The Pandora’s Box of Second Life!!!

by Alphaville Herald on 26/06/08 at 8:35 pm

Do we dare face SL’s 5 worst evils?

by Mony Markova

In myth, Pandora was the first woman ever to be created. She was fashioned from clay and blessed with every gift the gods could grant. With evil intentions Zeus endowed her with a box to present to the man who married her, who opened the box unleashing all the evils and diseases to afflict the world. Only hope lingered at the bottom of the box to console humans. Come closer, and look into Second Life’s own Pandora’s box. Start with the fifth ugliest worm of the metaverse:

#5 What the hell are you anyway!?

With all the new residents we are getting after EA Land’s demise, who of course are very welcome, we are seeing a new set of citizens, experienced yet sometimes sad expatriates from that soon to be lost world. One of them gave me the best ever ice breaker line I have been approached with: “Are you real or a computer-generated character?”

And after the fun I had because never been offered the opportunity to pass as a talking bot, the question reminded me about the identity thing, especially as I had heard that more than 70% of all female avatars in SL are actually men.

So let’s look into official LL statistics to search for the answer. This data does not account for the character or ALTs that are created afterwards – and this is most accurate statistic available and the good news for those hopeful romantics and heterosexual (not fantasy oriented) is that 41% of avies are created by a woman.


Interestingly enough, only 35% of avies were created by a woman in September 2003 (almost 70% as street says) a relevant 6% growth of females in five years. This as a population shift as to be a big one if you ask me.

Of course, it remains to be answered what the percentage of female vs. male avatars is. And that one beats me. However you also need to ask how many male avies are actually women? Ha-ha – You forgot that one, right?

If you feel gender paranoid, you can easily estimate the “mmm” factor at any place in two steps. Quickly calculate the percentage of female avies present and compare it to the 41% data I just gave you… and you have the “mmm” factor at that place. Don’t try this approach at shoes or hair stores.

#4 Evil Griefing!

This one needs no introduction but perhaps some classification. The SL Police Department, based at San Miguel, is a non-role play organization that includes real-life officers along with normal citizens. It is a serious volunteer organization that defines griefing in the following way:

“Griefing can take many forms in Second Life, from shooting, bombing and pushing to more subtle forms such as intimidation, spamming and harassment. Griefers may be classified as follow:

* Weapons Tester: Uses new weapon purchased on residents without their permission
* Weapons Abuser: Hits a lot of people with a weapon. A Hit & Run griefer fires and leaves the area
* Hit & Run Viewer: Griefs first, then hides or remains out of site in order to watch the reaction of residents.
* Experienced Griefer: Usually has high-powered weapons systems and/or scripts.
* Scammer: Attempts to steal Lindens by using some form of scam or malicious scripting.
* Griefing Groups: Organized single group, with one locale, but will migrate to other areas upon discovery. Usually they are found in areas of mass traffic, info hubs, Help Island, Freebie Warehouse.”

For more information contact Chief Mysha Milland and ask her about the 911 hotline available as a free service, metaverse wide. If in need you can call in the good guys in seconds.

#3 Living in a Barbie Economy!

For some, it seems natural to come to SL and try to become rich. It’s like a quest. Well, once more, armed with LL statistics, I offer my ever-cynical view of the current state of the Barbie Economy in Second Life.

First a reclaimer (vs. a disclaimer) Even though we understand that Second Life offers real business capabilities, the regular citizen don’t seem to be making the most of it. There’s a joke in a business magazine that reads, “First thing we need to do is destroy the public notion that the best things in life are free.” The second factor is high land maintainance payments; but let’s not get too technical here – we are just looking at the worms, not killing them!

In Philip Linden’s interview by The New York Times, Dec 13, 2007 the then-CEO of LL stated that “More than 40,000 people in SL make a profit” Since we like precise and accurate numbers, we will make that figure 40,000 and forgive Philip the “more than” expression. Maybe those few more were LL employees, which are less than 90 people. Excuse the pun, dear Philip, but your numbers seem odd.

