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Darrius Gothly

Where Is Your Line - SL vs RL

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There are lots of discussions here and in-world about keeping the two parts of ourselves separate from each other ... or not in some cases. But if the two parts are actually separated then there must be a dividing line that keeps them apart. As with all things human, that line is not so much a bright broad slash down the middle of the emotional landscape. It is more a meandering nebulous boundary that can and does get crossed unintentionally from time to time. We often don't even realize we've crossed another's boundary, but we almost without exception are highly aware when someone crosses ours.

But if our SL/RL boundaries are so hard for others to see, it might be attributed to the fact that every one of us has different markers for those boundaries. Some markers are near universal and are even spelled out in the SL ToS. Such things as your real name, address and phone number are almost without exception considered to fully RL only details. But there are other things that can involve your real life that might not be "RL" in your definition. Take for example, email addresses. I have seen it said on the forums that email addresses are part of one's RL persona. But I've also seen it said they are not. For me personally, I have an email address (or 2, or 3 or .. LOL) that are strictly for my RL and are never divulged to anyone online. But then I also have a number of email addresses that are strictly for SL and my online virtual personality that are never (or very rarely) shared with my RL peeps.

Lastly we come to the really thick and sticky part of the briar bush. Emotional separation between SL and RL.People talk about SLex being "just bumping pixels", but if that's the case, why do so many people do it? When it's nothing more than just an animated cartoon on the screen, can it really be interesting enough to engage in? So there has to be some sort of emotional or psychological draw to it as well. However given that there is a real psychological and even physiological reaction, is that also crossing the SL/RL boundary?

Before you answer "Yes absolutely!" think also about the feelings and emotions you get when you stand watching the SL sunset. Or walking along the beach on some far off Sim, listening to the waves lap at the shore as a sound loop of seagulls plays in your headphones. Those are experiences that SL brings to us that also fully engage our human physiology and emotions, yet few would run away from them screaming that it crossed our SL/RL boundary.

For the bonus round, I will ask: How do you respond when someone does cross your boundary? The first time? Repeated times? And what steps do you take to make those boundaries crystal clear before you declare that someone has crossed them?

Edited by Darrius Gothly
..too many logicals..
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People brings themselves to SL, especially their dreams and insecurities, even if they call it 'role play' to mask it. I think there's always something of oneself underlying it all.

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37 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

People brings themselves to SL, especially their dreams and insecurities, even if they call it 'role play' to mask it. I think there's always something of oneself underlying it all.

I would slightly disagree. 

I encounter people expressing parts of who they are that - for whatever reasons - they cannot in RL.

IMO that is self-expression, not putting on a role like an actor playing a part.

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I view it like this: "The personality is the same, but - depending on how well I know you (or want to know you) - the personal details may not be".

Skell has his own dedicated email address, which I use for anything SL-related. I am fiercely protective of my RL privacy, and while I'll happily chat about my opinions and suchlike, don't expect any specific RL info out of me, other than the absolute basics or what I'm content to let people know. I'm often very vague about certain things - such as exact RL location - because I know how many... shall we say 'obsessive personalities' there are to be found in SL. (I've met a few, believe me.) Only my SL partner knows Skell's pilot intimately well, and that's because we knew each other long before we came into SL together and have been the best of friends for years.

I think much of this is an age-related thing. Those who grew up with the internet already in existence tend to be far more comfortable with sharing RL info and mingling real and Second lives. Those who were already adults when the internet came into popular use tend to be far more wary about sharing real life info. Viz: "I don't mix SL and RL" has probably become something of a hassle-free way of saying "Please don't ask me personal questions about my real life" for the latter group, as opposed to actually meaning "I am capable of splitting my personality so that no part of me or my emotions enter SL".

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My Partner knows all about me as well Skell - I have more focused time spent chatting with her in SL over the last 11 years than probably any other one person in my LIFE (RL or SL).

When I had my little health crisis, she was my security blanket and the *only* person I told about how scared I really was (can't let the children pick up on that after all)...

But for everyone else, I offer up general details and not many specifics. My reasons relate to a specific incident where someone accidentally DID twig to my RL information (someone I knew in both RL and SL let it slip) and the flowers started showing up at my former workplace.....

Couple that with some bothersome stuff I have left over from my time in uniform - and yes, I like to keep some slight distance from anyone who isn't my Partner.....if after 11+ years she was going to show up on my doorstep with a machete and an attitude , it would have happened long ago :-)

 

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5 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

But if the two parts are actually separated then there must be a dividing line that keeps them apart.

