Ethicist and researcher Lucy Sparrow further argues for the need for a “community manager” approach to moderation, whereby some moderators are tasked not only with managing content silently behind the scenes, but with actively cultivate the wider community of players. I will echo this call. Moderation is vital, and it is more than being punitive.
It is important to keep in mind that these strategies must be used together. Tools at the individual level only work in conjunction with effective supervision. A techno-libertarian approach that suggests that all of the user’s needs is a “blogging” tool will only recreate the layers of hell that already exist on social media.
Virtual reality is reality, it acts accordingly
It is possible that existing laws already apply to metaverse spaces. What is vital is to recognize that online interactions are real and meaningful. Virtual reality harassment should be treated as harassment in the physical world; so should sexual harassment. While law enforcement rarely has an interest in really helping people, this does not mean that companies in charge of various metaverse spaces have no responsibility to their users. Thus, even if a potentially illegal act is not referred to the police, it should still be subject to severe sanction, perhaps through a watch list shared in all virtual spaces by a trusted third party, such as a colleague. ethical collaboration.
Similarly, while the legal landscape remains divided globally on this issue, we need to cut off any implementation of entry betting mechanics.
The use of microtransactions in many games can easily be turned into bets using systems such as loot boxes, and platforms like VRChat already have a lucrative secondary market for avatars, costumes and other digital assets. At the moment, it is proving to be a mostly friendly and lucrative space for digital artists. In the hands of a corporation, it could become a casino. Existing laws around gambling, such as restrictions on selling to children or confining game mechanics to narrowly circumscribed digital spaces, could theoretically be used to stop it before it starts. There is even room to update or rewrite the Interstate Cable Act for the 21st century.
Many gambling studies insist that the virtual nature of transactions, combined with the fact that “payments” are always digital items rather than real currency, distinguishes them from “real” gambling. There’s a reason for this: Most existing restrictions on gambling in the United States question whether bets have “real value”. But we need to broaden our understanding of reality to include these mechanisms, because virtual goods are undeniably valuable. And if virtual reality ever becomes a bigger part of our lives, as big as the Internet is, then claims about worthless digital goods will look even more dangerously outdated than they already have.
Just say no to Crypto
The most obvious source of corruption in metaverse spaces right now is the risk posed by NFTs and cryptocurrency. In recent months, a number of Ponzi schemes and other scams built around NFT properties have involved the creation of video games and virtual worlds, and many people are eager to introduce NFT to online games with promises of salad words of value for normal players.
While the ongoing cryptocurrency crash may solve this problem, ensuring a viable future for virtual reality means making sure its first-time users aren’t scammed into losing their savings. For some, the advent of metavers is just another opportunity to buy various cryptographic offerings. But that would be poisonous to this young garden of creativity. Not only would it be stupid for this innovative spirit, but also, like the game mechanics I’ve already discussed, it would create and feed a predatory environment for users.