Monash Uni: closed island?

In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald this week, I was a little surprised at a quote attributed to Monash University’s Dr Melissa de Zwart: “our area won’t be open to the public; you will need to be on an authorised list to get in”.

I try to avoid real-world comparisons but it’s difficult in this case: this is the equivalent of putting a barbed-wire fence across the entrance of the local university. Doesn’t a total closed-door policy from a taxpayer-funded entity go against its purpose as a community facility? RMIT Island has blocked off most of its island from general access but it at least has a public welcome area. As Gary Hayes says in the same article, it’s not hard to prevent damage to a Second Life presence. So why the lockdown?

Perhaps someone attending this event can ask.

Comments

  1. Went to this event today. From what I remember, there was no mention of Monash being closed to the SL public, however you might be right about this. If I had known about it before hand, I would have definitely asked.

    One thing though was a few members of the team seemed to constantly press people to disclose their real life / second life relationship, or expect very long detailed explanations as to why they would want to keep their real life / second life identities separate.

    Just wish they could accept that some people want to keep SL and RL separate. Some of the attendees seemed to take it VERY personally that such disclosure was not forth coming. (Also one of the speakers just seemed to have the facts wrong on a number of issues.)

    However, there were some good speakers too, and some interesting facts emerged. Hope they can do it again.

  2. Went to this event today. From what I remember, there was no mention of Monash being closed to the SL public, however you might be right about this. If I had known about it before hand, I would have definitely asked.

    One thing though was a few members of the team seemed to constantly press people to disclose their real life / second life relationship, or expect very long detailed explanations as to why they would want to keep their real life / second life identities separate.

    Just wish they could accept that some people want to keep SL and RL separate. Some of the attendees seemed to take it VERY personally that such disclosure was not forth coming. (Also one of the speakers just seemed to have the facts wrong on a number of issues.)

    However, there were some good speakers too, and some interesting facts emerged. Hope they can do it again.

  3. Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for your considered response. When I first read the article I was surprised at the comment and initial reaction was ‘surely that’s out of context’ but I thought the question was well worth asking anyway. 😉

    I look forward to seeing the final build. As far as Anon, I have no idea who he/she is but being an open forum, I welcome the discussion. The RL/SL issue is an ongoing one that creates a lot of debate. Also, having not being there I didn’t see the comment as being over the top at all, just a concern expressed.

    Lowell

  4. Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for your considered response. When I first read the article I was surprised at the comment and initial reaction was ‘surely that’s out of context’ but I thought the question was well worth asking anyway. 😉

    I look forward to seeing the final build. As far as Anon, I have no idea who he/she is but being an open forum, I welcome the discussion. The RL/SL issue is an ongoing one that creates a lot of debate. Also, having not being there I didn’t see the comment as being over the top at all, just a concern expressed.

    Lowell

  5. Seeker Esparza says:

    Hi All,
    As one of the organisers of yesterdays event I thought I would respond with some facts and personal opinions regarding the original post and the comment above.

    1. Re the original post – the comment attributed to Melissa in the article was out of context. Monash is only closed at the moment because it’s a ‘work in progress’. At this stage we are not using professional builders (apart from our very beautiful Chinese installation) so we have very open permissions for building on the island to allow for creativity among our group that is made up of a diverse mix of educators and researchers from Arts, Law, Business, Cultural Studies and Education. While we are trying to see what form it might take, the island will be closed to the public, but when it’s done we will be launching it to the world with much fanfare. As you probably know you only get one chance to make a first impression and we don’t want that impression to be of a bunch of excited but inexperienced educators and researchers driving cranes and forklifts wearing hardhats 🙂
    2. Re the comment to the original post. This is disappointing. Anon and I had a long conversation about this at the event and although I agreed with him that people are entitled to privacy both inworld and in RL I can also see why our registration desk attendants would find it unusual that someone would only give a RL first name and not even a SL name – but as I told Anon – each to their own and I had no problem with his wishes (although a little unusual considering he has a business in SL – first, second and third rule of marketing an established business – promote, promote, promote). What does concern and disappoint me however is that Anon felt so strongly about the issues of names that he needed to write three paragraphs about something that, in the big scheme of things, was a very small issue which only affected him as he was the ONLY person who had an issue with providing their whole name. Have the rules of professional conduct changed? Would other conference organisers not find it unusual if someone didn’t register for the event, turned up on the day and then refused to give any more details than their first name (unless they were Madonna, Bono or Gandhi)? Am I missing something here? Also just to factually correct Anons comment – there were two people on the registration desk (not a FEW) and after the initial (justified in my opinion) questions at registration the issue was dropped and forgotten by all other than Anon. As I said at the start of the post, I personally have no issue with Anon wanting to keep his identity private (for what ever reason) however I am extremely disappointed that he has used this forum to make a big deal out of something was essential a trivial issue that affected only him.

    For those interested in hearing something positive – the event was a great success (albeit the usual SL tech problems) and achieved the planned objective of finding out what is involved in running a mixed reality event.

    Anon or anyone else please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments as this is a learning process for all of us.

    Cheers (even to you Anon)!

    (the not anon) Debbie McCormick/Seeker Esparza

  6. Seeker Esparza says:

    Hi All,
    As one of the organisers of yesterdays event I thought I would respond with some facts and personal opinions regarding the original post and the comment above.

