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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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FlipperPA

I'd call SL's modern human avatars realistically unrealistic. It's like everyone is an airbrushed model with 0% body fat with proportions that will cause severe lower back issues later in life!

George Djorgovski

The reasons why SL user base has not grown, but has shrunk, or it is now at best stagnating, have nothing to do with the quality of the avatars. Rather, it is mainly a combination of a spectacular mismanagement and a lack of vision at LL, and no real commitment to improve their product. SL avatars are still the best by far (thanks to the creative community, not LL), but that was not enough to save the company from itself. Other VWs have sacrificed the avatar quality and functionality in order to achieve scalability, given the current state of the relevant technologies (graphics power, bandwidth, etc.). If all you want is to play games, having childish cartoons or blocky avatars may be fine, but if you want to do anything else, reasonably photorealistic avatars would be much preferred. Nobody will take you seriously if you look like an anime/manga character or a cartoon toddler. People accept those because there are no real alternatives at the moment. Photorealistic avatars are not yet practical at scale, but they will be.

seph

It's not like Linden Lab provides these bodies and heads. The starter avatars over the years have ranged more than just 'realistic' humans, they've been all sorts of things, especially Rod's years and earlier.

If sillier less realistic starter avatars could've had a positive impact on Second Life's growth they would've. They didn't.

Chic Aeon

Let's be honest here :D.

From my point of view it is mostly that "new folks" are LAZY. It takes a lot of work if not real life dollars to complete your virtual self. (I have done "make your avatar for free" posts often for over a decade and that was always an option -- if not instantly gratifying).

And INSTANT is the thing these days with the Insta and Tok crowds; folks which I am guessing are mostly young. SL is two decades old now. Some of the folks thinking about joining SL weren't even born when it was new. And sadly for the most part society and the internet has elevated those "I can have it all with one click" expectations over those same decades.

When I joined SL about sixteen years ago there were a few choices of platforms. I found a comparison website and noted that SL was for "techy and creative" people. THERE WAS A LEARNING CURVE == and that has increased over the decades. I am guessing that the folks that stay NOW are the same type of folks that stayed back then.

And my main avatar, Chic, looks nothing like me. She is indeed a foot taller for one thing and thinner by some margin and younger. This is LOOKS mind you. We are very much the "same person" in how we navigate our lives, our outlook and our purposes. That, I think is much more important than "flawless skin" LOL.

0xC0FFEA

It's not lazy .. it's that a socially acceptable avatar (Maitreya, LeLutka, Doux and a dress) costs $40 USD on top of learning how all the systems work.
That's the price of a full game, with a tutorial, progression systems, and all the stuff you need.

People only do that if they manage to "get" Second Life in the few short initial sessions. "Getting" Second Life almost exclusively means finding something to do that isn't randomly roaming SL's wastelands or getting banned from clubs for being under 30 days old.

What could possible motivate people to invest the required time and energy, if only there was something people did in world that was unique to SL and required a good avatar, I guess we will never know.

Those who don't get it, likely find the avatars uncanny and weird, and coupled with "where is everyone" and "why am I here", rightly don't see any reason to log back in.

0xC0FFEA

SL avatars are, and always have been, broadly uncanny. This doesn't affect everyone, but I believe it prevalent enough to impact retention.

If you want to test this for yourself, go and pick up a new mesh head and swap it for the one you have. If it suddenly feels weird, there you go. For most it will take a about a week for that feeling of discomfort to go away.

That weird feeling when changing heads is after spending time in SL getting used to looking at avatars (especially your own). You have already been training yourself not to be weirded out, and it can still give you a bump.

Stick a newbie in and .. well the only saving grace is they likely can't get the camera around to look at their own face.

Incidentally, if anyone remembers the horrendous CGI age reduced Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy, this is the same effect at play. Everyone working on the film spent so much time looking at that uncanny rendition of a fake human that when it came time to publish, they couldn't see it anymore.

The audience could and they hated every second of it. As a fan of the film, I've watched it plenty, and well .. my broken brain can only see it when the nightmare manikin talks.

Avatar managed to side step this by having blue people that were almost characterchures of the actors using them.

Modern productions that use CGI people, such as Star Wars do a better job, but this is light years ahead of Second Life and even then, they have to use every trick in the book to keep people out of the sick bags.

