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Privacy in Second Life: Varieties, Issues, and Solutions


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On 1/12/2022 at 4:14 PM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

what are potential, or even just partial, solutions to these that might be of assistance to those who want more privacy?

Rent a homestead or buy/rent a full region. Those are really the only two options people have for those looking for actual privacy. Privacy in Second Life is not free nor cheap.

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13 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

How technically feasible are these? Certainly, they would also increase the "realism" of our interactions with the physical environment as well.

The second one isn't hard. You can do it now, with some effort.There are some objects that won't let you click on them unless you have line of sight. At least one brand of door does that. You could put that in open source AVsitter as an option. Then, if you made sure everything in your house had unscripted sits disabled, nobody could do a "sit" to get in. Set a teleport destination for the parcel outside the house, and they can't TP in by specifying coordinates.

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Just now, Chris Nova said:

Rent a homestead or buy/rent a full region. Those are really the only two options people have for those looking for actual privacy. Privacy in Second Life is not free nor cheap.

If by "actual privacy," you mean something more like "guaranteed privacy," I think I'd agree with you. I still believe, however, that we have a right to expect, even if we don't have the power to enforce, some pretty basic elements of privacy. Yes, there are all kinds of ways that those expectations can be violated -- my clothes can be derendered, someone can cam inside my house, etc., etc. But the fact that these can be done doesn't make the person doing them any less of a jerk for all that.

It's unfortunate that, as with so many other things, the kind of security that you are talking about is only available to those with the requisite amount of disposable income.

But, speaking purely personally (because I acknowledge the right of others to feel differently about this issue), I'd feel that the kind of setup you describe would be too much like living in a gated community, or even an armed and fortified camp.

And really, that's not how I, myself, want to live my SL. So, maybe the "cost" of wanting to live a more open virtual life is surrendering some control over how much actual privacy I can expect?

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10 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

If by "actual privacy," you mean something more like "guaranteed privacy," I think I'd agree with you. I still believe, however, that we have a right to expect, even if we don't have the power to enforce, some pretty basic elements of privacy. Yes, there are all kinds of ways that those expectations can be violated -- my clothes can be derendered, someone can cam inside my house, etc., etc. But the fact that these can be done doesn't make the person doing them any less of a jerk for all that.

It's unfortunate that, as with so many other things, the kind of security that you are talking about is only available to those with the requisite amount of disposable income.

But, speaking purely personally (because I acknowledge the right of others to feel differently about this issue), I'd feel that the kind of setup you describe would be too much like living in a gated community, or even an armed and fortified camp.

And really, that's not how I, myself, want to live my SL. So, maybe the "cost" of wanting to live a more open virtual life is surrendering some control over how much actual privacy I can expect?

Your argument is understandable. Outside of having your own region, privacy is virtually non-existent. But that is the way that it is. Its the wild west and LL created it that way.

Edited by Chris Nova
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14 hours ago, Cinnamon Mistwood said:

On the subject of data the lab collects, this was posted in an unrelated thread

Okay, since I can't fix this, here is the pic I wanted to share from that thread.  Some data the Lab collects:2060504896_Screenshot_20220113-112953_SamsungInternet.thumb.jpg.29455a5008dfa43701544eece6730682.jpg

 

I have trouble believing these "achievements" are accurate as I couldn't possibly have stayed logged into SL 206 days straight. Unless they mean that you logged in every day for 206 days, while of course sleeping at night. But even that is hard to believe.

But if true and accurate, I would invite you to look at the number of teleports which does show I do get around to an awful lot of sims.

Achievements.png

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On 1/12/2022 at 8:27 PM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I think you may, just possibly, be over-determining what I may have said there.

I said this was a community. And it is, not Hyde Park Corner. But it's an open one, and the "rules" are almost exclusively about civility.

No, that's not what you said. I don't have time to look for it, but you know perfectly well that you spoke about being in SL since 2009, and perceived that there was some sort of "commuuuunity" that you could identify in some elusive way, and how there were norms and routines established by you and your peers and those that violated them did so to their peril. And that they would "live and learn." There was no awareness that you had not been made supreme ruler of the Metaverse -- yet, anyway.

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6 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

No, that's not what you said. I don't have time to look for it, but you know perfectly well that you spoke about being in SL since 2009, and perceived that there was some sort of "commuuuunity" that you could identify in some elusive way, and how there were norms and routines established by you and your peers and those that violated them did so to their peril. And that they would "live and learn." There was no awareness that you had not been made supreme ruler of the Metaverse -- yet, anyway.

I'm not going to take up a great deal of time to address this, because it's off-topic, and rather silly, but there is some danger that someone new to the forum might read your accusation and take it seriously.

Here is the post you reference, I think, and this is the relevant bit from it:

Quote

"What I will suggest is that his approach has not been very carefully considered. Forums are delicate ecosystems; they develop their own rules. I've been here for a long time, and I suppose I'm part of "The Establishment," but if I posted, in rapid succession, three different OPs on, say, feminist issues, I'd get push back too. One mistake that newish posters often make is not to listen and gauge the conventions of the community before leaping in with both feet. I did that in . . . 2009? whenever it was that I started . . . and got flamed. You learn."

How you read that as an admission of this is beyond me:

Quote

"Scylla has explained to us that it is an elaborate secret club with rules and rituals that you ignore at your peril. If you don't want it to be like the Masons and strive to make it more open, be prepared to face the consequences."

The forums have their own culture, and their own social dynamic, and it is determined collectively, not by some mythical cabalistic Masonic order. Every new poster changes that dynamic subtly, probably imperceptibly -- but change it they do, just as the addition of a third person to a conversation between two people changes the nature of that discussion.

