Spending real money in a virtual world

There is a discussion these days in another virtual blog about what can be done if you have bought a service in a virtual world and the service-provider suddenly decides to close down, without any notification.

In my opinion there is a generel risk spending real money online. There are so many ways today for a hacker to steal the tranaction somehow, and so far it seems that the people working with security all over the world is having a hard time with stopping this, so all we can do as consumers is to make sure that we follow the rules and use the tools that the security companies provide for us and then hope for the best.

When that is said it seems that there is an issue with virtual worlds generally, where people do lose real money occationally because of a vendor that close down and leave the virtual world, and put the customer in a situation where they lose money. There is also the same risk in the real world, but you do have more ways to try to get your money back when you know who the provider or merchant is.

In a virtual world it is possible to have a company, shop or service anonymous. You just need an avatar-name and then you can sell your 3d content or virtual service.

 

We do have to remember that virtual worlds is mostly populated by people who are roleplaying in a certain degree. This means that your mom easily could live a virtual life that she hasnt been able to in real life, for example to be a landlord or to have a little shop or maybe be a male. That makes it even harder to tell if a person is trustworthy or not. One thing is the anonymity, but when its also comes to change of character then its impossible to foresee what could happen in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

This doesnt stop people from spending money though, and the reason for that is probably that it is ridiculous cheap to buy something. Most people wont feel hurt when losing a dollar or 2, and that is probably why it is possible at all to sell anything virtually.

 

It is dead-annoying though if a product you are very pleased with suddenly stops working or cant get updated anymore because of a vendor that quits the virtual life and go back to real life. We just cant do anything about it. We cant find the person anywhere and even if we did find a responsible person, who would spend a fortune to prosecute someone for maybe 10 dollars.

 

 

There is just one rule to obey when spending money in a virtual world and that is:

Dont spend more money than you are prepared to lose“.

Inworldz Forum – a sign of life

Since the start in 2009 of the virtual world Inworldz, there has been a forum for the community to use.
It has been the same forum software ( an older version of phpBB) all the time, and it has been working fine, in a technically way.

 

 

Now, the old forum has also been a place for merchants to advertise their products and shops, and for landbarons to advertize land for rent or sale in Inworldz, and there was a huge script-library with scripts for people to grap. There was also a hidden forum for all the volunteer mentors where they could discuss the challenges they encounter. Events could be advertised too and people could report bugs and other problems and get help with setiing their viewers up and so. Content-creation do sometimes act unexpected and you could always ask a question about a problem, where someone would step in with a more or less usable solution to the problem. All in all it shows a sign of life!

Lately, the last year or so, it has been infiltrated by spammers, that somehow managed to post in locked threads, bypass the moderation rule for first post and just spammed away to the nuisance for the community and the founder. So it is understandable that the founder on some point decided to find an alternative. The choice for a new community-forum has now landed on Zendesk, a Customer-service system provider, and it seems that Inworldz has chosen to use the Support-module that includes a community area and a ticket system. This also means that the old forum will close down soon with all its content to be pure deleted, unless someone find a way to import it to another forum, which is not Zendesk….

Zendesk Support is not supposed to be a forum like we know it, but it can be used as tool for communication between the founders and the residents when needed. According to Elenia, the founder of Inworldz, is it chosen to save time on moderation because the old forum has been very dramatic through times, and has demanded a lot of attention to make sure that WW3 didnt break out. Elenia has mentioned several times that she lost money on all that drama and spent way too much time on moderation. But what about all the content from the old forum then? Is it really worth to throw all that content and all the life out just to prevent spam and drama? Apparently we as residents are supposed to take care of our own posts and import it to another forum if we want to…but we dont have access to the system so it means that we have to manually copy and paste every single post that we find is important to places where no one will ever find it again because it will be spread out all over the internet by different people. It wont even matter if Elenia decide to keep a locked copy for people to look in, because the info in there cant be updated, and it will be outdated very soon.

Something that Elenia and the tech-helper Jim hasnt thought of is that no matter how much drama there is on that forum, then it is one of the forums in all opensim that is most active. Almost every day there are entertaining or interesting things to read, drama or not, and it is a sign of life. It shows the real world that in Inworldz there is life, and it is not just an empty, dull world, like the rest of opensim worlds is. It shows very clearly that there are residents that care about the world, and want to help to make Inworldz great (again…).

