I like clear thinking. I especially like it when it recognizes information limits, meaning it deals with the unknown as unknown. The incorporation of known facts for the foundation is always good.
Such an article just appeared on the Sand Castle Studio blog: The Virtual False Dilemma. It is a very well written article, short and succinct.
Unfortunately, when speculating on the future we always deal with the unknown. The recent article by Botgirl, My Take on Why Linden Lab is Investing in New Products Instead of Second Life, uses an ‘employee review’ found on Glassdoor: Linden Lab – “A once great place to work with an exciting product now on the decline.” From there she builds her viewpoint of Second Life and what Linden Lab is doing. Sand Castle’s article disagrees.
The decision we all have to make regards the accuracy of the entry on Glassdoor. It is filed by Anonymous. Depending on how we decide to evaluate its accuracy and believability affects how we see the articles on Botgirl and Sand Castle’s blogs.
There are other points in the articles. But, the review is a primary foundation point for Botgirl’s article.
I expect to find a number of people debating the positions of Botgirl and Sand Castle. I suspect many will simply choose to accept or reject the review on Glassdoor and proceed from there. From there the drama will build. But, the review is from an unknown person with an unknowable agenda. Did he intend to help others? Or did he intend to harm Linden Lab? Is he really a Lab employee? There is no way for us to know. It is an unknown. One really can’t debate the merit and accuracly of Botgirl’s viewpoint until they debate the accuracy and merit of the review. But, will they?
We can make a decision and chose to believe the review or not. Once we make the decision we are dealing with BELIEF, not KNOWLEDGE. People become impassionate about their beliefs. That is a good thing. The problem comes when one wants to impose those beliefs on another.
Another problem arises when people make the decision and then treat their belief as if it were fact and knowledge.
Tateru recently did an article on religious freedom. She points out that freedom includes the right to NOT believe, which is as important as the freedom to believe.
Eric Hoffer is noted for numerous quotes and his work on mass-movements and the psychological roots of fanaticism. The quote: What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people’s faces as unfinished as their minds. In the context of debating the future of Second Life, I think it is a highly appropriate quote. There are many more that it would serve our community to consider.
Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power. – Hoffer
If you watched the interview with Oz Linden and logged into the IRC chat, the truth of faith, believing something, being an instrument of dehumanization should be obvious.
Is Second Life Dying or Growing?
We don’t know. There is no absolute way to know. We have different metrics; the in-world economy, login stats, the Lab’s corporate profits, and more. We look at those and decide THAT means… fill in what whatever you think it means. But, all the metrics tell us is what happened yesterday.
Tomorrow a terrorist could schlep a nuke across the southern border of the US on a donkey and detonate it in San Francisco, heaven forbid. The Lab and Second Life would be gone. Overly dramatic, but the unforeseen is unforeseen.
When you see someone getting into a passionate debate and civility disappearing, read some of Eric’s quotes and think about how you want to be perceived when you respond.
What to do?
Some number of us believe there are problems with how the community and the Lab’s staff communicate. Many of us want a more transparent and communicative Lab. I know from talking with and reading what Lindens say they tire of the abuse and drama. Part of the community is contributing to the problems by being poorly informed then posting abusive comments.
In his recent interview Oz Linden related that when they released the Flexible User Interface, which removed the side bar (v3.0), he had just as many people saying ‘great – thanks’ as saying, ‘dumb – bad move.’ You have to know this gets frustrating. He also related that no matter how many people want a feature, when they release some segment of the community is upset that they worked on THAT feature rather than the one they wanted. All this dichotomy in the community is probably frustrating.
If one reads the community’s frustrated posts and sees the abuse and lack of knowledge, I would think one would realize the abuse and ignorance pushes the Lab’s staff away from the community. So, in many ways the community is defeating itself.
But what can you do to help remove the problems?
Obviously you have the ability to shape your posts and communications with the Lab. But, the real problem is with the other guy… right? Right.
I don’t have the research links, but the Science Channel has been doing a series on human behavior. One of the shows has a redo of the experiment where one person gives an electric shock to another person when they get an answer wrong. Past studies have shown that if the ‘shocker’ is alone they will go much farther (high voltage more pain) in administering pain. The twist this time around was having two at the pain controls. One is the subject administering pain and the other is a ‘planted’ observer. When the observer objects (a planned part of the experiment) and refuses to continue, walking out, soon the ‘shocker’ refuses to continue.
This suggests that if we tolerate poor behavior with silence we enable it and possibly encourage it. The obvious mitigation to abusive behavior is to object to it and let it be known. The tricky part is how to object without imposing out beliefs or violating another person’s freedom and rights.
While we have no duty to step up, we do have an enlightened self interest, I hope enlightened, to improve communications with the Lab. Each of us has to make their decision as to when to say something and how to say it. Much of that is a matter of how finished our minds are.
And Second Life?
I believe the Lab and Second Life are doing just fine… today…
I base that on my experience in Second Life and I agree with the thinking at Sand Castle.