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Notes from the In World Cafe - 2/19/08

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Rockridge Institute hosted and Pipi Tinlegs of The World Cafe facilitated a discussion, beginning with the question How can we use virtual reality (SL) to further progressive values in real life? An introduction of The World Cafe Design Principles, were followed by three simultaneous in-world conversations and by a harvesting process with the larger group.
Pipi Tinlegs set the context and facilitated. Here's a transcript of her introduction.

Choconancy Lupino was the Graphic Recorder (see her image in the Harvest section, below).

Table One

Pb Recreant acted as a table host, linking Spoon Dastardly and Garret Bakalava in a group IM. These are the annotated notes of that discussion.

Pb Recreant: Spoon and I have some experience with some of the progressive communities that are already in Second Life
Spoon Dastardly: this is an interesting topic. i have been thinking about this in a few different ways
Pb Recreant: and indeed that's also how Widget got into it, and why I did
Spoon Dastardly: i've been thinking along two basic lines.... first, that this environment is extremely powerful
Pb Recreant: ...and you would know...
Spoon Dastardly: particularly in the theme of Mr. Lakoff's books in that what SL really is is a metaphor
Pb Recreant: One of the things Spoon has done was to create a real-time board displaying election results, so that people can get together in SL and talk about it as they come in.
Spoon Dastardly: I worked on some of the first websites and one of the first developments of the web was defining standards that fit the human brain many of the first web sites were designed by people who wanted to build cool things. But didn't think much about the way the brain functions.
Pb Recreant: I seem to remember that Tim Berners-Lee talked about hypertext as a memory aid.
Spoon Dastardly: today, most websites look essentially the same, because the brain creates visual layouts, or mental models, while I think that SL borrows from reality for its metaphors, there is still a lot of evolution that must occur in here
Pb Recreant: true, this is early in the process, and surely much more will get built upon what we have now
Spoon Dastardly: definitely. the other thing I've been thinking about is a natural conflict in here, which is due to the limitations of the environment... i guess I'll be quiet for a second
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: So how do you see SL (and other sim enviros) becoming more cognitively "accurate"?
Pb Recreant: I want to know where you're going with this :) Spoon Dastardly: well... the natural reaction to something like SL is to build a destination
Garret Bakalava: I think that meetings like this but perhaps more widely advertised can bring people together from wide geographic areas. I know that's sort of like speaking the obvious.
Spoon Dastardly: i feel strongly that this is a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction. We've seen people with tremendous resources already invest here, with some disappointment. Pb Recreant: what is, the focus on building a place?
Spoon Dastardly: yes. For example, the NBA or Major League Baseball... it is analogous to the early web
Pb Recreant: well if you throw money on a project looking for advertising and don't know where you're going... the whole CSI:NY thing is a huge example
Spoon Dastardly: exactly right. ironically, many companies that succeeded on the web with thoughtful strategies, took a shot-in-the-dark sort of appraoch to SL in the last two years. like the early web. i think the better strategy will be different ... not the destination model. but getting people together where they live/play in SL and finding ways of distributing information around the metaverse rather than getting them to all come to the same places.
Garret Bakalava: How do you suggest doing tht?
Pb Recreant: and there are a few tools in SL that are good for this already the obvious ones... group IM / Voice, the music stream, the media stream
Spoon Dastardly: i think we should use whatever tools exist and build more where it makes sense to do so
Pb Recreant: so people can tune in to the same things, and talk about it
Garret Bakalava: And I do want to say that I am the owner of an SL media company and will report on this .. just a disclaimer (although I am here as a participant) somewhat of a conflict of interest)
Spoon Dastardly: ok :)
Garret Bakalava: Could people build communities that have at their core progressive values. is that what you are saying?
Pb Recreant: I mentioned Spoon's board before, that's a good example of integrating data from the outside, but also of how such new tools could be built
Spoon Dastardly: well in that vein, I'll tell you that I intend to focus on developing tools for this purpose
Pb Recreant: woo :)
Pb Recreant: keep me posted then Spoon, I'll be happy to bounce ideas around etc. There are progressive communities in SL. I joined SL because of YKSL -- the Yearly Kos Convention in Second Life. I missed most of it, but had a blast helping out for it anyhow, go figure. They had four sims set up for a virtual convention with an ampitheatre, live video from the real convention, virtual vendor booths, etc.
Spoon Dastardly: how did it go?
Pb Recreant: it went ok, there were some technical difficulties on the first day, but it got better after that and we had virtually speaking and dancing liberally then too.
Spoon Dastardly: in physics there is "the problem of scale" it's what keeps things from getting too big, a dinosaur for example... as the surface area increases, the volume cubes... so at a certain point, the volume is too great for the structure to support the weight
Pb Recreant: and that manifests in SL quite a bit, some hard limitations... the square cube ratio
Garret Bakalava: I fear I don't know much what you are speaking of. Perhaps Bruce is confused too
Spoon Dastardly: it would appear that will also doom the destination model here
Pb Recreant: and organizations are the same way, you have to have sub-groupings
Spoon Dastardly: i'm sorry... i was attempting another metaphor...I'm saying this... if you look at the amount of traffic in SL, the number of users, and the number of hours spent in-world, the graphs you'd draw would look similar to the early web
Pb Recreant predicts some sort of exponential curve
Spoon Dastardly: yes
Spoon Dastardly: and if it remains similar, there's going to be a huge boom in the population here
Pb Recreant: also related to the people vs. utilization ... more casual users, less heavy users
Spoon Dastardly: the problem is that I don't see how this place can support that kind of population growth, unless the people are distributed throughout the metaverse... as the population has increased, so has the amount of land... which is a good thing
Garret Bakalava: There are going to be many VRs. and maybe someday there will be portability
Spoon Dastardly: but it also makes me believe that successful organizations here will distribute their information and resources...rather than concentrating them
Pb Recreant: the other thing is, I expect that one of two things will happen... either a) as hardware gets better, sims will be able to support more users and possibly more objects Spoon Dastardly: i think you're right about the other VRs and portability
Pb Recreant: or b) some similar VR will compete with SL to ensure that this happens somewhere...and then we'll be left with a more typical organizational problem instead of a technical limitation
