I’ve never liked rudeness. I was always brought up to believe that politeness costs nothing and should be the expectation, and nothing that life has thrown at me has served to change my opinion. When the rudeness comes from others, ignorance and ineptitude aside, I find it quite offensive, which as you can imagine means that get offended frequently in SL. Perhaps ‘offended’ is a strong word – I don’t take it personally, unless it’s directed at me intentionally, but it does irritate me a lot.

A recent happening inworld demonstrates a typical example of the sort of thing I see almost everyday in SL. The usual suspects and I were hanging out, as we often do, at the local pub, chatting, listening to music and having an impromptu dance. Now, we’re a friendly enough bunch and pretty inclusive, (alright, we do burn the occasional noob, but generally we’re pretty easy-going), and we always make the effort to make newcomers, and regulars for that matter, welcome. So when a stranger TP’d in, right in front of our ‘just for fun’ raffle board… Well, I’ll let the chat log tell the story, (some names have been edited to protect the innocent!):

[13:56] MystiTool HUD 2.0.2: Entering chat range: Expromt (6m)
[13:56] Serendipidy Haven: hi Expromt
[13:56] Raffle Board A (MAIN) 2.1: Now checking Profile Picks for Parcel.
[13:56] Raffle Board A (MAIN) 2.1: Expromt Resident has parcel in profile picks.
— Expromt vanishes —
[13:57] Serendipidy Haven: nice to meet you too
[13:57] S** F***: hi Expromt
[13:57] Serendipidy Haven: so glad you popped in to say
[13:57] Serendipidy Haven: nothing
[13:57] Serendipidy Haven: she’ll probably win now
[13:57] S******** R*****: Don’t you just love people who come in just to enter the contest and who don’t talk to anyone ?
[13:58] S*** McL****: another raffler just trying to fleece s*****s hard earned cash !

Other than the weird fact that all of our little group’s names seem to begin with the letter S – something I’ve never really noticed until now, it’s pretty clear from the above that we’d been the unwelcome bystanders to a drive-by chancer. A quick glance at Expromt’s profile picks revealed a host of unlikely locations, no doubt the common denominator being that they all possessed some cash dispensing potential in exchange for pick advertising. I imagine that our Expromt has some sort of HUD that homes in on whatever network of raffles and other cash dispensers are scattered around SL and spends her time cruising between them in the hope of occasionally striking it lucky. In fact, judging by the number of complete strangers who seem to win with surprising regularity from our local board, located on what is primarily a residential sim where the majority of people present at any given time know each other very well, this is a popular pursuit.

I should say that I’ve no beef about how people choose to make money in SL – if you want to make a career out of jumping from sim to sim in the hope of making a fast buck, that’s fine with me; we’ve probably all done it at some stage, but if you are going to suddenly appear in the midst of a group of people who make the effort to say hello, the very least you can do is return the compliment, even if you have no intention of hanging around. To do otherwise gives the impression that you’re slinking in to do something despicable in the corner, before high-tailing it back out again and leaving some other poor unfortunate soul to clean up your mess. That’s rude.

I wish I could say that this was a one-off, but for some reason, our sim – and the pub in particular – seem to have a lot of passing traffic: People rezzing in the corner next to the jukebox, who then stare blankly into the middle distance for a few minutes, pointedly ignoring any attempt by those gathered to be friendly and polite, before striding off – often pushing through those around them, without care or apology. That’s extremely rude.

But there’s a lot of rudeness that goes on in SL and on the interweb in general – from random and obnoxious IMs to personal attacks in public and on profiles; even Youtube music video comments invariably sink to cesspit level within a very short space of time; bullies, self-important and opinionated bigots and those who just haven’t got a kind word to say about anyone abound on Facebook, forums and chat rooms… It seems that the cloak of invisibility that the digital world gives us also has the effect of dehumanising us and bringing out the worst in our attitudes. Sadly, SL is by no means immune, and I don’t like it one bit!

This, my friends, is why we can’t have nice things.

s. x

Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know I’m human too?
Magic! – Rude

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