Blog Post

Conference coming up - in 7 countries and 'in-world' (in Second Life)

Organizing a coference in 7 countries and in Second Life is no easy matter.

Slactions 09 is coming up on September 24 -25 in Austin and 10 other locations distributed across 7 countries. You can see the announcement for Slactions under Events.

Here, I want to blog on the challenges of virtual conferences, with an emphasis on specific aspects posed by events where telepresence involves some type of *embodiment* (as it is the case with virtual worlds - VWs - with avatars).

This is the case of Slactions. I will be playful with words:) in the way i identify the problem and will later post the solution found.

Problem 1: keeping 'bodies' away...

With an online registration of 175 EUROS, we will need to keep out non-paying intruders.

All participants have a real life identity - easily traceable through the paypal payment for which we opted. However, the avatars in Second Life have another identity.

Oops... We missed that detail. What now? We need to setup some sort of a radar or screen on the SL sim where the conference takes place. Only... that sim is part of an organization (the NMC) with a philosophy of openness that we admire and wish to respect.

Here are the several sub-problems that I have identified related to Problem 1:

- how to ethically tackle the problem of temporarily / locally keeping away some avatars, while respecting the philosophy of openness of our generous host?

- how to trace all 'entities' needed to be traced... in a way that will allow us to filter out non paying registrants while not jeopardizing login processes of those who paid and/or guests?

- how to technically setup this blocking process - while keeping in mind different levels of complexity, privacy issues and other logistical problems?

I am blogging right after the 'aha' moment so I am working on this with the other co-organizers Leonel Morgado and Nelson Zagalo. I'll post again with the solution found, as we continue conversations across 7 countries and with our generous host in SL on how to handle the problem identified here.

Stay tuned...





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