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Scylla Rhiadra

Public Chat or IM? Has a Culture Shift in SL Made It Harder to Meet People?

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4 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Seriously, Pixie?

I guess body shaming is alive and well in virtual worlds too.

I wonder -- would someone ever say something like that in open chat? It might depend, I suppose, upon the context, but certainly I've heard people say some astonishingly stupid things in local, oblivious to how really awful it made them sound.

Oh yeah, it's happened in local before. It happens one of those spots I mentioned to you before out of curiosity where the ladies keep their clothes on and the men must have theirs off...  A female Avi began berating my avi's perceived weight in local....  For quite a good bit.   I left.  I remember once a guy and a girl we're together and the guy started asking and local how do I fit on airplanes?  Really the silliest thing in SL.  There was also one particularly nasty guy who actually messaged the moderators of a Sim and told them I shouldn't be allowed out in public.  

Edited by Pixie Kobichenko
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On 10/16/2019 at 11:13 AM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

So, I want to ask: do you prefer to become familiar with someone through their interactions in public before taking the leap to IM?

Or are you more comfortable with going straight to a one-on-one conversation?

Which approach has proven to be more effective, for you, in meeting and maybe befriending other people?

Good topic, and I'm late to the conversation, and have to admit to not reading all 11 pages of the dialogue so far. 

Local or IM? It depends on the place. Early on in SL, one of my favorite places was a library/lounge where 80% of the chat was in local. I was happy to do that, it was fun to banter, and it was nice meeting people that way. That place is long gone, and I have never been able to find anything that matched it.

I haven't noticed any difference in the amount of Local vs IM between when I started and now. There were a lot of places where people stood around silently back then, too.

I admit to being a cold-call IMer. I read profiles. I will IM a complete stranger with "Your xyz comment on your profile is brilliant!" I keep it short, positive and sincere. I will say similar things if something is especially nice about an avatar's appearance, "Great coat!" I don't have an agenda. I don't expect a reply. If all I get is a "thanks" that is fine. Sometimes it leads to an interesting conversation. If it does, then chances are it stays at that one conversation, and it doesn't go any further. Most of us hear so much negative during the day, that it doesn't take that much effort to say something nice if there is sincerely something nice to say. If there isn't, I just remain a potted plant and watch people and listen to music.

The handful of music clubs I visit still have local chat all of the time. It is usually amusing. For me it usually remains light-hearted banter.

The only place I look at Local chat is at my familiar music/dance clubs, otherwise I am quite oblivious to it. I may still have a blurb on my profile that says that.

I'm quite the introvert and hate groups and small talk. That has (sadly) followed me into SL as well. Because of some really weird past experiences in SL, I'm wary. Perhaps that is why I have found that it doesn't matter whether it is local or IM, I think it is just harder to meet people in SL now than it used to be. I have no idea if that is my deal, SL's deal, or a combo of both.

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15 hours ago, Seicher Rae said:

Local or IM? It depends on the place. Early on in SL, one of my favorite places was a library/lounge where 80% of the chat was in local. I was happy to do that, it was fun to banter, and it was nice meeting people that way. That place is long gone, and I have never been able to find anything that matched it.

I haven't noticed any difference in the amount of Local vs IM between when I started and now. There were a lot of places where people stood around silently back then, too.

You're completely right that the choice of IM or local is going to depend on the context and place, of course. The first places I hung out in SL were very much like the one you describe here: the vast majority of talk was in public, with a sort of steady hum of IMs going on at the same time in the background.

You say, though, that you don't detect a difference in the amount of local vs IM, but also that you've never found anything that "matched" the sociability of your library/lounge. In effect, I've found that it is much harder now to find places where local predominates over IM -- in effect, doesn't that mean that there is less local now? Or do still run across a lot of local chatter, but it's just in different contexts?

15 hours ago, Seicher Rae said:

I admit to being a cold-call IMer. I read profiles. I will IM a complete stranger with "Your xyz comment on your profile is brilliant!" I keep it short, positive and sincere. I will say similar things if something is especially nice about an avatar's appearance, "Great coat!" I don't have an agenda. I don't expect a reply. If all I get is a "thanks" that is fine. Sometimes it leads to an interesting conversation. If it does, then chances are it stays at that one conversation, and it doesn't go any further. Most of us hear so much negative during the day, that it doesn't take that much effort to say something nice if there is sincerely something nice to say. If there isn't, I just remain a potted plant and watch people and listen to music.

