John Edwards' "Second Life" headquarters defaced

Lindsay Beyerstein: Virtual vandals slap blackface, excrement on candidate's virtual campaign office.

JreslAmanda reports that online vandals in Second Life defaced John Edwards' virtual headquarters.

Second Lifeis a online virtual 3D world created and owned by its 4 million virtual citizens.

I've included a screen shot of the damage. Note the picture of Edwards in blackface on the bottom left of the image.

Shakes has more details, via robinrising of the Edwards blog:

Shortly before midnight (CST) on Monday, February 26, a group of republican Second Life users, some sporting "Bush '08" tags, vandalized the John Edwards Second Life HQ. They plastered the area with Marxist/Leninist posters and slogans, a feces spewing obscenity,
and a photoshopped picture of John in blackface, all the while harassing visitors with right-wing nonsense and obscenity-laden abuse of Democrats in general and John in particular.

I witnessed this event, taking names and photos, including the owners of the pictures. I also kept and saved a copy of the chat log. I have filed an abuse report with Linden Labs, and am awaiting their investigation.

Not funny, guys. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around what real-life ethics should govern gameplay in a virtual world that partially recapitulates the real world. On the one hand, it's all virtual. Characters in second life are role-playing. In some ways committing a crime in Second Life is like writing a first-person story about a crime. On the other hand, people play Second Life with real money, and users invest a lot of time building their stuff. This isn't like a traditional game with rules and objectives. People go to Second Life for very different reasons. Some want to interact or compete, others just want to be left alone to build stuff. So, there are real ethical questions about whether it's okay to destroy people's virtual stuff, even within the context of the game. The game is designed to allow people to play as vandals or criminals, or anything else they can imagine.

However, defacing the Edwards headquarters was a virtual performance for a partially directed a real-life audience. 

Suffice it to say that stunt was a pathetic waste of time.

[Pandagon, Shakespeare's Sister]
Lindsay Beyerstein a New York writer blogging at Majikthise.