Thursday, October 18, 2007 Second Life rules!

The folks at the The Chronicle’s Wired Campus Blog has sure been interested in Second Life lately. Well, me too.

The first post describes a new “orientation island” where new visitors to the virtual world learn what it is about. The New Media Consortium has built their own orientation island, apparently because Linden Labs’ version doesn’t do that great a job in explaining some of the features of Second Life.

nmc's orientation island

The second post summarizes Peter Ludlow’s interview with MIT Press. In the interview, Ludlow claims that Second Life is run by the “Greek God method.”

There’s no really set established policy, but they refuse to be completely hands off, too. So they reach in like Greek gods reaching down from Mount Olympus, and they dabble in stuff and screw around and get involved to bail out their friends. . . . It would be much better if they just stayed out completely because then there would be an opportunity for users to create their own governance structures.

This kind of outspoken political critique is par for the course for Ludlow. The Wired Campus Blog reports that he was kicked out of the Sims Online for criticizing the governance structure there.

I’m sympathetic with Ludlow’s desire to see what would happen if Second Lifers could rule themselves, but right now I wonder if the connections between virtual worlds and the real world are too close for Linden to allow something like that. They have an interest in keeping the site somewhat similar to the real world.

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