Thursday, August 29, 2013

Deviance in current VR

Let’s start with some reality here.

"Deviance: this term describes the idea that specific thoughts, behaviours and emotions are considered deviant when they are unacceptable or not common in society. Clinicians must, however, remember that minority groups are not always deemed deviant just because they may not have anything in common with other groups. Therefore, we define an individual's actions as deviant or abnormal when his or her behaviour is deemed unacceptable by the culture he or she belongs to."

I have been on the net for a long time. Since people define the words “long time” differently based upon how old they are themselves, in this regard, “long-time” to me is, as I vaguely recall, when 300 baud modems were being used. Maybe it was 1200 baud, or 2400, who cares anyway.

The point is that I have seen a LOT of what is commonly called “drama” on the net, in many shapes and forms. Some I have even participated in, mostly due to my own “always limited by being a human” perceptions of reality at the time.

So for purposes of this little missive and specifically related to virtual worlds, I just felt like putting some current thoughts down on the subject. [which are subject to change if or when my perceptions change]

Now, the funny thing is that by doing this, some people will actually call it “drama”…which is fine by me, why should I care, and what does it matter, and, who da heck are you, anyways???? You are probably just a figment of my imagination…I will wake up soon….git outta my head!!!

I tend to think the people who go around saying other people are into drama, or other people are drama queens, are, in fact, the ones who most often practice it. I mean, seriously, look closely at that sometime, you see it?

A good test of this is to push them to tell you what exactly is it about them that makes you think they are drama queens? And can you give me some examples? Often they will use words that seem quite logical, look closer, make your own decisions for once, you lazy thang...

Of course a lot of this is simply due to people having a lack of comprehension to what is being typed, mixed in with a bit of parochial samishness [meaning they can’t see beyond their own noses, or also meaning anything outside of their own perceptions of reality are not of enough interest to them to truly see what another is trying to say].

And the net is full of all sorts of people, who can come together in little cliques and communities, find like-minded people and poo-poo all the others as not having the coolness their own little place in the net has…I think this is due to small people, who have small places in reality, and small minds, who think pushing their own reality on others is cool…not knowing at all, that it is not.

The people on the left side of the Bell Curve, ya knowz…[even further left than me, eeeeek]

This is similar in many regards to the different mindsets of people who have never left their home town and people who have traveled a bit around the world.

It is also similar to people who marry within their own blood …but, I digress.

So you get a mish-mash of reasons for “drama”. And, sometimes, it is simply someone having a bad day, give me a break will ya!!!!

I play in virtual worlds, one of which is SecondLife, the most well-known by far. A few others have taken the concept, and some opensource code, and use it for a variety of reasons.

For purposes of this missive, I will speak to the commercial for-profit ones. There are more non-profit uses of the software…Educational and non-profit groups, art and just simply as hobbies, also.

I started in the SecondLife Grid after finding it through some article on the net that I can’t recall what it was now. I quickly found it is full of all sorts of issues, one of which was this “drama” thing. So I looked around after hearing some comments about there being other grids…and I found the inwz grid.

From there I moved out to other commercial grids, to island oasis, to 3rd Rock grid, Kitely, to Haven, Olantica, Avination, virtual highway…and a couple of others.

None of these actually have all that many people using them…SL supposedly has a lot, but even with them it is only in the thousands, and the rest of the commercial grids are hopping along with a few hundreds who participate in any real regards…that is, making money for the grid owners.

The thing with all this software is that it is very buggy. The opensource part of it is really basic software that a few people have added some code to in order for it to work better, in some regards, but, in reality, the whole virtual reality grid thing is all sorts of hassles, software-wise.

But people make communities in them and I like them anyways personally, for now. And like any community there is a lingo specific to it only, that some speak parts of and some know more of, just as with the net as a whole. [and the computers we use to play in them]

My feeling, after looking at this all for a few years, objectively, I think, is the commercial use of the software is a corruption, and I think it causes all sorts of problems relating to people trying to make a buck on the net, an age-old problem taken to just another level.

Most of the commercially oriented people make nothing compared to what can be made in reality, especially when the time used is taken into account. Some posit that they get a good feeling out of seeing people buy their creations, and, “I get that”…and some just need any little bit of money they can get, often due to real life issues that have caused them to not make much in reality anymore, assuming they ever did, of course….and, “I get this too”. Some are just doing it for a hobby, a way to pass time, and “I get that too”.

