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Researching SL as a subculture. Any input would be helpful.


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I am writing a term paper on the second life as a subculture. 

I want to represent as many types of people as I can.

Here are the questions i have:

1. How did you discover Second Life?

2. What was appealing about Second Life that kept you playing?

3. What groups are you involved in. (Specific groups and any information about why you enjoy these groups would be helpful)

4. Groups you do not agree with and why.

5. Your opinion on people who are against Second Life or believe it is detrimental to having a functioning real life.

6. Really anything else you think is important for me to know?

Thank you so much for helping me out.

You can also take this in survey form at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FFBHMWJ

I want to state that i have played SL for 6 years and am not using this information to criticize second life residents in any way.

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I find it looking for a form of software that allows me to be in one space with other users, have heard of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing games before but never tried one, and Second Life was free to register and it didnt ask for much computer resources

I tried it and I like it very much, it kept me here the vast universe of places that opened for me, it was very interesting to interact with other people from around the world, seeing some impressive avatars and thinking that one day i was going to be as equally impressive as them, trying to find out how to make money by camping (sitting in one place for some period of time in exchange for some money)

i dont have much groups but the ones i have are "The Palace High Society" group, i joined this group because back then when the palace existed, it was a wonderful place that i had to be part of, so i became a gentleman of the palace, i also have "Dance Island", its from a place full of energy, they have DJs from all around the world live 24/7, i love to be a part of that community, i was part of one like this in RL, so i guess i live that part of me in here. another group is "Rasta Beach and Resort", its my home, and the rastas there are wonderful people. "The Forum Cartel", this is a group made by some posters is this forum, many conversations between the posters here continue in-world through this group. i feel close to the posters here that i see as friends :) and the group "Feeling", is just a group i made to change my group tag to whatever i want to.

there are many groups in second life that i dont share their ideologies but i respect their freedom of speech and expression, i dont like gore for example, i dont feel attracted to suffering as a form of entertainment, and i dont like slave/master roleplay either, i believe that a person needs to be himself/herself to blossom to his/her maximum potential, meaning be the owner of his/her own will. if a person will is crippled, that person may grow customized by an external will that knows very well its own needs and how to solve them but guesses on the needs of the other person and applies solutions that may not be the optimal. you can find a flower in the prairie and grab some paint and paint it another color but its never going to look as beautiful as in its natural state. there are some groups that i dont agree with but i respect their choice to follow whatever ideology they want.

people may be against Second Life for a variety of reasons, because its accessed through a computer may be a reason. it may be seen by people who dont use computers as a videogame, that gets you looking at a screen for a long time and not healthy, they have the right to disagree, as much right as i have to disagree with them. everyone lives their life as best possible.

you better step up and make good grades because their gonna be very useful in your future career.

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The Inkpen wrote:

I am writing a term paper on the subcultures that exist in second life. 

I want to represent as many types of people as I can.

Here are the questions i have:

1. How did you discover Second Life?
Watching a television show called Market Watch,
Philip Linden was the guest, the Lindex was the topic of discussion.

2. What was appealing about Second Life that kept you playing?
The ability to Create objects.

3. What groups are you involved in. (Specific groups and any information about why you enjoy these groups would be helpful)
A group for Residents with the surname of Paine and a Co-op Merchant marketer. The Paine group is just Paine, the last I looked there was 380 Residents all with the surname of Paine in the Group. The Merchant Marketer is for selling products to generate revenue.

4. Groups you do not agree with and why.
Public Groups created by Lindens which have gone inactive 3 years ago.

5. Your opinion on people who are against Second Life or believe it is detrimental to having a functioning real life.
I don't think that all is Wasted with individuals who believe SL is detrimental. I do think that some Residents use the wrong methods to communicate their disapproval of SL.

6. Really anything else you think is important for me to know?
Second Life is a Place where Residents can manifest their own reality, digitally, on virtual realty. Atmosphere is relative to the Regions in which one dwells.

Every Residents should create a "I Want" list. If given, any and every Resource, what would you do with it?

Hot glass looks just like cold glass. Water is more important than food. Keep your feet dry. In the morning, game animals will be on the sunny side of a hill.

Science tells us that the average person only uses about 5% of their brains potential. By this measure, 95 out of 100 people will not have the answers you need. A mere 5 in 100, are thinking and acting independently.
    

Thank you so much for helping me out.
I hope I have.

 

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Hi Inkpen,

maybe I'm just too blonde, but I don't see any connection between SL subcultures and your questions.

Are you not interested in knowing in what way the people who answer your questions are related to any of the many subcultures that can be found in SL? I discovered subcultures in SL I've never heard about before in 1st Life, even though they exist there as well. And there are also subcultures that are more or less exclusive to SL, as far as I know.

Your questions wouldn't even get an answer to the most basic question on this topic: What kind of subcultures exist in SL?

As soon as you get an overview on existing subcultures, you might be interested in knowing what makes these subcultures unique and standing out from other cultures. What are their characteristics? Why do they have an appeal? Are they a huge community, or do they only attract a small minority of the SL population?