Treating the forums as though they were nothing more than a personal soapbox from which to rant without reference to the existing cultural and social milieu and norms is not merely likely to severely reduce the effectiveness of your communication (any good comic or rhetorician writes with their audience in mind), but is also rude and disrespectful to those already here. You don't walk into a room full of people in the middle of a social gathering and start ranting without reference to those you've joined, and whom you expect to be your auditors, do you? (Or do you?)

None of that is to say that there are restrictions upon what one can say here. But if you want that communication to be persuasive and effective -- and respectful -- you "read the room." You establish the kinds of discourse and the social norms and conventions that exist, and you tailor the form of your communication (not its content) to that.

Refusing to take into account the social contract already established by those who have worked to build the community is essentially waving a one-fingered salute at everyone here. You can do so if you wish, but don't expect the community to respond with a welcoming hug.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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On 1/12/2022 at 7:33 PM, Rolig Loon said:

I'm not much of a crowd person, so I don't go looking for places in SL where I can be around a lot of other people.  I'm not aiming for privacy but for solitude.  I spend most of my in-world time wandering or creating things solo.  I expect civility and respect.  The only times when I feel truly uncomfortable are when I get rudeness or disrespect instead, so I don't mind people being curious about what I'm doing or wearing but I am annoyed (or worse) when someone is prying. I don't ask other people about their lives outside SL, and I tell them only the few vague things that I care to share about myself.  Again, it's not so much about privacy; it's about preferring to be alone most of the time and wanting people to respect that. I don't use a security system and I have banned almost nobody in 15 years, but I would never own a home on the Mainland where I had to think about those things either.

The distinction between "privacy" and "solitude" is a really interesting one, and one I'd not considered. I suppose I can be socially gregarious, and still desire privacy in at least some important respects. But the state of being by oneself in a sense requires ramped-up tools that will ensure solitude?

Or is it possible to enjoy solitude in the midst of a social context?

Your comment about Mainland is interesting. I love the Mainland -- it's messy and frequently very ugly, but it's been my home base for most of my time in SL, and I actually value the mess, as well as the serendipitous encounters I have there. There are estates that I love too -- they are frequently much more beautiful, lovingly designed, and even, arguably, people-friendly than huge swathes of the Mainland, but they also sometimes seem to me a bit sterile -- perfect little environments preserved in an oxygen-free bell jar.

Maybe my own bent towards sociability is better suited to the chaos and messiness of the Mainland, and, in fact, works better when there are fewer ways to enforce privacy?

(I am slowly working my way through these responses! Sorry for the delay!)

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58 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I'm not going to take up a great deal of time to address this, because it's off-topic, and rather silly, but there is some danger that someone new to the forum might read your accusation and take it seriously.

Here is the post you reference, I think, and this is the relevant bit from it:

How you read that as an admission of this is beyond me:

The forums have their own culture, and their own social dynamic, and it is determined collectively, not by some mythical cabalistic Masonic order. Every new poster changes that dynamic subtly, probably imperceptibly -- but change it they do, just as the addition of a third person to a conversation between two people changes the nature of that discussion.

Treating the forums as though they were nothing more than a personal soapbox from which to rant without reference to the existing cultural and social milieu and norms is not merely likely to severely reduce the effectiveness of your communication (any good comic or rhetorician writes with their audience in mind), but is also rude and disrespectful to those already here. You don't walk into a room full of people in the middle of a social gathering and start ranting without reference to those you've joined, and whom you expect to be your auditors, do you? (Or do you?)

None of that is to say that there are restrictions upon what one can say here. But if you want that communication to be persuasive and effective -- and respectful -- you "read the room." You establish the kinds of discourse and the social norms and conventions that exist, and you tailor the form of your communication (not its content) to that.

Refusing to take into account the social contract already established by those who have worked to build the community is essentially waving a one-fingered salute at everyone here. You can do so if you wish, but don't expect the community to respond with a welcoming hug.

You're only digging yourself in deeper but that's helpful and its own warning to newbies. Forums aren't delicate ecosystems; they're just forums. There isn't some collective determination; to believe they *are* collectively determined by the most strong-willed and connected *here* is indeed to believe in a mystical Masonic order. They still have a higher level of freedom than that, even as they are!

Forums and their insidious cultures grew out of gaming culture and show it, badly.  Tech bro culture is hardly the go-to for nuance and sensitivity. But you don't have to somehow gauge people's receptivity before speaking -- why are you compelled to essentially join a cult and go through a series of arcane levels just to comment on a subject of the day? You're not. It's a public forums, not your house.

That is, it would be nice if the rules of "your living room" prevailed (don't discuss politics, race, religion, sex) but they obviously don't. People start provocative threads on these topics constantly to gain reputational points and literal points to be "post of the day". Those who start them generally have only one perspective and after a few rounds spend the rest of the thread ARing those who disagree until it is closed. Mission accomplished. You yourself welcome these invisible "norms" if they fit your views and reject them if they don't -- but what kind of ecosystem is that? It's at best a collision of ecosystems, as the thread about the forms indicating race and ethnicity shows.

And in fact people aren't "ranting" as you seem to indicate; they are disagreeing or correcting people with false premises. If someone believes that the survey, for example, was merely copy-pasted off the first web site they happened to find in Google, you have to point out that this form exists everywhere and is the norm and is not "copied". 

The world is a far wider place than you know or I know and the forums, even with its tiny percentage of people on it, is far more diverse than realized because only 5-10% of the user base read them, and of these only 2% or less comment -- because they are intimidated. I'll never forget how Desmond Shang, a fine creator of SL furniture and houses and owner of the very successful Caledonia islands, a skilled technologist in RL, with a wealth of knowledge, simply said early on: I will never participate in the forums because the Lindens can ban you over speech that isn't really offensive on the basis of ARs; if enough of them pile up you can *lose your land you paid for*. The Lindens coupled "speech offenses" with property ownership and banned people permanently, closing their accounts, which meant the loss of their land.

