Compuculture: Helpful Participants

Apr 22, 2020

This week, I really got into the swing of virtual interviews. I’ve found out that it’s actually really easy to make friends in virtual reality — not necessarily because everyone is nice, but because everyone plays VR to have fun. Combined with the anonymity and security VR offers, and the result is that strangers are more open to meeting each other and speaking with one another.

I conducted many more interviews this week and so have several stories to tell about some of the most interesting people who visited the interview center.

During the ‘word’ section of the interview, when I ask the participants to come up with a word that describes VR and write it, one participant noticed that the word board was rather messy. Another overzealous person had added a large splash of color a few days ago. As the researcher, I decided that it was best for me to not edit the word board in the interest of creating a truthful product.

The participant proceeded to pick up the eraser and clean up the board. It took them about five minutes to get all the red out. After they did so, I inquired as to why, and their response was along the lines of “to make it look nicer.”

The cleaned-up board is certainly much more pleasant to read. Some red that couldn’t be reached easily with the eraser remained — not by my instruction, but by the user’s decision to keep previously present words intact.

Overall, this experience with the eraser was a great look at how helpful total strangers can be, and it filled me with a lot of hope about players in VR as a whole.

In the same interview session, after the painting section, another participant noticed that the gallery was in a rather out-of-the-way location, so they took the liberty to move it over the fireplace because they thought it looked nicer. I have to agree.

(Yes, that painting to the far left does say ‘bean’ with a picture of a bean.)

One of my favorite works of art this week was by “Meow,” who painted a cat under a cherry tree.

When asked about it, they explained that they and their brother liked cats and thought they were very cute. They also said that one of their first VR games featured blossoming cherry trees and that they felt cherry trees were peaceful.

All in all, this was a great week for virtual interviews, and I’m looking forward to the new (virtual) faces I come across this week.

At Raft, I’ve been busy learning Ruby on Rails. I’ve added functionality to my site including account creation, log-in, security measures, an options panel, admin powers, and more. You can see my progress on my practice Rails application here (although I can’t assure you there aren’t any bugs!):

Next Week: More interviews and more features in the Rails app.

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