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Nickylion

Participation in our research

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Good day Everyone!

We’re cultural anthropology students at Utrecht University and we are doing research on the wonderful world of Second Life. We’re researching the way gender affects the manner in which people treat you in your fascinating community. We’re looking for people willing to be interviewed via skype. We’ll keep our participants anonymous, and our finished project will be available to read if you’re interested. If you’d like to help us, please react to this message! Thanks!

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Hi! We're pretentious middle class teens from the University of Somesuch, and we've decided to ask you a load of dumb questions a 5 year old already knows the answer to, and to do this, rather than go where you are, we'd like you to go to all the inconvienience of installing what we use and contacting us!

Let's not and say we did... You want to know how 'avatar gender' impacts people in SL, log in to SL and find out, it's not rocket science...
 

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Hi Klytyna,

What your suggesting, logging in to SL and do research there, is also part of our research. But we are trying to get our information from different sources, one of them being an interview with an experienced SL user. If you're not interested in helping us, that's fine. But if you do know other sources that could help our research, we would love to hear from you.

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To be fair Nickylion, you are not the first to request for users' to be studied. Think about it this way, when you are a student trying to do "research" on an online community, people tend to feel like test subjects being looked at through a glass. Like monkeys in a zoo.

If you want willing participants, maybe offer some sort of payment in exchange for an interview. "Residents" as they are called respond well to compensation. 

Good luck and enjoy your stay on SL!

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The only real source for what goes on in SL is...   

 

...IN SL.

You want to know how avatar gender affects people in SecondLife, it affects people basically tyhe same way it does in FirstLife, 'guys' hit on 'chcks', some 'chicks' knee the 'guys' in the danglies for failing to admit there are gender preferences other than hetro, etc. all the usual stuff you already read in your anthropology text books last term.

 

Differences? In SL we have profile pages you can see with a click, most SL 'guys' still don't or can't read these, we also have group tags, a lot of SL 'guys' ignore those.

 

About 2 or 3 times a week I run into a 'guy' called D******* X**, this 'Mr. Smarmy', has a tendancy to stand around in his appalling 2006 avatar, and IM 'chicks'...

 

Him: "Well hello again my dear..."

Me:: "Nope, still a lesbian, what part of no do you not understand..."

Him: "Just saying hello and being friendly..."

Me: "There's this thing you might have heard of, it's called 'Local chat'"

Him: "You do look lovely, I'd love to see you in my bed"

Me: "Nope, still a lesbian, what part of no do you not understand..."

 

 

See how it works, not that different to a bar in FirstLife is it, you want to know how SL is, go have a SecondLife, and you'll find it's JUST like FirstLife, except your Student Discount Card doesn't get you 10% off drinks...
 

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Hi Annika, thank you for your suggestion! The only problem with offering payment for information is that our results won't be reliable anymore. If you have any other suggestions please tell us!

 

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I understand that the best place to find answers to questions about SL is on SL itself. And we will try to understand what goes on in SL by participating in the community. But parts of our research just can't be found in SL. For example, we're trying to find out if women feel more empowered by having more anonymity in SL than in Firstlife. We won't be able to research this without actually talking to residents. So I hope you understand the need for us to interview residents a little bit more now. I do wanna thank you for your reaction Klytyna because this does give us some insight in the life of a female SL resident!

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I'm not sure how you figure that your results won't be reliable by offering payment but unfortunately, you won't be able to find many willing participants otherwise. Most experienced and seasoned residents are tired of the same students or researchers asking the same questions. What would we get out of the interview besides our psyche being dissected by yet another interviewer who has little to no grasp of an online community?

I have seen few to none who have successfully received assistance without compensating for time and information from residents. This is the only sure fire way to have people inform you (nicely) about SL.

P.S: L$1000 is approximately US$5.00 may be worth it to spend a bit to get some info.

 

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Sadly we are really not aloud to offer compensation for an interview, how little the compensation may be. It might be interesting for a resident because she could share her experiences. I know that already happens on forums like these, but maybe not so much in scientific communities. 

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1 minute ago, Nickylion said:

Sadly we are really not aloud to offer compensation for an interview, how little the compensation may be. It might be interesting for a resident because she could share her experiences. I know that already happens on forums like these, but maybe not so much in scientific communities. 

