Saturday, March 25, 2017

Back from the Wilderness (Part VII) - Back and Forth in Second Life




Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky   





I’ve been away from Second Life (SL) for a bit.

Well, more like in and out, a lot.

Folks have noticed.


My three loyal readers who seem to catch everything about me have been making inquiries.

And, many others, friends and readers, have noticed my absence.

Here’s my tale.

Significant Other and I are still dealing with the aftereffects of someone close to us who passed away last year.

These matters are never easy and we’ve had to spend time away from our usual activities.  (Significant Other is next to me nodding in silent agreement.)

So, not to worry!

We’re both fine, I haven’t left SL, and I’m still blogging!

Unfortunately, as many have me often say inworld, Real Life (RL) always takes priority and right now there are others who need us.  (Significant Other adds that I do come in handy at times like this.)

The good news is that this period is hopefully drawing to an end and we should be finished by late spring.  (Significant Other is nodding furiously in the affirmative right now.) 

Thanks to all of you who have inquired about my status, I greatly appreciate the concerns, thoughts, and prayers that you’ve expressed! 

You have no idea how much this touches me and reaffirms for me the true value of my relationships inworld!  (Significant Other also expresses gratitude to all!)

I’m trying to reply to everyone and this may take a little time.

My messages are being capped regularly so please if you’re trying to contact me use a note card inworld or my email address below. 

Also, to those whom I’ve had commitments on stories please bear with me as I try to sort out the effects of all this on my writing calendar.  (It’s been ugly.)

I’ll be back as soon as I’m able!  (Significant Other promises to send me back once I’m no longer needed.  It’s wonderful to be wanted isn’t it?)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Are You Anonymous in Second Life?




Give a man a mask, and he'll tell you deeper and darker truths. But he'll also be more abusive, unaccountable, and demonic.

Cory Duchesne  





Ah, the joys of anonymity!

Privacy, freedom of action (AKA being uninhibited), and a lack of accountability!

How often have we dreamed of living like this in Real Life (RL)?

How many of us live like this in Second Life (SL)?



Of course, there are a few concerns associated with anonymity inworld but more of that later!  (Can’t get too serious too soon, now can we?)

I do it!

I’m anonymous inworld.

No surprise to anyone who knows me inworld.  (Once again, I thank my three loyal readers!)

Why?

Well, in RL, I’m a nobody.  (Yes, that may come as a shock to my three loyalists.)  I want to stay that way. 

Also, Significant Other, my RL partner, made anonymity a precondition of my wandering across the Grid.  (Significant Other nods firmly while shoulder surfing which also happens to be one of Significant Other’s favorite pastimes when not exercising editorial oversight.)

Finally, a lot of what I do inworld, I’d never do in RL. (Once again, Significant Other nods firmly.) 

But, what is anonymity inworld really all about?

Let’s chat about this for a bit!

There are the obvious reasons for anonymity in SL.

First, there’s privacy. 

Most don’t want their RL friends and family to know what they’re doing inworld.  Nothing wrong there. 

Next, there’s freedom of action.  We wander around nude and no one but ourselves and our similarly anonymous friends know about it.  Or, we experiment with gender, dress, sex, or whatever else catches our fancy.  There’s probably a different reason for every avatar in SL. 

Best of all, zero accountability! 

Who cares about this little, anonymous avatar running around inworld?

Here’s where the not so obvious aspects of SL anonymity arise. 

Some engage in bad behaviors inworld.

Fortunately, not as many as some RL media would have us believe but still too many.

Trolling, griefing, and stalking are some of the negative behaviors abetted by SL anonymity.   

Anonymity is also enhanced by the practice of having “alts” or multiple avatars inworld. 

Block an avatar and they come back as someone else.

            On the few occasions when SL deletes an avatar for egregious behavior, well, what
stops the perp coming back as an alt? 

            If you guessed nothing then you got it!

            (Yes, there may be ways to prevent this from occurring but it doesn’t a rocket scientist to get around them.)

            Another problem with alts, even if one doesn’t intend antisocial behavior, is who’s the real you? 

            When we can be any number of personas inworld then who are we?

            Who is the real you?  Especially when we factor in anonymity.

            I recently blogged about how we trust in SL.   

            What effect does anonymity have on our trust inworld?

            Can we have anonymous trust inworld?

            What do you think?

            Are you anonymous inworld?

            Why?

            Are your friends anonymous?

            Please drop me a line and share your thoughts with us!

            If I receive enough replies I’ll do a follow-up story!

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, March 11, 2017

How Do You Trust in Second Life?




All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan  







What is trust?

We probably all have our own definitions.

(Significant Other wonders I’m bringing this up now.)

Maybe it’s accepting someone at face value, believing in them, or having confidence in their words and action. 

But, how do we trust?

Ahh, now there’s a good question!

(Significant Other is now starting to pay attention.)

In Real Life (RL), we may use one or more of a variety of methods. 

Sometimes we use time.  The longer we know someone, the more we trust him or
her.

Or, we may rely on others.  They validate the trustworthiness of a person for us.  And, because we trust that person, we trust the newcomer. 

