Saturday, September 11, 2004

From the Editor's Desk

I took a break at work to check in on the Second Life forums yesterday. It was Sept. 10, the eve of the three-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed 3,000 lives.

The first post I saw was entitled "9/11 -- We Will Never Forget (Patriot Day)." Off topic for Second Life, but topical as far as the real world is concerned. It promised to be a memorial thread. But my, how quickly things can change in the opinionated world of message boards.

Some quotes:

"It saddens me to see you waste such excellent arguments on someone who has such a fundamental lack of understanding of politics, of patriotism, well, of pretty much everything. He will keep posting the same neo-Republican doublespeak no matter how many times you whack him with a stick."


And

"Nope. Its a Generalization. Hippie. Back to woodstock, I wasn't talking to you."


How sad that a memorial thread could degenerate so fast. But it is hardly suprising.

Will the rest of the world please excuse me while I talk to my fellow Americans? We’re less than two months away from a hotly contested presidential election here, so it’s to be expected that the Second Life forums would reflect the passions of both sides.

But damn, people, do you have to be so nasty about it?

I find it hard to believe that anyone’s mind has ever been changed by reading an Internet bulletin board. I may be wrong, but I certainly have never witness so rare an event.

As long as the Lindens allow it, it is your privelege to snipe at each other over the coming elections on the forums. Maybe it makes you feel good. Maybe it lets of some steam. But it is an exercise in futility.

The world has never been changed by what someone writes to a massive multiplayer online role playing game message board, and it probably never will. But there is something that does work. It’s called voting.

So, release the hounds on the bulletin boards to your hearts content, while hopefully keeping in mind that a living, breathing, feeling person is on the other end of the pipeline reading your words.

Just make sure you do what’s really important and get to the ballot box on Nov. 2.

-- Lorelei Patel

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