Monday, July 29, 2013

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Iris Asks: What's The Point of Stealing Someone Else's Profile?

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week, SL artist and writer Whiskey Monday found out that someone in Second Life had copied her profile for their own. Since then, the accused profile thief has commented on the blog post that Whiskey wrote on the subject, trying to paint herself as an ignorant, innocent person now being victimized by Whiskey and her "SLebrity" status. She claims she took the words off of a website and not directly from Whiskey, as if that makes it better. But whatever, I'm not going to get into how readily people steal words without applying even a fraction of the concern they might apply to stealing any other form of media, because there's something else about this whole affair really gnawing at me...

Neither her comment nor Whiskey's post answer what I would consider to be the most pressing question raised by all of this: Why would you even bother stealing someone's profile?

Whether this person found what she took of of some nondescript mystery website or not, this isn't the first time someone has copied someone else's profile in SL. I've seen it happen dozens of times over the years, and I just don't get it. You put a picture in there, you talk about some shit you do or shit you like or shit you think, the end. What's worth stealing about that?  It doesn't take very long to whip one up, or even add a few changes every so often if you're a perfectionist. It probably takes just as much time to steal a profile as it does to just fill that shit in yourself.

Now granted my own profile is years out of date, but that brings me to another point... Who cares? I've always been far more interested in peoples' Flickr accounts and blogs and Plurks than in their profiles, because a profile is a horribly condensed and awkward place to express anything of real significance or depth (like, you know, who you are as a person). Many people do keep their SL lives contained entirely inside SL and if those cases an eye-catching profile may be more important, but even when dealing with those specific cases I'd much rather interact a little bit than dismiss them outright based on a couple paragraphs and a tiny snapshot. Unless they say something utterly repulsive, of course, but that kind of thing takes a lot of deliberacy. You don't just start talking about sunsets and slip in how you feel about reproductive rights by accident.

So maybe I just don't get it. Help me out here. What's the point of stealing something as trivial as a profile?

(Pic courtesy of Whiskey Monday)

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Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.


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Oh Iris, you're adorable.

I had an aunt who used to believe that her radio was trying to swallow her head.

There are some people that you should just not try to understand.

Madeline Blackbart

I dunno stealing that is...weird? I can see quoting someone else s profile with credit to them that's a different story though.That's more akin to quoting a book.


In SL some people steal other people's creative work so that others will think they are whatever they are not: clever, talented, creative.

Oh, and sometimes to make money, too.

Orca Flotta

Yeah, it's bad. It's not nice and it's unnecessary. But then again a "stolen" profile just tells me a lot about the person in question. I don't wanna have anything to do with them. Case closed, byebye.

BTW I love SL profiles, I'm what they call a profile junkie. I even prefer the old V1 style over the new version. It's about my SL person so I rather keep it in SL instead of blasting it all over the net. And I always try to keep my profile fairly up to date and swap out photos and texts quite often. Even received IMs by strangers congratulating me on my profile. Ooooh I love it when that happens :)

Adeon Writer

After years of writing things in my profile and never being happy or believing it represented me well I settled for leaving it blank.


Who cares.


1st: Who cares!
2nd: as it was not enough the paranoia regarding copyrights (and i do believe the right to copy is as absolute and pure as the act of creating, if there was nobody that copied and put to prosperity how much would we know about so much of the past?) now we have copyrigt profile claims, even if not from a legal point of view (Copyright is the way to enrich lawyers, period!).

The Tier Is Too Damn High Party

First world problem.

Tracy Redangel

People copy works of art, literature, technology for more clear, arguable reasons.
Why would someone in particular copy a Second Life avatar profile? I guess someone saw something another person had that they wanted?
I think it's sad and pathetic more than anything.

Aeonix Aeon

The reason is quite clear -

Many people do not posses the creativity to have a original thought. That's why there are so many Marilyn Monroe quotes and such. But when people actually *are* creative, original and insightful... they tend to attract the "me too" syndrome of photocopy wannabes.

People who just want to be as awesome or amazing as others but can't be bothered to actually be amazing or awesome.

This is why I regularly write original content in my picks. I'm lucky enough to have the ability to write something compelling on a dime.


I found her whole blog post extremely self aggrandizing. For someone who claims to suffer a lot, she sure does worry about unimportant SL profiles. Get a grip lady. That's my expert advice. You're becoming 'one of those SL people'. You know which ones too.

Corcosman Voom

There's a market niche waiting to be filled ..... "will write an interesting Profile bio for L$".

Probably not that big a niche : ))

Pussycat Catnap

I can see the reasons in using a speech, poem, quotation, musical lyric, common saying, etc - as a way to express oneself. That is something people do all around the world and whole professions (lawyers, judges, and English teachers), are devoted to the art of doing it well.

But taking someone else's profile is ... strange...

Because a profile is an act of self expression. Its your first impression setter - its your "this is who -I- am."

And so taking someone else, is saying "I am nobody, I have no value." And that is just sad...

As to who cares and having an out of date profile... I find this similarly sad...

I personally always check the profile AND FEED of anyone who I contact or whom contacts me in SL. And if I don't care for what I see there, the contact goes no further. If I have to conduct business with the person, it limits to as little as I can.

If a person has no sense of self, they have no worth... or if they express themselves in a way I find offensive, then I avoid them.

As for plurk, flickr, tumblr, whatever...
- those are their mediums, not SL.

I think I have a plurk account, but I have no idea of the details of it. I use flickr, as an art gallery for when I'm NOT in SL but want to look at or share SL images.

And blogs are for blogging - an action outside of SL. I don't think I've bothered to make relationships with a single person I know through blogging. That is different space. If I want to know a person in a blog context, I will deal with them there.

Most SLers don't have blogs. All of them have profiles - even if blank.

If your profile is way out of date, it tells me you don't consider SL a personal priority. And THAT SAYS A LOT about whether or not you are worth engaging with. Often even more than seeing something I object to. At least with the person who I found something objectional, we now have a topic to discuss. :)

Ajax Manatiso

I agree with someoneyoudontknow. My profile has the line about my emails getting capped so send me a notecard. To this date I have not heard from the grieving originator of that line about how he has suffered from others using it.

Canoro Philipp

who cares if the another person have the same arrangement of words than she does? she don't own the way that those words are ordered as much as to complain if someone else happens to have them the same way.
is she gonna copyright that arrangement of words?
what is she gonna copyright after that, the word "hi" and complain that many people are saying "hi" to each other in SL without giving her credit?

Edward Starsmith

Your profile is something that should say something about you. It's supposed to give someone reading it an idea about what it would be like to interact with you. To copy the profile of someone else is to present yourself as someone you aren't. In other words, copying a profile that doesn't belong to you is a lie spoken to everyone who reads it. You will attract people who are looking for something you aren't, and that is not likely to end well.


in world they send invites to a vip group you have to pay

in SL Marketplace they fake everything, including slurs and ads:

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