I've tried to get involved in Second Life. The NMC Campus is great – I enjoyed being a virtual participant during the NMC Summer Conference. But there have been bumps in the road and the most recent one is sufficient for me to cancel my account.
- The first thing I didn't like about NMC was that they require some hook by which they can charge you just to create the free account. I appreciate the desire to keep bots from populating the world with spam, but they could have done it some other way. Certainly Google did. But Second Life is at its heart a money making venture for Linden Labs. The beautiful world they have created was simply a means to that end. I appreciate their desire to make money but they've focused too much on that for me to be comfortable with them.
- When I created my account I logged in, crashed, logged in again, and found myself in a porn district. I had to create my account before I could be added to the NMC Campus group, but while I was waiting for that, I ended up in an environment that's unacceptable for teaching and learning. I'm not going to ask UR students to get an account if that's what they're going to see when they log in. I hope the NMC can find a way to address this issue someday.
- Today the final straw: the application now allows everyone to know if you've got a credit card behind your account. Just right-click, choose Profile, and you can see if it's a credit card, PayPal or a cell phone that makes their account work. What's the point of that? Were so many people defrauding each other that now you have to know how each player is funded?
I'm sure Linden Labs has some logic behind their decision to implement this feature. I can't think of any reason I'd accept.
So I'm gone.
Goodbye, Second Life. Bon chance, NMC Campus.
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