As a matter of fact, your questions looks so basic to me that I get the feeling that you take SL in general for a subculture, so you're trying to figure out why people joined and what made them stay.

To give you an idea about existing subcultures in SL, I'll try to provide a short description of two who are worlds apart of each other...

1.) Steampunk

Based on an inspiration from Sci-Fi literature, Steampunk inspired so many rezidents that it became big enough to grow into an industry of it's own in SL. Countless shops offer top scale crafted items of all kinds to the rezident who indulges in the Steampunk lifestyle. Fashion, vehicles, furniture, buildings... you name it - it's been created! Make a search for "Caledon" and you'll discover a huge cluster of sims that's already big enough to be considered as a little subcontinent, and once you go there you'll find yourself in a Steampunk world. And that's only a part of it, as far as sims related to Steampunk are considered.

Reflection in 1st Life: Almost not existent. It's a Sci-Fi literature theme. Items in SL might be highly scripted, like hats featuring rotating gears and colorable steam. It's almost impossible to find anything like that in 1st Life.

2.) Racing

More often than not, SL cars and racetracks use 1st Life as an inspiration for the creation of cars, race categorys and divisions, and for racetrack design. SL racing can evolve into a professional carreer for an avatar, because top champions can win 20.000 L or more in a single championship. As a consequence, you can find avatars who only log in for races or to practice for races. Of course, there are also creators who build vehicles, racetracks, and the equipment that is needed for races, like a start/finish goal. You can find many sims that are dedicated to races, and some races are even broadcasted on Treet TV. Nevertheless, the world of racing is huge, but also a kind of shell, because most rezidents involved don't care about anything else. Even top champions might look like noobs. They care for their performance, but not for their appearance.

Reflection in 1st Life: HUGE. The most exotic disciplines of races you could find in 1st Life have been adopted in SL. You'll not find all of them all of the time, but I'm a racer myself in SL who's just an ordinary everyday common traffic survivor in 1st Life, and I've raced swamp rockets, midgets, stocks of all kind, and don't ask me what. Quite often, the creator shows me a video of a 1st Life race first to give me an idea before I hop into my car and risc my virtual neck. And by the way: Some racers have experience with 1st Life races too!

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Well I am researching Second Life as a subculture. 

The question about groups is meant to get a basic overview of what people are interested in. 

This is the started paper to more in depth research and the survey site only let me ask ten questions. 

Once I conclude my paper on Second Life being a sub culture of it's own I will explore other cultures with in Second Life.

This is a long process for I am actually interested in accurately representing Second Life as a diverse virtual reality. 

I need to submit a topic overview to be accepted by my professor. I did not want to get in depth research and have my topic be rejected.

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Haha... looks like blondes like me might not be smart, but they still get a notion from their stomach...

May I quote myself?

"As a matter of fact, your questions looks so basic to me that I get the feeling that you take SL in general for a subculture, so you're trying to figure out why people joined and what made them stay."

Your statement:

"Well I am researching Second Life as a subculture."

Scientific research depends to a high degree on skills to ask accurate and specific questions. If I'd be your professor, I'd say "This student even stumbles on his very first steps. Instead of asking "Why did you join and what made you stay?", he pretends to be interested in advanced topics that are way beyond his initial notion, and asks questions that are not suited to fill this gap. An approach like this is simply unacceptable!"

Fortunately, I'm not your professor, and I take your initial question for a signal that sheds a light on your REAL interests.

I'll observe this thread and might provide more help and answers once you grew and look ready.

 

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The Inkpen wrote:

Well I am researching Second Life as a subculture. 

The question about groups is meant to get a basic overview of what people are interested in. 

This is the started paper to more in depth research and the survey site only let me ask ten questions. 

Once I conclude my paper on Second Life being a sub culture of it's own I will explore other cultures with in Second Life.

This is a long process for I am actually interested in accurately representing Second Life as a diverse virtual reality. 

I need to submit a topic overview to be accepted by my professor. I did not want to get in depth research and have my topic be rejected.

Well in my experience the Rules of the Internet apply even to SL.  Especially  Rules #34 & #35.  We are not sure how often rule #29 comes into play.  The first half of that rule, a lot.  The second half, well, you take your chances.

 

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You are correct. I mislead people in regard to what I was asking about. 

This is my first year in college and I am still in high school, this is no excuse for my mistake or my possible excitement to get more into my topic than I am able to at the moment.

This is a paper I have been itching to write all year, I have more steps planned out than I have time to accomplish. Looking ahead as far as i do often causes me jump ahead when I first begin. 

With this said I have never done research talking to people. Most of my research comes straight from text.

This is a learning experience for me, instead of trying to make me look ignorant it would be really helpful to receive more constructive criticism. 

Thank you for pointing out my error. 

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Actually, when I looked back on my post a little while later, I had the feeling that my criticism was a bit too harsh.

It was not my intention to make you look ignorant. My idea was that it might be better if you get a brutal critic in me, before you run into a probably even more mercyless critic - your professor. When he comes into play, it's too late for anybody else to help you, so I tried to save you from the worst imaginable scenario: You walking straight into a knife, unaware and unprepaired.