I wonder how many people that forum has lured into joining Inworldz as residents. I bet its many. No one just join a world without doing a little research first and the best place to find out about a world is their forum.
There are several virtual worlds out there that has a forum connected to their world and these forums are stone-dead. You are lucky if there has been a single post during the last 6 months. For me that is either a sign of lack of interest for the world or a sign of that there isnt many residents in the world. Both is needed to create a interesting world for new people to join.

Ok, there has been large groups that has left Inworldz over the reason “because of the forum”, probably because the issue escalated to the point of no return. There are also people that has left the forum, that was regular posters. But all this is just around the resident-to-resident communication. All the other stuff like the adverts, the script-library, the Q/A that so many has helped with and not to mention the events, is especially what shows the sign of life. The discussions is just pure extra entertainment.

 

Goodbye life!

Anyway! I think it is a shame that there, from the founders point of view, isnt a better solution to update/upgrade the Inworldz forum. It is all up to the residents now to create a community-page somewhere that can be found for all, both new and old residents, and we all know how that will go….

Opensim – Kitely and the survey

coloriconRecently there was a survey on Hypergrid Business where people was asked about their favorite grid. The questions asked was about support, community, technology, content and overall impression of the grid.
Kitely did ok, but I was kind of surprised about that they didnt get topscore in that survey. Yes they are in the top 5 grids, but still it could be better.

 

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If we look at the support-category then Kitely came in as nomber 5. Why?? Ilan, one of the gridowners, does a huge job in helping people and he is always polite and nice. He answers every question you might have and he keeps the Kitely Market up-to-date and clean, so it doesnt end up like the SL market with all sorts of content-spam. He meets with the resident every sunday all year around, and he listen to people. What more could he do?

 

 

contentKitely came in as number 8 on content. What is it with that?? The Kitely market has more content that other markets in Opensim. Yes it might be a bit expensive, but this was not a survey about where to get cheap or free things. It was about how the grid is doing around the content-creation. Many people come to Kitely just to create and put their content on the marketplace, even though they have a home in another grid. That is of course because Kitely Market is the only market that can deliver to all the hypergrids. Many people also report that its so nice to create on Kitely because there isnt any annoying bugs and the grid is always stable to work on. So its a mystery for me why people didnt vote more for content on Kitely.

 

board-1311166_640Kitely was number 3 in Technology. FrancoGrid and AllCity came first. What is it those grids can that Kitely cant? I wonder if it is because those other grids doesnt have many people online at the same time and therefore they dont have any issues, which they probably will have if they start to grow, just like GCG did get in trouble. Or maybe it was because that people who responded to the survey never visited other grids and didnt have anything to compare it with. I dont know. Its just a big puzzle for me why Kitely didnt get topscore here, because the grid is never down, the platform is stable. Creating is always working and the problems there is, are always something with the Opensim-code, which Kitely try to fix as good as they can.

 

men-1082885_640Something I do understand though, is that Kitely scored low on community. They were number 9 here. It is hard to create a community if people only come to create and dont explore, or attend events or initiate some kind of activity. They do try though, and maybe one day it will grow.

 

 

home-1110868_640I am one of those that only comes to create. I love to create on Kitely. It is so smooth, and everything works all the time. I just have my virtual, social life in SL and cant really leave that for now, but if I one day want to find a home in Opensim that should definitely be in Kitely.

Losing money in a virtual world.

lost-money-clipart-1Unfortunately that is something that we have to be prepared for when we rent land, shops or serverspace from someone that we really dont know anything about. Its almost impossible to know if a Grid-owner, land-baron, grid-provider or even a little mall-owner will take the money and run one day, when they dont feel for their project anymore.

 

 

A month ago (or something) a grid suddenly just disappeared in Opensim. Virtual Life Grid is no more, and people didn’t get any notice about it, the managers couldnt get in contact with the owner and residents lost a homegrid, people lost the currency they had, even though that it was PODEX that was used, but they didn’t take any responsibility for it and wouldn’t refund people anything.