Another approach is to look at their credentials.  If someone purports to be a doctor or a lawyer, well, that’s easily enough verified. 

There’re appearances.  If they have a lot of wealth, it’s hard to hide. 

Of course, some people just jump in and trust everyone! 

(And, history has got some great stories because of this!)

Now, what happens in Second Life (SL)?

Here it’s totally different.

Practically everything that we use in RL to establish trust gets thrown out when we move inworld. 

How do we determine how to trust someone in SL?

Let’s discuss that!

There are obstacles to trust inworld that we don’t face in RL.

The first and biggest is anonymity.

(Come on now, do you really use your RL identity inworld?)

Little if any of what we are in SL has any ties to RL.

Is that woman or man really whom they say they are?

Many avatars are imaginary characters from science fiction or fantasy.

(Significant Other would like me to point out that many US politicians in RL may fall into this category.  But, I try to stay apolitical in this blog.)

Many avatars are animals or machines. 

See where I’m going with this?

(With the avatars not the US politicians.)

How do we validate the avatar standing in front of us inworld? 

Nothing is what it seems.

What’s real?

I have my own approach.

(Significant Other is shocked.)

I listen to how they sound.  Are they genuine?  Do they add value to the conversation?

How do they treat me?  How do they treat others?

Do they have “character”?

Then, do I enjoy being around them?

Do I learn from them?

Do they make me stop and think?

Most importantly, can they make me laugh?

(Significant Other indicates that after reviewing my list, we need to speak when I finish writing this story.)

Others whom I’ve met inworld have their own ways to determine an individual’s trustworthiness.  This can be a big deal for some. 

Some require RL validation.

This can be voice or video verification.

Or, a piece of RL information like age. 

Of course, a mechanism like the latter has its own issues with verification. 


Others look to character for trustworthiness. 

Whatever mechanism is used, many seem to have some sort of methodology.

Then there are those who couldn’t care less and just jump in!

(One of these days, I’ll do a story about these livewires!) 

What about you?

How do you trust others in SL?

Do you even care?

Please share your thoughts with me and if I receive enough replies then I’ll draft a follow up story. 

Or, here’s a new one…

Do you trust my blog?

(And, not just my three loyal readers.)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!




Saturday, March 4, 2017

Among the Steampunks - STEAM XII in Second Life?




Steampunk is...the love child of Hot Topic and a BBC costume drama.

Gail Carriger   







This is a strange time of the year in Real Life (RL).

(I’ll ignore Significant Other’s query about when isn’t it a strange time for me.  Some of us just look for life’s potentials.)

Lent has started for those who observe which means hangovers from Mardi Gras revelries for some.   

Presidents’ Day is past in the US. 

Saint Patrick’s Day beckons from afar.

And, most importantly, slightly further out, spring entices us with her warm imagery.  (As I write this, a horrible cold that I have makes the prospect of waiting for winter seem unbearable.)

Meanwhile, back in Second Life (SL), an old tradition begins anew! 

And, of course, I’m talking about the annual Mieville steampunk hunt, STEAM XII!


For those to whom this may be a new phenomenon in SL, STEAM XII is the twelfth (Hence the “XIi” for those who flunked Roman numerals in second grade arithmetic.) celebration of all that this is steampunk inworld. 

STEAM XII is, as always, hosted by the Mayor of Mieville and impresario extraordinaire, Perryn Peterson

The Hunt is a Grid wide event with dozens of merchants, all personally and carefully selected by Perryn himself, offering as gifts to intrepid hunters the very best of their wares.  Several merchants run their own mini-Hunts which adds to the fun.  Two hundred and five spots have been reserved for merchants this year so expect lots of great gifts!

Hunters look for clues and try to find the gifts which are free.  Some hunters gather into hunt parties and go out together.

Let’s take a closer look at STEAM XII.

STEAM is an acronym which stands for “Steampunk Travelers’ Event, Adventure & Megahunt.”  (Rather to the point if I do say so myself!)  STEAM was once a semi-annual event but the effort behind an event of this scale as well as all the other social activities on Mieville’s calendar have necessitated going to an annual schedule.

The theme for this year’s Hunt is Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and this is the idea behind all the Hunt’s gifts.  (In case anyone is still unaware, I’m a big Jules Verne fan!)

This year’s poster has been done by a new artist, the talented Miss Unalunaqat. 

The Hunt begins at Laughing Gryphon House in the Mieville Victorian Doyle sim. 

From here, hunters launch out across the Grid in pursuit of their treasures.  There are over eighty-five stops to visit in this year’s Hunt.

This year’s contingent of merchants is varied with some back after a long time away, and others brand new, along with the regular, stalwart backbone of merchants. 

Brand new merchants are Johannes1977 Resident  of Mahlberg Tailors, and Loki Alphaville of Steamy Fox Labs.

Back after a long hiatus are Oriolus Oliva of The Golden Oriole, and Sidney Arctor of Arctor Shipyards. 

The gear (pictured) marks participating merchants and also contains their hint to help
find their gift.

