Internet trolling is unfortunately a sad part of reality. Sure, sometimes it can be funny, but more often than not it can be annoying and in some cases, even hurtful or mean to the extent it would be considered as bullying, so imagine taking that into virtual reality. Imagine the trolling one might encounter, and given the immersive nature of VR, it could be worse!
The good news is that this is something Google has already considered, which is why they are working on trying to create a positive social experience in virtual reality, or to be more specific, part of its Daydream VR platform. The company has revealed on its blog some of things they have done and implemented to ensure proper behavior.
Google cites an example of shopping in VR where one user could place a hat on another user, and that user can’t take it off, meaning they would need to restart the entire experience, which is why Google has experimented with building a personal space around a user to prevent others from invading it.
“Everyone should feel safe and comfortable in VR. If we can anticipate the actions of others, then we may be able to discourage negative social behavior before it starts. For example, by designing personal space around each user, you can prevent other people from invading that personal space.” They also tried to encourage positive interactions, like when avatar hands touched at high speed, it would be considered a high-five, whereas trying to punch an avatar’s body would not do anything.