A manager or a resident wrote this in the grids G+ group:
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As most have no doubt figured out, Virtual Life Grid has been closed. I have sent messages to Alpha through his RL partner, as well as direct messages to him via Skype. I’ve received no response at all. Others have told me they have also tried to contact him with no response.

I know a lot of you have currency there, as do I, so I thought I would let you know what I was told when I contacted Podex about it. Unfortunately, as I suspected, there is nothing they can do to help us retrieve those monies. Because they are a third party, they have no access to our VL accounts. They were not granted permission to deduct money without the account owner’s confirmation in-world.

While it’s quite frustrating to lose money in this manner, it’s comforting to know that Podex protects our accounts in this manner.?

**********************************************************

 

Lost_in_Translation_posterThe last week there has been more drama in Opensim around Aviworld and Avilabs, because of the owners lack of communication about his actions or lack of actions, that led to several grids going offline suddenly, apparently because of missing payments to the server-hosting-company. People that have been renting a whole grid from Avilabs found themselves in a situation where they didnt have any access to their grids and their residents didnt have any chance of login in. This is damn annoying when happening. Especially if you have been paying in advance and you realize that the money is lost because of an owner that seems to have taken the money and ran away, instead of paying the service he has used for his business.

 

Anyway we dont know the reasons for all this and it doesnt really matter either, because all we feel is the consequenses and thats enough.

 

 

 

SmashedOnPleasureStreet1

My home after LL smashed my homeplot….

Also happening last week, my homeplot in Second Life was suddenly gone. Poof…no more home.
I have for a while rented a quarter of a sim with Regent Estates, which is a old land-baron that has existed for many years in SL and without any drama. Now it seems that Regent Estates is no more!

 

 

 

Fortunately I didnt pay in advance, so I lost no money and LL did let the sims be online for a few days so we could grab our stuff, but its really annoying when this happens.

I got this notecard from Melody Regent, the owner of Regent Estate.

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Good Day,

I will get right to the point. Unfortunately I am coming to you with very sad news. Over the last few months Regent Estates has been struggling with issue with LL and and the Linden Xchange. We have been trying very hard to work with LL to be able to keep the sims open by transferring them to a reliable land owner that holds the same high standards as Regent Estates does.

We were in talks with another estate to transfer the sims and keep every one of our clients on their sims with no impact or price increase. Linden simply got in the way and refused to help make the transfer happen.

After a lot of going back and forth and trying to get LL to open up some options that would be beneficial to both them and our clients. Sadly LL had refused to work with us in any way even if it would cost them a loss in more than $100,000 usd in revenue. They even have gone so far as to locking up all Regent Estates owned accounts (avatars), including the avi that would allow me to refund your $L or even to take the large amount of money sitting on an alternate account that could also be used to help with the making the transfer happen.

It has come to my attention that Linden Labs has shut all the sims down today and for this we are sorry. I am asking them to please open the sims and allow residents to get their items. I have also asked my manager to please request they be opened as well. I would encourage you to open a ticket and request they open them as well. If you are able to call them to ask for them to open the sims, please feel free to do that as well. They can be reached at 800-956-3644.

I can not express to you how sad I am to see this happen. I would have hoped that after a decade of business and more than a $1,000,000 usd spent, they would have been more willing to work something out.

Please know this is not how I would ever handle a client, long or short term and I am both sad and disappointed. I am also sad and disappointed in Regent Estates as well, for not being able to find a way to take care of our clients.

Please accept my sincere apology and heartfelt sadness. I can not even grasp that they would not allow me back online to speak my clients personally.

Thank you for all the amazing years, I do not know what else to really say in all this except I am filled with disappointment in how it was all handled.

