Hamlet Au writes about the new Emerald SL client's ability to enable simulation of physics for the female avatar shape's breasts. This has evidently caused a sharp spike in downloads and some controversy; some residents object to this being done without their consent. The makers of Emerald are looking into how best to deal with realism versus the understandable wish to control one's own appearance.
This does make me wonder about something, though. If avatar rendering is done locally, then the shape parameters are sent to the client--so a client could, in theory, modify those as the user wishes along the way, giving the user broad control over how you look to him or her. There's the obvious stereotype: if the avatar shape is female, set leg length to 100, set waist to 0, set breast size to 100, etc... the "I don't want to see [commonly disapproved avatar shape setting]" modification, and so on.
But what if you could say "if it's Jane Doe, then..."? Remember the controversy raised by magazines Photoshopping news images, like the OJ Simpson mug shot? This would take it to the next level, and would be subject to various kinds of abuse with photos or machinima taken with one, some, or all avatar shapes modified from the client's point of view.
I'm not sure what I think about this, and I have to think that someone has thought of this before. For that matter, I don't know whether the premise is really true, so this may be a pointless Gedankenexperiment. I still wonder, though.