This started out as my comment to a post over on Dusan’s blog. He started with the metaphor and a touch of science of geography and how humans interpret/inhabit their world spatially. Geography is interesting, yet where this really was going was how Linden Lab may use geographical constructs to separate potentially offensive content. Then I got a little inspiration and thought how to flip burden of protecting users from content they are too immature or too intolerant. Here’s my comment, proudly loaded with puns and inuendo:
This is an interesting discussion. The metaverse is really a kind of aether net, then, a dimensionless place where we all are joined at the speed of light.
But wait, as we use it in SL we fashion worlds in our own image – a 3D space with avatars in that space. Aye, that’s the rub: so few of us dare to use our minds for omnipresence. No problem, a synthetic 3D space can work, except we also bring with us our fears, our selfishness, our hate, our real world cultures and laws. We have eaten of the apple and our windows on the metaverse world are seeking technological and policy changes lest we evolve our way of being conscious.
As I was trying to follow some of the alternative maybes from LL or others, especially with the fear that some precious users might happen upon the metaverse manifestations of imagination that they cannot tolerate, I got the following idea. Instead of making the metaverse conform to the narrow mindedness of these users, let us fit their avatars with blinders, so as they roam the worlds they simply cannot “see” in-world content they don’t want. Let them gouge out their virtual eyes, lest they recognize their own intolerance and ignorance… (apologies to fans of King Lear)
But seriously, why hobble a metaverse because of intolerance?
The metaverse is a world where the places and our avatars within it are enabled by computer code. We could separate content into spaces, or we could tag spaces so that certain types of content are invisible or greyed-out for avatars that are too immature or too intolerant to see some things. This does not solve the problem of trying to figure out what is PG, R, or X… (I know these US movie ratings are owned by the Motion Picture Association and are pretty much arbitrary). What this does do is put the solution on the user and not the people living the “your world, your imagination” metaverse. Let avatar profiles proudly proclaim their hangups and fears. (FEAR = Forever Evading Another Reality). This may be a means to help people embrace their intolerance, rather than the rest of us having to surpress the reality of our imagination and fantasy.