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Does the way your avatar look affect forming bonds?

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the whole prim v mesh thing can get a bit conflated sometimes

here is my tail. Old school flexiprims. Sometimes people say to me stuff like: 2007 wants it prims back. I just laugh and say bite me. And they say: really?! can I?! and I go: ummm! ummmmmmm! no :D

Snapshot_005.png.c73b9f721a5bc88559d2080b396e02d8.png

 

 

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I'm not judgmental of people who haven't updated their avatar in 10 years. If I hadn't updated mine I would have saved a lot of money. I have over the years been friends with a number of people completely disinterested in SL fashion who have been quite attached to their early appearance. I think it's sweet.

I am judgmental of how some people choose to present their avatars in certain locations though. I was looking at Zooby babies the other day and amongst the crowd there was all sorts of BDSM gear more suited to a sex sim, and a guy with a nazi tattoo (never appropriate) who was there to accessorise his baby. Poor virtual babies. I also strongly dislike nudity at shopping events, I don't mean changing clothes, I mean avatars just walking around with nothing on but body oil or whatever. Come on people, we are trying to shop here! Oh, and the dumbinants at shopping events with all their near naked subs on leashes, really not the time or place.

I know I have been judged on my avatar appearance, based on IMs from guys telling me what I could do to be hotter (mainly ditch the pale skin, look less scary). Those are bonds I am happy to miss the chance of forming.

 

 

 

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It definitely makes a difference in whether I want to initiate a chat with them.

I make it a point to compliment people who have obviously put in effort and thought into their avatar, or even if it's just something that takes my fancy. They may or may not want to engage with me beyond that, but so far everyone has been happy to get a compliment.

As others have mentioned, how we present ourselves in SL also communicates our interests and, to some degree, our personality. 

We can't force people to be our friends.. if some wants to set specific parameters on who they will socialise with, that's their call. They'll naturally have a smaller pool to interact with, but if they are happy, good for them. 

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If we're just chatting, I couldn't care less. If it's adult interaction, I do think it's polite and helpful to your cause to have made some effort with your avatar, for the same reason I think it's polite and helpful to your cause to shower and put on clean, smart clothes before going out on the pull in RL.

If you're not hitting on me, I don't care how you look but if you are, I appreciate the indication that you've made some effort for me to enjoy the experience. Back in the day, I avoided the nooby, Lego figures who were trying to cop off with the best looking female avatars. I've been accused of being judgmental and shallow for this, but in my experience, the zero-effort avs (and I don't mean people who just didn't have the very latest and most expensive stuff, or who preferred a different style to mine. I mean people who really made absolutely zero effort) made zero effort everywhere else too. I never met one who was otherwise interested in creating a mutually enjoyable experience for us both.

Of course I have since been indignantly told that in fact there were scores and scores of attentive, skilful, passionate, articulate and erotic lovers out there who for whatever reason could not find a passable dollarbie skin. I don't lose any sleep over it. 

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I think since there is so much to do in SL from building and scripting,marketing and making actual places that help people in RL with all kinds of health problems and other kinds..

Places that are about education and so on and on and on,that looks of an avatar and someone being judged by it,seems kind of silly and a little caught up..

They said at the door,it's your world your imagination..

They were saying that to everyone,not just specific users.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Which one of me appears to care more about the way she presents herself?

Maddy_001.thumb.jpg.856054c206dff1c89817bbca98757547.jpg

or

729557801_DevilPortrait_002.thumb.jpg.42d33c2d50470aa21f0fd6cd459e4d0d.jpg

Which one is Snugs?

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I'd be lying if I tried to claim that appearance didn't matter to me. It absolutely does. I'm a fairly visual creature, I identify quite strongly with my avatar, and a visual connection between the two avatars forms an important part of most close bonds I've formed with others here. But it's not a black-and-white hard requirement, I'm never going to refuse to reply to someone simply because I don't adore their appearance. I've got friends that I've never actually seen inworld, only chatted with in IM windows, and that lack of visual chemistry didn't "get in the way" or anything.

