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Monday, February 02, 2009

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Brigitte Kungler

Thanks for this article Hamlet. I am constantly embarrassed being Canadian and this just another illustration of why. I urge everyone to watch the piece and leave their comments on it. Although it could be highly unlikely that they will publish it (read their disclaimer).
This is what I wrote:

Leave it to the CBC to be behind the times, once again. This aspect of Second Life has been beaten to death both in England and the US. In fact, the footage of the woman in Pennsylvania and the Brit, has been taken from an American show on the same subject. If this is such a widespread issue in Second Life as you seem to infer, why didn't you find some new people to interview?

Hey I have an idea! Instead of regurgitating programs from the States and England, why don't you get off your cushy job pillow and perhaps be, hmmmm, original?

If you really did your research about Second Life you would learn that there are thriving and well populated Educational and Arts communities worth investigation. Try reading some blogs like: New World Notes, Impossible in Real Life, or the Learning Experience; you might be pleasantly surprised and perhaps create an opportunity to present something interesting and ahead of it's time for a change.

Thank you for carefully reading, considering and especially appreciating this comment.

Arcadia Codesmith

Scroll down a few posts. Go to Night Flower's blog. Read about why she's leaving Second Life.

Virtual adultery is not uncommon. Instances that are verifiable in the real world to the satisfaction of a reputable news agency are.

Ann Otoole

When I see stuff like that all I hear is "wanhh wannhhh wannhh wannhh wannhhh All you people playing video games -- you are going to hell wanhh wannhhh wannhh wannhh wannhhh"


Lum

> That, or media outlets like the CBC's
> "Fifth Estate" are staggeringly incurious
> and slothlike.

This. As can be backed up by anyone who has ever dealt with mainstream media.

Iggy O

We have a brand-identity issue with SL. How do we turn this thing around?

This story made me need a drink. The CBC's broadcast of this rehashed story was backed by some foreboding, Disneyesque music. No nuance, no attempt at balance (the BBC piece was a bit less negative).

Infidelity exists in SL! OMG--REALLY?

Don't read the comments at the CBC site unless you take your meds first.

I'm sick of hearing it, but every time one of these pieces runs, it undoes some of the good work done in education, the arts, and non-profit sectors. Sad but true.

Where's that drink?

Nexus Burbclave

I don't know that I'll ever get these virtual adultery stories. By extension, are people playing counterstrike committing virtual murder? Are Real Time Strategy gamers committing virtual genocide?

Mitch Wagner

Prokofy Neva does a greatjob debunking the CBC story.

cube

and "new media" blogs are so much less likley to write up half truths, fantasies, paid for press, agenda driven drivel, and the same type of 15 nano second of shame drivel that disguised as reporting, is in fact, entertainment only.

-;)
c3

CyFishy Traveler

Virtual adultery is not uncommon. Instances that are verifiable in the real world to the satisfaction of a reputable news agency are.

I suspect there's a bit of truth in that, considering that most people who engage in such liaisons tend to keep themselves as anonymous as possible precisely because they don't want their spouses to know.

I'm always amused at the way these stories make the ability one has in SL to be, do or have anything you could desire such a sinister prospect . . .

Alas Zerbino

This is so stupid -- as if a computer application could make you have an affair! But people love to blame whatever they know nothing about.

I sent a comment to the CBC, but since I doubt they'll add it to their website, I'd like to share it here:

What awesome investigative journalism! I think the Fifth Estate should now go after all those other locations where married people meet and end up having affairs with others: bars, skating rinks, dance halls, stores, libraries, churches, and--worst of all--the workplace!

Once we've figured out where all these places are, we can ban them--or whatever it is you folks think should be done to Second Life--and thereby save ALL the marriages of the world!! Because obviously it's the PLACE where people meet that causes the affair; the otherwise very-happily-married people fall victim to adulterous thoughts just by stepping over the threshhold.

The funny thing is that these exact same stories have been told so many times over the years that I'm starting to wonder if they're the only two incidents of infidelity to be found among the millions of Second Life users. I guess the rest of us are too busy building or attending educational programs, devising new methods for product safety testing or training on hazardus materials, for example, or attending corporate planning and training sessions via Second Life to realize that we're all "supposed" to be having cyber sex. (Or maybe we're having all our affairs with penpals -- you know, those friends we only know via the letters we write and the photos we send each other through the mail?)

Oh, and by the way, you might want to look up the definition of "game"; you can find games in Second Life, but the application itself is no more a game than is the physical world.

News reporting like this makes me doubly glad I quit being a journalist many years ago.

Isadora Fiddlesticks

That is the saddest piece of reporting I've ever seen! rehashed and repackaged, and worst of all, unoriginal!

At least the NY Times does more up to date features, covering Architecture in Second Life, and others.

Valentina Kendal

Of course they only cover this topic again and again because it is salacious and will get them some viewers. What is interesting is that they almost buy into the idea that since it is a virtual world it must be some type of utopia. In fact, we all know that even with its computer-requirements, SL is still full of a general cross-section of the real world population. We have fabulous artists, writers, fashion-designers, entertainers; but we also have rude, mean, stupid, immoral, inconsiderate people, just like RL (not that these two groups don't intersect sometime- lol). And we have good people caught in the complexities of life and emotions. Is it any surprise that out of tens of thousands of daily users you can find some like the ones being profiled?

Sylea Sygall

to the person who noted that this program made them ashamed to be Canadian, I hang my head with you. I do also note that those of you who added comments to the CBC website DID have them posted, as I had read some of them before I came back here. Below is the comment I posted.
And by the way, the only balanced reportage I have ever seen about SL has been on this website - thank you Wagner!!!


