Jump to content

Recommended Posts

33 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

I have a question, and I'm going to start this off with some assumptions I'm going to outline here.

There are a lot of people in SL whose avatar doesn't match their RL gender. There are a lot of people who don't consider SL a game. There are a lot of people who consider SL strictly a role-play environment. When it comes to the voice verification thing, it's mostly a big deal for those who engage in the more adult activities. Some people are looking to create relationships, friendships, etc., that stay only in SL, and want to extend those things outside of SL. There is a lot of chatter in different places and different times (and different threads) about whether or not someone's RL gender matters in SL.

(End of assumptions)

I'm a straight woman. I have absolutely no issues with anyone being who they are or who they want to be. 

However, when it comes to having sex with someone, I want that someone to be a heterosexual man. And yes, that includes in SL and RL. I'm in a position where I am free to mix my two worlds together, and I know that many aren't. I think it's amazing that people who, for a variety of very personal reasons, are not free to live their real lives as who they are, or who they wish to be, can use SL as a really beautiful platform to be their beautiful and free selves.

There are a lot of people who get very angry about people who want to know the person behind the avatar's true gender. 

Would you feel that same in RL? If a straight woman meets up with a man in real life, they dance, have drinks, etc, and then go back to one of their homes for a little naked fun, and the man strips down and is actually a woman, and she hasn't told the other party that she is actually a woman, hasn't she withheld a piece of crucial information?

I met a man on SL. Knew him for several months, but never voiced. I developed real life warm fuzzies for him. We were intimate. 

And then someone else told me he wasn't a he, he was actually a bisexual woman. My trust was absolutely destroyed. It wasn't like we just met - we had formed a relationship. I felt betrayed and tricked. And I did try to work with it. I tried my damnedest, but I'm just not sexually attracted to women when it comes to relationships. A one night stand, sure, maybe. Something ongoing? No. It's just not who I am.

Am I a terrible person because I want to learn someone's real life gender as I'm getting to know them, or is that a reasonable expectation? Or, perhaps, instead of gender, whether or not the other party considers SL a game or not, so you know not to necessarily take them at their word when it comes to anything? Or to know that their avatar is an alternate version of themselves? 

Just to make sure it's absolutely clear - I do not care what shade someone is on the rainbow. I want everyone to be exactly who they are with same rights and treatment as any other human being. 

If we're developing a relationship, be it just a friendship or something more intimate, I do want to know so I can adjust my own expectations of what the relationship is going to be. 

 

I was going to respond but than I read this! Very eloquent. 
I feel the same minus the taking a man home to find out that it was a woman. :) 
I also believe people should be who they want to be in SL or otherwise but that includes sharing that with someone they connect with and consider a friend. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, moirakathleen said:

Maybe it could be a perk for the super-duper premium :)

In the end, though, it's not anymore infallible than whatever people are currently doing to consider themselves "voice verified". 

shhhh it's part of the forthcoming uberspectacular premium membership.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

Am I a terrible person because I want to learn someone's real life gender as I'm getting to know them, or is that a reasonable expectation?

You're not a terrible person because of that by any means, however it's still difficult. For example you might be happy to just know their rl gender. Sure, it's (in most cases anyway) pretty harmless thing to know or to share. But plenty of people take it much further after that. They begin to wonder if you're single, age, location, ask for that lame "voice verification", pictures and more. Which is already pretty sensitive information for many people and they like to keep it private. So in a way it's easier to just not share anything at all or to tell other person what they want to hear (i.e. female avatar = female ), than share a bit and open the room for further questions later.

In the perfect world people would make it obvious that they don't want to share anything, instead of lying, but it's never perfect world, even in second life.

But yeah, all people in SL are different and have different needs and wants. For example I'm free to mix both lives as well, happily single in RL and living on my own I don't have issues with privacy either. But I choose not to, because it's not what I need or want from SL. I do make it obvious in my profile, though, so people who are after some RL-SL mix can save their and my time.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

A lot of good stuff

 

Just as anyone who wants to "play" a different gender is free to do their thing, SL, RL, or any other L, so are you free to play how and with whom/what you so desire.  To call you a terrible person for only wanting to get intimate with heterosexual men is precisely the same as calling a homosexual man a terrible person if he doesn't want to get intimate with women.

