Friday, November 4, 2011
Hamlet's List: The Case for Stratifying It
Every month, Hamlet Au publicizes a list of Second Life's fifty most popular places. Here's the current one. The data come from Louis Platini's Metaverse Business site.
A commenter at Au's blog noted that segregating the list by maturity rating might give current and potential SLers a better idea of the platform's uses. I agree...it's not censorship to sort the thing by rating or at least purpose.
Adult content, on the Zindra Continent and private estates, could be assessed with a click. So could education and arts (even if it's erotic art). So could roleplaying sims.
Concurrency at social sites of any rating tends to trump sites used sporadically by a group of avatars for, say, a business or academic meeting. Bowling Green State's virtual campus hosts up to 50 of us for a big meeting of VWER; the rest of the week, concurrency is probably far lower there.
Hamlet's list distorts what can be done in SL. Last month we did have Gerontology Ed Island among the dance-clubs and more salacious sites....now it seems to be all fun and games, of one sort or another. I've not been to #7, "London City," so it may be a virtual version of the real thing.
As it is, the list hurts those new educators who might enter SL and embarrasses the rest of us. Au is the best known writer about Linden Lab's metaverse, so I'd hope he might change matters next month.
I imagined this scenario in a comment to Au. Here is is again.
Dean Wormwood: Thank you for coming in today, Professor Lag. I wanted to ask you about this Second World thing you use with classes.
Lag: Life, sir. Second Life.
Dean: Yes. Well, it's a lively life!
Dean shows Lag Hamlet's list
Lag raises trembling hand to forehead
Dean: So, do you know what "bukkake" is?
Lag: Um...new type of Sushi....um...region in Second Life dedicated to Japanese culture.
Dean: Nice try. I Googled it...now don't tell me "Gor" is a poorly designed site about the former Vice President.
Update, 8 October: Hat-tip to Hamlet for publishing a new post with PG-rated regions. Of course, many educational sims have Mature ratings because of disturbing content or museums that feature nudity. But this is a good step!