It is the people who own these commercial grids that make the real money though, and, frankly, it is only a handful of those, and, frankly, it is still not all that much, although I suppose it would be decent money for a lot of people, even me still is not much…again, especially considering the time needed to do it.

Since anybody can put up a grid, the entry level costs are very low, depending upon what hardware you use and of course the value you place on your people who otherwise really have no clue how to run a business, can pretend they are doing so, in this...and easily.

In fact, this is part of the corruption I am speaking to, that of taking something free, and trying to make money from it. Not that it has not, and is being, done all the time in other regards, but I am only speaking to this VR stuff.

This is all leading up to the reason for this missive…that the strife caused in trying to get a buck, or a cent, in all this, is really not a good thing…and in many regards.

Think about it, what do you know about that person selling some gizmo or clothing? What do you really know about someone who owns a grid? I mean, really? And the fact is that most anyone can teach themselves to do much of what is sold in these virtual grids…depending upon their mental faculties of course, and the time they wish to put into it. And many folx create these grids…nothing in all this is necessarily rocket science.

The only thing we really know about anyone who is on the net, is that they are sitting in a chair or on a couch in front of a monitor…right? Yea, some now can do this mobilely [this may not be a real word], of course, but the majority are doing just what I am doing, often still in their pjs. But we don’t know anything much else, for sure, about anyone. Do they have a clean refrigerator? Are roaches crawling all over? Do they take showers daily? Can they?

And, frankly, do we even care? Not especially. As long as they do not bother us too much directly, in ways that affect the reasons we are on the net in the first place, what does it matter to us who they really are?

But “drama”…yes, strife causes drama on the net.

People wanting to push whatever their own version of reality is at the moment…people who have some sort of personal motives and agendas, much of which we can never fully understand, doing whatever they can to get their own point of view across.

After seeing clearly, and rather quickly [within like 6 months or so] that SL [SecondLife] was full of too many things I did not like, I thought inworldz, another commercial grid using basically the same software, might be better for me. It is a much smaller grid…however; this did not turn out to be the case. I did not stop to consider the reality of the differences from city life to country life…which is essentially what I did…I moved to the Country…lol

In the City you can get lost, you are mostly just another anonymous person in the crowd, and mostly just someone used to fill a club or clean toilets, pay taxes or whatever similar.

In the country, in the small towns and villages, it is very easy for people to get to know you a bit, and as anyone knows is the case in reality, the smaller the pond, the bigger the fish who inhabit it. [did you know that goldfish will grow larger depending upon the amount of water they are in? within limits of course, but true]

I live in the country-side in reality, and one can see who controls the little towns and counties by simply looking at a map and noting the street names, or whose name is on many of the stores, who are in the positions of authority, and, how are they related…and this is how it is in these small virtual grids. Some people thrive on such things, especially when they are nobodies in reality, it gives them the feeling they are somebody important, even though any reality check would show they are not, and it shows in how they play also.

They are all pretty much family run, with a smattering of friends doing various tasks. Which, of course, speaks to their lack of being true businesses, in the sense of Corporate structures and such.

And, as in reality, those people have such a sense of entitlement they will do and say anything to maintain this perception…and who cares who they step on in the way. Starting with grid owners trying to make a buck on free software to the small club renter trying to get a few tips.

The “drama” is ratcheted up by some people using alts [just simply creating another account with another name] to cause problems with the ulterior agenda of, you guessed it, maintaining their own perceptions of reality [or, unreality, as the case may be].

Anywho, it is very hard to show others how drama and agendas are being played. The type of person who does such things, is kinda like the car thief, if they are both good at it, they can get away with it, for a time…and, with both, “some” people will notice, but most won't. And as with the car thief analogy, they both think they are smart [but they are not, really]…think about it.

As I have said, it is very hard, sometimes, unless you watch closely, and put some pieces together and connect some dots, to find out who is a true drama queen, and who is simply trying to tell the world the truth. A world that mostly just does not care anyways.

I have seen all sorts of things these commercial grid owners will do and say in order to make a buck.

They charge for virtual land for most people, but will give free land to those they feel will help them make more bucks [give them more credibility], or, their friends, or, their staff…whomever.