A point that a number of posters here have made is that it's not so much the vehicle -- IM or local -- as it is the content, or maybe even the "tone," of the communication that matters. My sense is that those who object of cold-call IMs (including myself) would be less inclined to feel that way if they weren't so often so poorly handled. I can't imagine anyone really objecting to the kinds of IM you describe here.

16 hours ago, Seicher Rae said:

I think it is just harder to meet people in SL now than it used to be. I have no idea if that is my deal, SL's deal, or a combo of both

I don't know if it's harder to meet people now, or not. I suspect that, if I tried a bit harder than frankly I do, I could make more friends than I now do. But connecting and sustaining friendships is hard work, sometimes.

I do wonder, though, if the nature of how we engage with others has changed. I used to physically hang out a lot with my friends, in shared spaces. Even when I was busy building, they would sometimes join me where I was, rather than simply maintain the conversation by IM. It seems to me that that happens a lot less now than it used to?

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20 hours ago, Pixie Kobichenko said:

A female Avi began berating my avi's perceived weight in local....  For quite a good bit.   I left.  I remember once a guy and a girl we're together and the guy started asking and local how do I fit on airplanes?  Really the silliest thing in SL.  There was also one particularly nasty guy who actually messaged the moderators of a Sim and told them I shouldn't be allowed out in public.

Jesus. I thought you couldn't get into SL at all if you were under 16? These immature idiots sound like they're about 10.

Body shaming is just generally, in both RL and SL, stupid, irrational, and deeply unpleasant of course, but it's particularly odd in SL where we get to choose, mostly, how we look. Surely they must be aware that you want to look as you look? How do you criticize someone for a particular aesthetic preference? What's even the point of that?

For what it's worth, Pixie, I've seen pics of your avatar. She's adorable.

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I think one of the shifts has been local chats used to be more about things you could just jump in on, like a broad topic.  Now they’re more like personal conversations out loud. 
 

Yeah they’re both done in local, but one of those  is easier to insert yourself into.  There is a difference there and I don’t even want to call it a nuance. We’re taught you don’t just jump into someone else’s conversation.

I think a lot of people feel like if they’re talking in local, people are going to jump right in and it just doesn’t work that way.

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I sometimes forget that some people don't realize I'm in business mode, managing my store.

Someone messaged me saying "Hi", and I messaged back "Hi, how can I help you".  She then responded "Do you need help"?

LOL

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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

You say, though, that you don't detect a difference in the amount of local vs IM, but also that you've never found anything that "matched" the sociability of your library/lounge. In effect, I've found that it is much harder now to find places where local predominates over IM -- in effect, doesn't that mean that there is less local now? Or do still run across a lot of local chatter, but it's just in different contexts?

Yeah, considering the topic, I didn't explain that well. I have found other places that do a healthy mix of local and IM, but have found that I'm less interested in the people and topics at those places. Gah, that sounds snobby! :D  But it is just finding people you click with, and I haven't found that since the original bunch. It *was* on a :::cough::: adult sim, but at this place the emphasis was on generic chat and banter vs pose balls... well that and the junior high humor I tend towards.

(Well, bother, I just effed up the quoting format somehow. Anyway...)

Scylla said: I can't imagine anyone really objecting to the kinds of IM you describe here.

No, they don't. I get ignored a lot, which could just be people not paying attention to their IMs like I don't pay attention to local.

I don't respond well to cold IMs such as "Hi" (and total silence). I'll say hi back (usually) and nothing more. I also get a bit grumpy with out of the blue demands like "where did you get your skin" with no other intro. ("The thin skin store? Bug off?) (Now, if there's a conversation and someone asks about something I'm wearing, I'll absolutely share.)

Scylla said: But connecting and sustaining friendships is hard work, sometimes.

Very.

Scylla said:  I used to physically hang out a lot with my friends, in shared spaces. Even when I was busy building, they would sometimes join me where I was, rather than simply maintain the conversation by IM. It seems to me that that happens a lot less now than it used to?

That was never me. I've always been a loner if there was something I was inworld to do, like putting together a sim or photography, even exploring to some extent. So I can't really speak to that. Generally if a friend is inworld while I'm doing a project, then we do the long distance IM conversation as you mentioned, and that has been true for me since day one.

 
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I think the shift to IMs is part of a larger shift in Second Life - The decay of the community. Everyone is either at home by themselves, off shopping with a tiny number of friends, or going to their habitual hangouts where they are either communicating with said friends in IM or they are not even really at their computers. Most people are no longer "in SL", but instead in their own little world that SL allows them to carve out for themselves.