I do think that there is a bit of a gradation in whether or not it's important for you to be told their actual geneder.  If you're only going to be bumping pixel uglies in text on a one time basis with some random avi, I' don't see why it would matter or why you'd make a big deal about it, but at the same time, it's your libido, not mine, so not for me to judge.  On the other hand, if you're moving towards an intimate, ongoing, emotional relationship, I think not disclosing that your RL gender is not what you play in SL is about the same as not telling that person you're married.  Me, I'd just ask at that point, and if they go nuts about it, obviously they're not worth the emotional investment.

Edited by Tolya Ugajin
there their they're I'm so ashamed I got it wrong
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

I have a question, and I'm going to start this off with some assumptions I'm going to outline here.

There are a lot of people in SL whose avatar doesn't match their RL gender. There are a lot of people who don't consider SL a game. There are a lot of people who consider SL strictly a role-play environment. When it comes to the voice verification thing, it's mostly a big deal for those who engage in the more adult activities. Some people are looking to create relationships, friendships, etc., that stay only in SL, and want to extend those things outside of SL. There is a lot of chatter in different places and different times (and different threads) about whether or not someone's RL gender matters in SL.

(End of assumptions)

I'm a straight woman. I have absolutely no issues with anyone being who they are or who they want to be. 

However, when it comes to having sex with someone, I want that someone to be a heterosexual man. And yes, that includes in SL and RL. I'm in a position where I am free to mix my two worlds together, and I know that many aren't. I think it's amazing that people who, for a variety of very personal reasons, are not free to live their real lives as who they are, or who they wish to be, can use SL as a really beautiful platform to be their beautiful and free selves.

There are a lot of people who get very angry about people who want to know the person behind the avatar's true gender. 

Would you feel that same in RL? If a straight woman meets up with a man in real life, they dance, have drinks, etc, and then go back to one of their homes for a little naked fun, and the man strips down and is actually a woman, and she hasn't told the other party that she is actually a woman, hasn't she withheld a piece of crucial information?

I met a man on SL. Knew him for several months, but never voiced. I developed real life warm fuzzies for him. We were intimate. 

And then someone else told me he wasn't a he, he was actually a bisexual woman. My trust was absolutely destroyed. It wasn't like we just met - we had formed a relationship. I felt betrayed and tricked. And I did try to work with it. I tried my damnedest, but I'm just not sexually attracted to women when it comes to relationships. A one night stand, sure, maybe. Something ongoing? No. It's just not who I am.

Am I a terrible person because I want to learn someone's real life gender as I'm getting to know them, or is that a reasonable expectation? Or, perhaps, instead of gender, whether or not the other party considers SL a game or not, so you know not to necessarily take them at their word when it comes to anything? Or to know that their avatar is an alternate version of themselves? 

Just to make sure it's absolutely clear - I do not care what shade someone is on the rainbow. I want everyone to be exactly who they are with same rights and treatment as any other human being. 

If we're developing a relationship, be it just a friendship or something more intimate, I do want to know so I can adjust my own expectations of what the relationship is going to be. 

 

I am sorry that you were hurt. I would also add, very gently, that while SL can be an amazing place, your trust is a valuable resource and I would not risk too many of your reserves of it here. SL is literally marketed as "your imagination". By its very nature, there is always going to be a layer of unreality here. That is, for many people, the entire point. 

You're in a digital world, presumably for a reason. Nobody owes you any RL information, just as you don't owe it either. You're perfectly free to end or decline a relationship if they're not giving you what you want, but you have no entitlement whatsoever to their data. 

Your RL situation, about a woman who tricks you, doesn't fly because this is not RL. And if you're seeking connections here then presumably you, too, have your reasons. If you want to be RL certain of an RL characteristic, look in RL. That's an option for you and even if it weren't, you still would have no claim to someone else's information.

It doesn't make you a "terrible person" to want to know the gender, or to be hurt by your bad experience, but you are not entitled to this information. So set your own boundaries...if not voicing is a deal breaker for you, that's your perfect right, but people who refuse it to you are not doing anything wrong. Where do we draw the line? Can I have a brunette avi and claim I'm brunette in RL if I'm not? What if I meet a man who's attracted only to brunettes? 

I guess I also wonder how trans people fit into this.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I am sorry that you were hurt. I would also add, very gently, that while SL can be an amazing place, your trust is a valuable resource and I would not risk too many of your reserves of it here. SL is literally marketed as "your imagination". By its very nature, there is always going to be a layer of unreality here. That is, for many people, the entire point. 

But that is your definition, or their definition, not mine. SL is different for everyone. 

