For Mai and I’s presentation we wanted to talk about anonymity in Virtual Reality. Specifically we wanted to discuss the differences between social and private VR and what advantages and disadvantages their were to both mediums. How can ‘good behaviour’ be encouraged or in some ways policed and how can you create ‘safe’ VR spaces?
One of the more interesting topics that I think we covered is the difference between anonymity – lacking individuality, unique character or distinction and pseudonymity – a false name or a state of disguise. I think the typical moniker ascribed to VR experiences is ‘anonymity’ but when it comes to social VR I feel that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not as if people are trying to disguise their own identity – they don’t usually mask their voices or anything like that – but instead seem to enjoy dressing up their avatars in different ways.
We discussed platforms and experiences like Alt Space VR, Facebook Spaces, Where Thoughts Go and VR Chat as well as an episodes of the Voice in VR podcast that talked with a talk show host from VR Chat. He addressed the community and how they’ve been dealing with ‘trolls’ and discussed how when friends meet in VR they will often go to a private space where they can interact which kind of blew my mind. It’s not enough to be in a VR space with someone – like a lobby or general meeting space – you then need to travel to a separate space to get away from the crowds.
Overall, I think the presentation went well and there was some very interesting conversation that came out of it. See below for the deck.