And given some of the things I have seen said lately, I wonder if they have restored that "coupling" in order to "clean up the forums" and force some people off them. it already works beautifully. I constantly talk to smart, creative, productive people in SL every day, to whom I mention some thread on the forums and they say they don't read them, they are too crazy, too risky, etc. And yet you imagine they are a carefully-crafted morality play. Where is this wondrous "ecosystem" created by finely groomed people who have learned the art of conversation from a 17th century French salon? In your amen corner?

Your notion of what is rude might be terribly overbroad compared to another person's, etc. It's really not up to you as an oldbie or a person with a set of views to determine this ecosystem. I totally realize you'd like it to be that way, but your belief in this social contract that nobody signed up for is the real bane of the forums. Nobody agreed to be in your particular social contract with your particular politics and experience...except your posse. And that's all there is to it The only reason you can persist with this notion is that part of your set of views resonates with the moderators, and your ARs, or the ARs of your peers in your particular defined "ecosystem" have traction. If there were different moderators, they wouldn't.  Of course there are several people here who think they create the "room" which we all "must read," and of course they conflict, creating problems even for their Mole friends. 

The worst thing you say is this notion that people need to "read the room." For one, they are not required to do that. Given that English is a second language for many, many people, you can't expect such nuances. For two, who died and made some people kings and queens of rooms? What is a room? 

You've written about so many unspoken and unwritten rules here (that mainly have no basis in the TOS) that it's impossible for even a person even completely attuned to your belief system to follow them! Anyone can become guilty of an infraction in a heartbeat.  And that's the problem, off topic as it may be. It's the central problem of the forums, really, the belief that there is a "community" and that it "should" have norms of this or that. There is only the TOS to govern this in reality, and that is applied unevenly, and is generally applied at the best of those who file ARs. There is nothing in any TOS or even in any Linden/Mole matronly warning that says you must "read the room" and treat the forums like a press conference at the Kremlin.

Sure, in an indirect sense, maybe the "room" dictates the norms because "the room" files the ARs. I think everyone should cease filing ARs. That would mean the moderators would actually have to read threads and be more selective about what they "govern". The TOS, applied by people who we accept are in good will, then might actually apply. It does not now, except unevenly, tugged and pulled by ARs because no moderator can be expected to read all the threads, and no company could justify dozens of mods reading all this stuff. 

It still wouldn't be free and normal, even at the level of the Washington Post or New York Times forums, overrun with Kremlin trolls as they are. But I think it would be better. 

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59 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

The distinction between "privacy" and "solitude" is a really interesting one, and one I'd not considered. I suppose I can be socially gregarious, and still desire privacy in at least some important respects. But the state of being by oneself in a sense requires ramped-up tools that will ensure solitude?

It's a complicated subject, to be sure. I recommend reading this excellent article that appeared in The Atlantic quite a long time ago but remains (in my opinion) the most concise overview of the topic >> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/302696/
I have known all my life that I can fake an extroverted persona when I need to. I may not be comfortable in a crowd, but I can read the dynamics of a gathering and can fit myself into them well enough to appear as if I "belong" there for a while. It's my experience -- and this is reflected in the Atlantic article as well -- that more extroverted people have a hard time faking comfort in solitude. If nothing else, while they are alone they don't actually need to appear comfortable; they can just be uncomfortable in silence. So, 

59 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

is it possible to enjoy solitude in the midst of a social context?

Yes indeed, and it is my defense mechanism: wallflower mode.  I disengage from conversation except as a listener, or I actually seek a quieter corner of the room where I can retreat mentally without looking like too much of a dork.  It's not solitude in the sense of physical isolation, but it's like what used to be called "my happy place".  ( This is a greatly simplified version of things, BTW.  I do not have claustrophobia or crowd anxiety.  All I'm fighting in a large gathering is the vague feeling that I would rather be somewhere else, and I'm looking forward to being there. There are plenty of people who have much stronger reactions to crowds; I can only imagine what they have to deal with.)

1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I love the Mainland -- it's messy and frequently very ugly, but it's been my home base for most of my time in SL, and I actually value the mess, as well as the serendipitous encounters I have there.

And that's where the difference between us lies, Scylla. I don't look forward to serendipitous encounters. I can visit Mainland regions and appreciate their vibrancy, but if I lived there I would be looking over my shoulder all the time, primed for a chance encounter. That's nowhere near as comfortable as being on my private estate, where I know everyone I am likely to meet.  The predictability that you see as sterility is a valued asset to me.

In writing all of this, I feel as if I risk overselling my point. Introversion/Extroversion is not a binary; it's a spectrum. The terms are convenient labels for a complex set of feelings and reactions -- easily misunderstood or misapplied. In my mind, what's important is where we find comfort in the world.  Discussions about privacy begin from that starting point, and so do our misunderstandings about how other people define "comfort".

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In general, I haven't had a lot of issues around privacy, though it did take me a little bit of time initially to understand what could be expected and what LL tools could be used to mitigate actions by others who might not have the same ideas as myself regarding what I would consider polite or accepted behavior.   Overall, for my needs, I've felt the provided land and preferences tools are adequate.  

Some things I don't worry about, because I don't see them - for example, I don't have look at crosshairs turned on for others or for myself, so if anyone is looking at me, I wouldn't be aware of it; I don't know if anyone comes into my parcel or house when I'm not there; I don't know if someone is camming into my house.  Though if someone did those things and messaged me about it, depending on what they were saying, I may or may not be bothered by it - if I felt it was a creepy situation I would block them and if I didn't already have it on, turn on parcel privacy. 

