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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:41AM (Unverified) said

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Avatars don't have rights... their controllers just have avatar-related rights. \o/

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:42AM (Unverified) said

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Which is exactly the point! :)
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:42AM (Unverified) said

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In fact, Tateru, by calling avatars "tools" that "obey," you're perceiving them not merely as appendages, but the real property of coders. Ultimately, they can't obey their puppeteers, who only in a sense borrow them. They obey the servers, and the code, and that is run by the game gods.

And that is why we aren't free, and that is why you are reductivist about avatar rights, because you wish to have the coders rule, and code as law, above the real law and justice.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:45AM (Unverified) said

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Sorry. Wrong again. Want to have another go?
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:50AM (Unverified) said

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Yes, you are wrong, Tateru, because you imagine that your characterization of the avatar is something you as a Platformist and coder and code-as-law advocate is "the truth" and "the way it should be" and if someone doesn't agree, that they are "misunderstanding the nature of avatars".

Avatars are extentions of people, but the spaces that are created in which they have their being are extentions of companies. And the individual is oblitered under "collective rights" that go beyond what is acceptable in real life equivalent situations of company/organization/state versus individual.

You're far too willing to give up avatar rights, driven as you are by your notion of them as mere pixels attached to a typing hand. Virtual worlds are realms that are less free than the rest of the Internet and that has to change; it's an anamoly with no excuse for existence. I have more freedom with a cleared book review on amazon.com than I do on the Linden blog.

This will change, and these realms will become more free, when avatar rights are recognized in them -- it's the only way.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 12:52AM (Unverified) said

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Nope. Not imagining that either. Your guesses as to what I'm thinking and why I'm thinking it continue to be incorrect. Perhaps you could address the topic?
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:18AM (Unverified) said

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Cop-out, Tateru. I've addressed the topic, as anyone can see. You're claiming an absolute truth that you feel is self-evident, that avatars are mere tools.

I'm saying, no, they are extentions of people, but extensions that get clipped and suppressed in certain games and virtual worlds.

Now the challenge to *you* is to explain why it's ok for my "extension" to copy a chatlog in Yahoo Messenger or a blog, but not in Second Life. THAT is what avatar rights are *all about*.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 4:06AM (Unverified) said

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@Prokofy:
"You're claiming an absolute truth that you feel is self-evident, that avatars are mere tools."

Yes, that is a major part of my position here. Except for the 'mere' part.


"I'm saying, no, they are extentions of people, but extensions that get clipped and suppressed in certain games and virtual worlds."

Yes, that is another major part of my position here. These two together form the basis. Avatars can be (and often are) deeply personal extensions. This does not diminish them as tools.

"Now the challenge to *you* is to explain why it's ok for my "extension" to copy a chatlog in Yahoo Messenger or a blog, but not in Second Life. THAT is what avatar rights are *all about*."

What you've just gone and done is mixed up avatar-rights, and user-rights - something we've gone to great pains today to clarify the distinction between. We did not discuss what rights people who use Second Life, or any virtual world or MMO should or should not have. That is a separate topic. If you're not understanding the difference, perhaps you should start at the top and read it all again.

Your question refers directly to user-rights, and the simplest answer to your question is because you agreed to the restriction explicitly (contract of adhesion or not) by agreeing to Second Life's terms of service.

If by "ok" you mean, do I agree with and support that restriction, then that seems a little irrelevant - after all, we're not discussing user-rights in this topic. Well, you might be, but I'm not. That's a topic for another day.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 4:37AM (Unverified) said

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I think the analogy made with cars was perfect:

Compare an AV and their user to a guy and his car.

The guy has rights, obligations, laws they gotta adhere to, and they have protected rights by law. The car does not. You have laws how to behave on the street (the user has to adhere to the SL ToS). This has nothing to do with the car/AV itself. And while on a public street the countries laws take effect, on private property it is the property owner's decising if, where, and how he lets you drive said car. Or if you may drive into it at all.

LL's SL grid is private property. Their servers. Not a public institution, area, or anything like that. Its usage is a privilege, not a right, and you may use it for as much as 0 bucks if you wish. Just as much as It is my -own- decision wether I give you the privilege to connect to a server of mine, and -my- rules how you may use it, and no law in the world can tell me 'but you have to allow user X to do Y on your server'.

Just as much as a website owner can keep you out of certain site areas, drop general usage rules and policies, may impose forum rules, prevent you from posting, and go after your cute little behind if you start slander or attacks.

Some people seem to be too affected by the visuals of SL.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 4:40AM (Unverified) said

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P.S.

What the law -does- regulate is how the general ToS and Usage Agreements may be written, and that LL has to stick to them while they are in place. You can't of course just put anything in there, however, those laws have nothing to do specifically with AVs..and they shouldn't.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 7:39AM (Unverified) said

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tateru

Prokofy contends:

This will change, and these realms will become more free, when avatar rights are recognized in them -- it's the only way.

