Are You Anonymous in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Are You Anonymous in Second Life? for original post.

Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you deeper and darker truths. But he’ll also be more abusive, unaccountable, and demonic.

Cory Duchesne  

Ah, the joys of anonymity!

Privacy, freedom of action (AKA being uninhibited), and a lack of accountability!

How often have we dreamed of living like this in Real Life (RL)?

How many of us live like this in Second Life (SL)?

Of course, there are a few concerns associated with anonymity inworld but more of that later!  (Can’t get too serious too soon, now can we?)

I do it!

I’m anonymous inworld.

No surprise to anyone who knows me inworld.  (Once again, I thank my three loyal readers!)


Well, in RL, I’m a nobody.  (Yes, that may come as a shock to my three loyalists.)  I want to stay that way. 

Also, Significant Other, my RL partner, made anonymity a precondition of my wandering across the Grid.  (Significant Other nods firmly while shoulder surfing which also happens to be one of Significant Other’s favorite pastimes when not exercising editorial oversight.)

Finally, a lot of what I do inworld, I’d never do in RL. (Once again, Significant Other nods firmly.) 

But, what is anonymity inworld really all about?

Let’s chat about this for a bit!

There are the obvious reasons for anonymity in SL.

First, there’s privacy. 

Most don’t want their RL friends and family to know what they’re doing inworld.  Nothing wrong there. 

Next, there’s freedom of action.  We wander around nude and no one but ourselves and our similarly anonymous friends know about it.  Or, we experiment with gender, dress, sex, or whatever else catches our fancy.  There’s probably a different reason for every avatar in SL. 

Best of all, zero accountability! 

Who cares about this little, anonymous avatar running around inworld?

Here’s where the not so obvious aspects of SL anonymity arise. 

Some engage in bad behaviors inworld.

Fortunately, not as many as some RL media would have us believe but still too many.

Trolling, griefing, and stalking are some of the negative behaviors abetted by SL anonymity.   

Anonymity is also enhanced by the practice of having “alts” or multiple avatars inworld. 

Block an avatar and they come back as someone else.

            On the few occasions when SL deletes an avatar for egregious behavior, well, what

stops the perp coming back as an alt? 

            If you guessed nothing then you got it!

            (Yes, there may be ways to prevent this from occurring but it doesn’t a rocket scientist to get around them.)

            Another problem with alts, even if one doesn’t intend antisocial behavior, is who’s the real you? 

            When we can be any number of personas inworld then who are we?

            Who is the real you?  Especially when we factor in anonymity.

            I recently blogged about how we trust in SL.   

            What effect does anonymity have on our trust inworld?

            Can we have anonymous trust inworld?

            What do you think?

            Are you anonymous inworld?


            Are your friends anonymous?

            Please drop me a line and share your thoughts with us!

            If I receive enough replies I’ll do a follow-up story!

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!

LOTD196 – I Love The Feeling Of Being Anonymous In A City I’ve Never Been Before…

By – Our Style SL. Visit LOTD196 – I Love The Feeling Of Being Anonymous In A City I’ve Never Been Before… for original post.

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