The latest free speech brouhaha is about the banning of Prokofy Neva from the Second Life Forums, although not from the SL world itself. I took advantage of the SL deal of a one time payment of $9.95 for the right to roam through their world (but without landholding rights) to attend the SL second anniversary party. Here is a snapshot taken by Prokofy - I am the guy with the goatee, noob jeans and t-shirt . I had previously been a member for about a year from 2003-04 with landholdings but quit when I realized it was taking too much time from my RL activities (raising a family, writing papers, working etc.) and also I was becoming somewhat exasperated with the shopping mallization of SL. When I re-visited SL and attended the anniversary party, I found Prokofy pontificating about various gripes concerning SL management (the Lindens). He is evidently a bright and articulate fellow (woman?) and had involved the whole group in this discussion, but it was extremely boring, like the worst sort of banal complaint session of the neighborhood ratepayers' association. So I left the "party" and decided to explore the world a bit - it has been taken over by a board game called Tringo - why anyone would want to utilize virtual space to play a 2 dimensional board game is rather mysterious. I can only attribute it to a lack of imagination or a failure to fully realize the potential of the new technology. This is similar to the way that, in the early days of television, in the 1940's most of the content was the broadcast of stage plays. Marshall McLuhan recognized this - and said as we drive into the future, we mostly look through the rear view mirror. SL now seems to be mostly a mix of board games and the ubiquitous shopping malls. There are, of course, some exceptions, such as Virtual Hallucinations, the compelling and disturbing simulation of mental illness, and groups such as SL Salon where broader issues than local gripes against the Lindens are discussed, but these seem to be in the minority. Although in theory the rear view mirror effect will eventually wear off, unfortunately the rapid pace of technological change will mean that just as SL residents are weaning themselves of the RV mirror, another change will come along that will force them back to it. Perhaps, just as they are realizing that Tringo is rather pointless, a new virtual world technology will emerge, such as mental telepathy, and people will use it at first as a prosaic form of three-dimensional keyboardless chatroom, with thought balloons popping up over their heads, instead of using it to its full potential in the sense of entering another person's mental world.