Body (and head) shaming in Second Life, and the definition of self.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Second_Life_logo.svg

Becca observes that, as in real life, Body Shaming is a thing in Second Life. She then goes on to talk about mesh heads vs system heads, and the fact that how we look in Second Life defines us even more than in real life. 

Last week I joined a Facebook Group called “Second Life Friends” and there was a discussion on facelights, so I decided to post a link to an old blog article I wrote back in 2012 that is as still as relevant now as it was then.

During the resulting Facebook thread, I got body shamed by a poster over the fact that I do not as yet use a mesh head, and who poured scorn on me and my look, as if how I look made my opinion irrelevant.

Then, yesterday, I updated my post “Unencumbered by the trappings of Real Life” about whether there should still be a clear separation between Second Life and real life, or should Second Life be merely an extension or augmentation of our online presence.

I posted it to the same group, and it started off a lively debate. The debate deviated somewhat into the whole thing of mesh heads again. On the whole it was a civil and interesting debate, and my replies to it gave rise to this article.

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Unencumbered by the trappings of Real Life (revisited)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Second_Life_logo.svgBecca asks: “Should there be a clear separation between Second Life and real life, or should Second Life be merely an extension or augmentation of our online presence?”

Back in 2012 I wrote an article called “Unencumbered by the trappings of real life“. Some things are still as true then as they are now, whilst other things are a little out of date, so I have decided to revisit it and update it.

Some of the people I meet in Second Life want to know all about my real life, about how I look or where I live, or how old I am, or any number of other things. And I tell them that, quite apart from privacy, I simply don’t see things like that as having any relevance to my Second Life. And, further, I don’t particularly want them to volunteer anything about themselves either. I’m simply not interested in their “skinvelope” (or, as I have heard others refer to it, their “meatsack” or “meat rider”, which I confess aren’t phrases I’m particularly enamoured with) and want to get to know the real person, unencumbered by the trappings of real life. Some of these people have got quite defensive about my attitude and asked how I can know the real person when I say I don’t want to know the real life person. Some have even called me crazy. Well, allow me to explain what I mean.

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Unencumbered by the trappings of real life

An updated version of this article is now available here

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of opinion on Rigged Mesh, and the efforts of Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden) to address the fundamental deficiencies of it with the Parametric Deformer project.

That’s been covered elsewhere in great detail and I don’t think I can add much to the debate directly on that although will provide some links at the end.

However, it has got me thinking about what Second Life means to me, what I view as important and how I interact with other people.

Some of the people I meet want to know all about my real life, about how I look or where I live, or how old I am, or any number of other things. And I tell them that, quite apart from privacy, I simply don’t see things like that as having any relevance to my Second Life. And, further, I don’t particularly want them to volunteer anything about themselves either. I’m simply not interested in their “skinvelope” (or, as I have heard others refer to it, their “meatsack” or “meat rider”, which I confess aren’t phrases I’m particularly enamoured with) and want to get to know the real person, unencumbered by the trappings of real life. Some of these people have got quite defensive about my attitude and asked how I can know the real person when I say I don’t want to know the real life person. Some have even called me crazy. Well, allow me to explain what I mean.

Continue reading

Pet peeves

One of my pet peeves in Second Life is TPing into a sim and being absolutely assaulted with greeters, LMs, pop-up messages, notecards, group invites and the like.

I had to chuckle at one sim today though, which did all these and the notecard and pop-up said that they did not allow spamming, group invites or griefing.

The irony of this was not lost on me. But seemed to be lost on them. 🙂

Emerald Viewer to be Blocked From Second Life

Just posted on the Second Life blog:

As of 10am PT Wednesday, September 8, the Emerald Viewer will be blocked from logging in to Second Life as a result of violations of our Policy on Third Party Viewers. Residents who have been using any version of the Emerald Viewer will need to use a different Viewer to access Second Life. You can download the official Second Life Viewer, developed by Linden Lab, here. Or you can learn more about alternative Viewers, developed by third parties, here. There are several new Viewers listed in the TPV Directory, so there are many alternatives available to you.

We take Residents’ privacy, safety, and security very seriously and will take action to enforce the policies that help protect it. As our CEO, Philip Rosedale, has blogged about, we recently removed the Emerald Viewer from our Third-Party Viewer Directory due to violations of our Policy on Third-Party Viewers.

Since then, we have been in communication with the Emerald development team and have requested several changes in order to remedy violations of our policy, including changes necessary to meet our privacy requirements, and to address GPL license violations. Unfortunately, the team was unable to comply within a stipulated time frame. As a result, we have decided to block logins from the Emerald Viewer in order to protect our Residents. All versions of the Emerald Viewer will be blocked from logging in to Second Life as of tomorrow at 10am. Please be aware that attempting to circumvent our blocking to access Second Life with a banned Viewer is a violation of the Policy on Third-Party Viewers and may result in the loss of one’s account.

