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01/13/2006

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Kendra Bancroft

"And I don't know about you, but I've got my answers."

Now there's a shock.

Prokofy Neva

Kendra, did you come up with any *different* answers? Go read the Hamlet thing, study it, and come up with something different, please? I'd love to hear some better news about our world than that it involves suffering the antics and condescending snarky expressions of 20-something male 3-D architects in the IT field.

Squeedoo Shirakawa

Hmmm, this article was interesting, to say the least. I do not believe you should conclude that because of this small population sample that that is why SL is the way it is visually and vocally.

After all, the numbers are not that accurate since the sample size was so small (for example, everyone who answered Hamlet's poll.)

Also, to conlcude that all of these 20-36 year olds are spoiled, college educated, angry, can't-get-a-job/ won't-get-a-real-job, living off of Mommy and Daddy's trust fund, I-have-a-Napoleonic-complex-so-bow-to-me egotists is a bit inaccurate to say the least.

Kendra Bancroft

Yes, Prokofy. But it's not as solid and far-reaching an answer as you might like. No grand design or even plan that reaches beyond my continuing to add my atypical --off the map-- role as a middle-aged leftist transsexual artist.

I fall fairly far off the demographic, so any honesty and authenticity I'm able to contribute to the community will in it's own small way alter the flow of the status quo.

On a side note --I'd very much like to make some sort of peace with you. It kind of bores me to be adversarial --and I'd much rather work at my relationships with people in a more constructive light.

You and I are both fairly acerbic people, but if we could put that behind us, I don't honestly think we're all that different. You need change nothing, just know I'm going to stop being such an ass-biting bitch.

aloha,

Kendra

Yumi Murakami

I think you're making a lot of overlap assumptions here!

27.3% of them do not make a living wage in the US East Coast. 23.8% of them live there, but maybe, none of the people in that 23.8% are in the 27.3% who couldn't afford to live on the East Coast. The 36.1% who work in IT likewise may all be making living wages, and it's possible that none of them live on the East Coast.

As for the 58.4% who have 10+ hours a week for online gaming, you can only assume that 28.8% of the total have 10+ hours a week for online gaming AND pull in a lower range AND/OR live on the East Coast AND/OR work in IT.

The individual numbers are just a bit small to be assuming such massive overlap.

Prokofy Neva

As I cautioned at the outset, Squeedo, Hamlet's numbers -- which aren't mine -- are not scientific. They are a straw poll. But they tell you about the most committed, vocal, and invested people, who are the self-selected people who fill out surveys. I know, I'm one of them, I filled out the survey, but I'm only a tiny demographic on the results, as are others.

Now, of course not all 20-something are spoiled Trustifarians. But...when trying to make some judgement of data like this, you have to ask -- what is the correlation?

They have time, but no money. Part-time jobs, but nothing else seeming to occupy them like childcare or eldercare. They have in-game jobs, but don't make much money at them. Yet a large number can spend lots of time on line. So, these are college kids or another category I forget, which is army wives or young stay-at-home wives or moms. I see a fair number of them in this game actually.

Please read what I wrote. I didn't conclude "all of these 20-36 year olds are spoiled, college educated, angry, can't-get-a-job/ won't-get-a-real-job, living off of Mommy and Daddy's trust fund, I-have-a-Napoleonic-complex-so-bow-to-me egotists is a bit inaccurate to say the least."

I concluded that the reason are forums, which are filled with people who are spoiled, condescending, snarky, have time on their hands, have a Napoelonic complex and a large-size ego is because...they tend to be male, aggressive, 20-somethings in the IT field with time on their hands.

Of course, I realize that some of our worst forums offenders are employed full-time but during the day, rush to put on snarky comments. Or they are 30-40, and seamstresses or cartoonists, and not in the demographics of IT per se.

My interest here is in trying to determine why the forums -- and the game culture -- are the way they are. And the answer, like most MMORPEGs and their forums and culture, is because it's a lot of privileged, 20-something, spoiled, snarky, aggressive, males with a sense of entitlement.

That entitlement comes from a number of sources -- sometimes because they are in college, or Trust Funds, or are wealthy, or...and this is something to think of actually...they work at some consulting IT job that pays bunches and still gives them lots of free time to hang in games.

Whatever -- they don't have to think about much else *except themselves and their own wants and needs*. THAT is the center of gravity, and THAT is why they can afford to behave so badly on the forums and in the world, being nasty and condescending jerks on the forums, and at the extreme, griefing and crashing the server.