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On 10/22/2019 at 4:39 PM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I have an . . . unfortunate history . . . of inadvertently starting threads, going back some 10 years, that, however well-intentioned, ended up looking like bomb craters. Relatively speaking, this one is a walk in the park.

Pride of place, and one that some older posters here might still remember, was my "Acrimonious" thread.

It was a plea for more civility in the forums. So, naturally, it flowered into 30 or 40 pages of the most toxic, radioactive flaming I've ever witnessed. It made Chernobyl look like Disneyland. Eventually, I asked the mods to put it down myself, which they did. But not before about half of the forum had been reduced to a smoking ruin.

Religion? Pfffft. Bring it on!

I remember reading that one vaguely, I can't remember if I jumped in the mud and wrestled or not.

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8 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Jesus. I thought you couldn't get into SL at all if you were under 16? These immature idiots sound like they're about 10.

You wouldn't believe half of the things I have had said to me by such people.  I can scarcely believe it myself at times.  In my time in SL I've been subject to almost every type of e-nasty abuse conceivable.  Though I am quite robust generally, sometimes it is hard to just shrug it off.
I don't have a victim type personality and never needed sympathy for any of it.  It is just the price of being online sadly because I don't believe you can change the worst of humanity.

It certainly does colour the way you look at private online communication with people you don't know though.  Often what is going through my mind is "oh no, is this another one?" and I do feel an aversion to participating in private online conversations because of that.  That is why I feel more confident and comfortable in shared spaces such as chat, group IMs and forum posts.

I have often wondered if my chosen SL character role (i.e. vampire) encourages it, I think it probably does to some degree but I am not going to change how I want to be because of it.

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1 hour ago, Gabriele Graves said:

That is why I feel more confident and comfortable in shared spaces such as chat, group IMs and forum posts.

Really interesting point, this. I'm not sure I'd thought of group chat and/or local in quite this way before -- as a sort of "safe space" by virtue of, what, sort of peer pressure? People are less ready to be abusive in a more public setting?

Or maybe the abusive behaviour is different. Twitter is very public, after all, and notoriously rife with some really nasty people. And even these forums, in the past, have harboured some pretty effectively abusive posters. But I do think that is a different kind of nastiness, maybe?I

1 hour ago, Gabriele Graves said:

I have often wondered if my chosen SL character role (i.e. vampire) encourages it, I think it probably does to some degree but I am not going to change how I want to be because of it.

I've never got the prejudice against vampires (or furries, or tinies, or anyone else for that matter). Is that because of Bloodlines? (I've never really thought Bloodlines particularly odious either, but I haven't run across that many people playing it.)

In the old days, I used to get called on by friends sometimes to officiate over SL wedding or partnering ceremonies. On one occasion, it was a vampire marriage. Coolest thing ever; certainly the most memorable wedding I ever performed!

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3 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

...gets all wistful.

Ah yes. Good times, good times.

Gosh, how I miss spending my time on the forum weaving and ducking flaming projectiles.

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4 hours ago, kali Wylder said:

I remember reading that one vaguely, I can't remember if I jumped in the mud and wrestled or not.

Well, you were never a mud wrestler or slinger.

But I don't think anyone here entirely escaped getting sucked into that particular vortex. It's probably best that you can't remember!

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8 hours ago, Adam Spark said:

I think the shift to IMs is part of a larger shift in Second Life - The decay of the community. Everyone is either at home by themselves, off shopping with a tiny number of friends, or going to their habitual hangouts where they are either communicating with said friends in IM or they are not even really at their computers. Most people are no longer "in SL", but instead in their own little world that SL allows them to carve out for themselves.

I take your point, and feel it myself to some degree. I do feel the weakening of community a great deal, but my own experience is still possibly more social than this suggests?

So much obviously depends on the kinds of communities and friends one has made, and one the focus of one's own activities.

One bright spot, really, is Bellisseria: it really does seem to have generated a new and very sociable community. And one thing I like about it is that it is not restricted to Premium members or house owners there: I'm neither, but I whip around there on my scooter all the time, and do occasionally bump into people I know.

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3 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Really interesting point, this. I'm not sure I'd thought of group chat and/or local in quite this way before -- as a sort of "safe space" by virtue of, what, sort of peer pressure? People are less ready to be abusive in a more public setting?

