|From Visual Thesaurus|
Two Second Life banishments hit the blogosphere and SocNet yesterday. Emerald Viewer developer Arabella Steadham's accounts were permanently terminated for "severe or repeated violations of the Second Life Terms of Service or Community Standards." Virtual fashion designer and artist Eshi Otawara was banned for one hour for using swastikas and a concentration camp theme in an art installation on the day before the Jewish New Year holiday. The juxtaposition of the two events brought a couple thoughts to mind:
- You still don't own crap in Second Life, including your identity. A virtual world is not a country and you are not a citizen with certain inalienable rights. A virtual world is a software platform owned by a corporation. You are a customer with whatever rights have been granted in the Terms of Service Agreement. If you haven't read the TOS, here's the salient language: ACCOUNT HISTORY AND ACCOUNT NAMES RESIDING ON LINDEN LAB'S SERVERS, MAY BE DELETED, ALTERED, MOVED OR TRANSFERRED AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON IN LINDEN LAB'S SOLE DISCRETION.
- The word "ban" seems to be used by Second Lifers to refer both to permanent account termination and a one hour lock-out. This can be a bit confusing. I first heard of the Eshi ban in a Plurk yesterday. Since there were no other details at the time, I assumed she had been permanently blocked from Second Life. I was very busy all day and didn't have a chance to get the details until late that night when I discovered the "ban" was only for an hour. I suggest we use another term for these mini-bans for clarity of communication. Although it would have been less dramatic, I would prefer a headline like "Eshi Otawara Punished by Linden Lab with a Time-Out For Use of Nazi Symbolism in Her Art Project."
These incidents are a good reminder to make sure your virtual identity is replicated in other worlds including your name, avatar form and whatever possessions you can smuggle out.