Looking at the Real World Value of Virtual World Protests

August 31, 2009 -

Protests held in virtual spaces such as Second Life have real-world political value, according to international projects lobbysist Max Burns, who pens an op-ed for Foreign Policy in Focus.

Paying particular attention to SL demonstrations against the Iranian government's post-election crackdown against opponents of the Ahmadinejad regime, Burns writes:

The active Iranian protest community in Second Life is more than a curiosity, and downplaying the importance of virtual societies in our political and social lives... understates the power of synthetic worlds in creating viable social movements...

Authoritarian governments that repress real-world demonstrations have difficulty doing the same in the synthetic world. Virtual rallies are so hard to shut off because the mechanics of virtual protest are fluid...

Indeed, the efforts of real-world governments to restrict the Internet usage of virtual protesters appears to strengthen the rallies as the online community responds to what it views as an offense against expression. So, for instance, Second Life's virtual protests continued — and even increased in scale — after real-world Iranians started to mysteriously disappear from the synthetic world...


Comments

Re: Looking at the Real World Value of Virtual World ...

Great idea. Think about voicing your opinion, standing up for what you believe in, without the threat of violence.

Unfortunately, with every rally, regardless of the cause, there's always a threat of riots. A person can be peaceful and non-violent, but people are dumb, violent, dangerous creatures. You get a bunch of people together, and you get a mob. And a mob is only as smart as it's dumbest person.

But in Second Life, that threat is removed. Yes, you're still going to have those loud and foul mouthed idiots, but they're influence will be greatly reduced, and program doesn't allow for physical violent behavior.

I think this is a trend that can only prove benefitial as it grows.

 
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E. Zachary KnightWhat I can't understand is why gamergate supporters feel the need to silence their critics. Why can't they simply fight free speech with free speech.10/02/2014 - 8:23am
E. Zachary KnightSo what I am saying is that since gamergate failed to force Gamasutra to retract their editorial directly, they are now going the starvation route.10/02/2014 - 8:22am
E. Zachary KnightAs an illustration, you can kill someone by shooting them in the head, or you can starve them to death. The means don't matter, just the ends.10/02/2014 - 8:18am
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I can't speak for James, but trying to silence a critic by blocking its financial supporters is a censorious activity. It may not be the same as direct censoring, but its ends are the same.10/02/2014 - 8:18am
E. Zachary KnightMecha, I found neither the title nor the content of Gamasutra's Gamers are Dead article inflammatory. But I guess that just means I was the target audience for it.10/02/2014 - 8:16am
prh99@james_fudge Agreed, but then again this group doesn't exactly have high ethical standards or even a grasp of hypocrisy. They do pretty much anything to damage their targets.10/02/2014 - 8:14am
MechaTama31Are... Are you guys suggesting that the content of the "Gamers are over" article is *less* inflammatory than the title?10/02/2014 - 7:58am
quiknkoldhey James, Boycotts are not Censorship. Supreme Court NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982)10/02/2014 - 7:37am
Michael ChandraWhat's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. That said, the name says it all.10/02/2014 - 7:34am
E. Zachary KnightYes.10/02/2014 - 7:29am
ConsterQuestion: is Kefka on drugs, or is he secretly a conspiracy theorist character from a TV show?10/02/2014 - 7:21am
james_fudgeEnjoy my comedy stylings.10/02/2014 - 7:10am
james_fudgehttp://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/02/It-s-been-real-GameJournoPros-prepares-to-close-its-doors10/02/2014 - 7:09am
InfophileAnd the headlines-only part is particularly depressing, as in most sites, they're not even written by the author of the article. So the author has to field tons of complaints about what the editor decided to title their article.10/02/2014 - 6:25am
InfophileAE: Most people don't. This has been tested - I remember an article slipped in a request in the second-to-last paragraph to use the word "banana" in your comment if you read that. It took over 50 posts for a banana.10/02/2014 - 6:24am
james_fudgeprh99: Whether you agree with the article or not, fighting alleged censorship with censorship is hella lame10/02/2014 - 4:27am
james_fudgewhoever made that decision at Intel will regret it later on down the road. Boycotts are tricky business.10/02/2014 - 4:26am
prh99The unflattering characterization "They don’t know how to dress or behave." & "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
 

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