Tuesday, February 22, 2005


An alphabetical guide to Second Life-specific terms* frequently used in New World Notes...

Ghost - The remnants of a prim (see below) that has been deleted from the server's dataset, but due to packet loss has not been deleted from the client's dataset. Ghosts cannot be moved or deleted, but must be flushed from the client cache by an avatar moving a far enough distance or relogging. (Def. contribued by Olmy Seraph, 3/02/05)

In-world - The state of being online in Second Life.

Lag - In general, network congestion which slows down communcation between client and server. Specifically to Second Life, lag is typically caused when an excess of residents (see below), prims (see below), or active scripts exist in a given simulator (see below). (Def. added 2/23/05.)

Leader Boards - A regularly updated, automatic ranking system which posts a list of the top Residents (see below) in various categories, such as Wealth and Land Owned. All residents have access to these names and figures via the SecondLife.com website and through a button the Second Life interface. (Def. added 3/2/05.)

Linden (noun) - Singular, refers to an employee of Linden Lab. Plural, refers to Linden Lab staff or more generally to Linden Lab policy or policy implementation (e.g., "The Lindens just changed the cost of rating people.")

Linden Dollar (or L$) - The official in-world currency. Often bought and sold for real US dollars via third parties, the current market exchange rate according to Gaming Open Market (as of 2/22/05) is US$4.02 for L$1000.

- Poseball (noun) - An object embedded with a custome pose script, designed so that when a Resident sits on it, their avatar is automatically put into that pose. (E.G., a slouch.) (Added 4/08/05)

Prim (noun) - Fundamental building blocks which are comprise the basis of all in-world creations. Originally rezzed (see below) as a primary shape such as a cube, cylinder, or sphere, a prim can have its form altered, its surface textured, and its physical composition changed in an infinite number of ways. Most in-world (see above) objects are comprised of several prims linked together.

Prims can be set to respond to the physical forces of Second Life, including gravity and wind. They can also be turned invisible, or made visible but without physical substance. (Added 2/25/05)

Resident (noun) - Paying subscriber to Second Life. (Def. added 2/23/05)

Rez (verb) - "[Origin: the movie Tron. Derived from 'de-rez' - a fictional hacker term for an object losing resolution, or dissolving away.] - to create an object or to bring an object out of your inventory. To make something appear in the world. - Kathy Yamamoto"+

Simulator (noun) - Often abbreviated as "sim", a discrete area of in-world (see above) geography, approximately 16 acres in size, contained on a single server. (Also refers to the space directly above and the area below the simulator's perimeter.) Most simulators are physically linked together, to create a single, contiguous continent.

* Rather than defining each common SL-specific term every time they appear in a New World Notes entry, I'll simply link them to this guide. I will also be treating this glossary as a kind of mini wiki quasi wiki, so if you have a term and a definition you want to add to it, please post it in the Comments section below, and when appropriate, I'll add it to the entry proper, with full credit given.

+ Definition taken from Kathy Yamamoto's Second Life Glossary, an in-world document first reported on in New World Notes, 10/22/03.

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Wiki - a website (or other hypertext document collection) that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content.

This is a blog, not a wiki. :)

Posted by: Jaynius Shaftoe at Feb 23, 2005 6:07:16 AM

... which is why I said "a kind of mini wiki". Not a wiki per se, in other words, but a blog entry with some wiki properties. (Wikish?)

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Feb 23, 2005 11:13:36 AM

It's a wiki in the same sense that a book is a website. Clearly. :)

Posted by: Catherine Omega at Feb 23, 2005 3:23:27 PM

OK, *quasi* wiki-- but that's as far as I'm willing to stickle that wikit!

Anyway, if anyone has a definition they want to add, post it here in Comments, and if it's not patently inaccurate, I'll gladly add it to the entry. And if anyone wants to add or amend a published definition (including mine), I'll add or amend it when appropriate (with the same proviso in mind).

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Feb 23, 2005 8:02:52 PM

here are some words to add?

dwell - I know it's not in use any more, but I still call it that, and many others do also.

furry - I was trying to explain this yesterday to a faculty member and it was very difficult without using offensive and politically incorrect terminology :)

snow sim - as a particular kind of sim with a history, these can be separated from regular sims

teleport, teleport hub -

stipend -

Posted by: megan conklin at Feb 25, 2005 6:29:54 AM

Those are good! If you wanna venture definitions on any or all, I'll post 'em.

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Feb 25, 2005 11:40:48 AM

Ghost - the remnants of a prim that has been deleted from the server's dataset, but due to packet loss has not been deleted from the client's dataset. Ghosts cannot be moved or deleted, but must be flushed from the client cache by an av moving a far enough distance or relogging.

And since we're defining things, "comprise" doesn't mean what you think it does. Don't worry, almost everyone gets it backwards.

Posted by: Olmy Seraph at Mar 2, 2005 7:56:36 PM

Thanks, Olmy! "Ghost" added, "comprise" taken away.

That word actually has one of the weirder Miriam-Webster entries I've ever read. It's like they're responding directly to that criticism:


Main Entry: com·prise

Pronunciation: k&m-'prIz
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): com·prised; com·pris·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere
1 : to include especially within a particular scope
2 : to be made up of

usage: Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 3 is still attacked as wrong. Why it has been singled out is not clear, but until comparatively recent times it was found chiefly in scientific or technical writing rather than belles lettres. Our current evidence shows a slight shift in usage: sense 3 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 3 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as "compose" or "make up".

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Mar 2, 2005 9:29:39 PM

Ain't has been in use since the 18th century also. Usage doesn't mean correctness.
In-world objects are composed of prims.
Your first usage which you crossed out is less wrong than the second which you did not.
The basis of compose is to speak of the composition of something. The basis of comprise is to speak of the inclusion of many somethings.
A good use of comprise would be: "This quasi-wiki comprises definitions for SL."

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Ghost - the remnants of a prim that has been deleted from the server's dataset, but due to packet loss has not been deleted from the client's dataset. Ghosts cannot be moved or deleted, but must be flushed from the client cache by an av moving a far enough distance or relogging.

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