So if 40,000 people were making a profit and the population was 11,704,934, that give us… that 0.34% of avatars created in SL history have ever made a profit! Even though that exclamation is correct it seems somewhat unfair: 1 in every 300 avatars in history make a profit? Yikes! Philip, in your new role please, don’t give away statistics. Let Mr. Kindon, the new LL CEO, do that from now on. How should we read LL figures then?

If you are 100% for the business deal you need to factor in real manpower hourly values into it and a broadband connection. You see? But that is also something we could discuss in other opportunity, when we set to kill the worms.

So let’s face it. We need to advance in creating new solutions and new agreements even among citizens. This is why SL Barbie Economy it’s the 3rd worst worm in SL Pandora’s box.

Now let’s look into the next one.

#2 Loving for L$ spacebucks is easy and pays well – what other options exist?

So let me make clear this is not against escorting for pleasure or money — this is against the lack of alternatives as good income jobs! And yes this is a consequence of the #3 worm, until we have a stronger economy we will have stronger jobs. This one is placed higher than Barbie Economy because it affects the individual.

The money made in cyber sex industry and the ease-of-entry into makes them a feasible proposition. Just compare them out: A non-cyber sexual greeter job at an average club pays from L$100 to L$300 per day. If you are lucky enough to become a host for a rock star, you can make ten times that. But these positions are few. If you are a columnist or media whore, as we writers have been tagged, you can get paid from L$1,000 to L$2,500. Hey, if you torture your readers with more text, you get paid more! So keep reading please.

Oh, and before I forget: Camping! Just a note – not only does it completely sucks but it’s an example of a poorly understood statistic –popularity – resulting in a self-fooling strategy. Die all you empty bots! Yes the ranking of popularity need to improve.

Cyber Sex pros claim to make up to L$10,000 a trick. If you manage a group of cybersexual pros or if you or your staff are into kinky stuff, this figure has been claimed to be higher. However, a very dedicated sex dancer at an average joint will make about US$4 per day after connecting for more than five hours. Hi Arwana, follow the bots to the beach please!


We are living in a Barbie Economy where the cheapest trick is to lend you avie for cyber fun. But behold the #1 hard to face ugliest worm of SL:

#1 What hides beyond Second Life Enchantment?

If you are affected by this you might deny it. Also its true that many people manages it correctly finding a correct balance between real life and SecondLife.

Beyond normal use, some people develop an attachment that can be very unhealthy to them and their RL loved ones. Worst of all, this very ugly worm could have consequences to LL when someday something gets way out of hand, and a law firm comes chasing worm owners.

This one is hardest to look upon, and sadly a crude reality many of us have experienced. The reason to have it as worst worm today is because it goes beyond the boundaries of our metaverse and it is affecting more people in an often terrifying way than you could imagine, we need to stop looking the other way.


Don’t believe me? Consider the situation with larger companies like IBM, Cisco, Sun and others. I asked two SL citizens, who happen to work for two of those organizations, if their companies provided them with any guidance before asking them to join and explore the platform. Both said no. There was no warning or any form of preparedness before being sent in.

Now watch this BBC series and see for yourself the size of the danger.


And the following blog with real-life cases is chilling enough to scare a hard core Second Lifer – maybe especially hardcore second lifers. It’s been running since January 2004 and still gets entries periodically.

Or visit what is left of SL Awareness Addiction inside world at

Hope on the bottom of Pandora’s Box

In our adventures in SL this has to be the beginning, not the end. Did you recognize any of these realities personally? Were you surprised? Do you dislike them?

Of course we left out other ugly worms that somehow did not make the list, (maybe because I made it at my own personal taste) but what about, lag, or technical difficulties… hey name your worms if you like, my final offering is a question.

Can we find hope?

Next time… let’s look at the other side of the mirror Second Life’s Five great Wonders.

