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Curious about posting survey

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Hi everyone,

I'm a long time casual SL player (though just made this account as an alt) and am also a University student. I'm writing a paper on sex in SL and was wondering if you thought it was OK if I posted a survey here in this forum? I didn't want to do it without asking as I wasn't sure if people would be upset or consider it spam. It would be completely annonymous, of course! :)

It's just an informal survey that would ask a few questions about sex and gender in SL specifically in Adult Content areas for those that participate in cybersex, erotic role play, or any other form of sexual activities on SL. I'm especially interested in male players who use female avatars.

Thanks for your time in letting me know what you think! :)



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Ok -  just saw how many people have posted surveys before... often really really horrible ones.

I suppose mine may be equally as horrible, but I don't plan on that happening. I haven't even written it yet.

I guess my question is no longer about whether I CAN post a survey but more about HOW can I post a survey without it annoying the hell out of everyone?

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How not to annoy people on the internet : I think that is a universal question :P

At least you don't type like a robot :) I would just post it and hope for results, and request people to do it out of the kindness of their hearts. Though that is a private-ish topic! I think there has been surveys about this before, so you could always check those out and see if you can pull any information...Then only ask qestions to fill in the blanks so you reduce the invasiveness?

Just my two cents :P

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You will get a lot more cooperation if you make your post professional.  Give the name of your school, the name of your supervising professor, a full and formal privacy and disclosure statement etc.   You should know the drill and if you don't , look at past threads and ask your professor.

Secondly be sure in your post of the survey you make it clear you have been a resident of SL for a while.  So many come here wanting to do research without spending any time in SL that  people resent it.

Next, make sure your questions are actually relevant to a virtual world instead of a 'game' and that they reflect your personal knowledge of this particular virtual world.

While we all realize that respondents will be research subjects please don't make them feel like guinea pigs or lab rats.  Especially on a subject as private as you are researching.  Don't expect people to post answers to your questions in this forum.  Provide a way that they can take the survey privately either by setting it up using a survey site or by setting it up so it can be cut and pasted with their answers into a private message to you here on the forum or a notecard in world.

Lastly, realize that the percentage of people that read and post is this forum is insignificant compared to those in SL itself and those choosing to take the time to respond here are self selecting. Relying only on the forums won't yield statistically valid results.. You  must perform as much research as you can in world. To that end, I  suggest you set up a notecard that you can pass inworld with all the relevant information on it and distribute it not only yourself, but ask people you know as well as participants to pass it to friends that may be interested in participating.

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My suggestions:


  • Explain who you are collecting the data for, and why.
  • Spell Check
  • Refrain from using the word Game, when referring to Second Life.
  • Keep it PG
  • Maintain a sense of professionalism, do not debate Resident criticisms of the survey, in the survey thread.
  • If you are specifically interested in any one area of focus, create a Survey, specifically focused on that topic.
  • Spell check again
  • Attempt to answer your own Survey (privately)
  • Did I mention spell checking?








Second Life is privately Owned, and I prefer for SL to remain that way. Our Community is self regulating, and we do not require, or desire, to be governed by any outside agency.  Any attempt to disrupt this Community, will be viewed as an Hostile Act.

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Frawmusl: Ha! Yes – that is probably a universal question! You are right that the topic is somewhat sensitive… that’s why I wanted to be careful about how I post it so people knew I wasn’t just some creeper trying to find out about their sexual or gender preferences in SL. There have been surveys before done on SL in regard to gender and sex but none specifically on people who gender-bend their avi for sexual purposes – at least that I have been able to locate. Thanks for providing your two cents!

Amethyst: You’re very right about the professional part. I do know the drill. If this was part of a formal research project it would require what you highlight above. Since it is not, it does not require it. It is merely an informal survey for an informal paper I’m writing. Even if I wanted to use the data from the survey for a more formal research project I would not be able to as I did not follow the formal steps to getting ethics approval, etc.

I will make that clear (re: residency). Also, you are right that it seems many mistake SL for a “game”… I even have a hard time when talking to others about SL as some list SL as an MMORPG while others just use terms like “virtual world”. Because of my residency in SL I would know better than to ask people generic “game” questions! That would certainly be a dead give away that someone has never stepped foot in-world.

The survey would be a distinct link with anonymous input and would not record any other identifying information such as IPs. I would never ask people to post responses in a forum and I can’t believe that has been done before. I feel like I should apologize on behalf of all University students!

Your suggestion of a note card is great. I was hesitant to do this as well as I don’t want to feel intrusive to anyone but I suppose just like any SL’er – if someone doesn’t want to respond to an IM – they can just ignore it!

Knowl: Awesome, thanks! Great suggestions.

Syo: I enjoy exploring the otherwise taboo! Maybe the professor logs on to SL every night to check out the adult content or indulge in some cybersex themselves! :-P Thanks for your feedback!

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  • 4 weeks later...

In general you should read the Forum / Community Guidelines first: 


.. in order to not be reported for  inappropriate content  ; )

That should give you an overview about what is actually allowed and what is not.

Hence the type of your survey you should also make sure you completely understand the whole maturity system :


(which applies especially due to this community rule: "Nudity or Adult Content: Keep the content of your postings “General” as provided in the Maturity Guidelines. Postings that do not comply with the “General” rating may be removed")

Another important part surely is the 'wording' of your survey. especially when it comes to such sensitive content.

Make sure it stays professional and clean and does not contain any  inappropriate words and expressions or things that could easily be misunderstood.

A solid solution: (and a direction you already thought about)

would be to set up the content of your survey either on your own website (if you have one) or use some free service like the Google survey: 

and keep all questions in there. And make the topic in the forum just the "entry / introduction" with the link to the survey.
This way you keep things clear and rule conform.

And i.e.. the Google survey would also make it way easier for you to work out the data in the end, to make an actual use of it for your studies. (instead of fiddling through forum comments and posts) because every filled survey is being send to you with the clear answers and it's easy to get the answering pattern and percentages out of it. And you would have it in a format that you can easily add to your study without further editing and removing of unnecessary comments.

Just some suggestions for you on how to go for it. Good luck, and greetings.





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