Monday, August 23, 2010

The Graver Danger Uncovered in the #Emeraldgate Affair

What concerns me most about the Emerald affair is not the danger of malicious code, but the threat that the expansion of malicious speech in the Second Life community will outlive this particular instigating incident.

There have always been a few people in the community who habitually attack others in public venues through the use of derogatory labels, specious or exaggerated accusations and vitriol-filled multi-post rants. But it seems to me that this tendency has expanded in the wake of the #Emeraldgate affair. This is not surprising. Many people were personally offended by the thought that the Emerald team broke the community's trust and confidence. In turn, what would have otherwise been a shared investigation into the facts surrounding the emerging story was often colored by speculative judgements on the dark motivations and flawed character of the accused perpetrators.

On a positive note, I think that Paisley Beebe's fine interview yesterday with the Emerald team's leaders proved that it is possible to ask hard questions without resorting to personal attack,  and demonstrated the benefit of creating a safe conversational space for those embroiled within controversy.


Chestnut Rau said...

Thank you for saying this Botgirl. I could not agree more.

I think we should be able to talk about the poor judgement or even criminal activity without a gleeful tone at the downfall of the responsible party.

sororNishi said...

Agreed, and as 'Facts" are so flimsy, a certain cautiousness would be well advised.

Hearsay and gossip are all good blog-meat but character assassination is not nice.

Tara said...

The voice of reason may not completely defuse the shrill cries of the mob, but at least it provides an anchor for rational discourse. Thanks, Botgirl.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I was just about to post a comment on the same line when I saw your tweet leading to your post.

I could not agree more, Botgirl. I am fed up with the whole #Emeraldgate affair and the mudslinging that follows it. Enough of it, persevering won't do any good.

Anonymous said...

There are indeed bloggers who seem to get off on being needlessly cruel to others. There are also bloggers who will bury any topic that seems unpleasant even if their readers would benefit from that discussion.

I'm nowhere near the talent to put either down nor do I have the stones to offer up a problem that's only real solution is less free speech.

You've got a nice middle of the road easy listening thing going on and there is a market for that just like the other side which isn't getting a damn kind word tonight after bringing a parent's loss of child into the mix where it had no place.

Botgirl Questi said...

It's interesting that this particular issue stirred up so much controversy and passion. My gut impression is that it created as much or more social network activity than any of the Linden Lab actions over the last couple of years.