If you want to get a bad opinion of your fellow residents in Second Life, check out the impassioned comments on the official blog entry Removal of Ratings in Beta. What Linden Lab has to say is pretty straightforward, it seems to me:
As Second Life has grown, the ratings system has become less and less useful.
All I can say is “Amen” to that. Well, I could also ask “Was it ever useful? What on earth for?”
Joe Linden has a post on the official Linden blog: Bringing Voice to Second Life Â«
For me, Second Life has always been more about human communication, collaboration, and spirit than about technology. When I talk to Residents about their experiences, one of the recurring themes is improving our communication methods. For so many, Second Life is a place to make and meet new friends and collaborate with others, whether thatâ€™s in a business, educational or purely social context.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Talk to the hand. I do not consider this a feature in my typical use of SL. The improvements in live entertainment do seem attractive, and I can see the usefulness for group events (like church services). But I don’t want to have to hear people blabbing when I’m in SL. The sound effects some bozos run are bad enough. I strongly disapprove of a new voice capacity being automatically enabled on the mainland.
I’m also very concerned about the effect on communication between people who do not share a first language. Written communication in a second language is often far superior to vocal communication. And then there are the deaf and hard of hearing. What happens when someone tries to use voice communication with them?
I guess someone will have to create a group that will provide a title “I can’t hear you.”
Although the official blog says problems from earlier today have let up, I’ve had repeated problems getting into SL this evening: long (10 minute) logins, hung logins, crashes in SL, buggy behavior.
A professor of philosophy from Colorado who describes himself as “Professor, philosopher, preacher, writer” had a post back in December, Second Life: Shameless, Sinful. In browsing his blog, he is at least consistent about being cranky and dismissive of almost all popular culture. Perhaps some of his ideas are actually true and useful, but he certainly puts me in mind of that saying about flies and vinegar.