virtual worlds: a place to test models of voting, democracy, connecting & motivating

  • A virtual world is a tremendous leveller in terms of wealth, age, appearance, ethnicity and such like – a crucial fact for anyone who isn’t in the optimum social category of being, say, attractive and affluent and aged between 20 and 35. It’s also a place where “you” are composed entirely of your words and actions: something that breeds within and around many games an often extraordinarily complex network of conventions and debates that are integral to a community held together only by voluntary bonds. …..Neither playing Warcraft nor building a virtual polling booth in Second Life is likely to win many votes for a British political party in 2010, of course. And spending 24 hours a day in either environment is unlikely to do much for anyone’s conversational abilities. But it’s high time we began to understand games on their own terms, with all the potentials and dangers that entails: as arguably the most powerful models we have for connecting and motivating, and understanding those vast, disparate groups of people a digital age throws together.

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