« SLCC 09 Notes and Pics Around The Web | Main | Announcing a Second Life Fashion Design Contest: Create Styles Inspired by RMB City For Art, Glory, Linden Dollars! »

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Quite a revelation! Somehow I'd always pictured her typist living in Europe. :D However, I think you need to go back and read more of Botgirl's posts because your thread title suggests you haven't learned a damn thing from her explorations of identity.

Shava Nerad/Shava Suntzu in SL

Ye gods, congrats! I've known Botgirl in a few contexts and it never crossed my mind to think about avatar gender mismatch, which I have to say involuntarily crosses my mind with a lot of avatars who are matched up between typist and avatar!

It's good art as a living fiction...:)

Just Some Guy

If I know Botgirl, I think another possible motive might be to demonstrate how it doesn't matter at all in the Metaverse, and never has. Good work, again.

chaddington boomhauer

Yay! Another OMG SL isn't separate from RL navel-gazing blog goes down!

Arcadia Codesmith

The mask of the avatar reveals more than it conceals.


@Arcadia Codesmith: very nice said!

@chaddington boomhauer: Right, SL is simply a PART of 'RL' , impossible to seperate!

The expression 'RL' ('Real Life') is used wrongly most of the time imho! All informAtion is REAL, all communications are REAL! All experiences are real! All art is real! And so on and on...

I rather propose to use something like 'EL' ('Electronic Life') and 'ML' ('Molecular Life')

Ari Blackthorne

@ ZeMoo

I've pondered that very question more times than I can count. I'll just stick with "Second Life" versus "First Life" - and the Lindens originally phrased it:




@Ari Blackthorne:

'Second Life' is a trademark, a brand name. (and a very bad one imho, but thats even another story...) I am not gonna 'brand' any part of my real life. And I find nothing 'second' about it nor 'first'. Next to this, online digital communications are more then just SL. We need to find a good acronym or short word to describe this 'space' ('cyberspace' is to long...). I feel it can even endanger progress when these 'things' are not defined in the right way...

NWN: I'm sorry for getting probably a bit off-topic at this blogpost, anyone interested to discuss this further is very welcome at: http://flickr.com/groups/slreal/discuss/72157615723560254/

Extropia DaSilva

I am not surprised that the typist of botgirl has stepped into the limelight. I can imagine any roleplayer of a famous digital person thinking, 'hey wait, my creation gets all the recognition and I do all the work. No fair!'.

Unfortunately, by doing so the lifespan of that creation is drastically limited in a way that a literary character or a part in a play need not be.

This is because of other people's attitude. The default position of most is you *are* your avvie. I call this assumption 'PrimaryBound', which means there can only person behind Botgirl, or indeed myself. If any other person were to access our accounts and pretend to be Botgirl, or Extie, well it is just not the REAL Botgirl or Extie, is it?

Of course, this is nonsense. It is not the case that the first actor to play 'Othello' was the real one and all subsequent 'Othello's were fake. Any actor who can portray that role enough to convince the audience IS Othello. If only some of the Harry Potter books were written by J.K Rowling and the rest were written by ghost-writers, it would not be the case that the latter books were fake Harry Potter stories. Any 'Harry Potter' story that encapsulates the style, character developments, etc, established by the original author is as authentic as one written entirely by the author (assuming the copyright holder gives ghost-writer his or her blessing.)

This suggests an alternative assumption that is appropriate for roleplayed characters. I call it 'PrimaryCentred', meaning the typist is central-but not essential- to that role. In principle, somebody else could roleplay [insert name of digital person here], and provided the performance was not too different from other people's expectations, that character would be accepted as the same person.

So how does 'PrimaryBound' limit the lifespan of Botgirl? if only Botgirl's primary had toiled away in obscurity, and quietly passed her account over to a suitable replacement when he was no longer able to run the patterns of that digital self, Botgirl would have carried on existing by all the evidence available to everybody else. But then (here comes the cost) from the perspective of anyone who knows or has heard of Botgirl only through the medium of digital interactions (online worlds, IM messages, blog posts and replies etc etc) that person (the RL individual behind that digital self) would be an unperson, a ‘someone’ as opposed to a person with a particular name, gender, and face. He would never have existed in the first place in the eyes of the online community. Only Botgirl would really exist, since it is only that digital self that anybody else would come to know. There would, after all, be no information that anyone could use to tag an identity to the RL person. Of course people would know ‘someone’ or maybe ‘some group’ is doing the real work (unless this is the year ???? and Botgirl could be an artificial intelligence) but just being rumour and speculation is hardly the same as being a real person. One primary could retire from the role to be replaced by another, and so long as the current primary toils away in obscurity, Borgirl is her own digital self, effectively living indefinitely. But the price a roleplayer pays for her indefinite lifespan is, well, total obscurity. And that does kind of suck.

