Featured

Veridical Poetic Season 2.0

Last date for submission: 25 June, 2018

The respective usernames of The Worst Poet and Our Favourite Poet will be announced on 1st July, 2018.

Advertisements

Banned for questioning rape play in Second Life!

s1

The above screenshot contains just one of the most extreme reactions to our previous article whose link was posted to the popular Second Life related Facebook group called Second life friends. Claiming to be the largest group SL group on Facebook, Second life friends has over 40,500 members from all across the globe. A number of these members have fake Facebook accounts dedicated to their respective (sometimes more than one) Second Life avatars.

This is the second thread about rape play in Second Life that was deleted by the admins of the very group just when someone in the group posted that Linden Lab should get rid of all forms of forced sex role-play in accordance with Trump’s new anti-trafficking law. The first thread, later taken down by the group’s admins, had the words, “Should LL get rid of rape play in SL?” followed by the link to imcalledashley’s post.  The original poster (OP) was banned from the group as well just for asking that question!

Sex Sells but Rape Sells Better?

Second Life’s outrageous rape culture is horrifying for a recovering victim of sexual abuse who wants to go inworld just to distract herself from the daily struggles.

A lot of role-playing gamers are of the opinion that nobody can get raped in a virtual world as it is all just role-play. But, what do you call it if someone has a scripted object that allows their avatar to get attached to anyone else’s avatar in the same region and perform penetrative sexual moves on them? Why should a person be forced to teleport their avatar out of a region to prevent it from getting virtually raped? Something extremely similar happened to me at a newbie friendly general zoned hub a few months ago, taking me closer to a memory I was expecting Second Life to help me erase.

There has always been a thing called rape fantasy, sometimes even among some rape survivors. Does that make it okay to merchandise ‘rape’ for financial satisfaction? The question is especially for the ones who claim that Second Life is not a game but an “open-ended experience”.

For as long as the MMORPG genre has existed, numerous debates and detailed articles about this very subject have been published on several websites. Yet, rape play never came to a stop. To me, rape play is as wrong as sexual ageplay (banned in Second Life) because both involve two or more consenting adults online deriving pleasure by faking the vulnerability and torture that destroy uncountable lives in the real world.

Perhaps Linden Lab should work on introducing a separate virtual world only for the age verified users who are turned on by sexual violence instead of boldly allowing the commercialization and enactment of disturbing fetishes in Second Life which is visited often by people having different mindsets.

 

ice_screenshot_20180608-120158 - Copy
How is this even okay?

Why I am not active on Sansar anymore

My friends and I, along with many others, log in Second Life just to connect with people from different parts of the world belonging to different classes of society. Although this very virtual world is focused on bettering the realities of people with physical and mental disabilities, it also gives others a chance to immerse themselves in the pixel perfection and forget their worries for a few.

Unfortunately, Sansar is not for everyone.

When I checked out Sansar for the first time, I found it was completely different from what I had expected it be. No, Sansar didn’t feel like a way improved version of Second Life but rather a world that was meant to be accessed only by the individuals who can financially afford all its requirements. That leaves out more than half of my Second Life friends on a tight budget and the blue collar workers and a few farmers I have come across inworld. So, exploring this world induces a feeling of guilt to some extent, especially, when you have close friends from Second Life that want to enter this virtual reality as well but cannot. Second Life unites people but the presence of Sansar keeps weakening such a unity.

c83578bc0a689312db520246401e64e1_1200.jpg
Skye Naturae Virtualis in Sansar (Image Credit: Linden Lab)

Second Life’s adult content can give someone quite a convincing illusion of having a sex life even if they are actually devoid of one. But, there is no such thing in Sansar yet. The big number of people attracted to a virtual world for the complete replica of a normal lifestyle is excluded from Sansar for now.

As someone who practically makes a real living working a few hours in Second Life daily, I think Sansar doesn’t even look promising yet. It essentially lacks a diverse market and there’s hardly enough people willing to give the not so popular creators a chance.

However, Sansar is still in its quite early developing stage and we can only hope that its experiences can captivate the masses one day.

Interview with the spirit from Second Afterlife Cemetery

An attempt to delve into the significance of death in a person’s virtual realism brought me to the Second Afterlife Cemetery. Opened to the public on 8th March, 2008, the cemetery isn’t just limited to role play.

“My father was cremated and I move around a lot, it gives me a place to go ‘visit’,” replied an individual when asked about why they decided to remember their real father by renting a memorial space in a virtual cemetery.

“It’s a way to honour their presence that I feel every moment in my life and it gives me great strength to sit in front of their virtual grave,” explained another renter.

