Born yesterday?

This week i briefly made the acquaintance of one of those particular peculiarities that occasionally pop up in sl, (at least, i’m pretty sure i have): the noob who isn’t.

You know the type: Someone who is, according to their profile, only a few days old, yet their behaviour is a curious mix of ‘typical noob’ with unmistakeable established resident trends – little ‘tells’ that give subliminal clues that the person you’re dealing with is not quite the rosy-cheeked newbie they’re making themselves out to be.

On this particular occasion, Little Miss Noob of precisely zero days old managed to TP in to a location far from the beaten tracks of most noob haunts and, despite the outward signs of noobism – typing animations, system avatar and cutesy, irritating txtspk – demonstrated a few interesting – and, i’m afraid, rather obvious – behaviours that simply screamed ‘Fake!’

First, although she’d managed to capture some of the more obvious noobisms, there were a few that were conspicuous by their absence, for a start she talked rationally, rather than demanding money, freebies, ‘what is this place’ and the usual lines of enquiry. Rather too rationally, actually – discussing partners with ease… most people new to sl have no concept of the whole partnering thing. Then there was the liberal peppering of ‘sl’ and’rl’ in her conversation – speaking from personal experience, it takes an age before the average new resident has any real rationale for referring to the real and virtual worlds – i remember agonising for ages before i settled on ‘rl’ and ‘sl’… should i use ‘1L’ and ‘2L’; ‘FL’; ‘first life’; ‘real life’… the list goes on. As a total noob, i find it odd that anyone would be comfortable with using appropriate abbreviations in conversation, especially now they don’t have the ‘Real Life’ tab in profiles and have to settle for the less obvious ‘Other Info’.

She didn’t walk into a corner and stay there stuck, ask how to dance like everyone else in the room, fly around the room or edit appearance for no apparent reason, and she said a proper goodbye before leaving, rather than just disappearing into thin air.

The clincher for me though, was her viewer. How many first day noobs do you know who would log in using Singularity? It just doesn’t happen – most people who join up have no idea that there are other viewers in addition to the official Linden one, it can be weeks or even longer before they come across them, let alone try them out – it took me months to work up the courage to use Emerald! Singularity is hardly the viewer of choice for the inexperienced either – in my book, anyone using it must have some previous sl experience.

Why does it bother me? Well, in reality, it doesn’t that much – everyone has the right to masquerade as whoever they want to be in sl – i just don’t understand the whole fake noob thing. There’s nothing wrong with alts but why would anyone want to make out that an alt was a total noob? What’s wrong with introducing yourself, something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Little Miss Noob – ignore my rez date, I’m an alt” – no need to say whose alt you are; that’s half the fun! The only reason i can come up with for making out you’re a brand-noob, when you’re not, is for surreptitious reasons – and, sad to say, i’ve met a few in my time whose motivation has been ill-intent; i can do without people like that around.

i guess it’s one of those things about sl that i find just a little discomfiting – what do you guys think?

S. x

But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here
Radiohead – Creep 

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5 Responses to Born yesterday?

  1. Tateru Nino says:

    Sounds a bit like me – though I was more than a 20 year veteran of virtual worlds when I originally signed up for SL. After being new for about an hour, I started teaching other newbies, because everything I had learned about SL in that hour was still unknown to them.

    And yes, quite a few people dismissed me as an alt on my first day – and actually did it quite rudely at the time.

    • Sadly, rudeness is rife in sl, and it goes both ways – noobs and veterans alike can be just as guilty. i’ve never had a problem with alts or newbies, but i do get a bit twitchy around people who use anonymity as a vehicle for one-upmanship and griefing… and sadly, i’ve come across a few like that.

      Thankfully, the vast majority of people in sl are there to enjoy themselves and treat others with respect and sincerity.

      Thanks for your insight 🙂

      S. x

  2. Wolf Baginski says:

    There are a few things about the SL handling of users that are hidden away from an established account, such as the sign-up process and what the current Age Verification process is. But you don’t need to pretend to be a noob to test that. Still, there’s been enough talk about the user-retention problem that I can see why somebody might try to fake it. If they were trying to find out something like that, they obviously needed to do a better job.

  3. Shauna says:

    Whoever the fake-noob was, they weren’t too bright. I meet quite a few like that, and have to wonder what the motives are.

  4. Pingback: The Many Faces : Moonletters

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