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  Virtual-World Peepshow Gets Weirder  
Posted 2005-06-27 by Tony Walsh
Second Life's live, streaming video portal started off innocently enough. Video footage is piped to a web page via the "eyes" of Video Linden, a standard avatar. As became evident to a number of residents soon after the live video was deployed, however, Linden Lab's best intentions may be no match for rowdy Second Life citizens.

According to several first-hand reports, pranksters and grandstanders have been marring the picture-perfect video feed with soundbites and gestural animations best described as "adult." SL member Marilyn Murphy told Second Life Herald readers that "My son laughs hysterically over such things. As a PR idea it stinks. As entertainment it stinks." Even Linden Lab's Reuben Steiger conceded "...the content of the stream ranges from boring to baffling to bizarre."

While the Lindens are aware of how easily Video Linden's feed can be hijacked by residents, and have considered placing the cameravatar in a moving blimp, the situation looks like it could get worse before it gets better.

Linden Lab has now added in-game chat text to the video footage, giving anyone viewing the video feed a glimpse at exactly what sorts of things Second Lifers chat about, and dramatically-expanding resident griefing opportunities. Additionally, residents have been officially requested to refrain from interacting with Video Linden, such as giving the avatar inventory items, play-money, offers of teleportation or even friendship. Telling a troublemaker what *not* to do is precisely what invites mayhem--whether or not there is any to be had here once the novelty wears off is perhaps the larger issue.
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