Kultivate’s Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Jessi is back with another SL Etiquette 101. This time she discusses politics in Second Life:
The 2016 election was quite polarizing in America. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, you may have found yourself drawn into the political debate in real life, on social media, and in Second Life. I conducted a poll back in February to gauge the mood of Second Lifers, to see if they felt politics should be talked about in Second Life.
Below are the results:
A breakdown of votes can be found here:
As you can see the numbers are quite close, with the yes’s edging out the no’s. Two poll takers also had the following comments:
If a business like LL wants to include political statements in their press releases or Mission/Vision, or group notices, I suppose it is their right if they feel it affect their company. But OTOH I also think it is complicated. I know that Facebook (for example) feels overly politically charged at times. Trolling, for example, or picking arguments would NOT be advisable. Plus SL is not JUST Americans. So I think it depends on the medium and method, but also perhaps it depends on the message, too. Some messages may have political ramifications but may not be overtly political – for example a simple statement embracing diversity and inclusion might not necessarily be partisan. But it can get its point across nonetheless. My preference is that political messages not be forced upon people (some of us go to SL to escape reality after all) but I have no objection to thoughtful statements by groups on their views. And certainly there could be groups devoted to political causes, where one could willingly go to discuss that topic, just like there are groups for other RL interests. We are a diverse universe and all people should have a place to feel welcome, where they can find people of like mindset.
Thanks for the poll. I am personally tired of seeing comments from people telling others to to keep politics out of SL, and that SL is a place to have fun and escape. SL is what we make of it. “Your World, Your Imagination” right? Telling others not to bring politics in is equivalent to censorship. We can do what we like, be what we like and say what we like (within reason of course) in SL. Political discussion and action isn’t for everyone and that is ok, we are all entitled to choose what we do and say in SL, but I would never tell another resident to keep a certain topic out of SL. If you don’t like something don’t attend, don’t join in the conversation, don’t take part. There are plenty of things in SL that don’t interest me or that I don’t care for and that’s fine. I have tailored my SL to suit my needs, so those things I am not interested in don’t impact me at all. We are all at liberty to make SL whatever world we want it to be, and telling others not to do something because it disturbs your SL experience just ludicrous to me
So if you find yourself caught up in politics in Second Life, consider the following:
If you are ok discussing politics in Second Life:
1. Respect the opinions and thoughts of others. If you are simply attacking someone because they voted a certain way then he or she is more than likely going to attack you and not be open to a friendly debate or discussion about politics
2. Do your homework. At least know about the issues before you make blanket statements. If you want to prove a politician or policy wrong, have a factual source to back up your statements.
3. Do not be obnoxious. Make sure that the people or person you are talking to about politics realizes that these are your opinions and do not try to force your views on others.
4. Choose a sensible place. Some places simply do not want the drama that talking about politics usually leads to. So think about your setting in Second Life. If you are at a busy club or a shopping event, you may wish to avoid talking about politics or talk to the person or persons via im.
5. Hold your temper. You may be passionate about politics but remember not everyone will feel the same way you do. Remember to keep your temper in check and do not yell or argue with the people you are having the political discussion with.
6. Change the subject if things get out of hand. If things are going really bad with the political discussion, change the subject. Is it really worth losing friends over the discussion?
If you do not want to discuss politics in Second Life:
1. Tell the person or person’s up front that you do not want to discuss politics. This is the best way to avoid discussing politics in Second Life. Make your sentiments known, particularly if you do not agree with what is being said.
2. Excuse yourself from the conversation. You can easily say that you have to go to real life or have something else that is pressing in Second Life to do to avoid the conversation.
3. If you are still being pressed. If you are still being drawn into politics or others will not leave you alone until you discuss politics, then simply state strongly that you would rather discuss something else and that you want to simply avoid real life topics such as politics in Second Life. This may get you raised eyebrows but they should get the point.
If their political views shock you:
I have had many tell me that they were shocked at the views of some of their real life and Second Life family and friends, when it came to politics, particularly in the 2016 American presidential election. I have had business owners in both worlds state how they have been ridiculed or called racist for voting for Donald Trump, while some have said they are no longer talking to real life family and friends who voted for Trump, same goes for people in Second Life.
So if you find yourself shocked over the political leanings of your friends and family members in both worlds, consider your course of action. Remember that a person is entitled to vote for whomever they choose in elections, they have the freedom of choice. Before you contact the person or persons’s ask yourself if you are ready for the response they may or may not give you? You may end up losing a friend in either world or having family members avoid you if you are too damning of their political views. Consider these thoughts before you take a course of action.
Until next time!