Some of them will load OARs for special folx, while saying they do not allow this due to content protection issues, another corruption of reality, to my thinking. You can see this by the simple fact that those grids do not allow people to load them themselves, it has to be requested, and privately, often in a "a nod and a wink" type of agreement. [a nod and a wink explained in several regards]

As this is all simply software, those in control can do anything they wish to the people inside…and, they do…to think you are immune from interference, even to the simple fact it can be done without your knowledge, is being seriously clueless…and to promote a grid owner even while this is a fact, is simply to show those who notice such things, you are nothing but a pawn, shill, or sycophant…and are probably getting some “benefit” in other regards that you won’t speak of, too loudly, and certainly not publicly.

They will strongly moderate their public forums, but then say they are for freedom of speech. Edit or remove comments, moderate or remove people they think “might” say something that opposes their own business interests.

Obviously, on the face of it, this looks like the owners of these businesses are simply doing what they can to stop problems. One can argue that by reducing privileges to people this can in fact cause some to rethink how they do things. And one can argue that reducing options is one way to control communities…and, they would be correct. And many people would agree with this. [while also still wanting to have their own voices heard, unmoderated and unfettered]

But why does it necessarily correlate that simply because one wishes to try to make a buck in this free software, that they all of a sudden make informed and intelligent decisions about “everything” related to it? In fact, in reality, it does not.

However, one can equally argue, which is my take on all this “drama” thing, that true freedom, comes with it both good and bad, that enlightened thinkers must conclude that they have to consider that sometimes things will get a bit out of control, but that this is the nature of human beings, especially when in corrupted situations.

In other words, true freedom allows a little anarchy, even by those opposed to anarchy...this is a simple truism. [read the great book called “1984”]

Anarchy shows that there are still people who disagree with the majority, and, imo, that is a very good thing.

The fact is that when you control by fiat, or add rules, the reality is that the rules only apply to those without the power to change them...the rule-makers [and those they give various controls to], of course, can still do as they wish.

When you reduce options to the masses, the peons, you are left with the elite class…who, btw, then control all the attributes.

When some person forms one of these grids for the purpose to try and make a buck…do they all of a sudden become anything more than whatever they are in reality? Nope…to think they somehow actually know what they are doing is complete nonsense…I mean, because they can run some software??? This is ridiculous.

Nobody knows everything, nobody is perfect, and the simple fact is that, generally speaking, the old cliché comes into use with humans, “jack of all trades, masters of none”. And that is, of course, full of shades of grey.

I once taught a programmer of one of these grids about god functions in Windows…everyone has gaps in knowledge, no matter who they are. It is the truely enlightened people with eyes-open who admit this, and readily.

I also once had a grid owner tell me she knew everything that was going on in her grid. I was quite amazed that someone could even say such a thing. I mean, just from the basic get-go, she could not possibly know what people say in direct emails to each other, concerning her grid…which, at least for me, was what I used concerning matters I wished to stay more private. There is no reason to think that others did not do that also, especially when others were telling me they were scared to say anything negative in that grid for fear of the grid owners seeing it.

Besides which, isn't that quite an egotistical thing to think of oneself?

When you couple simple human nature with corrupted [or deviant] systems the strains will erupt at times...and, as I say, the commercial use of this free software is in fact, a corruption of the natural order of things. [ever hear of Linux?]. Even the software we use to access this software is free…completely.

Strains and stresses upon human beings will always show in some regard or another. To my thinking, these eruptions, and the issues that cause it, simply prove my theory.

I am also involved in several other social sites related to all this virtual reality opensim software. And, as you can imagine, sometimes they, too, erupt in drama related issues.

But it is directly proportional to the stressors involved.

I am aware that the commercial grids have many stressors…from people who have invested much time and efforts and money into them, with expectations [however dispelled by the grid owners own terms of service and reality] that they will get some kind of return on this investment. Some of them continue to be hopeful, most have seen the light and left to find whatever pleases them elsewhere.

The fact that for most people, all the time and efforts they spend in a commercial grid, can be gone, with the simple exercise of some finger movements by a sysop…is, though not readily apparent, especially by those who are not directly effected, a major stressor.

As one can note by watching a bit, there is only a couple of dozen separately identifiable people who are not owners or staff or alternates, who post and talk up their grid in their forums or various other places.

It is certainly not my point to say that this is not expected, and it is in fact, expected…in any grid who is trying to use this free software to make a buck.

