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  Living Inside a Fishbowl  
Posted 2005-08-02 by Tony Walsh
Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale was recently interviewed by the SF Chronicle's Tom Abate. From Abate's article: "Rosedale said so many social scientists have logged on to Second Life to observe these virtual communities that it has provoked debate. 'People say they don't want to live inside a fishbowl, but of course in a sense they do,' he said. The compromise has been to set up ethics guidelines, borrowed from the social scientists, to govern what these observers can and can't do." [emphasis mine]

So Second Life's creator thinks his customers want to live in a fishbowl (in a sense). This explains why Linden Lab has traditionally been lacking when it comes to protecting residents from uninvited academic involvement, why the company has allowed professional trendspotters to take notes on Second Life's fashion scene, and why Rosedale feels requiring selected observers to adhere to ethical guidelines is a "compromise." While some Second Life residents are aware they are being observed, I very much doubt that most residents are aware they're under scrutiny, let alone that they "want to live in a fishbowl" (in a sense).
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Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
August 5, 2005 @ 3:29 pm
Tbone's recent town hall indicates that the people who have the residents most under surveillance are Lindens themselves. They flock to see "unusual activity" when it crops up in their programs. I sometimes wonder why/how Lindens know to drop in on events -- just following the green dots? The Lindens have LOADS of information on us. I often wonder what they, as a company, will do, with all the huge volume of "proprietary" information they have collected over time on the businesses of SL. They're in a position to know everything, but I wonder what they do with the data other them selectively dump it on the forums in a zip file every now and then where only a select few obsessive tekkies sift through it.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
August 12, 2005 @ 11:03 pm
I like to think the Lindens are way too disorganized to do anything meaningful with collected data, but that could just be wishful thinking.
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