I think solitude is probably what I'm after in SL, also, though I tend to phrase it in terms of "being a loner" in my profile.  However it is not being absolutely alone that I like - I do like to know that there are others around, even if I don't interact with them (or even if they are not actually present all the time).  I think it's one of the reasons I like living on mainland, because I know there are neighbors somewhere in the region and when I look at the map I can see that I'm living as part of a somewhat populated large area.  I do tend to look for parcels (or abandoned land that I can request) in regions that are only sparcely populated (and have a level of messiness or quirky-ness that I can be comfortable wtih).   From time to time, I have one of the new linden homes for a couple of months, but it's always been more of a second home, with my main home location remaining on mainland.    

If I'm living along a road or public waterway (or the few times I lived in a residential estate region) I will turn parcel privacy off, because I do like to see the occassional person passing by, even if I don't ever talk with anyone.  I always set a landing point location for my parcel.   In the 7 years I've been here, there's only been one time that I ejected and banned someone from my house.   I do keep a skybox up around 4000m that does have a security orb keeping people out up at that general altitude range.  That's my go-to space for when I'm AFK for more than a few minutes, or when I'm doing things like trying out mesh heads or bodies or adjusting my shape.  

 In terms of privacy about my RL,  I've shared some generalized information with friends in SL, but not my RL name or RL names of any of my family members.  I haven't shared anything with a friend that would be detrimental to my RL if they should happen to share it with someone else.

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50 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

You're only digging yourself in deeper but that's helpful and its own warning to newbies. Forums aren't delicate ecosystems; they're just forums. There isn't some collective determination; to believe they *are* collectively determined by the most strong-willed and connected *here* is indeed to believe in a mystical Masonic order. They still have a higher level of freedom than that, even as they are!

Forums and their insidious cultures grew out of gaming culture and show it, badly.  Tech bro culture is hardly the go-to for nuance and sensitivity. But you don't have to somehow gauge people's receptivity before speaking -- why are you compelled to essentially join a cult and go through a series of arcane levels just to comment on a subject of the day? You're not. It's a public forums, not your house.

That is, it would be nice if the rules of "your living room" prevailed (don't discuss politics, race, religion, sex) but they obviously don't. People start provocative threads on these topics constantly to gain reputational points and literal points to be "post of the day". Those who start them generally have only one perspective and after a few rounds spend the rest of the thread ARing those who disagree until it is closed. Mission accomplished. You yourself welcome these invisible "norms" if they fit your views and reject them if they don't -- but what kind of ecosystem is that? It's at best a collision of ecosystems, as the thread about the forms indicating race and ethnicity shows.

And in fact people aren't "ranting" as you seem to indicate; they are disagreeing or correcting people with false premises. If someone believes that the survey, for example, was merely copy-pasted off the first web site they happened to find in Google, you have to point out that this form exists everywhere and is the norm and is not "copied". 

The world is a far wider place than you know or I know and the forums, even with its tiny percentage of people on it, is far more diverse than realized because only 5-10% of the user base read them, and of these only 2% or less comment -- because they are intimidated. I'll never forget how Desmond Shang, a fine creator of SL furniture and houses and owner of the very successful Caledonia islands, a skilled technologist in RL, with a wealth of knowledge, simply said early on: I will never participate in the forums because the Lindens can ban you over speech that isn't really offensive on the basis of ARs; if enough of them pile up you can *lose your land you paid for*. The Lindens coupled "speech offenses" with property ownership and banned people permanently, closing their accounts, which meant the loss of their land.

And given some of the things I have seen said lately, I wonder if they have restored that "coupling" in order to "clean up the forums" and force some people off them. it already works beautifully. I constantly talk to smart, creative, productive people in SL every day, to whom I mention some thread on the forums and they say they don't read them, they are too crazy, too risky, etc. And yet you imagine they are a carefully-crafted morality play. Where is this wondrous "ecosystem" created by finely groomed people who have learned the art of conversation from a 17th century French salon? In your amen corner?

Your notion of what is rude might be terribly overbroad compared to another person's, etc. It's really not up to you as an oldbie or a person with a set of views to determine this ecosystem. I totally realize you'd like it to be that way, but your belief in this social contract that nobody signed up for is the real bane of the forums. Nobody agreed to be in your particular social contract with your particular politics and experience...except your posse. And that's all there is to it The only reason you can persist with this notion is that part of your set of views resonates with the moderators, and your ARs, or the ARs of your peers in your particular defined "ecosystem" have traction. If there were different moderators, they wouldn't.  Of course there are several people here who think they create the "room" which we all "must read," and of course they conflict, creating problems even for their Mole friends. 

The worst thing you say is this notion that people need to "read the room." For one, they are not required to do that. Given that English is a second language for many, many people, you can't expect such nuances. For two, who died and made some people kings and queens of rooms? What is a room? 

You've written about so many unspoken and unwritten rules here (that mainly have no basis in the TOS) that it's impossible for even a person even completely attuned to your belief system to follow them! Anyone can become guilty of an infraction in a heartbeat.  And that's the problem, off topic as it may be. It's the central problem of the forums, really, the belief that there is a "community" and that it "should" have norms of this or that. There is only the TOS to govern this in reality, and that is applied unevenly, and is generally applied at the best of those who file ARs. There is nothing in any TOS or even in any Linden/Mole matronly warning that says you must "read the room" and treat the forums like a press conference at the Kremlin.

Sure, in an indirect sense, maybe the "room" dictates the norms because "the room" files the ARs. I think everyone should cease filing ARs. That would mean the moderators would actually have to read threads and be more selective about what they "govern". The TOS, applied by people who we accept are in good will, then might actually apply. It does not now, except unevenly, tugged and pulled by ARs because no moderator can be expected to read all the threads, and no company could justify dozens of mods reading all this stuff. 

