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in Second Life

In this seminar we did mock trials in Second Life. Students articulated core theory for each side of each case in opening and closing argument; presented and acted as witnesses; and engaged strategic and entrepreneurial aspects of developing a dispute resolution format in a new and exceedingly interesting medium.

here is what we learned:

david gross - second religion
ken stalter, mask and meaning
jonathan krop, jonathan: what does it mean
hseyoung, trish: korean perspective
turken, sara: second life and anonymity
daw, kwan bul: empathic argument
smyth, nick: virtual dispute resolution
harry drozdowski, The Campus- Based Digital Theft Prevention Rider
charles walker
andrew woods

Trials in Second Life: Seminar

Fall term, 2007

Professor Charles R. Nesson

buzz creation


beginning thoughts:

i am coming off a narrative trajectory that starts with wsj then is2k7 poker launch of global poker strategic thinking singapore state of play now this the beginning of a class in virtual worlds my daughter rebecca is independently teaching virtual worlds in the extension school i am 68 years old tenured professor of harvard who values and uses his freedom trials in second life what trials are these what are the powers of an avatar who speaks for us listen

this is a seminar we will pass a video camera around the class we will explore the public private distinction in real and virtual worlds how it feels different to speak in different spaces how to integrate to meta space

i hope to introduce you to my family and our values


*Introduction, Themes and Trials

Dred Scott, the Source and Meaning of Citizenship v. Racism, a case for a new form of Affirmative Action
USA v. Poker
Jamaica, itself a trial all in (can the best behavior of the pnp be passed to the jlp and the worst behavior of the pnp left behind.)

The Case for Education in Virtual Worlds, Rebecca Nesson and Charles Nesson
Charles Nesson talking about the paper in Singapore

Meet the Marvard Universe from Scratch in Second Life

  • assignment for next week becca's problem set in scratch

download scratch [1]
edited scratch problem set from becca's class

  • workshop show and tell

The Early Burning of Burning Man

Second Life Adultery

WSJ article: Is this man cheating?

