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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 10:43AM (Unverified) said

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I can only imagine the frustration of the Belgian people when they will be forced to fill out their tax forms in "sophisticated 3D-environment". (in 30 years time, that is... )

;)

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 12:24PM (Unverified) said

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I agree that "One day ... we'll just get on with things."

But I disagree that "We'll not let the hype make our decisions for us" That's just contrary to human nature, and virtual worlds are not going to change that.

SL and individual virtual world efforts will rise or fall on their ability to be relevant to the lives of users.

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 1:37PM (Unverified) said

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Well put Tateru. We are definitely still exploring ways to effectively use the virtual worlds. I simply wish there are more to choose from.

The web is not controlled by a single company that can shut down pieces at their whim.

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 2:27PM (Unverified) said

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Make up your mind, Tateru. Are you defending SL from its detractors, or trashing it? Most days, you are haughtily trashing it. Why the flip-flop today?

One of the biggest, most fake, most downright *lying* claims of geeks is that "The Internet was filled with sex when it first got started so SL is like that, too."

It wasn't. I was there, too, at the beginning, working in a science foundation where people had the precursor of the Internet as we know it now, and I witnessed the birth of the World Wide Web from a number of offices. There was never, ever any of the sort of SL experience where flying penises are FORCED on you. There is a big, big BIG difference between *chosing to go to a web site* that has explicit sex on it, once you've heard of it or gotten the link, and *having that content showered on your head* as you land on a welcoming area or are just minding your business on your own page. There is NOTHING like that on the Internet, Tateru, never has been, and never will, where against your will, content comes flying right at you, in the round.

There's a horribly false and distorted notion that the early Internet was all sex, but I recall it as mainly being all about people sending pictures of their cats and sound WAV files. You're forgetting a very key part of this cultural development: these computers were in universities and officies, not homes. It took much longer for people to get PCs and adapt them at home. And the office environment was simply not one that easily lent itself to sending around pictures of penises. It didn't happen at anywhere near the level you claim, and it was nothing like SL.

Of course, it's all terribly exaggerated now in retrospect merely to somehow make an obscure point, that Virtual Worlds are not a flop, but merely in their "early days".

Perhaps a more apt comparison is to email. Every day, in every way, despite having numerous filters and blocks and spam protectors, we are all send content about "love muscles" and "making her scream". THAT is what is more like -- unwanted sexualized content and hard sell of drugs, etc. coming right at you in your mailbox although you have tried to block it.

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 6:53PM (Unverified) said

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Having taught classes and had to deal with all the all the workstations being plagued by popup ads for hardcore porn, I must disagree with your assessment that folk can't attack you with a penis on the internet. :P
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Posted: Nov 29th 2008 10:22PM (Unverified) said

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Anyone who can't figure out how to block pop-up ads deserves what they get. And there weren't any pop-up ads back in the early days of the Internet -- duh.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2008 11:04PM (Unverified) said

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As you well know from checking your mail filters you're under attack from the email equivalent of flying penises on a daily basis. This happens on the web too - and when working under managed systems where you don't have the administrative privs to manage what content is blocked you are at the mercy of the IT department to be responsive.

Similarly in SL dealing with unwanted content is trivial if you have the privs to do it, just people don't yet exercise that administrative role particularly well. I can assure you several years ago unwanted porn appearing on theoretically firewalled university networks with managed desktops was a constant problem at several places I worked.

