Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

It’s a timeless question: Would you rather be right or be popular? You find examples of the struggle in everyday life and in historical events (for example holding fast to the idea the world is round when everyone else held it was flat). You often get people conflating the two together: Being popular is being right: If a democracy of people vote for a certain political measure then that is the right thing to do. You’d have thought that thinking went out in hind-sight to Nazi Germany’s origins, but nope.

There is an extra question though which you hear bandied about on various talk shows, “would you rather be right or be happy”? This is usually said in the context of families having breakdowns and trying to move forward in the face of a “stubborn” individual. I see nothing wrong with being stubborn when you’re in the right. In fact, for me staying in the right is a vital component to my happiness: Integrity of self is vital for your psychological well-being. This is not to say that I don’t understand or appreciate the point such talk-show hosts are making – it’s along the lines of “let’s just move on and be harmonious in the face of what are trivial disagreements”. Suppose it turns on what you consider to be trivial. I’m a big-picture kind of girl though and I try to always act consistently on a set of principles knowing full well that long-term happiness and well-being results from doing the right thing in each action and decision you make.

The unfortunate potential contradiction with this in my personality, is that I am a “peace-maker” (it’s the term the tests give, not my own choosing): I find confrontation very stressful – my chest constricts, my breathing changes, my anxiety increases etc. I am extremely empathetic too and always have been – I feel other people’s pain in a very real sense and frequently end up in tears at the intensity of it or dedicating my all to help them solve their problems. You can imagine that this doesn’t sit well with having a very strong and established sense of right and wrong and being quite miserable if I’m forced to compromise my principles. I’ve found some ways to cope with this – such as techniques of dealing with conflicts that create the classic “win-win” combo – but this is not always possible or even the right thing to do. You know what they say (and if you don’t you should think about this): There is good and there is evil, and the grey in between is not some middle ground, it is still evil – compromising with evil means evil has won, “a little bit of murder, a little but of slavery” is still evil, just because it’s diluted or lessened doesn’t make it some happy grey middle-ground. That is to say, sometimes to compromise, is to completely concede and to lose what you had a right to demand.

I’m fortunate to have a husband who has an equally strong (and correct) sense of right and wrong, but who has the guts and fortitude to stand up for what is right even if it makes him immensely unpopular. In that way he is a better person than me. I have more empathy and social skills than he does so he has a lot to learn from me too but those sorts of things just balance us out and somewhere between the two of us is the perfect person :p

This choice between being right or being popular is an important one for most (maybe all?) Bloggers and people who comment on Blogs: Will you stand up for what’s right under a barrage of attacks or will you fold and make peace? My view is you should stand up for what’s right, but to be careful to always retain the open mind to new facts or knowledge that may alter what is actually right. What’s right must always be based on truth and logic – if someone points out one of your truths is factually incorrect or your logic is flawed, you shouldn’t be stubborn and hold your ground anyway. Because that’s beyond stubborn-ness, that’s denial and idiocy, and I’d rather be wrong than a liar or a moron. That is a strength I do possess and am proud of – I am always ready to concede when people find flaws in my reasoning. It’s part of that sense of integrity I spoke about earlier.

Right people often aren’t popular. Popular people often aren’t happy (despite what you may think) – and I believe a lot of that misery comes from sacrificing their sense of right and wrong to keep other people happy. I’ve had times when I chose being right instead of being popular, and times when I’ve chosen being popular instead of being right. And I know that I need to not act or speak contrary to my principles in order to be a truly happy person. I’m lucky enough to have a large group of friends who understand this about me and wouldn’t want me to change who I am, and who often agree to disagree with me on certain issues to keep the friendship intact. Nevertheless every single day I do confront the choice and it’s still one I need to work on – finding that strength to stand up for what’s right, even if it means I stand alone.

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Most Second Life residents don’t know what’s going on at Linden Labs – the changing personalities, policies and major decisions – and most simply don’t care either. They live their daily Second lives the same way most people live their real lives – equally ambivalent and uncaring about the politics that run their world, and what happens to the money that gets taken from them to “provide necessary services”. The main exception to this truth is around election time in the real world, though I’m not sure Second Life has an equivalent regular time of increased awareness and concern across their wider resident population.

I stayed away from caring or being interested in such things relating to Second Life for a year or so. The few times I did click on a link from friends about Linden Labs issues, I was invariably directed to the main Second Life site, and so confronted with a lot of technical terms and a lot of spin.

To get people interested and knowledgeable about these things, the information needs to be presented from a Second Life user point of view, not from the point of view of the people trying to make you love their every decision. It needs to pull out the bits that actually matter and effect the Second Life experience, and it needs to do it in a clear and brief way – I don’t want to be strolling down four screen-pages to get a story that could have been conveyed in two (using links within the article often helps cut down repeating information that the more informed resident is already aware of, and the less informed one can go off and read if need be). It needs to go one step further though, I like to see an opinion: Hearing other people’s opinions gets me thinking about my own – do I agree with them, or not, and why. It also makes the reading so much more interesting. The opinion shouldn’t overwhelm the information provided though – no point rushing in to say “I hate decision x” before explaining what decision x is.