Of course, a "good appearance" is entirely subjective. It's not something you can account for with a couple of rules about mesh or brand names. A good number of fairly popular mesh body/head brands are, in my personal opinion, in the "kill it with fire" section of bad taste. Other people will adore that look. Plus as someone who wears a mesh head not produced by The Brand That Shalt Not Be Named, I am fully aware that body parts are nothing more than tools, and it's what you do with those tools that matters. So yeah, anyone that openly has requirements of wearing x brand in order to speak to them not only has their head so far up their own ass that they can see daylight, but it's also unlikely to actually work well as an "attractiveness filter". 

On the other hand, every single time I've seen someone say (in conversation or profile) that mesh avatars are "all style and no substance", without exception they have quickly demonstrated that their avatar is the most attractive thing about them. There's a massive difference between having personal preferences and being openly judgemental and acting all holier-than-thou, regardless of which side of this "debate" you're on.

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We are definitely visually influenced creatures and that is OK.  There will be visuals we like and dislike, we cannot help that.  My ethos is that the measure of a person is in how you treat a person if the visuals don't appeal to you or you actively dislike them.  That we can help and we should.

For example: I detest smoking in any forms and an avatar who smokes invokes a slight feeling of repulsion in me.  However I would not dream of avoiding interaction with them due to that visual and I would still treat them with the same respect as an avatar who does not invoke that feeling in me or I that find more visually appealing.

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On 5/17/2019 at 4:37 AM, Resi Pfeffer said:

Pretty pixels seem to be a must have for quite a lot of people.

Once i visited a few crowded (partially adult) places, dancing and doing other things with a very good friend who changed his appearance to look like he is from 2007, while im mesh from head to toe. Just for fun and to know whats going to happen. Despite the fact, we just minded our own business and didnt talk to anyone else - you have no idea, how much i got attacked in countless IMs:
"Watch out, a noob!"
 

Unfortunately, if you are not wearing mesh, people think you are an ALT. 

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10 minutes ago, Cesartje said:

Unfortunately, if you are not wearing mesh, people think you are an ALT. 

And if you are less than a month old with full mesh, people know you're an alt :D

 

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I spent about 10 years getting my system av to look as I wanted her to, and collected a huge range of costumes and outfits of various sorts for her.    Now I wear rigged mesh hands and feet, because they're so much better than the system flippers,  but I've looked at the complexities of switching to a mesh body and outfits, and the expense, and the cost in both L$ and my time and effort just isn't worth it to me.    I'd far rather spend my time in SL scripting or hanging out with friends in IMs  as I tinker with my skybox and the gardens and parklands underneath.     

And there's no way I'm going to change my face.    That's Innula and she ain't changing.

 

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1 hour ago, Cesartje said:

Unfortunately, if you are not wearing mesh, people think you are an ALT. 

Ok,but aren't the starter avies mesh now?

 

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5 minutes ago, Ceka Cianci said:

Ok,but aren't the starter avies mesh now?

 

The first avatars released after mesh came out were the various monsters, I think -- vampires and werewolves and so on.    They were full mesh.   

However, the newer ones are system bodies and heads but rigged mesh clothes as far as I know.    A much better idea, to my mind, since it doesn't leave new residents wondering what on earth they're supposed to do with the system clothes they see all about them in inworld shops and in the marketplace.  

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Innula Zenovka said:

Which one is Snugs?

That would be me, trying to block out Maddy's constant complaining...
1718291430_SnugsCoveringHerEars.thumb.jpg.77842a4d7d8a181a07b8f8b6886b6255.jpg

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
Dammit, forgot to log in as Snugs.
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I will frequently wear my classic avis when I'm feeling nostalgic.  I used to spend a lot of time tweaking them with various accessories to get a unique look.  I'll occasionally get compliments on my classic avis, as a lot of new folks have never even seen a non-mesh avi before.