Spoon Dastardly: i think some of that will happen....but in the case of the web, you have a slightly different model
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: I'm curious how we can use this technology now for organizing... thoughts?
Garret Bakalava: Well, I guess this goes back to the original question. How can a VR move along discussions and begin substituting progressive frames for embedded conservative ones.
Pb Recreant: holding regular meetings / events that provide value seems to be the way to build a community
Spoon Dastardly: in the case of the web, you can take pieces of content that are not dynamic and use somebody like Akamai to cache that data, serving it off many machines
Pb Recreant: yeah and if SL got big enough there is some static caching you could do
Garret Bakalava: Ok. so VR differs from the web in obvious ways.
Spoon Dastardly: Bruce, i think for now a good strategy would be to think of this as a piece of a larger internet strategy
Garret Bakalava: So what are the ways inherent in them that can be used in such a way?
Pb Recreant: I've seen instructions for setting up squid to speed up the free SL server clone etc.
Spoon Dastardly: i'm sure smarter people than I are working on it :)
Pb Recreant: yeah but that doesn't mean they'll get it right :)
Spoon Dastardly: it's a tall order
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: I get how (1) people remote from each other can gather and (2) new media materials can be generated by recording...
Garret Bakalava: I think we look at the strengths. In sl we can make virutal representations of progressive values if we are a builder or an artist for example
Pb Recreant: that is one thing I'm missing, why is it that we can't record things in 3D yet :)
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: so what else is there we can do with this?(consider me naive);-)
Spoon Dastardly: i'm sorry for talking tech here and not specifically progressive ideas
Garret Bakalava: and unlike in the RW... people from many geographies can view this art
Pb Recreant: organizing and informing people, and training them to do the same in RL
Spoon Dastardly: it's just what I've been concentrating on lately
Pb Recreant: there are a lot of other groups that use SL as a training ground for RL
Garret Bakalava: art is symbol and those symbols are conneted to our inner selves in powerful ways
Pb Recreant: sometimes in very concrete ways, like firefighters. You could hold panels, and Q&A sessions, debates. Of course, there's an international audience
Spoon Dastardly: i'd love to see some debates here
Pb Recreant: I think that'd be tons of fun
Garret Bakalava: and to be frank, that is a great strength. We have people here from countries that DO have single payer health care, that do have progressive values who can teach others about living in such systems and dispell myths...THat have 1 year paid maternity leave. Countries like Norway who have the highest standard of living in the world
Pb Recreant: true, and merely having people immersed in such an environment is good.... learn about what they don't know...and then learn not to fear it. GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: I'm all ears. It would be great to learn from others' success
Garret Bakalava: "We' have been taught that thost things are "Bad"...and yet we can meet and hear first hand from people who live a progressive culture.
Spoon Dastardly: i think it's a good idea to have some regular events here
Pb Recreant: also having a variety of events and publicizing them to a wide audience is good... posting them to the events in SL
Spoon Dastardly: because as the population grows, you'll be able to get information publicized easier
Garret Bakalava: We can use the universites that are already here .. to have their faculty speak and educate..
Pb Recreant: I met someone from New Zealand... she's originally German. How did I meet her? We both went to the same Oktoberfest dance.
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: what about generating media... like youtube videos recorded in SL?
Garret Bakalava: There is already becoming somewhat of some climates of segregation built into SL and those boundaries need to be crossed
Spoon Dastardly: i think that SL is great for bringing small groups together.... but for now at least, I'd stick with the web for video like YouTube and for the bulk of your information dissemination
Pb Recreant: Virtually Speaking has video of its events, but really you can get by fine with the podcast in that case
Garret Bakalava: I guess we need to think of it in ways that it goes beyong a web site.. cos we can post all kinds of things on websites .. what makes SL different is what we need to cultivate... I guess I keep going back to art and builds too
Pb Recreant: I think SL is great for really meeting people and getting to know them better, interacting, better than a discussion board
Spoon Dastardly: it sounds to me like a big part of what Rockridge would like to accomplish is to get the media to use the correct frames
Garret Bakalava: I edited a story about an environmental sim who has buildings that are not yet built in RL but here we can viualize them...and do so in ways we can't be just looking at a photo or drawing...We can inhabit those spaces
Spoon Dastardly: and right now, video (and the web) is a more effective way of demonstrating to them how to do that
Pb Recreant: yes, SL is perfect for prototyping Garret Bakalava: Now whether or not we can "inhabit" lots of these values.. I think we can.. I would personally try to get builders and artists to do this kind of work....To me the virutual inhabiting of spaces .. even sitting inside the protective bubble of knowing one has health care... that's a somewhat simplictic idea. but maybe you can see my point.
Pb Recreant: yes, you could set up dioramas, walk throughs... what it'd be like to live in such and such an environment
Garret Bakalava: yes... and even metaphorically.
Spoon Dastardly: it is certainly more cost-effective than doing these things in RL
Pb Recreant: and I've seen some great satire done like that
Garret Bakalava: Set up a metaphoric exhibit that makes it like having to live without health care. dissonance.. anxiety
GeorgeLakoff Schmooz: hmmm... i am imagining a diorama to demonstrate how health insurance companies work
Garret Bakalava: opposed to the feelings one has of knowing that one can access... and that it's NOT one's own fault that one does not have this care
Pb Recreant: also, specifically, there's a lot of free hobo / urban grunge stuff out there. :)
Garret Bakalava: Yes that would be good.. the levels of beaurocracy...the maze of health care...the "faces' of those making decisions
Spoon Dastardly: something like a horror-ride at a carnival
Pb Recreant: that sounds a very scary kind of way
Spoon Dastardly: part of lacking empathy seems to be the inability to think of the consequences of a callous decision
Garret Bakalava: Then we can put these kinds of videos on the web... More powerful than hearing a speaker... The cost of building these dioramas is much less in sl than in RL (obvous)
Spoon Dastardly: a creative person might be able to design things in SL that make those consequences easier to see
Garret Bakalava: yes... and metaphor happens on a deeper level than words...No matter what Barack is saying in the background as I type... LOL

More at Notes from the In World Cafe

Table Two

Table Host Choconancy Lupino, with Aldon Huffhines / CalViking Corleone / Gentle Heron / Sunseed Bardeen / SingingHeart Amat

Choconancy Lupino: How can we use virtual reality to further progressive values in real life?"

