let me give my 2 cents.
Eric said, quoting Domenico:
> " chimera becomes the truth when enough people believe in it: "
> no it doesn't.
well... actually it does.
but, as he pointed out, let's ask how significative (or, even, influent) this perception is, how much weight it has on overall society.
SL is totally irrelevant - that's if you step out of the hype cycles -.
Yet it is an experiment. As activeworlds was. As were jaron lanier's virtual reality gizmos. As lsd, in some ways.
I once had the opportunity to propose a really big communication project. I proposed what seemed to me like an interesting web based action, and a (let's call it) trick on second life. The manager i proposed it to just looked at me, smiling, and asked me how big was the audience i figured to reach through this initiative. I answered that something in the order of the million internet users could be reached, if everything went right. Still smiling, he replied something like
"one, or even two/three, millions? in the whole campaign?!? i can get ten times that, by placing single big advertisment on the side of a highway! and ten times that, *each day*, with an ad on television..."
i, on my side, stopped smiling immediately :)
technology offers new models, new possibilities, but we really should keep our feets on the ground when we speak over these issues.
maybe repeat to ourselves "it's just a niche, it's just a niche, it's just a niche" a couple of times before even opening up our mouths.
and Eric added that:
> It is chimera, it is a restrictive environment. It is a lie.
> It holds people back from exploring new rules and systems. It is a holding tank for the digi-iliteratii.
and that's exactly why i go around SL destroying everything in sight! :)))
seriously (just a bit): "digi-iliterati" is possibly too restrictive of a word. "iliterati" is much better.
becuse it's a general pattern connected to technlogy (not internet/computer/virtual_world technology, it happened with coal, with oil, with nukes, with hammers and scissors).
there is a trend. of ambition, on one side and of expectation, on the other. both leverage on frustrations and ignorance.
when i (sorrysorrysorry) took down odyssey's server i wanted to point out (notsorrynotsorrynotsorry) how ignorance plays a major role in SL activities.
(some) people believe that it is a reliable/effective platform, so much that they use real money (linden mediated, but real), real identities (don't tell me that the guy offending me for weeks for "flooding his SL lawn" doesn't have a real identity), real ambitions.
SL is a restrictive, unreliable, unstable, opportunistic, consumistic environment that lets you play some nice tricks. that's all.
how you use those tricks is up to you.
but you just cannot come and blame me if i, for example, "steal" some of your stuff over there, because you accepted that possibility the moment that you logged in.
(that stuff isn't really yours in the first place, too. if you understand computer architectures and terms of usage contracts you can understand this really well. but how many users know/understand this? not many, if you look at the number of people "pretending" to own something on second life)
and about the exploration of "new rules and systems", Domenico said an interesting thing:
> 1. (quite banal, indeed) that people "living" in Second Life, as well as in other
> simulated worlds (and in every networked community), have their own rules and laws;
> they can accept them or fight against them, but they have to respect them if they
> want to be part of the community;
this is perfectly true.
and it only has two small bugs: the platforms are open to anyone and the *real* rules are not defined by users.
the platforms are open to ayone, even to those not accepting the rules and laws. and users have no real way to apply their "democratic" decisions.
I can get banned infinite times on SL, and infinite times i can get back in.
and the *real* laws are not created by users in the first place, as they are defined both in the contract you agree to when you register on the services, and also in some more "mysterious" ways, by technological platform control, by data structure manageent, and so on...
the terms of service contract: it is just obvious. service providers (be it SL, or google mail, whatever) produce these monsters that hardly anyone reads (or understand).
people mainly press "I Agree" one milllisecond after the webpage displays, to access the service.
technological platform control: is it significative to define a rule or even a law if the "world" can be shut down, completely changed, moved, turned to something else, maybe transformed into a pay service, by the infrastrcture owners? Because this is the situation: today you exist, tomorrow you don't, as i (the service provider) can transform, let's say, SL into something else whenever I want. Or even throw it out in the trash, if I care, or if it's not profitable anymore.
it already happened on mp3.com
, for example. and it will, again. on the mp3.com
websites, they even left an online forum open for public discusion, when they closed: it was full of people arguing that they shut down "their" community.
And then there are more esotheric things. Control through data structures.
why do i necessarily have to choose "male" or "female"?
why can't i write in my own language, especially if it requires a "strange" font?
life is not like that. control structures are.
There is a really interesting project funded by the european union.
It's called the DBE (Digital Business Ecosystem)
It started out really nice, just to turn into an incredible mess (represented by thousands of written documents, wasted funds, and no system whatsoever, except for really small implementations).
The base for the project was the creation of a collaborative platform allowing users to define their own data structures, including the ones used to define their identities.
And on the personal ownership of the infrastructure (through p2p mechanisms).
the aim was to define an environment (the ecosystem) in which users could freely define themselves (their existence and identity) and their lives/activities (culture, production, heritage ... ) and their interactions (buy, sell, communicate, move, invite...) in both structure, content and dimensions.
it was really interesting. especially if put in parallel to the centralized, standardized models offered by services such as second life.
which is not really more that a graphically advanced social network. it is nothing innovative.
the aim of not being limited by gravity or by weight/size or by the possibility to copy a piece of music infinite times is not so significative if compared to the possibility of *freely* defining and communicating one's self.
it may be interesting, but it isn't a focal point.
but then Domenico said:
> 2. that people living in simulated worlds perceive what they are doing there as REAL.
> They are not taking themselves TOO seriously, as Salvatore claims; they are simply
> taking themselves seriously. You can keep on thinking that they are just data on a
> server: but, this way, you will never be able to understand not only SL, but every
> digital environment. If SL is a chimera, Odyssey is not a real exhibition space, art
> in SL is not real and Sugar is taking herself too seriously, then Rhizome is a chimera,
> the Artbase is not a real exhibition space, net art is not real and, let's say, Mark
> Tribe is taking himself too seriuosly...
and i perfectly agree to that.
they are not data on a server. they are real people (behind data on a server :) ) making experiments on a virtual world, with varying levels of success and effectiveness, and with a lot of effort put behind what they do.
if they're fine with it: good for themselves. if someone likes it: great!
I am there too, experimenting and getting myself kicked out :)
and to offer points of view in which i believe, and that seem so lost in the hyped, ignorant chit chat sometimes.
(hyperformalism! (and the like) oh, come on.... :) of all the significative experiments that could be performed in a virtual world, that one is ridiculous: bypass real world limitations??!?! single copies of digital art products?!?!?! wow!
i could even accept that supposedly mystical approach to colour and polygons, if it wasn't sold for innovation... )
oh, well, i guess i'll never get an article on Second Life Herald :)))))
my best !