Yep, its Log In/Log Off.

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

As with all things human, that line is not so much a bright broad slash down the middle of the emotional

You don't need to import your emotions into SL.

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

Lastly we come to the really thick and sticky part of the briar bush. Emotional separation between SL and RL.People talk about SLex being "just bumping pixels", but if that's the case, why do so many people do it? When it's nothing more than just an animated cartoon on the screen, can it really be interesting enough to engage in? So there has to be some sort of emotional or psychological draw to it as well. However given that there is a real psychological and even physiological reaction, is that also crossing the SL/RL boundary?

I like chocolate, baths and watching a good movie. It doesn't mean I mix them and take a bath of chocolate while watching a movie.

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

Before you answer "Yes absolutely!" think also about the feelings and emotions you get when you stand watching the SL sunset. Or walking along the beach on some far off Sim, listening to the waves lap at the shore as a sound loop of seagulls plays in your headphones. Those are experiences that SL brings to us that also fully engage our human physiology and emotions, yet few would run away from them screaming that it crossed our SL/RL boundary.

Yep but as soon as you walk away from this experience, it should be over, done. If this experience keeps echoeing and echoeing and echoeing and echoeing emotionally in you, I say there's a problem.

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

How do you respond when someone does cross your boundary?

"Stop this."

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

Repeated times?

"Second warning : I'm asking you for the second time to stop. If you refuse, I'll have to act accordingly."

 

6 hours ago, Darrius Gothly said:

And what steps do you take to make those boundaries crystal clear before you declare that someone has crossed them?

I don't send misleading signals.

 

For me, those who have such difficulties to understand that "what happens in SL, stays in SL" are those unable to understand the difference between homogeneous permeability and heterogeneous permeability.

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I am pretty open about talking about RL while in SL, I talk about my job, where I live, my family, I won't share details that might allow someone to find me. Like I have never told anyone where i went to high school, out of fear someone would get a cop of my yearbook and get my real last name. I probably should be more cautious in this regard, and I would much prefer to talk about SL when in SL. If someone hasn't developed there SL life enough to have a conversation about it, then I am really going to be wishing I was with someone else. To me the biggest thing is that SL only to me means no communication outside of SL itself, no e-mail, no Skype, no phone calls. If I am not doing SL, then that aspect of me does not exist and cannot be reached. Another aspect of this is the subject matter for my virtual art, when i first started and was experimenting with the techniques, I did some of them using real life images, I soon came to think that this wasn't something i wanted to do, the subjects for SL paintings should be from SL itself. 

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9 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

I like chocolate, baths and watching a good movie. It doesn't mean I mix them and take a bath of chocolate while watching a movie.

But it sure would be an experiance to mix them once!

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I never role-play (while i´m not doing all my avatar does at the same time) it´s me, nothing more nothing less.

So, if i call someone a friend in SL they become a real friend.

Because i´m very private in RL too it takes some time but after that i answer every question close friends have - no matter if RL or  SL.

The obstacle is to be honest enough to become a real friend.

Monti

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15 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

You don't need to import your emotions into SL.

 

I argue that you can't honestly stop your emotions from following you into SL. Yes, you can work carefully to moderate them, but I don't believe you can turn them off. Unless of course you have psychopathic tendencies and your emotions are never genuine in the first place.

17 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

Yep but as soon as you walk away from this experience, it should be over, done. If this experience keeps echoeing and echoeing and echoeing and echoeing emotionally in you, I say there's a problem.

 

I disagree here. If nothing in SL touches you emotionally, then WTH are you doing here? Sure, if that emotional response becomes obsession (as we have all seen) then it has gone too far. But that's just as bad as going 100% the other direction to complete and utter detachment.

22 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

"Stop this."

"Second warning : I'm asking you for the second time to stop. If you refuse, I'll have to act accordingly."

 

Those look reasonable. You take the time to point out the behavior is unwelcome. If someone is doing something you don't like, tell them to stop. If it reaches a second time, if they ignore your first mention, then I absolutely agree you should pull the trigger.

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10 minutes ago, Monti Messmer said:

I never role-play (while i´m not doing all my avatar does at the same time) it´s me, nothing more nothing less.

It's not roleplay, it's philosophy : "The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence" , or wisdom : "The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement".

