Living Simply

Welcome! Or Not.

I will not name sims in this entry – but you may recognize some of the situations. If you do, that’s great. Maybe you can help make a difference. If you don’t, congratulations! You may be a resident of a wonderful region.

Right, then, on with my rant.  I’m tired of stifling my thoughts on what I consider to be appalling behavior in city group chats. The regions I follow,  by and large, need new residents. Occupancy rates are low, and current residents are, to be honest, stagnant. It’s the same people time and again just buying new lots and dropping old ones. Let me play out a sample scenario for you, to illustrate what is going on that is bugging me so much:

Susie Resident, new to the grid and very excited to be a part of it, stumbles upon an amazing looking region.  She’s only seen random shopping malls in mainland up till now and is astonished that entire themed cities exist! This is more like it.  She’d like to put down her tiny new roots in such a place.  While picking up freebies from the local arrival point, she learns that the region has an inworld group, which welcomes all to join.  How wonderful! She does, and with eagerness begins to listen in on the chatter, a little step to get to know her potential new neighbors. And what does she hear?

“I just ate cheese!” *digresses into an hours blather of every morsel that’s passed everyone’s lips that day*
“My lumbago is acting up today” *digresses into everyone’s aches, pains and sordid details of everything physical and mental*
“Oh geez, its noob season again. I see a Resident downtown. She’s got bling on! Let’s throw things at her! Bomb her back to Mainland!”
“Hey guys!  I just picked my nose!”
“My mom is so MEAN to me! She made me clean my room!”
“Im un meds andhve a concushion doctor saidI hsould be restnig”

Suzy Resident can’t decide if she’s embarrassed about her bling (she didn’t know it wasn’t cool!), shy about having been spotted in town, worried the place is overrun with kids, or hesitant to strike up conversation with People With Issues.

And she wonders where the visionaries are that built this wonderful town.  As she walks past a vacant lot that’s in her budget…  she hesitates.  She thinks perhaps if there’s one beautiful region in Second Life, there’s got to be two, or three, or more.  She quits the city group, and goes to seek her fortune in another place.

Later that evening, the local residents grumble about all the vacant land and why can’t one of the locals take on just one more plot?  After all, it’s our town and we’d do anything to keep it, right?

Stop blaming the economy, and start welcoming visitors in a way that makes them want to be your neighbor.  It’s easy to make groups. If you really MUST talk about cheese or compare bodily malfunctions, pull your friends into a group chat on the side and babble to your heart’s content.

Would you stand in the middle of a city street in your real-life and tell every passer by how many times you burped that day?  Why are you behaving this way in your chosen city in Second Life? Why do you think it is you haven’t seen anyone new in town lately, other than alts?

*steps off soapbox, expects snark, doesn’t care, converts the soapbox to a birdhouse*

Postscript, as encouraged by others. What are GOOD topics of conversation in a city group chat?  Feel free to reply with your opinions, too!  I would think topics pertinent to the REGION are primary.  Discussing new buildings, talking about last night’s event, anticipating upcoming events, bits of roleplay (with occasional mentions that it IS roleplay for those just logging into chat), recommendations for shops that sell clothing and items that would suit the region, sharing of photos, links to sites that inspire the residents….





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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.


  • Grendel Footman

    Eating cheese, that could be a good conversation, if you’re talking food, cooking, cuisine, recipes, gastronomy.
    my concussion though….how did you know about that?!!

  • Gabrielle Riel

    Oh good lord the typos in my comment! No more responding to posts using my tablet! Laptop all the way from now on!

    It should be “WELCOME TO the next phase of “growing up” in SL”


    “I have expressed many times that as long as the context is something connected to our community, SL or New Orleans, some chat is ok.”


    “some estate owners believe it’s a value-add to the community, and they ARE NOT totally wrong…”

    Caledon chat (ISC) went to Hell in a hand basket in the Fall of 2008 and never recovered, although I have noticed that asinine blather seems to go in cycles.

    One of the saddest things that I ever heard was someone say that ISC was the reason they thought Caledon was a good community. Just ISC, nothing else.

    If people want nothing but a giant chat room in which to exercise their idiocy and narcissism, they can go back to IRC.