It is remarkably hard to find blogs that do this well. I’m not going to say I’ve read every major Second Life news blog, but I’ve read enough to know that most blogs do a very poor job of meeting the standard of being all of useful, informative and interesting. One stands out: Metaversally Speaking. Strictly speaking it’s not just a “news blog”, but it gets listed as such on some people’s blog rolls, and if I split my blog roll up into different categories I’d consider doing the same. So when I have no idea what everyone’s upset about that’s my first port of call, or if I want a good indicator of public sentiment I read all the comments attached to a post.

I understand why so few Second Life people actually take an interest in Second Life news, since I used to be one of them. But I also think that that would change more if people knew there were well written blogs out there which could bring all the relevant information together for them. I for one know my Second Life has been greatly enriched by the increased level of awareness. If you want to see what you’ve been missing out on I suggest you check out today’s post as just an example of the major rumblings that pass so many of us by, but effect our Second lives daily and in very real ways.

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I just finished watching a national TV item that was talking to some of my country’s top bloggers, about our election on Saturday. At one point there was a roving reporter’s piece asking people off the street whether blogs influenced their decision of who to vote for, and it was 10 for 10 that no it didn’t. The presenter then asked these eminent bloggers how they felt about that. And their answers intrigued me.

Each of the bloggers agreed that it’s not the average Joe being influenced by their blogs – that it was the media who read their blogs who then wrote pieces in other publications that reached wider audiences, who really had that ground-level impact. That it wasn’t about the number of people who read it, but about what those people did and who those people are.

The same seems largely true to me about our SL blogs: The people who read and comment on them are usually other SL bloggers and SL residents who run their own SL publications.

There were two further related comments though which really got me thinking. One was that the best blogs are the ones who do the research, find original facts and report them – facts that other media sources then at times choose to pick up; that the not-so-good blogs are those that exclusively feed off existing news in other media to fuel their discussions. The second point was that a good blog is one which can say things we already know, but in insightful ways that ring true and help us understand what we may have struggled to express beforehand.

Being relatively new to blogging I openly admit that I have a lot to learn. To me the above statements about what makes a good blog and the reader base of blogs appeared to reveal truths that I’m going to take to heart. Though this is not a political blog, the fundamentals of what would make it appealing, and what might otherwise make it like any other run-of-the-mill blog, look to be the same.

I’d be interested as always to hear what you think about it too. What makes a good blog in your view, and are these statements I’ve presented above true or insightful..?

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Watching the Open Space Sims drama is like watching a whirlwind and trying hard not to get sucked in to it. I get the issue – severe price hikes based on poor grounds and reasoning. And there is no doubt that’s bad practice. Ok, got it. But it’s what’s happened in response to it that has made me cock my head to the side and say “huh”.

What started off as a rather disappointing announcement by Linden Labs has turned into this, just as a taste: At the lighter end, the humourous attention-raising approach http://www.pradprathivi.com/latest/wrong ; some helpful and thoughtful suggestions here and there as well http://baileylongcloth.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/debate-continues/ ; reflections on what happened leading up to Linden Lab’s decision and how it fits into a history of bad calls by Linden Labs – and you’ll notice in this one you gets a heads-up of just how many posts and groups were starting to set up in response to the issue  http://raulcrimson.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/openspace-sims-another-linden-mistake/ ; accusations of effectively Linden Labs lying – with evidence of ulterior motives http://www.vintfalken.com/raymond-conspiracy-theory-is-ll-gaming-us/ ; and, of course, protest groups with serious infighting leading to dissolution of those groups then setting up of rival groups, with what appears to be major misrepresentations of people’s motives for their actions in regards to those groups *takes a breath* http://foo.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2008/10/vryl-valkyrie-n.html .

From a human-behaviour-observing point-of-view I find this all highly fascinating, and a bit tiring too; it can be draining to constantly be reading such high level of emotion. I have some pretty strong philosophical based views on what Linden Labs did in terms of economic theory, governance, and a bit to say about contractual rights too, but right now I’m just going to keep those to myself. I would be sharing those views from a somewhat dispassionate sideline since I don’t own land in SL. Yes their decision about Open Space sims will effect me because of those who do own such land, but I’m not directly effected and it will be relatively easy for me to adapt to any changing SL realities in response to the issues. So for now I’m just going to keep my hand out of this particular fire. I don’t think anyone would attack my views, hell they’d be very likely to whole-heartedly embrace them under the current climate, and god knows I’m not afraid of standing up calmly and rationally for any views I put forward, or being persuaded to view the world differently by a competent argument based on sound premises. But I don’t have the time or passion to get involved with this particular issue and the heated responses at this point; my RL is on overload and just trying to keep up with the constantly changing situation in regards to Open Space Sims is sucking up what little on-line time I have left.

In particular, I don’t want to encourage people in-world to send me anymore notecards, links to petitions, (in particular I keep being given the same notecards and links over and over *sigh*), or start up extensive conversations with me about it. I log into SL to escape and relax and have some fun, and I do whatever I can to help other people achieve these goals too. And this issue meets none of those criteria. So I’m just going to leave my good and influential friends to battle this one out and instead quietly support them with happy thoughts and distractions in the breaks they take from fighting the good fight, since that’s probably the most I have to offer them right now anyway.

At least this whole topic has given me rich ground for future posts: I’m going to be discussing why I’ve never become a paying member of Second Life for starters, and around about now that decision is really starting to feel vindicated.

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