Monday, May 30, 2011


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Tinsel Silvera said...

Interesting analogy, if I actually interacted with Bart and Homer. But I do not, have not and will not. They are simply a form of entertainment for some (not for me personally though - never liked the Simpsons). But I do get your point. Regardless, I still see you as a guy no matter how pretty you may be dressed up inworld. It is like all the perverted stuff I have seen in Zindra. I cannot "unsee" it once seen. I can only pretend it does not exist. Oh wait, that is your point. I just need to pretend you are a girl! {:o) Seriously though, I love virtual worlds, and have no plans to leave just because some people choose to bring in the outside world. Thought provoking as usual Botgirl.

Botgirl Questi said...

We're always pretending in the virtual world, aren't we? There is always a big variance between our mental models of each other and some aspects of physical reality, be it age, race, gender, ethnicity, weight, etc.

When we know nothing of another's physical world information it is certainly easier to pretend. But although we can't erase knowledge we've gained of a person's RL information from memory, it's still our choice whether to focus on the real-time experience of the virtual world.

I'm not saying one decision or the other is "right", only that it's our own mind spoiling the illusion, not the facts themselves. So the question that comes to mind for me is why one would resist letting go and enjoying the illusion. What are we afraid of?

Wol said...

"ZOMGWTF!!?!?!!? Did you know that nearly all of the cats in Second Life are human in RL?"

I wonder why that doesn't bother people …

Miso Susanowa said...

Likewise, Wol; I have yet to have a dragon show me his/her clutch, eat a goat in front of me ala Jurassic Park or show me where his/her hoard of luscious gold is.

Botgirl, agreed; physical shape in the physical world is often mistaken as to someone's real identity. I am sure you can think of a dozen people of each sex who don't fit inside the little box their physical appearance would suggest.

Great statement of the issue!

Botgirl Questi said...

Wol: I know, right? Seriously, there's a big difference between knowing there's a human behind the cat, and seeing a photo of what the human actually looks like. Because without any RL info, there's no image to conflict with whatever your immersed experience kicks up in your imagination. Once the cat is out of the bag (sorry) I think it does take a more conscious act of will to experience the avatar wholly within the context of the virtual environment.

Miso: Thanks! I think gender is such a big deal in discussions of virtual identity because people are afraid they'll fall for someone (or simply feel an attraction towards someone) of one gender who proves to be of the other. So it challenges people's sexual identities to think they may be attracted to, flirt with, SLex, partner, etc. someone and later find that the their AC appliance was being powered by a DC current, or vice versa.

But in the identity vs. immersion question I explored in the comic, I think that just about any strong image of someone that's very different than the way they present as an avatar could have a negative impact on immersion if you fixated on it.

sororNishi said...

I have no trouble in enjoying Bradd Pitt and the Pirate. They exist simultaneously for me in the same time frame..