It's sad that folks don't talk in public chat anymore.  This used to be a social game, not just a game to isolate one's self with a few friends in IM.  I miss what SL used to be.  I understand that games evolve over time, but this is one way in which the game has devolved.  The way that the pixel snobs have taken over, and their superficial justifications for it, is another way SL has devolved.  It's sad enough when people are superficial in real life, but to do that in a game?  Maybe Second Life needs to be rebranded as Get A life.

As to creeper IM's, those can come from any sort of an avi.  If I get a creeper IM from some dude who didn't take the time to get to know me in public chat, having a mesh avi isn't going to get me to drop my panties for him.  Likewise, if I'm taking to a sweetie, I don't care if he's got an avi circa 2007.  Your words are what's gonna get me naked, not your pixels.

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On 5/17/2019 at 9:52 PM, Zeta Vandyke said:

Maybe I am a jerk then, but yes, it influences me at least in the first impression.

If I get an IM from someone random, and its not particularly interesting or relevant to anything, and that person is a 12 year old avie, without AO, with the starter system cloths you got 12 years ago, and same hair and skin, I tend to ignore them.

If the exact same message comes from a developed avie I would much more likely respond. Does not have to be super pretty mesh, but showing someone caring for their avie and willing to invest time and effort into their SL.

 

Im too polite and i wouldnt dare to call you a jerk, but if you want call yourself that name, i wont say anything against ;)
Maybe you got your opinion because of the AFK business you had? In that case i would say you are right. Because a naked noob with a permanent errection is most likely someone, the majority of the people doesnt want to be close to at all.
In any other cases its different. If im at a sandbox and if i would have to guess, who is the more interesting person in front of me, i would choose the non mesh guy.
If he hangs around that creative places and has no interest in his avatar, he might have spent a lot of time for scripting and building.
Thats more valuable than any perfectly matched body parts, imho of course.

On 5/17/2019 at 10:13 PM, Zeta Vandyke said:

I hear people say this a lot. Like in clubs, that people no longer chat in local, and only talk with their friends.

Is that so weird? I do the same. I might say Hi in local when arriving and then continue chatting with my friends in our group IM. How much is that different from real life? If you go to a venue, you might give a polite general hi, but then you chat with your friends. Or with someone directly, not yelling out loud so the whole place can hear?

No, its not weird. I do the same, what means to be more or less silent in main chat, no matter, where i am.
I just sensed, its more likely someone else sparks off a conversation in main chat, where you dont find 90% of all avatars being full mesh.

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5 hours ago, Resi Pfeffer said:

Im too polite and i wouldnt dare to call you a jerk, but if you want call yourself that name, i wont say anything against ;)
Maybe you got your opinion because of the AFK business you had? In that case i would say you are right. Because a naked noob with a permanent errection is most likely someone, the majority of the people doesnt want to be close to at all.
In any other cases its different. If im at a sandbox and if i would have to guess, who is the more interesting person in front of me, i would choose the non mesh guy.
If he hangs around that creative places and has no interest in his avatar, he might have spent a lot of time for scripting and building.
Thats more valuable than any perfectly matched body parts, imho of course.

You are right. And so am I :)

The OP asked if it influences us. Me, mostly doing photography, fashion, shopping/events, concerts, in the past indeed running an adult sim, I mostly have bad experiences with non mesh undeveloped avies in each of those situations. So yes, it influences me (again, only for first impressions!). And that's my answer to the OP.

In your case, its the opposite, your field of interest and your environment you have different experiences, so your answer is different.

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I have scanned a lot of the comments in this thread and find it very interesting. I had no idea there was such a . . . bigotry . . . of system vs mesh avatars. Yeesh, people. That said, I suppose I do wonder why someone hasn't bothered to update, or has chosen not to (and there is a difference in the verbs). I've always been very visual, so I like having an avatar that I like looking at. When I had a SL partner, who just didn't give a darn about his avatar's appearance, I finally worked with him to bring him up to a new version (tempting him that it was "easier" to dress). I did this because I had to look at him while in SL and his clunky system features and orange-y 2007 skin were just too, too . . . (Sorry, H!)