I absolutely respect when someone wants to keep whatever they want to keep private. As adults, though, I feel like a person should be able to communicate that. "I'm sorry, I'm just not comfortable sharing any RL details." That gives me the option of moving forward or not with the knowledge that what I think may not be true.

4 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

You're in a digital world, presumably for a reason. Nobody owes you any RL information, just as you don't owe it either. You're perfectly free to end or decline a relationship if they're not giving you what you want, but you have no entitlement whatsoever to their data. 

I never said I was entitled to anything. I'm not, especially when it comes to other people. But why lie? Why not just tell someone, "SL is a fantasy world for me and I don't make any claims that any part of me here is in any way real"? Yes, it's my choice to step forward or step back. I only ask that I be given the same consideration to make an informed choice. 

6 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

Your RL situation, about a woman who tricks you, doesn't fly because this is not RL.

Again, that's your definition, and not mine, and that's great. But my definition of what SL is is just as valid as anyone else's. I view it as an extension of my RL. It's okay that other's don't. Just as I believe that anyone I form the tiniest bit of a relationship with deserves to know that I mix RL and SL, I deserve to know that they don't. 

9 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

So set your own boundaries...if not voicing is a deal breaker for you, that's your perfect right, but people who refuse it to you are not doing anything wrong.

It's actually not. I only voice with people that I am incredibly close with. 

As for trans people, I consider it the same way. If a person has transitioned, then they are who they are. If they are in the process of transitioning, then they are... well, transitioning to who they are. If they are in a situation where they are unable to transition for any reason whatsoever, that's fine, too. But if I'm growing to close to someone, anyone, and I have been open about the fact that I mix SL and RL, I think they should either tell me that they don't mix, or tell me the truth. Again, if they've completed the transition, in every world I think they should be able to drop the trans label all together. I don't especially need to know that they used to be something different in either world because that's not who they are anymore.

Just don't mislead me.

(This happened years ago, btw...)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

Am I a terrible person because I want to learn someone's real life gender as I'm getting to know them, or is that a reasonable expectation? Or, perhaps, instead of gender, whether or not the other party considers SL a game or not, so you know not to necessarily take them at their word when it comes to anything? Or to know that their avatar is an alternate version of themselves? 

Just to make sure it's absolutely clear - I do not care what shade someone is on the rainbow. I want everyone to be exactly who they are with same rights and treatment as any other human being. 

If we're developing a relationship, be it just a friendship or something more intimate, I do want to know so I can adjust my own expectations of what the relationship is going to be. 

I don't think that makes you a terrible person.  If those are the things that are important to you and your expectations, than I don't see anything wrong with discussing those with the other person.  Especially if you show the same eloquence and respect when talking about it with the other person as you have here.  (As opposed, of course, to just demanding all this RL info from someone when you've just met).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

But that is your definition, or their definition, not mine. SL is different for everyone. 

The one thing it has in common with all of us is that it isn't RL and it will always have a layer of unreality. That's what separates it from RL and therefore, it's why we're choosing it for whatever reason. Your definition of SL also isn't the same as someone who wants to present as the opposite gender and not have to reveal the truth. Who's the final authority? 

 

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

I absolutely respect when someone wants to keep whatever they want to keep private. As adults, though, I feel like a person should be able to communicate that. "I'm sorry, I'm just not comfortable sharing any RL details." That gives me the option of moving forward or not with the knowledge that what I think may not be true.

You cannot on the one hand claim that you respect people's rights to keep whatever they want private, but on the other hand tell them what you think they should communicate. Especially when what you want them to communicate is clearly geared towards indicating RL info...in this case, gender. It's SL...isn't it a given that what you think may not be true?

 

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

I never said I was entitled to anything. I'm not, especially when it comes to other people. But why lie?...Just as I believe that anyone I form the tiniest bit of a relationship with deserves to know that I mix RL and SL, I deserve to know that they don't. 

Well, sometimes people lie because they're deceitful and manipulative. It's a digital world, maintain boundaries to protect yourself. In cases like the one you experienced, they lie because it's the only way to maintain the privacy that you say you respect.

I've heard this a lot within SL. "Of course people have the right to their RL privacy. Unless I ask, and then they should either tell the truth or refuse to answer." We all know that refusing to answer gives the truth that they don't want to share. So they lie. And given that we have no rights to their RL info....you don't "deserve" to know anything. 

 

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

As for trans people, I consider it the same way....Just don't mislead me.

Honestly, I find it a bit puzzling that we should go into a world marketed as "imagination", where we all look like Hollywood supermodels, can fly, change our appearance at will, talk about immersion, and then say we shouldn't be misleading...