The raising standard of characters in video games has gone a long way to soften the feeling when joining something like Second Life .. if only we attracted the demographic that played them.

There are some ways to side step this, anime and furry avatars being the simplest. Go to VRChat, what don't you see, people trying to look like a real human, almost to the point its become a cultural note.

So why are human avatars the norm in Second Life ?

Simple. We're in Second Life for more than just messing about or playing silly games. SL is a place that comes with both emotional and erotic bandwidth, and while some people can channel those feelings though an anime, furry or otherwise cartoon avatar, plenty can't.

Sebastyne Alpha

Although I am one of those people who want their Second Life avatar as mirror-like as possible, (so I can be me somewhere I'm currently not at,) I agree realistic avatars are not the thing that either bring or turn people off Second Life.

What I love about Second Life is the fact there is virtually NO limitations to creativity. That's the drawing card. What annoys me about Second Life, there are no limitations to scale, either, and what people consider "an appropriate scale." What is "realistic" in Second Life is giant avatars in even more giant environments, and they're all cool with that. (I'm a 1:1 scale nazi, and not cool with the scale.)

What made me leave Second Life years ago was the crude avatars, in fact. The ankles and hands in particular did my head in. HATED them in comparison to Sims 2, at the time. Now, that fixed, with ultra-realistic avatars that I like, I am happy. So maybe I contradicted myself, and wanted that realistic avatar, but what I also love is that we HAVE TO build them from scratch. Meta is now working on basically what is a scan of one's real-life person, which is interesting in its own way, but I absolutely love the challenge of creating that realistic version of oneself out of little bits and bots.

And then wrangle every over-sized piece of furniture and buildings into the same realistic scale it should have originally be built in, to match my realistic pixels. ;)


Sebastyne Alpha

Oh, and one thing Second Life does not do is advertise. They run some minor ad campaigns that reach their existing users, and that's it, and they rely entirely on word-of-mouth otherwise. THAT is probably more meaningful than anything else in terms of their growth potential. If you haven't got a friend who is on Second Life, you're not on Second Life. (I was introduced to it by a friend who got the word from a friend...)

0xC0FFEA

The default camera has so many crimes to answer for ...

I'm a regular human scale avatar, a little taller than I am IRL .. because if I was the same height, people shout at me for being short.

.. and yet .. I can go to the Linden boat homes, stand by the door, and bump my head on the handle. Made for literal giants.

Jerralyn Franzic

To answer Sebastyne,I knew absolutely no one from SL when I joined 2.5 years ago. I stumbled onto it a while back via internet searches out of my own curiosity. When I signed up, I told my RL friends about it and only one admitted to me they even had a SL account in the past, but she closed it a few years ago.

Back on topic... I can say that I went through an accelerated curve to make my main avatar more realistic. I had enough L$ and absorbed enough info to make it work for me. That said I still keep a few system and other low poly avis for action oriented areas, like amusement parks and a few shooter games in world. I'm no stranger to huge learning curves... I know I'm still learning a lot about how things work in SL (and its oddball cousin, Open Sim).

Nadeja

What factors led Second Life to develop the ‘most realistic’ avatars using an outdated engine, which is arguably the least suitable for this purpose, and is only now starting to catch up?

It began with a focus on skins. I remember debates about the need or not need for realistic skins. Among those involved in the adult aspects of Second Life (e.g. strippers) detailed and lifelike skins were essential, so they would spend a lot of money on those. Talking about the arrival of mesh in the old days, the first mesh attachment, aside from feet, were the ‘Lola’ large breasts, which interestingly would now be considered normal size in Second Life.

Nowadays we have:
- "Belleza Gen X" body, that comes with an animated bento vagina.
- "Maitreya Lara" body, with super detailed nipples - and that's not what you have in normal videogames: you would have to zoom very closely to see those minute details. And why would anyone have the need to zoom so closely at women's nipples? Guess what.
- On the web marketplace, choosing "Avatar accessories" and shorting by best selling, the most sold are genitalia (and hair has to contend that list with pubic hair).
- The most common avatar attachment found by the bot surveys that is not a body component is... the cum system.
- Until a few years ago, there was an abundance of super high-heels for women, but it was challenging to find normal shoes and tops that didn’t reveal cleavage. The situation seems to have improved recently, but still...