To such people, a little parcel of land in the cemetery either encapsulates the lacuna created by the demise of a loved one or reinforces that soul’s importance even in their permanent absence or both.

unnamed
A part of Second Afterlife Cemetery.

What follows is an in-depth chat, condensed for clarity, about Second Afterlife Cemetery with its owner Lena Anthony or maybe her spirit…

How did the idea of owning a virtual cemetery occur to you?

The cemetery has a lot of history, and while the idea was mine, I didn’t even do the first build because I was so new and could barely make a cube! The builder and I became business partners. His name is Rocket Flasheart. My vision…. his build….The idea came during a drum circle in Etopia back in late 2007 or early 2008.  The topic of conversation was, if we could start a business in SL, what would it be? I said cemetery as sort of a joke since I had know someone who was being stalked because she shared too much and wanted to leave SL. I thought it would be a good way for people to leave a memorial here to their old avatar. As you might have noticed, it is so much more than that now.

Do you want to tell us something about the first renter that wanted to rent a memorial space at the cemetery?

The first renter was a friend who wanted to leave a memory of one of her avatars that had been lost my Linden Labs.  Since then, there are so many stories from so many who are genuinely grieving from the loss of a loved one. The most common memorials are created for people who were active in SL, and have died in RL, as well as people making memorials for their RL loved ones though they never participated in SL.  The lesser common are memorials for pets and for avatars who have left SL and are still living in RL, but are very missed.

What do these renters usually prefer when it comes to selecting a space at the cemetery and how have these preferences changed over the years?

Most that use the cemetery want 15 to 20 prims, and a few request more, but because the space is so small, it’s rarely needed to make a nice memorial. Because of the changes that Linden Lab made with the prims on mainland a couple of years ago, I can accommodate most requests within what I believe to be reasonable. At one time, I even added a few spaces as everything was full. Usually though, there are anywhere from 6 to 12 spaces open since early in 2014.  I’ve also added spaces next to where the renter already had a space for another member of their family. Like, I said, if the request is reasonable and I’m able to accomplish it by not changing the overall organization of the cemetery, I make subtle changes.

Decorating styles from the different parts of the world are very different when creating memorials. I have a list of guidelines with a hope to maintain some order and most stay within those.  For the times I’ve had to request something be changed, for instance a message that would pop up every time someone walked by, or an audio message that played constantly without requiring anyone to touch an object to listen if they wanted to, people have understood. I automatically return anything that is not appropriate, for instance, the giant penis that was placed. Sometimes Second Lifer’s think anything goes!

Tell us more about your experiences of maintaining a virtual cemetery…

In 10 years there have been only two griefers. One ran around naked and annoyed visitors and renters. The other actually made me laugh. It was someone who rented a space and then put a zombie device on the ground so when one walked over it, out popped zombies that rushed you.  The more you walked over it, the more zombies that crawled out of the ground. Overall, people seem to respect the dead even in a virtual world.

Also, in all that time, there has only been one instance of negative drama (I’m one that believe’s some drama will exist in any world if people have feelings).  This though was a case where a woman had put up a memorial for an avatar that had been her partner.  They had parted ways and she made the memorial. No one else would have known unless you knew the RL name of the avatar it was made for. He got wind of it and came to investigate, and IM’d me to demand I remove it. I never take action based on another’s accusation, but did IM her to ask.  She freely admitted what she had done so I recommended that she could maybe think of another way to create it without using his name. I think she would have done it except that he was a hothead and couldn’t let it go. They both started IMing me sharing what the other one said, telling me about their level of involvement, she saying why he was dead to her, he saying it was all her fault, and on and on it went.  I have a busy RL as well as a busy SL, so that’s what I faced when I logged in…. IM after IM.  I messaged them both and told them they had 24 hours to figure it out and I didn’t want to hear one more word about their “drama” as it would result in banning and blocking. It’s the only time I’ve had to go to that drastic level. She fixed the headstone and he did IM but it was to apologize.

Being a good listener is a quality that goes hand-in-hand with owning a cemetery.  Some people need to talk about their experience and because I have had my own experiences with the death of loved ones in my life, I know how to listen and not rattle off platitudes like, “they are better off now” or “Heaven has another angel”.  Listening is what is required and, when appropriate, a virtual hug.

Friends tease me about the cemetery and I’ve heard all the jokes like “people are dying to get in there”, etc. Strangers IM me to ask about it and while I can tell them what it is, I always encourage them to visit because it speaks for itself in so many ways. Most are taken aback by the seriousness of it in a virtual world.

Is the business commercially successful?