13 Responses to “The Pandora’s Box of Second Life!!!”

  1. Darien Caldwell

    Jun 26th, 2008

    I read your article twice, and still can’t seem to figure out the point. Lets see, people play characters, take revenge on each other, don’t make as much money as they spend, go after the pleasures in life in their leisure time, and can get engrossed in an activity. Sounds like you’re describing Real Life just as much as SL. No big surprise.

  2. Val Kendal

    Jun 27th, 2008

    I have always found it ironic and kind of sad how much the SL economy reflects the realities of RL. If you are young, attractive and female (much easier in SL), have no marketable skills in a tough employment scenario, the fastest and almost only way to make money is to sell yourself. Now I have nothing against escorting and stripping either, my best SL friend does both. But there are lots of guys and girls who come into SL, have no way to bring money in world, and resort to stripping or escorting as females to have any money. (Yes, a high percentage of female escorts are guys – is that a surprise?) And what they can make! I have been working hard making and selling jewelry for 5 months, and I have made in all that time what my friend can make in a good day’s work escorting…

    And to spell it out for the less mathematically inclined – on average, one in five SL females is a male. Not as bad as everyone thinks, IMHO

  3. janeforyou Barbara

    Jun 27th, 2008

    If anyone think thay can come in to SL and ” make a lot of mony” Thay are wrong— you may be able to make a lill proffit to cover your cost,,and in time maybe be able to take out a lill proffit in time if you do this :

    -Get to learn how to build and create items like cloths and plants and trees and gadgets
    -Get a large network, get a huge membergroup and make good ” helpers” that can help you do marketing for your items.
    -Make qualety, non want bad items.Dont buye expensive land in the start, make some cash first

  4. Sigmund Leominster

    Jun 27th, 2008

    There’s another delicious twist in the “gender bender” arena of Second Life sexuality. In a recent article for the UK’s “Guardian” newspaper (,,2262449,00.html ) a study from Nottingham University found that 70% of WOMEN in online games play as MEN. So not only are a high proportion of SL women possibly RL men, a similar proportion of SL men are possibly RL women! So maybe “Johnny” and “Susie” in SL are really “Mary” and “Brad” in RL, and both are thinking they are having a same-gender realtionship but are in actuality enjoying a traditional opposite-gender situation.

    Some folks like to paraphrase Will Shakespeare and claim that all Second Life’s a stage, and the men and women merely players. But I suggest we look to Albert Camus as we are more likely to be living in “Le Théâtre de l’Absurde,” as the existential absurdists would claim.

    We really ARE stepping through the sexual Looking Glass, folks, and as I write, I can’t but help hear the refrain from Blur’s “Girls & Boys” song;

    Girls who are boys
    Who like boys to be girls
    Who do boys like they’re girls
    Who do girls like they’re boys
    Always should be someone you really love

    But relax. On the upside, YOU at least know which gender you are. Just keep an eye on your partner!!

  5. JayR Cela

    Jun 27th, 2008

    I use 3 different avatars under the same name ( JayR Cela ) one is a female sorceress, the second a male sorcerer, the third a magical dragon. And yes I am male in RL, however over the 3 years I have been here, I have never made any attempt to hide or deceive anyone as to my RL gender. I have many friends, both RL males and females. It does not bother them, nor me. And it is interesting, to say the least :_)

  6. Nikola Shirakawa

    Jun 27th, 2008

    And what would these SL Police people be able to do to help against griefers, exactly? How would calling them be any better than calling other griefers into the fray?

  7. D.B.

    Jun 28th, 2008

    Unless you’re planning on meeting up in RL and have hot passionate sexings with eachother, it really doesnt matter which gender player any avvie has.

    Your hot chick friend is really a man?

    Your best buddy is really a woman?

    Does it really matter as long as you like eachother and have fun, and not plan on taking it any further then just SL?

  8. Angel

    Jun 28th, 2008

    Janeforyou makes baby Jesus cry

  9. Enelar

    Jun 28th, 2008

    I actually have a male and female account. I created the male one to get away from my ex when he was in his stalker mode and found the experience as a guy on SL to be quite different than what a woman sees (far less hassling for one thing).

