Political riots rage in Second Life

Oh my, this story is too much. A far-far-right French political party, Front National, set up a headquarters in the virtual land of Second Life. Front National is apparently a racist, anti-immigrant, pro-death penalty, and pro-isolationism party. Understandably, the headquarters drew a lot of ire from Second Life denizens, especially its French denizens.

Fighting in Second Life

So protests started. They were peaceful at first, with protest signs and chanting, but quickly degenerated. Weapons were drawn. It devolved into a battlefield, with people firing missiles, miniguns, and apparently even exploding pigs, on both sides. The battle lasted the better part of a week, and eventually the headquarters, suffering under the slings and arrows of constant bombardment and terrible lag, began to digitally disintegrate. Glitches started appearing here and there, walls disappeared as lag worsened, and eventually, at the end of the week, the entire thing was gone, abandoned, and had been replaced by, what else, a casino.

Talk about a watershed moment in virtual worlds. I don’t know if a protest-cum-war has ever happened before like this. Thanks to being in a virtual world, it ended up getting a lot more violent than it would in real life, but in the end, nobody was actually hurt. One marked difference between this virtual riot and a real riot was the total absence of the law. It was chaos, total anarchy. Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, never intervened.

I see this as a growing trend. This was possibly the first, but it certainly won’t be the last. As virtual worlds grow and more and more organizations, companies, and political parties start inhabiting them as a serious branch of their business, the number of virtual protests are going to go through the roof. In real life, only the extremists tend to care enough to get involved in a protest. In a virtual world, where there are no risks, people who only care mildly about the issues, or perhaps don’t care at all, are going to show up. As one person who utterly missed the substantive issues behind this protest said, “The French stink! Get out of Second Life!”

One Response to “Political riots rage in Second Life”

  1. New World Revolution « mondo mondo Says:

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