Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
IBM The Internet Entertainment Games

IBM to Regulate Employee Second Life Behavior 165

mytrip writes "In hopes of avoiding potentially embarrassing incidents, IBM is taking the unusual step of establishing official guidelines for its more than 5,000 employees who inhabit Second Life and other virtual worlds. 'IBM appears to be the first corporation to create rules governing virtual worlds. The move has critics, who say that mandating behavior for the so-called "metaverse" is unlikely to reform impish avatars. They also question why IBM would add a layer of buttoned-down bureaucracy to this relatively rollicking corner of the Internet. IBM executives counter that having a code of conduct is akin to a corporate stamp of approval, encouraging workers to explore more than 100 worlds IBM collectively calls the 3D Internet.'" This regulation may be coming from more than self-interest: IBM sees these environments as management training courses in some ways; working inter-personal skills via chat and human resources via guild activities.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM to Regulate Employee Second Life Behavior

Comments Filter:
  • Apparently. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @06:14PM (#20017211)
    From TFA:

    IBM, whose 20th century employees were parodied as corporate cogs in matching navy suits, doesn't have an avatar dress code. But guidelines suggest being "especially sensitive to the appropriateness of your avatar or persona's appearance when you are meeting with IBM clients or conducting IBM business."

    Okay, aside from the concept of "meeting with IBM clients" in Second Life ... why not just go all the way and license something unique for your company sponsored avatars? Then, if you're representing the company, you use a company avatar.

    When you're on your own you can whatever you want to be.

    Seriously, anyone who needs to be told what is appropriate for meeting clients really should NOT be meeting clients. In real life or online.
  • Re:Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday July 27, 2007 @06:20PM (#20017301)
    Years after most people had figured out that the Internet wasn't a virtual world, the idiot media was still going on about "cyberspace". So somebody figured out that if you actually developed the product that the idiot media imagined, you'd get loads of free PR. It doesn't matter that the product is useless.
  • Re:So...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @06:20PM (#20017307) Homepage Journal
    There are political considerations, of course.

    Say, for example, the guys down the hall have been at the company for ten years, and you're a new hire, and they issue to you a challenge to be able to code $something, or find a bug in a particular process, or prove to them how a particular bug can be turned into an exploit. And they're all be-boppin' 'n' scattin' all over you every time they see you, frat boy hazing style, and constantly giving you digs about how,"If you were any sort of real programmer you'd have it done by now" while, in private, constantly reassuring you that it's impossible because they have never been able to do it.

    Then, one day, you pull it off. And all of they're be-boppin' 'n' scattin' and taunts and hazing comes back on them from the people in the other building who've been quietly hoping to hell you'll pull off the challenge because, several years back, their department got their budget slashed because the guys down the hall (who issued the challenge and followed it with taunting) managed to come up with a miraculous save on one of their projects and have been egotistical knuckleheads about it ever since. At least until you showed up and put their challenge right back up their nose (where it needed to be).

    So now you've become the unwitting participant in a five-to-ten year running ego war between two prominent researchers, both from lengthy lines of prominent publishing research groups, both managing groups of thirty to fifty people with budgets figured in the tens of millions.

    Kind of an awkward position, isn't it? Okay, but you're still proud of yourself that you managed to accomplish the $challenge.

    Then, one day, when you log on to Second Life... you find yourself surrounded by griefers who never go away and, the day you finally tell one of the griefers to "Shove it!" using rather colorful language, that day is immediately followed the next morning by a reprimand from corporate for not observing the corporate image online.

    And then you begin to get snyde in-the-hall comments from the be-boppin' 'n' scattin' hazing frat boy fanclub down the hall that, yes, they're the griefers who've been trolling you on Second Life... but there's nothing you can do about it because they turned you in to HR first, and anything you say now will need to go both against their collective reputation (which, given they came up with the miraculous breakthrough five years ago, is pretty darn big) and the impression that you're just a malcontent who's retaliating against "The Man" and with some psychotic conspiracy theory.

    No. No, and No. It is not a good idea for an employer to have any legal authority, either inside or outside the workplace, to observe, monitor, or check on anything you do once you leave their doors.
  • Rule number one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Friday July 27, 2007 @06:23PM (#20017327) Journal
    1) Don't use Second Life. It is embarrassing and no one in the real world cares besides the news media and misc. company bosses.