Melody Regent
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And later same day I got this IM from LL:

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Group Notice From: Regent Estates, Derrick Linden

As the former estate owner did not meet their obligation to Linden Lab, the regions formerly owned by Regent Estates have been taken offline. Due to this, we are aware many of you need to pick up items from those regions. We have brought all of those regions back online until Aug 12 at noon PDT (SL time) to give you time to do so. There is no need to file a support case, and please do not call the phone number provided unless you are eligible for Concierge level support.
*****************************************************************

 

The only thing we can do about that is to make sure of that we dont pay in advance, and also that we have backup of all that we build in that place. If it is a grid then keep a fresh copy of the database/databases somewhere else but on the grid-server, if its full sims, then make OARs and save them somewhere only you have access to, and if its just a plot or a shop that disappears then make sure you have a copy of all your stuff in your inventory. If you are a builder then make sure that you have a copy of your builds on your PC and all your textures and your scripts. Then you can always start all over in another place, but its hard work.

 

hqdefault (1)

Homeless and lost!

Personally I do only trust the owners of Kitely, Inworldz, GCG and Secondlife, and in SL I only trust Anche Chung as land-baron. I am aware of though, that everything can happen and that one day my home or plots might be lost, so I always make sure that I have backup of my stuff.

But one never knows…!

 

Being virtual in Bullywood

antibullyinglogo3When we “live” in a virtual world or we play an online game, then we never use our real name. There is of course a very good reason for that, because it is not really safe to be too real, virtually. Facebook is an exception. There we have to be real….almost 🙂
When it comes to dealing with other people virtually, we only meet anonymous people with funny names. Somehow that doesnt matter because we also ourselfes use a virtual name. Its acceptable, Its ok. Real life friendships can arise from a virtual contact, so its a good thing that we are able to meet people from all over the world just by playing a game somewhere. Its great! I love it!

 

Unfortunately the virtual contact can also lead to a hard verbal punch on the nose. Its a bit like moving in a jungle amongst harmless butterflies and violent preditors. You never know who you meet and how they act until you have interacted with them for a while, and even then it can be a surprise to discover that the person you thought was nice and friendly suddenly turns into a scumbag and you never saw it coming.
Fortunately some of the actions that is categorized as bullying is really just frustrated people, that somehow reacts to something that is frustrating them. Most people cool off after a little while and then all is good.

Bullying other people seems to be a kind of extreme sport for some of these preditors. They apparently get a kick out of it, and they never stop until someone punches back, which is rarely seen, because it can be hard to see through what really is going on. They seem to have more or less free hands to do what they want, because its so hard to discover when it is a real bully and when its just a frustrated person.

There are different methods to bully around. All methods only takes ONE single bully, only one, to stir up a verbally violent situation, but some methods needs a set of followers too, that either misunderstand the situation or just want to feel a “fun” moment of power together with the real bully.

Maybe you can recognize some of the methods I mention here:

hqdefaultOne method of bullying is when someone enters a group/world/game and start to deliberately pissing people off. Just because they can! This can ruin a peaceful group because people normally reacts to it and the flaming and fights start, all to the bully’s satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

EMPEM-crybabyAnother method of bullying is to victimize yourself without any real reason except getting your will. Some people are really good at that and they get a lot of empathic people to support them, even that its a clear case of bullying someone for…I dont know…attention maybe?
Anyway, it is very effective, and its also very abusive towards the empathic people that misunderstand and support a wrong cause!

 

 

 

 

 

alone_in_crowd_8486

alone in the crowd

The third method to bully is probably the worst: Ignoring. When you come in a group as a new person and you greet and smile and no one reacts to that, but just keep on doing whatever they did before you came in. It can be in a forum, a virtual world or an onlinegame, that happens all over. Of course you can find a new place to go, but if its a place where you really want to be, then its a pain to just be ignored no matter what you do. Some places are more or less taken over by a clique that prefer to have their place for them-selfes and its almost impossible to get a chance to exist side by side with those people unless you prefer to live in total silence. If you are lucky you can find some other people that is also ignored and then you can join each other in a new clique, but sometimes those others have been working hard, and for a long time, to get just a little acceptance from the leading clique and will not throw that away just for a newbie.

 

 

bully5

The fourth method to bully is to single out a person to get him/her to leave. Someone high up in the hierarchy in a group kickstarts a “campaign” about how awful a certain person is and all the harm that has been done by this terrible person. Then the followers kicks in and continues the flaming. No one dares to support the victim and it all ends bad for the victim that probably ends up leaving the group/game/world.