It still wouldn't be free and normal, even at the level of the Washington Post or New York Times forums, overrun with Kremlin trolls as they are. But I think it would be better. 

In order to believe in any of this I'd have to live in some sort of alternate reality of conspiracies theories that some would choose to believe because it makes them feel better to villainize others.  I prefer the real world. I don't need to make stuff up or exaggerate things so far that my ideas get lost in the misdirection or misinformation.  This part of the forum is for social discussion.  If you want "just the facts ma'am" and zero discussion, try the Technology section, Scripts, or Land (I've seen attacks from you to others in Land, too though), or anywhere else but the People Forum.  People disagreeing with you is not some kind of trolling, but your accusations are.  They are personal to the individual you direct them at and have nothing to do with the topic being discussed.

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59 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

It's a complicated subject, to be sure. I recommend reading this excellent article that appeared in The Atlantic quite a long time ago but remains (in my opinion) the most concise overview of the topic >> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/302696/
I have known all my life that I can fake an extroverted persona when I need to. I may not be comfortable in a crowd, but I can read the dynamics of a gathering and can fit myself into them well enough to appear as if I "belong" there for a while. It's my experience -- and this is reflected in the Atlantic article as well -- that more extroverted people have a hard time faking comfort in solitude. If nothing else, while they are alone they don't actually need to appear comfortable; they can just be uncomfortable in silence. So, 

Yes indeed, and it is my defense mechanism: wallflower mode.  I disengage from conversation except as a listener, or I actually seek a quieter corner of the room where I can retreat mentally without looking like too much of a dork.  It's not solitude in the sense of physical isolation, but it's like what used to be called "my happy place".  ( This is a greatly simplified version of things, BTW.  I do not have claustrophobia or crowd anxiety.  All I'm fighting in a large gathering is the vague feeling that I would rather be somewhere else, and I'm looking forward to being there. There are plenty of people who have much stronger reactions to crowds; I can only imagine what they have to deal with.)

And that's where the difference between us lies, Scylla. I don't look forward to serendipitous encounters. I can visit Mainland regions and appreciate their vibrancy, but if I lived there I would be looking over my shoulder all the time, primed for a chance encounter. That's nowhere near as comfortable as being on my private estate, where I know everyone I am likely to meet.  The predictability that you see as sterility is a valued asset to me.

In writing all of this, I feel as if I risk overselling my point. Introversion/Extroversion is not a binary; it's a spectrum. The terms are convenient labels for a complex set of feelings and reactions -- easily misunderstood or misapplied. In my mind, what's important is where we find comfort in the world.  Discussions about privacy begin from that starting point, and so do our misunderstandings about how other people define "comfort".

First, an apology. "Sterile" was an unfortunate and inappropriate term to use with reference to estates, even if I framed it as my own perception. It's too value-laden to be useful, and it puts anyone who prefers this kind of setting at a disadvantage. There's probably a more appropriate term, but maybe "neat" and "well-organized" or even "well-designed" would work -- because in truth they often are, even if that isn't always to my personal taste.

I hadn't thought to frame this in terms of introvert / extrovert. That's not really a frame of reference I use very often, but I can see that it's another, potentially very fruitful lens through which to view this subject. Possibly the reason I don't think in these terms myself is that I am an extrovert? I'm not so sure that I actually am, though: while I love socializing, I never feel at a loss on my own either. I like my own company, and sometimes do wish that I got to enjoy more of it in peace. As you say, this is a spectrum. In fact, maybe a 3d model would be more appropriate. I'm sure I fit in there somewhere, anyway, but not at an extreme.

The bit I've bolded above seems to me particularly invaluable. It's another useful reminder that we don't live in a one-size-fits-all world, virtual or real, and that one person's haven is probably another person's hell. Talking about "privacy" in reductive terms, as though it's something we all want or experience in the same way, is probably not helpful.

And if that's true, then all the more reason to celebrate the diversity of experience that SL offers, because it can provide different kinds of havens to different kinds of people.

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

You're only digging yourself in deeper but that's helpful and its own warning to newbies. Forums aren't delicate ecosystems; they're just forums. There isn't some collective determination; to believe they *are* collectively determined by the most strong-willed and connected *here* is indeed to believe in a mystical Masonic order. They still have a higher level of freedom than that, even as they are!

Forums and their insidious cultures grew out of gaming culture and show it, badly.  Tech bro culture is hardly the go-to for nuance and sensitivity. But you don't have to somehow gauge people's receptivity before speaking -- why are you compelled to essentially join a cult and go through a series of arcane levels just to comment on a subject of the day? You're not. It's a public forums, not your house.

That is, it would be nice if the rules of "your living room" prevailed (don't discuss politics, race, religion, sex) but they obviously don't. People start provocative threads on these topics constantly to gain reputational points and literal points to be "post of the day". Those who start them generally have only one perspective and after a few rounds spend the rest of the thread ARing those who disagree until it is closed. Mission accomplished. You yourself welcome these invisible "norms" if they fit your views and reject them if they don't -- but what kind of ecosystem is that? It's at best a collision of ecosystems, as the thread about the forms indicating race and ethnicity shows.

And in fact people aren't "ranting" as you seem to indicate; they are disagreeing or correcting people with false premises. If someone believes that the survey, for example, was merely copy-pasted off the first web site they happened to find in Google, you have to point out that this form exists everywhere and is the norm and is not "copied". 