    I ended up keeping him around even after my ex calmed his ass down because I enjoyed roleplaying as him but I do gotta say, I’m pretty honest about the person behind the keys being a woman when directly asked. I saw the hurt that sort of shit can cause first hand via not only my ex (who was lying to foreign men and playing himself off as a disabled woman) but from a few past ex-friends of my own. People get attached on SL and want that RL connection. It’s human nature and I do my best to let women (or men) who are getting too close to my male alt know that I’m a woman and their fantasy of some nice guy in the states typing to them is just that.

    Also men tend to squick hardcore when they find out the hawt babe they’ve been screwing is a 46 year old man who lives with his mom.

  10. Franz Carver

    Jun 28th, 2008

    Interesting article. Cheers.
    Thanks for the links also.

    Do you remember at all where the quote came from? “First thing we need to do is destroy the public notion that the best things in life are free”.

  11. Mony Markova

    Jun 30th, 2008

    Hey everyone, thanks for the comments I tought this one was going to raise more rought answers and honestly I was preparing to duck a little. I will try to answer them as best as I can.

    1. On SL Addiction

    There are several groups in-world devoted to create awareness of the Sl addiction stuff, (one muste be mentioned, started my self: “Awareness Sl Addiction Information”), but there are others. one office is at:

    What is best is thare there is one Certified Professional that can help if anyone wants to go that way. If you need her in-world or off world info I can get if for you. Pls send me anote or email me monymarkova(at)

    2. Police and Griefing

    Yes there are several role-play and re-griefer Police groups in SL. But San Miguel’s Police Department is run by a former RL 911 dispatcher and includes among their members, RL officers from different countries (not only U.S.) as well as present and former military personnel and yes also regular civilians.

    They are set to Educate, Help citizens and keep the peace, never re-grief. Even as it is a volunteer group, it is professionaly alike run, with training and constant contact with SL people. They patrol several sims, you ask them just to random patrol, to program security for an event, or even give them admin perms to protect your sims, or of course just join 911 dispatch and ask for help if needed (it is important to send your location).

    It’s a nice efffort that is effective in dealing wiht grief. It is also a free service.

    3. That Joke “The First Thing we need to go is.. ” appeared on Harvard Business Review” I am going to look for its to see what issue it is in.

    Read you soon :)
    Sorry about the typos !!!

  12. Artiamus Seifert

    Jun 30th, 2008

    Actually, you’re slightly off on your Pandora myth. Just want to kinda clarify some points.

    She wasn’t the first women created. She merely was a beautiful women who Zeus noticed one day way back near the beginning of the world. Zeus gave her a box with instructions to never look within it. After a time had passed, Pandora’s curiosity of what was in the box had grown and grown, so finally, one day, she opened the box, thus releasing all of the evil things into the world like pain, suffering, death, disease, despair, that sort of stuff. However, she managed to close the box fast enough to keep one thing inside it.


    By capturing hope in the box and not letting it escape like the others, Pandora, while cursing humanity with all the bad things, ensured that when everything else was gone, humanity would still have hope, be it hope for a better future, better president, whatever.

  13. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Jul 1st, 2008

    According to the poems of Hesiod (700 BC), Pandora was indeed the first woman. Created by Hephaestus, she was given to Epimetheus as a gift and she “promptly scattered the contents of her jar,” except for Hope, which remained. There is speculation that the jar contained evil things which were then inflicted upon mankind, or good things which escaped forever, and even that Hope remained within the jar, forever beyond the reach of mankind. But Hesiod depicted Pandora as having “a shameful mind and deceitful nature,” speech containing “lies and crafty words,” and possessing “sheer guile, not to be withstood by men.” She was not a nice lady momentarily overcome by curiosity. Hesiod wrote:

    “From her is the race of women and female kind:
    of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who
    live amongst mortal men to their great trouble,
    no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth.”

    Presumably Hesiod had been through a bad relationship!

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