You can't actually claim to have standards, or be a part of any "scientific community". If this was true you wouldn't be wasting your time on this.

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Well best of luck to you, as you can see from the other replies you have received, we do not like being put under a microscope without getting anything in return. We do not like to talk to people who ask the same things as others have without making it worth our while.

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Hi Dante, part of our research is actually focussed on the benefits of SL for women, because there's almost no literature we can find on that topic. But if you have other suggestions on interesting research topics related to second life, we would love to hear them!

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No IRB info, I suppose, as your uni is in the Netherlands?  IRB is crucial to me, before participating in anyone's 'research'.  And, I DO contact them for confirmation.  This kind of thing, feels like one of those spam emails asking for my info that I just delete without opening.   If you DO indeed have IRB info to provide, please do so.  

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Hi Treasure Ballinger, no sadly there is no IRB info since that is mainly used in the United States. Just to be clear this is absolutely not spam! If you google Utrecht University you will see that it is a very upstanding University. If there is any other thing we can do to assure you that research is completly real, please let us know! We're looking forward to hearing from you! 

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10 hours ago, Avery Crazyboi said:

There is no literature on that topic because there are no benefits for women different from benefits for men

Ask Scylla if you dont believe me

Oh, I sooooo knew it.

Long time no see, old man.

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Hi Nickylion,

First of all, welcome to the forums! The response that you are getting is, I'm afraid, a fairly standard one for researchers and students who come here to do their research. I might note that you'll get something of the same response from a great many people inworld, too, when they discover that you are doing research. I'm sure that you can understand why people might feel this way, but the very fact that they do will tell you something, I think, about the difference(s) between most users of Second Life, and those involved in MMORPGs. For a great many people here, this is not a "game": it truly is an alternate world, and a place to experiment with and play with identity. Many people "live" here, in a very real, if virtual sense, and identity -- including gender, biological sex, sexual identity, and even species -- is a very meaningful thing.

A couple of quick points that might help: Treasure's point about IRBs is well-taken, but if you don't have those in Utrecht, a possible alternative is to be as forthcoming as you possibly can about your research, your program, and even about your selves. In general, as you probably know, RL identity is often jealously guarded here (which is, btw, one reason why you might find that many potential interviewees will steer clear of you if you insist upon using Skype), but I've seen researchers here who have been quite open about their real life academic identities, as a method of building trust and establishing bona fides. The more verifiable or detailed information you can provide, the more likely people are to have faith in you. And a really well-explained and interesting research design does get a good response here often.

I'm a little puzzled that you can't offer compensation for interviewees: that's actually a pretty standard thing for qualitative and quantitative data collection here in North America. It will improve your odds of attracting participants, although spreading your net wider does, as you intimate, probably increase the chances of your data being contaminated.

The suggestion that this is not exactly a new topic of research is, I'm afraid, true. There actually has been a fair amount, both scholarly and more generalist, published on this subject, as even a quick literature or even Google search should reveal. You might also check out the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. If you have a slightly different angle on this issue that makes it fresh, then you should tell us, as it will likely increase the number of people interested in participating.

In response to what "Avery" says above, I think I might somewhat agree that there are not more benefits for women here, but I'd say that there are perhaps some different ones. It is physically "safer" here, obviously, for women, but not necessarily emotionally so, and there is no shortage of harassment, abusive language, misogyny, and so forth. A great difference, of course, is that these are easier to ignore or escape from. One real benefit for some women, particularly those who have felt disempowered by emotional or physical abuse in real life, is that here they have much greater control over such situations in a virtual environment, a fact that means that -- again, for some -- the experience of virtual abuse and misogyny can actually in an odd way be a bit "empowering" and therapeutic.

Overall, though, I'd agree that women are not special beneficiaries here. And you might consider, in this context, the rather naive nature of your question: when you say "women," do you mean "real life" biological females? What about those who represent as women here, but may be biologically (and culturally) males? Their experience of Second Life as women is, I would imagine, different from that of RL "women," but only insofar as they come equipped with different experiences from RL. And then there are trans women (in both RL and SL contexts), of which there is actually a sizable and very active community here: again, the "things" that happen to them here may be the same as those experienced by anyone who represents as female here, but these will take on a very different meaning, I think.