SingingHeart Amat: Let's get started - anyone would like to plunge in with thoughtss and ideas?
Aldon Huffhines: Well, I have all kinds of thoughts on that...
SingingHeart Amat: by VR we mean Sl
Aldon Huffhines: A key area of progressive values is empathy....I think that the work that The Heron Society does is a wonderful way of promoting empathy.
Choconancy Lupino: (What is the Heron Society?)
Aldon Huffhines: GH, do you want to describe THS?
Gentle Heron: Our project in SL brings people with disabilities here to allow them to benefit from a support community inside virtual reality
CalViking Corleone: Are we more likely to gain empathy in SL because of its immersive environment? Gentle Heron: Because many of us have disabled ourselves, we have that empathy. But half our members are not-yet-disabled, and they can learn a lot from those of us already there.
Sunseed Bardeen: As a temporary able bodied, I'm experiencing being disabled in this environment. That will produce some empathy.
CalViking Corleone: I feel somewhat disabled in SL as I have not spent as much time here as many people I meet, and thus I often feel awkward
Gentle Heron: hey there you are Cal
Aldon Huffhines: I will attest to that... I have learned a lot from the good friendships I've made with people from THS.
SingingHeart Amat: which of our values do we already encounter in SL?
Gentle Heron: Our work distinctly links RL and SL.
Sunseed Bardeen: One of the values in here is being able to appreciate context.
Choconancy Lupino: But can't we be empathetic in text w/o immersive environment?
Sunseed Bardeen: I find the peopel working on ecological thinking and simulations are doing what I would call progressive things.
Gentle Heron: certainly CalViking Corleone: I have heard from many who spend a lot of time in SL that forming friendships and learning from others is a key benefit of SL--as lots of people like to help others; and thus, I guess, have empathy for those who are not quite as "fluid" in this new environment.
Gentle Heron: you can be empathetic without interacting at all, right? just as a feeling?
SingingHeart Amat: can you express that in a virtual environment?
Gentle Heron: but isn't interaction a way to learn more by feeling more?
CalViking Corleone: Yes, I am VERY intrigured by what one may be able to do with new and innovative simulations so we can learn more and better about our environment.
Aldon Huffhines: Can you say more about that Cal? What do you have in mind?
Choconancy Lupino: Please say more about simulations. (I heard about a simulation of water levels rising w/ global warming played out in SL)
Choconancy Lupino: (Aldon read's choco's mind)
SingingHeart Amat: :)
Aldon Huffhines grins at choco.
Sunseed Bardeen: Delia Lake's work is interesting in this regard. Her Center for Water studies has simulated five ocean environments. She is working with teachers to network them and learn ecological principles.
CalViking Corleone: I think it is hard for many to fully understand what the environmental implications of certain actions are, so if we could accelerate the time of impact and analyze it, especially in groups around simulations, I think we could gain deeper and better insights.
Gentle Heron: that is modeling isn't it?
Choconancy Lupino: can you simulate policy impacts? Like the long term impacts of the current tax rebates? To help people see a bigger picture?
CalViking Corleone: Yes, I don't see why not. But it requires modeling, I guess, and whether the current scripting/modling tools of SL are sufficient, I don't know.
Sunseed Bardeen: I think there is a whisker off the modelling tree that may be more interesting. I call it "Sand tray" work... Aldon Huffhines: I tend to think that the simpler is better...
Sunseed Bardeen: It's about collectively creating and sharing using the tools of SL to create symbolic and other representations of our inner mental models. LIke kids playing with little figurines... you can share worlds and views.
CalViking Corleone: Yes, I am all for simple--but still the fact is that the world and complex ecosystems are not simple, at least in terms of complex interactions.
Gentle Heron: when using a model instructionally, it helps to begin really simplified and explain the simplification being used
Aldon Huffhines: True, but how do we take the complex and make it accessible in understandable frames?
Gentle Heron: use the model to point out salient features of the complex system
Sunseed Bardeen: How are you using modeling with your groups, Gentle Heron?
CalViking Corleone: Yes, I agree with that. Start simple and then add new layers of complexity in models IF needed
Choconancy Lupino: Hm, wondering about the difference between simulations that help us express our beliefs and simulations that help us understand policy choices at the system level. Different animals?
Gentle Heron: I was speaking more as a former science teacher. A model is understood to NOT be the real thing in miniature
CalViking Corleone: Has anyone seen Spore yet? I know it is not out but some previews are available
Aldon Huffhines contemplates changing shape into a cat...
Gentle Heron: always some things are made different in a model- enlarged for better viewing, left out for better viewing of what is left, slowed down
CalViking Corleone: And I think this game is fantastic in what it models and what it enables users/players to do and can enable a lot of learning
Gentle Heron: you get the idea
Sunseed Bardeen: I wonder what we mean by "progressive" in this regard. Scientific modelling could be seen as regressive...
Gentle Heron: how so Sunseed?
Aldon Huffhines: I had a discussion about the use of different shapes the other day.... and we talked about presenting our selves in different shapes and the fears that it generates.... (not quite psychodrama) but it leads to empathy.
Sunseed Bardeen: Well, what seems to be missing in our times is a valuing of the empathetic, the relational, and the ephemeral. We are in a surfet of hard science and seeing the shadow side of it's baby brother, Hi Tech.
Gentle Heron: can you model empathy, or just use it?
Choconancy Lupino: Are we talking about the emotional aspects primarily? Or the application of them to progressive agenda? Again, I can imagine different ways of using this environment depending on what we want to do together. (and yes, i think you can model empahty! :-) )
Sunseed Bardeen: I personally think empathy is about experience and feeling, not about modelling.
SingingHeart Amat: can you elicit empathy?
Sunseed Bardeen: However, a context can be created that evokes feelings... but it is imprecise, more like the arts... which are all about evoking feelings.
Gentle Heron: I am convinced of that SingingHeart
Choconancy Lupino: (model as in role model, not as in simulate. I just realzied I was thinking of only one meaning of the word)
Aldon Huffhines: I think you hit an important question choco... It seems that we are should be talking about applying to a progressive agenda....and, as such, eliciting empathy is a key thing to be doing.
Sunseed Bardeen: Nice.
Choconancy Lupino: (now imagining a lump of clay and what empathy would look like in clay - modeled! LOL)
Aldon Huffhines: So, a question to explore might be, how do we elicit empathy to bring about a progressive agenda, here in SL?
Gentle Heron: a third use of the term!
Choconancy Lupino: Does it disarm a conservative if a progressive is empathetic? Even in disagreement?
Gentle Heron: Aldon, you say you have learned from associating with some of our group members. Not focusing on WHAT you learned, can you tell us HOW you learned?
Aldon Huffhines: Yes, choco, I think it does, very much.... Look at the story of Larry Trapp. [(I blogged about him today)]
Sunseed Bardeen: Can you share a bit about that?
Aldon Huffhines: Gentle, I think one of the things that is important about interactions in SL is that we bypass some of our gut reactions. That probably applies to any sort of computer mediated communication.
Gentle Heron: You mean people aren't automatically judging my mental abilities by looking at my crippled body?
Aldon Huffhines: Exactly.
Choconancy Lupino: So gut reaction to physical image. Not lack of gut reactions in general.
Gentle Heron: Isn't empathy visceral in the extreme?
Sunseed Bardeen: So much social cuing seems to trigger off visual appearance.
Choconancy Lupino: (Hm, but I have had gut reactions to avatars here. So our choice of avatar can trigger that gut reaction as well.
Aldon Huffhines: I think Nick might be a great example... Brilliant guy... yet if I met him face to face, I would perhaps had more of a strong [?]to here him, and not be stuck on his disability
Gentle Heron: which is interesting, Sunseed, because the reason artists are successful in here is specifically because of the LACK of visual cueing
Aldon Huffhines: I think that is very important, choco, and which is why I'm interested in psychodrama in SL.
Sunseed Bardeen: This is an interesting mapping of our RL habits into this environment! What does "move" mean in here, really?
Choconancy Lupino: Someone want to raise the simulation idea? Or sand tray?
Gentle Heron: go ahead please
Choconancy Lupino: (Hard for me to take visual notes and type) :-)