The business is not profitable but I knew that is how it would be when I took over the total responsibility and did a total rebuild.  Nothing horrible happened. No fight. No one taking off with funds or any drama that is less than above board.  It was a matter of my business partner moving to the other side of the world for a RL adventure that was taking over his life!  I rely on the plots being rented, of course, and also donations to help cover the costs; I never take in enough to make tier. I know the day will come when this will be a problem, but until then I’m committed to provide the service.

At a time when we have Sansar and rapid virtual reality advancements, what is the future of Second Afterlife Cemetery?

I’m honestly not that knowledgeable about the new things happening. I’ve made an account for Sansar and visited once. Without paying for a lot of extra things that I need to make it the experience it is meant to be, I sit out. I’ve have tried other virtual worlds, most recently Sinespace. What they lack for me, as well as others I know, is our friends. I figure it’s like a Universe filled with planets. Some of us live on Earth, while others have made homes on Mars, or wherever. If we seek a virtual life, we will all find our place at some point. I’ve found mine in SL.

 

Visit Second Afterlife Cemetery: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Saeneul/99/209/1206

“SL is full of such people who are never grateful enough for the things they have in real life…”

I am furious …..cried uncontrollably because my own mother told a club full of people how much she hated having her real kids and I was right there. My mother and I live in different states now and we often catch each other online in Second Life. She is almost always drunk when I have time for SL!! Just a few weeks ago I tped to a major club and she was there drunk as usual. She had her SL friends and fam there who I knew well. The topic changed from skin to real life kids. Every one began whining about how much they wanted to have their kids stay in school and hates having them for holidays…My mom joined the convo saying, “I was smart..Made my kids fall asleep latest by 6 pm just so I could have over some hours to myself lol…And I woke them up after 7 am daily lmao” At one point she referred to me and my siblings as “little fuckers”….She was too drunk to even realize I was there…One of the reasons I never wanted to come on SL is cause SL is  full of such people who are never grateful enough for the things they have in real life…for the family….for others who care about them….for they are too busy looking to “escape rl” and live in a fucking fantasy!!!

 

Do you want to talk about your worst SL experiences that have hurt you deeply? Do you love someone in SL and just cannot express your love to them? You can do it anonymously. Blog Veridical welcomes your Anonymous Confessions about SL. Submit them here.

The truth about Tranquillity Therapy Clinic

Are mental problems a joke to some people who have clinics set up inworld? Well, it seems so. I got a message from a certain person who came across this post on Inworld Employment forum of Second Life and instantly decided to find out what it was exactly all about. The owner of Tranquillity Therapy Clinic was kind enough to answer their one question inworld.

Untitled (1)

I have a feeling that she cannot comprehend the seriousness of psychological issues. She claims to be hiring “trained therapists” who will be paid 80 L$ per hour and “50% of patient fees – per client they have a session booked with and held.” The application form created by her clearly states that “RL Identity and/or location is not permitted to be shared nor requested from anyone.”

Really? As a patient in distress who wants to pay to talk to a therapist inworld, I don’t have the right to see the qualification proof and practicing license of this “trained therapist”? If that’s the case then these “therapists” should just be trained listeners for free and not give any advice to patients unless everyone can see their real life profile with verifiable information. Much like 7 Cups.

My advice to anybody who wants to own a business inworld and succeed at it: Don’t come near the clinical field unless it is strictly a role-play. And if you actually want the best for people with mental problems, then direct them to a qualified and experienced therapist in the real world instead of taking advantage of them in Second Life.

When I met the notorious Joshua Bonehill-Paine

Second Life was still somewhat new to me in the beginning of 2014. I used to dress my dollarbie avatar in medieval clothes and go from one sim to another. After I got my first inworld job, I wanted to have a little virtual space of my own. My search for low rent houses led me to a role-play sim under construction. It seemed to be more or less fashioned after the British monarchy. I was not in the least into role-playing. As I walked down one of the alleys, I noticed a male avatar that was busy building a house. He never completely rezzed on my screen so I cannot describe what exactly he was wearing at that time.

The man controlling that avatar welcomed me as soon as he saw me nearing him and asked how I found his sim out. When I told him I was just looking to rent a smaller residential place since I couldn’t afford one of the spacious houses on the sim, he politely directed me to a big two-storey house. “The rent is 5 L$ a week. There’s no rent box. You can pay me directly,” he said.

After making the house mine for the week, I decided to give that man’s profile a read. It was his first life bio that had caught my attention. His profile suggested that he was deeply into politics.

“Yeah, I am involved in media controversy and politics. So this is an escape,” he informed me when I asked him about his real life.

