Taking offense in Second Life is easier…

So you have lots of experience with online conversations, for years and years, have been accused of starting flame wars and managed to escape without getting burned, and you’re the nicest person in the world, so there is no way you’ll get misinterpreted in Second Life, isn’t it?

Think again. 12 years of online communication has not avoided me to mortally offend two very nice persons, both having helped me out often, and where, in both cases, I had started to build a trust relationship with them.

I thought they would already know me better and understand that I never mean to offend anyone. Still, it happened – in two consecutive days! What was wrong with me? Just woke up the wrong side of the bed? But true friends ignore a “bad day” easily – in this case, as said, we’re talking about mortal offense.

The problem with SL compared to other types of online communication is the fine line dividing role-playing and our true selves. In the RL (and also on many online chats) we certainly use our “masks” to hide our feelings, but there are “cracks” in this mask, and you tend to look through them, so it’s perhaps easier to understand if you’re touching tender nerves there…

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