Well, what I forgot was the fact that this is a public forum. Sending you a notecard in world might have been more suitable in a case like this. But I have to say that you took this blow without loosing your balance and displayed a respectable capability to deal with criticism. I know plenty of people far beyond your age who never reached this degree of maturity.

I'm sure you'll do a great job in the end. Go on, and please accept my apologys.

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1. How did you discover Second Life?

I used to volunteer at the Long Now seminars before I had to move away from SF. I am still an honorary charter member. One of the seminars was a Second Life seminar.http://longnow.org/seminars/02006/nov/30/second-life-what-do-we-learn-if-we-digitize-everything/. You can hear Josh's question being answered near the end. I'm Josh.

2. What was appealing about Second Life that kept you playing?

The plan to continue developing it gradually (rather than just replace it with something), the fact that most of the content is user-generated, and the fact that, as it has no stated purpose (as does a game), one is free to set one's own goals and priorities and to assign one's own meaning, or "discover" one. The most compelling thing about it is that for people who are creatively driven, it allows one to create free and readily duplicable mutable 3d works that take up no expensive physical space or materials. Objects in second life propagate and breed like sexual organisms, so that opens an evolutionary process, which I tend to favor as a basic content development model. More recently the fact that I can legitimately use SL to make RL money has become somewhat interesting, too.

3. What groups are you involved in. (Specific groups and any information about why you enjoy these groups would be helpful)

Most groups are tedious and not very helpful. I just stay joined to be polite. The sign over my head says "Rent A Prim". I need to have that active to put my products in the box, which is almost every day.

4. Groups you do not agree with and why.

I recently suggested someone could form a group for people who promise to keep avatars the same sex as the user. I won't be joining that, although I could in principle. I suggested it to try to help quell some of the endless complaining I hear by members of the self-appointed Reality Police who seem to care ONLY about gender; about males users with female avatars trying to "trick" them into things.

5. Your opinion on people who are against Second Life or believe it is detrimental to having a functioning real life.

Any technology that has legitimate uses will inevitably have other uses. The medium, itself, is not the problem. People can waste their time and possibly their money on SL, or on things like prostitution, drugs, gambling, and collecting the products of Thomas Kinkade. What's worse?

6. Really anything else you think is important for me to know?

I am interested mostly in seeing people produce things that have been lacking in SL. In my own case, that's the past. Not RL past, but SL's past. The basic premise behind my various museum displays is that SL has existed as long as RL has, and that the LIndens simply discovered it and colonized it. Whether this has been good or bad for SL is open to debate, but the fact that LL declines even to acknowledge that SL existed before they arrived tends to support the allegation that they committed various atrocities in the process of preparing SL to be exploited for their own purposes. Most obviously, by reducing the quantum resolution in SL from 1 Planck Length to whatever it is now, they eliminated the physical possibility of most life forms to continue to survive. The "digitization" also means that there is also currently no olfaction in SL, which is pretty sad, too. I have some evidence that the Lindens, themselves, evolved from 2-dimensional stick figures that ate bandwidth and excreted a substance that was then distilled into lag, to be fed to an unpaid work force of non-Linden avatars.

My hope is that SL will gradually develop more of its own bizarre conspiracy theories and evolving special mythology, as a motivational element behind continued content development of various kinds. It's not about what I say I believe; it's about thinking in a more open way about what is real and what is not real (in SL, I mean, but.... nevermind). In SL, nothing is fake, because, if it is, then eveything is fake. Can you tell the difference between a "real" fern in SL and a "plastic" fern in SL? I can't, and I actually make some of the best ferns in SL. 

I see some of the emergent uses of SL being in better understanding the neurological bases of things like identity, belief, and what, for a lack of a better term, I might call "cryptosynesthetics". It is being used right now in a very haphazard, clumsy, amateur way, but that doesn't mean that it can only be used in such ways, or forever.

As with the Santa Rampages in RL, people ask about SL; "But what is it FOR?", and I say "It's for YOU."

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I do appreciate the criticism and it's intent. My professor is a very laid back guy so I have little worries about how he will react to my paper. The fact that I am not writing about gangs or hip hop has already impressed him. 

You made me put myself in check which in the end is helpful, I have bad habits and sometimes it take a small knock to the head for me to break them. Much rather it be someone sensible like you than a disorganized jerk whose intention is far from intellectual. 

Thank you for the help. 

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Perrie Juran wrote:

 

Well in my experience the Rules of the Internet apply even to SL.  Especially  Rules #34 & #35.  We are not sure how often rule #29 comes into play.  The first half of that rule, a lot.  The second half, well, you take your chances.

 

 

you left out rules 38, 42, 51 and 82... # 82 especially.

to the OP.. if you have been in SL for 6 years, don't you already have a very good grasp on why people are here?

to answer your question, the sub culture in SL is a very very large part of it. The dom culture is as well..

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Yes but conducting and interview with myself would not make much sense. I am biased as I have been involved in one general group of people. By talking to other people I have a better grasp of other peoples idea of second life, some of which were very different than my own.

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