If that were redrafted as:

This will change, and these realms will become more free, when user

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 7:42AM (Unverified) said

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Yes, I'm starting to get the notion that he's talking about users-with-avatars rather than avatars. A discussion for another day, perhaps.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 7:43AM (Unverified) said

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Okay chewed up comment. My reformulation would read:

'This will change, and these realms will become more free, when user rights are recognized in them -- it's the only way.'

At this stage of the conversation it unclear to me if you contest avatar rights or if you contest user rights as well.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 7:47AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not putting forward any position on the rights of users with avatars (user rights). It's not germane to the discussion - excepting insofar as it might relate to users who insist on additional physical-world rights that they would not possess without avatars.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:27AM (Unverified) said

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No, Tateru, you can't first posit that it's not the avatar-tool that has rights, but the human who has rights, and then suddenly claim there are different humans -- the human in one context, in his country's elections, and the human in another context, using a game or world with a TOS.

You're trying to claim that the tool changes, the context changes, and that doesn't affect the original human, at one level, then you double back and suddenly invoke "users' rights" as if there are all different users and use cases.

I'm saying that game and world makers make up constraints for users in those game and world spaces, and that people entering into them are constrained by them *when they manifest as those avatars, which are extensions of themselves*.

Therefore the environment for my avatar-extension is X without ABC rights here, and yet the environment is Y for my avatar-extension with ABC rights over there.

The game/world makers are changing the set of rights that the human has access to *through his avatar* and that's why we simply must invoke *avatar rights*.

Example: you can talk about workplace rights, where an employer may have a code against hate speech. In that role as employer of X company, the human being *as that role* has A set of rights. But in the larger context of his country, that employee may have ABC set of rights, a larger set in the larger context outside the workplace, where he freedom of speech might give a wider scope to "hate speech". The role changes, the context changes, the rights change. Therefore you must talk about *the rights of that role* -- the avatar is that role in this discussion.

Your reluctance to enable the avatar to possess any set of rights is directly a function of your refusal to constrain any of the rights of the coder.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:29AM (Unverified) said

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Incorrect.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:30AM (Unverified) said

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I'm still completely unclear on your argument. That may be because you deny your own argument in the choice of words you use in the title. If a tool 'obeys' then it has moral agency, and you argument collapses. If a user has rights 'that they would not possess without avatars', then your argument either collapses or becomes mere rhetoric, a sort of Finland Station speech for the computationary vanguard of the user class.

Societies without rights have not generally had the happiest or most successful history. I am really intrigued by why anyone advocate making Second Life such a society, although I am uncertain that is your argument. At this stage, I am still uncertain what your argument is at all.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:32AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not putting forward any position on the rights of users with avatars (user rights).

Tateru, surely you can see that this is some kind of strange sophistry. This *is* a discussion about *avatar rights* -- the set of rights that people have *when they manifest as their avatars in a given environment*. To suddenly shed the avatar as a mere tool and say rights always and everywhere accrue to a user in some basic sense in some basic context (his real-life country), but we have to drop all discussion of his rights *when he is in the additional environment of virtuality in a game or world* is absurd. Why does his set of rights in that environment suddenly get junked as "not germane"? Of course they're germane.

When I go to work or school or the soccer stadium, playing different roles, accepting different constraints or environments, there are rights in each context -- do I sheer them off myself just because I've walked into a physical building? Of course not. So why would I snip them off my avatar logging on to a game or world?

"excepting insofar as it might relate to users who insist on additional physical-world rights that they would not possess without avatars"

This is a curious idea -- that there is some extra-physical or additional-physical world rights when I manifest as an avatar -- that I'm "insisting" on *more* rights. No, I'm insisting on *the same* rights.

If I'm that same human -- as you claim, a human, merely with a kind of tool -- then why am I shorn of the right to copy text in this context called 'game' but not in that context called 'work'? That's the question you aren't answering.

Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:38AM (Unverified) said

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If you *want* it to be a discussion about "the set of rights that people have *when they manifest as their avatars in a given environment*", then you're off topic. I can post something *on* that topic, but as stated repeatedly, this isn't about that.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2008 9:52AM (Unverified) said

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Again, Tateru, if all you can say is something like "untrue" or "incorrect", then you're telling me you have a set of religious beliefs, that we have to either believe, or not believe.

You're not facing any of the challenges to your very limited notion of the human deploying an avatar. You are so reductivist of this extension of the human being, so eager to call it a "tool" so it can be manipulated by coders and coded spaces, that you have shorn away the human attached to it, giving that lifeless avatar puppet a reality that even the greatest immersionist doesn't give it.

Avatar rights are about human rights; about humans having rights in their avatar contexts. You aren't willing to grant the human those rights just because they show up in a coder's domain. That's why we have to fight like hell for these rights, as coders are the ones who are "incorrect".

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