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Friday, May 28, 2010


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Ann Otoole

Separate from the entire thing would be Artist and Game developers since we don't give a damn about self appointed blog expert opinions and attempts to categorize us. We do as we please depending upon whatever entered our minds that we choose to express in rezzed form.

So yes it is inadequate. More importantly it should be disregarded because it is creating a mental image positioning real lifers (not the majority) as above all.

dandellion Kimban

It was about time that we get a better system than the Bennetsen's. It's a fake and misleading distinction that just made trouble.

Botgirl did hell lot of effort in decyphering our behaviour in cyberspace.

Now, thre+s one more thing to be done, but this one is not academic and it will require an effort from the large part of community (yeah, that makes it fairly utopistic). We need to learn to live all together no matter of our values on avatar/human scales. And this is not just miss metaverse wish for peace and understanding. We need to find a way to make our aims and goals compatible and our communication efficient so all the combinations can actually make their SL presences worthwhile.

Toxic Menges

Why do we need to compartmentalise?

Vax Sirnah

I like the idea of using different axes as a heuristic guideline, since there is more going on than just a single dichotomy. But I think that augmentation and immersiveness are not opposite ends of the same spectrum. Rather I'd classify each being on a distinct axis.

The first axis is really one about separation. Augmentation is at one end, with escapism at the other (no value judgement on 'escapism' meant here - I can't come up with a better word right now. The more you are on the augmentation side, the more likely you are going to treat an avatar as an extension of self and mix SL and RL. The more you head the other direction, the more likely you are to consider the avatar as a more distinct entity or entities.

The second axis is really about engagement. How much to you actually get INTO the virtual world how much you treat the experience as real experience. On one end is casual and the other immersion. The casual user is the one that's going to say "It's just a game", while the immersive user will see it as very real.

Tom Boellstorff

I think all of these kinds of typologies are useful in their own way, and also of course limited too. Botgirl's grid is great - it opens up some new questions, but Bennetsen's binarism has its uses too.

One thing that is helpful is to distinguish "etic" (outsider) categories from "emic" (insider) categories. Both Botgirl's and Bennetsen's categories are etic - which is perfectly fine, as we usually need etic categories for social analysis. What might help broaden the discussion further at this stage is to bring in some ethnographic data on the emic categories folks in sl use to talk about their relationship to the virtual world, to the ways it interfaces with the actual world, and also to the ways it interfaces with other virtual worlds and online technologies.

It's a fascinating discussion!

Fogwoman Gray

I think the more pressing question is who actually gives a tinker's damn what label some academic decides to tack onto MY life experiences, virtual or otherwise.
Call my SL experience Ralph. Just as meaningful as any other half-assed term I see coined, marketed and saturated on the internets.

Ener Hax

amazing that we so badly want to compartmentalize everything. we did that for years with education in talking about learning styles only to now find that perhaps the boundaries are not so clear and crisp

the same is true of this list. if we could categorize this into 4 neat boxes, we think we have achieved a greater understanding

well, if we so badly want to live "in the box", then we should continue these types of exercises

imo, my avatar is an extension of me, just a way to express some things i may not express otherwise - mainly in the form of someone in a virtual world and as an outward part of me online (blog & twitter)

not much different, i imagine, than an actor using a stage name and acting out characters but drawing from within (well, we can't really draw from outside of ourselves)

nice post, thanks

*goes on about expressing creative side via an avatar - not much unlike a painter expressing themselves or a poet*

cube inada

jeez.. didnt anyone here ever date an actress?..lol

coined terms..lol

Pappy Enoch

Fogwoman done said:

"I think the more pressing question is who actually gives a tinker's damn what label some academic decides to tack onto MY life experiences"

Yep. Don't listen to them-there profussers from the college. Second Life am a make-work program for them rascals, who should be teaching cipherin' or some such useful skill.

Next thing ya'll knows, they will be pretending to be hillbillies in the fake world o' Second Life or some such tomfoolery.

Nightbird Glineux

@Toxic Menges: "Why do we need to compartmentalise?"

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Privacy, for one. Consider this blog post by Mark Pilgrim (of Dive into Python & ... Greasemonkey fame):


And as a woman, I'd like to mention one word: "Stalkers."

@Hamlet: Thanks for an interesting and UNBIASED post on this subject! :)

Toxic Menges

@Nightbird Wasn't meant to sound negative, just I can't put myself in any one box, or area in that chart, and to try would be futile. My experience is in flux, and always has been. Why not enjoy it for what it is at this precise moment, because in the next the sim may crash (is that our VW equivalent of being hit by a bus? Carpe Diem, for tomorrow, the sim may crash).

Botgirl Questi

I don't like being labeled either (unless it's something like "creative genius"). But what I like even less is the tendency to accept our own beliefs without challenging them through close examination. So one way I've found to put my own beliefs to the test is to try to visualize them in various ways.

The purpose of this kind of visual thinking isn't to put anyone in a box, or to equate the totality of any person with the sum of the categories they fall into, whether it be gender, age or place on my chart. But in this case, if we want to collectively consider how Linden Lab policy related to pseudonymity may impact Second LIfe residents, I think it is very helpful to explore this type of metric-based perspective. Not as a replacement for our personal stories, artistic expression, qualitative research, etc., but as an additional dimension.

One reason my Second-Life related work is so all over the place in terms of video, comics, rants, VizThink, etc.is that I don't want to get caught in any particular conceptual box. Including the one that says, "it's bad to categorize". ;)

Net Antwerp

Obviously Linden can't cater for every single customer that walks through the pixel doors. Why even bother categorising Second Life customers?