At least, all this attention to detail has favoured and evolved into virtual photography, a portion of which is indeed erotic, though.

Therefore, the erotic aspect of Second Life played a significant role in the development of realistic avatars. It’s worth noting that it involves also anime and furry avatars, but just in anime and furry places; most adult venues in SL are for humans and don't even allow furry and anime avatars.

Indeed, an interesting aspect of Second Life is the ability to embody any fantasy creature, or more broadly, to adopt any body you desire. There are numerous reasons for this, from the less serious to the more profound:
- You’re role-playing and the avatar is simply a character.
- You’re curious and want to briefly immerse yourself in a ‘what-if’ scenario to see how people react differently to you if you had a different body shape, sex, or skin color. If done respectfully and not to impersonate stereotypes, this can provide a better understanding of what other people experience and hopefully you can empathize more.
- You want to momentarily escape reality and imagine being younger, without disabilities, more attractive, or even a fashion model. Or perhaps you want an avatar that aligns with your gender identity, if you’re transgender.

So, considering the simulative nature of the metaverse, there are also non-erotic reasons for having a detailed and realistic human body.

However, ultra-realism comes with its own set of challenges:

- Photorealistic scans of your real body, like in the Meta demo (let alone privacy and Meta having your body scan), may not appeal to Second Life and other virtual world users for the reasons mentioned above (unless you could use that as a base to modify as you wish).

- Platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, indeed, didn’t gain popularity because of ERP and virtual selfies; perhaps these are niche interests that will remain so, or maybe it’s just a matter of opportunities and permissions. Regardless, even if Second Life were a perfect virtual world, and with successful elements of Roblox and Fortnite, it might still be overlooked (unless rebranded, etc).

Moreover, high poly (to compensate for the lack of shaders in SL), high texture - in an engine designed 20 years ago in a single-core era and that still struggles with taking advantage of modern graphic cards - results in poor performance and crashes, particularly in crowded spaces like clubs where you have to render dozens of avatars, each with over 1 million polygons and hundreds of Mb textures. There is also some memory leak and you could end out of memory even with 16 Gb RAM.
It’s not surprising that many people choose to derender anyone but their friends. So your super detailed avatar is seen only by yourself and a few others, who also see the place mostly empty.
This doesn't help with socialization (as some users can't see others or stopped going to populated places entirely), nor with increasing the user-base.

Kaylee

Love reading all the comments! Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts.

Sl_daddy

@ Nedeja
Your analasys of SL aligns with how I have watched this platform change over the years, as an early resident who had access to SL at the age of 11 (eventually was moved to the Teen Grid when it opened)

Having a hyper realistic avatar was still very coveted on the Teen Grid. Though adult themes were prohibited while on the Teen Grid, we still wanted hyper realistic avatars. As children we were playing video games constantly and felt that SL was not only an extention of ourselves and our personalities, at a time when social media (myspace) was becoming popular, Second Life was like your own walking talking profile page. You would want to accessorize express yourself through your avatar, just like we do today as adults.

As an adult I have taken part of almost every aspect of secondlife. From virtual escorting, owning multiple stores, employing residents, land ownership, event management - you name it, I probably have done it. The most profitable industry on the platform is working in adult entertainment. The people who buy my products from my store, the ones who without fail will buy the fatpack are "strippers". They have the unlimited in-world expendable income, and NEED to have the best looking avatars to sustain that income.

I don't work in adult entertainment currently, though the money I was making was very good, I just don't have the energy to actually take and work with the clientelle that want to pay for such services. This is when I decided I needed to focus on making content that adult entertainers WILL purchase. Most creators have this in mind as well. They will rig clothing for specific bodies depending on the "maturity" of the clothing being made. Bodies like Reborn/Kupra/Peach/GenX are considered "fetish" bodies, and many adult entertainers have one or more of the previously listed.

Designers drop rigs for bodies that do not serve them, we can see many stores dropping a very popular body - Maitreya. They have found that sales for this body do not support the work that goes into rigging to it.