These arguments about RL gender always seem to come down to "because I don't want to  get hurt/feel gay/be fooled." I just don't find those to be compelling enough reasons to feel one deserves any RL information from another user. As long as they're not being abusive or threatening or extorting money or something...they simply do not owe you. Nor you them. Would we feel less deserving of people's data if there were no avatars and no graphics, I wonder? If it were a purely text-based chat room with no visuals?

Ultimately, you've spoken a lot about your personal definition of SL but it's clearly not shared by everyone. If you agree that people have a right to privacy and also that they can "define" SL as they like, then ultimately you're going to have to accept that not everyone sees the unreality here in the same way that you do. You can have your personal deal breakers but nobody is doing wrong by refusing to meet them.

I can tell I'm not going to bring you round to my view of it, and that's cool. But given the very nature of this place, the very feature that's drawing all of us here for some reason, I just repeat: you really can't be any authority on how much people share, so do not risk any more of yourself than you can afford to lose. 

Edited by Amina Sopwith
  • Like 7
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Amina Sopwith said:

You can have your personal deal breakers but nobody is doing wrong by refusing to meet them.

Basically you’re saying it’s okay to deceive people who are growing to care about you.

No, I won’t ever see things that way. SL may be a virtual world and unreal but there are real people behind the avatars with real feelings and emotions. 

I am not taking about casual acquaintances or demanding all real life info as soon as you meet someone. I’m talking about people who are growing into a relationship. Stringing someone along when you know you aren’t the person they think you are is a crappy thing to do in any world.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

Basically you’re saying it’s okay to deceive people who are growing to care about you.

No, I won’t ever see things that way. SL may be a virtual world and unreal but there are real people behind the avatars with real feelings and emotions. 

It's not okay to deceive people that are growing close enough to start asking those questions of each other and then continue growing the relationship on a lie. Not only are you deceiving your supposed friend, but you are also setting the whole thing up for failure.

If the intimate relationship is going to fail anyways, what's wrong with telling the truth right away? I mean, at least then you have a chance, and will most likely be able to remain friends afterwards. I can only think of the worst forms of selfishness to lie about something so fundamental to someone you supposedly care about.

If you care about them and can't tell the truth for whatever reason, then don't get intimately involved with them! Many fish. Control yourself.

I mean unless you are in RP or some group that says "No telling, who cares?" but that isn't what we are talking about here.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

Basically you’re saying it’s okay to deceive people who are growing to care about you.

I'm saying you're not entitled to anyone's RL info in SL, and that they can protect that info from you if you try to get it anyway. You chose your medium and your feelings do not trump someone's right to RL privacy. If someone voices to prove his gender to me, does he then owe me pictures in case, despite being RL male, he's also plug ugly and I would be hurt if I realised I found him physically repulsive? Or should he cam for me in case he's using someone else's pictures? But I really care about him! That gives me the entitlement/makes me deserving of it, no? 

Some people might even find the approach you're taking here to be emotional blackmail and wish to shut off information for that reason. Maybe they don't trust you either. You are also an internet person.

Put more bluntly (because I was trying to be kind), I'm also saying that if you conduct intimate relationships on the internet and invest yourself in people you have never heard, seen or met, then you're a fool if you're not prepared for the possibility that they might not be who they say they are. I have been that fool, and luckily for me it worked out, but I was aware it was a risk.

Edited by Amina Sopwith
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I'm saying you're not entitled to anyone's RL info in SL, and that they can protect that info from you if you try to get it anyway. You chose your medium and your feelings do not trump someone's right to RL privacy. If someone voices to prove his gender to me, does he then owe me pictures in case, despite being RL male, he's also plug ugly and I would be hurt if I realised I found him physically repulsive?

Is anybody forcing anyone to give up information? It's give and take for me. For whatever the reasoning, the person who asks and the person who answers should know that whatever they say is going to change the dynamic of the relationship.

48 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

But I really care about him! That gives me the entitlement/makes me deserving of it

I see this the opposite way. The "entitlement" is coming from the side that chooses to lie and then continue on with the relationship.

54 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

you're a fool if you're not prepared for the possibility that they might not be who they say they are

Well since we all know that everyone changes over time, a little honesty among fools would be awesome!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Evah Baxton said:

Is anybody forcing anyone to give up information? 

You can't force it in SL, but I do see behaviour that some might class as manipulative. There's no right to this information. The TOS do not require you to give any RL info to other residents, though you could be sanctioned if you share someone's RL or private data without their permission. Rightly so.

