- Organizational Issues
- Who controls the communities?
The communities will be organized by volunteer coordinators from
among the community members peer group. Coordinators will not
be professionals "helpers" in a given field but will
be "self-help" coordinators. For example, a community
of cancer victims will not be coordinated by a physician or nurse,
but by a fellow cancer victim. Experts may be invited to events
at the option of the coordinators. The coordinators will follow
general rules and guidelines for the "Being-there" organization
as a whole, and will have access to educational materials in on-line
community facilitation. Advertisers will be prohibited from controlling
or influencing the direction of the communities, in the same way
that a reputable news organizations separate sponsored advertising
from editorial content.
We hope to obtain foundation funding to complete our development
work. Ongoing operational funds will be provided by banner advertising
revenue and licensing of the 3D chat software to 3rd parties building
independent communities. The bulk of the labor necessary to make
these communities work will need to come from volunteer community
- How can you say your are a non-profit, educational organization
when you are spamming us with banner ads? Most IRC Chat communities
have no ads
It is in the interest of our communities and the contributors
who fund the building of our communities that we are self-sustaining
for ongoing operations into the future. Currently, internet chat
users do not expect to pay for their chat service though this
could be an option in the future. Public, educational radio and
television media have a long history of presenting advertising
by sponsoring organizations. Even government organizations are
beginning to post banner ads on their sites. We intend to screen
our advertising, so that it is limited to material that is not
pornographic or exploitive. As we get larger, we will have an
advisory committee to set standards for advertising, and review
questionable advertising. Also, note that our 3D chat environment
is unique in that it permits the individual to decide whether
or not to focus attention on the advertising material.
- Why aren't you a for-profit corporation. Couldn't you attract
capital and grow faster that way?
Our founders were primarily motivated by the prospect of doing
the kind of work we love to do, as a full-time career. Nobody
needs to get rich. Rapid growth would be attractive, but there
are two main reasons for avoiding a for-profit entity:
- we would be forced to focus primarily on maximizing investor
return on investment rather than our organization mission,
- we would have difficulty recruiting dedicated volunteer community
coordinators if they suspected that someone else was realizing
a monetary profit as a result of their unpaid labor.
- Portal of Communities
- Where are all the people?
While we are in test mode, we will not be widely publicizing this
site. We do not want initial users to be put off by bugs and feature
limitations. As we begin to release this to the public, we will
use web-based calendars to permit small communities to schedule
chat events so they can attain a critical mass of users early. We
will also support community communication through web-based forums
where members can leave messages.
- What is special about your communities?
They are 3D, voice-enabled, chat communities with a purpose - with
something compelling to talk about. See here
for more details.
- Why is this any different than other existing chat communities?
Current chat communities already serve a vital need for millions
of people. However, internet chat can be confusing, disorienting
and even frightening to newcomers. The predominance of sexually
oriented themes tends to put-off many people and obscures the true
value of these communities. Our portal provides a organizing framework
for people to find their areas of personal interest. Our technology
makes chat more accessible, intuitive and expressive than text-based
chat. Our themes, content and volunteer coordinators, driven by
our mission, provide a context
and culture that is supportive and postive in support of interpersonal
growth and cross-cultural communication.
- I really like the idea of your portal, but I can't support
an organization that endorses lifestyle XYZ
We intend to build a portal that is as inclusive as possible. People
on the fringes of society need community to avoid isolation more
than most. Yet there are some communities (such as pedophils) that
we will not support. As our organization matures, we will have an
advisory board to determine which controversial issues will be permitted,
within the framework of our organizational mission.
- 3D Virtual Reality Chat
We believe that a well implemented virtual world community can
be more intuitive and more expressive than text-based chat. It is
more intuitive because you know intuitively whether someone is talking
to you (they are facing you) or someone else (they are not facing
you). It is more expressive because user-defined avatars (representatives
of themselves in the 3D world) permit a community member to project
any image and mode that they choose.
- Why bother with IRC compatibility?
The universe of communities that use the internet-standard IRC
protocol is a growing and thriving group. As of May 11, 2001, there
were nearly 500,000 people online at the same time using IRC. Check
this IRC Statistics site to see how big it is today, and how it
has grown over time:
By being compatible with these communities, we hope to be more
inclusive of this worldwide population. These people can use our
software for a 3D voice-enabled chat experience without ever leaving
- Why not use state-of-the-art 3D modeling technology?
Our goal is to be inclusive to a broad base of users and to create
software that will run on any Windows-compatible personal computer.
State-of-the-art 3D games require fast CPU speeds and video cards
with hardware 3D accelerators to produce an acceptably fast frame
rate. Our software will produce a frame rate of about 15 frames
per second on a Pentium 133 MHz CPU with no hardware acceleration.
This fast framerate is the key to the fluid, immersive experience
on a wide range of computers.
- This is a promising chat environment, but I won't really be
great until it has feature XYZ
We agree. This is a work in progress, and the final product will
have full support for IRC chat, animated and audio-enabled gestures
for avatars, web-based chat, web-based bulletin boards and event
calendars, and a wide range of additional features that we have
- Give me a gun; I want to shoot somebody
This is one of our most common requests. Shooting people is not
exactly what we had in mind when we created this environment, though
maybe we will create water balloons to throw at people in the future.