  • Gabrielle Riel

    Gabrielle Riel next phase of “growing up” in SL Ceejay! 🙂 Being “over” the utter stupidity that is displayed in group chats is a milestone that we all hit.

    I think most of you know that I am the estate owner of New Toulouse. What you might not know if you are not a resident is that I am ULTRA HARD ASS when it comes to group chat. I mean crazy strict. I do not allow blather in NT group chat. I *do* allow NT-pertinent discussions in our group chat. I have expressed many times that as long as the context is something connected to our community, SL or New Orleans.

    I did create a group *specifically* for chatter for NT called New Toulouse Laveau Square, and we chatter in there sometimes, but not often. And that is ok because I want my residents to WALK AROUND NT and talk to each other. Just as people do in RL.

    I know that there are pros and cons to allowing blather in chat. Some residents *really* want it. Personally, it makes me want to vomit, but some estate owners believe it’s a value-add to the community, and they are totally wrong, because there is a substantial number of people who like/want it that way.

  • Aerten

    So very true! I’m delighted that my friend linked this to me. However, I noted that your rant stopped short of some very reasonable suggestions as to how to properly welcome newcomers into your city chats.

    First, there is a matter of the quality of the people allowed in. Start with a questionnaire right in the beginning. Get a good idea of their knowledge of the city in question and what it represents. It will be useful later when deciding if they meet the quality of the city in which they’ve found themselves. An application fee would go a far way towards gauging their willingness to truly work for the status of citizenry.

    Newcomers shouldn’t be welcomed into city chats until they have a chance to be properly vetted and trained. Truly, until they fit into the style and overall story, they should barely be recognized. After all, it would be simply tragic to bring a city chat up to the standards of the city itself merely to have one rogue avatar ruin the whole shebang, don’t you think? Needless to say, city chat would have to become invitation only.

    It would also require strict moderation and rules. A list of approved chat topics would have to be updated regularly, and if the city is representative of a certain period, slang that is allowed and should be avoided, and general rules for role playing a scene or an extended story-line.

    Of course, this may interfere with the trade of shops doing business on the sim, or anyone feeling welcome enough to join in the first place, but that’s the price of quality.

  • Victor1st Mornington

    There is a fine line when running a group based on a city or even a genre like the 4000+ member Doctor Who group im an owner of.

    When it comes to groups based around a city that fine line is crossed, easilly. Whats the point in talking about the latest event in the city…if theirs only one single regular event every week? Whats the point in talking about the latest build…when there isn’t any?

    Soon that citys group chat would become dead…Susie Resident joins said group…and leaves 2 days later cause no one says anything thinking that the group is one big clique or theirs another “special” group for the incrowd.

    There’s nothing worse than a dead group, where people are too SCARED to chat.

    The flip side of the coin is random babbling, folks using group chat like sodding twitter, letting everyone know what they are doing, what they have ate, what they have watched on TV…etc etc etc. Yeah, i get a bit sick of it, but then i remember one of the founding principles of Second Life…its a social platform, the group system and group chat was brought into Second Life to make it more of a social platform.

    Do some city groups become a live twitter feed on peak times? Yeah, you’re damn right they do, does it annoy me? Yeah, you’re damn right it does. However as long as they don’t go into Adult related territory, im fine with that. City groups are there for the residents of the city…AND the casual visitors.

    The simple way to see what happens when social banter is frowned on in a group is to join some of the more RP centric city’s out there. You will find their groups are dead, and more importantly…so are their regions.

    • Ceejay

      there IS a middle ground, Viiiiiictor! But it’s not likely reached. A Quiet group. One that comes to life when there’s something worth saying. Or when someone genuinely wishes to say hello and talk of the things that brought people to the group in the first place.

      One city chat that I will actually mention right now is Armada Breakaway. It’s very quiet. But anytime – anytime I’ve wished to converse with the locals, I’ve fired up the chat with a friendly greeting (and maybe some news) and those reclusive builders boink right up for some friendly chatter. After a bit, we all settle back into what we were up to.

      Quiet does not always mean dead.

  • Lucien Brentano

    There are reasons that I exploit my rank, title and position to run a class that’s pure, unadulterated “Hi, welcome to the neighbourhood, wanna see something cool?” class… and you’ve mentioned a lot of them. It’s intimidating being the new kid on the block and I’ve found it helps to ramp people up into society.

    shamefully admits to sharing banal information sometimes in state chats

  • breezy carver

    Nods many times …Really well written .. Agrees, One can close the window alas One still knows and is haunted with How sad is this ??

    How ironic I just had a private im with someone over just these things early this am in world .
    The Person asked me and I quote ” How long and What does it take to feel like you belong ? ”
    My reply is pretty general ..
    I said “don’t make others and their own negatives and issues be the basics of your SL experience .This is a game, your own time and most important for you to enjoy .. Sure it is part of a Social Media experience but, trust me people come and people go.
    Just don’t focus on the negatives because there are wonderful experiences to be had and good people to meet.”
    As I said a pretty general reply.
    To be honest I am still not sure if it is a demographic thing .. But where I come from, On Line Rudeness
    or in person rudeness are just that and it is not alright !!
    Accountability is another key behavior that has been tossed to the side .

    If one is free enough to carry on In an open chat , Please don’t ignore new people when they try to join in .
    I am applaud at the fact year after year it is the same thing .. People do not even give new people a chance ..

    What blows my mind beside the fact that they think this said behavior makes them what cool ?? Hello Who named these these “said characters” In Charge ?
    How do they act when new neighbors move in ?Or to a new co worker ?
    Gee if they don’t like people then why are they even in a community at all ?
    If they are angry with issues .. sigh .. A community is not the best place to hide.An angry progressive blog my work for them.. .. cough cough just saying .. sorry I couldn’t resist . *grins*

    Look I am not perfect .. I battle spelling and being sensitive daily . smiles .

    But gosh, Through many years, I have learned to like me and it breaks my heart when I come across an old or young soul who has felt tossed to the curb for NOTHING other then others using “doing so” what ?? Bond over .. Snicker at ?? Sad really sad ..

    It simply is Poor behavior and boarder line cyber bullying to be honest ..

  • Mairan Dragovar

    Oh man oh man. That resident with bling was me a few years back. I managed to brave a few gala type events where nobody would talk to me, even though I was in costume.

    Now when I log in, I automatically close city chat for that region because the chatter does NOT reflect the feel of the city (artistic, distinct, mysterious, intelligent) but is rather vacuous and banal, and often downright juvenile (the kids I teach are often more insightful than the comments in this particular city chat).

    Beyond being disappointingly lacking in the mental stimulation department, sometimes this city chat can be unwelcoming for other reasons. Administrators and well respected residents with a demeanor that screams “you are not good enough.” People who will ignore you completely. People who will correct your grammatical mistake or comment on your word usage before they say “hello.” People whose role-play is focused on attacking, badgering, or rebelling against others — and so the first thing one might encounter is an outright offensive ambush.

    I have been many places in Second Life, but there is a particularly beautiful city that I have long admired yet have never really been able to enjoy. Nowhere else on the grid have I felt so ignored, insignificant, out of place, or uncool as I do when I am roaming the streets of this city. It feels like a Dickens’ novel in a bad way — like I’m the peasant in the gutter and everyone else is Mr. Scrooge, or some richer, haughtier, or more delusional version of Mr. Scrooge.

    So, AMEN Ceejay. I have had this experience too, and I’m a pretty funny, silly, well-costumed lady. I shudder to think how newer residents must feel. It’s kinda like “I hate kids” or “let’s run over that grandpa!’ comments and jokes. You were a child once too, and someday you will be old and senile. Do you still think it’s funny to say cruel things about ’em? Want me to be cruel to you? Probably not. Let’s stop launching things at n00bs, and maybe stop calling them n00bs all together.

    How about saying “Hello!”?

  • Barbara Nicholls

    It’s a very sad commentary about people’s behavior but dang, girl, you made me laugh and crave cheese. I’m so glad to have you on my timeline. It makes everything a little bit brighter when I see your clever posts.

  • Rhianon Jameson

    Well ranted said! It’s ramblings such as your example that occasionally make me turn off group chat. I’ve also wondered how newcomers internally reconcile the difference between what they see in their new wonderful region and what they hear.

  • Jed Dagger

    This, dear Ceejers, is why I love you so hard. Some of us oldbies in chat groups find that the brainless twaddle of our peers makes us close the window, rather than try and buck the overwhelming tide of ignorant blather.

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