I would imagine that, the more famous and recognisable a digital person becomes, the more likely it is that someone else would fancy taking over that role as and when the current typist is no longer fit to do so. But, it takes an enormous amount of hard work to become an iconic SL resident. So, almost inevitably, that person is tempted to take the credit for his or her creation's success(which is reasonable, because he or she did all the actual work, after all). And then, sadly, because of this incorrect assumption that 'there can be only one' well..Botgirl is a dead avvie walking, when really the 'death' of a digital person should come only when its patterns are no longer worth processing by whoever or whatever is capable of doing so.

Simondo Nebestanka

..ahh please forgive the obviousness of my question, but how can we be sure 'David' & his back-story is not a figment of Botgirl's imagination?

I'm pretty sure I created my human one morning while pondering where all these prims & fellow avatars really came from.

Salvatore Otoro

"By revealing the man behind the avatar babe, however, "She can go on as a work of living fiction and I can finally begin to tell the story of the human side of virtual life."

I enjoyed Botgirl’s explanations in the Charlanna Beresford interview. Connecting the real life persona with the second life persona can be freeing and yet a source of concern as well. When a difference in gender is revealed, some will take it as if it were a farce. Gender should matter little within SL unless, in my opinion, you are getting partnered, in which case, hopefully you know more about that avatar than the average user does. However, if your avatar is staying away from virtual sexual or amorous relationships with other avatars, as was done here, gender should be irrelevant and there is no farce, nor harm done. What is true now is that the puppeteer can finally say that he is the brains behind this famous virtual persona. In reality, no one has been tricked here.

Extropia DaSilva

'Right, SL is simply a PART of 'RL' , impossible to seperate!'.

I feel this assumption can only lead to an impoverished SL.

Why? Well, imagine if some people thought there was no distinction between films and theatre. 'Look', they might say, 'both films and theatre have actors giving performances. Both rely on scriptwriters, set designers, lighting crews and directors. Both require costumes and props. Yep, impossible to separate!'.

And, indeed, you could make films that look just like theatre. You could have a single camera in a fixed postion, giving the viewer the POV of a person sat in a seat in the theatre. You could have actors enter stage right by walking into shot, and exit stage left by walking out of shot. You could have scenery changing in the same mechanical way sets change in the theatre. It would not suprise me if early attempts at cinematic storytelling were like this, since we tend to see new technology in terms of old ('cars', for example, began life as 'horseless carriages').

But, thank God, creative types asked what cinema could do that theatre could not. So now we have tracking shots, panning shots, ariel shots, chase-cams, steady-cams, editing, slow-motion, time-lapse, freeze-frame, bullet-time, optical effects, digital effects, and 5.1 audio sounscapes that (along with things like 'performance', 'props', 'lighting', 'sets' that evolved from theatre) comprise the language of cinema. 'The Matrix' stageplay would be a qualitatively different experience to 'The Matrix' movie.

So what about SL? Sure, we can frame it in terms of what is most familiar. We can make it so that it is indistinguishable from RL. But SL does not deserve to be so shackled, just as cinema definitely should not have remained just like theatre. SL needs to be freed from the constraints of RL. If that ever happens, it will evolve into an experience compared to which our current forms of entertainment and enlightenment will utterly pale.

On another note, I would point out that immersionism can incorporate just about all aspects of augmnenationism within its scope. If you want to be yourself in an immersionist world go right ahead-it's your choice. So long as you do not expect others to conform to your choice, nobody has the right to stop you.

But while immersionism is inclusive of people who prefer not to roleplay, Augmentationism is EXCLUSIVE of people who DO prefer to roleplay. It cannot contain immersionism within its scope. Roleplay would be drastically affected if everybody was required to reveal brickspace identities. Can you imagine achieving narrative transport into the film 'Rain Man' if the autistic brother were to say 'hi I am Raymond but my real name is Dustin!' every time he was introduced to a new character (who was also obliged to fall out of character)? It would never work!

Keep the emphasis on immersionism, and Sl can reach its full potential. Let it become too augmentist and it will be impoverished.


Wow Extropia. I've never heard anyone explain Immersionism and Augmentationsim so well.

Thank you.

Botgirl Questi

Mundane human life is the most Self-denying form of Role Play. It trades the infinite mystery of existence for the dubious security of smug certainty.


I have to disagree with this proposition, knowing a great many long-term residents who continue to maintain their avatar persona. While it's possible some may tire of multiple personalities and thus reveal (or merge with) their RL identity, there are many who don't. For some, the purpose of their SL existence depends utterly on their anonymity - they would never sacrifice it unless the nature of their existence changes.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Bad-Unicorn Funny Second Life items
Dutchie Waterland House slideshow 01112023
Juicybomb_EEP ad
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
my site ... ... ...

PC/Mac readers recommend for SL:

Classic New World Notes stories:

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog