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Hi All,

I am an anthropology student from London. I have recently been reading Tom Boelstorff's book 'Coming of Age In Second Life' that some of you may be familiar with. I am very much interested Second Life and was just wondering if people on the forum are open to researchers like me coming here and asking questions and enegaing in discussion? I'm not talking about a spamming the board with lots of posts, but maybe just using this one to ask a few questions about your experiences.

Please let me know if this would be OK.

Many Thanks,

Nemia 

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Your account dates back to 2010, yet it doesn't look like you have ever did anything with it...I wonder why. :smileysurprised:

With your project you are part of a long long row of people from schools coming here to do research. If you do it well, people will be willing to help. If its just another lab-rat study....not that much.

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Well maybe we should all blame Tom Boelstorff for the long line of researchers, his book has been mentioned on three of my courses this year and so I am guessing lots of people are becoming interested in SL! Hence, why I asked permission.

Anyway... my own experiences, I think like many it was technological frustration that drove me away in 2010. Again, I logged on last night for the first time since and although it was much easier this time it was still incredibly frustrating and I think I lasted just under and hour. I will persevere though as I am sure once I invest some time into it it will become much easier (like everything).

Ok, having looked through the perevious research questions (so as not to ask the same things again, please correct me if I am wrong). I am interested governance and online communities so I would ask these questions if I may...

1)What is your personal relationship with Linden Lab? How do you 'see' them? 

2)What are your understandings of the relationship between the SL community and Linden Lab as a whole?

3)What are the dominant attitudes towards Linden Lab?

Please ask me anything!

Nemia.

 

Edit: Spelling and rewording of question 3.

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1a. I don't have a personal relationsgip with Linden Lab.

1b. I see L:inden Lab as being totally uninterested in their paying customers. From a customer's point of view, Linden lab is an incredibly bad company.

2. Linden Lab doesn't have any relationship with the SL community as whole, and vice versa, of course.

3. You asked about Lindens (individual people) and not Linden Lab the company. I believe that the dominant attitude towards individual Lindens is good. I also believe that the dominant attitude towards Linden lab, the company, is neutral, but that's because most users don't become aware of how bad the company actually is.

Those are my views and opinions.

Incidentally, it's Linden Lab, not Linden Labs.

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Nemia Nuyasaka wrote:

Well maybe we should all blame Tom Boelstorff for the long line of researchers, his book has been mentioned on three of my courses this year and so I am guessing lots of people are becoming interested in SL! Hence, why I asked permission.

Nah, Boelstorff is just the most well known of researchers that have been making use of SL.  Simon Evans, a social psychologist, and a media psychology group at Stanford have also made extensive use of SL.

Of all the successful research that I have seen exactly none has resulted from message board postings.  (There probably is some out there, but it is going to be uncommon.)  Both Boesltorff and Evans used variations on the participant-observer approach to gather their data.  The Stanford group used students in a class where one of the class requirements was that students wear a data gathering attachment while in SL.   There is a group at Indiana (I think) that actively recruits participants through appropriate groups in-world.

Spend time in-world with some appropriate words in your profile.  Have a notecard ready for people who want to participate or who know people who may want to participate.  (I first learned about Evans' work from another SLer who handed me one of his notecards.)  Find a comfortable place with few distractions for interviewing people so that you can conduct interviews when the opportunity arises.

Finally, (well, my final comment.  The first thing you should do after reading this.)  check with your advisor about research ethics.  I don't see any hint of informed consent or IRB approval for your reseach. Big no-no.  You'll never get such research published anywhere.

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1) LL is like a Mall owner. The owners of a mall don't sell you anything directly. They don't buy clothes, or make food, and then sell that to you. They make money from all the stores and eateries inside the mall that lease space. It is in their interest to bring customers to the mall too because customers pay the stores who pay them. In addtion to running a mall they also lease apartments nearby. Leasing the apartments is exactly the same model as leasing to store owners. In fact, the apartment owners are part of the attraction.

2) My understanding is that LL pretty much does what it wants and residents complain about everything.

3) People seem to think that the Lindens try to add features to SL while not fixing existing problems. They also see the Lindens as listening to the community but just not doing anything.  Also, trying to get new users while neglecting the existing base of residents.

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My biggest complaint about "research" threads is (and always has been) that the person doing the research are basically attempting to do nothing but recruiting experienced users of SL to do their work.  They all seem to have some deadline (such as near the end of some semester so that the "research paper" can be turned in a graded).  That deadline is always too short a time for any real research on the researchers part.  What's wrong with first hand experience before you even think about interviewing anyone?  It appears that you, yourself, are basing your questions on someone else's research.  You do not appear to have much (or any at all) experience in SL.......you actually stated as much blaming "frustration" on that lack of experience.  How in the world can you have questions to ask of the people you interview...........I mean questions arising from your direct experience, not someone else's.

I'm not go to volunteer to help you get some research paper done unless you do the majority of the work ("work" being gathering experience).  I know very well how I feel about Second Life and Linden Lab.  I know that from my experience in SL.  I would be somewhat willing to compare my experience with yours to help you get a sense of what SL is and all about......but you have no experience.  You are aking me to a proxy you...........I won't do that.

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Ok people. I'm just saying if people who want to contribute, they can. I'm interested in your opinions and yes, like most anthropology studtents I haven't been to the hundreds of places we write about, I haven't experienced the issues first-hand. Sadly there is just not the time, money or resources to do this. Most students will have the luxury of picking just one topic to do proper some fieldwork on, which I will during the summer. This will entail some limited partipant-observation (seeing that we have 3 months and this requires a least a year).

Thanks for your comments professor. I am fully aware of everything you have stated, I am writing a simple piece of coursework not a fully blown piece of published research. We ae encourgaed (unlike a lot of institutions) to go out, ask, questions and investige. We are of course all aware that this cannot and does not in anyway constitute participant-observation and I never claimed it does.

 

Maybe I should research message board communities instead? Now that would be interesting...

Anyway, thank you all for your contributions. I really do appreciate it but I'll leave this for now. I can see where this is going.

Thanks.

 

 

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Linden Research is the parent company of Linden Lab.  Linden Lab is the company that created and maintains Second Life.  However, Linden Lab is the main company within Linden Research.  So Linden Lab and Linden Research are interchangable......the Linden Lab part is referred to as the "owner" of Second Life (but Linden Research owns Linden Lab so Linden Research also owns Second Life).

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Peggy really hits the nail on its head. Most researchers coming to the forum didn't even spend a singel evening in SL. And that resulted in strange questions. I remember people asking us the general "Are you addicted/social awkward or just a weirdo"-questions they use on any "game"....I even remember someone calling SL a webside.

From my point of view LL doesn't play any important role in daily SL life, only if there are problems you notice that there is someone more or less good who is supposed to help.

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Nemia Nuyasaka wrote:

Ok people. I'm just saying if people who want to contribute, they can. I'm interested in your opinions and yes, like most anthropology students I haven't been to the hundreds of places we write about, I haven't experienced the issues first-hand. Sadly there is just not the time, money or resources to do this. Most students will have the luxury of picking just one topic to do proper some fieldwork on, which I will during the summer. This will entail some limited participant-observation (seeing that we have 3 months and this requires a least a year).

Thanks for your comments professor. I am fully aware of everything you have stated, I am writing a simple piece of coursework not a fully blown piece of published research. We ae encouraged (unlike a lot of institutions) to go out, ask, questions and investigate. We are of course all aware that this cannot and does not in anyway constitute participant-observation and I never claimed it does.

 

 

Hmmm, how interesting.  Why would you think that being encouraged to "...go out, ask, questions and investigate."  would be unique to your institution?  This is very much what I encourage my students to do and expect that it is fairly common among college faculty world wide.  I want very much for my students to explore the world, ask questions about the world, and learn how to investigate those questions in order to arrive at some sort of an answer.

None of that involves asking people anything on a message board.  It involves reading and thinking about what is already out there.  This message board has thousands of words already written by residents who have strong opinions (and counter-opinions) about Linden Lab (or whatever it is called these days).  Go and read, investigate what people are already saying--you don't need to ask anyone to go read archieves.   As you read you can ask yourself questions about, and formulate tentative answers to, any number of topics that may come into your head as you read.  Some of those questions will be answered as you continue reading, some will not. 

Once you are done with this message board there is another, as well as a dozen or so blogs and the consumer information stuff that is posted by Linden Lab itself.   There are certainly papers on the economics of SL which may inform your general topic area.

From your comments it sounds as if perhaps you are being encouraged to begin defining a research area.  If so, my instructions are spot on.  You do that by learning what has been done and what needs to be done, or by noticing something interesting that no one in your field has gotten around to looking at yet. 

You don't need to spend even one second in SL to find this material.  And your expenses are minimal.

Nemia Nuyasaka wrote:

Maybe I should research message board communities instead? Now that would be interesting...

Anyway, thank you all for your contributions. I really do appreciate it but I'll leave this for now. I can see where this is going.

Thanks. 

 

It is indeed an interesting topic.  I have only read enough to know that there is a body of work out there on the topic.  But you can go find the work that has been done, read it, digest it, and impress your professor with how much you have learned. 

