Culture, Society and Civilization

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References and materials about culture, worldview and character development in virtual reality.

Protecting player's rights

A great talk by MMO designer Raph Koster about taking seriously the protection of the rights of people in VR.

Here are the slides:


Reading recommendations from Raph Koster

  • My Tiny Life, Julian Dibbell
  • "A Declaration of the Rights of Players," Raph Koster
  • Designing Virtual Worlds, Richard Bartle
  • The Lessons of of LucasFilm's Habitat, Chip Morningstar & Randy Farmer
  • The Proteus Effect, Nick Yee
  • Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge
  • For the Win, Cory Doctorow
  • Halting State, Charles Stross
  • Metaverse Roadmap

Other References

  • Decentraland, Society and Civilization
 A concept piece by Carl Fravel and other contributors from the Decentraland community.

Codes of Conduct from other virtual worlds

As one can tell from reading the reference materials above, virtual communities have found it necessary to develop standards of conduct. Here are some examples


Here is a passage from Julian Dibbell opening essay in My Tiny Life.

" real life it’s possible for reasonable people to assume, as Bungle clearly did, that what transpires between word-costumed characters within the boundaries of a make-believe world is, if not mere play, then at most some kind of emotional laboratory experiment. Inside the MOO, however, such thinking marked a person as one of two basically subcompetent types. The first was the newbie, in which case the confusion was understandable, since there were few MOOers who had not, upon their first visits as anonymous “guest” characters, mistaken the place for a vast playpen in which they might act out their wildest fantasies without fear of censure. Only with time and the acquisition of a fixed character did players tend to make the critical passage from anonymity to pseudonymity, developing the concern for their character’s reputation that marks the attainment of virtual adulthood. But while Mr. Bungle hadn’t been around as long as most MOOers, he’d been around long enough to leave his newbie status behind, and his delusional statement therefore placed him among the second type: the sociopath."

[A Rape in Cyberspace, Page 22-23] / (My Tiny Life, Page 34-35).