setting up a profile, where you could list more personal information regarding your location, interests/hobbies, and things like that. However, I was very cautious about putting any information on the profile, and if I did it was far fetched from the truth. In the readings by Turkle it states, “On it people are able to build a self by cycling through many selves.? (4). The Internet has made it easier for people to pretend to lead a life that’s not really anything like their realistic one. Luckily, I haven’t had any problems with my online identity yet, and hopefully I never will. I don’t necessarily agree with the whole MUD concept because I feel as though it just gives individuals an excuse to do things and say things they probably wouldn’t normally do in real life. For example Turkle mentioned on page 251, “Virtual rape can occur within a MUD if one player finds a way to control the actions of another player’s character and can thus “force? that character to have sex.? Rape in real life is considered a crime; hence, why should it be ok for a person to go ahead and joke around about something like this with a virtual world or avatar?

Second Life is definitely something new to me. It seems interesting, but I’m still not too sure if I’d ever actually take the time to participate in it. When I briefly glanced over this article, Second Life kind of reminded me of the PC game SIMS. But after reading more into the article, found that Second Life is definitely more complex and involved than SIMS. It’s hard to believe that there are over 3 million residents involved in this virtual reality thing, when this is something completely new to me. I think one very interesting aspect of Second Life is what Kirkpatrick mentions the business use of the program, sort of replacing Teleconferencing with Second Life. It definitely would add a little spice and twist to the normal everyday meeting, that’s for sure! But, you wonder how beneficial it would be. Even though Second Life looks like an interesting program, it seems as though there is a downfall of Second Life, as mentioned by Kirkpatrick, and that is its’ software if difficult to use, “one in six who try it are still on line 30 days later?. So it looks like there are still some improvements that could be made to Second Life that would allow it to be a bit more user friendly. All in all, I think it’s an interesting program, who knows what the virtual world will come up with next!

Comments

"Turkle mentioned on page 251, “Virtual rape can occur within a MUD if one player finds a way to control the actions of another player’s character and can thus “force? that character to have sex.? Rape in real life is considered a crime; hence, why should it be ok for a person to go ahead and joke around about something like this with a virtual world or avatar?"

Well said, I couldn't agree more. I think it's insane that people think it's okay to play out these fantasies in virtual reality. If they are having these fantasies they should go to a shrink before they start blurring the line between virtual reality and reality!

I also agree with your rape arguments. That's wrong, but one of the things I noticed on SecondLife (I just joined Tuesday) is the "policing" arm of it, when someone does try and harm you or control you, you just hit buttons or type something in that will ban the user from the site. I also agree with Nicole about the "blurring" of lines between virtual reality and what is real. I think this started when video games became big.

On the one hand, I agree with your comment that "Rape in real life is considered a crime; hence, why should it be ok for a person to go ahead and joke around about something like this with a virtual world or avatar?" However, I think it is important to remember that in some ways the participants consider the virtual world as real as the "real" world. Just as you say it is a crime in the real world, certainly it could be considered a crime in a MUD world, punishable in that world.

To say that is simply shouldn't happen, that it's "not okay", is to diminish the reality and validity of the online world. That doesn't mean that "virtual rape" is always "ok", or even ever "ok", just that one can should perhaps measure its acceptability by the metric of the world that it takes place in.

Hey, I'm late to the party, but I just saw your page.

I've been in SL for three years now, so I know a bit about it. And you can't "rape" someone in SL, as both participants have to be willing to put their avatars in that situation. And even if, somehow, an avatar was sexually assaulted by another, the person controlling that avatar could simply teleport to another location or just shut down SL.

Now, if you haven't actually been to SL, you probably don't understand a lot about it. It's a freeform playground where adults can, and do, turn their imaginations into some sort of reality. While often their creations are harmless, such as a sim dedicated to represent the pre-Katrina French Quarter of New Orleans to generate donations for survivors, sometimes their imaginations are darker. There are lots of things that are criminal in real life that are shown in SL, rape only one among them. Will you get equally upset about people who have created virtual bongs and let their avatars smoke pot? Hey, it's illegal, right?

I'm a woman who does enjoy these sorts of fantasies and who uses SL to play with them. I don't dress in short skirts and hang about in alleys. I stay at home, use an anonymous account and fantasize with others in SL. What's so dastardly about that?