The world is a far wider place than you know or I know and the forums, even with its tiny percentage of people on it, is far more diverse than realized because only 5-10% of the user base read them, and of these only 2% or less comment -- because they are intimidated. I'll never forget how Desmond Shang, a fine creator of SL furniture and houses and owner of the very successful Caledonia islands, a skilled technologist in RL, with a wealth of knowledge, simply said early on: I will never participate in the forums because the Lindens can ban you over speech that isn't really offensive on the basis of ARs; if enough of them pile up you can *lose your land you paid for*. The Lindens coupled "speech offenses" with property ownership and banned people permanently, closing their accounts, which meant the loss of their land.

And given some of the things I have seen said lately, I wonder if they have restored that "coupling" in order to "clean up the forums" and force some people off them. it already works beautifully. I constantly talk to smart, creative, productive people in SL every day, to whom I mention some thread on the forums and they say they don't read them, they are too crazy, too risky, etc. And yet you imagine they are a carefully-crafted morality play. Where is this wondrous "ecosystem" created by finely groomed people who have learned the art of conversation from a 17th century French salon? In your amen corner?

Your notion of what is rude might be terribly overbroad compared to another person's, etc. It's really not up to you as an oldbie or a person with a set of views to determine this ecosystem. I totally realize you'd like it to be that way, but your belief in this social contract that nobody signed up for is the real bane of the forums. Nobody agreed to be in your particular social contract with your particular politics and experience...except your posse. And that's all there is to it The only reason you can persist with this notion is that part of your set of views resonates with the moderators, and your ARs, or the ARs of your peers in your particular defined "ecosystem" have traction. If there were different moderators, they wouldn't.  Of course there are several people here who think they create the "room" which we all "must read," and of course they conflict, creating problems even for their Mole friends. 

The worst thing you say is this notion that people need to "read the room." For one, they are not required to do that. Given that English is a second language for many, many people, you can't expect such nuances. For two, who died and made some people kings and queens of rooms? What is a room? 

You've written about so many unspoken and unwritten rules here (that mainly have no basis in the TOS) that it's impossible for even a person even completely attuned to your belief system to follow them! Anyone can become guilty of an infraction in a heartbeat.  And that's the problem, off topic as it may be. It's the central problem of the forums, really, the belief that there is a "community" and that it "should" have norms of this or that. There is only the TOS to govern this in reality, and that is applied unevenly, and is generally applied at the best of those who file ARs. There is nothing in any TOS or even in any Linden/Mole matronly warning that says you must "read the room" and treat the forums like a press conference at the Kremlin.

Sure, in an indirect sense, maybe the "room" dictates the norms because "the room" files the ARs. I think everyone should cease filing ARs. That would mean the moderators would actually have to read threads and be more selective about what they "govern". The TOS, applied by people who we accept are in good will, then might actually apply. It does not now, except unevenly, tugged and pulled by ARs because no moderator can be expected to read all the threads, and no company could justify dozens of mods reading all this stuff. 

It still wouldn't be free and normal, even at the level of the Washington Post or New York Times forums, overrun with Kremlin trolls as they are. But I think it would be better. 

I find it a bit ironic that you seem to be embracing something that sounds a bit like the rationale behind hactivism and even griefing. You're equating "disruption" with "opening up." Sometimes it can be, when it is thoughtfully managed, but more often setting off a bomb in the middle of a supposedly-complacent community merely destroys without recreating or engendering anything positive. And your model for community democracy is implicitly conservative, with a touch of Social Darwinism thrown in for good measure: without explicit hierarchy, you seem to be suggesting, the "strong-willed and connected" rise to the top and impose their own social order.

The fact is that no one here has access to any more tools than anyone else. No one is "stronger" than anyone else. I have a great many reputation points. So what? That's not even displayed on posts anymore. It doesn't provide me with any more social influence or leverage than someone with much less, and it sure doesn't make me a part of the governance of this place, official or unofficial.

These forums ARE democratic, because literally everyone has the same abilities and affordances as anyone else. And generally speaking, everyone is listened to, and judged, if they are judged at all, by the quality of what they have said. If I write something stupid, I get dinged for it. Which is exactly as it should be. And god knows it happens.

The culture that has developed here hasn't been nurtured or designed or imposed from above, or even from one particular position within: it has grown organically as a kind of democratic consensus of everyone who posts here. And, as I suggested, it is continually changing, in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

As to your suggestion that there is literally some kind of FIC at work here organizing AR parties and the like, let me be succinct and direct. This is a paranoid fantasy. No one does this. Or if they do, I've not been invited (which is a shame because I'm sure I'm missing out on free baked goods). Nor do "we" (whoever "we" is supposed to be) have meetings on Discord or in group DMs about the state of the forums. It just doesn't happen.

I personally almost never AR posts here -- the first time I've done so in at least a year was a week or so ago when someone spammed the GD with outright racist threads directed explicitly against a poster here. I am absolutely certain I have never ARed a post by you. And, conversely, I DO myself get ARed, and occasionally disciplined. I received a warning from the mods here a week ago that is verbatim identical to the one you posted on Twitter. I have myself been suspended twice, once for using a term that yields something like 8 pages of results if you search for it on the forum.

Somehow, I've managed to weather this "persecution" without imagining that there is a sinister committee at work somewhere that is out to get me.

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Privacy is very important to me including with my real life. Besides anything else I disclose my real life gender to everyone I meet since I am a female in RL and use a male avatar online because I feel more comfortable being myself with using a male avatar. I have had very few who made it a big deal about it and would call me a catfish but its a personal preference that I rather use and if it makes people uncomfortable then that's their problem not mine. I rather be myself even behind the avatar in my own opinion. 

