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The Conclusion of Voices?

I was recently considering the matter of Otherworldly Voices. There was an immense kerfuffle about the introduction of Voices to the Grid - admittedly, there is an immense kerfuffle about any introduction or removal of anything whatsoever, but in this case it was a kerfuffle promulgated by many Leading Thinkers and Commentators, and also myself.

Some predicted that the presence of Voices would lead to the elimination of "Immersionists", dinosaurs - all New Residents would expect Voices and would relegate the silent to the dusty library corridors to which they properly belong and where they can say "shhh" to each other in private. There was the prediction that Voices would cause awful discrimination between those wishing to use them and those not, and huge social divides would occur. Would shopkeepers be required to have Voices on their lands or face bankruptcy? How would facilities for New Residents cope with the flood of New Residents wishing to send Voices from outside?

Some months have now gone by, a reasonable period of time I feel, the kerfuffle has been de-fluffled and, I must say, the overwhelming attitude that I perceive to the matter is, well, neutrality, if not boredom. I am not a particular fan of the presence of Voices, I consider it an irritating intrusion and furthermore it does not agree with the Hardware of my own Engine, and I was concerned as to possible implications but really - I have not encountered a single person even suggesting that I send Voices, and while I did see a few people keen to experiment (and all power to the experimenters, say I) now it is all old hat.

In short, nothing much appears to have changed. New Residents to whom I have spoken since the introduction have expressed no great interest in using Voices - I was always sceptical that they would, as the majority of Non-Residents, residing in the Shadow World, seem quite happy with Electronic Letters and Short Message Services and such, and indeed many use them far more than Telephony. Older Residents in my experience find Voices at most occasionally useful but mostly irrelevant. It is for both groups a tool which they may use at times as matters arise but mostly will not, and no seismological social activity has taken place.

I suppose, really, that this is not a particularly productive Entry in that it is really saying that things have not actually changed significantly. I am certainly open to any alternative experiences, as clearly my own perception is not representative (given that I am a peculiar scripting hermit) but all that I have seen shows that there were a few incidents shortly after the introduction of Voices, when it was still novel and could reasonably be used as a tool of social discrimination - and goodness knows there are enough people out there in the world who will take any opportunity to belittle someone else. Now that it is, as I said, old hat, there is not even false superiority to be gained, and such behaviour has diminished.

Jaymin Carthage's picture
21 Oct200708:05
Jaymin Carthage (not verified)

Yes, mi'lady, I think you nailed it. It's what most of the non-alarmists were saying all the time. It's a useful feature for those who want to use it, and a non-intrusive one for those who don't.
But if there wasn't something to start a kerfuffle about what would people do?

Dominic Webb's picture
21 Oct200709:51
Dominic Webb (not verified)

I love kerfluffle. Especially with fish sauce. :)

Tateru Nino's picture
21 Oct200712:04
Tateru Nino (not verified)

I've had to opt out of a number of events. Some town halls, the Metaversed/DDJ events and so forth. I occasionally turn up - because if voice is working sufficiently poorly (and sometimes it is) then the session defaults to text and I can participate.

Outside of events, it's not had a ton of impact, other than having a few conversations go 'over my head' (as it were). It just doesn't seem to made much headway against text as the primary means of communication. That may change, but it hasn't yet. Voice seems to have relatively little traction. People might have it _on_, but that doesn't mean that it's actively being used.

Zoe Connolly's picture
21 Oct200712:17
Zoe Connolly (not verified)

Voice was a great concern of mine as I am 80 percent hearing impaired and I was worried about shouting "what?" several times inworld. Although I've read that many are saying that in their converstions anyway as the technology is not infallible.

My concerns have greatly diminished over the last few months, and I have not faced discrimination in any degree.

Young Geoffrion's picture
21 Oct200712:22
Young Geoffrion (not verified)

The Show Must Go On has a delightful sketch by the text only comedy team of Polonsky & Keen in which an avatar reveals she does not use voice because she is a toaster oven. Not all who live here exist in any meaningful sense in the World Beyond, and those who do have not always found their own voice nor appreciate those who have found theirs.

But no one has ever asked me why I will not use voice, so I haven't had a chance to tell them I donated my larynx to science, and the rest of my mortal coil, centuries ago.

And I like it with mint. Immersionist Kerfluffle, drowned in fish sauce and mint.

Sin Trenton's picture
21 Oct200720:29
Sin Trenton (not verified)

I've actually only met one person that displayed any kind of surprise that we were not using voice when I got together with a couple of friends. (She's the girlfriend of a group member).

Having read several discussions and reflections about voice, and this being the first time I actually encountered someone to my knowledge using it, I took the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions. A RL professional habit, I suspect.

She is not all that comfortable with using a keyboard, since she only uses computers for mailing, occasional chat and domestic administration, such as banking, etc. So speaking is easier for her, since she is not really a "technical person", as she sees it. (She is using her RL spouse's PC).

Her main pursuit inworld is shopping with her girlfriends. This means that they are moving in small groups, talking as they shop. Walking and typing is hard to do at the same time, so voice is easier, for them.
They do tend to use text on the few occasions they attend events, since it seems voice does not work in larger crowds. I also suspect that apart from the event itself and music going on, the number of avatars in a region, after a certain number, gets things potentially laggier, as well as noisier.

Then again, that makes it quite similar to your ordinary RL rock club, where 60% of the conversation consists of screaming 'What!?' in each others ears anyway.

Other than that, I have only encountered a voice conversation once, what I am aware of.
Maybe it's because I am mainly moving between the Victorian regions or seldom go shopping with my boyfriends.
I'm more wondering about any IDV kerfuffle myself, to be honest. Even if that one would arrive with mintsauce.

Brokken Prevost's picture
24 Oct200700:44
Brokken Prevost (not verified)

I initially determined not to use voice, but I have mellowed in my old age, and do use it when it's convenient. For example, last evening my business partner and I were working on some textures, and she was trying to teach me about some features of my graphics program. After struggling to talk back and forth using text (switching from SL to the graphics program and back a dozen times), we agreed to turn on voice. From then on, things went much more smoothly and quickly. We could have just as easily used Google Talk, but SL's voice service was behaving itself, so we used it. Use it when needed, ignore it otherwise. It works for me.

Oh, and I don't think we can get kerfuffle in Kansas. Maybe in a specialty shop, but it would be canned, not fresh.

Diamanda Gustafson's picture
01 Nov200700:29
Diamanda Gustafson (not verified)

Use it when needed, ignore it otherwise. It works for me.
Spot on. I have found myself in favour of using voice when my hands are otherwise employed - building, walking, riding or sparring.

Not to mention that it allows me to obnoxiously sing or growl to my friends!