Monday, January 06, 2014

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Iris Wants To Know: Have You Ever Been The Victim (Or The Perpetrator) Of Online Alt Drama?

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

Another week passes and another spat breaks out among the residents of Second Life. Well, quite a few spats I'm sure, but the most visible by far involved a surplus of alts and a surfeit of honesty. Obviously we're not in the habit of rehashing social network drama on New World Notes, but the story isn't an unfamiliar one if you've spent any length of time socializing anywhere on the internet. Even Miss Metaverse Manners has taken a crack at the topic before. Sometimes you think you're talking to two people when you're really only talking to one. Sometimes it just seems so damn easy to set up a new account and do some perfectly innocent reconnaissance on someone...

Or maybe you haven't. Maybe your online experience has been a beacon of transparency all around?

Here's what I want to know: Have you every been duped by an alt with less than honest intentions, or have you ever been the duper yourself? No need to name names (not even your own) just share your story in the comments below. 

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

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Imnotgoing Sideways

I think I use at least one of my 25 alts each given week. Sometimes to be at 2 places at once. Sometimes to RP. And sometimes to annoy. =^-^=

Zauber Paracelsus

The only alt I regularly use is just a utility alt, which I use for testing products for bugs, checking to make sure the next-owner permissions are correct, and for product snapshots of avatars I've made.

With a different alt however, I did use it for snooping on the stores of individuals I believed were copybotting my things.

Alecks

While roleplaying the use of alts is something very common as people get bored with the role they took or want to cover more play possibilities with others by using alts. The effect is usually drama when these people use the game information to favor themselves or simply upset those who thought had exclusive time with someone, be it with RP or out of it.

Adeon Writer

Considering I use voice chat on all of my alts, there's never really any secret. :)

Pussycat Catnap

If I log into any other MMO, I can have 50+ alts and its perfectly normal.

What is with SL users that they so often have such a weird sense of things?

I've got a lot of alts. With people I know over time I tell them who they are - because it gets annoying losing my social contacts when I swap around.

Have I ever been "duped" by someone's alt? I don't know. Would I care if I was? No.
- If someone treats me wrong I don't care if they do it this way or that way... I respond to the issue as fitting for it.

If someone wants to be nice to me on A, and mean on B - that is on them and not me. I would suspect that once they knew me beyond their assumptions about me; they would make a clearer choice for themselves and either be nice to me, mean to me, or move on - consistently.

If you want to be my buddy on one 'character' - I suspect that the process of becoming my friend is going to lessen your desire to harm me... or its going to drain you a lot to have to keep up a pretense you don't believe in.

I'm baffled why anyone cares about alts.

Sure I like to know who to say hi to when I pass them - and when friends tell me an alt I'm delighted as it means they want to enjoy my company while playing with something new. If they then have another alt they don't tell me - I get that people like having space.

Nobody wants people all up in their business 24/7... I have a few alts I keep to myself just to log in and explore alone, or listen to a stream alone. But I'm not that good at hiding it because I don't care so much...
- They have a funny habit of appearing inside my SL home, and a funny habit of having the same tastes as me in music, SL style, and profile interests...

Because... no big deal.

Savoree LeDesir

I have several alts that I use for different things. One is primarily for my (feebile attempts at) virtual artwork. One was primarily for managing my properties in SL, back when I thought that was fun. One is a throwaway for visiting some of the (A) sims. One is a male alt that I use to visit the male-only sims (because let's face it - they have the best builds!).

I don't believe anyone has felt "duped" by my use of these alts. On those rare occasions when I've had more than a "Hi, how RU? I'm fine, thx how RU?" interaction with someone, I've let that person know that I was using a different alt that day. While I don't feel the need to divulge my legal name or address to most people online, I don't lie about who I am, or what my intentions are.

Because I use alts it really doesn't bother me at all if other people use them. There was one incident a couple of years ago that is kind of funny now, but it upset me at the time. I had developed what I thought were the beginning of friendships with several women in SL. I started noticing a similarity in conversation patterns and details among a few of them, and after some investigation I finally was able to confirm that at least four of my new friends (female avi's) were all the same man in RL. He made it easy, as I also had one of his male alts on my friends list, and he had tied that one to himself in real life, so I easily found out that he was married, and had adult children about my age. I never confronted him about it. I just withdrew from the friendship(s)immediately, and considered it a lesson learned. I figure I must have been some sort of experiment for him. I'm not sure if he learned anything useful or not.

Shug Maitland

What Pussycat said :)
My alts are legion, some people change clothes to reflect their mood, I change alts. Most people who know me know I have alts, a few know all of them.

Tracy RedAngel

I have different alts, lots of people have alts for various reasons. My main alt is always "me" with red hair. Sometimes I get a little bored with that and fell like being an little old lady, so I log onto that avatar.
I have known people who have faked their deaths, then a few weeks, months later will pop up back on another account. They're usually not very good at hiding their tracks. Sometimes they do it to escape relationships, or they get a perverse thrill from it. One of my male friends was all set to spend his RL Christmas with a woman he met in SL, only to learn she had "died" a few weeks prior. Her supposed sister (doubt it was her sister) came on and alerted her friends that she had died a violet death during a home invasion. Obviously, upon checking county records, obituaries, newspaper articles...there was nothing. This woman (if she is an RL woman, who the hell knows) will probably do it to someone else.

Merc

Just for the statistics justice, to show the "other side" too: I have no alts. Not any, since my SL rezday 3 years ago. I can live out my creativity perfectly in my one and only skin.