44 minutes ago, Evah Baxton said:

 the person who asks and the person who answers should know that whatever they say is going to change the dynamic of the relationship.

The dynamic of the relationship is already set by the fact that you're entirely on the internet, in a world where people can run around as vampires, mermaids and centaurs, and have no obligation to share anything with you. You left your perfect right to transparency at the door when you rezzed in.

The person who asks has no right to the information. See above. It would certainly be more honourable to be honest, but when you've no right to the info, people can protect themselves if you're trying to be sneaky about it. You know, the whole "I can't tell you the baby's sex, I'll just say it's not a boy" thing.

46 minutes ago, Evah Baxton said:

I see this the opposite way. The "entitlement" is coming from the side that chooses to lie and then continue on with the relationship.

See it how you like. You're in a digital world in which you're allowed to present and perceive things as you wish them to be, and withhold as much information about yourself as you like. So is everyone else. Again, the TOS are on the side of privacy here. You have no entitlement to anyone's data and while it's not honourable to lie about it, they are within their user rights to protect themselves from prying.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would rather be fully open from the start and if someone wants to rule themselves out because of my RL gender, then that's fine. It likely means that it would never have worked out between us in the first place.

However, it does mean that people treat me differently from the way they would if I presented female and didn't disclose my RL gender, and I can certainly understand why transgender people do not want to disclose that they are trans. Personally, I don't think that a trans person who chooses not to disclose is being deceptive. A trans man is a man and a trans woman is a woman, regardless of whether they have finished or even started medical transition. Gender doesn't automagically switch the moment surgery happens.

But I am not trans, I don't identify as female in any way, and I would rather people see and treat me like a queer/gender-diverse man. That's why I choose to disclose.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets be clear about one thing: Voice verified is utter crap as a statement. No matter if you care for RL gender or not. It always begs the question: Verified by whom and how? Anyone can claim to be "verified" and you have no way to proof that claim.

Personally, I see it as a red flag, if someone has that in their profile, for more than one reason.

Now to the people, like Beth, who ask "Am I a bad person for caring about someones RL gender?" No, you aren't. Its the way one handles this preferance, that determines if someone is an a-hole or not. And sadly, many do it very very poorly. There is definitly entitlement involved, as they demand voice chat, pictures, social media profiles, as if its the most normal thing in the world. And if the other person declines, they become angry and throw accusations around. 

If you intend to take an SL relationship towards RL, you are in a resonable position to ask for the relevant information. I think we can all agree on that. But if you realize, that you can't have "SL only" relationships, then don't get into them to begin with. Not wanting to go into RL is just as valid as wanting to mix both. In an ideal world, both parties discuss that part from the start and handle the others response with grace.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had plenty of hurt in RL, so when I came here I decided to keep well clear of "relationships". 

I'm not in world for complications, so I work on an SL "Event Horizon", and I never consider what goes on beyond that.

I choose to share some details of my RL with close friends, but I also value my RL privacy. I never ask anything about RL of my friends, ever.

And I make it clear from the start that this is how I am here. 

I need to be free to do as I please here, it's what makes SL so alluring to me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting that it's almost always gender that comes up against this RL/SL divide. There was a thread a while back about having an av that is a different race to one's own, and the general consensus was that this was totally fine as long as you weren't doing it to carry out racist activity. Nobody objects to someone appearing as a vampire or bodybuilder either. But once it comes to gender, suddenly there are all sorts of rules of decency and transparency that should be binding us. Like I said earlier, it seems that privacy is all well and good, until I ask and then people have to be honest or let me know they don't want to tell me. As if that isn't answering the question to whose answer I have no entitlement. 

If you're building a relationship with someone then no, it's not honourable to lie. But if you put my back against the wall about it and make me choose a side then yes, this is an anonymous virtual world, that's precisely why we are here and nobody has any rights to anyone else's info. I won't praise anyone for lying but neither will I have a huge amount of sympathy for someone who conducts relationships and invests in SL, and then complains that they can't get the RL info they personally deem appropriate. You aren't owed anything. 

The TOS are on my side with this: you don't have to be honest about your RL characteristics and in fact the sanctions come when you don't respect someone's privacy. 

I would actually be very put off by a man who insisted I voice to prove myself because he cares for me so much, his feelings, it's wrong to lie to him, I must either voice or let him know I won't answer, etc. I wouldn't lie personally, but I'd take off because it would be a red flag to me and would feel manipulative. He could also take off if he wanted.

