Serious about Games

Today, I attended Metanomics session with David Wortley of the Serious Games Institute. Wortley spoke a bit about the Serious Games Institute(SGI). I was busy with a bunch of other things at the same time and didn’t give it as much attention as I would have liked. The one thing that jumped out at me was their use of SGI’s use of Forterra. They like Forterra because of its integration with other tools. Hopefully, Linden Lab and/or OpenSim will come up with tools to facilitate creating better objects in the Second Life/OpenSim space.

This was followed by the discussion about Rights and Responsibilities in Virtual Worlds with Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation, Robin Harper, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development from Linden Lab, and Jack Balkin, professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

The time was too short and the discussion was too broad to be very interesting. If anything, all that it did was reinforce my opinion about the Lindens being out of touch with the community they created. Robin Linden seemed especially concerned with the privacy. She used it as an excuse for why Linden Lab was not making their jurisprudence more transparent. She also expressed concern about people gathering information about who is visiting their site in SL, and didn’t address the question about how it compared to web sites where even more information could be gathered.

Then, out of the blue on a completely different list, I received an email about Lufthansa’s effort to get people to think about all the European cities they fly to. It is a great little game where you can see how well you know your European geography and improve a little on it.

Here are my initial results:

It seems like a great illustration of a brand using a game to give something back to people interested in the brand.

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Politics and Governance

Recently on the Group Psychotherapy mailing list I am part of, the question came up about whether members could copy portions of emails for articles they were working on. This brought up some very good discussions about copyright, privacy, and ethics. Underlying all of this was the question of how rules get made. One person observed how the group was reluctant to establish rules. Another asked why rules the list needed rules, at which point the first person rested his case.

With Second Life, there seems to be similar resistance to effective rule making. As I noted in my SLNN Reporters Notebook, people claim that Daniel Linden said LL keeps its policies deliberately vague because, "as soon as they draw a solid line, someone will walk up to the line, lean over it and spit over it."

Are these, and other examples of difficulties establishing online rules a function of the online environment? In an online environment, the question of authority arises. Who has authority on a mailing list or in an online community? Is it the moderators, the company that runs the community, some combination? If it is some sort of combination, how is that worked out? To what extent should rules be established by direct democracy or by a representative democracy where rule makers are elected? What role does the absence of cues that we receive in face-to-face interactions play in people’s resistance to rule making online?

Is there something bigger going on here? Do people generally resist rule making, not wanting to be the disliked rule giver? Does this happen independent of the means of communication?

Next week, there will be an E-governance barcamp in Boston. Steven Clift has been working on e-democracy since 1994. Yet these efforts all seem to get drowned out with all the e-politics. It seems like everyone wants to argue the political points, but somehow e-governance initiatives don’t get the same amount of focus.

Does it make sense to have an experiential mailing list focused on e-governance? Can virtual environments like Second Life or Central Grid establish effective e-governance? How useful will the e-governance barcamp be? It will be fun to find out.

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Random Second Life Notes

OpenSim worlds lure Second Life’s outcasts (HT malburns Also, I had problems getting to Reuters Second Life earlier, but they are back.

I’ve started playing a little bit of Tiny Empires within Second Life. A Wiki about it is available here.

BlogHud was down for a little earlier, but seems back up now. With any luck my picture of the OMG! Opening in Second Life will be up soon. Also, SLNN.COM is down right now.

I am about to head offline for a bit. I’m not sure if I’ll be around for Walt’s art opening, but I’ll try to make it.

That’s about it for now.

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The Enabling Act of 2008

Here is the comment that I added on the Give em hell harry website concerning the reauthorization of the FISA act with retroactive immunity to Bush's corporate sponsors:

75 years ago on March 23, Germany's parliament passed the famous Enabling Act of 1933 which broadly expanded executive power and led to the formation of the Third Reich.

The current FISA legislation, while it is unlikely to bring about a dangerous totalitarian regime, is strikingly similar in that it sets supporters of the current executive branch above the law.

Those who love our country and our democracy must stand up and oppose the intelligence committee’s version of the FISA reauthorization, especially as it pertains to retroactive immunity for large corporate sponsors of the Bush administration.

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Attention Data

718 unread emails. Following 183 people on Twitter. 467 friends in Facebook. 102 of them have recently updated their profiles. 145 unread messages in Facebook. 567 unprocessed updates and requests. 298 RSS feeds in Bloglines. 128 friends in Second life. 58 friends and 179 admirers in MyBlogLog. 70 friends and 40 communities in BlogCatalog. Spock, Wink, Plaxo, Pandora. The list seems endless.

I remember years ago teachers asking for my complete undivided attention. Now, everyone wants my constant partial attention. It seems unmanageable. Beyond that, I want to get as much constant partial attention from others as possible as well.

To get other people’s attention, I make sure that when I do something, it gets out to various places. I send text messages from my cellphone to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook also feeds twitter, in the event that I put something on Facebook directly. Both of them feed jaiku. Twitter feeds MyBlogLog, Spock and Plaxo. When I put up a post on Orient Lodge it feeds Facebook, in a couple different ways, as well as Twitter and Jaiku. When I take a picture with my cellphone, it goes to Facebook and Flickr. From Flickr I can send it to Orient Lodge. When I shoot video from cellphone, it goes to Facebook, Youtube and blip.tv. Blip can send it on to Flickr and to Orient Lodge.

There are probably a lot of other connections I’ve established that I’m overlooking right now. Confusing? You bet it is. It makes it even harder to track what is where.

So, what gets my attention? Well, this shifts frequently. I’m doing a lot in Second Life right now. I have TwitterBox running so I stay on top of my incoming Tweats and Second Life IMs. I’ve been playing a bit with Spock recently. Mostly I see tweats there that I’m already seeing in Second Life. However, I do see people’s updates in Spock. My experiences with Plaxo Pulse are fairly similar.

Right now, the feed that probably gets the most data is my Plaxo feed. However, since it is listening to a bunch of different feeds, it gets redundant data. So, as an example, 18 hours ago, I put up my post about Clinton, Edwards and the FISA legislation. 17 hours ago, Twitter picked it up. Then Plaxo Pulse picked up on both the link on the blog, as well as the link in Twitter. Four hours ago Jaiku picked up the feed from Twitter and then three hours ago, it picked it up from my blog directly. So, the same key piece of information shows up in my Plaxo Pulse four times.

This illustrates a few different things. One is the latency that it takes for information to get out through the network. It illustrates the duplication of messages. Yet not all the messages are duplicates. In some cases I post a quick message in Twitter without posting a message on my blog.

So, how do we aggregate, sort, filter, and make meaningful all this information without introducing more latency? How do we add something new so that, for example, if I find a new friend, I can get him added in all my social networks, get his statuses on Twitter, Facebook, track his RSS feed and so on? And for that matter, how do we plug it into other systems, like Pandora so that if my friends twitter or write blog posts about music, I can hear related music? I don’t know, but it does look like as the data that comes at us starts coming more quickly, we need to come up with better ways of processing attention data. Perhaps most importantly, how do we do it in a way so that people don’t simply turn off their computers and communication devices and walk away?

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