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Thursday, May 20, 2010


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Nine Warrhol

I think this is piece is very good. I also feel that escapism in SL is important.

I personally hate being harassed for being a non-voicer(or ignored completely in some cases) or for not wanting to share any of my real life stuff or photos , etc.

I don't see SL as an extension of my RL, I never have. Great article! :)

Nine Warrhol

Sorry for my craptastic syntax..lol

Adeon Writer

I agree most people are there for escape, and their right to not use voice should be respected. I do wish though (with an exception of the deaf, which is perfectly understandable) that my desire to use voice and be heard would not be so detrimental to their escape. I have no problems with one-way voice!

Wol Euler

That was absolutely spot-on, Tabitha. Thank you for stating this so clearly.

Nine Warrhol

@ Adeon

I have a couple of friends who absolutely do not mind that I text chat while they voice. I also have no issue with people who prefer to talk to me over voice while I type in response.

However, I have encountered groups that completely ignore a person who prefers to use text chat. To people like that, if you don't voice, they can't be bothered. I find that extremely rude.


I hope that people can understand, that while some people just do not want to interact with them, in the way they wish; some are also physically unable to do this.

Thanks to Mr. Au for showing this side, that often falls through the cracks in Second Life.

Ann Otoole

Great comment. Really shows why people need to mind their own business. But somehow I doubt millionaires (who would still be millionaires with or without SL) making the decisions for SL give a damn about the lower castes using SL for a better life simulation.

As for the guys worried about perverts well what are they gonna do? Number one in LL's idea of a great search engine for the word pervert is Botanical. Maybe these guys that think SL is their personal sex place need to be asking all the trees and shrubs for voice too eh?

Valentina Kendal

I agree with Tabitha, and am one of those who shares very little, both to keep things immersive and because of previous 'cross-over' problems.

One other point that hasn't been made, is that for some of us who were here before Voice, Voice totally takes away the 'SL experience' for me. I love the beauty of the typed word, i love it as a form of communication, rather than seeing it as primitive, I see it as one of the great things about the environment.

And while I'm at it, the flip side of this post is that I actually don't want to know what you look like, what you sound like,, etc, etc - i want to maintain the illusion that you are my friend who happens to be a giant purple dragon. But people also get offended when you turn down their offers of RL 'stuff'


Best article on NWN in a long time.

I agree that voice is more of a distraction than anything else, and privacy needs to be maintained as much as possible. It really does kill the SL experience when you hear people using voice. The music scene in SL is the best you will find in the world, but voice is just a distraction to many. It's great for DJ's and performers to use but I don't want to walk around every sim and have to use my voice. I DJ in SL quite a bit, however, normal conversations in SL are best left to the keyboard. Much more imersive that way.

Molly Montale

When voice first hit the grid a dozen or so of the group I hung out with would go to a quiet, voice activated sim to test it out. These were all people I had known for a couple of years. In text chat we talked about SL. Where to find stuff, how to do stuff and activities we were involved in. With voice there suddenly was no more chat about SL. It was all RL chat revolving around television shows I had never seen, music groups I had never heard of and other RL activities that I do not participate in. I suddenly felt like I had nothing in common with people I had considered to be close friends. Text had seemed to unite people. Voice in my experiences seems to divide them.

brinda allen

Great article and great comments.
Secondlife IS my escape.
I have been ignored by some for not using voice, yes. But with me it's pretty much, "I don't care". For me, voice removes the immersion that allows me this escape.
I own a couple of residential sims...you wish to live on my estate?...welcome, I use text and I don't do pixel sex.
In my real life I'm invisable. I say that because in real life I'm 68 years old...at 68 we become invisable to most of the people we see an a daily basis. In Secondlife I'm not invisable

Robward Antwerp

Thank you Tabitha…

Spot on, so eloquently and respectfully stated. You remind me once again of why I am here. About one of the things I love most in sl… the diversity. Not just conventional diversity, such as language, culture, gender, sexual preference, background, or level of ability (be it physical, emotional, sexual, or social)… but also the virtual or created diversity. There are so many choices (Furries, Steampunks, literalists, musicians, artists, deep immersionists, children, animals, vampires, goreans, sailors, surfers, on and on)… not to mention the concept of Alts or what behaviors we choose.

While it saddens me, although does not surprise me, that the judging of what is acceptable as ‘normal’ in life is so accurately reflected in SL. I value these differences. So much is communicated by our choices in SL. All these choices are reflections of our own stories. Still SL is more than a mirror for life. Second life is a marvelous tool for telling our stories.

Story telling… imagined or otherwise is what SL facilitates so well. Many are surprised, even hurt, by the depth of intimacy that this shared story telling creates. But that surprise and even pain is also valuable. It is Human. To paraphrase my-self/my-avatar “…Do not under estimate the intimacy of sl… to think this intimacy is not “real” is the height of hubris. “

It is my hope that we who choose Second Life will choose to preserve and encourage its diversity, to respect its differences and to build a unique and creative community.

