What will the real world tolerate?

The response to Daniel Linden’s blog post last week has been forceful and fairly widespread, demarcating along ‘freedom of expression’ and legal compliance lines.

The United Protest forum contains the full transcript of a chat with Daniel Linden’s colleague Robin Linden, in response to the concerns raised after Daniel Linden’s post. Robin goes to some lengths to emphasise that there’s been no change in approach in regards to freedoms within SL.

For me, the challenges arond the whole issue are encapsulated in two statements attributed to Robin Linden:

“I have to tell you though, that we can’t address every single corner case or possibility”


“In part because the real world hasn’t decided which of these things they’ll tolerate”

There are essentially two camps on the issue: those who believe that SL is a totally different medium and therefore conducive to re-evaluating what constitutes acceptable sexual expression and those essentially applying real world mores and taboos to the virtual world experience. On top of that are the legal requirements of Linden Lab. It’s a messy, complicated mix and one that everyone will continue to grapple with. And like it or not, it’s the real world that will be the arbiter in the end, hence Robin Linden’s comment:

“so we’re working with various governments to understand their individual concerns “.

It’s not hard to imagine there’s going to be a growing amount of governmental consultation going on in order to head off an all-out witch hunt once a morally dubious in-world issue arises, with widepsread community demand for action.

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