You can also look at avatars that wear a Maitreya body; they will typically wear modest, full coverage or high fashion types of clothings.
But because Maitreya wearers are very loyal to their body type and have had 7 years of inventory to collect for the body, they are less likely to be part of the major spending populous. They already have so many styles that have been made and recreated that if something new does get rigged for Maitreya that it is likely a Maitreya user already has something like it.

Newer bodies have less inventory to choose from, so designers are constantly picking up the latest released body to make new clothing for it, hoping to get some sort of initial rush purchases.

On another note, I specialize in Material Appliers. Materials were introduced a few years ago, and not many people understand what they are and how they work, with the ever awaited PBR update my products will only become more relevant.
Materials for bodies and avatars can range anywhere from 3D tattoos, mermaid scales and fur, to body blemishes and details that would otherwise look very flat if it were just a BOM layer.

I found my niche in the competitive scape that is "commercial SL" but I like to think that my store doesnt just pray on a quick and instant fix, but rather enrinches other peoples experience, whether it be for their OC for RP - to make their avatar more realistic or even more outlandish.

🤍/ Glitter Waifu

Sl_daddy

I obviously did not do a spell check - please forgive me
analysis* extension*

Sl_daddy

I also had a secondary thought about why anime and furry avatars are banned or shunned from clubs owned and managed by human avatars.

I don't think that "normie" avatars want to necessarily discriminate against other communities (some might). From my experience in clubs, is more that non human avatars can be stylized to look "under-age". Many clubs are adult themed, and have a responsibility to not allow any adult activity with avatars that do not appear to be old enough. Nailing down the intended age of cartoons and zoomorphic avatars can be tricky to say the least. Some solutions have been height checkers, but that excludes people who may just be really short, and otherwise completely adult looking.

I personally don't want to be in a club with avatars that look like children or babies, and because Second Life is the perfect platform to be anyone, create anything - there are of course going to be users who want to toe the boundaries.

Ageplay outside of innocent roleplay is actually a huge problem on the platform that is not talked about enough. I spend weekends combing through the mainland regions and spy and find people breaking TOS (Sexual Ageplay). I can count on any given weekend that I can find at least 4 residents who participate in underage sexual roleplay. All under the front of "Child Daycares", "Playgrounds", "Parks". These parcels will have an innocently desquised landing area with maybe a greeter bot. But if you cam high enough into the sky, you can find BDSM furnitures, cribs with RLV locks on them and all other types of disturbing content.

With the ability to make actual child avatars, this leads to a slippery slope with privatized regions becoming safe havens for these types of users. LL does nothing to stop it, and barely enforces sim maturity ratings.
Clubs who exclude anime and furry avatars are probably the least of our worries, and we wouldnt have to impliment strict filtration attempts if LL would do something about ageplay and ageplay content on the platform.

Adeon Writer

I’ve never found Second Life avatars to look realistic. They have this odd face structure, mostly in the forehead and cheekbones, that distinctly identifies them as from Second Life and it is not found in the real world at all.

Persephone Emerald

Do you ever hang out at the new Welcome Hub? You can see for yourself what new users want for their avatars. It would be best to go incognito as an alt.

Once they see realistic mesh avatars, they usually want one too. I think it's only a few of the Oldbies who like having old-style system avatars.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

While there is certainly a correlation between avatar realism and some kinds of users (and what they use SL for), I would nevertheless argue that "correlation is not causation", not even a negative correlation.

In other words — it's not merely having nice avatars or chunks of Lego blocks that will determine the actual success of a virtual world platform. There are an uncountable number of reasons — most of which have been exposed on these comments (and deserve a follow-up by Hamlet!) — even though I seriously suspect that some of the real reasons haven't been uncovered yet.

It's also true that a few surveys wouldn't hurt. LL's marketing department could go through all the above reasons exposed in the comments, and do a poll (opt-in, of course, but giving something back at the end to encourage participation), to figure out which aspects of SL are more relevant to most users. And then do some number-crunching on them (e.g., "Is the user's RL age significant?", "How much does higher education matter?", "How does all of that correlate with RL average income, or at least disposable income?") to see if a pattern emerges.

While in the distant past I had some more concrete ideas about what kind of people would get attracted and stay in SL, these days all I can say is that there are 600,000 reasons for being in SL, and I can't find a pattern at all.

