Early Reader Poll Result! Active Worlds Wins “Touchiest Virtual World” Award



Torley Linden, a longtime Linden Lab staff member, tells some very funny stories of how he used to regularly get kicked off Active Worlds (the grand-daddy of virtual worlds) for talking about Second Life to the residents there.

Well, guess what? I posted a link to my survey in the Active Worlds Discord channel yesterday, and was promptly banned by the moderator for (gasp!) daring to post a survey that actually mentions other virtual worlds! Heaven forbid!

On top of that, the moderator demanded my Active Worlds username, no doubt to remove me from the platform completely. (Hey, it’s OK, I was finished with it anyway…)

So, although the reader poll runs until the end of this month, I can already announce one award (drumroll, please!): Active Worlds, hands down, for the touchiest, most over-sensitive user community!

Seriously? Get a grip. If you’re so uptight about your virtual world that you can’t even mention competing metaverse products without getting booted, or survey your users about where else they may have accounts, what kind of public relations message does that send? Maintaining a rigid, iron grip on communication is only going to backfire and make you look like a control freak. And an insecure one at that.


(God, I love Giphy… the perfect animated GIF for every occasion!)

Active Worlds: A Brief Introduction

Active Worlds* is the granddaddy of virtual worlds. Founded in 1995, it has been in operation for nearly 23 years now. I had visited once before, back in 2010, after reading about its 15th anniversary on Metafilter. But I had lost my login information, so I decided to create a new account and pay Active Worlds a visit. The arrival area looks like this, with a rather ugly-looking bot to greet visitors:

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But to my surprise, there were no less than seven other avatars in the default welcome area who were chatting (I had expected it to be deserted). One of the avatars there told me how to pull up a list of worlds to teleport to:

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I picked the HeavensStairway world, and there were about seven avatars there as well, and I was actually welcomed by a handful of people! But after a little while, I realized that these avatars were merely bots, as they greeted other newcomers in exactly the same manner.

The avatars/bots are rather primitive compared to Second Life, but serviceable:

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Here’s a selfie of my default male avatar:

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There’s a user community called AWPortals.com which you can also join, and I did. There’s only one event coming up, a TGIF Party, to which nobody seems to be planning to attend, according to the message at the bottom of the screen:

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There’s also an Active Worlds news website called AWTimes, which is updated bi-monthly (and which is, frankly, one of the most hideously designed websites I’ve seen in a long while). According to the AWTimes, surprisingly, the Active Worlds software has been updated as recently as February 2018.

And tonight, I am dancing with a few others at the TGIF Party at the PrairieHills world! Turned out some other people showed up after all! It would seem that there is still a little bit of life in Active Worlds after all these years…



*Note that when I tried to access the Active Worlds website, Google Chrome gave me a security warning. Apparently, their website security certificate had expired, only yesterday! My timing was perfectly (im)perfect. I decided to bypass the warning and visit the website anyway, but you might feel differently about it:

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