Historical Hunts, Ltd., the sponsoring Mieville organization maintains a blog with Hunt details as well as pictures of gifts.  This blog is also a great resource for future Mieville activities.  Another helpful site can be found here.  Be sure to check them out!)

While you’re at it, why not join the Group?  A Historical Hunts, Ltd. group joiner is located at the first stop.  Just click it for instructions.  If you do not join the group, you will miss out on much information including updated notecards giving all of the locations and any current problems plus their solutions.

STEAM XII is a wonderful and fun filled community event in SL. 

It’s an opportunity to sample the wares of the creative merchants inworld and to meet and hang out with other residents. 

I strongly encourage all to participate and, if possible, to purchase some of the other merchandise offered by merchants in their shops.  After all, a strong SL economy is good for everyone. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Great Challenge of every Hunt!

Namely to complete the Hunt in its entirety, including mini-Hunts, in record time!

Who’s up for it?

See you at STEAM XII!

STEAM XII runs from March 1st to 31st so don’t miss out! 

And, don’t forget!  You’ll be voting for your FAVE FIVE merchants at the end of the hunt, so take notes!

I’d like to thank Perryn for his time and assistance in helping me prepare for this story.   Perryn is one of my oldest and closest friends inworld and I’m grateful for the time he takes from his busy schedule to help me.

I’d also like to thank The Companion for supplying the pictures used in this story.  More pictures from her visit to Doyle can be found here. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Where’s Home for You in Second Life?




Home's where you go when you run out of homes.

John le CarrĂ©  







In Second Life (SL), I’m a wanderer and explorer. 

I had hang outs for the longest time in the beginning but never a home where I could hang my hat.

But, then I finally broke down, purchased a Premium Membership inworld, and ended up with a home in a place called Nowaki.    


All this got me thinking, how many of you out there have a home in SL?

In Real Life (RL), most of us are familiar with the concept of a home. 

Some of us have one, some of us want one, and some of us reject having one. 

Some get tossed out of one.  (Contrary to popular belief in some quarters, I’ve never been tossed out of one.  Further, I’m not some stray who followed Significant Other home.)

Is a home in SL really all that different from one in RL?

Why do we even have homes?

Isn’t it a place to be found, to be part of a community, to decorate? 

(I love decorating my home for the Holidays.)

At the risk of sounding sexist, we get fed by our mothers.  (Yeah, believe it or not, I did have one.  Although, she did ask that I not bring it up in public.)

Then there’s privacy.  (That’s my story inworld, I got tired of hiding in the bushes when I changed outfits.) 

What have I noticed about having a home inworld?

I’ve become attached to my home in Nowaki.

(To my three loyal readers, not to worry, I’m still going to wander and explore!)

Decorating for the Holidays is fun!

I enjoy entertaining friends.  (Significant Other arches an eyebrow.)

But, a few other points about having a home in SL. 

A SL home doesn’t have to be a building (which costs Lindens). 

A SL home could simply be your favorite sim where you hang out with friends or by yourself. 

Or, maybe someone shares their home with you?

What about you?

Do you have a home inworld?

Are you alone or do you share it with someone else?

Is there a small town somewhere inworld that you call home?


Why or why not?

Please drop me a line and let me know!

If I get enough responses, then I’ll write a follow-up.

Or, better yet!

Invite me over and show me around! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!





Saturday, February 18, 2017

What Have You Been Doing in Second Life Lately?




There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.

G. K. Chesterton







OK, the title to this story is not a trick question!

(Significant Other appears doubtful.)

With the Big Thoughts of 2017 and Sansar’s anticipated arrival any year behind us now, with all the other excitement of Second Life (SL) and Real Life (RL) behind us now, what do you do to pass the time?   

What’s good, old fashioned, everyday life like inworld for you now?

Take me for example.

(Significant Other snickers.)

I’m always exploring inworld.


My perennial quest is for new places to visit, new friends to meet, and new experiences to have.

And, I’d be lying if I said life inworld for me was an unending, hectic series of adventures. 

Sometimes, a little boredom inworld is a good thing I find.

(Significant Other adds that this explains a lot about our real life together.)

What about you?

I’ve learned a few things about some of you so far.

(Not to worry, I’m not going to name names or other incriminating details.)

Some of you are there for the social life.  Dancing, attending live music events, or simply hanging out with friends.  A few just sit by themselves and take in the view.

Others are there for the technical aspects of SL.  Building things and challenging themselves to test the limits of what’s possible inworld.

Roleplay occupies some.

And, my list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention sex!

Starting to sound a lot like RL doesn’t it?

I’m beginning to believe that many of us, after the initial orgy (I choose this world deliberately) of excitement of being in SL, drift into habits not terribly dissimilar from what we do in RL.

Scary, huh?

Do you think so too?

How do you pass your time inworld in the most ordinary ways possible?

Please send me your thoughts and if I get enough replies then I’ll write a follow-up story.

Let’s not take advantage of my three loyal readers and get a few new respondents!

Look forward to receiving your replies! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

            If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
 please click here.

            Open roads and kind fires!