And a message to those alts who would like to hide their other SL identities: no matter how differently you look, right from the moment you open your mouth to say something (I mean you type something in chat), you can be identified. Your style, your behavior patterns is a thing that you are not able to change. You think you are able to - you aren't.

CronoCloud Creeggan

The CC avoids alt-drama.

I have a utility/emergency alt, openly identified as my alt in the profile. Properly red haired of course, though she isn't wearing my current skin or eyes.

There is only one true me in SL and that is Ms. CC Creeggan

elizabeth

i treat every avatar i see as a different entity/person. even when the person says hi! is me. i just say nah! you not. you don't look like them. and you got a different name on your head. so is obvious that you aren't who you are pretending to be. you faker. then it all degenerates from there most times (:

Arcadia Codesmith

I have a small army of "alts" (and no real "main", for that matter), several years of actor training, and I have never been identified. My "style and behavior patterns" are things I can manipulate at will. I did a virtual play one time where three of my avatars were playing three different roles, but that was a little extreme.

I don't do it to mess with people. It's primarily to get different perspectives and experiences. But you don't get to know who's who unless you've earned my trust. My personas are not an entitlement for the world. They are my creations and I make that decision.

zzpearlbottom

There are obvious needs for the use of alts:
Security, when you create a group better create a alt and give them the same powers, often i was ejected from my own group by mistake and the only way was to use my alt to give me the same permissions!
Things i do build i always transfer a copy to my alt!
There was a time that my main account had a problem that took a week for the support team to solve and my alt was the only way to be in world!
And i made several alts, to try diff looks!
In all i have 4 alts, and last year i didn't had time to connect with them, much less to establish any interaction with any else!
And sometimes, users real need to get out of their main account for several reasons, besides logical ones!



Pussycat Catnap

"One is a male alt that I use to visit the male-only sims (because let's face it - they have the best builds!)."

There are male only sims?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"My alts are legion, some people change clothes to reflect their mood, I change alts."

I started having lots of alts because I assign a sort of character to each even though I don't "play them as different people".

But this means each has a distinct look. Pussycat is my neko/cat furry - and build rezzing. Bunny is my rabbit furry and 'off-mood' alt. Sinopa is my fox/ fennec furry, and building alt. Mocha my faun.

It felt "weird" that I might have an avatar named 'pussycat' show up as a rabbit or faun or whatever... so off I went making multiples. And Sinopa ended up my builder to keep control on inventory back before mesh knocked my out of being a builder (she was actually specifically made to see what I would think of a furry - and not "taint" my other accounts if I rejected the idea... now almost all my accounts have a half dozen furry avatars, except Bunny; because DSD makes the only rabbit furry, as of this date, that I can stand to look at. :) ).

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

THE HEART OF WHAT I THINK THIS BLOG REALLY WANTED TO ASK US:

"One of my male friends was all set to spend his RL Christmas with a woman he met in SL"

A basic rule I think anyone in an emotionally involved online relationship should follow: The moment you decide to go beyond 'random login friend' to 'real relationship'... pick up the phone and call the other person, and make the connection "real". Continue an online relationship all you want...

But.

Never base a real life relationship off of an online one. Instead, base an online relationship off of an offline one. Make that call, connect in real life, then play together online.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Oh an on land. If you're premium and own land - you should have at least one alt - to make a group and gain a 10% bonus on tier. I believe that is why I put Bunny together, even though she predates Pussycat - Bunny and my original account (that I tossed because I didn't like the name) were my land group - but I couldn't connect to Bunny for the longest time so made Pussycat when the 'neko accident' happened (wore a box's contents by mistake and discovered I was a neko - which is very close to heart to RL me). Until DSD made a rabbit furry, Bunny just sat as an unused land group alt.

Another reason for the alts: 5 premium accounts. :)

Tracy RedAngel

@ Pussycat:
Absolutely, it was a tough lesson for my friend. Online friendships by their very nature are more fragile because of the transient nature of virtual worlds and social networks. I think it's not a bad thing to be just a little emotionally guarded.
I met my RL husband in Second Life, but we met in RL rather quickly (about 2 months upon meeting in SL). Three years later we are still married both in RL and SL. The relationship is based on the real persons...not the avatars.

sparky

Isn't every avatar an alt?

Connie Arida

Alts can be very usefull for money laundering.

HALEY Salomon

I am a voice girl so all my alts sound like me ! we use alts in the game of TINY EMPIRES , and well I love making them , made the last one look like um,, u don't have .. to know , The one thing I don't do is make a MALT , male alt ,,I find my friends who are boys need all the help dressing and with shapes I can give

Was I flattered? No.

I must be terribly stupid because I did not recognize the three male clients who came to me for SL portraits as being the same person, and who persisted in trying to hook up. Then a fourth turned up; he was engaged to be SL wed, and we became good friends. I was best "man" (and photographer) at the nuptials. He introduced me to a friend of his who was allegedly broken-hearted over a lost relationship. 'Broken-hearted' and I became very close, and I shared information and took relationship advice about him from my married friend. Yep, turns out everyone involved (except me?) was the same person. There were about 8 alts in total that he threw in my path.

Wolf Baginski

I have a spare Alt, just in case the Grid misbehaves and I end up "ghosted" or otherwise locked out.

I have, a few times, run both AVs at the same time, but I don't really have a good enough connection for it to be comfortable.

I can see why somebody might use two alts, one male and one female, with suitably different names. Over the years, not just in SL, I've seen how female characters can get treated. There are some sims I would be reluctant to visit as a female Alt, unless I can arrange a flight of Skyraiders with napalm to be on call.

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