And because gender identity can be assumed, and cast off, with the click of a mouse button, it is much more obviously a "performance" here (think Judith Butler!) than even in RL. How one experiences SL as a woman also depends a great deal on how one chooses to "perform" that role. For instance, there are many who represent as women here who very consciously assume the identity of hyperfeminized or hypersexualized women, because they can with far fewer consequences. So there is an element of the "feminine" in SL that is sometimes a bit cartoon-like. (The same is true, but maybe to a lesser extent, of representing masculinity here.)

What I guess I'm getting at is that you need to elaborate or complicate (or "unpack," as academics are wont to say in English) your notion of "gender," because, as complicated as this idea of socially determined identity is in RL, it is even more so here.

Ok. Guess I've said enough? :)^_^

Good luck with your research!

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16 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Hi Nickylion,

First of all, welcome to the forums! The response that you are getting is, I'm afraid, a fairly standard one for researchers and students who come here to do their research. I might note that you'll get something of the same response from a great many people inworld, too, when they discover that you are doing research. I'm sure that you can understand why people might feel this way, but the very fact that they do will tell you something, I think, about the difference(s) between most users of Second Life, and those involved in MMORPGs. For a great many people here, this is not a "game": it truly is an alternate world, and a place to experiment with and play with identity. Many people "live" here, in a very real, if virtual sense, and identity -- including gender, biological sex, sexual identity, and even species -- is a very meaningful thing.

A couple of quick points that might help: Treasure's point about IRBs is well-taken, but if you don't have those in Utrecht, a possible alternative is to be as forthcoming as you possibly can about your research, your program, and even about your selves. In general, as you probably know, RL identity is often jealously guarded here (which is, btw, one reason why you might find that many potential interviewees will steer clear of you if you insist upon using Skype), but I've seen researchers here who have been quite open about their real life academic identities, as a method of building trust and establishing bona fides. The more verifiable or detailed information you can provide, the more likely people are to have faith in you. And a really well-explained and interesting research design does get a good response here often.

I'm a little puzzled that you can't offer compensation for interviewees: that's actually a pretty standard thing for qualitative and quantitative data collection here in North America. It will improve your odds of attracting participants, although spreading your net wider does, as you intimate, probably increase the chances of your data being contaminated.

The suggestion that this is not exactly a new topic of research is, I'm afraid, true. There actually has been a fair amount, both scholarly and more generalist, published on this subject, as even a quick literature or even Google search should reveal. You might also check out the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. If you have a slightly different angle on this issue that makes it fresh, then you should tell us, as it will likely increase the number of people interested in participating.

In response to what "Avery" says above, I think I might somewhat agree that there are not more benefits for women here, but I'd say that there are perhaps some different ones. It is physically "safer" here, obviously, for women, but not necessarily emotionally so, and there is no shortage of harassment, abusive language, misogyny, and so forth. A great difference, of course, is that these are easier to ignore or escape from. One real benefit for some women, particularly those who have felt disempowered by emotional or physical abuse in real life, is that here they have much greater control over such situations in a virtual environment, a fact that means that -- again, for some -- the experience of virtual abuse and misogyny can actually in an odd way be a bit "empowering" and therapeutic.

Overall, though, I'd agree that women are not special beneficiaries here. And you might consider, in this context, the rather naive nature of your question: when you say "women," do you mean "real life" biological females? What about those who represent as women here, but may be biologically (and culturally) males? Their experience of Second Life as women is, I would imagine, different from that of RL "women," but only insofar as they come equipped with different experiences from RL. And then there are trans women (in both RL and SL contexts), of which there is actually a sizable and very active community here: again, the "things" that happen to them here may be the same as those experienced by anyone who represents as female here, but these will take on a very different meaning, I think.

And because gender identity can be assumed, and cast off, with the click of a mouse button, it is much more obviously a "performance" here (think Judith Butler!) than even in RL. How one experiences SL as a woman also depends a great deal on how one chooses to "perform" that role. For instance, there are many who represent as women here who very consciously assume the identity of hyperfeminized or hypersexualized women, because they can with far fewer consequences. So there is an element of the "feminine" in SL that is sometimes a bit cartoon-like. (The same is true, but maybe to a lesser extent, of representing masculinity here.)

What I guess I'm getting at is that you need to elaborate or complicate (or "unpack," as academics are wont to say in English) your notion of "gender," because, as complicated as this idea of socially determined identity is in RL, it is even more so here.