As a millennial, I am always being told to take some personal responsibility for my own wellbeing. This is a virtual world, marketed as "imagination". We are not talking about death threats or spreading hateful content. We're talking about personal investment in internet people, and personal responsibility has a hand in this.

 

Edited by Amina Sopwith
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Amina Sopwith said:

It's interesting that it's almost always gender that comes up against this RL/SL divide. There was a thread a while back about having an av that is a different race to one's own, and the general consensus was that this was totally fine as long as you weren't doing it to carry out racist activity. Nobody objects to someone appearing as a vampire or bodybuilder either. But once it comes to gender, suddenly there are all sorts of rules of decency and transparency that should be binding us. Like I said earlier, it seems that privacy is all well and good, until I ask and then people have to be honest or let me know they don't want to tell me. As if that isn't answering the question to whose answer I have no entitlement. 

If you're building a relationship with someone then no, it's not honourable to lie. But if you put my back against the wall about it and make me choose a side then yes, this is an anonymous virtual world, that's precisely why we are here and nobody has any rights to anyone else's info. I won't praise anyone for lying but neither will I have a huge amount of sympathy for someone who conducts relationships and invests in SL, and then complains that they can't get the RL info they personally deem appropriate. You aren't owed anything. 

The TOS are on my side with this: you don't have to be honest about your RL characteristics and in fact the sanctions come when you don't respect someone's privacy. 

I would actually be very put off by a man who insisted I voice to prove myself because he cares for me so much, his feelings, it's wrong to lie to him, I must either voice or let him know I won't answer, etc. I wouldn't lie personally, but I'd take off because it would be a red flag to me and would feel manipulative. He could also take off if he wanted.

As a millennial, I am always being told to take some personal responsibility for my own wellbeing. This is a virtual world, marketed as "imagination". We are not talking about death threats or spreading hateful content. We're talking about personal investment in internet people, and personal responsibility has a hand in this.

 

I find it interesting that you keep phrasing this in terms of "entitlement".  Unless I missed something, literally nobody has said they are "entitled" to RL information.  But they certainly have every RIGHT to ask about things that would be important in a relationship.  If being in a relationship with an atheist, or a Trump supporter, or a man, or a child molester, or a convicted rapist, or a fundamentalist Catholic, are all deal breakers for me, then I have every right to ask those questions.  This is the same process of starting and growing a relationship as in RL - talking, asking questions, and learning about the other person.  It's just being done on a screen rather than over dinner in RL.  There is nothing "manipulative" about it whatsoever, and it baffles me how you could feel it was.  If anything, it's being up front about what you want and need in a relationship.  That's not at all manipulative; it is empowering the other person to decide if the relationship is right for them, and choose accordingly.  Sure, that other person can lie or decline to answer.  The first tells me their character is flawed, the second tells me they probably know I won't like the honest answer, so they hide behind "RL is separate from SL, TOS, etc etc".  Which, feels, I dunno, manipulative, when instead they could take some personal responsibility and just say, "hey, if that's important to you, this relationship probably isn't going to work out."

You also keep saying things like, "this is an anonymous virtual world, that's precisely why we are here ".  Frankly, that's BS.  Apparently, that is why YOU are here.  Many others have different motivations.  I came here and remain here because it is a good way to supplement an RL relationship when I travel for work 50% of the time.  I've entertained several of my SL friends in my RL home.  Beth seems to be here to find a committed relationship - I may be wrong about that for her personally, but certainly there are people who want to do that and, for whatever reason, choose SL as their "match.com".  I have a friend who is here in the short term to have cam sex with men who are long term potential RL partner.  Knowing the other person's gender is a minimal requirement for them to pursue their individual purposes for being here.  And their purposes are just as valid as yours.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

I have a question, and I'm going to start this off with some assumptions I'm going to outline here.

 

Am I a terrible person because I want to learn someone's real life gender as I'm getting to know them, or is that a reasonable expectation?

 

Both answers are a simple no. You should remain aware many will approach you. Some might break the fourth wall as well as you do , but many will not even if you do. They will simply lie because their privacy is more important to them than you.

Can you blame them for that ? Sure. 

Can you do anything about them ? No.

Can you avoid another occassion happening like that ? Yes.

As you guessed ... it' s all up to you ( not stating ' It' s all your fault" ).

I ... I think I agree with Amina here.

Edited by TDD123

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not like voice verification for gender means anything. Regardless of who you are, you can train your voice to sound pretty much exactly like the opposite gender with some daily practice.