Studies of aimless, young, restless men either of the rich or poor variety abound in literature and in science. Oodles of them. They all conclude that societies that have too many of them tend toward crime and terrorism more than those societies that can find a way to put them to use, or at least get them on a track where they marry, make families, start businesses, take responsibility -- and therefore CONTRIBUTE TO civilization instead of DESTROYING IT.

Prokofy Neva

Re: "The individual numbers are just a bit small to be assuming such massive overlap."

Yumi, you make an excellent point. Indeed they are. I'm looking at the nexus of these numbers, and asking: what do they tell us? Maybe they don't tell us much.

I'm going to another level and asking: can these numbers tell us why our forums are so crappy and our world culture is so crappy, with a very likely 20-something (not likely to be 40-something) nasty asshole with time on his hands and money to tier at least a sim, scattering IMPEACH BUSH signs all over the world.

Prokofy Neva

"You need change nothing, just know I'm going to stop being such an ass-biting bitch."

Eyes goggle out.

Well, Kendra, let's see how long that lasts! Just last night, merely for *telling the truth* about your art poster there in Nberg, calling it "socialist-realist," I was told "not to let the Bavarian Commie Creampuff hit my ass as I walked out the door."

My ass is still covered in commie cream as we speak.

"role as a middle-aged leftist transsexual artist."

Yes, I quite agree, that neither your demographic or mine fit in there. BTW, Hamlet didn't get into things like lifestyle or political choices, he never does.

I just wonder if you could concede that games -- MMORPG culture in general -- with their aggressive 20-something youths with time on their hands and money from Mom & Dad (or Philip Linden, in the form of free accounts and even the occasional free sims) just get up to more nastiness and havoc than those who are grounded more in having to care for others.

It's just that simple. Do your demographics incline you to care more about yourself and your needs and wants? Or others?

And then do the math on the culture of the forums and the world.

Aspen Normandy

Hi again.

I've been strolling about the internet for quite a few years, and have to say -- forums almost always contain the most cynicism and most bile of any internet-based thing.

They usually follow a trend. Phase one is full of supportive people who are honestly trying to get the project off the ground.
Phase two is when snags come up, and some people begin complaining about the snags. It snowballs from there.. the complaints and demands become irrational, and people on both sides start throwing piles of shit at each other.
Phase three is when the people who honestly want to help the project end up leaving the forums due to discouragement from naysayers, fights, etc. Only those with the highest tolerance for bile can hang on the forums, so that's all it gets filled with.
Phase four is when the forums exist solely to flame each other.

SL forums are somewhere in early 3 or late 2, I'd say.

But it's a common trend that you see in any set of forums, unless they are very strictly moderated. The trend transcends any demographic or numbers you want to put on it.

These are just my observations though.

Prokofy Neva

I think there is some merit to what you are saying, Aspen, about the life-cycle of forums and the bile that emerges on them, but there's also a horrid MMORPG culture, with its particular functions of alts, and its skewed belief systems of group-think and hatred of "trolls" etc that makes for another dynamic.

I see the same sort of aggressive male 20-something swinging dick assholes on other listserves or forums completely unrelated to the field of games and mmorpegs. There are the same set of characters on that famous humorous page with all the Internet forums types.

But the SL world is a particular mix I've never before seen in my life. It has an extra amplitude of arrogance based on the idea that some of the Chosen Few are World Creators and programmers, designers, etc. -- the FIC. They are particularly insufferable because they founded and formed the world *themselves*.

In most other settings, it's the game devs -- the remote gods -- who formed the world, and they are offstage, somewhere.

The players aren't usually the base these game devs in other games go to to find employees.

But in SL, the junior game devs, the people helping or extending what LL did, are right there on the forums, and their god-like powers of creation at least, are right in their hands. And they are the base from which the employees are drawn.

So it makes for a particularly dreadful combination that I think makes the SL forums a particularly awful place -- and as Cocoanut has been saying, it's about to get much worse with this new moderation system.

Kendra Bancroft

"Well, Kendra, let's see how long that lasts! Just last night, merely for *telling the truth* about your art poster there in Nberg, calling it "socialist-realist," I was told "not to let the Bavarian Commie Creampuff hit my ass as I walked out the door."

Yes --that was the tipping point for me. I wasn't happy with myself after you left, and had myself a bit of an epiphany.

