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Community Behavior in The Palace

Figure 6.39: pa5b.jpg
Getting a community standards notice at the entry way to Cybertown.

Like any community, the social life at Palace sites can be spoiled by a few rotten roundheads (or rude avatarts or avahunks). Most Palace sites, including the main Palace server, have community standards posted that pop up when you enter. The Cybertown standards are shown in the previous figure.

Figure 6.40: pa6d.jpg
An example of anti-guest roundhead hostility.

Recently, hostility by registered users toward guest users has grown, with guests being denigrated, and as shown here, sprayed with a treatment of anti-guest repellent. This repulsive behavior can only discourage more guests from becoming active members and contributors. How do you fight back if you are a mere roundhead? Newbie revolt! Use the pen over the sword, and keyboard your displeasure, ask for help from fellow citizens, newbie or registered alike! Who knows, you might even try calling for a wizard (see the following section on Wizards). See the section, ìPalace Community Standards,î in the FAQ at the end of this chapter for The Palaceís official guide to community behavior.

Wizards: so you want to rule the world?

Dr. John Suler, a psychologist studying The Palace community, has paid special attention to the role of wizards. I present a short excerpt from his full paper, which you can read on the Web at

The ultimate badge of prestige at The Palace is to be chosen as wizard. Wizards possess special abilities that ordinary members don't (like being able to kill, gag, and pin misbehaving users). They also participate in decision-making about new policies for the community. Many members, secretly or not, wish they could attain the social recognition, power, and self-esteem achieved through this promotion. To get it, one must demonstrate commitment to the community, which includes spending a considerable amount of time there. Wizardship can become a very enticing carrot that stimulates addictive attendance. For those few who do attain that position, it can powerfully reinforce one's efforts, and further bolsters one's loyalty and devotion to Palace life. Even though the position does not include a salary, many wizards see it as a job to which they are responsible. The wizard now has a viable reason for being so "addicted." As one user stated the day after receiving his surprise promotion, "I WORK here."

More from Dr. Suler in, ìDigiís Diary, What to do About all those Naked Pictures,î later in this chapter.

Fine-tuning Your World

Hot keys

There are a number of useful special key combinations which will speed your actions in the Palace. Some of these ëhot keysí are listed below.
Hot KeyAction
TabToggles focus between the Input Box and the View Screen.
Up ArrowWhen the focus is on the Input Box, this pages back through your previously typed statements. When the focus is on the View Screen, the arrow keys allow you to move your avatar around on the screen.
Down ArrowWhen the focus is on the Input Box, this pages forward through your previously typed statements. When the focus is on the View Screen, the arrow keys allow you to move your avatar around on the screen.
EscClears the Input Box.
Control+GInvokes the Goto Room command from the Options Menu
Control+GInvokes the Find User command from the Options Menu
Alt+ControlIf the Autoshow Names option is unchecked, this hot key combination temporarily displays the names of all people in the current room. If Autoshow Names is checked, this combination causes the names to temporarily disappear.
Control+ShiftCauses outlines of all doors in the current room to become visible.

Table 6.?

Seeing other people's names

Even if you have the Show Names option turned off (see Preferences under the Edit menu), it is still possible to see the names of all the people in the room with you: if you're a Mac user, just hold down Command and Option simultaneously. If you're a Windows user, simply hold down F3.

Seeing doors

Want to see all doors in the current room? By holding down Control (for Mac users), or Ctrl+Shift (for Windows users), you cause the outlines of all doors in the current room to become visible.

Signing off

To sign off from the current Palace without closing the client (i.e., if you want to continue Palace-hopping), pull down the File menu and select Disconnect.

To disconnect and close the client software, select Quit (Mac users) or Exit (Windows users).

Hot Palace home pages

The Palace official pages and ftp sites

The Palace Home Page is at

The Palace FAQ can be found at .

The Palace Community Standards Discussion Group is at

(Please post your experiences, insights, and suggestions for the benefit of all Palace users).

The Palace Directory is at

Palace downloads (software and multimedia assets) can be obtained from

Palace documents (manuals) are posted at

Palace discussion groups are listed at

Palace-related Web pages official link page is at

Palace advertising policy is at

Instructions on connecting through online services can be found at:

How to register for The Palace is described at

Palace anonymous ftp sites are as follows:

In North America:;

In Europe:

Some Palace citizen pages

Adam's Palace Pro Shop (Is It Eating Your Life Too?) is at

Chris Miner's Palace tutorial for Windows users is at

Rover's Doghouse is at

Eric D's IptScrae Resource Center can be found at

Nathan Wagonerís Palace hot list

Nathan Wagoner is an avid Palace pro and designer of art for Palace sites. His company is DuckSoup Information Services, and can be found at Thanks for this list, Nathan!

The Palace Everything Page is at

An article in Urban Desires can be found at

Dr. Xenu's Guide to Props and Botsólot's of help for building Palaces is at

A list of helpful links is at

Very helpful beginners tutorials can be found at

A large study by psychologist John Suler focusing on The Palace is at

The main page, with many other related resources by Suler is at

The Palace Ring of WWW sites is at

Digiís Diary: What to do About all those Naked Pix?

Figure 6.41: pa2d.jpg
Lady G is a fine Avatart (with clothes).

Well, you canít hide it. Sooner or later in The Palace you will see either Avatarts (scantily clad female avatars) or Avahunks (male avs of the same persuasion). I met one ten-year-old in WorldsAway who said his parents would not let him use The Palace any more because of ìall those naked pixî (WorldsAwayís avatars are built from carefully chosen parts). In The Palace, you can make your own avs; put anything on a scanner and you have an av. What is there to do about it? Where is all this going? Do we need community policing? Do we need parental controls? Do we need a ìnaked pix patrol?î

Since it is a global medium, we have to consider that in some cultures all of these pix would not be seen as particularly offensive. Dutch users, or other Europeans, might just laugh it off or ignore it. Benetton and other advertisers in print and on TV produce images far more suggestive than anything I have seen in avatar land. While naked pix might be offensive to some in the English-speaking world, they would be egregiously so to a devout Muslim.

So what can we do? Maybe Freud was rightóthat sex is the basic drive in human (and virtual) societies. If naked pix do disturb you, you can always choose another virtual world. But perhaps another approach might be to change the way you look at it. Psychologist John Suler wrote a marvelous paper on the psychology of The Palace (at, which takes up these issues. He writes, ìThe Palace often feels and looks like an ongoing cocktail partyóand like any good party, there is a hefty dose of natural, playful flirting.î So perhaps you could look at it as flirting, and not take it too seriously.

Dr. Suler goes on to report that, ìWhen I ask people why they keep coming back to The Palace, the most common response is, ìI like the people here.î

When it comes down to it (or as the English say, at the end of the day), if you liked more people than you disliked in your visits to The Palace, it is probably worth returning. As our story of the interview and mr. rotten earlier in this chapter pointed out, sometimes people put on a facade and act out a role which is not really who they are. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is also a good rule of thumb. Donít be afraid to talk to the avatarts and avahunks, and even ask them why they are dressed that way!

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.