 

16 minutes ago, Monti Messmer said:

The obstacle is to be honest enough to become a real friend.

Define honest? Because for me, it means to be true and a virtual representation can not be true.

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3 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

Unless of course you have psychopathic tendencies and your emotions are never genuine in the first place.

I've already met people who're logging in SL for their works. Login, take pics, logoff and I assure you that you don't need to import your emotions into a tool.

Btw, the real psychopath is the one who see real friends in a fantasy world (SL).

 

5 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

I disagree here. If nothing in SL touches you emotionally, then WTH are you doing here? Sure, if that emotional response becomes obsession (as we have all seen) then it has gone too far. But that's just as bad as going 100% the other direction to complete and utter detachment.

It does. But when this or that experience/event/moment is over, it's over.

I said there's a difference homogeneous permeability (I mix fantasy and reality for real) and heterogeneous permeability (I know the difference between real and virtual) and I'm also speaking of permeability (I'm connecting in SL and connected to what I'm experiencing there).

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4 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

I've already met people who're logging in SL for their works. Login, take pics, logoff and I assure you that you don't need to import your emotions into a tool.

Btw, the real psychopath is the one who see real friends in a fantasy world (SL).

 

You've obviously never owned a tool that you fell in love with. Okay, I know that sounds wrong. I don't mean physical love of course, but a tool without which you would be hard-pressed to do your job properly. And I'm not arguing that you cannot enter SL without your emotions, I am arguing that the emotions you feel in SL are every bit as real as those you feel in RL, they are only distinguished by their source .. not their intensity or veracity.

8 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

It does. But when this or that experience/event/moment is over, it's over.

I said there's a difference homogeneous permeability (I mix fantasy and reality for real) and heterogeneous permeability (I know the difference between real and virtual) and I'm also speaking of permeability (I'm connecting in SL and connected to what I'm experiencing there).

If you are capable of turning your emotions off in a heartbeat, on demand, just cuz? You are in far better control of your emotions than 99% of humanity. If that level of mastery were commonplace, I posit there would never have been a war or a conflict on this planet.

I am having a hard time believing that the two forms of permeability are mutually exclusive. From what I've seen in life, almost everybody has varying levels of each. And the mix, the ratio of the two are unique to each relationship and experience.

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8 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

I've already met people who're logging in SL for their works. Login, take pics, logoff and I assure you that you don't need to import your emotions into a tool.

Btw, the real psychopath is the one who see real friends in a fantasy world (SL).

A psychopath doesn't see real friends anywhere. People are something to use to get what he/she wants.

I've made real friends here. I've met several of them IRL as well. That's mostly because the community I'm in has a nonprofit/educational focus. For that community SL is a virtual place rather than a fantasy; the people in the community are more open to connecting their RL selves to their avatars than people in other SL communities (such as roleplay). Our SL isn't your SL, and that's fine.

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9 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

You've obviously never owned a tool that you fell in love with. Okay, I know that sounds wrong. I don't mean physical love of course, but a tool without which you would be hard-pressed to do your job properly. And I'm not arguing that you cannot enter SL without your emotions, I am arguing that the emotions you feel in SL are every bit as real as those you feel in RL, they are only distinguished by their source .. not their intensity or veracity.

If you are capable of turning your emotions off in a heartbeat, on demand, just cuz? You are in far better control of your emotions than 99% of humanity. If that level of mastery were commonplace, I posit there would never have been a war or a conflict on this planet.

I am having a hard time believing that the two forms of permeability are mutually exclusive. From what I've seen in life, almost everybody has varying levels of each. And the mix, the ratio of the two are unique to each relationship and experience.

No, I'm not like that. I believe you're overreading and exaggerating.

Let me try with an analogy, would you?

Movies ! I can watch a movie and then there'll be a beautiful dramatic scene, it's so well played so touching that I'll cry. Real tears, here, on my cheeks. For real. Doesn't it mean that I mix movies and reality? Hell no, I'm perfectly aware it's just a movie but still the scene is so beautiful it's going to touch me.

I've met a lot of fun and interesting people on SL and usually I wish I could take an airplane and sit in front of them and share a cup of coffee with them because they really does sound interesting to meet in RL but I'm nonetheless aware that is SL and that is different from reality.

That doesn't mean I feel nothing, that doesn't mean I don't like my SL friends, that doesn't mean I'm treating them like non-existent things. That simply mean I know the difference between virtual and real.