October 3, 2007: The Trial of Senator Larry Craig

Eon Berkman: i call the case of America v. Larry Craig

Eon Berkman: is the prosecution ready
CWalk Collins: yes your honor, CWalk Collins and Yossarian Carpool for the prosecution, ready to proceed
Eon Berkman: is the defense ready
Paragon Boozehound: yes your honor
Paragon Boozehound: Paragon Boozehound and Amaya Upshaw on behalf of Mr. Craig your honor. Ready to proceed
Eon Berkman: would the prosecution please proceed with opening statement
CWalk Collins: this case is a simple case
CWalk Collins: its about a senator
CWalk Collins: a senator soliciting sex in a bathroom
CWalk Collins: a public bathroom
CWalk Collins: with a man
Senator Craig: it wasnt about sex
CWalk Collins: with a man in a public bathroom
CWalk Collins: gay sex with a man in a public bathroom
Senator Craig: no no
Senator Craig: not about sex... love
Paragon Boozehound: Your honor I apologize for my client
Paragon Boozehound: He's done a large amount of meth
Eon Berkman: order please
Paragon Boozehound: If you could please instruct hi to remain silent
Yossarian Carpool: harry can you pass the meth
Paragon Boozehound: I'm still unaware what my client is being charged with?
Eon Berkman: does thjat conclude your statement
CWalk Collins: yes
Eon Berkman: defense, please proceed
Paragon Boozehound: Ladies and gentlemen
Paragon Boozehound: This is a simple case about a simple man
Paragon Boozehound: Who was in the wrong place
Paragon Boozehound: At the wrong time
Paragon Boozehound: And was the subject of a misdirected attack on personal freedoms
Eon Berkman: call your witness
Yossarian Carpool: the witness for the prosecution is officer tenderfoot
Yossarian Carpool: sir could you please tell us what happened when senator craig entered the bathroom
Officer Tenerfoot: he took a place at the stall next to me
Yossarian Carpool: were you sitting down when he came in?
Paragon Boozehound: Objection Leading
Eon Berkman: Overruled
Officer Tenerfoot: yes I was
Paragon Boozehound: Your honor I move that answer be stricken
Eon Berkman: overruled
Yossarian Carpool: and what did he do?
Officer Tenerfoot: he moved his foot to the right--towards my stall
CWalk Collins: could you please show the jury how he moved his foot
Yossarian Carpool: what made you think this was not just a regular guy trying to stretch out after a long flight?
Paragon Boozehound: Objection Vague
Eon Berkman: Overruled
Officer Tenerfoot: I moved my foot to the left to test
Officer Tenerfoot: and he moved his further
Officer Tenerfoot: then he tapped
Officer Tenerfoot: his foot three times
Yossarian Carpool: what do you mean he tapped?
Yossarian Carpool: he struck the floor?
Paragon Boozehound: Objection leading
Eon Berkman: sustained
Yossarian Carpool: what do you mean he tapped?
Officer Tenerfoot: he kept the heel on the floor and then clapped his toes against the floor, making a lsigh noise
Officer Tenerfoot: I tapped back
Yossarian Carpool: then what happened
Officer Tenerfoot: he put his hand under the edge of the wall. I could see a wedding ring
Paragon Boozehound: objection relevance
Eon Berkman: overruled
Yossarian Carpool: what kind of ring? a gay ring?
Officer Tenerfoot: I can't tell the difference
Paragon Boozehound: Objection your honor, Witness isn't qualified to answer
Eon Berkman: sustained
Yossarian Carpool: was it turquoise?
Officer Tenerfoot: it looked like a gold / platinum alloy
Paragon Boozehound: Objection leading
Eon Berkman: overruled
Paragon Boozehound: Your honor I strongly question whether Prosecution has even attended law school
Yossarian Carpool: what else did mr. craig do before or after he was in his stall?
Officer Tenerfoot: he was elected to the Senate
Officer Tenerfoot: by Idaho
Paragon Boozehound: I move for an immediate mistrial
Officer Tenerfoot: before not after
Eon Berkman: denied
Yossarian Carpool: I mean in the bathroom
Officer Tenerfoot: he made a noise
Paragon Boozehound: then I move for an interlocutory appeal
Eon Berkman: denied
Yossarian Carpool: in your professional opinion was he soliciting you for sex?
Officer Tenerfoot: yes, we were trained at the academy on the signals of the so-called "cruisers"
Yossarian Carpool: after you tapped your feet how did you know this wasn't just a mistake?
Officer Tenerfoot: three rhymthic tappings are a classic signal of a man cruising for homosexual sex
Officer Tenerfoot: they have a code
Senator Craig: "they"????
Officer Tenerfoot: they taught us about it in training
Yossarian Carpool: who is "they"
Officer Tenerfoot: people who engage in lewd behavior in bathrooms
