August 27th, 2009



I've been thinking about why people come to Second Life. My observations and mental wanderings were spawned by some really abusive behavior on the douchelist.

I've been on the Internet a long, long time. When I started, people communicated via basic Unix shells and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS's for short). I've watched it grow exponentially from a few really popular sites to something which spans the globe and contains more information than any physical library could hope to hold.

I've watched the kerfluffle over XXX rated sites and what they had to do to protect themselves from children. I deliberately stated it in that fashion because inquisitive children found ways to get around Nanny Watch and see the XXX sites - the site owners never sought the children out.

I've also watched the evolution of human interaction, from BBS's, to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), to message boards, to social networking sites, and now to 3D Social Networking.

The people haven't changed much, despite all the change in the diversity of formats. The bad apples have grown in number though. Such is life when the home computer got cheap enough that nearly everyone could afford to have one.

It is well known, to those of us who know it well, that children will band together to pick on a sole individual. It's herd behavior, pure and simple. You'll see it echoed in the wild; simply watch a band of chimpanzees for instance. Being animals which are closely related to Simians, it's not that surprising to see such instinct-based behaviors displayed in humankind.

What IS surprising is how many fail to grow BEYOND the instinctual behavior even though they are just as sentient as the next person. Many perpetuate the "schoolyard gang" behavior well into adult life. They hide it well in their daily interactions with others, only to come home, sign onto their computer, and vomit schoolyard bullshit all over other Internet users.

Live Journal is renown for its hordes of trolls. Well, now Second Life is, too, thanks to the enterprising individual who created the douchelist. A rather interesting fact about the douchelist and those who participate in it: It exposes the attitudes and intentions of people in a way that no one even thought it would when it was created. The following essay is comprised of some of my thoughts resulting from these observations.

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