Edited by Morgan Rosenstar
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For me, the line drawn is completely subjective and situational. There are some rl details I don't mind sharing, now detailed I go into them will vary depending on my current audience. There are other details that very, very few know about me. What I reveal, along with who I reveal it too, is extremely subjective. 

I don't personally draw a distinct "sl is sl, rl is rl" line the way some others do. I never have. Though I do respect that there are some who truly feel sl is sl, rl is rl, and the two should never mix, I can honestly say that I do not always fully understand them-often times because they do blur that line somewhere along the way(ie, share details one would presume, if a specific line in the sand is drawn, would not be revealed....does that make sense, it's been a couple days since I got any sleep, so it might not make sense anywhere other than in my head atm). I do my best to try and respect others boundaries, but, some folks make it super duper hard, because they blur the lines and expect you to still be able to read them. Of course, that's also really subjective and situational too..so, about as clear as mud. 

For me, while there are loads of things I can do in sl that I cannot in rl, my personality is the same in both. Some of my limitations don't exist on the same scale in sl. In sl I can see the trees that seem to be in a distance..in rl, I cannot. In sl I can walk into things and not get hurt, in rl I cannot(and I frequently walk into things, or at least bump into them, lol). In rl I'm legally blind, have no depth perception whatsoever, and little to no peripheral vision, sometimes even general vision, depending on the day. In sl, unless I tell someone this, they'd have no idea, as my av seems to function just peachy, lol. I make it known for a few reasons, one of which is so people can better understand why I do things a certain way, or why it might take me longer to do something than it would someone with much better vision than I. In sl, I don't need the things I'm missing out on in rl, just to function, basically. Of course there is far more to it than just the limitations I don't have in sl, as that's really only one way in which sl offers "more"(again, if that makes any sense to anyone but me, lol) . I am not just playing a role in sl, my own self comes out in most of what I do and say. Others may not feel the same, I try hard to respect that-and am quite successful in doing so, save for a few very specific topics(I'm a work in progress on a couple, and one I never intend to change on). In fact I have a some sl friends I have known for the better part of a decade and then some, whose sl "persona", so to speak, is so far off the mark of who/how they really are, in rl, people would never guess it in a million years. Those folks (try to) separate their rl from their sl, in nearly all ways, some are more successful than others, lol. I only know who (perhaps what?) they are due to meeting them outside of the virtual world that is sl, and being friends for so long. 

I try to take folks at face value, as best I can, some folks make that easier than others. I think this is where a lot of issues start, especially where relationships are concerned. Trying to mix a person that doesn't draw as distinct a line between rl and sl, with someone that does, often gets super messy..sometimes far worse than just messy. Actually we see it all the time on these forums. I'm sure most people have run into others inworld that have experienced it(if they haven't themselves, that is). Then you have people that SAY they draw a line..but, at some point along the road, that line either gets moved, or blurred so much you can't tell where it is anymore. Of course the person that dares *cross* that line, is the one to be seen in the wrong, despite the fact that the person who HAS the line is the one that blurred/moved it, in the first place(not always intentionally, it happens more often than people realize, or intend). But, again, that's just another example of how it can get messy. 

I don't blame folks for wanting a distinct line, but I do have an expectation that they make said line clear to others, if for no other reason, to save themselves, and others, the trouble of dealing with "messy" down the road

An interesting topic, to say the least..but, like many lines people draw between rl and sl...it's a pretty blurred subject too ;) 

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9 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

I've made real friends here. I've met several of them IRL as well.

I can not call someone a real friend if I've not met him IRL. Simple as that for me.

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9 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

Let me try with an analogy, would you?

Movies ! I can watch a movie and then there'll be a beautiful dramatic scene, it's so well played so touching that I'll cry. Real tears, here, on my cheeks. For real. Doesn't it mean that I mix movies and reality? Hell no, I'm perfectly aware it's just a movie but still the scene is so beautiful it's going to touch me.

The movie analogy is on the right track, but it falls flat imo in one aspect; the movie experience is exactly the same .. same words, same characters, same emotions .. for everyone that views it. Knowing that allows most people to more easily insulate themselves from any lasting emotional connection. SL is nowhere near the same level of experience as a movie. In SL you are part of it, you are a director of it, you are a writer of it .. and I believe that truth welds it to our emotional response even more securely.

