Well, the Process Drama I’ve been developing is well and truly ready to go. I’ve been trying for a while to drum up a gropup of interested volunteers to participate in the project. Unlike many reserach projects that simply require delivery of a syurvey, this project is a bit more complicated.

Think of trying to organise a dinner party with 20 guests.. the first hurdle is trying to find a mutually convenient time. Being a drama activity I need 15-20 people at the same time and in this case in the same virtual space.

Further, my volunteers all need to be able to do the basics of movement, communication, modifying appearance and object interaction inside Second Life.

You’ll need to sign a consent form and give me permission to make and recordings and transcripts of the activities – the rest of the time you get to explore the possibilities of role playing as way of exploring ideas.

And finally they need to be able to stay around for the entire 2-3 hours of the exercise.

The drama will explore issues relating to governance and regulation of internet and technology use.

The drama to be played out upon Godot begins with the following scenario…

A resident in Lost City is closely related to one of the organisers of an inworld funeral in the World of Warcraft. The funeral was planned as an homage to a lost friend and an opportunity to make a memorial video for the grieving family.

The person who died was real, and an avid player of WoW. She was young and enjoyed a rich and varied social life that included her online community of friends in WoW. Those friends thought that a memorial service held inworld would allow those geographically distant friends to have an opportunity to bid her farewell in an environment that they all shared.

The details of the service were advertised through the forum for the WoW server they used. However, other people also read the notices and formulated a different plan for the day.

This video was released after the event.

The Lost City resident has since established a lobby group called PLATO (People Lobbying for Technological Ordinance) as a response to her feelings about what transpired.

Since that time the PLATO group has grown and there is currently a proposition for a new council by-law that is likely to affect all users of internet and other digital networks.

PLATO have invested a lot of time and resources into identifying examples of internet usage that they see as a threat to community standards. The group is currently very proactive in applying pressure to the members of local government in relation to the proposed change in the law.

Recently a grassroots opposition to the proposal has begun to emerge. RASCL (Regional Association for Social and Civil Liberties) has established a small office in the shopping precinct of the Lost City community and has begun promoting a No vote in the forthcoming referendum. RASCL’s arguments include the assertion that such a law will adversely impact upon the democratic nature of the internet and will have dire consequences in relation to education, social action, and privacy.

Interestingly, Lost City has established a reputation in marketing circles as a community whose attitudes closely match statistical data on a national scale. As such, there is a strong media interest in the developments on Godot (the original name of the island community) as rumblings about internet governance begin to emerge on the mainland.

Participant Instructions

You will have receive an email from me with these instructions. It is important that you have followed all the steps and are ready to participate in the drama.

  1. Read over the brief character outline I send you.
  2. Think about the backstory for this character – invent some relevant details that will help round out the character and individualise them.
  3. Go into Second Life and modify your character’s appearance.
    1. If you have a favourite look for you character go to Appearance – Save as an Outfit (and give the outfit a name such as JohnAvatar-Original).
    2. You can then modify your avatar to a more appropriate look for the drama – think about clothes, age, physical appearance, accessories, etc.
    3. I have provided a collection of free items on the second floor of the skybox above Godot. To get there, look for the Discussion Zone pads peppered around the island and teleport to the skybox. This area will also be our out-of-role meeting place.
  4. Modify your avatar’s profile description with something that is more suited to their new role. (you can save the content of your old description by cutting and pasting it into your profile Notes tab).
  5. You may, if you wish, explore Godot Island to familiarise yourself with its layout and the various locations that exist. You will find that there are several places that will direct you to information that relates to the roleplay scenario. Most of the guidelines for the roleplay are embedded in the space.
  6. During the roleplay you will need to
    1. identify your character’s position on the current legislative proposal;
    2. locate allies and discuss the situation;
    3. develop a knowledge of evidence to support your position in any arguments and debates that arise;
    4. decide upon representatives to be interviewed for a fictional TV show;
    5. attend rallies;
    6. attempt to sway opinion towards your position;
    7. conduct interviews;
    8. return to the skybox occasionally for out-of-role reflections on the progress of the drama;
    9. cast a vote in a referendum.

If this sounds as though it might interest you – please contact me directly – or join the DEISL group in Facebook or in Second Life.

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