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Friday, February 19, 2010


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Vint / Ann

I vote this to be false! ;)

Ordinal Malaprop

I must say that I do not see any particular connection here at all; not just in my case (I have taken my leave of the Grid for the moment, it is true, but I have been there an awfully long time) but in the cases of all of the other people that I have known.

In fact, if anything, the longest-term residents that I know have kept quite a careful difference between their lives. The majority of the folk that I know from my earliest days who are still on the Grid, I have no idea of their "RL" details, not that I would ask in any case.

Zonja Capalini

Vint (or is this Ann? xD) is right. This is false. How much time you resist in the SL/Opensim complex doesn't depend on how much you reveal about your RL identity -- it depends on how much you're determined to stand all the attacks that the Lindens put on you: Opensim fiasco, Zindra ghetto, paternalistic forum pruning, and all that. And of course you need some talent to reinvent yourself permanently, because being always the same avie gets boring, in the end. But this does NOT depend on being open and sincere about your RL, which is anyway most probably very boring in most cases -- you'd better recourse to a good friend or hire a good psychoanalist for that. Many people that resist the abject lindenities for many years end up being strong, intelligent, determined and sharing (how to be able to survive, otherwise? ;-)). And this is not related to whether they share details about their RL. To the contrary, I would say -- when you feel the need to confess about your RL, you're experiencing a major failure of the SL metaphor. And THAT is what makes people leave SL, not the theological idea of not having been sincere.

Tateru Nino

I can think of too many counterexamples. I'll have to go with false.

Botgirl Questi

Despite Charlanna's headline, the people I mentioned who left were on the extreme side of the question. Charlanna referred to them as:

"people that avoid sharing they had awful day at work for fear that someone might ask them what they do. This is more about being so cautious that the person refuses to share contextual information as friendships develop."

Ziki Questi

I'm a pretty hardcore SL resident, have been in SL since early 2007 (different identity then), and I keep rl and sl about as far apart as I can, although a few close friends in sl know something about my rl. I certainly have no plans to leave sl, and have seen people who *have* revealed their identities leave. Where is the baseline data for the suggestion that "The Less You Reveal About Your Real Self in Second Life, the Less Likely You Are to *Stay* in Second Life"?

And I have no desire to know the rl identities of my friends and business associates. Why is this "network your rl and sl together" such an agenda for NWN?

Ananda Sandgrain

I would say this is slightly misstated, not entirely false, but again confusing the notion that one life or identity is "real" and another is not.

I would state the rule of thumb like this: Those that share of themselves are more likely to stick around.

In other worlds, the revealing and creativity are corollaries, but NOT necessarily how much someone states the things they were pinned with in RL.

*sighs* I suppose this argument about what is real or true will go on forever.

Ann Otoole

Bullshit. Only true for people incapable of acting. The issue is the pile of lies problem. If you are telling lies eventually it all implodes because you can't keep track of the lies. If, on the other hand, you are functional and living an alter ego without lying then there is no pile of lies to implode.

Good actors can be hard to find. And they are very valuable resources in some sectors.

A for instance are actual real life intelligence agents living in the target nations under false identities. And yes they really do exist. They would not agree that it is impossible since they eat live and breath in real life what is tantamount to an avatar.

So sorry it is only true for non actors and liars.

Hamlet Au

I'm thinking of all the many Residents I know who decline to reveal their real world name to anyone in-world. Now I'm thinking of all the people in that group who still tell me and other friends RL details like where they live, their job, their marital status, what they did offline last weekend, etc. etc. That pretty much covers 95% of the Residents in that group. Including folks writing in this very comment thread.

Ordinal Malaprop

Mr Au, if you believe that my Twitter stream actually contains any significant information (or anything personally identifiable) I might suggest that you have missed the point of it.

Senban Babii

This is nonsense. Sorry, but it is. I've been in SL for coming up to three years and I don't share RL details (don't believe everything you read...) I don't honestly know any long term residents (2007 or earlier as a rough guide) that share RL details. Strangely, I share SL details with RL people. Make of that what you will :)

I'm with Ordinal Malaprop on this one :)

Annechen Lowey

This is utter nonsense. There are plenty of residents who are nothing like their counterparts behind the keyboard, and that is for a *reason*. Besides the security issues, there is the simple fact this may be an escape from stress in Real Life, and therefore it is not discussed.

On the other hand, I am quite unlikely to reveal things of a personal nature to a casual acquaintance. A request for "A/S/L" as a conversational opening is the quickest way to have me mute you, in fact.