Yossarian Carpool: how many other stings have you participated in?
Officer Tenerfoot: dozens
Yossarian Carpool: no further questions
Paragon Boozehound: Your honor, at this time defense moves for a judgement of acquittal. The state has failed to prove ANY element of a criminal offense.
Eon Berkman: denied
Paragon Boozehound: Denied
Paragon Boozehound: Mr. kotobide
Officer Tenerfoot: ms. kotobide
Paragon Boozehound: You don't like gays very much do you?
CWalk Collins: objection: relevanve
Eon Berkman: overruled
CWalk Collins: objection: prejudicial
Eon Berkman: overruled
Officer Tenerfoot: I support marriage equality
Paragon Boozehound: first, you said on direct that you know about so called cruising from training at the academy, correct?
Officer Tenerfoot: yes, they taught us
Paragon Boozehound:: so they taught you, for example, that three rhythmic taps amounts to a solicitation for homosexual sex, correct?
Officer Tenerfoot: not in every context
Officer Tenerfoot: only when surrounded by other indicia
Paragon Boozehound: So you can't be sure what it indicated?
Paragon Boozehound: Can you?
Paragon Boozehound: so it doesn't amount to a soliciation?
Officer Tenerfoot: I am sure
Paragon Boozehound: you are sure about what?
Officer Tenerfoot: I am sure that it was a solicitation for lewd behavior if not sex
Paragon Boozehound: so if you encountered me at a rock concert and found me tapping my fooot would you be sure that I'm soliciting for gay sex?
Yossarian Carpool: Objection speculation
Officer Tenerfoot: was it in the bathroom?
Eon Berkman: overruled
Paragon Boozehound: let's say yes and I'm still grooving on floyd
Officer Tenerfoot: and had there previously been a movement of the feet towards each other in a suggestive fashions?
Paragon Boozehound: I'll ask the questions here, officer
Officer Tenerfoot: I am trying to understand teh ????
Paragon Boozehound: : and, being an officer of the law, is it your testimony that gay sex is a crime?
Officer Tenerfoot: no that is not a crime
Yossarian Carpool: objection: outside the scope
Officer Tenerfoot: love is a battlefield
Eon Berkman: i want to hear this
Officer Tenerfoot: I have to be at a bathroom in a Denny's
Paragon Boozehound:: no further questions
Yossarian Carpool: the prosecution rests
CWalk Collins: prosecution rests victoriously
Paragon Boozehound: I once again move for a judgement of acquittal
Eon Berkman: denied. defense call your witness
Paragon Boozehound:: defense calls senator craig
Paragon Boozehound: senator, did you tap your foot in the bathroom at the airport on the night in question?
Senator Craig: perhaps, but njothing more than ordinary tappin
Paragon Boozehound: what was your intention when tapping?
Senator Craig: i had a certain 80s song in my head... girls just wanna have fun
Paragon Boozehound: and did you touch the bottom of the stall next to you?
Yossarian Carpool: objection that song sucks
Eon Berkman: overruled
Paragon Boozehound: A:yes
Paragon Boozehound: Q:what was your intention in touching the stall?
Paragon Boozehound: A:I had to get rid of the gum I had just spit out
Trish Silverspar: Objection - Defense counsel is answering his own questions
Paragon Boozehound: your honor in the court of SL, when the witness crashes, the counsel is permitted to take over
Amaya Upshaw: i'll be the senator for a minute
Officer Tenerfoot: he is an anti-gay bigot
Officer Tenerfoot: he uses intolerance to achieve power
Yossarian Carpool: 'm hungry
Officer Tenerfoot: I move to impeach Craig from the senate
Officer Tenerfoot: and replace him with a clone of Hillary Clinton
Eon Berkman: court is back in session
Paragon Boozehound: your honor i have only 35 mins of battery left
Eon Berkman: type fast
Yossarian Carpool: mr craig have you ever had gay sex?
Officer Tenerfoot: Craig voted for POKER! He must be acquitted!
CWalk Collins: sir are you gay?
Paragon Boozehound: flaming.
Officer Tenerfoot: if he took a shit, you must acquit
Paragon Boozehound: can't you tell by my outfit?
CWalk Collins: do you remember previously saying that you were not gay? like over the last 30 years of your political career?
Paragon Boozehound: yes, but I fall on the fluid side of the kinsey scale
CWalk Collins: so you are a liar?
Paragon Boozehound: a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of narrow minds, counsel
Yossarian Carpool: sir have you ever had sex with men in the minneapolis airport?
Paragon Boozehound: no
CWalk Collins: did you sign a confession
Paragon Boozehound: yes I did
CWalk Collins: no further quesitons

