Voice in SL is so cool, it’s remarkable to be able to simply speak to people at the click of an icon, hearing the accents of people worldwide makes you appreciate the vast diversity of SL anew. It’s shaming and humbling to find so many people all over the globe that have English as a second language while the extent of my own multi lingual skill is barely managing “Du vin rouge, s’il vous plait”. Voice can also bring in a whole new level of genuine to a friendship – chatting to someone without the AV construct as the medium can be a lil’ bit of extra realness right there in cartoon-world SL. Also, the other thing about voice – I fuckin’ hate it.
I get that “each to their own” and not everyone treats SL the same way so live and let live zero you intolerant twat, just because people behave differently from you does not automatically make them wrong. Having taken that into account, Fuck Voice and fuck you for using it so much. I mean it – look here it is expressed in quiz form
Q: Do you use voice a lot?
A: Fuck you.
Q: Do you use voice as a default rather than type?
A: FUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUU!
Nothing distances us from the immersive inworld experience more than going on voice, the interface and content of SL becomes (at best) something to talk about rather than engage with, the world of SL becomes a distraction to your imagination-less waffle. SL is reduced to the animated backdrop of a telephone conversation that you look at out of the corner of your eye, moving wallpaper. FUCK YOU!
Yes, the /me “emote” method of expressing yourself in SL is far from perfect – I use it quite sparingly myself and I find para roleplayers wildly frustrating to talk to when sometimes I just want to have a he said/they said back and forth conversation without each sentence being prefaced with endless bloody descriptions of the breeze in your hair or the quizzical look in your eyes. It’s hard sometimes to engage with someone when you have to wait 19 minutes for a carefully constructed answer (and when it arrives 80% of it is made up of italicised description.) I admit /me is not perfect.
Yet, as teeth grindingly frustrating as that /me can get it’s still a bloody delight compared to seeing the opening phrase “hello, do you voice?” to which the answer is “It’s a good thing I don’t because if I had my mic’ on you would have just heard me screaming “FUUUUUUUCCCCKKK YOOOOOOUUUU!”
One of my favorite things about SL is that it is an environment for people who are comfortable writing – you only have to look at the pages of shit I’ve written here on Ri to realize I’m a fan of the typed word – and rightly or wrongly I have a fondness for people that can express themselves that way. It’s a little bit of a generalization but if you can write a thought in a coherent way, if you can convey something to me in a well rounded sentence then chances are good that we will get along. I’m not saying “ban everyone who can’t write” – but I liked that I could easily identify people in SL who had very little to say because they had very little to say. Expressing thoughts in words takes the bare minimum of intellect and imagination that I find necessary in a friend The problem with voice is that any thought free moron can talk endlessly, in fact as is so often true in RL also – the less you have to say the more you talk.
I tell myself again and again voice has it’s own unique benefits, I’ve listened to impromptu songs being sung, I’ve played hysterical games of cards against humanity, I’ve had board meetings and bored meetings, I’ve listened to people in the throes of orgasm and I’ve heard people on a different continent eat a chicken dinner (disturbing side note; those last two were oddly similar) but no matter how hard I try I can’t sell myself on voice as 100% a good thing.
Voice replaces that sometimes social sometimes silly freeform scrolling window of prose with a yak-babble dominated by whatever clique has the braying members with the most volume, a written communications meritocracy becomes “HEY LOOK AT ME” shouting contest where the empty barrels making the most noise are all you can hear. Anyone who proudly says “I prefer voice because I’m too lazy to type” is the sort of person I can live without, you might as well go all out for truth and change that to “I prefer voice because I’m too stupid to think” because that’s what it means. THAT’S WHAT IT MEANS! ARGH! FUCK YOU!!!!
Too harsh? Perhaps. Ok yes – far too harsh, even I can see that. I’m not saying voice has no place in SL, just think about it when you do it – pay attention to the way you communicate with others and how it makes you interact with SL as a whole, because if the day comes when you find yourself thinking “damn I’m bored” then it’s your own fault because you will have ruined SL with your lazy voicing and your ironic twerking, and don’t come crying to me when that happens, or if you do be damn sure you are ready to type “/me runs to zero crying because I ruined SL”, because if you come crying to me on voice, fuck you.