That and your column had me examine the fact that you and I are far more similar than not.

We shall see if it lasts, but I confess that I'd like to at the very least visit your blog with cordiality.

Kendra Bancroft

"I just wonder if you could concede that games -- MMORPG culture in general -- with their aggressive 20-something youths with time on their hands and money from Mom & Dad (or Philip Linden, in the form of free accounts and even the occasional free sims) just get up to more nastiness and havoc than those who are grounded more in having to care for others."

I not only concede the point, I give it a hardy second, But then I also percieve that these kinder will one day rule the world. All I can do, seemingly, is hang around to keep it from getting to boring.

Aspen Normandy

I disagree with your proposed 'reasons' for the forums being as they are.

I would go sofar as to say age does not matter at all -- if it were 30 or 40-somethings only, it might delay the inevitable a bit, but eventually the forums would fall into decay. It's the nature of places that lack moderation combined with anonyminity (spelling?). And there is minimal moderation of SL forums.

I have always been one for strict moderation of any public forum. Private conversations and fights can take place in the sidelines and in private messaging, so they do not detract from the purpose of the forum. I wish I knew an example off-hand, but don't really have the motivation to go browsing presently.

I will agree with one generalization you have made: Males tend to bring aggression to forums, or any medium. On that note, females tend to bring drama. Neither are very productive, when left unmoderated.

Squeedoo Shirakawa

Pardon me, Prokofy, I didn't mean "conclude", I meant the elaborations that you listed. :P Sorry.

I see what you are saying, but I will still stand by my conclusion that this survey doesn't show much. You would have to extend beyond the Second Life forums and re-create a more general survey for persons in forums for other MMORPGs.

However, if one was studying the New World Notes readers, then I wouldn't have any problems with it.

Did I miss anything? :)

Prokofy Neva

Well, I am still refining my analysis of the forums problems. Elsewhere, I made a different point, which is like your point about the females bring drama, and the males bring aggression. On the SL forums, I see older females, 40 somethings, often of the artistic/semi-employed/ or even retired types, fighting the aggressive 20-something males. This is a mother-son story of our society, having to do with the moms who went to work and didn't breastfeed and the cranky entitlement-demanding wild sons who didn't get enough attention LOL. Just to make an absolute cliche out of it.

You have a point, Squeedo, that the survey is of NWN readers, only SOME of whom are playing SL, but that percentage isn't that big of non-SL (have to go read).

And sure, there'd have to be a bigger survey of all MMORPEG players, but heck, that's easy enough to find out there, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be about 20-something males in IT with time to play games.

Aspen Normandy

I propose broadening further and going to look at any unmoderated forum, whether it be for a game or political discussion or a comic strip.

While 20-something males in IT probably dominate the internet, the effects of unmoderated anonymous chatter are clear even where that slice of the 'net demographic doesn't hang out. People abuse anonymous unmoderated posting, even if it just creeps in over a period of time.

Cocoanut Koala

Kendra! :) I'm so happy!

Regarding the generalizations one can glean from Hamlet's survey: They likely correlate more with the SL forum participants than with SL residents at large, since participation in both the blog and the forums involves an interest in reading and posting on these things.

Aspen, stage early 3 I would say.

I couldn't say enough bad about the forums if I had a year to do it in. And yes, never have I seen such a bunch of arrogant young males gathered in one spot. (With so little to be actually arrogant about, lol.) Emphasis on the ARROGANT. I have quite a few young male friends who are some of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet; I absolutely love them. And to a man, they refuse to have anything to do with the forums. I find that interesting.

Of course, there are the nasty females, too, but the females tend to either be involved only in their own drama, or somehow serve as - I can't help but notice this - groupies to the males. Or - mascots for the males. Either one.

But I blather on.

We are entering a new era on the forums, as the Lindens circle their wagons and gather their army. This army will even have the sole right to star-rate threads, thus denoting which speech LL approves of and which they don't, while we will be muted.

Great, huh?

It is also planned that the appointed residents will also be handling all the abuse reports, after an initial phase.

That means the appointed residents will have God powers over us, because once we are banned from the forums, we are banned from the game.

This makes me think the Second Life Herald had it so right when they called LL "Kremlinden Labs." I thought that was just kinda funny then, but now I think it's actually quite descriptive of their methods.

The more we try to make this a democratic world, with equal opportunity to all, the more they retreat into their think tanks with their favored residents. Those annointed resemble helpers and volunteers less and less every day, and look more like a defensive army, as they are given more and more power of their own.

This doesn't work, because it makes for two unequal classes of residents. Though we all pay the same money, and should be equal, some residents actually have much more power. And the Lindens intend to keep it that way, I fear, and make it even more so.

coco

Kendra Bancroft

I will, however, point out that the title of this thread does seem like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel ;)

Kendra Bancroft

"Kendra! :) I'm so happy!"

Yah -me too. Life's way too short.

Aspen Normandy

Well, for my part, I applaud the idea of having someone moderate the forums. LL can't do it with their current staff, and appointing residents to do it seems like a reasonable solution to me.

Of course, I don't believe democracy and equality work or exist anywhere...

It's an idealistic notion, but it falls apart when you realize that true democracy would simply encourage the "group-think" that you all hate so much. Democracy is the same as "rule by mob". Whoever screams the loudest and has the most followers is right.

At least in this case, power rests in the hands of a few, who will use it at their discretion under certain guidelines. If they end up with too bad of a reputation, those powers can be revoked and given to someone else.

It's really not a bad model, if you aren't of the utopian mindset that the masses actually do know what's best, or that the masses are good at making decisions...

Of course, America was founded on the notion that people weren't intelligent enough to decide things for themselves. Hence, a Republic, and an elite group of collegiates who decide who gets in office of that Republic. Naturally I refer to the Electoral College. It has only been in somewhat recent American history that people have been deluded to believe in 'democracy'.

Prokofy Neva

Democracy is not rule-by-mob, and to portray it as such is a techocratic fad by these new creator-fascist tekkies ruling the waves. Democracy involves above all, separation of powers and the rule of law. The concept of branches of government and parts of society providing checks and balances on each other is the lifeblood of the liberal democracy concept. To portray democracy as just the sum of a mob is not to understand the first thing about it.

The masses are actually pretty good at making decisions. That is why America is pretty stable and prosperous compared to other countries where masses are oppressed or where tiny minorities rule arbitrarily. You may not like some of the things about the masses, such as them being conservative or religious. You then get various opt-outs. But even people who scream the loudest about this mass of America don't tend to leave for...oh, I dunno, Nigeria or Singapore or even Canada.

The concept that the Electoral College does anything other than manage what the grassroots and the states decides long before it comes to them is one of those new tekkie Internet urban fallacies. Please find me examples of persons in the Electoral College who changed their vote after they got delegated to vote from their state.

When I start reading stuff about Americans being deluded in their democracy, I realize I'm dealing either with some uneducated ass, some incompletely educated very young person, or some European or Asian who has no real free press access or real opportunity to understand America. It's a pretty hopeless cause in trying to persuade them.

This is a blog about SL, however, and I'm really not interested in your informed views about American democracy, not because I'm not critical of it, but because I do not find you to be educated or informed.

Cocoanut Koala

Your idea that "power rests in the hands of a few, who will use it at their discretion under certain guidelines" is what strikes me as idealistic, and naive.

When I say "democracy," I don't discount elected representatives. The masses actually do know best, when it comes to governing themselves.

cici

Aspen Normandy

Elected representatives is not democracy, by the definition of democracy. What you are both talking about is something completely different than democracy.

I daresay.. a Representative Republic.

Of course, I'm using the strictest definitions of the words, not what they have 'come to mean', so that may be where the communication disconnect is occuring.

Aspen Normandy

And further, I wish to correct a small misconception about the electoral college.

In its root design, it was supposed to be a group of people highly educated in politics who have certain views, that people vote on. Those electoral college reps would then cast their vote on the leader who they most believe would fit with their views.

Since the advent of the political party (which was NOT part of the original design of America's government), the electoral college has taken a very different role. That is, the one you recognize today: An unnecessary pool of people to relay votes to Red or Blue. The elephant or the mule.

It's tempting to call you an uneducated ass in regards to the origins of America's government, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on simply not understanding my usage of words in regards to democracy and representative republics.

Prokofy Neva

I mean *uninformed views.

Oh, ok be like the Red Queen then, and say what words mean to you or what you'ld like them to say.

What I can tell about people who start this word meaning game is that they like to play Internet gotcha, show off, lord it over strangers, behave belligerently, and cite lots of fake or massaged statistics...and usually other Internet pages with lots of false and misleading stuff on them.

Honestly, a little Internet is a dangerous thing in the hands of the semi-educated.

Bye!

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