Officer Tenerfoot: he pled guilty to being FABULOUS
Paragon Boozehound: no, I was only spitting out my gum
Eon Berkman: closing for the prosecution
Trish Silverspar: Ladies and gentleman, I point to you the fact that Senator Craig signed a confession to soliciting gay sex in a public place. He admitted that he is gay and therefore is aware of the gay signaling. He has lied multiple times during the hearing today and our expert witness has all the qualifications to tell when someone is solicitng gay sex which is a crime in a public place. I ask you to apply the law as the judge instructs to this hypocrite
Eon Berkman: thank you
Eon Berkman: for the defense

Amaya Upshaw: As my client testified today, he had no intention of soliciting any kind of sexual activity when he tapped his foot
Amaya Upshaw: Even if he was gay, proecution is wrong to assert that necessarily means he is aware of any and all "gay signals": And, even if he was intending to get to know this gentleman better, there is no evidence he intended to engage in sexual acitvity in the bathroom. As anyone who has ever been to a bar is aware there is nothing illegal about suggesting you'd like to get to know someone better. The idea that he was about to engage in sexual activity is unsubstantiated.

Eon Berkman: thank you. ladies and gentleman of the jury, the question before you is whether senatory craig solicited sex, and if so, whether he should be drummed out of public life.
Eon Berkman: i constitute you all the jury. you may now deliberate your verdict.
Eon Berkman: i appoint kotobide foreman

Yossarian Carpool: i think he's guilty as jesus
Paragon Boozehound: NOT GUILTY!!!
CWalk Collins: guilty
Amaya Upshaw: i think he should be drummed out for hypocrisy
CWalk Collins: he signed a confession
Yossarian Carpool: he's a sinner
Paragon Boozehound: yossarian I like your outfit
Kotobide: he is not a hypocrite
Paragon Boozehound: [taps his foot]
Yossarian Carpool: he harrassed officer tenderfoot!
Trish Silverspar: he signed a confession. and actually, i read a newspaper and he apparently swiped his hand below the bathroom stall several times as well!!!! ! !
Kotobide: anonymous sex is not inconsistent with the oppression of gays
CWalk Collins: he even thought he committed a crime
Kotobide:: ok I am foreman
Trish Silverspar: he should be thrown out of public sphere for being a hypocrite
Amaya Upshaw: so he thinks they shouldn't be allowed to get married
Kotobide: after we discuss for a few moments
Trish Silverspar: not because he solicited sex, which he did (confession)
Kotobide: we will take an initial vote
CWalk Collins: gay
Amaya Upshaw: but random airport sex is okay
CWalk Collins: i mean gulty
Kotobide:: no foot tapping
VikingMoonshot Akroyd: not guilty
Paragon Boozehound: guilty!!!
Yossarian Carpool: not in mineaopls
Trish Silverspar: guilty to being a hypocrite
CWalk Collins: guilty
Yossarian Carpool: that's not family values
Eon Berkman: but even if he did it, a desparate lonesome man looking for a little break between flights, should he be drummed out of public life for being gay
Yossarian Carpool: what would oprah say?
Trish Silverspar: besides, we don't want him in our Senate so let's just convict him
Eon Berkman: exactly

Kotobide: I want him to run again
Trish Silverspar: as a born again Gay man
Kotobide: and not resign
Yossarian Carpool: he's a dirty man
Kotobide: I am just curious to see if he could be re-elected
Trish Silverspar: no way
Paragon Boozehound: what kind of example is he for our children?
Yossarian Carpool: we should convict him, then he coul switch to the green rainbow party
Trish Silverspar: motion for a straw poll
Officer Tenerfoot: that congressman in the 80s was re-elected after actually having sex with a young boy
Trish Silverspar: GUILTY
Paragon Boozehound: alirhgt, everyone, sit down for convict, fly for acquit
Kotobide: in Massachusetts
Amaya Upshaw: guilty of hypocrisy, not airport sex though
CWalk Collins: im flying
Kotobide: so let's vote, question one, is he guilty? question two, if he is, what punishment?
Kotobide: vote by voice
Yossarian Carpool: guilty. drumming for 8 months
VikingMoonshot Akroyd: not guilty. hes a man. spelled M. A. N.
Kotobide: I mean SL voice
Eon Berkman: has the jury reached its verdict?
Kotobe: Yes, your honor. On the issue of guilt, the jury is split, 4-4
Kotobe: On the issue of punishment, a clear majority that he should not be drummed out of the senate, 6-2
Eon Berkman: court adjourned.

October 10, 2007

critique of last week discuss the next case; the second shooting at columbine
assign roles

show video from poker last night
ask how it connects
shall we break the pane of self consciousness

more discussion of our experience of virtual and real space
seeking ease in multiple story spaces


Tonight's class was fun. I apologize for being somewhat distracted at times--my girlfriend's flights were delayed and I was checking her flight status to make sure she was still going to make her connection and get to Boston.

I have a few reactions.

One: The class mainly focused on two topics:an HLS-based reality TV show and briefly considering whether we could do a trial on whether teachers would be liable for assaults (by a third party) against their students in second life. I could tell that you initially wanted to try another trial (on the latter topic) but then gave up hope when the discussion wandered elsewhere. It might have been fun to try it, but I think we accomplished other things which were also valuable and meaningful.

Two: In general I think people are distracted (as I was) by their laptops. Maybe when we're not actually using second life (or reading an article such as the CHE one on the wiki), we should all close our computers to ensure that we're fully engaged. (I notice this is a problem at HLS in general, and it's even worse in big classes)

Three: What KB did in gathering the statements of his client was awesome. I had a great time reading the stuff and I think it will provide valuable material for the trial.

