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.