 

 

bully3The fifth method of bullying is when a person in power abuse that power to bully people. It can be an administrator on a server that kicks people he/she doesnt like, or wipe a whole server of content just for kicks, or a moderator/group-owner that gives special treat to a certain clique and mistreat others that rebel against that. It can also be a grid-owner that abuse his/her god-power and steal some peoples stuff and give it to friends.

 

 

bully1The sixth method of bullying is person to person. You meet someone and they start to verbally abuse you and then the stalking starts and you cant get rid of them. They somehow got your email and send you not so nice mails or maybe even phone you if you havent been careful with your private information. This is fortunately something you can report to an owner, administrator or other in charge of the place you are experience this in, and if it goes further out to real life then it is also possible to report it to the police.

 

 

 

Leadership_and_Power

 

Its all about power, the feeling these bullies get when they have control.  What can we do about it? Its very hard to see through whats going on when it happens. Doing one thing in one situation that works, can be a total failure in another similar situation. It is very very difficult.
Thats why we often see in forums, worlds, games and groups around that people in charge are yelled at for being unrighteous and sometimes even seems to help a certain bully-group instead of preventing the bullying. They simply cant see whats going on, but the victim can see it very clearly!

Don’t bully! Be aware of whats going on around.

Support the right victims and most important: Be a friend!

If you can tell a story about this subject, and what has been done to prevent it, then feel free to go to the ZigZag forum and write your story. Maybe it can help someone, somewhere.
(I have closed comments here on the posts, because of too much spam, but the forum is open if you register.)

Oh noo…the online-numbers are declining!

double_facepalmToday I wrote a post in the Inworldz forum, because I got inspired by the subject about the decline in the online-numbers and that nobody is online on peoples friendslist.
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Time has changed, and we as VR-people has changed too. Now I am not an expert at all, I just see what I see. What was fun years ago isnt fun anymore and the wow-factor is declining fast these days too, especially for me.

I have recently started to play an online-game. I would not have thought that I could ever think that it could be fun, because the many input you got from SL and other worlds has been fulfilling in many aspects. Now I realise that what ever we have done in a virtual world, like meeting, dancing, creating, being social, have events and so also actually exists in an online game. Ok there is a huge lack of animations but people are extremely creative in that way, and there are little systems to enhance the social gatering and the game-developers are also good at building in little social features to make people connect and have fun together.

Ok, this is not supposed to be advertising or anything, but when I compare Virtual worlds and certain online games, then there isnt much in virtual worlds anymore that cant be fulfilled in a game and in a game you have all sorts of challenges too to overcome. Many games are now sandbox-games or open-world games where you can explore and live your game-life just as you please. Why should people choose a virtual world with primitive graphics and no decent physic when they can get it all in a game?

In the old days we could advertise with the social aspect to get people to come and join, and we could also sell Virtual worlds as a place to make money, but now you can make money in games too, if you are creative enough to find a way to make people pay for something they want and that you got. You can also very easy find new friends, both old as young. Its like there isnt any incentive for people to join that is special for Virtual worlds. Its not unique anymore. Not enough unique anyway.

We need to find the special things to use to lure people in with. Fashion is an area that could be unique if there was some more attention on the area in a way like real life fashion. More fashion shows and designer contests and other stuff I dont have a clue about because I am not fashion-person anymway. Its just an example.

There is a new G+ group that has just started and that I have joined. Its called “Promotion for virtual worlds and everything in ’em” Maybe its a good idea to start some kind of joint venture with other worlds to find the unique things that we can use to advertise with.

Inworldz marketplace, Yay!

icon-blue-d-marketplace-cartIt seems that Wolf Hartnell from Inworldz (http://inworldz.com/ ) finally has finished the long awaited marketplace for Inworldz’s residents. It has just opened for merchants and is expected to be open for customers soon.

Wolf’s blog: https://news.iniw.net/

This has been a loooong waiting for that marketplace. The problem is that Wolf is all alone in making of this, but it seems that he surely knows what he is doing. It has a complex architechture and a very simple user-interface, so we couldn’t wish for a better system than this I think.

