Last weekend I was honored to be a guest of Sophrosyne's Salon, held Saturdays in Extropia Core, a self-governed technocratic city state of the future (overview here); Sophrosyne Stenvaag hosted a wide-ranging conversation about my book and related topics. Go here to read the full transcript, but here are some highlights, along with pictures of the diverse, impressively thoughtful audience.
Hamlet Au: Yes, love to. First is Bebop Reality, and that's the plastic, improvisational nature of SL, where people can riff off each other's creativity. That's how we can get mermaids and robots and so on in the same social space and not have it seem discordant-- the freeform variety is Second Life.
Sophrosyne Stenvaag: [P]olitical activism and protest seems to have deep roots in our history here -- What's worked? What's misfired? Why are we so given to activism and so little to self-government?
Hamlet Au: Because activism is fun, but self-governance is a pain in the ass. Especially democracy. Everyone wants to assemble outside the Front National HQ and shoot it full of bullets and exploding pigs (another story from the book), but if you were to ask all of them to create a network of sims that prohibited extremist political groups from setting up shop again, I bet only a few would show up.
That's been one of Linden Lab's biggest challenges, and as many mistakes as they make, they do try and get the community's opinion, but time and again, just 1% or less will actually make the effort to register it on JIRA or feedback surveys or whatever. I remember that when I was at Linden, it was aggravating, because they would keep asking what Residents wanted, but Residents wouldn't generally say anything until Linden Lab did something. THEN EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION.
Hamlet Au: I know a lot of the roleplaying immersionists who work for a metaverse development company... or for that matter, Linden Lab... Augmentation at the office, Immersion on the weekend, so to speak.
CyFishy Traveler: I don't see it as versus . . . more of points on a scale.
Hamlet Au: This is actually something I was wrong about, I should say; I worried a breaking of immersion would break Second Life. With real companies etc. coming in. That was my concern in 2004, 2005, but that's been proven wrong.