As a conversation analyst and an
than-once-and-in-the-last-60-days, I am interested in how communication works (or doesn't work) in Second Life and other virtual worlds. One of the things that has always bewildered me about communication in SL is its "group IM" system. Compared to guild chat in other MMOs, group IM in SL gets surprisingly little use, although there is as much need in SL to find answers to technical questions and find other people to play with.
I have just recently blogged about this on PlayOn where I argue that this under use of SL's group chat channel is likely simply the result of a poor UI design (see details). In a nutshell, compared to guild chat messages in other MMOs, group IMs in SL are much more disruptive of game play (and needlessly so). Consequently, SL players seem to have developed a shared practice of discouraging their use and considering almost any messages to the group "spam." Just imagine if in any other MMO, you asked your guild, "does anyone want to do something?," and you received the response "DON'T SPAM THE GUILD."
Have any other Second Life residents (who have logged in more than once) observed similar practices around group IM?