It's just such a weird thing to demand, and the thing is, sure, for a lot of people, real life gender might be important, but that's going to be on the table anyway before you actually start a serious relationship. Meanwhile demanding someone to get on voice, especially before you get to that point and particularly the shy introvert type common in SL, is just invasive and doesn't prove anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such an interesting topic. As someone who is essentially "me" here, but who believes that the ability to be "not me" is one of the most vital and important features of SL, I sort of understand both sides of the argument. On the whole, I think I mostly agree with Amina's thoughtful views on this, though.

It's also not an entirely academic question for me, because like many others, I've experienced this. About a year after my first relationship had ended, my ex came to me and confessed that "he" was actually a "she." I was very much taken aback, but strangely (even in my own eyes) unperturbed by this revelation. There are perhaps a number of reasons for this. One is that the relationship was already long over. Another was that, perhaps, I was not (and am still not) entirely convinced that the revelation was truthful (for a variety of reasons I won't go into here, although I might just add that the experience gives me reason to doubt the reliability of voice as a means of verification).

And a third reason is, as I've said, that I really value the fact that SL allows people to play and experiment with their identity. That said, I will freely admit that, had I known in advance that "he" was actually "she," I would not have been interested in entering into the relationship in the first place. And that's a kind of contradiction within myself that I freely acknowledge as an inconsistency.

Logically, so long as the relationship remains within the bounds of SL, there is absolutely no reason why the biological sex of a partner here should make a difference. You aren't interacting with their physical bodies: whatever set of genitals they might be sporting in RL has as much relevance to a purely virtual relationship as does eye colour. But, for a variety of reasons (social conditioning, the reality that our experience and enjoyment of virtual anything relies upon some correspondence between the virtual thing and the RL thing being represented, etc.), most of us to varying degrees probably do care.

So, I've developed a sort of catechism of things that I accept as "true" and "ethical" about SL relationships that, I hope, is complex enough to take into account the really diverse range of possible scenarios. It runs something like this:

  • You have the right to expect to be accepted as whatever you represent as in SL, on the virtual level.
  • You have the right to maintain privacy about your RL identity and circumstances.
     
  • You do have the right to care about the RL identity and circumstances of someone else
  • You do not have the right to expect everyone else, including those with whom you are intimately engaged, to share your beliefs in the importance of RL identity and circumstances
     
  • You do not have the right, if you do care, to demand "verification" or even assurances about the RL identity and circumstances of someone else -- i.e., there should be no expectation that someone must be either forthcoming or truthful about this
  • BUT you do have the right to ask someone about their RL identity and circumstances, especially in instances where there are important emotional stakes involved -- bearing in mind that it is their choice as to how they respond, because . . .
  • Equally, they (or you) have the right to refuse to answer those questions
     
  • Ethically speaking (but not in terms of the TOS or general culture of SL), you probably should not outright lie in response to a direct question from someone about your RL identity and circumstances unless (and this is important) the person asking really has no right (i.e., they have no real emotional stake in the answer) to ask the question in the first place
  • Equally, however, the person asking the question does not have the right to expect a truthful answer (because that is not the basis upon which this platform and its culture is founded)

Ultimately, it comes down to trust, and to something like a cost/benefits analysis. So a scenario might look something like this:

  • Person A is entering into, or already in, a relationship with Person B
  • Person A decides they care about the RL identity of Person B
  • Person A asks (not "demands" -- there is no moral warrant for a "demand") assurances of some sort about the identity of Person B
  • Person B determines whether they wish to be forthcoming (or verify through voice, or whatever) on the basis of whatever criteria are most important to them. Here's where cost/benefit analysis begins to come into play: does the cost of verifying outweigh the benefits? I.e., how important is it to Person B to maintain the separation of SL and RL, and how much do they value the relationship, if the health of that relationship is going to depend upon the answer?

    Scenario 1:
     
  • IF Person B decides to be forthcoming (and verify through voice or whatever), then Person A responds according to their priorities.
  • IF the answer given by Person B is what Person A wanted to hear, then all is well
  • IF the answer given by Person B is not what Person A wanted to hear, then Person A must decide if the relationship is important and valuable enough, or the answer insufficiently critical to how they feel, to continue the relationship notwithstanding

    Scenario 2:
     
  • IF, however, the Person B decides not to answer (and I'm assuming here that Person B is not going to merely lie, which I've suggested above is ethically suspect), then Person A has essentially two choices, based again upon a cost/benefits analysis
  • Choice 1: assurances about RL identity are vitally important, and so Person A decides, in the absence of assurances (or verification) to end the relationship
  • Choice 2: assurances about RL identity are less important than the existence and health of the relationship, and so Person A decides to continue without assurances

In none of the scenarios above does either Person A or Person B have any real right to be "angry" or "feel betrayed" by the other, because each of these possible responses is based upon what I see as the "rights" of each, as outlined above. Disappointed? Sure. Upset? Quite possibly.

