The formerly libertarian landscape has been overrun by rampaging nouveau-capitalists. They want centralised governance and stern economic ruling. Everyone is a potential thief. Fingers are being pointed and, in some extreme cases, avatars are being attacked. The digital idyll has become a world of accusations, violence and bitter political dispute.
And so, once again, the real world comes crashing in. Sooner or later, most online communities reach this crisis point because the ideals of the founders are replaced by regulations demanded by the different types of people who interact in them. We shouldn’t be surprised; what we do when we interact online is replicate the social practices we are familiar with offline. Inspired by this milestone, I’m going to add a wing to my new lab. And inside will be a shrine to CopyBot, the little hack that transformed Second Life into a real world.
I love it when virtual worlds get real, and this is the most real thing yet. Second Life is acting exactly like a mini society. There will be sociologists everywhere salivating over what this might do to their science. Can we learn anything about our first life from our Second?
Back to (virtual) reality. I guess things could go two ways from here – rules could be rejected or embraced, SL could get more or less anarchic. This will have a lot of significance for people like Rivers Run Red and Electric Sheep who are building proper businesses in this virtual world.
The rule of law is a necessary pre-cursor to successful commerce.
It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
Talking to Alan Patrick over at Broadstuff I have been coming to the conclusion (and I think maybe this was his idea) that SL is too difficult to use to hit the mainstream and that there is space for something that has an easier learning curve. That could bring more people in and they might be people who were more interested in embracing the types of commercialism that is so upsetting many SL residents.