13 minutes ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

That doesn't mean I feel nothing, that doesn't mean I don't like my SL friends, that doesn't mean I'm treating them like non-existent things. That simply mean I know the difference between virtual and real.

Of course it doesn't. If I left you with the feeling that I felt your way of marshalling your emotions was somehow wrong, I apologise. I too know the difference, but for me personally there is a strong bleed-over between the two .. and I prefer it that way for me. A lot of the pleasure I find in SL is anchored in the emotional pleasure of doing good things for others, making neat stuff that others like and helps them out .. and in just experiencing the amazing energy and creativity poured into the SL platform by untold legions of others. It touches me inside in a way that I enjoy carrying outside into my RL.

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3 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

The movie analogy is on the right track, but it falls flat imo in one aspect; the movie experience is exactly the same .. same words, same characters, same emotions .. for everyone that views it. Knowing that allows most people to more easily insulate themselves from any lasting emotional connection. SL is nowhere near the same level of experience as a movie. In SL you are part of it, you are a director of it, you are a writer of it .. and I believe that truth welds it to our emotional response even more securely.

Right, it was not so to do an analogy between SL diversity of experiences and a scripted movie but more to explain that to be emotionally touched by this or that doesn't necessarily mean that the sources are mixed.

 

7 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

It touches me inside in a way that I enjoy carrying outside into my RL.

That's your choice and I don't see anything wrong in it. I've SL friends like this too. Actually the only SL friend I do talk truely and openly about myself is like this. He's the same in SL than in RL. Surprised?

The thing I disagree and will continue to object against it's everytime that these different ways to use/enjoy SL have to be opposed. Everytime that misunderstandings about diversity are used to raise walls of fear.

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4 hours ago, AmandaKeen said:

I would slightly disagree. 

I encounter people expressing parts of who they are that - for whatever reasons - they cannot in RL.

IMO that is self-expression, not putting on a role like an actor playing a part.

You're not disagreeing with me Amanda. You're addressing something I didn't.

I didn't say that role-playing was always a mask. This is what I wrote:

4 hours ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

People brings themselves to SL, especially their dreams and insecurities, even if they call it 'role play' to mask it. I think there's always something of oneself underlying it all.

There is plenty of space in what I wrote for someone to use role-play as 'self expression' (or explore gender identity, etc). They are bringing something of themselves to it. It's just that some are honest about it while others are less so, claiming that it's all separate, or use it as an excuse.

I have no idea what sort of percentage fall into that last category. I've met plenty, though that's in part because many of those chancing play a numbers game. They're the ones I hear the 'SL is separate' thing from most, as is "it isn't cheating, cause it's 'just role-play'". I can think of other examples of less than honest claims of separation, but I haven't figured out how to describe the ones I've had the most experience with without potentially giving away their personal information.

My apologies if I offended any role players by not including sufficient explainers and disclaimers in my initial post. I hope this is good enough now.

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6 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

My apologies if I offended any role players by not including sufficient explainers and disclaimers in my initial post. I hope this is good enough now.

Roleplay is not about self expression, it's about theatre play.

 

9 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

It's just that some are honest

Define honest?

 

13 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

I didn't say that role-playing was always a mask.

As honesty seems an important thing for you, I'll assume that you follow this policy and therefore that you are honest. So as you're honestly puting authentic roleplayers in the same boat that these fakers who are using 'roleplay' as a maskerade to justify their wrong doings. Let me then feel honestly offended by this misleading amalgam.

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1 hour ago, Morgan Rosenstar said:

The thing I disagree and will continue to object against it's everytime that these different ways to use/enjoy SL have to be opposed. Everytime that misunderstandings about diversity are used to raise walls of fear.

Here we agree strongly. I would much rather someone tell me "that's not how I work this" and allow me to conform to their rules than to simply raise an impenetrable wall and leave me wondering just what happened.

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2 minutes ago, Darrius Gothly said:

Here we agree strongly. I would much rather someone tell me "that's not how I work this" and allow me to conform to their rules than to simply raise an impenetrable wall and leave me wondering just what happened.

I never asked to that friend of mine to adapt to my way and he did not, nor I did changed to his way either. We learnt to understand and appreciate each other's difference. He would ask me how is going my SL and how is going my RL because he knows that I don't mix them, while I would simply ask him how is he doing because I know he's the same in SL than in RL.

I'm not claiming that it's easy, nor that everyone should do it. But I'll not accept that people are judging me wrong because I don't mix SL and RL.

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