An image of Tateru Nino's Second Life avatar on the page of a bookThe Second Life Terms of Service (ToS) comprise over 45,000 words, spread across roughly 20 documents (including Wiki pages), all of which you must warrant that you’ve read and understood and agreed to before you can access Second Life or its forums.

I read the whole thing. Every time. It takes quite a while to go through it all, especially because it is written in The Black Speech of Lawyers. You probably don’t read it. Probably hardly anyone does.

And that, actually, is a major user-retention issue.

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Tateru Nino's Second Life avatarThat seems like a fairly simple question on the surface, and – in many senses – it actually is fairly simple, with fairly simple answers. You have to think it through a little bit to actually get to that simplistic core, however.

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Earlier this month, Elliot Rodger (22) made a short video and wrote a 137 page manifesto before going on a killing spree in Santa Barbara, killing six people before dying himself.

Rodger is variously described as a geek, a gamer, and a sexist. And you know? None of those are of any importance in Rodger’s case. The fact is that Elliot Rodger was such a dysfunctional, broken individual that none of the rest of it is even relevant.
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An elderly man in a suit adjusts the hand of the Doomsday ClockThe saying goes “even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day”. The implication is that no matter how wrong you are, how broken your reasoning, or how unfounded your opinion, once in a while (by chance) you’ll be right about something. There’s also an inverse corollary here: No matter how good your reasoning and your facts are, no matter how often you’re right, sometimes you’re going to make a mistake and be wrong.

Life’s tough like that, and we all really know these things, but it is largely these two principles that have led into a long-term distrust of the process of science.

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