A few myths were certainly dispelled, for instance, RL Age. Being part of a community where the average RL age is over 70 years (!) and where everybody seems to have no trouble navigating through the ever-increasing complexity of the body/head HUDs (unlike myself!), it's clear that the age factor is not determinant. In other words: while one might understand the appeal of Facebook for senior citizens because using it is next-to-trivial, it's more than clear that the tremendous learning curve required to simply move around in SL (or figure out its inventory!) is not a deterrent for older generations. 80-year-olds regularly join the circuit of DJs and live performers — sometimes even singing! —and don't seem to be affected by all the UI/UX difficulties we've been struggling with for the past two decades.

Similarly, the inadequacy of having a "proper" equipment to connect to SL doesn't seem to affect the experience that much. Just because one's graphics card is unable to handle the Advanced Lighting Model (or, if it does, it barely manages 1 FPS...), that doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy SL at all, or find it "too difficult" or "too off-putting" (when contrasted to, say, the simplicity of Facebook or YouTube, where the issue of "lag" is not a factor, 99.999999% of the time). It just means that your view of SL lacks the richness of what others can actually see — as expressed on the pictures they take. Earlier on, I always thought that those who had below-par, outdated computers would quickly give up SL, but clearly this is not the case.

And while some enjoy "retro avatars" — having fun with just the old system avatars and texture clothes, and the occasional prim stuck here and there as attachments — these are also a niche among the niche. 600,000 people are still quite a lot of people for such niches to exist. But the truth is that the average resident, which has been in SL for over a month or so, will very quickly go for one more realistic avatar, as soon as they can — especially if it's clear for them that they're going to enjoy using SL more regularly — and if you've been a resident for over a month... well, you are a regular resident, considering that the average time of existence of a new (non-alt!) avatar is about a few minutes (15 minutes being the upper limit for those who "gave SL a try but found that it was not for them").

It's also certainly the case that being part of a strong community — no matter what kind of community it is — is far more important than photorealistic avatars. This is one of those things that, in retrospective, seems trivial — but it's not easy to figure out what exactly to do to make "everybody find their community", so to speak.

Some of you will probably remember the early days of Facebook, where you'd be automatically placed on a group for your town, or city. Facebook expected that people who were neighbours would form bonds easier (online but also offline, thanks to the short distance to travel!), and this, in turn, would make finding people that have something in common with you more easily (i.e., they would speak your language and live in the same city, have similar preferences, go to the same places, and so forth).

It did take a few years until Facebook realised that their assumptions were all wrong. People do not necessarily "bond" just because of physical proximity in real life; sometimes rather the opposite is true (I never knew anyone in Facebook who actually used their pre-defined local community group), if you hate your neighbours but have no money to move.

My point here is that there are a few people (well, 600,000 of them) who have a special skill: the ability to find a community somewhere and stick to it, independently on how the overall technology of SL improves over time. Again, I cannot see any patterns that can be used to predict who has that skill, and who doesn't; but it's clear to me, after so many years, that one of the reasons for some people never to return to SL is simply because their community is gone, and they're not willing to go through the whole process again in the hope of finding a "replacement". Because, you know, sometimes — all times? — finding the "right" community seems to be pretty much random, not even related to the availability of good searching tools (which we don't have anyway) or group/community promotion/advertising tools (which we don't really have at a global scale, except for LL's own notices). Most people I have met over the years did find the "right" community by sheer luck and pure chance. They just happened to stumble upon them while doing something completely different. Others have joined (and stayed around!) because they had friends in SL with similar interests and were thus strongly encouraged to join as well. Nevertheless, I would argue that word-of-mouth is not that big a factor to get new users (and retain them). There are more factors in play.

As the celebrations of SL's 20th birthday slowly draw to a close, it's worth saying that the two decades of existence — merely because they're two decades! — also work against SL. Remember ActiveWorlds? No? Well, they're certainly still around. Does anyone still use it? Aye, pretty much so. But wasn't that like a low-graphic predecessor of SL, already "old" when SL was launched? Indeed (AW has its origins in 1995). And it still looks pretty much the same (even though "configurable avatars" were added to it in 2008): 2023 pics of work done in AW look pretty much like what AW (or, for that matter, SL) looked like in 2005/6: if there's an "improvement", it comes mostly from quite clever 3D content designers who used every trick of the trade to get some slightly better-looking items beyond those which were commonplace in the early 2000s.

