What is "SLetiquette"?
SLetiquette(pronounced [θreti'ket]) is an informal term for Second Life etiquette: manners and customs to help you live a happier Second Life. You may already be familiar with Netiquette as it applies to the general Internet, but since Second Life is a 3D virtual world, there are some unique aspects to be aware of. All of these are important and should be kept close to your heart — they aren't strict rules, they're social guidelines which'll benefit you and others you communicate with.
In addition to the Resident-written guides, you can also peruse Torley Linden's advice below. Picking what works best for you from a variety of valuable perspectives is the way to go.
Personal advice from fellow Resis. These are only as useful as you find them, which means: apply the advice, and if it doesn't work, move on. Even better yet, write a guide of your own. Have something to add? Go for it!
Sorted in reverse-chronological order:
- 2010-07-15 - Rudeness in Second Life - By Honour McMillan, focuses on effective discussion during office hours.
- 2009-03-12 - Curmudgeonly Second Life Advice - From The Cerebrate (Athanasius Skytower).
- 2009-01-30 - 30 (and more) things every newbie should know before starting Second Life - From Mar of SL For Nowt.
- 2008-10-11 - How to participate in an online discussion - Personal experiences from Sylectra Darwin.
- 2008-02-27 - Club Etiquette in SL - From the "Mean Girls Guide to SL", who actually seem to be quite nice.
- 2008-02-01 - SLetiquette slideshow - A lucid presentation by Gwyneth Llewellyn. Also available in PDF.
- 2007-09-17 - Second Life Etiquette - From Citrus Virtual.
- 2007-07-10 - SLEtiquette - From Penn State.
- 2007-05-16 - Ms. Alexia's Second Life Etiquette Guide Part 1 and Part 2 - By Alexia Cournoyer.
- 2007-05-14 - Second Life Etiquette - From SL Trip Tips.
- 2006-07-05 - Second Life Etiquette - By C.C. Chapman.
These are observations, not policy. They are, however, distilled from 1,000s of hours living Second Life.
Be interested in others
Showing earnest interest is one of the simplest and best ways to be likable. When I was new to Second Life, I chatted up just about everyone and everything that got me interested. Not everyone replied, but the majority that did helped me feel more cozy in Second Life.
If you see something you like, be it a brilliantly-designed house or an intricate nightgown, let the creator know. This is especially true if you purchase it and enjoy it in times to come: send them a personal note, and your good vibes will encourage them to create more. I've done this 100s of times and it's always been the right thing to do. Don't be a moocher and expect freebies in return, but hey, it does happen. ;)
All great friendships start as strangers, and this is certainly true in SL.
Read profiles carefully before IMing someone
A lot of people work in Second Life, and may be unable to reply to IMs (Instant Messages). For example, a builder who requests in her profile that you email her, or contact a friend whose name is listed for support. By respecting how others wish to communicate, you'll often receive faster service and save trouble for everyone involved.
Some Resis have even gone extra lengths to make it easier for you to contact them through preferred means inworld, whether it's a virtual mailbox you can "ping" them through, or a contact form in their Web tab:
This is also true of Lindens — don't send random IMs to Lindens seeking help, even if you feel it's important. What each Linden does is often clarified in their profile, and IMing before understanding wastes time for everyone.
If it's an account-specific issue, then you should visit our Support Portal. Get help from the right place!
If you don't get a reply from someone, it doesn't mean they hate you
Don't negatively assume that just because another avatar isn't chatting to you that they dislike you! They may be away from their keyboard in first life, engaged in something. (Of course, it's nice to indicate this when possible.) They may be buried in other chat and IMs and are attending to those first. Or, they may not speak the same language as you and don't understand. They could also just be shy.
Be patient, or if you have a hard time doing so, find someone else to chat up.
But be cautioned: if you've treated someone cruelly or for whatever other reason they choose (even frivolous ones, it's their choice), they can mute you, meaning they won't see your chat. You can mute others you find displeasing, although if miscommunication can be resolved first, that's favorable.
Be familiar with a group's rules before using group IM
Most groups only allow on-topic conversation. Some groups welcome random group IM. It's almost always bad form to spam a group, and shirking the rules may get you ejected from the group. How can you find out? Open a group's profile: Communicate window > Groups tab, click a group and click Info. From there, read the Group Charter or contact a group owner in the list.
And if you have a question, it can only help to do a cursory search first and see if you find the answer elsewhere — like on this wiki! Anyone can appreciate well-done research.
Don't teleport unannounced
Unless you have a mutual understanding, this is true when both TPing (TelePorting) yourself and offering a TP to another:
- Don't send an unsolicited teleport without explaining why. When you offer a teleport, you can state a reason. Make good use of it.
- Don't teleport to someone without getting permissionfirst. They may be in the middle of a private, intimate, awkward, etc. situation, or focused on a task that requires concentration. You can add/remove the ability for someone to map-track you via Communicate window > Friends tab. Look for the icon with the eye and the green dot; it means a friend can find you on the map by opening your profile and clicking "Find on Map".
Don't try to mass-teleport unwitting strangers — that's spamming, and quite frankly, a crap thing to do.
Don't beg for L$
Just like in first life, no one with self-respect likes a badgering beggar. It's one thing to be curious and ask to learn, but it's annoying to cyber-panhandle (unless you're doing in-character as part of a role-playing game). You may even get disciplined for disturbing the peace, so don't do it. You want to be well-liked, yes?
If so, your options are bountiful:
- Convert "real world" money to L$ using LindeX.
- Get a job. Some are rather fun, and you may find yourself making pocket money or even a fulltime living. For a partial overview, see the Guide to Jobs in Second Life.
- Immerse yourself in Second Life and through experience, look for holes in markets and create new opportunities for yourself. For example, Torley's observed there's a lack of usability consultants.
- Learn to make stuff (so you don't have to buy everything — and quality freebies abound).
- Make friends who can offer you opportunities, and hopefully you can exchange something in return (for example, a builder and a scripter collaborating on an awesome car).
These and many more are open to everyone. If you don't have certain skills, then do your best to learn them — and empower yourself. Only by doing will you know what you're capable of.
What about camping chairs?
"Camping chairs" and their ilk are objects you sit on for extended durations to earn L$ at a rate that makes grass growing look fast, like L$1/10 min. To put that in perspective, if you're really that desperate, you'd do much better completing Mechanical Turk HITs. (No one has come up with a way to bridge MTurk and SL yet... smells like an opportunity!)
Simply put, there are many ways of making L$ which are faster and more fun. It's your choice to camp, but exceptional, remarkable people don't camp because they're doing greater things. (Samantha Poindexter thoughtfully points out "camping while multitasking", e.g., sitting and sorting your inventory, which is more effective aggregate use of your time.) Consider that no one has Second Life-changing experiences sitting on a camping chair alone; you're more likely to be rewarded and succeed while discovering the world.
Voice chat: turn push-to-talk on
Unless your background noise is exceptionally quiet, when on voice chat, it's usually a good thing to enable push-to-talk. Edit menu > Preferences > Voice Chat tab and turn on "Use Push-to-Talk in toggle mode".
Common "on the telephone" reminders also apply, such as: don't eat loudly when on voice, it sounds gross, as I can show you:
Or if you must, only eat when voice is toggled off. See more VOICE CHAT video tutorials.
Read Lifehack guides
There are a number of life-improvement sites which aren't Second Life-specific but offer applicable advice nonetheless: among them are Lifehacker and Stepcase Lifehack (different from each other). Do be aware I'm an active community member on both, and I originally got into them because I found the variety of posts inspiring and beneficial.
And if you're into old-skool classics, there's always Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People.