Four: The motion for change of venue was silly.

Five: I am concerned that we will have trouble getting started on time next week. I think that we might want to try booking another room so that we don't have to wait until the other class leaves. Also, to ensure (is that even the right word?) that everyone arrives on time, perhaps one of us should send a reminder email on the day of the trial.

Six: This class has been pretty fun and exciting. I appreciate the open ended nature of things, the flexibility, and the spontanaeity. Also, as my landlord said when he saw me leaving with beer and I told him it was for a class, not many professors have a BYOB policy for class.

Thanks for creating such a cool experience for us.


I have spent some time thinking of the events of our class, mainly the videotaping of students around a poker table. The idea has great potential yet could prove disastrous. I think there would be many people interested in what life is like at Harvard Law. And I think premising the show around a poker table would draw in a crowd that could readily relate to the characters. Poker is poker, whether played at Harvard Law or Harvard, Illinois. It could also open peoples eyes to the amazing conversations that take place between students on a daily basis. I know when I first came to school here two years ago that I was amazed at the level of intellectual discourse that took place on a daily basis on a whole plethora of topics. I also was amazed to see how many characters; eccentric, funny, witty, etc. were at this school. I think people could really be drawn in to the show by the people we have here at the law school. The show also has potential for disaster. As we spoke about in class, those of us at this school have much to risk. We have careers lined up that could easily be yanked out from under us if a partner at a law firm decides that one of our actions on the show demonstrates a lack of judgment. Or the firm could decide just allowing ourselves to be videotaped for the show demonstrated a lack of judgment. Losing a job might be a bigger deal to some than to others, but with $200,000 in loans to pay off because this School decided I would be one of the lucky ones who wouldn't receive a penny of aid, I don't know if I can justifiably risk my starting salary. Other than in terms of exposure, there seems to be much more to lose than there is to gain by recording our interactions centered around a poker table. Your reputation is the one thing that stays with you for your entire professional career and I would rather error on the side of caution. I have not become aware of any tangible gains that would justify the risk.


You asked us to reflect on the past session with a particular view towards expanding thoughts and feelings and constricting thoughts and feelings about what's been happening. I have strong feelings in both directions.

Excitement/Joy: The Expanding Thoughts:

I think that the projects people are discussing are really interesting and are ideas that I would like to see realized.

I can see a common theme through much of what's been talked about deals with the nature of identity, which I find to be a very interesting field. Particularly as it relates to advocacy. So I am interested in the idea of empathic argument, and using one's personal narrative and identity to build empathic arguments.

The presentation of self and the intersection of self and technology is also a very interesting topic. The democratization of media and culture through the internet has changed the way people present themselves. I'm not sure how, because I basically grew up in parallel to the growth of the net, but something is different. It is an opportunity for hiding further and wearing more masks, but it is also an opportunity for revelation, honesty and openness. Like everything, it's a double-edged sword.

These questions have been part of humanity since there was humanity. Ancient peoples understood that humans are complex systems and engaged in mask-making as well as viewing masks as metaphors for our ordinary daily existences. Masks can can be a source of learning and power. And sometimes the way to work with them is counterintuitive. For example, if we put on a mask is a play setting, we then take it off when we're done. The act of removing that mask after play may help us to remove additional masks, the ones we habitually carry in every day life. So we have to wear masks to remove masks. Very interesting.

And the internet and the availability of individual media outlets reworks the frame by which we can do this. It allows us to remove masks or don them in the ways that we want to in an individualized fashion. It allows us to make more thoroughly cloaking masks. And gives us a media to really reveal ourselves to all the world.

So it's just new, empowering venue for the construction of identity. These issues are something I've been thinking about for a long time. In college, as a theater major I dealt with them often. Now, as I prepare to begin my legal career, I am trying to be deliberate in the way I construct myself as an honest and powerful advocate.

So I am really thankful that we have a seminar that is a venue for engaging with these ideas. Most of our other classes have no discussion of the role of the self in law. The law is viewed as something distinct and apart from lawyer's identity.