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1 hour ago, xxVi3perxx said:

Privacy is very important to me including with my real life. Besides anything else I disclose my real life gender to everyone I meet since I am a female in RL and use a male avatar online because I feel more comfortable being myself with using a male avatar. I have had very few who made it a big deal about it and would call me a catfish but its a personal preference that I rather use and if it makes people uncomfortable then that's their problem not mine. I rather be myself even behind the avatar in my own opinion. 

Really interesting! I think there are a great many people who use avatars that represent different gender identities than their RL, for lots of reasons, so I don't think that's all that unusual, although it seems to be more common for RL men to do this than women? I do know of some RL women who feel that they garner more "respect" representing as a man in SL, but I take it that's not your case.

As regards catfishing, that's clearly nonsense, especially as you say that you disclose your RL gender. This is SL: one of the explicit points of the platform is to let you "be" who you want to be, including a different gender, and the place is packed with people who do this (and represent themselves as different from the RL identities in other ways as well). You can safely ignore people who say that about you.

Can I ask you -- and please, only answer if you do feel comfortable doing so! -- what it is about being male in RL that makes you feel more "comfortable"? I can speculate, but I'd be really interested in your answer, but only if you are comfortable sharing -- you do say you value your privacy, and I respect that!

In any case, thank you for your contribution!

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3 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

As to your suggestion that there is literally some kind of FIC at work here organizing AR parties and the like, let me be succinct and direct. This is a paranoid fantasy. No one does this. Or if they do, I've not been invited (which is a shame because I'm sure I'm missing out on free baked goods). Nor do "we" (whoever "we" is supposed to be) have meetings on Discord or in group DMs about the state of the forums. It just doesn't happen.

Scylla, denying the obvious will get you nowhere.

From Prok's blog, nearly a decade ago...
https://3dblogger.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2012/04/ll-doesnt-have-a-sense-of-humour.html
 
From which I quote: "Meanwhile, I noticed that Madelaine McMasters -- is she FIC royalty?"

As I've explained here before, I am not royalty, I am clergy.

3 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Somehow, I've managed to weather this "persecution" without imagining that there is a sinister committee at work somewhere that is out to get me.

As High Priestess of the Forums, it is my duty to welcome initiates with "baked goods". Here's an example of what's in store for you...

274250709_BakedGoods.thumb.jpg.9ba4601e956419062987c0309edeee5b.jpg

That's a loaf of "French Bread" weighing just under two pounds and about the size of a softball. There's a ten point buck mangling shrubs in my yard. Had I better aim, I would have felled it with that loaf, which now lays on the lawn resisting all attempts by the wildlife to penetrate it.

To those of you who feel left out of the Feted Inner Core, take a good look at the welcome gift and reconsider.

 

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1 hour ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Scylla, denying the obvious will get you nowhere.

From Prok's blog, nearly a decade ago...
https://3dblogger.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2012/04/ll-doesnt-have-a-sense-of-humour.html
 
From which I quote: "Meanwhile, I noticed that Madelaine McMasters -- is she FIC royalty?"

As I've explained here before, I am not royalty, I am clergy.

As High Priestess of the Forums, it is my duty to welcome initiates with "baked goods". Here's an example of what's in store for you...

274250709_BakedGoods.thumb.jpg.9ba4601e956419062987c0309edeee5b.jpg

That's a loaf of "French Bread" weighing just under two pounds and about the size of a softball. There's a ten point buck mangling shrubs in my yard. Had I better aim, I would have felled it with that loaf, which now lays on the lawn resisting all attempts by the wildlife to penetrate it.

To those of you who feel left out of the Feted Inner Core, take a good look at the welcome gift and reconsider.

 

 

Looks like a drop biscuit to me. I discovered them quite by accident 40 years ago when I was attempting to make sugar cookies for the first time, from scratch... without a recipe. They were quite yummy. That's when the drop biscuits took over and I got lazy making biscuits.

Bisquick-Biscuits-6.jpg

 

Slather with real butter or drizzle with honey... jams, jellies, preserves...

Now I'm hungry again and I just ate dinner.

 

Edited by Silent Mistwalker
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5 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I find it a bit ironic that you seem to be embracing something that sounds a bit like the rationale behind hactivism and even griefing. You're equating "disruption" with "opening up." Sometimes it can be, when it is thoughtfully managed, but more often setting off a bomb in the middle of a supposedly-complacent community merely destroys without recreating or engendering anything positive. And your model for community democracy is implicitly conservative, with a touch of Social Darwinism thrown in for good measure: without explicit hierarchy, you seem to be suggesting, the "strong-willed and connected" rise to the top and impose their own social order.

The fact is that no one here has access to any more tools than anyone else. No one is "stronger" than anyone else. I have a great many reputation points. So what? That's not even displayed on posts anymore. It doesn't provide me with any more social influence or leverage than someone with much less, and it sure doesn't make me a part of the governance of this place, official or unofficial.

These forums ARE democratic, because literally everyone has the same abilities and affordances as anyone else. And generally speaking, everyone is listened to, and judged, if they are judged at all, by the quality of what they have said. If I write something stupid, I get dinged for it. Which is exactly as it should be. And god knows it happens.

The culture that has developed here hasn't been nurtured or designed or imposed from above, or even from one particular position within: it has grown organically as a kind of democratic consensus of everyone who posts here. And, as I suggested, it is continually changing, in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

As to your suggestion that there is literally some kind of FIC at work here organizing AR parties and the like, let me be succinct and direct. This is a paranoid fantasy. No one does this. Or if they do, I've not been invited (which is a shame because I'm sure I'm missing out on free baked goods). Nor do "we" (whoever "we" is supposed to be) have meetings on Discord or in group DMs about the state of the forums. It just doesn't happen.