Or maybe the abusive behaviour is different. Twitter is very public, after all, and notoriously rife with some really nasty people. And even these forums, in the past, have harboured some pretty effectively abusive posters. But I do think that is a different kind of nastiness, maybe?I

The behaviour in this forum is no where near as bad as in the vBulletin incarnation of the forum in my opinion.  I skipped the Lithium based forums completely and didn't participate so I don't know how they were.  I think as much as I dislike the idea of possibly being banned inworld for forum behaviour, the threat of it does perhaps make a positive difference overall.  People are less likely to risk their accounts if they have heavily invested themselves in them.  So it possibly reigns some of the bad forum behaviours or forces them to use an sock puppet alt.

You don't get the same level of seriousness as the worst of the private messages I refer to though.  For example, I cannot remember any serious personal RL threats being made against anyone in ordinary forum posts.  I might have missed some examples possibly but I would be willing to bet it is rare or just doesn't happen.  Ordinary forum posts are also not a place where you are going to find serious catfishing or other intense manipulation attempts that end in vile abuse either, at least not that I have seen.

The tactic of the vilest people has always been to try to isolate people to abuse them.  This is probably the biggest reason it is hidden away in private messages almost exclusively.

Luckily these kind are not the everyday occurrences and the other more common stuff is much more minor and easier to handle by comparison but you don't need many serious encounters to make you wary of all private messages.

3 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I've never got the prejudice against vampires (or furries, or tinies, or anyone else for that matter). Is that because of Bloodlines? (I've never really thought Bloodlines particularly odious either, but I haven't run across that many people playing it.)

In the old days, I used to get called on by friends sometimes to officiate over SL wedding or partnering ceremonies. On one occasion, it was a vampire marriage. Coolest thing ever; certainly the most memorable wedding I ever performed!

I am glad you had a great vampire experience.  Bloodlines folks made a huge nuisance of themselves of course but for me it is the game and the behaviours it encourages that I dislike, not the players either individually or as a whole.

I don't get all the prejudice for any of the SL subcultures either.  Haters love to hate those who are not like them though, why would a virtual world be any different?  The people remain the same they just have some different types of targets to aim at.
 

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a thing about the shift from open chat to IM and what might be a contributor to this, in the sense of oldish vs newish accounts, and how the proportion of oldish accounts use open chat as their default go to,  vs newish accounts of which I think there is a greater proportion who use IM in the first contact situation when both people are in the view

in Viewer 1.x the open chat box was embedded in the bottom bar, and immediately visible/obvious. A design which most other programs of those times also followed.  The ability to contact another person via IM in Viewer 1.x was not immediately apparent. It was quite rare back in the day on the Orientation/Help Islands to get an IM from a brand-new person who was standing in the view. They went to the open chat box, familiarity/obvious/apparent/etc

unlike in today's viewer where the open chat box is embedded in a Conversation dialog, which makes the ability to use IM more visible/apparent in the first contact situation

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On 10/24/2019 at 5:38 PM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Jesus. I thought you couldn't get into SL at all if you were under 16? These immature idiots sound like they're about 10.

Real age has nowt to do with it. The most immature, trollish person I ever met in SL was actually in his 70s in RL. I could have sworn he was 14, based on the way he behaved.

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16 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I take your point, and feel it myself to some degree. I do feel the weakening of community a great deal, but my own experience is still possibly more social than this suggests?

So much obviously depends on the kinds of communities and friends one has made, and one the focus of one's own activities.

One bright spot, really, is Bellisseria: it really does seem to have generated a new and very sociable community. And one thing I like about it is that it is not restricted to Premium members or house owners there: I'm neither, but I whip around there on my scooter all the time, and do occasionally bump into people I know.

I think SL has a vastly different population than it once did. When I started, SL was an exciting look into the future of the internet, and a changing world. Real world companies did business in here, such as CNN, Reuters News Agency, and others I am failing right now to recall. Somehow, someway, it became just another "game" (which it never was and never will be, but it gets treated as such by more and more residents all the time). 

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3 hours ago, Matty Luminos said:

Real age has nowt to do with it. The most immature, trollish person I ever met in SL was actually in his 70s in RL. I could have sworn he was 14, based on the way he behaved.

I think I ran across him a few years back. What a strange experience that was discovering the troll was actually someone much older than one would expect.

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I feel like people who say "I only chat in public" are the SL equivalents of people who can't stop going on about how they "don't even own a television" in RL. Great. Awesome. I understand that you have a strong personal preference and hey...that's cool and all. But, like, maybe don't assume it's the only right choice?

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