I suppose I should start today’s post by adding a caveat: Anything you read on these pages is going to be, at the very least, coloured by my opinion, and frequently will reflect only my view on any particular subject. This is, after all, a personal blog and I’m afraid if it’s unbiased reporting or purely factual information you’re after, this is quite definitely not where you’re going to find it! That said, I do try to take a fairly balanced view when it comes to writing here, and I tend not to be too opinionated in the views I express.
I wish the same could be said of a very vocal cadre of SL commentators, who seem to have little to say that is positive, helpful or factual, and use the internet as a vehicle to conduct personal hate crusades against individuals and businesses using very public rhetoric, in a manner that is frankly both appalling and disturbing.
Whilst I have no problems with the tenet of free speech and the right of the individual to hold an opinion, I do think that it’s also incumbent upon the individual to self-moderate, get their facts straight and to present their views in a reasoned, rational tone, rather than resort to the insensitive, inflammatory and offensive… But maybe that’s just asking a bit too much?
I don’t know whether it’s endemic to online communities in general, or if SL is particularly conducive to fostering vitriol, but it does seem to me that our little virtual bubble has far more than its fair share of bad feeling and misinformed commentary, to the point that it’s even possible to identify specific stereotypes:
The Bitter ex-Resident
These are commonly found lurking on popular online forums. They hold extremely polarised opinions about SL, the vast majority of which are extremely negative, disparaging and couched in less than positive terms. They provide a popular bandwagon for others of a similar persuasion to join forces, who are more than happy to authoritatively wade in with assertions that SL is dying, is practically grinding to a laggy halt and has pretty much no traffic at all.
Oh, and by the way, none of this is based on fact, experience or first hand knowledge, because the last time any of our authorities on the virtual world even bothered to log in was back in 2008!
The Pitiful Plurker
There is a whole subculture of people who are utterly incapable of living in the real world, however because it would simply be wrong to live a hundred percent in SL, they split their lives evenly between spending their time inworld and on the SL addicts other platform of choice: Plurk. This allows them to live a complete fantasy life, where they can pretend whatever they want is real, and anything they wish can be said with complete impunity.
In pursuance of that aim, every facet of their virtual (ie ‘real’) life is shamelessly broadcast online to the world and his wife in gory detail. This, of course will include wanton slagging off of inworld friends with whom they have fallen out/shagged/gossiped with; racist, homophobic and elitist slurs aimed at those they spend time with inworld; and endless pity parties dwelling on how friends have let them down and their lives are a mess, (hardly surprising, really).
The Evil Ones
There are, unfortunately, a group of people who will quite happily use the anonymity of SL as an excuse to act inexcusably. Equally unfortunately, there are even websites and forums that cater to this unsavoury virtual underworld – it’s no secret.
To such people, there is no such thing as decorum, reasonableness or common decency, and they are in more than happy to employ the voice that the free internet offers to stoop to any depth in order to bring down their fellow residents.
This is the domain of the backstabber, the jealous, the entitled and the malcontent, who is at their most happy pulling a fellow SL resident or business to pieces over some imagined or made up slight. Here is a no holds barred domain where anything is considered fair game… Poor health, poverty, relationship or family problems, depression – all provide rich pickings for those with an axe to grind, whilst feeling fully justified in doing so and taking personal affront if challenged.
Strangely enough, here too is the domain of the amateur self-styled protector of intellectual property, the crusader who spends their life scouring the Marketplace and Etsy with the sole intent of trying to destroy SL designers for daring to draw inspiration from the work of others. It’s a deeply unhealthy environment.
This is the murky underbelly of SL filled with people whom you’d swear have no interest in SL, other than in some twisted and perverse form of self gratification.
I can only surmise that their real lives must be a pretty horrible place to live too.
And there seems to be a problem here.
Your state of emotion seems to clear.
You rise and fall like wall street stock
And you had an affect on our happy talk.
Nirvana – Opinion