What a load of rubbish. Fifth Estate (which was a program I had previously admired and enjoyed) has not only rehashed (badly)an existing documentary that was extremely interesting, but also reduced Second Life to some kind of arcade experience.
I joined SL in May of 2008, after being involved in playing video games with my teenage son. I had heard about it and had no preconceived idea of what it was. I soon discovered it was an excellent social networking site, full of creative, artistic people. With 60,000 plus people in SL on any given night, imagine my surprise when I met someone who is now my Real world partner. In my late 40's, I had been separated for 6 years and was not looking for another partner in the slightest fashion, and had accepted the idea I would not have another mate for the rest of my life, yet because of SL my life is happier and more fulfilled than it has ever been. He lives in the US, 3000 miles and 3 time zones away, and our first meeting in real life was amazing. He and I had been unknowingly searching for someone like the other all our lives. The challenges are there because of the distance between us, but we have Second Life which helps maintain our relationship between real world visits. Will it last?? I don't know. We have great hopes and faith in each other that it will. I just wanted others out there to know that Second Life is so much more than what this program made it out to be. I would also refer anyone with any interest to Wagner Au's site "Second Life New World Notes" - an excellent site that would help you realize that art and education and music are huge parts of the world itself. Music is one of the reasons I met my partner, and I have several other now very close friends in other parts of North America who I never would have met if not for joining this fascinating world.
It's not all about people escaping their real lives, though many go into it for that reason.

Sylea Sygall

And can I also just add - IT'S NOT A GAME!!!!! why do the mainstream media keep calling it that??
grrrr........I am trying to recover from surgery and this program just jacked my blood pressure up!!

Sylea Sygall

To the person who said they were ashamed to be Canadian, I hang my head with you.
The most balanced reportage I have seen about SL has been this website - thank you Wagner!!
Below is the comment I posted on CBC, and I do note that other folks DID have theirs posted, despite their misgivings that CBC might not.

What a load of rubbish. Fifth Estate (which was a program I had previously admired and enjoyed) has not only rehashed (badly)an existing documentary that was extremely interesting, but also reduced Second Life to some kind of arcade experience.
I joined SL in May of 2008, after being involved in playing video games with my teenage son. I had heard about it and had no preconceived idea of what it was. I soon discovered it was an excellent social networking site, full of creative, artistic people. With 60,000 plus people in SL on any given night, imagine my surprise when I met someone who is now my Real world partner. In my late 40's, I had been separated for 6 years and was not looking for another partner in the slightest fashion, and had accepted the idea I would not have another mate for the rest of my life, yet because of SL my life is happier and more fulfilled than it has ever been. He lives in the US, 3000 miles and 3 time zones away, and our first meeting in real life was amazing. He and I had been unknowingly searching for someone like the other all our lives. The challenges are there because of the distance between us, but we have Second Life which helps maintain our relationship between real world visits. Will it last?? I don't know. We have great hopes and faith in each other that it will. I just wanted others out there to know that Second Life is so much more than what this program made it out to be. I would also refer anyone with any interest to Wagner Au's site "Second Life New World Notes" - an excellent site that would help you realize that art and education and music are huge parts of the world itself. Music is one of the reasons I met my partner, and I have several other now very close friends in other parts of North America who I never would have met if not for joining this fascinating world.
It's not all about people escaping their real lives, though many go into it for that reason.

Sylea Sygall

It is wonderful to see people supporting such a vibrant, creative, and artistic place!

Honour

I'm not ashamed to be a Canadian - but I would be if I thought the 5th Estate represented me or my country. I don't watch the 5th Estate for exactly the same reasons we can see what's wrong with this report. They stopped worrying about accuracy when they figured out the formula for ratings (and forgot about journalism).

Sylea Sygall

Apologies for the double post of my comment.

Kiwidude Klinger

You've nailed it again Wagner! I join the chorus of jeers and boos at The Fifth Estate’s mediocre reporting.

This documentary was blatantly myopic about SL relationships, and the fact that they only had two couples featured - both very prominent SL relationships - really does belie the fact that they have done little or no research of their own into the matter.

Did our frumpy "investigator" even create an avatar and take the time to learn about SL? I doubt it because she spoke with no authority on the matter. It was a very cold, one-sided analysis of SL relationships which can be deep, loving, and truly rewarding to many.

I also am in a wonderful SL->RL marriage, I own a premier destination for lovers in SL, and I have had much experience in the issues surrounding SL relationships going into RL. So I speak with some authority when I say that the morals and ethics of a SL relationship are no different to those that go into RL relationships. Yes people cheat on their spouses and partners (real and virtual), but let’s be real here: this has been happening since time immemorial and is not "caused" by Second Life as the CBC would have us believe.

I was moved and delighted to see Dutch and Tenaj so happy in their Real Lives (ignoring the fact that she has left her children in Canada, I hope she rectifies that) and I wish them a long and happy life together. I believe the documentary chose to judge them just because they live a biker's lifestyle, but in my opinion if that is their path to happiness then more power to them!

Mitch Wagner

Kiwidude nails my objection to this piece -- it was "cold" and "one-sided."

I don't really care if Second Life gets slammed in the media. I don't care of all of us are portrayed as geeks and perverts.

I do think that all five of the people focused on in this documentary are going through some hard times, and the "Fifth Estate" didn't do them any good by reporting on their troubles in this fashion.

When journalists write about people's personal problems, they should follow the rule for picnicking and camping: Leave the area in the same shape you found it, or better. I don't think the CBC fulfilled that obligation here.

OTOH, I thought the original Journal article from a year or two, about the biker guy and his wife, was terrific.

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Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
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