How Do You Trust in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit How Do You Trust in Second Life? for original post.

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan  

What is trust?

We probably all have our own definitions.

(Significant Other wonders I’m bringing this up now.)

Maybe it’s accepting someone at face value, believing in them, or having confidence in their words and action. 

But, how do we trust?

Ahh, now there’s a good question!

(Significant Other is now starting to pay attention.)

In Real Life (RL), we may use one or more of a variety of methods. 

Sometimes we use time.  The longer we know someone, the more we trust him or

her.

Or, we may rely on others.  They validate the trustworthiness of a person for us.  And, because we trust that person, we trust the newcomer. 

Another approach is to look at their credentials.  If someone purports to be a doctor or a lawyer, well, that’s easily enough verified. 

There’re appearances.  If they have a lot of wealth, it’s hard to hide. 

Of course, some people just jump in and trust everyone! 

(And, history has got some great stories because of this!)

Now, what happens in Second Life (SL)?

Here it’s totally different.

Practically everything that we use in RL to establish trust gets thrown out when we move inworld. 

How do we determine how to trust someone in SL?

Let’s discuss that!

There are obstacles to trust inworld that we don’t face in RL.

The first and biggest is anonymity.

(Come on now, do you really use your RL identity inworld?)

Little if any of what we are in SL has any ties to RL.

Is that woman or man really whom they say they are?

Many avatars are imaginary characters from science fiction or fantasy.

(Significant Other would like me to point out that many US politicians in RL may fall into this category.  But, I try to stay apolitical in this blog.)

Many avatars are animals or machines. 

See where I’m going with this?

(With the avatars not the US politicians.)

How do we validate the avatar standing in front of us inworld? 

Nothing is what it seems.

What’s real?

I have my own approach.

(Significant Other is shocked.)

I listen to how they sound.  Are they genuine?  Do they add value to the conversation?

How do they treat me?  How do they treat others?

Do they have “character”?

Then, do I enjoy being around them?

Do I learn from them?

Do they make me stop and think?

Most importantly, can they make me laugh?

(Significant Other indicates that after reviewing my list, we need to speak when I finish writing this story.)

Others whom I’ve met inworld have their own ways to determine an individual’s trustworthiness.  This can be a big deal for some. 

Some require RL validation.

This can be voice or video verification.

Or, a piece of RL information like age. 

Of course, a mechanism like the latter has its own issues with verification. 
Others look to character for trustworthiness. 

Whatever mechanism is used, many seem to have some sort of methodology.

Then there are those who couldn’t care less and just jump in!

(One of these days, I’ll do a story about these livewires!) 

What about you?

How do you trust others in SL?

Do you even care?

Please share your thoughts with me and if I receive enough replies then I’ll draft a follow up story. 

Or, here’s a new one…

Do you trust my blog?

(And, not just my three loyal readers.)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!