Warner Brothers has a very successful setup in Second Life, centered around its popular Gossip Girl property. All isn't exactly rosy there, of late, as WB's actively moderated environment collides with Second Life's and Gossip Girl's rather broad popularity demographics.

Warner Brothers uses the Metaverse Mod Squad for active moderation of the Second Life presence. The question is, how do you moderate conversations in languages you don't understand? The answer, it seems, is that you don't. Visitors who communicate in languages other than English are warned to switch to English. Failure to comply sees the visitor ejected.

We understand the problem. Despite a coincidence of names with the 1960's multicultural television series, the Mod Squad is primarily an English-speaking team, and Gossip Girl fans are from a wide variety of languages and cultures – especially in Second Life where a substantial percentage of users are not native English speakers.

The ejection of non-English speakers from the location could, perhaps, be handled more delicately – tempers have run rather high among speakers of all languages as visitors and friends of visitors have been ejected – but it is obvious that Warner Brothers doesn't want to see conversations at Gossip Girl devolving into Cybersex in Afrikaans or Urdu.

Is there a good solution, however? There are scripted translation devices that are hooked through language-translation Web-services certainly, but if you've ever used those to translate ordinary chatter filled with the usual gamut of contractions and slang, you're probably already aware that they range from misleading to laughable.

It certainly doesn't seem like any mechanical translation solution is going to make things any better in the foreseeable future.

Update: A blog called Shopping Cart Disco has more information, including comments from members of the Metaverse Mod Squad.


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This article was originally published on Massively.