But Second Life is not Facebook with Cartoons; and equally, we are not merely "virtually people": we have expectations and desires that are conditioned by our RL existence. Both of these things are true, and, although they differing ways in which we weigh them may lead to disagreement or clashes, neither actually contradicts the other.

 

tl;dr -- Be reasonable. Be accepting of different viewpoints and approaches. Be generous and kind.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still certail that "Voice verified!" is a stand-in for "I'm insecure!".
I don't need anyones approval of my genitalia, and whomever doesn't trust me enough to take my word for it - their loss, not mine.

Demanding me to voice is one of the quickest ways to get an express ticket to crankytown, and will likely cause me to be very petty; like "saying 'Bye!' over  voice and then terminating the friendship" kind of petty.
I'm happily voicing with anyone on shared terms, though. 
 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

I find it interesting that you keep phrasing this in terms of "entitlement".  Unless I missed something, literally nobody has said they are "entitled" to RL information. 

The word "deserve" has been used and I think that in this context, that's close enough. Plus people are claiming that you shouldn't lie about it if asked, and that's also close enough.

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

But they certainly have every RIGHT to ask about things that would be important in a relationship. 

You can ask anything you like, but you are not entitled to the answer. (How much do you earn, Tolya? How many women have you slept with? Why did your last relationship end?) If declining to answer gives the answer, and we all know that sometimes it does, then no, lying isn't honourable, but given you've no right to this information in this sphere, they're within their own rights to protect that data if they want to. Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies?

Besides, these are SL relationships. I know it's not popular to say that they aren't the same as RL ones, but they aren't. You're willingly in a digital world whose TOS protect everyone's right to total RL privacy and where the entire point is to forge your own "reality". I've said it before: if you want RL proof of an RL characteristic, you know where to look.

 

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

This is the same process of starting and growing a relationship as in RL 

But it's not RL. It is really quite vastly different to RL, and if you don't believe me, teleport over to me so I can take you flying on a lotus flower to Mars while in mermaid form. And there is a reason it suits you to be here instead of RL too.

 

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

 There is nothing "manipulative" about it whatsoever, and it baffles me how you could feel it was.  

As I said earlier, if a man wanted me to voice to prove myself to him, and was using the kind of justification that has been given in this debate to get me to do it (feelings, cares for me so much, hurt so badly, trust shattered, lying to someone who cares etc etc), I would consider that one of the biggest red flags I'd seen outside of a Communist rally. You wouldn't, fair enough, but it would unsettle me greatly. I would most certainly find it manipulative and I would bolt.

 

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

they probably know I won't like the honest answer, so they hide behind "RL is separate from SL, TOS, etc etc".  Which, feels, I dunno, manipulative, when instead they could take some personal responsibility 

Or maybe you could take the personal responsibility when you start investing deep amounts of yourself in invisible, silent internet people within a world whose sole purpose, much as you don't like it, is to present and perceive literally however the flip we want. 

I am actually quite astonished that you could consider it "manipulative" for anyone to wish to exercise their right to distinguish their two lives and abide by the TOS to which you also agreed, when you try to gain information that they simply don't owe you. If you don't like things not appearing as they bluntly really are, may I suggest that this might not be the place for you?

 

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

I came here and remain here because it is a good way to supplement an RL relationship when I travel for work 50% of the time.  I've entertained several of my SL friends in my RL home.  

Lovely. You still owe no information to other residents, nor they to you. Even if you do choose to give yours.

 

2 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

And their purposes are just as valid as yours.

You can have any legal purposes you like on SL, but you don't have any right to any information that people don't want to share. And if you try to put their back against the wall about it ("I'm not asking you to tell me what sex the baby is! Just tell me what sex it isn't!") then while it isn't the honourable thing to do, they don't owe you any reply that compromises their privacy.

I mean, have people really thought through the implications of this? Of there being an SL in which your private RL information becomes someone else's right to access just because of their feelings? Literally that? 

Edited by Amina Sopwith
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...