Hamlet Au

Shrug, I think there's something to what Lanna says. I've literally talked with thousands of Residents for this blog, and when asked, almost all of them have shared at least some RL details, on or off the record. (And if it's off the record, that's still Resident-to-Resident sharing.) Out of those thousands, I can only recall a handful who refused to share anything.

Fuzzball Ortega

I suppose it should boil down to how much information. For example, some in Steelhead know my real name. They know whereabouts I live in the US. Three know my cell number. My SL sister and I share some RL information with each other. But, we're talking a small number.

Not everyone I meet gets all that information. Not everyone in Steelhead has that info.

Most everyone in RL knows of my involvement in SL, especially with RFL.

I think maybe the part about sharing your SL experience with RL friends may be a factor. Depending on what you do in SL, I see no reason to keep it a secret from your RL family and friends.....unless you're a married man in RL, pretending to be a woman in SL in a sex bed with a male avatar who happens to be a married woman in RL.....


Thanks for the link, Hamlet.

I hope everyone will go read the original post. The headline here on NWN only captured part of what I was saying. First, this was a generalization. And second, it isn't about sharing RL identifying information in SL, but more those rare occasions when people *never* mention that they even have an RL. Thirdly, and perhaps the biggest point, when people actively hide their SL from their RL. The common thread through these? It is when people actively work to keep the two apart in either or both worlds. Or, as Anne put well, non-actors and liars. These are the people that I've seen burn out from my admittedly small sample of people.

Hitomi Tiponi

Please everyone read Lanna's full post which seems very reasonable to me.

Sadly Hamlet's selective quote seemed to fail to hit the core of her piece which was more to do with the decoupling of rl and sl. I think that most of us who stay in sl find that our rl has been enriched by sl, and vice versa - even if we don't share those details.

I believe it is the decision to isolate yourself emotionally between the two lives - or fabricate or conceal one in the other - that seems to bring the most problems. You don't need to know who the person is in rl - just how they truly feel.

Vaneeesa Blaylock

I have to agree with Ziki on this. This is an article on one person's anecdotal opinion presented as fact. The only possible value is to advance the NWN agenda of networking RL & SL because NWN believes that's the way for SL to go from profitable already, up to mega-world domination.

Did you read Alice in Wonderland? Did you read Don Quixote? Why does NWN want SL to become Facebook, the most boring invention in the history of Web2.0? Facebook is the banality all those romantics railed against. Facebook is "real" (except, of course, for all us "fake" FB users just waiting for our account cancellations - thank you Marky Mark!) in the most tedious, insipid possible way. I'll take prim babies and lag over Mafia Wars and FarmTown any 4-hour day!

Ann Otoole

Hamlet is shilling Kingdon's agenda to out identities again. Karma Hamlet. Karma. All your efforts will result in innocent people being murdered and harmed.

Ciaran Laval

Hmm, if we're talking about any RL details, including which country someone lives in then there's probably something in this, but only mostly due to people who don't stay long not being around long enough to share a snippet rather than them desperately trying not to do so.

Extropia DaSilva

I would agree with Hamlet if the argument is that we all let some aspects of our 1st life into our 2nd life. Even I tell people my primary is from England.

ONTH if he is saying 'all immersionists (aka those who tend toward the roleplaying end of the spectrum) soon quit', well as others have said we all know enough longterm immersionists to rule out that hypothesis.

I doubt this is an attempt to persuade us to give up all aspects of our 2nd life identities, use our real names inworld, redesign our avvies to mirror our physical bodies, until there is absolutely no difference between our 1st life and 2nd life identities. It is probably more like an observation that allowing at least some crossover between 1st and 2nd life has a more positive effect on wellbeing than imposing a strict seperation between the two existences.

Loki Eliot

I kinda agree with the post. As time has past my digital personas have merged a bit allowing those who know my avatar well to know more about who I am in real world. For me that's a natural step of trust in friendships. Sone people even go as far as meeting up in real world. It might be something that is not just about second life. The Internet as a whole is changing all the time and I think one area that's seen alot of change is how we choose to communicate and with things like facebook and Twitter and connecting we are as a whole leaning towards being less secretive. I'm rambling now so I'll stop :-)

Ric Mollor

I'm inclined to agree with Charlanna's opinion. As one who has observed/participated in online communities since the dawn of publicly accessible multi-user systems it has become painfully obvious that those who work to continually obscure details of their 'real' life are usually dysfunctional in some way, pursuing an hidden agenda, or hiding their actions from a significant other or spouse.

