Campus Second Life
, a program intended to open Second Life's virtual environs and population to academics, is again feeling the heat. Last October, a well-intentioned university class became the object of resentment
by many Second Life residents, and the result was that the scrutiny directed at residents was turned on its head. Class professor Richard Parent ended up having to do a good deal of damage control to clear up misconceptions and repair relations with residents. These events were soon forgotten. Unfortunately, not only by residents, but with another group of academics, and possibly by Linden Lab.
Second Life's "Radiks" family is comprised of students and professor Megan Conklin
of the Elon University course entitled "Imagining Technology
." The Radiks have lately been asking a number of pointed questions in the Second Life forums designed to troll for responses useful to the students' area of study. Few of the Radiks students have been up front about their research postings, but others haven't been so dilligent. The end result is that a new debate has been unecessarily launched, casting scrutiny on the Radiks. Given how avoidable this situation was, one might wonder if there's a larger experiment
As with the first incident (Parent's "Pitt" family), this second one hasn't seen much (if any) Linden attention [see the bottom of this article for an update on this]. It's the researchers versus the residents, with no apparent moderation in sight. Like the first, this second incident could be cleared up quite easily, it's just that the residents are left up to do the detective work and come up with their own conclusions. It doesn't help that there are seemingly either no guidelines for the Radiks to follow, or the guidelines are not being enforced.
In the interest of researching the researchers, here are some topics the Radiks family has been looking into, pulled from the Second Life forums
. Some interesting questions, even if pretty basic. It would be noble of the students to share their conclusions with the residents that being surveyed, but research subjects are not traditionally afforded such considerations.
I'm new to SL and I am in a class that investigates the in-world life. I was wondering if anyone had any insight/links that would provide me with information about SL marriages and relationships. Thanks for any help.
Status and Class in Second Life
Do you feel that their is a hierarchy in Second Life society?
If there is do you think that this hierarchy is based on building skills or something else?
My friend and I were having this conversation today and I felt that me being a novice user not completely familar with all the capabilities of SL that there is a heirarchy present. He didn't agree with me but he is also a very experienced user of second life. Let me know what you think on this issue. It would be greatly appreciated in helping each of our arguments!!
[Note the lack of disclosure about the purpose of the question and the nature of the poster]
Second Life and the Prisoner Dilemma
How do you guys think the prisoner dilemma applies to second life?
Personal Sl Appearance
I just started second life a week or two ago and I've noticed alot of people have very complex and interesting avatars. Do you feel people get judged or looked down upon sometimes for not having a cool or unique avatar? I mean I have a pretty normal avatar, just some white spiky hair, everything i wear was given to me. I was just wondering if its that big a deal, or if its just as cool to spend most of your time building or talking to people without really concerning yourself with trying to get the newest outfits.
Escape from RL
This question was given to me by my professor. I'm not looking for answers, just a good healthy discussion.
Is Second Life a means of escape from real life for you?
An example: some people have mentioned that they are disabled in RL, but in SL they can run, walk, fly, drive, whatever they want, they can achieve. For them, SL is an escape from a RL that limits what they can do.
How about you?
[Some disclosure, but not much]
Robin Linden, SVP Marketing and Business Development, posted the guidelines for inworld research and observation.
Megan Conklin responded to some of the forum controversy by stating that her students wouldn't be posting any of their work publicly, that the privacy of residents was a chief concern, and that the Radiks are trying hard to work within the posted guidelines.
TLuskie Radiks hosted a meeting and retracted a statement. Details here
(Jan 23, 2005):
Robin Linden posted a list of all current and spring semester classes who will be joining residents inworld as part of the Campus Life program. Any major community backlash against these newcomers unlikely at this point--at least backlash of the "What do you mean we're being studied" variety.