    1. Re the original post – the comment attributed to Melissa in the article was out of context. Monash is only closed at the moment because it’s a ‘work in progress’. At this stage we are not using professional builders (apart from our very beautiful Chinese installation) so we have very open permissions for building on the island to allow for creativity among our group that is made up of a diverse mix of educators and researchers from Arts, Law, Business, Cultural Studies and Education. While we are trying to see what form it might take, the island will be closed to the public, but when it’s done we will be launching it to the world with much fanfare. As you probably know you only get one chance to make a first impression and we don’t want that impression to be of a bunch of excited but inexperienced educators and researchers driving cranes and forklifts wearing hardhats 🙂
    2. Re the comment to the original post. This is disappointing. Anon and I had a long conversation about this at the event and although I agreed with him that people are entitled to privacy both inworld and in RL I can also see why our registration desk attendants would find it unusual that someone would only give a RL first name and not even a SL name – but as I told Anon – each to their own and I had no problem with his wishes (although a little unusual considering he has a business in SL – first, second and third rule of marketing an established business – promote, promote, promote). What does concern and disappoint me however is that Anon felt so strongly about the issues of names that he needed to write three paragraphs about something that, in the big scheme of things, was a very small issue which only affected him as he was the ONLY person who had an issue with providing their whole name. Have the rules of professional conduct changed? Would other conference organisers not find it unusual if someone didn’t register for the event, turned up on the day and then refused to give any more details than their first name (unless they were Madonna, Bono or Gandhi)? Am I missing something here? Also just to factually correct Anons comment – there were two people on the registration desk (not a FEW) and after the initial (justified in my opinion) questions at registration the issue was dropped and forgotten by all other than Anon. As I said at the start of the post, I personally have no issue with Anon wanting to keep his identity private (for what ever reason) however I am extremely disappointed that he has used this forum to make a big deal out of something was essential a trivial issue that affected only him.

    For those interested in hearing something positive – the event was a great success (albeit the usual SL tech problems) and achieved the planned objective of finding out what is involved in running a mixed reality event.

    Anon or anyone else please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments as this is a learning process for all of us.

    Cheers (even to you Anon)!

    (the not anon) Debbie McCormick/Seeker Esparza

  7. Seeker Esparza says:

    No worries Lowell but maybe ask us next time – you know where we live!

    And again, I have no issue with Anons comments other than they were factually incorrect and highly exaggerated.

    Cheers
    Deb

  8. Seeker Esparza says:

    No worries Lowell but maybe ask us next time – you know where we live!

    And again, I have no issue with Anons comments other than they were factually incorrect and highly exaggerated.

    Cheers
    Deb

  9. Seeker Esparza says:

    p.s Keep up the good work. I rely on your blog as one of my main sources of OZ SL info!

    Cheers again
    Deb

  10. Seeker Esparza says:

    p.s Keep up the good work. I rely on your blog as one of my main sources of OZ SL info!

    Cheers again
    Deb

  11. Hi Deb

    I did have some concerns, but I do apologize if they came over too strong. I felt strongly about this, but they could have been shrunk into a single sentence, as a passing remark, or discussed with you privately.

    I know you worked very hard at organizing this conference. Sometimes it’s easy to write about concerns and then wish they could be softened after. So again, apologies if they came across as an over-reaction.

  12. Hi Deb

    I did have some concerns, but I do apologize if they came over too strong. I felt strongly about this, but they could have been shrunk into a single sentence, as a passing remark, or discussed with you privately.

    I know you worked very hard at organizing this conference. Sometimes it’s easy to write about concerns and then wish they could be softened after. So again, apologies if they came across as an over-reaction.

  13. Seeker Esparza says:

    No problem Anon but thanks for the apology anyway. I look forward to catching up inworld so you can show me around your island(s).

    Cheers!
    Deb

  14. Seeker Esparza says:

    No problem Anon but thanks for the apology anyway. I look forward to catching up inworld so you can show me around your island(s).

    Cheers!
    Deb

  15. Angsty Rossini says:

    I am one of those people who has a clear demarcation between my RL identity and my SL avatar. There is no cross-over between the 2, nor would I ever want there to be.

    No, I don’t have anything to hide, or be afraid of, nor do I slink around dong nefarious things in SL.

    Taking on a different persona in SL gives me the opportunity to explore who I am, play out roles and scenarios that I would be too inhibited or introverted to replicate in RL (no, NOT sex!)

    This is a personal and private journey for me and my avatar and frankly, I would consider it a breach of my privacy to have my virtual name linked to my real life name – on par with you asking me for my bank PIN details.

    I understand where Debbie was coming from in being bemused that someone took issue at a request to link RL and SL identities, but you also need to understand and accept that the other side of this argument is just as valid.

    Angsty

  16. Angsty Rossini says:

    I am one of those people who has a clear demarcation between my RL identity and my SL avatar. There is no cross-over between the 2, nor would I ever want there to be.

    No, I don’t have anything to hide, or be afraid of, nor do I slink around dong nefarious things in SL.

    Taking on a different persona in SL gives me the opportunity to explore who I am, play out roles and scenarios that I would be too inhibited or introverted to replicate in RL (no, NOT sex!)

    This is a personal and private journey for me and my avatar and frankly, I would consider it a breach of my privacy to have my virtual name linked to my real life name – on par with you asking me for my bank PIN details.

    I understand where Debbie was coming from in being bemused that someone took issue at a request to link RL and SL identities, but you also need to understand and accept that the other side of this argument is just as valid.

    Angsty

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