 

It was last year that Wolf announced that he was working on the marketplace and I did try to convince the founders of Inworldz back then, to help Wolf, because its a huge job to make a good marketplce for a virtual world. It seemed that the founders was happy that Wolf took on the job on his shoulders, but yeah well I didnt see any specific help offered, except from just the “sure we will help wolf if he want it” offer.

That did only get Wolf to say that he wanted to do things himself and in his pace. That is also ok. It was just a good thing if that marketplace could have an official hand on it too, because what if Wolf gets tired of it, or if he can’t afford that probably expensive technical setup he has made, then Inwoldz is without a marketplace again….Ok, I am good at taking the trouble halfway, so let’s us just hope for the best.

Its the second marketplace that the Inworldz-residents can use now. The first, Inbiz, did suffer a silent dead, because of the lack of support and updating from the creator of that marketplace. Inworldz founders do not want to create a marketplace themselfes, and let it be up to the residents to do that, which means that if this resident decides to quit and go back to real life, then all the merchants and customers are left with a broken system that no one can do anything about. It is a huge job to put your products on to a marketplace and very time-consuming, plus customers have to deposit money to buy something, so if a marketplace suddenly stops working then those customers and the merchants too cant get to that money anymore. Its not good. Anyway I hope that Wolf can handle the support and doesnt get discouraged at some point, or maybe that Inworldz decide to buy the system from him, so they can take on the responsebility of running it to the end of Inworldz days.

There was also a third marketplace for a very short period of time. It just disappeared one day. Fortunately not many people had used it, because it was still in its early fase, and rumours said that the creators of that marketplace did have a butthead contest with the founders, so they decided to quit early on. Well, this is the nuisance in virtual worlds in general with things that comes and goes, and it was not the first time things just disappear, and it wont be the last time either.

Anyway, I will take on my positive hat and I am exited to put my stuff on the new marketplace. I will just give it a few weeks or so before I start the work….:)

When nobody knows that you are not a dog…

Dog that was hanging out at the skytrain station, by the MBK mall. The owner had another dog too but he wasn't all dressed up. From the looks of things this was a regular gig for the dog. There was about 20 tourists and locals snapping pics.

If someone starts asking you questions about your offline identity, the best response is to just ignore them or tell them you don’t share that information to anyone. They do only need to know that you are Lorelei the mermaid or a dog called Bandit. The virtual worlds offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate, so it’s important to keep yourself safe and secure. Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, the advice and tools here can help you navigate the web safely and securely.

Golden rules about Internet Safety:

  • Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number.
  • Don’t send pictures of yourself to anyone, especially indecent pictures.
  • Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know.
  • Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online.
  • If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it.

It is best to offer information of a more personal nature pseudonymously, and keep the pseudonym(s) carefully firewalled from your real identity.

Good rules for screen names and passwords:

  • Make passwords eight or more characters long (longer passwords are harder to crack than shorter ones).
  • Try not to use dictionary words as your passwords (nonsense words are better).
  • Include letters, numbers, and symbols (these make it harder to guess passwords).
  • Change your password at least every six months (this way, even if someone does guess a password, he or she won’t be able to get into your account for long).
  • Don’t use your nickname, phone number, or address as your password.
  • Give your password to your parent or guardian (they will help you remember it if you forget it).
  • Sharing your password with your friends is not a good idea (even if you trust them, they might unintentionally do something that puts you or your information at risk).
  • Create a password that’s unique but memorable.
  • Avoid using your real name.
  • Skip personal details (no ages, addresses, or jersey numbers, for example).
  • Consider a screen name’s effect on others (make sure it’s readable and inoffensive).

 

Protect your virtual life.

If someone is harrassing you, either right-click on their avatar and select ‘mute’ or search for their profile and click ‘mute’ on that. In rare cases you can meet a very enthusiastic stalker who will just make a new avatar after you have muted him/her and then continue their harrasment. Most worlds has a abuse-report function where you can report these “griefers” to the world-owner, that mostly will ban that person either by IP or by something like that.