The topic of how people relate to the way your avatar looks has been on my mind a lot lately. In two days I'll be ten years old in SL. I decided I wanted to change my avatar. Seicher has almost always been a pale, green-eyed, brunette, white girl . . . just like her RL driver. For various reasons I chose to create a totally new (shape included) black, female avatar to be Seicher for the foreseeable future. I'm a bit of a loner in SL, so I don't have a lot of interactions anyway, but I'm interested to see if and/or how this change might affect interactions. I have alts to roleplay; Seicher, in whatever form, has always been RL "me" and the avatar she is doesn't affect what I do or how I speak, etc. 

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On 5/19/2019 at 5:50 PM, Rabid Cheetah said:

I will frequently wear my classic avis when I'm feeling nostalgic.  I used to spend a lot of time tweaking them with various accessories to get a unique look.  I'll occasionally get compliments on my classic avis, as a lot of new folks have never even seen a non-mesh avi before.

It's sad that folks don't talk in public chat anymore.  This used to be a social game, not just a game to isolate one's self with a few friends in IM.  I miss what SL used to be.  I understand that games evolve over time, but this is one way in which the game has devolved.  The way that the pixel snobs have taken over, and their superficial justifications for it, is another way SL has devolved.  It's sad enough when people are superficial in real life, but to do that in a game?  Maybe Second Life needs to be rebranded as Get A life.

As to creeper IM's, those can come from any sort of an avi.  If I get a creeper IM from some dude who didn't take the time to get to know me in public chat, having a mesh avi isn't going to get me to drop my panties for him.  Likewise, if I'm taking to a sweetie, I don't care if he's got an avi circa 2007.  Your words are what's gonna get me naked, not your pixels.

There are still places where people talk in local chat. However, a lot of the trendy places are silent and that's why I stopped going to them. Boring!

I have more fun at a help center sim for new people than at some trendy club that I paid membership for. 

I am not going to lie, in order for me to be attracted to someone, I need to be attracted to them, period. But, not every full mesh person is attractive to me. I also have found non mesh avatars attractive who have put effort into their look. Anyone can look like a hot mess, even full mesh. It's all about to me if you look like you take effort and didn't just roll out of sl bed with mismatched clothes, messy hair, etc. But, the above is only about me being attracted to someone.

For friends, I don't give a hoot if you are a starter Avi, but you should be friendly with a good sense of humor. 

Now, all of this is my personal opinion, not a suggestion that it has to be this way for others.

Just like in RL, it is human nature to judge on appearance. If someone says that they never judge, they're lying. 

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Posted (edited)

It depends what you mean by bonding.  There are different types of bonding that are either sexual, intimate, romantic, friendly, or a combination of these.

This will sound shallow but it's how our society currently is.

If it's sexual, most people care about aesthetics & beauty in this hyper-sexualized culture, both in SL and RL, so it's not surprising when people expect a decent and upgraded looking avatar.  It's just like the real world.  If you look out of shape and unkempt with outdated clothing and hairstyles from the 1960s or 1990s, then you shouldn't expect to easily get a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse.  Some people still have standards, and all those "beautiful" people in the real world didn't magically become pretty.  They eat healthy, exercise, and groom themselves with makeup, new hair styles, etc (and the magic of camera filters 😉).  Most of these people look for others who put in the same effort, just like in SL.

It's not just about intimate relationships either.  Friendships matter too.  If your friend dresses silly, or has a dozen piercings and face tattoos, or whatever else, then don't be surprised if people are going to judge both of you, especially if you're going out to destinations and events (restaurants and meetings, if RL).

There are people who are perfectly fine with who they are though, but they also shouldn't expect people to conform to their low standards of aesthetics.