Table Three

Delia Lake hosted EricHaas Tigerpaw, Lou Tones and Pipi Tinlegs

Delia Lake: "How can we use virtual reality to further progressive values in real life?"
I actually have been doing that for almost 1.5 yrs in sl, on 2 fronts. has anyone else at the table?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: for me, this is a new experience; I am basically plugging into existing structures and ideas
Delia Lake: Lou?
Lou Tones: yes, have been working on several fronts
EricHaas Tigerpaw: I want to start thinking of what special ways the sl can be utilized, that do more than just mimic real life
Lou Tones: education and green economy organizing and events
Pipi Tinlegs: do you have ideas about that 'more than mimic real life' idea, Lou?
Delia Lake: in sl, i manage the Center for Water Studies on Better World Island, and am the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Neufreistadt -- one of 3 sims that constitute the Confederation of Democratic Simulators
Lou Tones: there is a great phrase "mixed reality", which refers to blending the best of Virtual world and live events to create a higher level of communication and value-added content
EricHaas Tigerpaw: the idea of "democratic simulators" sounds very interesting to me
Pipi Tinlegs: Yes, that's what Third Life is up to, too...
EricHaas Tigerpaw: it sounds like how we can use sl to do what we want to happen in real life. is that it, sort of ? From a framing perspective that would be very powerful.
Delia Lake: yes. The CDS is currently about 70 people who have self organized by becoming citizens in a community that has set up itself with a democratically elected government. The citizens are from about 13 RL countries ... and are working together to invent a viable and vibrant virtual community
EricHaas Tigerpaw: how does that experience, Delia, influence their RL??
Pipi Tinlegs: That international aspect is one of the advantages, of inworld activities ... and virtual connection online in general
Delia Lake: people certainly draw on their differing rl experiences, and speaking for myself, since the CDS form of representative government is different than what I live with in the US, it has me looking at our forms of government with a fresh perspective... also... i work within the the sl group to help foster a sense of community... and since we are not physically proximate and do not depend on each other for rl food or healthcare for instance... it has gotten me to think more about what it takes to forge bonds of common understanding and mutual benefit for communities of interest
EricHaas Tigerpaw: Lou, when you mentioned "education" how are you doing that? Is it broadly defined as I would see Delia's work as a form of participatory education?... Or is it something different?
Lou Tones: Live events, such as workshops at the Green Festivals, with an SL Webinar component..
Delia Lake: i curate the museum because i believe that the arts are important to a sense of community and culture
Lou Tones: However it is interesting that music and art seem to be de-valued by the larger community of residents in SL
Pipi Tinlegs: Really?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: really?
Delia Lake: really? i haven't seen that, Lou
Pipi Tinlegs: I think it's part of the most fun ... Dancing particularly!
Delia Lake: say more. Lou
Lou Tones: Well we each have different experiences and circles of emprical experience to draw from. Musicians, artist and photographers as professionals do not get the same respect and "rewards' as say shoe, dress and sim designers do.... Just an observation about culture values and framing
Delia Lake: rewards in terms of money?
Pipi Tinlegs: Interesting. That seems to imply a consumer-based value system
EricHaas Tigerpaw: and thinking in terms of framing, can an SL experience, say with more emphasis on the arts, empower or propel changes in RL??
Lou Tones: Exactly: If an audience says we want to see your painting and/or listen to your music - BUT we are not willing to pay for that experience they are making statement about values..
EricHaas Tigerpaw: I think the answer could be yes
Delia Lake: i think so, yes...we have had quite a few people come into our virtual museum who have never stepped inside a rl museum
Pipi Tinlegs: now that's interesting too!... why do they say they are attracted to come to yor museum?
Lou Tones: interesting commentary on SL membership...
Delia Lake: some just walking by, some because it was easy and they were curious, and some because the virtual museum was less threatening, less imposing to them... others came for the arts talks or the music
Pipi Tinlegs: Loou, what do you think it says about SL membership in general?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: i'm amazed; i assumed that anyone who got on SL must be more "privileged" than most
Lou Tones: Clearly there is a mosaic of psych and demographic groups
EricHaas Tigerpaw: Lou, your comment makes me re-think who the SLers are
Lou Tones: the old timers, people who have been in SL for say more that 2 years have a different sense of community than recent residents... Seems to be a real line of demarkation in that regard.
Delia Lake: in what way, Lou?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: how so? as a newbie, what is different?
