Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rule Book for the Internet, Blogging, Networking & Second Life

Our Place in Cosmos by Pixel Sideways, Caerleon Isle (moderate)

We've all seen what happens when something "new" appears on the horizon.  Particularly when that horizon is online.  It doesn't take long before there are "rules" and "laws" established by the community of early adopters. They are, after all, the experts and once you've been using or participating in something for a while you acquire a sense of ownership and a need to share the guidelines that you and your colleagues wish everybody to follow. It's the ultimate in an anarchist's desire for a group of equals to set the parameters for interaction.

I'm all for rules.  I'm a Canadian.  It's no accident that our Charter of Rights & Freedoms begins with the desire for "Peace, Order and Good Government".  None of that spring break type of  "Pursuit of Happiness" here.  My problem is that the more time you spend online,  the more you do and the more you network, the more rules and laws you have to learn.

Give me a break already.  I'm old.

Our Place in Cosmos by Pixel Sideways, Caerleon Isle (moderate)

Think about it for a minute.  There are, now well established, Internet Rules & Laws.  Those are just the basics and it would be great if that's all you needed to navigate your way through the interwebs.

But what if you decide to actually contribute to the online landscape?  If you decide to blog be prepared because everybody has drawn up Rules for Blogging.  I don't know how anybody is expected to know, never mind follow, all of the conflicting dictates around posting your thoughts.  I appear to break most of them everyday.  I don't even bother trying to understand the rules for photographs or illustrations.  I'm sure I'm doing them wrong as well.

The biggest minefield out there is the set of rules that appear when you decide to actually interact with other people.  The stress of trying to satisfy all the oracles and eminence grises is debilitating.

Our Place in Cosmos by Pixel Sideways, Caerleon Isle (moderate)

I've actually decided to ignore new networking opportunities as long as possible.  Once you get past the baseline Netiquette you still have to master the varying rule permutations of say Twitter and Plurk.  I'm still figuring out the Rules of Life and I'm not willing to try learning new ways to behave on some personal stock exchange for avatars or a Hud that wants to connect me with the same people I know from other places. The people there have expectations and I don't need another location to fail.  That book that wants my face all over it will just have to be satisfied with the 10 gazillion people it already has.

Second Life has, of course, lots of rules.  Once you get past the Terms of Service everything dictating your behaviour is pretty much whatever the loudest voices demand.  A few examples:
  1. Don't im somebody when they first logon.  Give them 5 minutes to rez and take care of notices.
  2. Don't cam inside somebody's house.  
  3. Don't send tp requests without at least a conversation or buying the person dinner first.
There are lots more rules that people try and create.  Some fashion bloggers are really good at that - I fail miserably at all of those of course. 

There are too many rules dictating my SL behaviour. Everyday a blogger or plurker or tweeter pronounces a new one. I can't keep up.  Add them to the rules that I'm supposed to follow when I talk to somebody on the social sites I'm still willing to use and I'm drowning.

Our Place in Cosmos by Pixel Sideways, Caerleon Isle (moderate)

So I've made a decision.  I'm willing to follow one peer pressure rule and one only.  And I choose the rule spoken and advocated by that great philosopher Wil Weaton.  I think it covers pretty much every possible occasion and type of interaction and the rest of the great pronouncements will find themselves in my trash.

The one rule to guide us all, the one rule to bind us?  Wheaton's Law.  Don't be a Dick!

There.  I feel much better now. :)

Our Place in Cosmos by Pixel Sideways, Caerleon Isle (moderate)


Anonymous said...

I'm NOT a Canadian but oh I am sooooo with you on this!!!!! /me stands up and CHEERS!!!!! (btw - *I* get to define what it means to "be a dick"

Honour McMillan said...

LOL Why am I not surprised by the last bit? :)

Miso Susanowa said...

There's only one rule: there's no rules. I break them all the time; mostly because I try to stay ignorant of them.

My "posts" are long because I view them as articles or columns. People say, "nice post... rather long though." Ok so er... go read someone else! Or they say, "You had some good posts, then you put up a weird graphic." Erm.. yeah... news flash: it's my blog and I'll post if I want to *sing that part*

It's like my diary; I'm no Woodward & Bernstein all the time; I'm not even Rolling Stone. Heck I am not even Dorothy Parker although sometimes I try.

(now someone can say, "nice comment... but so long..." :D

Honour McMillan said...

pffft your comment doesn't even come close to the length Sparky might write so you're safe :)

I'm just thinking out loud in a strange way to convince myself I don't have to try and make everybody else happy - especially those who post all these "rules" for activities I like to get involved with.

So for me I'm limiting myself to the one rule that makes me happy with me. :)

Jeddin Laval said...

Honour, I'm just grateful that you do things the way you do. Rules are all too often the inventions of those who can't keep up.

Honour McMillan said...

@Jeddin Aw Thank you :)

Indigo Mertel said...

Best read I had today... or best chuckle? Hmmm...

Honour McMillan said...

@Indigo thank you *grin*