Though we deal with it rather better these days I can assure you the internet is right brimming with proactive porn and trolls just itching to derail any polite conversation one might wish to have in it's theoretically sedate corners. If you believe this wasn't always the case, you mustn't have spent much time in USENET forums :P

And to KevinL from memory alt.sex predates the release of the internet from academic hands... implying that perhaps academics had less cerebral interests on the net too :P
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Posted: Nov 29th 2008 7:19PM (Unverified) said

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Couple of comments - first to the original article: That's all well and good, but the web was useful even in it's infancy to a degree that doesn't happen with virtual worlds. There was a reason to reach for your browser. Right now, pretty much no matter what I'm doing, I _don't_ reach for my second life client - or any other vw. That may change, but the fact that it hasn't yet suggests there's not yet a compelling reason to use vw's. Partially because the web does a decent job of it, partially because we have other tools such as audio/video conferencing. The web added something useful and compelling to gopher, I'm not 100% convinced yet that vw's add something useful and compelling to the web. Having said that, I remember saying something similar about the web vs gopher, too, so take it with a pinch of salt ;)

To the person saying the 'net wasn't filled with porn initially: It may depend on your pov. As someone who worked in an early ISP here in .au, I can say that a vast percentage of our traffic _was_ porn - and for a time, that was certainly the driving force behind the growth of the network. I certainly remember the pre-web days when actual information was king (although alt.sex.*'s been around long enough too ;), but porn played a pretty serious role in uptake and growth after it got out of the academic's hands.

KJL

Posted: Dec 4th 2008 7:14AM (Unverified) said

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Tateru, GREAT article! The blurb was excellent hehe — very provoking ;)

*waves* at Prok. Oh, btw, you surely certainly remember the days before pop-up blockers were available, and any clever porn spammer was, indeed, able to use a little primitive JavaScript to crash your browser with porn. In fact, those were the days before any kind of control existed on the Web at all. Or even any kind of search engines!

Even more irony... I also saw the first Web sites appearing in 1993 (there were a few before that, of course, but 1993 was the year that the first graphical browser was launched). The major difficulty back then was to think about what could be useful on the Web. My devious thinking came up almost instantly to do an "intranet application" for the research lab I was working with at that time (that was, of course, before the word "intranet" was coined). Believe me, it was a very tough sell, and ultimately, I was pushed out of that research lab because I was "being too ambitious" in pushing for change ;) It was... weird.

In those early days without search engines, the only thing that helped you to find new and interesting sites on the emerging Web was the "Yahoo List", which you subscribed by email and got every day with a list of new sites. It feels weird to imagine how crude that was, but it was the start of Yahoo...

And of *course* there was already porn on the Web. In fact, Web 2.0 started early in... 1996, when AdultFriendFinder.com, the first international dating service, went life. They're still around and still one of the largest dating services — because they had a good business model: a subscription service to allow you to reply back to your potential date, and, of course, web ads for porn, just like they have today. So as early as 1996 (at least), the porn business on the Web was blooming.

Like Second Life, however, porn is just a minor part of the online reality — about 20% of all content or so. Granted, in 1994-6, it seemed to be much more than that (like it seems to be much more in SL today) just because porn distributors were much more aggressively promoting their services. The same happens in SL today. I mean, in 1995 or 1996 you didn't get web ads for the Library of Congress Online (which had been online for ages...).

So, I'm sorry to disappoint you, Prok, but porn has been around on the Web since its dawn :) And the "usefulness" of the Web wasn't really seriously considered until Microsoft announced themselves to be an "Internet company" in late 1995 (after trying to bury the Internet in early 1995, and doing a 180º turn in their attitude after just 6 months). I'm glad you found the Web so "useful" from the very beginning, but you have to consider yourself very lucky — most of us had to struggle to get any kind of attention to it, and only geeks, futurists, borderliners, and, of course, porn distributors, really "believed" in a future where the World-Wide Web would be dominant. No one really believed that people would really buy CDs, music, or clothes online.

This year, for the first time in my life, I bought all my Christmas gifts online — through Amazon.com and an online clothes mail-order company. It took me at least 15 years to convince myself that it's pretty much pointless to spend hours jammed in the traffic and then elbowing with huge crowds to get some Christmas shopping done :) This year, at least, I've shopped in peace... :)

Posted: Dec 10th 2008 7:01AM (Unverified) said

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God, doesn't P. ever clam up? So bitterly yet confidently full of it, distorting history and reality destructively, addictively, willy nilly, ad nauseum.

Flying penises are bad enough.

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