Crowdsourcing Grief in Second Life’s Remembrance Garden

by Alphaville Herald on 25/04/09 at 2:30 pm

Will residents remember the dead in Linden-approved style?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

R1I  join several scantily clad residents in Linden Lab's new "Remembrance Garden" and click on Flower Dispenser 55. The dispenser replies in soothing tones, "Please type the name of the person to commemorate.  The person must be a SL avatar name.  Please take care to spell and capitalize correctly".

So spelling counts — and this memorial is limited to Second Life names. My eyes mist up, and along with the other mourners I type the name of an avatar I know will never be back, then click on another flower dispenser:

Pixeleen Mistral: Tizzers Foxchase
Poppies 28 whispers: Planting flower…
Orchid 70 whispers: Planting flower…
Daylily 23 whispers: Offsets Saved
Flower Dispenser 23: Please type the name of the person to commemorate.  The person must be a SL avatar name.  Please take care to spell and capitalize correctly.

The number of Hunter Talon flowers suggests that the Justice LeagueUnlimited visited recently and power flower spammed the RemembranceGarden. Once again, the players have found a wayto make what is appears to be a Linden marketing ploy into a game of theirown.

Under M Linden's reign, the Lab has taken an active role in trying to shape Second Life resident actions – and media coverage. The Remembrance Garden would be ideal for heartwarming stories about the crossover between the virtual and the real — if the players will just cooperate. But if there is an authentic need for commemorative sites why not let the players create these themselves? Or is a virtual astro-turfed outpouring of grief the real point of the Lab's gift garden?

My musing is interrupted as I notice Flower Dispenser 23 seems to be following Flower Dispenser 55's lead, so I play along:

Pixeleen Mistral: Plastic Duck
Poppies 24 whispers: Planting flower…
Flower Dispenser 23: Please limit yourself to one flower per garden.  Thanks!

Now the game has taken an interesting turn – the flower dispensers are designed to prevent residents in mourning from flower spamming and there are only four gardens so I'll have to chose carefully. Too bad the designer didn't bother to check to see if the "dead" avatars have logged in recently. Corsi Mousehold, a very much alive furry and sexbed entrepreneur is commemorated in the flowerbed. I'm only going to plant flowers for prema-banned avatars to stay in-theme.

Two women – one wearing a transparent blouse and photorealistic breasts that might not pass muster in the Lab's new PG/Mature rating system walk over to me.

Flower Dispenser 86: Please type the name of the person tocommemorate.  The person must be a SL avatar name.  Please take care tospell and capitalize correctly.
Pixeleen Mistrall: Gene Replacement
Daylily 23 whispers: Planting flower…


Is Xania PG-sim safe?

Xania Caudron: Pixeleen ?
Pixeleen Mistral: yes?
Xania Caudron: gene ?
Xania Caudron: are you planting a flower for him ?

Pixeleen Mistral: yes
Pixeleen Mistral: and Plastic Duck
Pixeleen Mistral: and Tizzers Foxchase
Xania Caudron: oh ?….that is 2 of his av's

Pixeleen Mistral: I guess you only get to put one flower per garden
Xania Caudron: Gene had / has more ?

Pixeleen Mistral: but some people have a lots of alts
Xania Caudron: he has not passed away in rl ?

Pixeleen Mistral: I see Prokofy Neva is listed in this garden
Poppies 11 whispers: Offsets Saved


Prokofy Neva and Gene Replacement share a flowerbed

Pixeleen Mistral: Gene Replacement, Plastic Duck, and Tizzers Foxchase have all been perma-banned from SL
Xania Caudron: yes i know

Pixeleen Mistral: it seems fitting to remember them here
Xania Caudron: the mega was the final straw
Xania Caudron: but he is still alive and well in rl

Pixeleen Mistral: he is dead in SL
Xania Caudron: i know lil one…but this is really for people that passed away in rl

Pixeleen Mistral: why can't we use the real people's names then?
Xania Caudron: but i guess its the same for him…he will not be back in a known av
Xania Caudron: i guess you know him well ?
Daylily 28 whispers: Planting flower…

Pixeleen Mistral: we are friends in facebook – if that counts
Xania Caudron: cool
Xania Caudron: he is a genius…lol…but he went too far :)
Xania Caudron: take care Pix:)


If Second Life needs Remembrance Gardens, why don't the residents create them?

7 Responses to “Crowdsourcing Grief in Second Life’s Remembrance Garden”

  1. SusanC

    Apr 25th, 2009


    There are resident-created remembrance gardens in Second Life. I think I’d better not say where they are, because too many trouble-makers read the Herald.

    One of the wonderous things about Second Life is that occasionally – rarely – you hit upon a moment that’s profound, that tells you something about yourself, and that makes you think there is something worthwhile here after all. Sometimes that moment of revelation is about death.

    H. R. Giger once said “I worked surrealistically, without stopping for reflection. It is only afterwards that you find out exactly what everything means and can explain it.”

    Sometimes a build starts out trying to be about something else, and ends up being about death. And sometimes a build tries to be about death, but is really about something else.

  2. mootykips

    Apr 25th, 2009

    this is hilarious

  3. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Apr 25th, 2009

    Atlast, I can add AliDesu Priestly.

  4. Corsi Mousehold

    Apr 26th, 2009

    Yes I am very much alive. I think. Initially I saw this and we all had a good laugh over in FurNation after there was a big panic over my ‘death’ which was QUICKLY put to ease. But I thought Pixel would get a good kick out of it. I didn’t think an article would come of it but I love it.

  5. Colleen Brennan

    Apr 27th, 2009

    Although the garden may be subject to griefing I did see it, maybe foolishly, as having an advantage over player built rememberance areas in that it is hoped the Lindens will make sure that it stays. Even the best hearted person with the best intentions who places such a concept on private land could be subject to unfortunate personal financial downturns or perhaps even need rememberance themselves and the dedicated area would disappear abruptly. Let us all hope the Lindens will have the courtesy of maintaining this area until the end. The actual concept is not a bad idea. I am sorry to say that Some people close to me in Sl have died in RL and it is nice to see them remembered.

  6. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Apr 28th, 2009

    As stated in the SL blog, the garden was designed “…to remember all the wonderful people we have known and loved in-world, who died in Real Life…” And as Steven Hawkeye noted in the comments, the garden is already being griefed by people entering the names of avatars who are still alive in SL just to harrass them. Placing Hunter Talon’s name in the garden is appropriate. Placing Corsi Mousehold and Tizzers Foxchase there is not.

  7. Anonymous

    Aug 26th, 2013

    I am not in particular a fan of the group that is being berated in this article. However, Hunter Talon was well-known to many. Even his SL opponents (I don’t think he had an enemy in the metaverse) bespoke him well upon learning of his passing. That is a rare thing for a rare man. One does not often see his like in any world, virtual or corporeal. It It is therefore unsurprising that the group to which he belonged would account for several flowers. To say that the garden was spammed is to say that you know the intent of every group member who left him a flower. In respect for his memory, let us instead carry on as he would have, trying to treat with dignity each person he met, even among those proud to be called “greifers”.

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