According to Wikipedia, Joshua Bonehill-Paine is an English far-right nationalist, internet troll, and convicted criminal from Yeovil, Somerset. However, his personality in Second Life unbelievably contradicted such claims. The man who ran an anti-communist hoax blog where he had posts defending racism was one of the nicest people to me especially after learning that I am a “person of colour”.

He had a few friends who used to help him build the sim, get traffic, interest the renters into roleplaying as citizens of the state who were going to elect their new leader in the upcoming election, and many other tasks. I had heard Bonehill and friends voice with each other openly about their plans related to the sim development and grow its role-play aspect. There were two of his friends who headed different political parties and each of them tried hard to get me to join their party! Bonehill seemed to appreciate my interest in journalism and said that he would like me to be a reporter of his state’s newspaper detailing the daily happenings in his kingdom. Sadly, all their major events like Bonehill being crowned the King would take place during my busy hours in real life.

I still remember when I was devoid of speakers for a while and could not listen to any voice chat inworld. One day Bonehill was by my house on his sim telling me something in voice of which I was totally unaware. He stood there for quite a long time before asking me if I was having trouble hearing him. He then typed to me in nearby chat all that he was telling me. His personality to me was very patient and gentle.

Much later, when the sim upgraded to all mesh, my rent remained 5 L$ a week while the others were paying a minimum of 300 L$.

There was one secret place under water where I discovered Bonehill had left a clickable coffin with a skeleton in it. The coffin read that the skeleton belonged to the King himself! When I told him about my intriguing find, he laughed and replied that he was amusing himself with it a long time ago but had forgotten all about it.

I enjoyed my time on the remarkable sim till I had to leave Second Life for real life. The sim no longer exists now. But I will always remember it not just for its grandeur but for being the place where I observed how Second Life can expose the good even in someone as ill-famed as Joshua Bonehill-Paine.

Why is verbal abuse allowed on the Second Life Forums?

As Second Life is mostly frequented by individuals who are often helplessly addled to the extent that their sense of self relies on their performances in that virtual world, it can be very difficult to spot a level-headed one on the Second Life forums.

A very common person enters this world, learns the basics of it, and decides to be somebody as their avatar. Now, anybody can be a somebody within a few months in Second Life and that is one of its main attractions.

No matter how much you have failed in real life, Second Life lightens the burden of those failures and fuels the ego with the many trivial virtual successes it has to offer. Like, who isn’t a well-known DJ inworld with a free software,  Youtube, a fan group, and no required licenses? I have been to many many live concerts in Second Life and I wouldn’t call that music 9 out of 10 times. Yet those musicians are making thousands of Linden dollars per set. That’s called being somebody something in Second Life. There are too many hosts,  fashion bloggers, models, event contest winners, designers, and, most importantly, club owners. They say, “You can be anything you want in SL!” and they are so right.

Second Life is not a game. You are the game to Second Life. It causes a frustrated mind to overestimate their importance as they continue to achieve things inworld. And, what would Second Life come to without all such users? That explains why verbal abuse on Second Life forums is not taken seriously and the same bullies prey on different participants to retain their own superiority.

Following are just two examples of what I have been talking about:

Drama over 200L$

User gets insulted for not being able to type correct English

 

 

“It all led to him trying out SL sex with my alt.”

In 2013, I was introduced to Second life by my stupid (ex) friend “Cal”. Cal was working on his college thesis at that time and needed to explore SL deeply for that purpose. We were both in our early twenties. Unfortunately, we both fell for the same girl who used to go to our college. She chose Cal over me. I was naturally frustrated and very angry and jealous.

Within a few months I learnt the basics of SL with the help of some nice people I met in that world. I wanted to take revenge on my friend and cause him and his girlfriend to break up. I created a very girly alt. I knew all about his taste in girls and also knew that I would find him at one of the London hubs. In a few days he became good friends with me as an alt in Second Life. It all led to him trying out SL sex with my alt. How? He asked for a pic of me but I said I’d show him after we have sex. That was my last meeting with him in an alt. I quit on that account just as the sex ended. I recorded all my chats and the sex and sent them to his girlfriend.

That worked just as I had wanted. They are no longer together. She didn’t want to talk to either of us for a few months. I dumped my friend Cal pretending to not like what he did to her. After waiting for a year, her and I got together. We are happily in a relationship now. I have no guilt.

Do you want to talk about your worst SL experiences that have hurt you deeply? Do you love someone in SL and just cannot express your love to them? You can do it anonymously. Blog Veridical welcomes your Anonymous Confessions about SL. Submit them here.