    (it is kinda like the "news media" just discovered that you can make a virtual world online)
  • I wouldn't want a doctor / a pilot / a bus driver stoned whilst working,
    Why not? Have you smoked marijuana on a regular basis for any length of time? Do you personally believe that everyone suffers the same weakness which is exploited in government reports? How about doctors, pilots, or bus drivers working at high altitudes? Shouldn't the lack of oxygen predispose them to weakness? What? Oh... you mean they grow accustomed to it? Is that even possible in nature? *gasp* Shock and awe... I thought nobody would ever think of it.

    those are public safety related
    So is driving with one hand, listening to the radio, talking on the cell phone, dealing with kids in the back seat...

    I would however hope that my management team would detect any strange behaviour
    You mean the classical management behavior of being high-handed, abusive, derogatory, self-important, and dismissive of the concerns of the employees beneath them? Oh, you mean that's the acceptable "strange" behavior? Let's be honest with ourselves about this.

    It is similar to alcohol in this regard
    No, it's not, but you keep telling your ignorant, big bad self, that so that you can continue to spread the government line about the evils of that terrible plant.
  • Re:Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Friday July 27, 2007 @07:19PM (#20017851)
    I wish I could mod you up. The vision of Internet as a 3D cyberworld completly lacks of imagination, it reuuses what we have to try and predict the future... The internet forum for example has evolved to a specific form which is extremely efficient to handle its task. Absolutely nothing looked like an internet forum 50 years ago...

    A cyberspace import limitation of the physical world that get in the way... brought to you by the same people who imagined giant network of tubes to deliver mails.
  • Re:IBM guidelines (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fonik ( 776566 ) on Friday July 27, 2007 @07:39PM (#20018019)

    Your private life is very much your own. You are, however, an IBMer both on and off the job and a conflict of interest may arise if you engage in any activities or advance any personal interests, at the expense of IBM's interests.
    Nice. "Your free time is very much your own as long as you aren't doing anything we don't like."
  • Re:Apparently. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by karmaflux ( 148909 ) on Friday July 27, 2007 @07:42PM (#20018065)

    Seriously, anyone who needs to be told what is appropriate for meeting clients really should NOT be meeting clients. In real life or online.
    And what happens if someone slips through the radar, gets hired, and conducts IBM business dressed as a flying phallus? Do they fire him? Get sued for discrimination, because there's no written dress code? Not IBM. They've been in the game too long to make naive mistakes like the one you're advocating. It's a litigious society; if you expect something from someone, put it in writing. That's all they're doing here.
  • Pretty much, yep. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @08:26PM (#20018481)

    You mean like the prototypical IBM outfit - dark blue suit and black wingtips?

    Pretty much. They'd have a selection. Male and female of different appearances. So you can sort of match it to you. And so you don't look like Agent Smith when a group of five of you show up.

    And they'd hire people to polish them. You want to present the most professional appearance possible (if you're IBM). So spending money on getting the textures and shadows right is important. It's all about paying attention to the smallest details.

    You'd all have the same "look" and that "look" would be "polished professional".
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Saturday July 28, 2007 @12:27AM (#20020163) Homepage Journal

    It is embarrassing and no one in the real world cares besides the news media and misc. company bosses.

    People are making money in SL. This is the biggest differentiator between SL and previous virtual worlds. As soon as profit enters the picture, everyone starts paying attention.

    Your comment reminds me of comments in '94/'95 about the Web. That flash in the pan has carried on pretty well, I'd say.

  • Re:Um... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sgant ( 178166 ) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @03:36AM (#20021041) Homepage Journal
    Don't worry, I'm right with you. And I seriously doubt there are 5000 IBM employees playing this. There's not even 5000 people in the world playing this. Ever go there? I log on every once in a while just to look and it's a ghost town. Every time I go there, I never ever see anyone else in the actual world. The only time you actually see other people is at the starting island where you make your character and learn how to move. Other than that, it's a virtual ghost town....filled with buildings that you have to stand and wait to render/download to your computer (in other words, TONS of pop-up geometry).

    Second Life is ALL hype, little to no substance. One thing that Second Life does well is marketing and generating buzz. You hear about it all the time in the media...but it's just nothing there.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall