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Saturday, August 26, 2006

On celebrity and bullies

I don't know quite when I became a celebrity. I don't actually even know why. I seem to be famous for being famous. Well-known for being well-known.

It's not exactly comfortable at times. At times my conversations are bugged by listening devices, my doings discussed on voice-chat, the things I do and the things I say subjected to interminable public discussion, analysis and debate, both inworld and outworld.

Sometimes I'm mobbed by people wanting to talk to me. Other times, I'm told that people are too scared to say hello and speak to me, and sometimes I just get plain criticised and bullied.

Bullies are a minority, but they exist in Second Life, just as anywhere else. The bully's tool, as always, is violence. Violence in actions, emotions, or words. The bully's goal is to attempt to modify your behaviour by use of this force, to make you subservient to his or her will.

On my thirteenth day in-world, I was IMed by a bully, and sent a dose of venom that all but had me quit SL on the spot. It was someone I'd never heard of, but they've been a repeated part of my Second Life ever since. I had no idea who the person was, or even really what it was all about. I was so...shocked, as a new resident to receive such a serving of viputeration – such hate.

I sat there in tears for a minute, and was reaching for CONTROL-Q, ready to abort my Second Life, when I got another random IM from someone whom I had never met, but whose name I had seen. She said some very encouraging things to me – apparently unaware of the onslaught that I'd just received...and because of that, I stayed.

That same bully has been with me ever since – I've since learned who the person is, and know more about them – and they're not alone. People look me up inworld occasionally to tell me just how much they loathe this or that thing that I may or may not have said or done – some are bullies, some are misinformed. Some are obviously both. I get more criticism about things that people think I've done that for things that I've actually done.

The lesson here, though, is not to let someone compel your behaviour by violence, in any form. Physical violence, digital violence, emotional or verbal violence. If you let others control you in this way, you cannot make your own choices, and if you cannot make your own choices, you cannot be true to yourself.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.


  1. sticks and stones may break my bones, but havok1 will never hurt me.

    You were apparently quite well known when I joined the SL volunteers, which would put that at Mar 28th, 2006.

    I also had a problem with bullying behaviour from other Residents- some of it my own fault (coughHelpIslandcough), but most of it was totally unfounded.

    There have been moments where this abuse has driven me to the point of logging off for days on end, but thankfully I have supportive friends in-world and other sources of wisdom such as yourself have helped me grow stronger. Not thicker skinned- stronger willed.

    While there may be negative influences in world, there is a statistical thing to take notice of. The lame "n00bs" who's idea of griefing is to shoot you, harass you, attempt to interupt your experiments with building are easily ignored like flies on a windshield, and any serious harrasment can be dealt with appropriately.

    Like a headache, bullies can be dealt with through passive treatment; drink plent of water, rest and forget about it/them.

  2. Seriously, you were reduced to tears by this person? Can I please have their name so I can use my power as an SLI blogger to revile them?

    And on that note, the very first post comment I received for SLI was 'criticism' in which I was called a 'twat', followed by another equally disrespectful comment with further observations on my lineage and ability.

    I was horribly upset for about 10 minutes, then became more determined than ever that I would do my level best to write engaging posts and let the comments fall as they may, lead-heavy or feather-light.

    I've yet to receive a single negative comment since.

    Tateru, your place in SL history is assured. You are loved justifiably for your actions, and that will be the true measure of your legacy. I'm proud to call you a friend.

  3. I have run into some cruel people in world as well, but they have been far overshadowed by the nice pople I have met. I find that the bullies have nothing better to do but try to humiliate and annoy those they seem to think are "inferior" to them.

  4. Stan Pomeray2:07 AM

    "On my thirteenth day in-world, I was IMed by a bully, and sent a dose of venom that all but had me quit SL on the spot..."

    Yes, Philip Linden gets into a really bad mood sometimes doesn't he? :D


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