Posted by: Montola | May 16, 2009

Rest in Peace, Rheta Shan

Rheta Shan, self-portrait

Rheta Shan, a self-portrait

Persistent virtual worlds do not only break the magic circle, sometimes they also break hearts. I read some heart-breaking Second Life death news yesterday.

Apparently it took a month before the news of the death of Rheta Shan reached her Second Life lover Thaddy. Read the story for yourself. These links are safe, but if you start surfing these blogs, you’ll probably hit NSFW as well.

  1. This is not Rheta
  2. This is not Thaddy
  3. Some more farewells and obituaries from friends in SL
  4. Suspicion, discussion and controversy

Apparently, she was a talented designer, avatar-rights activist and a thinker on immersion and identity, and generally a kind of person I would have liked to know personally.

People like Tracy Spaight (here), Raph Koster (here), Richard Bartle (here) and Doug Thompson (here) have already written extensively about trust, identity and magic circle regarding player death in online worlds. For a virtual community, it is very hard to substantiate real life news, making fabrication all too easy.

Whether it is a fabrication or not, I sincerely believe that sometimes your second life can be the primary one.

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