If you’re of “a certain age”, and live in the US, you may recall an advertising campaign from the 1960s with a particularly insidious earworm jingle:
Lately, as various start-ups (and upstarts) vie for recognition and market share, there’s been a lot of “My grid’s better than your grid…” There’s nothing wrong in my book with bragging about the virtual home you’ve chosen — anyone who reads this blog knows how enthused I am about InWorldz — but there’s an important difference between boosting your own and tearing down someone else’s.
And yes, I know… I’m as guilty as the next guy or girl about criticizing Second Life. But, as more than one guy and girl have pointed out — to the extent that, by now, it really shouldn’t need repeating — we do that because we want SL to continue, to improve rather than stagnate, to lead the virtual worlds of its type rather than to merely endure by being the 800-pound gorilla.
Today’s blog entry was inspired (if you can call it that) by an exchange or two on Twitter yesterday to which I was exposed second-hand. I don’t know all of the details — in fact, I deliberately avoided tracking them down — and I’m not going to name names or repeat what was said. Best as I can tell, someone who I follow made mention of Aurora, which is a new-ish fork of the OpenSimulator server code (and was associated briefly with Imprudence/Kokua). Well… someone took the role of Troll upon themselves, and proceeded in multiple tweets to denigrate not only the Aurora project, but the person who mentioned it.
In my time in Second Life, when commenting about other avatar’s choices in appearance, activities, and lifestyle, I’ve often used the phrase “It takes all kinds to make a virtual world.” Well, guess what, Mr. and Ms. Troll: It takes all kinds of virtual worlds to make an Omniverse, too. The choices other people make about which ones they go to, or how many, or which software they use to start up their own, are not intrinsically wrong for the sole reason that they differ from yours. Interoperability is a worthwhile goal, but it does not mean “One code to rule them all.”
There is a point at which evangelism becomes fanaticism. Virtuality needs the former; it should have no use for the latter.
Be proud of your own world(s) without demonizing the others.