Fear/Frustration: The Constricting Thoughts:

There comes a point, I think, when thinking too much about what we are going to do, could do, or should do, begins to inhibit the act of actually doing. I fear that this is happening in the class. We have had interesting discussions and there is a lot of potential in the ideas, but I fear that we may get mired in ontological questions.

I definitely don't want to denigrate the importance of asking the big questions and theorizing our ways of being, but I really feel that the meta-discussions and the actions need to run in parallel. Emphasizing one to the exclusion of the other would prevent us from making the most of the full experience.

That I think is the crux of my issue: I believe we need to be doing things and taking action in order to discuss them meaningfully and that we need to discuss and think about our actions to shape them.

The Poker Society would be a good example of what I think we should shoot for. There seems to be a lot of discussion and theorizing how to make changes and the discussion is accompanied by concrete action. And it is taking off.

I think many of the other ideas we've knocked around in class have been over-talked and under-done.

I worked as a carpenter for a while and sometimes my boss and I would confront really difficult problems. We would get into long discussions, arguing, theorizing how to tackle it. But nothing got done until we said "Stop. Let's not brain-fuck the thing to death." At that moment, it was time to just pick up the hammer and put things together.

Brain-fucking is a danger in most human endeavor. It the time when theorizing crosses the boundary that divides practical problem solving from paralysis through abstraction. Sometimes it's more comfortable to over-think and run around in intellectual circles than it is to take a breath and plunge into the actual issue at hand. But brain-fucking is paralysis. It is death.


Even the project of this reflection essay is the opportunity to examine the self. Obviously, I have strong feelings in the expansive sense and in the constrictive sense. That seems pretty much in line with my personality. I have the urge to go forward with imagination and create new things, but I also have the urge to pull things back, correct them, and reform them according to my ideals.


I'm not sure I'm drawn to the idea of a reality show based on Harvard. I've no doubt of the allure of our school's name, and I could see people being curious about what it's like to be here. At the same time, I'm not sure our discourse is necessarily more interesting, witty, or funny than at any major university of the same caliber, and maybe we want to protect our image, whether we find that image deserved or not. I'm not trying to put down who we are and what we've accomplished to be here, but I feel wary of Harvard students discussing how a TV show premised around us and what we do day-to-day might be successful because we are at Harvard. Maybe I'm wrong, it's just because I'm already here that I feel like there isn't really anything so peculiar to our daily lives. It's true that people here are interesting and some are zany, but judging from what I see on television, the big reality show draws aren't really about being witty and clever, they're often about people we can laugh at. Perhaps even feel superior to. Or maybe that's my own innate arrogance coming out, but I have to admit that I love watching trashy reality shows at the gym, America's Next Top Model, Beauty and the Geek, soforth. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I doubt I'd make it as an executive TV producer, anyways.

As for taping the Poker Society, I think that could be interesting and would draw people. Professor Nesson asked our opinions on whether he needs to go through some procedure to get permission before posting such a video, and I think, as one of the people who might object if I were to be in a random video, that as long as the people were aware that there was a video camera, it should be okay – we live in the world of Facebook, where it's almost impossible to avoid having our photographs posted once the picture is taken. Maybe it would make things more simple if he did discuss it briefly with the Poker Society beforehand, and talk about what he wants to do with the video, since there may still be people who have concerns about being posted on somewhere like Youtube.

I don't want to ramble on too long, but I have to say that I enjoy the ideas we bounce around in class. I was at Berkman Island last night practicing for the Burning Man trial, and it was very neat to be able to meet with KB without having to meet in person, and yet feel more connected than I might have through email or through instant messaging. Second Life still makes me dizzy if I try to walk around too much and I find the interface really clunky, so far, but I appreciate virtual worlds. When I was a kid in Korea, it seemed that all the kids were playing text-based MUD games or at least participating in hobby forums on these networks (this was before the WWW was easily or cheaply available), and I grew up enjoying that. It's easier in Korea, though, because bridging the world between online and offline is, at most, a 4-5 hour car ride, and a great number of people just live in Seoul anyways. Here it seems to be more about just an online connection, rather than having online serve as an intermediary to offline forums and groups and fanclubs. There's a greater stigma still in the United States about doing something major online, like playing MMORPGs, or online dating, but I imagine that will change.


  • class 11: trial
  • class 12: what does it all mean