... The implications for alternate identities both at actual Harbin and in virtual Harbin have improtant-ethnographic ethical implications, and for both ethnographer and people/interviewees/Harbinites, in this reading of virtuality and Harbin Hot Springs.
Ethical questions vis-a-vis virtual Harbin will emerge in my role as ethnographer in front of my own computer screen in relation to clothing-optionalness, for example, in virtual Harbin. For example, if I am at my computer screen, in virtual Harbin, and two avatars from different places on planet earth are doing virtual watsu together naked, and a friend walks up behind me and sees this, I, as ethnographer, would try to avoid my friend seeing this to protect these naked avatars' identities, even if I didn't know their actual-world or real-life, identities. As ethnographer, where confidentiality protects informants' identities, I choose to follow fairly well-established confidentiality guidelines (here: http://www.aaanet.org/committees/ethics/ethcode.htm), with respect to avatar identities, as well. Such guidelines are in development vis-a-vis the anthropological ethics of online research.
I've thus far only given one virtual world presentation where I showed people in a tourism conference a Second Life 'build' called the Gardens of Bliss (this build has been taken down), with its beautiful mountainous landscape as well as its pools. ...
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/01/quetzal-ethical-questions-vis-vis.html - January 20, 2011)