 
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Talk about "truisms".  There are rules no matter where you inhabit (real or virtual).  Someone (or some group of someones) create those rules.  Those rule dictate what can and cannot be done in the world you inhabit.  And, in turn, determines what culture is created in that habited world.  Second Life or real world.......it's the same.  It's the nature of human beings to create a society with rules.......rules that both limit and free the society created.  So, what's your point?

I didn't jump on the idea that you would like to observe the rats milling around a maze to see how the rats learn to survive.......but now I'm not so sure that that just might not be the case.  Your excuse for not gaining any first experience was (or is) that SL is frustrating.  Reading a "Dick and Jane" book is frustrating to a Kindergärtner or 1st grader......but mastering reading the written word is imperative if you are to survive in the real world.  The only difference in the real world and a virtual world like Second Life, is that Second Life is optional......you can do as you did and just not participate.  Some of us chose to participate so we fought through the frustation and joined the virtual society of SL.....and allowed the Linden Lab created rules to effect how we all became the society that makes up SL.  If you had fought through that frustating first few days you, too, might have joined the society.  You didn't so now you want us to fill in the blanks for your research.  That brings me back to my first post.  I won't do that....it's you job (or duty) to learn the culture of SL.  Not us monkeys in cage (or rats in a maze).  This research is important to you.....not at all important to me (or anyone else here who has responded so far).  The reason is for your benefit......so do the work yourself.

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Professor. I'm really not sure you could be more patronising if you tried! You are presuming an awful lot of things here about myself, my academic background and my knowledge of my discipline. In fact you are a prime example of people who enjoy sitting on message boards and spend their time effectively bullying people and attempting to make people feel small. Absolute classic case! All this from a 'professor' too, I certainly cannot imagine any of my professors doing that, in fact, I can't quite believe I have been sucked into this myself.

You must be insane if you think that this post was my only research, I have read books, articles, blogs, forum posts etc on the subject already and my essay is almost complete. I was merely coming here, politely hoping to engage in some kind of debate that in all honestly probably would not have made any appearance in my essay. I was interested (so shoot me!). I asked first. I  explained myself. But as usual whenever some kind of 'outsider' enters these types of community people just can't help themselves but do just as you have done and use it as some muscle-flexing exercise.

 

Oh and with your 'asking questions' problem. I'm sure you are aware that ALL forms of academia and research in general are based on asking questions, it would be quite frankly ridiculous for me to suggest that merely 'asking questions' was unique to my institution. I was merely referring to the fact the we are allowed to include informal research such as this in our papers. Something that at previous institutions would not have been valid (books, journals, publish works only being legitimate sources for 'information').

 

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Penny... yes I said SL was frustrating. Like the 90% that try it and never come back for that exact reason. I was only trying to give some personal information about myself, I was trying to be nice, I was trying to be friendly. I was giving you my expereice, I tried to be polite rather than just coming here and asking questions. 

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Nemia Nuyasaka wrote:

Governance..

I.E. the fact that you are all inhabiting a world created by Linden Lab. They create the rules for the space you live in. Those rules have effect on what you can and can't do in that space, and in turn has an effect on culture produced.

 

 

 

(insert buzzer noise here)

 

"Wrong, sir! Wrong!"

Linden Lab created the world, kind of like  (insert deity of choice here) did. They gave us the proverbial 10 commandments and then left us to our own ends. decide what happens on my land. Just like a government does, MY land MY rules. If i decide i don't want child avs, or furries, or goreans, or mermaids there.. guess what, i can boot them all.

They do not create the rules that govern each individual sim. they make broad rules.

 

"so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!"

 

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I know that it's common to jump on people who want to do research in the forum but that's because they are seen as not wanting to get inworld and find things out for themselves. I also know that some people participate in them here. But I'm amazed that anyone jumped on the OP in this one because the first thing he did was politely ask if it would be ok to post his questions here. Then he got jumped on for no good reason. That was very bad.

I'm especially amazed at the person who calls himself a professor. He may be one but he doesn't behave like one. He should be ashamed of himself as he gives the teaching profession a bad name.

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I'm replying to your second post rather than the OP since I feel the second post points to the issue. Before I get to the issue let me say you deserve credit for at least asking in your OP whether a survey would be welcome and under what conditions. Few of our 'anthropologists' bother asking.

The issue. You say you spent an hour before giving up in frustration. An HOUR? Sixty minutes? Sorry. Not impressed. I spent an hour just moving around on Help Island with my first trial freebie avatar. It takes time to get even a bit of a handle on this place. It is not a game. It's a virtual world. There are people in it who have been here for a few hours walking along next to people who've been here for a few years. You can't shortcut. Forget this survey. You need to do what every even halfway decent anthropologist who really wanted to learn a living culture did: immerse yourself in it. Become a citizen of Second Life. In six months, while you'll still be a rookie unless you have way more inworld time than I do, you will at least have learned enough to start asking intelligent questions.

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