Monday, May 11, 2009

and there was discord in the garden tonight

(Oh, and Mr. Drinkwater? Do very well. May you achieve your dreams.)

I've been avidly watching Dollhouse and watching it in the framework of the virtual world. It's a fictional tale, of course, set in a world we recognize as some reality, in any event, but...the questions the show asks--about identity, about memory, about what makes, for lack of a better conclusion--well, I am a Joss Whedon fan, I admit, but this one--it's flawed, it's very flawed, and I do have hopes it will get better in season two, if there is a season two--but the hard questions it asks, the questions it keeps asking, are questions we can apply to Second Life, and other virtual worlds:

Who are we? Who are we when we remake ourselves, who are we when we play? What is identity in a virtual world, what is recognizable in ourselves, persona to persona?

It's a wide virtual world out there. Angels, demons, shifters, furs, fae, constructs--driven by intellect, driven by emotion, driven by instinct. Who are we, when we are not who we are? How much of us is encoded in our pixels?

Seems we've been here before...only this time, I think she's really leaving.

On the heels of that announcement, don't listen to the Brown Bag meeting transcript if you value your blood pressure. I had to stop halfway through because I started yelling at the screen! I'm going to try it later on today, see if I can finish, but...honestly. The group of Lindens answering questions...really, what are they, five?!? They can't even say "BDSM" without stuttering. They have zero idea of why publishing the banned words list is a GOOD THING, and why people insist on finding out on their own if they aren't going to publish it. They have zero idea on how hurt mixed-content businesses will be by this. They have ZERO CLUE about why publishing a list of iffy, vague "definitions" makes the whole thing taste bad, and makes everyone more paranoid and suspicious.

To that end, I was following up on various virtual-world mentions today. Kaneva is now in beta, and can be walked through, which is a good thing--though the avatars look kind of scary and deranged to me. But this is from their Member Guidelines page:

DO: Mark content, communities, and profiles "restricted" if they contain material or member submissions that may be inappropriate for visitors under the age of 18.
Kaneva defines restricted content as anything that contains strong language, depictions of nonsexual nudity, violence, or substance abuse. When you mark content as Restricted, you protect our visitors -- and give yourself greater freedom of expression. Only Kaneva members 18 years of age or older may post or view Restricted content.

And that's it. One paragraph, simple, we're done--everyone understands and we move the hell on.


Moving on. On Saturday, May 16th, Professor Oolon Sputnik and Miss Terry Lightfoot are calling all Timelords down to New Gallifrey. They're having a bash. I think I'm working part of that time, but I'm going to make what I can of it.

The cool thing about a Dr. Who party? You can really dress in anything--because in some season, some episode dealt with that. Which amuses me to no end.

By way of the Lyonesse of Caledon, Kamilah Hauptmann: The Wicked Witch of Oz? Merely a victim of bad press. This cannot be denied.

Likely another post to come, but...that may well be published tomorrow. So g'night from where it's night, and I'll worry about everything else later.


Darien Mason said...

What a paranoid outlook....they think the only reason you'd want a copy of the list to defeat the Search filter?

This is going to turn into a big cat-and-mouse game as people create new slang terms for their naughty activities and LL cracks down. Some sim owners will never know what hit them.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could manage all of your alts from one account?" asks one of the Lindens rehetorically.


Emilly Orr said...

Well, that, or take any MMO--you one one base account, whether or not that contains any 'real' information, and then all the 'character' accounts that downline from that.

The problem is, SL isn't an MMO. It isn't really a game. But it really seems like suddenly, the "experiment" of SL is turning into the "game" of SL--only this time, the object seems to be to net people who are using it in informational/commercial ways, not relational.

It's been said by more than just me that the Lindens build the game, but we live in the build. There seems to be a profound disconnect between what the Lindens think we're doing, and what we actually are doing. And I'm not just talking about the darker parts of the grid--I'm thinking places like Supportforhealing, too, which has genuinely counseled and assisted in a lot of lives.

Vitality, art, interaction, musical expression, even simple conversation--these require more modalities beyond "what can I get out of this?" I'm afraid that's yet another thing the Lindens aren't seeing.

Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

I haz blogged here
You can relink the graphic.

I'll try and read through the brown bag transcript.

Andy said...

Miss Orr, this link might interest you about Dollhouse.

It's from the Independent newspaper over here in the UK. Holds out hope for later episodes.

I remain yours, etc
Random Merryman