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Lillian YiyuanMar 2, 2008 6:48 am 
Subject:[Wiki-research-l] wikimedia and second life
From:Lillian Yiyuan (
Date:Mar 2, 2008 6:48:25 am


Two of the most visible aspects of what is being called Web 2.0 are Virtual Reality and wiki collaboration. If Wikipedia is a monument to turning fun and procrastinating into something very useful and valuable, VR so far seems to be the other way, a way of taking creative energy and turning it into fun and procrastination. Part of this is that most VRs have intentionally been "walled gardens," where effort poured into the VR is only really useful inside of the VR.

I'm hesitating to write this in case it breaks something that I've been doing, but let me plunge ahead. One of the most interesting VRs is Linden Lab's Second Life, which is being used as the basis for both an OpenSim project, and for IBM's virtual world. It's primary difference from the point of view of social and technical research is that it has a relatively versatile scripting language called LSL, or Linden Scripting Language. This language is being ported to run on top of a mono virtual machine presently, but even in its current state it can do amazing things. By querying and editing wikimedia wiki's it is possible to bring information "in world," that is into the vr, easily, and have wiki information control in world objects. This creates the potential for true metadata to VR, with in world objects updating text state, and text state controlling vr objects for display of information, and finally true interaction, where both sides affect the other.

This is important because VR has been data processing poor, and information poor, while it is social interaction rich.

Are there other people looking at wiki-VR interaction? I can go into more details about how this project is working off list if anyone is interested.