« WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE? | Main | RESEARCHING ME (THE LAW, AND THE FUTURE) »

Thursday, March 11, 2004

RESEARCHING ME, PART II (ETHICS AND POLITICS IN-WORLD)

Continuing my conversation with Amsterdam Becquerel, who's researching an academic paper on the subculture of Second Life...

AB: What do you see as some of the larger moral questions concerning participation in worlds like SL?

Avatar ethics versus personal morality: what are the limits of appropriate behavior and intent for your avatar, versus your personal, offline behavior? Almost anyone who plays an MMOG has to deal with this dillema, if they have a real-world, committed romantic partner. Is it permissable to flirt, or even engage in virtual sex scenes, in-world, in a way you'd never do in the material world, if that behavior would offend your partner? In Second Life, and in most other MMOGs, there are systemic ways of punishing bad behavior (griefing, hate speech, and so on)-- there's already a God of the system who's created a disincentive for unethical action. So it seems to me that the overarching moral question online, really, is how you handle choices of the virtual heart.

AB: Are there problems with governance in worlds like SL? I often make the comparison in my head between what’s going on here with creating societies in the real world, like the American frontier of the 1800s. There’s a kind of struggle to create a society of laws that are respected and abided by, and a problem with figuring out who has jurisprudence in cases of dispute. Is this accurate?

Somewhat. Second Life is like the American frontier-- except that here, the Greek gods
are hovering over the range, and they sometimes come down and intercede in the affairs
of the cowboys and settlers. So in the day-to-day, hour-by-hour experience of the game,
yes, residents are working out an unofficial set of mores, traditions, peer groups, and when
necessary, societal ostracization against misfits and bad actors, and taken together, all this
and more creates a fairly coherent system of de facto governance. This governance lines
up with the code of the gods (i.e., Linden Lab's terms of service and community standards),
enhancing it, rather than contradicting it. However, when [the] Lindens' rules are violated,
the gods must come down, and exact punishment. Inevitably, and quite unintentionally, the
god's punishments sometimes disrupt the social order of the residents. Because after the
lightning bolts come down, questions come back up, in reply. ("Why did you suspend me,
but not X?" "Why do the Lindens favor Group A, but are totally against Group B?" "Why is
Linden C so vindictive and unfair, while Linden D is so much more forgiving?") My sense is
that this puts a strain on the naturally developing order. (Fortunately, my sense is also that
these tensions are usually healed within 24 hours.) What we have is a workable but occasionally
unstable meshing of these two systems. So in terms of governance, if you want to talk about
American frontier as your analogy, I'd say it's more like Magnificent Seven meets
Clash of the Titans.

Posted at 07:27 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341ccd9653ef00e5505506568834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference RESEARCHING ME, PART II (ETHICS AND POLITICS IN-WORLD):

» India - Mushawarat on national and international situation from that neither
Aligarh Muslim University have yet filed an appeal before the Supreme Court..... [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2006 7:14:21 PM

» Dishonorable Deaths from spate of "honor"
spate of "honor" killings in south east Turkey are disguised as suicides [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 6, 2006 10:21:34 PM

» Calendar Grrrl from annii Minogue
annii Minogue slams TV Richard for perving over her saucy snaps. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 7, 2006 7:54:08 AM

» Heat's Posey Catches A Break From NBA from for his next
for his next flagrant foul during the postseason, writes Ira Winderman of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 2:43:05 PM

» Catchings, Swoopes Lead WNBA All-Star Balloting from tops the East
Swoopes leads all Western Conference players after receiving the first returns [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 28, 2006 3:34:12 AM

» Wilbon: May the Best Team Win -- Yes from in this predicament,
too early, because the zebras missed a Miami back-court violation, because Dwyane Wade was awarded a bushel full of [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 29, 2006 5:11:36 AM

» Western Digital Settles HD Capacity Dispute from million consumers
a class-action lawsuit alleging that its computer hard drives stored less material than promised -- a discrepancy stemming from high-tech's [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 30, 2006 4:54:45 AM

» Wells Fargo sets up technology subsidiary in India from an SOA. But before
) - U.S. financial services group Wells Fargo & Co. said Tuesday that it is setting up a technology facility in Hyderabad, [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 11:50:35 AM

Comments

Good Day. My home is not a place, it is people.
I am from Liechtenstein and also now am reading in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Save on flea shampoo and more at kay fresh clean flea tick scented shampoo for dogs.I immobilized the flea with a drop of liquid soap and smashed it."

Thank :-) Ofira.

Posted by: Murphy at Jul 1, 2009 2:13:08 AM