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No words. Only a rant.

May 7, 2010

I found every single second of this process of using Second Life completely repugnant, especially to think I’m paying to contribute to its continued use as part of my graduate education study. Every moment I had to jump through these hoops I shook my head in disgust with myself for not just taking a zero on this assignment. Ideologically, have an issue that my graduate program requires me to sort through all the e-stripper advertisements to find a class to take. I hate that my avatar wiggles her tuckus with every step whether I want to be e-sexualized or not.

I hate that while trying to figure out how to fly for this, another e-person (probably a 13 year old boy) hit on me telling me:

[09:57] zeki Actor: hello

[09:57] zeki Actor: how are you?

[09:57] Steph Urvile: Digusted. I have to do this for an assignment however weird it is and I am hating every second of it.

[09:58] zeki Actor: you are so beautiful are u beautiful really?

[09:58] Steph Urvile: No I am fuuuuugly in real life

[09:58] Steph Urvile: THIS IS AN ILLLLUSION

I mean, this kid was from Turkey so at least it was a global interaction. And his English was fairly impressive. But from the very first second, I was skeezed out.

I hate the loud bad music everywhere. I hate the graphics that seem to be from 1999. I hate the interface controls.

Anyone who believes that Second Life has any resonance besides with isolated people who are incapable of traditional interaction is a fool or a charlatan, trying to sell you something.

This is so out of touch with where our resources should go and what’s important about librarianship that I physically feel sick about this.  I am deeply sorry if some of you in the class enjoyed this experience are offended by my take, but I am so saddened and disgusted I cannot even say.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. ecthurman permalink
    May 7, 2010 11:08 am

    Oof. Harsh words. I appreciate your honesty, though, and I agree with many of your complaints. I’d like to respond to some of them.

    You mention that you hate the interface controls. I agree with you on this point above all else. I think that an improved interface would actually fix many of the other problems you’ve pointed out.

    The in-your-face sexuality of SL is definitely off-putting. Unfortunately, this is the reality of any new medium with a focus on user content. Remember when the Internet first became massively popular and you could hardly click a link without a stream of increasingly vulgar pop-up windows flooding your monitor? Even the best search engines of the time would give you hits to pornographic material no matter how benign your search terms. Linden Labs needs to focus on their search and filter systems if they do not want to alienate new users. Your experience was fairly mild, and I have heard stories of female avatars getting graphically raped by experienced programmer users. Linden Labs needs to get this under control.

    The hip wiggle in your own avatar can be fixed by acquiring and wearing animation scripts that override the default movements. This goes back to my problems with the interface design. If they offered an easier way to design and animate avatars, the whole thing would be much more accessible.

    As far as loud bad music and graphics from 1999, this depends heavily on what region you visit. Our school’s region is embarrassing in this regard. I’ve been to many beautifully thought out and rendered regions. If SLIS wants to promote SL as the future of Information Science, then they need to do a serious overhaul of their home region.

    Poor zeki. But you seriously cracked me up with the “fuuuuuugly” statement. That’s what he gets for not treating you with respect.

    I understand your disgust and your anger. All the points you mention are ones that Linden Labs needs to address. I’d like to add that these are the same points they’ve failed to address for the two years that I’ve been using the program. 3D interfaces may or may not be the future, but if SL doesn’t pull its act together, it will not be their program leading the way.

  2. Vicky Walker permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:42 pm

    That’s some truly righteous hatred there, Stephanie. I salute you! (For what it’s worth, my avatar lumbered through SL like an arthritic gorilla.) I had characters landing on me (is that what counts as foreplay?) and standing too close, never mind the suggestive chat. There was none of that in the SJSU SLIS region, which was a relief after meeting so many online creeps during the rest of my in-world time.

    I think I may have spent more time getting set up and learning how to use SL than I did on some of our regular assignments this semester. It was a huge time-suck.

    I completely grok how it must be freeing and empowering to fly around SL if you have social or physical constraints in RL. (In fact, I’m going to recommend it to my agoraphobic sister-in-law.) But for me, it wasn’t worth the time I spent there.

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