That's why it's so important for LL to keep their "media pack" up-to-date with the latest, state-of-the-art images and videos taken from SL. For a decade or so, LL just sent out images from 2005/6 to the media — leading everybody to think that this is what SL looked like in, say, 2015 or so, and quickly dismissed. Even today, when the odd reference is made to SL in the mainstream press, it's highly likely that they will only publish a picture from, say, 2018 or 2019, usually taken with a lower-end machine — much more impressive, sure, than what you had in 2006, but clearly not representing what SL is able to do today.

Never forget the lesson that SL content creators gave to IMVU. IMVU has a very-low-polygon avatar mesh, and they reasoned, back in 2005 or so, that people wouldn't want hyper-realistic avatars for their 3D persona anyway, they'd be more than happy with cute anime-like avatars, with a considerable degree of personalisation. And that's what it was. For a while. Then some famous SL content creators noticed that IMVU was actively searching for new content (to be sold on IMVU's marketplace), and they thought — maybe I can adapt my existing content to work in IMVU as well. But this required the essence of IMVU to change as well: no more anime characters with their impossibly unrealistic proportions. To reuse content done in SL for human avatars, content creators had to replicate human avatars within IMVU's constraints. And they did just that: anatomically-correct human avatars started being sold in IMVU, as well all the extra accessories for them (clothes, shoes, hair, other "correctly-sized" attached items...), "competing" face-to-face with the existing, anime-inspired content.

They barely had a fighting chance.

A year or two afterwards, SL-inspired, human-like, realistic avatars became the norm in IMVU, and IMVU had to reformulate their own assumptions regarding what kind of avatars people actually like. Sure, cute, low-polygon anime characters were appreciated — so long as there was nothing else to be found on the marketplace. But when users get a choice, the majority just went for the more realistic human-like avatars instead — and their incessant wealth of new items being added every day. It quickly overwhelmed the anime-like content and pushed it into the same kind of niche market as we have in SL as well. The truth is that IMVU still boasts of having twenty million users (many possibly just using their registered account to engage in cryptocurrency trading, since IMVU has its own cryptocurrency which is freely traded on some of the exchanges). VRChat is similar — they also seem to have about 20 million registered users (or at least that's what it's claimed here: https://playtracker.net/game/2704) and some 20-50k users simultaneously online via Steam: https://steamcharts.com/app/438100 — and while their promotional videos are still full of cute anime avatars, their recent blog post about adult content shows that VRChat is struggling with over-the-top adult content as well (and no, it's not just furries and anime princesses having sex with each other).

I've named the above two platforms just because they're possibly the "nearest" we have to SL (not counting the OpenSimulator grids, of course, because they use the same viewer as SL, and, as such, the same kind of realistic avatars can be done there as well — assuming, that is, that creators are willing to sell their content there, which the vast majority doesn't want to do), and have a similar user population — measured in hundreds of thousands or possibly the low millions (after all, SL's central login database has 65 million registered users, most of which have some content in their inventories, but 99 out of 100 will never log back in again), and similar rates of simultaneously online users. That's all orders of magnitude smaller than Roblox, Minecraft, or Fortnite, all of which have deliberately low-polygon, non-human (or non-humanoid-shaped) avatars — usually quoted as "proof" that you don't need realistic human-like avatars to create a successful platform which is simultaneously profitable for the companies investing in it. Maybe. Or maybe it's just because it's hard (sometimes impossible!) to get anything better-looking than the "default", which has been around for so long that it becomes the de facto standard, even in those cases when alternative avatars can be created...

But, in any case, the truth is that my personal vision of SL is strictly parochial, and this is the same for almost everybody else in SL. It's hard to see the broader picture (because, well, SL is so huge...) and speculate what the trend is going to be. Right now, it's clear that LL's developer team is focused on increased amounts of realism to be built into viewer. Will this trend continue? It's hard to say or to predict. Not without some real surveys and heavy number-crunching... from polls that are representative of the SL-population-at-large and statistically significant.

Without those, all we can do is speculate, and, very likely, be completely wrong about our own intuition :-)

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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)

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