The fact that the *majority* of Second Life users could be classified in this group certainly carries some meaning. Though the reasons for this reality remains debatable it obviously has had a strong influence on the opinion of SL by the public at large.

CyFishy Traveler

Cutting your avie off from RL completely seems to be like holding your breath underwater. Sooner or later, you need to come up for air. The two best examples I know of avies who kept RL and SL firmly divided . . . are both gone now.

Senban Babii

@Vaneeesa Blaylock

"The only possible value is to advance the NWN agenda of networking RL & SL because NWN believes that's the way for SL to go from profitable already, up to mega-world domination."

We may not always agree on everything Veebee but I'm with you 150% on this one. NWN (with respect) is absolutely promoting an agenda of RL/SL details being connected, gradually shaping the presented stories to encourage the adoption of this viewpoint.

Hamlet Au

I support making SL/RL connection an *option*, but I've never advocated making it mandatory, and I never will. I do think the option is important for mass adoption. However, it's also an opinion formed by doing this for 7 years -- and the observation that almost all Residents already do make some SL/RL connection, if only on a limited basis. Hence my blogging this post.

Hamlet Au

"Hamlet is shilling Kingdon's agenda to out identities again."

Ann, I've said this several times, but once again, my opinions are my own and only my own. As for Kingdon's "agenda", what evidence do you have of that? And please square it with what he just said:


MARK KINGDON: One thing I want to be clear about: The first design principle in this social strategy is respect of your privacy. We aren't going to take away any privacy or anonymity for those that want it. We are not going to "out" people. We are not going to force anyone to reveal any private or personal information.

Latif Khalifa

Such nonsense. Displays ignorance of what most people do in SL. I'd agree with Senben that it feels like NWN is pushing an agenda by finding "anecdotal" evidence supporting the case for SL being just another portal for your RL persona.

Rodion Resistance

If it profits/benefits a person to reveal about his/her RL in SL, then chances are he/she will, which in turn could lead that person to "extend" his/her stay in SL, if only for the benefits enjoyed.


Ciaran Laval

"MARK KINGDON: One thing I want to be clear about: The first design principle in this social strategy is respect of your privacy. We aren't going to take away any privacy or anonymity for those that want it. We are not going to "out" people. We are not going to force anyone to reveal any private or personal information. "

There have been a series of recent events that are making people feel this is absolute balderdash, some have been on your site Hamlet, with your blog about people wanting to reveal their RL identities and the way you presented that, then on the LL site we had Wallace's post and most recently the valentine's hunt that required you to participate with Facebook to win the main prize.

Mark Kingdon's words seem empty in the face of all this, especially with regards to the valentine's hunt.

Hamlet Au

In other words, Cieran, the belief that Linden Lab is planning to make RL/SL linkage mandatory is a non-falsifiable one. M. Linden publicly promises never to require such linkage, but that's *still* rejected because... a non-mandatory Linden contest required a FB account to win a prize. Or because a Linden wrote a essay about online identity (where he specifically said linkage should happen "without being forced to expose information or connections you're not comfortable with" but never mind.) Or because someone who hasn't worked for the Lindens for 4 years posted a survey analysis on his personal blog. Would *any* evidence convince you that the Lindens have no plans to make RL/SL linkage mandatory?

Nexus Burbclave

I think Ciaran makes a good point. With the acquisition of Avatars United, there was a really easy fix to all of the concerns regarding the Valentine's hunt. Actions speak louder than empty promises, and every recent contest, Xstreet promotion or "certified partner" program of late has required a disclosure of real life identity. If Kingdon is serious about his commitment, there need to be alternate arrangements available for people who don't feel comfortable disclosing their RL identities to those outside the lab/ people they choose to confide in specifically rather than insincere admonishments that "participation is optional". Participation may be optional, but if participation grants specific advantages (as is the case in Xstreet promotions and the various "certified" programs), they are creating a group of second class citizens regardless of whether they choose to acknowledge it or dismissively claim that making these programs optional absolves them of their commitment to privacy.

Show us, Mr. Kingdon, don't just tell us.

Rusalka Writer

This is me: http://www.loreleiarmstrong.com, and when I can get an avie with my real name, I will.

Scylla Rhiadra

"I support making SL/RL connection an *option*, but I've never advocated making it mandatory, and I never will."

