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In Virtual Worlds, a Sheriff Has Arrived

Kim Hart

I wrote a story today about the evolution of justice systems in virtual worlds such as Second Life, Cellufun, VZones and Google's Lively.

The main gist: Some virtual worlds are developing more sophisticated codes of law and systems of punishment in order to police residents' activities. Some users applaud the efforts to hold residents accountable for their actions; others feel like it's a violation of free expression and goes against the very nature of these worlds, where people can express themselves more freely through their avatars.

Is a lawless Wild West better than an orderly world that cracks down on residents?

By Kim Hart  |  August 20, 2008; 12:12 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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"A violation of free expression"?
You're on their servers, you play by their rules...

Posted by: Nick | August 20, 2008 7:51 PM

Paging Wired Magazine, 1995. You must be pretty hard up for stories...this kind of thing has existed for more than a decade, going back to at least The Well in the early '90s and BBSes before then. It always surprises me when "technology" reporters seem to have so little knowledge of what came before.

Yes, virtual communities find ways to moderate their members, both through self-policing and more official channels. So? What's new?


Posted by: um? | August 20, 2008 8:47 PM

time to find a new hobby, ms. blogger.

what a waste of electrons.

Posted by: pointless | August 20, 2008 8:50 PM

The freedom of the press is only exercised by those who own presses. The right to bear arms is restricted to those who bear arms. On and on and on... They own the servers - they say how their systems operate. Been that way for decades. Wish that current individuals didn't behave as though things that happened longer ago than last week didn't matter.

Posted by: Jim | August 21, 2008 10:12 AM

Haven't read the article yet, but, top of my head? Welcome be the law and order into virtual worlds! Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it. Defiance is the thing. You need to overcome, to prevail, to defeat. That's the challenge. Freedom without opposition equals laziness. It's boring. It's the death of the mind.

Posted by: Jorge | August 21, 2008 11:04 AM

Hey. Dudes. I hadn't seen your posts yet. We have a slang term here, in Argentina, "tiramerdis". We use it to define people who pointlessly criticize whatever they see, just for the heck of it. Might be translated as "crapflingers". The points of the article - I believe, just browsed through it - are (1) the virtual worlds were not policed at first and (2) the manner of the policing is quite new.

Posted by: Jorge | August 21, 2008 11:16 AM

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