Ok. Guess I've said enough? :)^_^

Good luck with your research!

Honestly, anything you needed is right there spelt out for you, Nickylion. You should be the researcher here Scylla. 

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Awww. Ta, both! :)

(Not my first time. I may look like a fresh-faced and fetching young noob, ca. 2009, but underneath this flexy hair and prim clothing is an aging, creaky old hag . . . :()

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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Hi Nickylion,

First of all, welcome to the forums! The response that you are getting is, I'm afraid, a fairly standard one for researchers and students who come here to do their research. I might note that you'll get something of the same response from a great many people inworld, too, when they discover that you are doing research. I'm sure that you can understand why people might feel this way, but the very fact that they do will tell you something, I think, about the difference(s) between most users of Second Life, and those involved in MMORPGs. For a great many people here, this is not a "game": it truly is an alternate world, and a place to experiment with and play with identity. Many people "live" here, in a very real, if virtual sense, and identity -- including gender, biological sex, sexual identity, and even species -- is a very meaningful thing.

A couple of quick points that might help: Treasure's point about IRBs is well-taken, but if you don't have those in Utrecht, a possible alternative is to be as forthcoming as you possibly can about your research, your program, and even about your selves. In general, as you probably know, RL identity is often jealously guarded here (which is, btw, one reason why you might find that many potential interviewees will steer clear of you if you insist upon using Skype), but I've seen researchers here who have been quite open about their real life academic identities, as a method of building trust and establishing bona fides. The more verifiable or detailed information you can provide, the more likely people are to have faith in you. And a really well-explained and interesting research design does get a good response here often.

I'm a little puzzled that you can't offer compensation for interviewees: that's actually a pretty standard thing for qualitative and quantitative data collection here in North America. It will improve your odds of attracting participants, although spreading your net wider does, as you intimate, probably increase the chances of your data being contaminated.

The suggestion that this is not exactly a new topic of research is, I'm afraid, true. There actually has been a fair amount, both scholarly and more generalist, published on this subject, as even a quick literature or even Google search should reveal. You might also check out the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. If you have a slightly different angle on this issue that makes it fresh, then you should tell us, as it will likely increase the number of people interested in participating.

In response to what "Avery" says above, I think I might somewhat agree that there are not more benefits for women here, but I'd say that there are perhaps some different ones. It is physically "safer" here, obviously, for women, but not necessarily emotionally so, and there is no shortage of harassment, abusive language, misogyny, and so forth. A great difference, of course, is that these are easier to ignore or escape from. One real benefit for some women, particularly those who have felt disempowered by emotional or physical abuse in real life, is that here they have much greater control over such situations in a virtual environment, a fact that means that -- again, for some -- the experience of virtual abuse and misogyny can actually in an odd way be a bit "empowering" and therapeutic.

Overall, though, I'd agree that women are not special beneficiaries here. And you might consider, in this context, the rather naive nature of your question: when you say "women," do you mean "real life" biological females? What about those who represent as women here, but may be biologically (and culturally) males? Their experience of Second Life as women is, I would imagine, different from that of RL "women," but only insofar as they come equipped with different experiences from RL. And then there are trans women (in both RL and SL contexts), of which there is actually a sizable and very active community here: again, the "things" that happen to them here may be the same as those experienced by anyone who represents as female here, but these will take on a very different meaning, I think.

And because gender identity can be assumed, and cast off, with the click of a mouse button, it is much more obviously a "performance" here (think Judith Butler!) than even in RL. How one experiences SL as a woman also depends a great deal on how one chooses to "perform" that role. For instance, there are many who represent as women here who very consciously assume the identity of hyperfeminized or hypersexualized women, because they can with far fewer consequences. So there is an element of the "feminine" in SL that is sometimes a bit cartoon-like. (The same is true, but maybe to a lesser extent, of representing masculinity here.)

What I guess I'm getting at is that you need to elaborate or complicate (or "unpack," as academics are wont to say in English) your notion of "gender," because, as complicated as this idea of socially determined identity is in RL, it is even more so here.

Ok. Guess I've said enough? :)^_^

Good luck with your research!

And this is why I love you!  

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18 minutes ago, Treasure Ballinger said:

And this is why I love you!  

I'd been wondering why . . . ;)

One day, though, I'll find someone who loves me for something other than my huge . . . walls o'text.

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