Edited by Nextio
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On 5/21/2019 at 3:42 PM, Seicher Rae said:

I have scanned a lot of the comments in this thread and find it very interesting. I had no idea there was such a . . . bigotry . . . of system vs mesh avatars. Yeesh, people. That said, I suppose I do wonder why someone hasn't bothered to update, or has chosen not to (and there is a difference in the verbs). I've always been very visual, so I like having an avatar that I like looking at. When I had a SL partner, who just didn't give a darn about his avatar's appearance, I finally worked with him to bring him up to a new version (tempting him that it was "easier" to dress). I did this because I had to look at him while in SL and his clunky system features and orange-y 2007 skin were just too, too . . . (Sorry, H!)

Where do you see this bigotry? I see no here saying that they think of non mesh or bad looking avies re lesser beings, or anything like that?

And in the same line you wonder why people are judgemental, you say you took quite some effort to convince your partner to upgrade, because of his looks.

 

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6 hours ago, Zeta Vandyke said:

Where do you see this bigotry? I see no here saying that they think of non mesh or bad looking avies re lesser beings, or anything like that?

And in the same line you wonder why people are judgemental, you say you took quite some effort to convince your partner to upgrade, because of his looks.

 

Where do I see this bigotry? By reading the comments, in seeing that yes, people do judge by appearance, either the commenter has seen/experienced it or freely  admits it. The OP is about it. I don't see in my comment where I wondered WHY people are judgemental, I said that I too, can wonder why people don't update. Obviously I didn't discriminate against my partner due to his old, old avatar. We partnered. Wondering why someone hasn't updated (and I KNOW why he didn't) isn't the same thing as not wanting to hang out with someone with an older avatar.

I think you just misunderstood what I was saying is all.

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Maybe its a language thing, I'm not native English. But to me, bigotry sounds pretty heavy and quite out of place toward what is being talked about in this topic. But that's just my opinion of course..

Now on topic; Lets say I'm in a bar (real life) and someone is hitting on me that I find totally unattractive. I will probably not go along with it, unless that person is very interesting/funny or whatever, that it sparks my interest. Though, if I'm at that same bar, and someone is hitting on me that I'm wildly attracted to, even if their opening line was less original, I will probably go along with it at first. If I find them attractive they have an advantage with their first impressions. In the end, its the personality that will decide if I go on with someone, but the first impression the attractive is ahead of the non attractive one. (and with that I mean attractive to my personal taste, not general photo model look alike)

I think that this is perfectly normal behavior for most humans, and also perfectly accepted behavior. Why is it so weird and bad that we act the same way in Second Life? I think its bigotry if I go out and tell the person I'm not attracted to that they are unattractive, or other negative things. I'm not. I'm just not attracted to them (at first impression), is that bigotry?

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Of course.

There are certain avatars, that I would never start a conversation with, just as I wouldn't based on what someones profile says.

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Posted (edited)

I think appearance makes a great deal of difference in RL; Zeta's point above is well made. But there's a difference between how we respond to someone's body and face, and how we might read how they dress, their grooming, etc. I think that we'd agree that, however important it might in fact be, responding to the former is "shallow," while the latter is not.

In SL, of course, that is not a real distinction: even those of us who survive on freebies have an enormous number of choices to make about how we represent and look, ranging from gender, race, and even species at one extreme, to our cultural affiliations and taste on the other. (I might add that I know some amazing looking system avatars, and equally some really terribly put-together mesh ones.)

And in a world where 95% or more of direct communication is by text, and the usual visual and auditory cues (body language, facial expression, tone of voice) are mostly absent, reading someone's personality and identity from the particular choices that they do make is not only inevitable, but pretty legitimate. A person with an avatar that looks terrible may be communicating through that little more than that they don't care about the visual element of SL that much, but that itself is an enormously important bit of information.

Judging someone on how much money they likely spent on their avatar is probably, still, pretty shallow and stupid. And anyone who only cares about appearance is being foolish. But adding the information that the choices they've made about their appearance (almost all of which, again, is in their control) to the myriad of other factors that determine our responses to them is really do nothing more than assessing another set of clues and communications signals that we use to connect here.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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