I personally almost never AR posts here -- the first time I've done so in at least a year was a week or so ago when someone spammed the GD with outright racist threads directed explicitly against a poster here. I am absolutely certain I have never ARed a post by you. And, conversely, I DO myself get ARed, and occasionally disciplined. I received a warning from the mods here a week ago that is verbatim identical to the one you posted on Twitter. I have myself been suspended twice, once for using a term that yields something like 8 pages of results if you search for it on the forum.

Somehow, I've managed to weather this "persecution" without imagining that there is a sinister committee at work somewhere that is out to get me.

I don't know *what* you're talking about, as I'm not "embracing' anything, least of all griefing and hactivism; I'm explaining that you cannot invoke some notion of a set of norms here that you and your like-minded associates control -- because you can't. It doesn't really exist except a bubble around you and your associates that generally isn't punctured because no one can have a fair fight. You're gas-lighting if you first claim there is an unseen set of subtle norms that newbies ignore at their peril, then claim that no one is any more advantaged than anyone else. I could pick out half a dozen nasty, vicious, personalized barbs in the current threads that are left to stand, far worse than anything I ever got "action" over as an obvious illustration. They are there because they weren't AR'd, because the people who made them have their posses and their connections. The rationale for this isn't always obvious, but THAT it pertains is evident for anyone to see. 

By the same token, refusing to "fit in" with your elusive bubble of norms and simply expressing one's real opinion isn't "ranting" or stumbling around like a bull in a China shop with deliberate malice. It's just an expression of an opinion that you're not required to react to. Yet people react in threads like "what is your gender" instead of giving them the pass they deserve because they are defending some kind of perceived turf.

That is, you can invoke anything you like, but it's constantly defeated by pluralism that still prevails, even if limited. Since you're implied there is a norm that newbies ignore at their peril, and some "culture" that people "must" abide by, you're the one with the social Darwinism and authoritarianism, not me. What's Darwinistic about explaining that Darwinism thrives here because it's not free and fair? I can't recall any thread I have *started* that has been closed; instead I see three threads I started continue to have good discussion weeks after inception. I have "excellent" on my reputation badge despite the efforts of a rew in particular to put "confused" or "ridicule" on nearly every post of mine.

Once again, you invoke an "organic, democratic, consensus" that exists only in your own mind and the minds of your like-minded friends and allies. You believe that you can perceive it and invoke it as a disciplinary tool against others and can't concede that this notion itself is what is oppressive. But the reality of the forums and the crazy threads that appear on them constantly -- some as trolls and vanity projects, some as genuine beliefs that are simply "out of what" with your delicate" norms -- keep disrupting your world. 

You simply can't see yourself when you write this:

The culture that has developed here hasn't been nurtured or designed or imposed from above, or even from one particular position within: it has grown organically as a kind of democratic consensus of everyone who posts here. And, as I suggested, it is continually changing, in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

That isn't what you said originally and anyone can compare your statements and see that. And there isn't any democratic consensus, and to point out the obvious isn't to "embrace" illiberal authoritarianism. It is merely to point out that those who constantly file ARs are the ones who forcibly establish the "culture" here. Those who heckle, bully, and silence usually with impunity establish the "culture". Worst of all, you imply that this special invisible democratic consensus you imagine exists -- because you and your  like-minded forums allies make and enforce it -- constantly changes, keeping people off balance. If you have your own pedigree of warnings and bans, that doesn't establish your liberalism; that's just the nature of the venue. And if you accept *this* authoritarianism cheerfully, and crow that anyone who doesn't must have a persecution mania and a conspiracy theory, that doesn't bless it or normalize it. It's not normal. Gaming culture and tech bro culture has spread all over the Internet.

It doesn't take an AR "party" to make a Linden/Mole react; one is enough. But there are AR parties even so. The system functions by reporting, not by perusal, and that's not a paranoid fantasy; that's the system. That's how it has to be when there is so much content and so few laborers. It's a pernicious system and shouldn't be blessed. If your conscience is clear that you never click the AR button, great, but that *is* how the system works. 

In RL, even on moderated media forums, you can criticize private and public individuals and corporations described in the news, and no mod comes on and says if you have a dispute with another citizen, you have to take it off the forums. You can describe the bad behaviour of a company, for example, that lied about its blood testing kits, and no mod comes on and tells you that inworld disputes cannot be aired on the forums. This forums regulation, tied the TOS, which often forums' mavens enjoy impunity over (they can start and keep running angry and hostile threads about landlords they perceive as duplicitious and corrupt with no intervention, for example) is the single greatest feature that distinguishes the gaming/virtual world forum from the forums of real life, and it means bad behaviour harming people cannot be reported or criticized, or false claims about bad behaviour cannot be disputed, making for an uncivil society.

if you don't take part in networked and concerted ARs, that's great, but others do as we see the results. If you yourself have a rap sheet and take it cheerfully, that is only an explanation of how the pernicious system can perpetuate -- it isn't evidence that others are "paranoid" for reporting on its illiberal nature and its outcomes. 

You're welcome to have the last word here as I don't see any point in continuing as you can't see your self or what you are celebrating. But it's good that you wrote about it at length because now others can.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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11 minutes ago, Silent Mistwalker said:

 

Looks like a drop biscuit to me. I discovered them quite by accident 40 years ago when I was attempting to make sugar cookies for the first time, from scratch... without a recipe. They were quite yummy. That's when the drop biscuits took over and I got lazy making biscuits.

Bisquick-Biscuits-6.jpg

 

Slather with real butter or drizzle with honey... jams, jellies, preserves...

Now I'm hungry again and I just ate dinner.

 

Lordy, I remember those!  Mom didn't make them from scratch.  We always had a box of Bisquick in the pantry, though.  They were always after dinner snacks.  Fresh out if the oven with lots and lots of butter.

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