Woodbury University Island Destroyed

Pixeleen Mistral, Second Life Herald, Jul 06, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Second Life administrators at Linden Labs have removed an island owned by Woodbury University in response to "incidents of grid attacks, racism and intolerance, persistent harassment of other residents, and crashing the Woodbury University region itself while testing their abusive scripts." As the authors write, "the question of 'ownership' of virtual land is brought into stark focus here. Will Woodbury write off its investment in virtual real estate? Will the Lindens refund all or part of their payments?"

See also this interview Woodbury University's Edward Clift who says, "Universities should be made aware that Linden Labs maintains global surveillance on all the activities of their student members and monitors them both on campus and off-site." See also Nobody Fugazi, who writes, "A lack of transparency in the Abuse Report system makes this very difficult to assess from a community standpoint."

Meanwhile, Mark Wallace writes, "I'm sure the uses were inappropriate, but the problem is that they were not being undertaken by the owners of the land... LL has shown some really poor judgment in the way they've handled the situation thus far." Yeah maybe. But when you look at the evidence and images displayed at Grid Grind (and more in the Second Life Times and also here), it's hard not to agree that "this was inevitable." More coverage from Virtual Worlds News.

On the other hand, check out this article, from a month ago: "Woodbury got it right. On the surface they have the 'campus' entity, but down below is the space for students... This has recharged my thoughts about the potential of Second Life. I think there is definitely an opportunity to offer compelling, interactive, creative environments for users, but it starts by leaving out all of our preconceived notions of 'libraries' and building something unique."

Of course, we have the Chronicle offering breathless coverage of the bad bad technology (they assigned two writers to it). "In the freewheeling virtual world Second Life, Woodbury has been deleted." Oh yes, the real world triumphs again! The Chronicle report is for subscribers only, but who needs it, with all this free (and fair-minded) coverage?
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