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Chapter 6. It's Not a Game, It's a… > Virtual Worlds as…Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds as…Virtual Worlds

I set out in this chapter to examine how researchers in various fields view virtual worlds. I feel I ought to end, however, with a reminder for virtual world designers that there is very relevant work going on much closer to home.

Community Management

Sooner or later, community management[364] is going to become a social science in its own right if it isn't one already. Virtual world designers create virtual worlds, but it's the live team that keeps them going. Designers should therefore take this into account when they create worlds in the first place. Of course, as I've been mentioning throughout this book, designers do pay serious attention to the way that the virtual world will be run; unless they have live-team experience (which the best of them do, of course), their views may, however, be somewhat idealized. As a designer, ask yourself if you would know what to do if

[364] I'm using the term here to cover all community management, that is, in-world and out-of-world. There is a tendency for the big commercial virtual worlds to apply “community management” only to out-of-world activities such as running the web site; in-world management is usually “customer support” or “customer relations.” Smaller virtual worlds don't generally make this distinction.


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