Hamlet, linking SL and RL is ALREADY an option for those wishing to do so. There are countless ways to make that connect, beginning with the 1st Life page on profiles, and running all the way to connecting one's avatar and AU account with RL Facebook and Twitter accounts. The fact is that it is a challenge in SL NOT to inadvertently link SL and RL.

Senban and Vaneeesa are dead on: you have an absolutely clear agenda on this issue. Reading NWN is becoming like reading one of those heavily slanted newspapers that run speculative headlines about things they want to see happen, in the hope that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Frankly, NWN is sliding down the slippery slope from journalism to advocacy. The fact that what you are advocating seems to be part of LL's own agenda doesn't make that any more palatable.

Ciaran Laval

"Would *any* evidence convince you that the Lindens have no plans to make RL/SL linkage mandatory?"

They aren't going to make it mandatory Hamlet, but the words are empty when we see the function creep of participation requiring you to reveal your RL identity, then will come peer pressure.

Saying "We are not going to force anyone to reveal any private or personal information." and then having a competition that requires people to do exactly that suggests that they will be true to their word, they won't force people to reveal any private or personal information, they will just make it difficult for you not to reveal it.

Hamlet Au

"Hamlet, linking SL and RL is ALREADY an option for those wishing to do so. There are countless ways to make that connect, beginning with the 1st Life page on profiles, and running all the way to connecting one's avatar and AU account with RL Facebook and Twitter accounts."

But all those solutions require facility with the viewer, the profile editing page, the Linden social network, etc. etc. That doesn't help the 95% or so of new accounts who don't even get that far before they churn out. One of the main reasons I support Facebook Connect and other RL/SL functions is that it will help get new users past the near insurmountable first hour learning curve. As it stands, new users are forced into avatar anonymity whether they like it or not.

Far as my "agenda", I think that misunderstands what New World Notes is. It's my personal general interest blog which covers Second Life and other virtual worlds from all kinds of angles -- sometimes straight news and strict reportage, sometimes opinionated or curated blogging, sometimes full-on opinion. I even created a "New World Editorial" tag for that purpose. But I've been explicit about this for years: I want Second Life to have millions of users, not hundreds of thousands. If that's an agenda, it's not a hidden one.

Botgirl Questi

I think that one reason we tend to go in circles around this issue is that discussions tend to present the question of disclosure ad binary and one dimensional. I created a few graphics last year to try to deconstruct the idea so that we could talk about finer-grained questions:


Botgirl Questi

Here's one more link to related graphics http://botgirl.blogspot.com/2009/10/pseudonymity-disclore-and-activity.html

Botgirl Questi

Here's one more link to related graphics http://botgirl.blogspot.com/2009/10/pseudonymity-disclore-and-activity.html

Arcadia Codesmith

I've been posting under pseudonyms since before the World Wide Web was worldly, wide or webbed.

To suggest, as one poster in this thread has suggested, that my motives are in any way more sinister than simple self-defense... I cannot express exactly how angry that makes me.

You think you're ENTITLED to my real ID? F**k you. That's a privilege you EARN, and it takes years. If you're threatened by my anonymity, one of us has a problem all right... and it's not me.

You can have the real me when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Well, I suppose there might be variations of openness with one avatar. For example, I'd tell Lanna things, I might not tell a friendly newbie I just met. Or I might tell Caledonians things in ISC chat I might not tell others. And, my lamentably non-recently updated blog might tell a few things. But there are people in SL that I would give my real name and home phone/address info to if they ever wanted it.

Senban Babii

I have to admit, I'd not been aware of this valentine's event that required a Facebook account etc. But now that I am, I'm more convinced than ever that the Lab's plan is to allow people to retain their anonymity and yet make it impossible to fully participate in their grid and its activities unless you actually do connect your realities. We really are seeing the creation of a two-caste society in Second Life.

And when I saw earlier tonight the joint Second Life/First Life profile tab in the new viewer, I knew I was looking at yet another subtle pushing of the agenda.

The minute I can transfer my avatar and inventory to one of the other grids, I'm gone.


Why are all of you taking this so seriously. Second Life is a game! And having an alter ego is part of the fun. No matter who or what you become in SL. RL's are here for Education, Research, Relationships, Adventure, Cyber Sex, Role play, and Profit, and ILLEGAL activities.
Thats unfortunate, But keeping your RL identity separate from your SL identity is NOT illegal. If you are looking for someone to be open about their earthly selves, that's fine. But don't try to push people who are here having a good time into revealing themselves if they don't want to. It's none of your buisiness.

Get on with your Second Life, have fun, and be happy!

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