Virtual Worlds, or commonly referred to as ‘VW’… have you been in one? or two or three?? I recall the overwhelming feeling of entering a magical place the first time I connected to my first VW called ‘Second Life’ back in the spring of 2006. Magical is the best word to describe the look and feel of a virtual world. The virtual world is full of beautiful colorful amazing creations from the imagination of many cultures and global members. You can call up a sunrise or a sunset with the click of your mouse. You can fly high above the virtual terrain or fly low following streams of glistening waters through fields of virtual flowers. You wonder how it works, but don’t really care. You’re amazed and awed and then you meet another VW player. And the real adventures begin.
After many years of VW playing I feel like I’ve seen and done most everything one can do in a VW. Then the unbelievable happened. My partner, Duderz Lebowski and I were ‘banned’ from the VW grid called ‘InWorldz’. We lost two years of our created virtual items and now can not pop in on our many friends and see how they are doing. It’s been a month now since the ban, and we’re still feeling sad and wronged. In a nutshell, a fraud and scam was being played out by another player who was high into ‘drama’ so he faked his death and asked for donations from the good citizens of InWorldz. His alleged real sister posted the details of this ‘real world’ scenario, saying he was in a horrific auto accident and died at the scene. My partner, who owns AAcme Detective Agency, established in Second Life in 2007, investigated this fraud, found out the truth and gave his report to the citizens to decide for themselves. In this report only the avatar name was used (which is the same name he uses in Facebook: NO REAL LIFE NAME OR ADDRESS WAS USED). Given today’s technology, within hours we had all the information needed to refute their claim.
]Kill the messenger!!!! that is exactly what the owners (aka: founders) of InWorldz did in their ridiculous effort to keep us quiet. And lo and behold a month later the avatar who “died” in real life arose from the dead and is back playing in InWorldz as if nothing happened. Oh and also with the blessing of the founders. There is really nothing we can do, its their world, their business and they can run it however they wish, fairness be damned! Many citizens protested our ban, and spoke out in support of us. We were told some of them were also banned from the ‘forum’ (a place where discussions take place regarding the virtual world) for speaking out.
Today I post my first VW Blog. Today InWorldz is having their first convention in Las Vegas. I know some of those attending will surely be in fear to speak out about notable subjects. The InWorldz folks say their world is different, their world is friendly and their world is a real community working together. This could not be further from the truth. Their world is run by a hot-headed, miserable, non-listening tyrannical leader who loves ‘drama’ and makes snap decisions without bothering to examine all the facts. But most of all she loves the fact that she is God in this world and will always have the last word be it right or wrong. “Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul?” ~Socrates
The arrogance and heavy handed manner in which the InWorldz founders handle disputes between residents is well known by more than half of the residents I’ve spoken to about it over the last two years. A rule of thumb used is “whoever pays the most tier wins the fight”. As a business decision this makes sense. However, it is my belief that most residents are looking for a place to create content for the virtual world, not be harassed, and to have some fun. If you’re playing on the InWorldz grid now, ask yourself “How long has it been since I had fun in InWorldz”? While many residents are struggling to conduct a business in a VW the sad truth is that those “content buyers” who would become their customers will move on to a world where they are not treated as second class citizens.
Due to this situation, the founders amended their Term of Service in another ridiculous effort to confuse the situation and making it appear that we violated some code of ethics or privacy rights. The link we gave to the residents is the same link on the avatar’s profile for anyone to view, we did not violate his privacy.
We will watch the demise of this grid, which could have been one of the best, with sorrow. It will always be tainted by this situation which could have been handled with style and grace and never of gotten out of control had the founder been a compassionate leader. My hope is more InWorldz residents will finally see the light and leave on their own accord to a better and brighter world. There are many many many grids to play on now, (Like Second Life, 3rd Rock, OSgrid, Avination, Avatar Connection and Tertiary, just to name a few) not like it was back at the turn of the century when Second Life dominated the VW concept.
Initially we hoped to be reinstated as residents in InWorldz but recent developments have convinced us beyond any doubt we are better off for having escaped.