Linden should be aiming for a top-notch, flexible VW platform instead of fiddling around with superficial add-ons like Linden Marketplace and Avatars United.

Juko Tempel

I'm surprised by Hamlet's comment about Dabblers. The intense activity and interaction I see in SL communities, with so much creativity and so many activities in fashion, art, education, social clubbing and steampunk (to name just a few diverse ones) shows people living their first and second lives in so many different ways, crossing these boundaries to suit their circumstances and needs. Some do it inworld AND offworld on blogs and other social networks too, so hours inworld per month isn't a good indication..

Botgirl Questi

I posted a new chart view this morning to my blog that address some of the fair critiques of the initial draft.


I actually uploaded them to Flicker a week ago, but hadn't had the time to go through a few more iterations before making an additional post. But I think they're in good enough shape to at least show the direction I'm taking to address some of the comments posted here.


I like to be called a Virtual Reality scientist. I beleive that in partaking in Virtual Reality, I am in fact, a scientist.

The reason for this is because I am using the latest in computer science to accomplish my goals of exploring Virtual Reality, which is a very scientific thing. Just ask Dr. Angelo from the Lawnmower Man.

To quote Jobe:

"You realize Dr. Angelo that my intelligence has surpassed yours, and I can not allow your fear of what you don't understand get in the way of this work...It is too important."

So you see, Virtual Reality is a science, and many of us, are in fact scientists.

So plese, from this day forward, address me is Scientist LittleLostLinden.

thank you


Why is there a constant need to be categorized? Ask anyone who knows me in Second Life and you will get a different answer about my category. I suspect it fairly matches the answers you would get in the real world. I am different with everyone to some extent. It all depends on the relationship. Some people know everything about me, some only my name. During my day, my category changes from minute to minute, depending on where I am, who I am with and what I'm doing. I have a feeling it's the same with everyone.

The people you see who make a special point about who they are, usually have a reason for doing so. Most people who make a point of telling you everything little detail about their life, have a very high opinion of themselves. They feel they are physically or intellectually superior and that you would feel the same way, if only you can have enough information about them. Then there are normal people, who share bits and pieces depending on the situation, how they view themselves, insecurities and physical or mental limitations. Then you have the other extreme, the people who violently resist giving any information. Typically you see things in their profile such as, "fuck off' and illusions to how wonderful their real life is, but they will never share it. The standard image of these people by everyone who meets them; they are a man playing a woman or the standard 400 pound basement dweller.

I don't have a problem with any of these people. I accept or deal with them by choice. But, there are not just two, three or four categories; there are thousands. Even the ones who put their life on a billboard for everyone to see can be a complete fake.

So why is it so important to put everyone in a box? I'm a fairly open person, but I'm not nearly as open on the internet as in real life. I share a lot in real life, but, I can't stand facebook or anything like that. Why? Because I'm not interested in other people's details. I don't want to know every time someone has a bowel movement, goes to a movie, feels sad, etc...

So why label us? Because the ones who label themselves feel it's vitally important that everyone else do so also. It's a constant search to see if you're good enough to follow or add to a friends list. Because associating with people who everyone else doesn't approve of makes you less important. And isn't that what the internet is all about, stroking our egos?

No sorry, it's not for me. And I can't label most people, because there's not enough labels. And Linden Lab or any other internet entity doesn't need to label me either. Basically, anything you do should allow you to adjust your level of privacy. If Linden Lab makes Second Life to fit certain perceived categories, they are going to exclude people who don't fit those categories. Second Life is fine as it is. Please everyone stop trying to make it ONE THING. If it's not many things for everyone, it ends up being nothing to most.

Thank you, now go outside and enjoy the sun a little while.

Hamlet Au

"Some do it inworld AND offworld on blogs and other social networks too"

Juko, that's a very good point, I need to think about how that revises my opinion. It applies to me, too -- I often only have time to log into SL for less than 3 hours a week, but I spend up 10x that time writing about SL every week.

"So why label us?"

I'm not interested in labeling anyone, Lili -- I *am* interested in understanding broader interaction trends that make Second Life what it is, and that means trying to categorize it. No category is perfect, and few fit perfectly into any one category. At the same time, I still think it's necessary for a big picture view. Also, I do know a lot of people who self-describe as "Immersionist" or "Augmentationist", so apparently these labels do have resonance. Kind of like how a lot of early punk rockers resisted being called "punk" at all (DON'T FUCKIN LABEL ME MAN!) but over the years, most of them came to embrace the term as a badge of honor.


Ok Hamlet, so I'm a multiplist then. Happy? HaHa :)
I never knew that about punk rockers, but then I don't know much about any musicians, still cool though.

Ann Otoole

So what happens when there is nothing left in SL but dabblers because all the avatarians (sounds like bird watchers), multiplwhateverianss, and artists all moved to Inworldz? Like in about a year?


I am anointing all SL users as Virtual Reality Scientists. I hope you like this newfound title. May it serve you all well.


Thank you Little!
T-shirts available in the lobby.


What category are the people who join SL because they heard through the infotainment channels that it was for swingers. Do they have a special title?

Komuso Tokugawa

What about the Avartardians?

Moebius Overdrive

Very interesting discussion.

Most SL users have no use for categories, they just want to use SL.

This discussion is important to understand how humans interact in the virtual social environment. It is a relatively new field of study, and we don't have the right language to label it. The understanding is evolving, and this is another stab at wrapping our heads around it. It is kinda like the Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs personality scales, in that it helps get a grasp on behaviors and archetypes.

Having a better understanding of what we are talking about, leads to deeper discussions and more insight.


My fellow virtual reality scientists...It is time to unite!

Let us be heard. We speak as one. We have one resolve...We are Scientists!!!

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