I am also certainly not saying there is anything intrinsically wrong with trying to make a buck, at all…I am saying that “how” one chooses to make money is very indicative of what kind of person they are.

One thing I have found is that the people who use this software, for free, and share, freely, rarely have drama issues. Why? Because the stressors do not exist.

Perhaps this is at the root of the overall problem with this software…that of getting new people to try it out, and, more importantly, retaining them.

Yes, the software is buggy and adds to the stressors, but so does much software on the net.

Frankly, I do not care how most people choose to make a buck, as long as they do not affect me personally, why would I?

If they are doing it illegally, it can be argued this affects me, from societies POV.

If they are doing it without some basic morals and principles, that only affects me as long as I am involved with them, right?

Well, yes, and no…since, as I mentioned above, this current iteration of virtual reality really does not have all that many people involved. So you can leave some particular grids and move on to other parts of it, but still, realistically, it is all one happy family.

I myself do make a little real money on this, but in reality, it is nothing like I used to make in my good days of life, and just, really, hobby money. I certainly do not make enough to justify doing immoral or unprincipled things because of it…and, why would I?

So, other than the 3 commercial grids I still go to, mainly because they cause me no drama or issues, which means the grid owners are not into such things, I will likely not be making any new accounts in them anymore. I will continue to go to grids that have enabled hypergating, which I do enjoy.

Besides, it just wears me out taking the time to get even a basically decent avatar fixed up…even with some of the little tricks I know now.

And, frankly, I find them quite boring anyways, not to mention claustrophobic…lol

And I am just streaming a bit of consciousness, giving myself something to do, for a while…


  1. Quick comment, because I see this come up a lot -- OpenSim hosting providers and grid owners are not "making money off of free software."

    They are making money from renting out server space, and by providing tech support, upgrades and backups, unique content, and community management.

    The use this money to fund development -- including code that they donate back to the community, to pay salaries of folks who work in virtual worlds, and to market virtual worlds to the general public.

    And they do this knowing that there's little chance of any financial payoff down the line, that most startups fail, and that startups in risky cutting-edge technologies fail even more often.

  2. Thank you for commenting Maria-))

    I never try to, nor do I want to, address all the issues related to all this in my blogs.

    Since I was just rambling on about the fact that anyone can get the basic software, for free, this is what I am referring to.

    It isn't the focus of this little blog hardly anyone sees to do a full treatise on what some folx have done to change it to use in their own grids, backend work they may have done, or the costs related to hardware.

    As you know, I am aware of all that, and have no issues with it at all.

  3. If you, were, say, talking hiring a moving company, would you casually mention that the road that they're using is free?

    Or if you're about nature photography, would you stop to mention that the landscape itself is free?

    Or if you're talking about professional writers, would you mention that their software is free? (Because they could be using OpenOffice or Google Docs.)

    It's not different with OpenSim hosting -- the software itself is free, but the equipment costs money, and the time and effort and work costs money.

    That's what I'm addressing -- pointing out that the basic software is free, implies that there's something wrong or money-grubbing when people charge anything based on that software.

    But just having the software, whether you buy commercial virtual world software or use the open source options, doesn't make a person a grid manager. Just like having a word processor doesn't automatically make you a best selling novelist. It takes a lot of work and effort and practice to get good at it. And we only have so much time, and have to pick and choose which things we're going to get good at.

    I, for example, have spent considerable time and energy on solitaire. Now... if I could only figure out a way to get paid for it....

  4. Sorry, don't mean to be pedantic. Though, obviously, I am.

    I'm trying to educate people, one blog comment at a time!

    And, also, to avoid doing real work.

  5. hehe-)) Maria, it is all good, and fine by me.

    Not many come to my blog, other than the ones I promote, particularly my business page...but also the Metropolis and Kitely page, and of course, that other one noted to the left side here. [the latter I never promote..ppl just find it, or pass the link to others]

    I never post I do them, in a wide way either...sometimes they are really just to get my yayas out...mostly.

    Kinda better than talking to myself, which I rarely do, tho I did catch myself doing that this morning, then I looked out my windows to make sure nobody caught me, which is funny as nobody lives close to me and I am buried in the woods...which made it all pretty hilarious for me.

    But I do appreciate you taking the time to add your own thoughts, and especially your humour, to the comments...and please feel free to do so whenever you wish is MY pleasure to give you another way to avoid real work:P