To quote my grandmother – “Life is messy… if all you do is worry about is cleaning up … you will miss the good stuff”.

Fogwoman Gray

Well said. My SL community primarily uses text except the DJs. Group chat is used most of the time, and for events in local we tend to type as well. Some folks choose to use voice, especially privately among their groups. I keep mine off most of the time, just so I don't have to listen to idle chatter when shopping :)
I am fairly relaxed about some of my RL information, but it just a good idea not to have too much identifiable stuff out on the internet available to everyone in the world.

Kean Kelly

Yes, thank you very much Tabitha. I’ll add that i think there are even more good reasons to stay anonymous than disabilities. There are many things that stigmatise people in RL, Lots of conventions that will make you avoid certain people. Not all is negatively loaded. SL is amazing because it gives you an opportunity to meet personality to personality, without the noise of social status, age, race or gender barriers. I know one person in RL who’d be happy to escape her fame, and just meet people that would be interested in her, not because she is famous, but because she is who she is.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Well said, and amen.


Many nice comments. What I really tried to say, is that Second Life is an opportunity for many people to have friends and a social life, that may not be possible or easy for them in real life. I'm not so concerned about people knowing my identity, but I'm shy about giving it out anyway. As for me, at least before voice became popular, I could come to Second Life and be the same as everyone else (I'm deaf). My friend I mentioned with the burns, actually uses voice but would never share information about himself.

I'm surprised to learn so many that choose not to use voice though. I really thought most did. But anyway, it's all the same thing. We should be able to play in Second Life however we choose without people treating us differently (or judging us). Nice to hear all the comments to my comment.

Lili (Tabitha Eichel)

Net Antwerp

People have been using nicknames to communicate with others ever since Usenet, BBS and Chatrooms were created. Not a new concept; nor is it Second Life centric.

The majority of people out there don't appreciate 3D *chat* rooms like Second Life. So what? Can't really force people to like and appreciate something that they aren't interested in.

Nicknames generally complement Real Life names. Unless you've done something really horrible, cult-like etc with the nickname.

Jura Shepherd

@Kean Kelly
That's a very good point Kean. As I was reading through comments I was mumbling to myself: "nobody needs an 'excuse' to keep their 1st and 2nd lives independent of each other".

For me, not only is it none of my business, but I'm with Valentina in that I don't really want to know about people's 1st lives. I go out of my way to not click 1st life profile tabs. I really dislike that LL chose to put them together in 2.0

paypabak writer

The true hallmark of Second Life has been Tolerance in all things, and Tabitha makes a beautiful case for the need to remain anonymous. It comes down to respecting relationships over rules and principles, and especially over the Wisdom of the Crowd. Thanks, Tabitha, and Hamlet for providing her your platform.

Arcadia Codesmith

We all have roles in real life that other people use to define us. Homemaker. Businessman. Homeless. Supermodel. Artist. Politician. And those roles can constrain us. It's jarring if the politician wants to talk about the latest Green Lantern storyline, or the supermodel has thoughts about the implications of genetic engineering.

Pseudonymity represents freedom from all that real life baggage, regardless of whether your "real" persona is marginalized on the fringes of society, or straightjacketed by the preconceptions of the mainstream.

I'm much more content to be judged by what I say, think and do, rather than my social class, geographic location or what I look like. I'm not displeased with my real life, but I won't let it define everything that I am.

Samantha Poindexter


Ziki Questi

Nicely said, and spot-on, as someone Wol commented. @LittleLostLinden I agree about voice -- for me it turns Second Life into a glorified telephone call. Tried it, don't like it. ;)

Valentina Kendal

"for me it turns Second Life into a glorified telephone call."

exactly Ziki!

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I can't say what fraction of SL residents use voice, but I don't. After a client upgrade left voice activated, I found SLVoice processes consuming all available CPU cycles--so technical issues make voice impractical for me. But even aside from that, there are the issues people brought up long ago--breaking the illusion if the noble knight sounds like Gilbert Gottfried or the queen sounds like Fran Drescher (remember the pep talk scene in _Black Knight_? "EEEEngland!..."), not having a transcript, people being more articulate when typing--much less "um", "er", "aaah"; shouting griefers that are much harder to locate and mute...

Nexus Burbclave

Wow, what a fantastic article. Hopefully this finds its way around LL. It is something that they really need to be reminded of.

Motoko Henusaki

I have the Voice feature disabled on my land primarily because I feel that having the feature enabled detracts from the escapism that Second Life represents for me. To be blunt, I neither care nor want/need to know the reality of a person when I interact with their avatar in SL.

Stone Semyorka

The voicers often are like people sitting around chatting on a telephone party line all day long. That's okay for them, but their prejudice is reducing the fun for as many as two-thirds of us who think keyboards allow for more reflective and contemplative conversation. If I wanted to sit around shooting the breeze on the phone for an afternoon, I would subscribe to Skype.

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