Dont just accept any offers from others you dont know. Some people have a lot of fun to offer scripted functionality that could make you look like something completely different from yourself and it is apparently especially funny when they offer that to a new person, because oldbie’s dont fall for that trick anymore.  If your avatar suddenly is being animated against your will, then in most viewers there are a function called “Stop animating”. It is located in the menu somewhere, and where depends on which viewer you use.

You could also be given a tracker that could trace where you are everytime you log in, and you do not want that someone more or less unpleasant type always know where you are and can tp to you to annoy you. So therefore dont ever accept things from people you dont know or dont trust.

If someone starts to push you around, physically, then just rightclick on the ground and choose “sit”. Then your avatar sits on the ground and no one can push you anymore. Some people have a lot of fun doing that to especially new people.

You also have some privacy-options that you can set in the viewer you use to load the world. You can for example set if you want to be found in search, or if you dont want anyone but your frineds to see that you are online. Some viewers have a radar that can show you which avatars that are near you. That is good if you dont want to meet someone, then you can just teleport to a different place.

 

Protect your mental health.

It is easy to become totally engulfed by the virtual life. More than you may believe. It can be hard to keep the sane mode, if you can call it that, when you start to believe that you really ARE your avatar. When you discover that things are starting to get to you personally, either because you gets mad about something or because you suddenly feel very sad, and you realize that its your avatar that is really getting mad or sad, then it is time to log out of the virtual world and start to live your real life a bit, until you have calmed down and can keep a safe distance to whatever happens in the virtual worlds. If you manage to keep a healthy balance bewteen your virtual life and your real life, then you will find yourself having many hours of fun, and enjoyable moments for many years.

Join a community

Join some of the many virtual communities.

vir groupsJust like in the real world,  people in the virtual world do come together in communities of all sorts. Some communities are formed through a certain behavior like roleplay communities, others became a community by chance, and some are formed by a merchant who has a support-group for customers which brought people together because of a common interest.

Groups are communities.

In virtual worlds groups are an over-used phenomenon. Its so easy to form a group and to join groups, so everybody can do it with a simple click. The hard part is to make people join those groups.  Many groups suffer from the lack of activity, but if you find the right groups then you will be overwhelmed by the activity level and chat from the people in those groups. You can be spammed with event-messages and you will probably be totally confused when trying to find head and tale in the group-chat, because there can be many individual chats going on in the same view. Thats just something you have to get used to. Its a good way to get to know new people if you join the conversations and attend the events in the communities. Just search for a group with your interest and join. Some groups are closed and will only accept new members by invite. Then find the group-owner and ask for an invite, or attend one of their events, and they will probably automatically invite you when you are there.

There are numerous large groups in both facebook and Google+ too, but most are advertising-groups where people show their creations.

Link to a good group in Google+: https://plus.google.com/communities/116284417302234467612

 

SLUniverse.

SLUniverse is a forum that deserves to be mentioned on its own. It is an old forum from the beginning of Secondlife and many of the members are people that have been living in Secondlife from time to time. They have formed their own community and have also a place in secondlife where members can meet for a chat.

The forum has many sub-forums and you can get tips for almost anything there. They do also have a sub-forum for opensim worlds, but it is not as dominant as the Second Life parts. Even that you dont expect to live in Secondlife, but maybe want to try an opensim world, then you can use many of the tips and tricks you can read about there, because opensim worlds are based on the core of the Second Life platform, so many things works in the same way. Many people have tried to make a forum equal to SLUniverse, but none has survived for very long. SLUniverse is so filled with activity, so it is hard for others to compete with that. But beware if you want to write a post there…..they DO bite.

Link to SLUniverse: http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/

 

 

 

Virtual roleplay

Want to be a virtual zombie?

ResidentEvilZombies

 

Or maybe you want to live a fantasy life, or as a goth, as wampire, or even maybe historically in the 1920’s Berlin?
Roleplay in the virtual world is very popular. There are many many different categories to choose from. Most roleplay communities is in Second Life, but you do find some outside in the opensim world too. It can be difficult to just jump into it, because of the many rules and you will probably also need a certain look, but there are classes around that can teach you how to roleplay. Find a group that is appealing to you and ask them how to be educated to play along with them.

 

List of roleplay communities in Second Life: http://secondlife.com/destinations/roleplay