[SLED] SL article in Nature

Owen Kelly owen.kelly at arcada.fi
Thu Sep 14 06:09:45 PDT 2006


Hi,

I am not sure that the Nature article takes enough account of how people 
approach SL. I think it is a bit naive myself because it makes some 
assumptions that are based on less than the full picture :)

I have noticed that my students tend to adopt three different approaches 
to porting real life conventions into SL.

One group of students port themselves over as exactly as they can. 
Robert Smith will become Bobby Lightyear, and his avatar will be a 
glorified version of himself. Jenny Jones will become Jen Masters and 
they wil both have long red hair. This group tends to port RL feelings 
and expectations too. "Why are they laughing at me, its not fair!"

A second group of students make a deliberate gulf between RL and SL, and 
give themselves ironic avatars. Several of the fittest, trendiest 
students here (of both genders) have an avatar that looks like a fat, 
clueless scruff, and acts in a gormless way that is close to 
diametrically opposed to the sharp-witted, sharp-tongued students 
themselves. Needless to say they are very distanced from interactions in 
SL. They have no "personal space" to invade, and are puzzled as to how 
anyone else could imagine they did.

The third group have no consistent avatar at all. They play with their 
bodies the way the other two groups play with their clothes. One day Aki 
is a green dwarf, the next day he is a gangster. The next an Isaac Hayes 
clone, and so on. He is interested in people's reactions but regards the 
environment as a laboratory rather than a world.

None of these groups engage in griefing, so they are not adopting these 
positions to fool anybody. They are just playing the game differently. 
More exactly, they are playing different games.

Cheers
Owen


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