Lou Tones: Well it's subtle but pervasive sense of ownership of the community and the sense that Linden Lab, The corporations and the academics have come in here to take advatange of their work with no regard to their preferences or intentions.
Delia Lake: i was wondering out loud to my husband this morning whether it might be more difficult to connect with like-minded people now that so many are online at once. when i came to sl there were only a few thousand on at once
Pipi Tinlegs: and the initial 'settlers' had a more creative, open sense of community?
Lou Tones: Also there is the concept that still persist that this is "game." among this group... Who will still use the term "meet you back in game" vs. in world....
Delia Lake: i don't seem to run into people using "game"... interesting
Pipi Tinlegs: By 'this group' do you mean the newer group of residents?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: larger groups are always harder to build community with... EricHaas Tigerpaw: more diversity of purposes, etc.
Pipi Tinlegs: it seems to me there is a network of communities, rather than one community here... loosely based network...
Delia Lake: that's more of what i see too. Pipi... at the same time, as i have taken on some inworld responsibilities, i explore less
EricHaas Tigerpaw: and isn't this an issue in RL too? does SL help this or exacerbate it perhaps??
Lou Tones: At the last two RL Community conferences I have attended they form a kind of de facto "conservative" block of resident, builders, musicians, designers, who want the service to get better, but don't want the "outside worlds" of business, academia, government, in here" messing things up... yes clearly, like Rl SL in a network od communities of interest and birds of a feather
Delia Lake: so some of the earlier people in sl see this platform more as their private "club", Lou?
Pipi Tinlegs: I'm going to move to the harvesting process now - great conversation!!!
Delia Lake: yes
EricHaas Tigerpaw: this conversation has been very interesting; it's making me re-think a lot of what we do at the Rockridge Institute
Delia Lake: really? in what ways, Eric?
EricHaas Tigerpaw: well it makes me not want to be a new SL intruder so to speak, in coming in now as an organization--that's one thought
Lou Tones: concepts like "collective consciousness" or "gestalt" and "framing" are swarming through the SL "over soul"
EricHaas Tigerpaw: oops i think we need to focus on the whole chat
Lou Tones: As in Rl, SL is finding way for differing values and opinions to co-exit and co-habit... But in general, groups like Rockridge, in my opinion, are essential for the larger community to move from "adolescent" to "young adult hood"
Delia Lake: yes, i would agree with what Lou just said.


Choconancy Lupino the Graphic Recorder of The World Cafe created this graphic from the harvest.

2278220973 10f3e12bda

Widget Whiteberry: **Time to start concluding your thoughts... so we can harvest some of these good ideas. Pipi will step in in just a minute

Pipi Tinlegs: I think we're going to start 'harvesting' what we've learned in a minute...anything else to add before that happens? Ok, so we're going to end with a short 'harvest' of what we've learned in our conversations. Remember, we'll be using chat for this group harvest.

In a 'real world' World Cafe we'd be working with a graphic facilitator to capture the harvest, even though we haven't worked that detail out in SL yet :-), we have Choconancy Lupino with us here tonight, who (among other things) is a graphic recorder who works with the World Cafe. Widget will add Choconancy's graphics to the summary she's creating from this event to send to everyone.

In a minute I'm going to ask whoever is called to 'raise their hand' , and when we call on you, to share ONE of the most interesting and evocative ideas that came out of this conversation for you... You raise your hand by writing "/me raises hand" (your name will go in the chat history, so we'll know who wants to share). When we call on you, go ahead and type your question in chat. Ok?

Pipi Tinlegs: So, who wants to start? what have you learned about the intersection of virtual reality and real life? Singing Heart?

SingingHeart Amat: At this table we talked about empathy and how in SL we seem to experience it more. Aldon and GGentle Heron work with disabled

Gentle Heron: I was interested in how many of our RL habits related to group meetings play out (or fail to play out) in SL in a process like this.

Pipi Tinlegs: what was your experience? Gentle Heron: That it is difficult to hold a polite group conversation in SL when it is so easy to side chat in IM

Aldon Huffhines: GH is a key mover behind The Heron Society which helps people with disabilities here in SL.. I have learned a lot from hanging out with her and many new friends I've met through her. The Heron Society seems to me to be an embodiment of progressive values in action.

Gentle Heron: Thank you but I don't see my self as either progressive or an activist.

Aldon Huffhines: I think that pretty much captures my thought.... SL seems to facilitate empathy greatly by changing the way we receive visual cues.

Pipi Tinlegs: Thanks, Aldon. I think this point about empathy and feeling connected to people in a way you couldn't in RL is an important point.

Pipi Tinlegs: Anything else we've learned about how what we do in SL effects what happens in RL?

