Meetings in Second Life

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Meetings in Second Life

The Fab5 project report for CyberOne 2006

Download the full report as a PDF: Media:Meetings-in-sl.pdf

Here is the report summary:

In the Court of Public Opinion (Fab5/Berkman Island Division)

In the matter of Second Life meetings: is there a recipe for a successful meeting?


This project began with the assumption that meetings in Second Life are so chaotic and confused that the only way to get anything done is to find ways to control the participants, and impose some order on the meetings. We now challenge that assumption.

After attending a wide range of meetings in Second Life, — large class gatherings, small group discussions, formal Linden Town Hall events, and business meetings of various kinds—we came to the opposite conclusion: restricting and controlling a Second Life meeting risks taking a challenging and lively forum and turning it into a sterile or useless exercise.

If you need the formality and structure that restrictions and controls might provide, then Second Life is probably not the best vehicle for your meeting. Second Life is only one among numerous options that you have for an electronic meeting, and you should consider it in the context of choosing a format that best meets your needs. If you want to brainstorm, discuss, debate and most importantly, listen to the views of others, then a Second Life meeting can be effective and highly productive.

Some controls on Second Life meetings can really make a difference. These are more about moderation than control, and are simply techniques that encourage participants to listen to each other and comment on each other’s opinions. Wherever possible, detailed presentations of your own point of view are best kept off world.

A key part of this opinion is an annotated transcript of our final meeting. This presents oral arguments for the report, and explores the notion of the empathic moderator. It is also an example of the substance and quality of a Second Life meeting that would be impossible to fully capture in a written summary.

Intended Audience

We hope this report will be of value to those who are considering using Second Life for meetings, and those who have already tried the format and are looking for ways to improve the experience. The report may also have a wider audience, beyond Second Life itself. In the spirit of the course title, the Court of Public Opinion, there is more here than just our agreed conclusions. We invite the reader into our discussion. And our opinion is not a ruling or a definitive statement. It is an argument, and it is for you to decide.