Thursday, April 05, 2007

Conflict Resolution in SL

Earlier today, as avatar Taffy Taliaferro, I met with a group of Second Life avatars to discuss the potential for using virtual worlds such as SL for conflict resolution, negotiation or mediation, at the hospitable invitation of avatar German Zond of the PA Consulting Group.

Two general frames of reference were considered: SL as a venue for RL conflict resolution and SL as venue for in-SL or SL-RL conflict resolution.
Among the relevant SL characteristics and capabilities discussed were:
  • simulation/demonstration: playing out the consequences of the conflicting courses of action (including role-playing)
  • the "equalizing" effect of SL communication channels to put "everyone on same level"
  • discipline/constraint imposed by text chat on communication as dampener of conflict (despite the historical opposite result of electronic text communication as amplifier of conflict)
  • development of games, events and workshops to learn or practice mediation and negotiation
Avatar Delia Lake described the governance model being developed by the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS) for the Better World and Colonia Nova islands, which includes a constitution with rules, a democratically elected representative government, and a dispute resolution process.

Avatar Team Mascot commented that to date, SL has been populated by "enthusiasts" who are keen to make the environment "work", so have been inclined to avoid conflict. Now that the population is growing explosively, there are far more people inclined to "grief" others, so the need for governance and constitution and "law enforcement" is coming to the fore.

CNET reported yesterday that Linden Lab has "invited the FBI several several times to take a look around in Second Life and raise any concerns they would like, and we know of at least one instance that federal agents did look around in a virtual casino," said Ginsu Yoon, until recently Linden Lab's general counsel and currently vice president for business affairs.

UPDATE from Linden Blog: Despite reports to the contrary, we know of no law enforcement agency that has opened an investigation into gambling in Second Life.

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Blogger Team Mascot said...

Thanks for the reference. I have included some of my thoughts from the session in my blog

6:50 PM  

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