[Source: Second Life Blog]

Well, this isn’t a huge surprise. And given the number of people I see still running Emerald, it’s probably for the best. Yes, some will moan but I think LL have little alternative but to do this.
And now that Phoenix (Emerald without the bad stuff) is available then I don’t see what the big issue is.

Display Names – what could go wrong?

There’s a lot of buzz about the new Display Names feature that will allow you to appear to change your avatar’s name.

I’ve heard a lot of people remark that this sounds wonderful, because they’ll be able to call themselves “Sensible Name” rather than  “SomeStupidNameBigBoobies69 Sillyname” (which was funny right up until the point they realised they couldn’t change it).

Well, yes. But unfortunately they’ll also be able to call themselves “Jackie Graves”, “Stiletto Moody” or “Truth Hawks”. But not “Torley Linden”.

Why not “Torley Linden”? Because the Lindens recognise that could lead to confusion. That’s right, they are not going to put any safeguard in to prevent impersonation, Phishing, character assassination, smear campaigns or trashing someone’s reputation unless it’s one of them.

This just seems totally insane to me. If there is no issue with impersonation, as the Lindens want us to believe, then why stop people using the name “Linden” in a Display Name? Or, if is more obviously the case, there *is* an issue then why are they not taking steps to protect *our* identities as well as their own?

The response Linden Lab are making is that these are only Display Names and people can drill down into the profile to see the username. That’s all well and good, but in the Real World we know that email-based Phishing attacks are successful. Do ordinary users look at email headers to see what the actual email account is when the display name is “PayPal” or “Amazon” or <insert the name of your bank here>
Of course they don’t. Nor do they check the actual URL on a link that looks like http://www.paypal.com but which actually points to http://www.somedodgyphishingsite.com
So why on earth do the Lindens think users will be any different in Second Life? They’ll just file an Abuse Report against the person that they *think* is griefing them. Or buy dodgy counterfeit or malicious objects from someone they *think* is a legitimate seller.

There are several JIRA entries open on this subject, and as usual a lot of well thought out and well-explained comments and suggestions made by SL residents on them that will almost certainly be ignored by LL and ridden roughshod over.
http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-6194
http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-21053
(you may need to log in with your SL username and password to view those. It’s part of the Second Life website so safe to do so)

Likewise, there are a load of intelligent comments, suggestions and concerns in the feedback on the recent Second Life blog announcement on Display Names:
http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2010/08/31/display-names-project-viewer-now-available…

Personally I think the down sides of Display Names in their current form massively outnumber the up sides. However, I am depressively resigned to the fact that all reasonable debate will be ignored by the Lindens and they will press on regardless.

The Phoenix Arises – Emerald by a different name

Well, it seems Jessica Lyons doesn’t hang around and has assembled a team to take over where Emerald left off. And amongst that team is LordGregGreg.

According to her blog entry [here], Phoenix is starting out as a sanitised Emerald, like LordGregGreg’s Emergence Viewer, and will be developed from there.

In keeping with my recent post [here] on how an Open Source Project should be run, they’re running a publicly-viewable repository and full transparency.

This is very encouraging news indeed.

Privacy concerns with Viewer 2.0

[First posted 09-Mar-2010 here]

If you care about your privacy and identity then be sure to read and vote on this JIRA issue

In short, any Shared Media prim has the potential to get all sorts of information about you – IP Address, Operating System & version, language (gives a good idea of country), Client & version, all sorts.
Possible exploits are linking alts to mains, griefing, stalking, RL harassment, phishing, malware and viruses.

The JIRA entry and the subsequent comments have a lot more information. And this blog is also worth reading.

I’m kind of surprised how few people seem bothered by this.

Update: This blog comment highlights a very scarily plausible scenario for how a phishing attack could successfully compromise your SL account.

Farewell to Emerald

[Originally posted 01-Sep-2010 here]

As you know, there has been a lot of worry and concern over Emerald with regards to privacy issues, data mining and illegal activities.

Linden Lab have removed Emerald from their Third Party Viewers list and advised everyone to use other Viewers.

As of today the developers of Emerald have folded the project due to mutiny, disagreement, and Linden Lab demanding that certain developers be removed which they were unwilling to do.

I’m sad to see Emerald go as, for all it’s warts and dodginess, it was a very good Viewer and was very innovative.
It’s just a shame that it was ruined by a bunch of immature Script Kiddies who couldn’t resist messing it all up for everyone.

I’m sure the hard work will be back-ported into other Viewers. LordGregGreg has a version of the full source code for Emerald that he has released as “Emergence” although has stated he will not be actively developing it.

Meanwhile Jessica Lyon has resigned from Emerald and has set up a blog to discuss her side of things – jessicalyons.wordpress.com

The rabbit hole goes deeper

[Originally published 26-Aug-2010 here]

See

http://alphavilleherald.com/2010/08/nelson-jenkins-why-would-anyone-trust-these-emerald-guys.html

http://blogs.secondlife.com/message/367966#367966

http://www.taltech.co.uk/2010/08/23/emerald-there-is-still-an-onyx-phox-in-the-hen-house