Gentle Heron raises hand and will give an example if nobody else wants to speak: It is literally possible to save lives in SL. Some of our members are so socially isolated that nobody would miss them in RL if they ceased to exist But, as a member of a support community in virtual reality, their presence is important. Instead of being an activist, I see my work as social knitting creating the fabric of a community from the threads of individual lives.

EricHaas Tigerpaw: to me, these comments tell me that we can possibly reframe how we understand or live in RL by "being" differently in SL

Gentle Heron: very clearly stated Eric

EricHaas Tigerpaw: thank you.

Gentle Heron: many come to SL to experiment with different ways of being

Delia Lake: i like the phrase GH used of social knitting. I think that would apply equally to building community in sl

Pipi Tinlegs: I'm wondering how that is different than social activism... or creating community from an organizing kind of lens

Delia Lake: and to building the virtual democracy of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators. Well, maybe it is just me, but when i think of knitting, I think of learning with my grandmother, teaching my daughter and granddaughters, and knitting with friends, sharing and learning together.
Pipi Tinlegs: like the quilting bee... :-) Delia Lake: the same idea

Pipi Tinlegs: We're getting to the end of the time we agreed on - does anyone want to add anything else?

Choconancy Lupino: (Simulations?)

Delia Lake: in our group i mentioned that people came to the museum who were reticent in rl. but what i didn't say and think is important is that in sl, people mostly talk to and with strangers and that is something people at least in the northeast of the US do not do enough in rl, imho

Pipi Tinlegs: yes!

EricHaas Tigerpaw: exactly--very true and very powerful as an experience

Pipi Tinlegs: Is there more, Delia? Or shall we call on Sunseed?

Lou Tones: I would just add that the concepts of emotional bandwidth or emotional intelligence perhaps offer the single strongest "X" factor in virtual world development and SL is a Petri dish for all kinds of self-organized group working on expanding the possibilities.

Sunseed Bardeen: Dellia's sharing is connected with a talk we had here, in addition to empathy, about simulations. Your simulation of underwater environments was very moving to me.. and opened up ideas about how we could encourage ecological thinking.That idea then generated some thoughts around simulation as modeling, or simulation as role playing... and I might add, simulation as exploration of dreams states and other inner worlds.

Pipi Tinlegs: the realms of possibility, so to speak
Sunseed Bardeen: We then talked about empathy, and how these worlds we create an evoke or elicit empathy --- can our avators elicit empathy. What is empathy?
Pipi Tinlegs: in our furthest reaches of imagination. I thought it was interesting to have the two conversations intertwining and says something about the potential of this medium to see our wholeness again.

Pipi Tinlegs: elicit or express?
Gentle Heron: both
Delia Lake: i see that too, Sun, the possibility to rediscover wholeness

SingingHeart Amat: and this was a perfect example of how we can use SL to further progressive values!!!


After the end of the formal program, several of us stayed to continue their conversation: [Sunseed Bardeen], [Singingheart Amat], [Delia Lake][Aldon Huffhines][Gentle Heron]

Aldon Huffhines: BTW, Garret and I walked around the Virtual State Fair earlier today.
Gentle Heron is jealous
Aldon Huffhines: I think it is another great example of how progressive values can be demonstrated in SL.
Gentle Heron: Folks, I want to know how to move people from empathy to action.
Aldon Huffhines: Well, Gentle, I invited you, but you were too busy. Aldon Huffhines grins.
SingingHeart Amat: good one Gentle
Gentle Heron: Last weekend we had a presentation by a fabulous speaker on Medicare reform ... he singlehandedly took on his state and won... he really roused the audience
Aldon Huffhines: It was spectacular.
Gentle Heron: but.... now what?
Sunseed Bardeen: Which state? Gentle Heron: Alabama Aldon Huffhines: Alabama! Gentle Heron: amazing young man Delia Lake: i will have to check out the Green Mart and also Green Island from your profile, Lou. i didn't know about them Aldon Huffhines: My thought, Gentle, is that we need to replicate what he has done. He won the battle in Alabama, but there are lots of states with similar issues. Gentle Heron: about 49 others Aldon Huffhines nods. Gentle Heron: and in his state, the new improved system only helps about 10 people survive Aldon Huffhines: My wife was shocked to hear his story, and to think that there are 49 states with similar problems. Gentle Heron: his friend died from being placed in a nursing home instead of home care Sunseed Bardeen: I'm catching a wiff of activitism here, Gentle...:) Gentle Heron: not me, Sunseed Aldon Huffhines: She is working for Common Cause right now, and her job is to get people to run for office. Gentle Heron: I am too tired to be an activist [19:56] You: ou must mean something different than I meant. [19:56] Aldon Huffhines: If we could get people like Nick to run, we could make some real good changes. [19:56] SingingHeart Amat: what were the characteristics that he exhibited that made it so spectacular ? [19:56] Gentle Heron: yes I would love to see Nick in public office [19:57] Gentle Heron: well for one thing he has been completely paralyzed since age 13 [19:57] Gentle Heron: he is trached and has a gastric tube to eat [19:57] Gentle Heron: can't even breathe on his own [19:57] Aldon Huffhines: I would love to see a thousand people, like Nick, that we haven't even heard of filling up our elected offices. [19:57] Gentle Heron: and yet he fought for staying at home to be cared for instead of institutionalized [19:57] Pipi Tinlegs is Offline [19:57] Gentle Heron: with only a tiny movement of one thumb on a trackerball mouse and an onscreen keyboard [19:58] You: Under Governor Brown in California Ed roberts, a quadroplegic, ran the whole developmental disabilitites system. He was spectacular-- there are many with exceptional abilitites because of their disabilititeies. [19:59] Gentle Heron: His presentation is here: [19:59] Aldon Huffhines: and for my details of the event, from a decidedly political perspective, check out my blog post, [20:00] You: Are yo a reporter in here Aldon? [20:00] CalViking Corleone is Offline [20:01] Aldon Huffhines: Well, Garret is my managing editor... Widget also writes for SLNN.... [20:01] Aldon Huffhines: We haven't worked out who will write this up, or what will be written... [20:01] SingingHeart Amat: delia come and join us [20:01] Aldon Huffhines: However, I'm in transit tomorrow... and then at a group psychotherapy conference through the weekend, so it would be best if someone else can write it up. [20:01] Delia Lake: i'll sit and check in and out of the conversation. i have to pack for a rl trip starting in the morning [20:02] Aldon Huffhines: Especially since there is a lot of business news breaking that I should be writing about right now. [20:02] Jazzimus Maxwell is Online [20:02] SingingHeart Amat: pardon my back - I am there with you :)) [20:02] Aldon Huffhines: But, I guess I am thinking of myself more and more as a reporter these days. [20:02] Gentle Heron: hey you rejected that description of yourself only a few days ago as I remember [20:03] You: Is SLNN just inworld? [20:03] Aldon Huffhines: As an aside, Garret... I may be getting a bunch of press stuff about the virtual world fair. [20:03] Aldon Huffhines: Perhaps I did Gentle.... I'm finding I'm going through a lot of changes right now, and I'm not sure exactly who or what I am, let alone what I shall be. [20:04] SingingHeart Amat: I know that feeling :))) [20:04] Gentle Heron: SL can do that to all of us [20:04] Delia Lake: me too [20:04] Aldon Huffhines: Great... We have some empathy! [20:04] SingingHeart Amat: :)) [20:04] Gentle Heron: For folks in our group, this is not a game, and for many it is First Life or Life, not Second Life [20:05] Gentle Heron: It is that important to our community. [20:05] SingingHeart Amat: I understand, Gentle [20:05] Gentle Heron: There is a joke in the disabled community in SL that we wish we could hard reboot our real lives. [20:05] Aldon Huffhines: I think that ties into one of the things that made Nick's presentation so powerful... [20:06] Aldon Huffhines: He spoke about how the real problem with disability issues stems from segregation. [20:06] Aldon Huffhines: He spoke about the isolation that people feel.... [20:06] SingingHeart Amat: come and joinus Lou [20:06] Aldon Huffhines: He did a great job of framing disability rights into something that many of us can empathize with. [20:07] Gentle Heron: yes isolation sometimes is interpreted as we want it or we deserve it or it is for our own good [20:07] Gentle Heron: when actually it is segregation placed on us by the majority culture [20:07] Gentle Heron: Did you all know that the disabled in the US are the largest minority group here? [20:07] Gentle Heron: We are also the least well educated [20:07] You: No, I didn't know that! [20:07] Gentle Heron: the least employed [20:07] Gentle Heron: and the poorest [20:07] Gentle Heron: of ALL minority groups in the US [20:08] Delia Lake: i became acutely aware of that kind of segregation when my mother, in her later years, was in a wheelchair much of the time [20:08] You: And the most reflective of the residual impacts of our way of living. [20:08] SingingHeart Amat: so the question is - once you have empathy - what is the action? [20:08] Gentle Heron: yes back to what to do with Namav's audience from this past weekend [20:09] Gentle Heron: Hello Douglas. [20:09] Aldon Huffhines: Hi Douglas. [20:09] You: Namav's audience? [20:09] Delia Lake: when i would go out with mom, people would most always direct to me questions about her, questions that she was perfectly capable of answering. her legs didn't work, but her mind was just fine! [20:09] Gentle Heron: there were about 35 people who listened to his presentation [20:09] Gentle Heron: they were really fired up [20:09] Gentle Heron: empathy [20:09] Aldon Huffhines: We were relating the discussion about Namav's presentation to the Rockridge discussion here. [20:09] Gentle Heron: but what to do with it? [20:09] Douglas Rishmal: hey everyone.. [20:09] Delia Lake: hi douglas [20:10] Douglas Rishmal: I see this region is running Havok4 Beta. [20:10] SingingHeart Amat: perhaps the more the empathy is spread the more enticing for action ?? [20:10] Gentle Heron: speak about enticing please [20:10] SingingHeart Amat: critical mass? [20:10] Gentle Heron: a mass is amorphous unless given direction [20:10] Gentle Heron: empathy is not enough [20:11] You: I stil think it is interesting that you won't call yourself and activist, Gentle. [20:11] You: I think I know why. [20:11] Gentle Heron: I am a thinker, Sunseed [20:11] Gentle Heron: why? [20:11] You: Because actually being the change is the most radical form of action. [20:12] You: People who have to call themselve activitists have a way of distancing themselves... asking others to change. It's a paradox. [20:12] Gentle Heron: interesting indeed [20:12] Gentle Heron: perhaps it is better to be active than an activist [20:12] SingingHeart Amat: Delia - I also want to acknowledge what you said about your Mom. That often happens. Did she / you have a reply for that kind of talk? [20:12] You: It's a trap that progressives fall into, substituting words for true action. [20:13] Aldon Huffhines: That is a thing that frustrates me no end, Sunseed... [20:13] You: Say more.. [20:13] Aldon Huffhines: I am very much, a blogger... and bloggers are probably the worst... They love to talk on their blogss...But you can't get them to phone bank...door and perhaps more importantly, you can't get them to step outside of their small circle of friends...So many people I know spend all their time talking with like minded people about how bad things are... It is no different than the old guys down at the bar... [20:16] Aldon Huffhines: So, I like to spend time, connecting people... social knitting as Gentle called it... [20:16] You: My sense is all of us need a story of self worth... and finding peole who reinforce it is a deep seated attraction. [20:16] Aldon Huffhines: Getting people to know one another... to build some empathy.. [20:16] Gentle Heron: ahh that is the key to community building [20:17] Aldon Huffhines: Wetalk about empathy... How many people do you know that have empathy for conservatives? Too few, it seems to me... [20:17] Talos Fabre is Offline [20:17] SingingHeart Amat: good point Aldon !!!! [20:17] Aldon Huffhines: I just hear the story of Larry Trapp.... [20:17] You: Your metaphor, Gentle, reminds me of Katherine Bateson's reflections on the limitations of the hero myth... which is one of the strong frames for Progressives. [20:18] You: She talks about women's life being more like a quilt, less like an arrow. [20:18] Aldon Huffhines: (check my blog post for info about him and the real power of developing empathy for an arch conservative) [20:18] Delia Lake: yes, Sun, i was thinking about her work too [20:18] Gentle Heron: yes in traditional cultures there is a reason why women are associated with fabrics [20:18] Gentle Heron: and fibers [20:19] Douglas Rishmal: I'm more a "mix"... I like strong immigration controls, but against the death penalty. [20:19] You: The first labor unions were started by the weavers.. because they talked while they knitted. [20:19] Aldon Huffhines: Sunseed, that sounds really interesting... Is there a good starting point for me to read more about that? [20:19] You: Google Katherine Bateson. [20:19] You: ..Catherine maybe. [20:19] Aldon Huffhines: (I'm setting off on a big journey tomorrow that I've been thinking of in terms of the hero myth, but I'd love to look at it from a different angle. [20:19] You: She is Gregory Bateson's daughter... knows something about the progressive masculine :))) [20:19] Delia Lake: yes, Mary Catherine Bateson is how she is listed [20:20] Delia Lake: and Margaret Mead's daughter [20:20] Douglas Rishmal: what "journey" is that? [20:20] Aldon Huffhines: Interesting. [20:20] Aldon Huffhines: I'm going of to blog the American Group Psychotherapy Association annual conference.... [20:21] Aldon Huffhines: The first time they've had a blogger... [20:21] Aldon Huffhines: I know a lot of the people there from being on a group psychotherapy mailing list. [20:21] Aldon Huffhines: I'm fascinated by the therapeutic potential of groups [20:22] Douglas Rishmal: same here.. [20:22] Aldon Huffhines: The whole trip, my reluctance to go, hurdles over come, people helping facilitate the trip, all fit so nicely with the hero myth. [20:22] You: You might look into the work of Alfred Adler... [20:23] Pipi Tinlegs is Online [20:23] Gentle Heron: Shery Mead is a practicing social worker who uses peer therapeutic groups to help people with mental illness avoid hospitalization and overmedication. [20:23] You: He parted company with Freud over the importance of our social sense in "mental health." [20:23] Gentle Heron: You might like to read some of her research on why these groups work, [20:23] Tayzia Abattoir is Offline [20:23] You: he thought that social maturity was an essential ingredient. [20:23] Aldon Huffhines: I think I read adler years ago... [20:23] Douglas Rishmal: ever seen the movie 'armageddon'? [20:23] You: And was fully embraced in the Eastern block fo rthat reason, and ignored in the more individualistic western world. [20:24] Aldon Huffhines: Namav, it is great to see you. [20:24] Gentle Heron: Hey there Namav. [20:24] You: Hello. [20:25] Delia Lake: hi Namav Gentle Heron: Namav, you are at a disadvantage here because we have been talking about your presentation last weekend.... This group is kind of a progressive think tank...and their topic of discussion earlier tonight was health care reform
Namav Abramovic: fill me in
Aldon Huffhines: Gentle pointed to the Healthinfo island blog post about your presentation... I, of course, had to highlight my own blog post about it.
Gentle Heron: but also how we can use SL to advance RL values... of course Aldon ...I asked how we could take the interest you raised and move it to action
Aldon Huffhines grins: All of it, from the context of how we frame the discussion....It started with a conference call with George Lakoff of the [Rockridge institute].... I noted that your framing of disability issues as an issue of segregation is a very powerful frame.
Garret Bakalava: sorry I ... had to do some work.
Gentle Heron: RL has to come first Garret
Aldon Huffhines: I'm dragging as well... I have to finish packing in the morning, and then take a train to DC... However, I'm looking forward to catching up on rest on the train.
Namav Abramovic: I listened to Lakoff's talk at VS... POWERFUL
Choconancy Lupino: Uploading visual - ready in a sec. What is the name of the sponsor of this event again please?
Aldon Huffhines: From your presentation, it seemed like you really got the message of Lakoff's approach to framing.
Pipi Tinlegs: Rockridge Institute
Choconancy Lupino: Thanks... I'll have a URL for you in a second
Pipi Tinlegs: Excellent!
Aldon Huffhines: BTW, choco, I just got two facebook messages from Marsha Lebkowsky.
Choconancy Lupino: Small world
Namav Abramovic: the presentation was first made 4 yrs ago
Choconancy Lupino: The digi photo is a bit dark. Can take a better one tomorrow ... Maybe I can type tomorrow too! LOL
Sunseed Bardeen: Way to go ChocoNancy!!!
Pipi Tinlegs: VERY COOL! ChocoNan!
Gentle Heron: ahh colored pens even.. very nice
Choconancy Lupino: Learning new things!
Delia Lake: thanks, Choconancy. that is great!
Choconancy Lupino: Thanks for the opportunity to practice
Pipi Tinlegs: Really beautiful...thanks so much for doing this... do you want to tag them with 'theworldcafe' too?
Gentle Heron: yes that is a known strategy for soliciting information from groups, at least in RL...I don't know if it has been done in SL before... a good experiment tonight with that technology
Delia Lake: i hate to leave the conversation, but i have a long drive tomorrow and i'm not even packed yet
Choconancy Lupino: Will do
Gentle Heron: Good night sister Delia.
Aldon Huffhines: Yeah... I think I'll use this as a good excuse for me to disconnect as well...Be well, friends.
Sunseed Bardeen: I've got to go as well.
SingingHeart Amat: here we are - we met new people -- we had very interesting converstaions --
Gentle Heron: listen carefully these next few days Aldon and find the strategies behind the words
Delia Lake: i look forward to continuing these conversations in the future though. good night, sister :)
Choconancy Lupino: Sweet dreams

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