IBM is hoping to avoid embarrassing incidents created by its staff in Second Life by publishing official guidelines governing employee behaviour in the IBM Second Life sales centre, according to reports by the Associated Press.

Second Life itself banned gambling earlier this month after facing an FBI investigation. But IBM is believed to be the first big corporation to issue its own rules governing employee behaviour as Second Life increasingly becomes a platform for doing business, the AP says.

The IBM rules will tell employees not to discriminate or harass, or share intellectual property with people who aren't supposed to see it. 'Avatars', the images that represent Second Life users online, should also have an appropriate appearance for doing business, the guidelines suggest.

"Building a reputation of trust within a virtual world represents a commitment to be truthful and accountable with fellow digital citizens," IBM states in the guidelines quoted by AP. "Dramatically altering, splitting or abandoning your digital persona may be a violation of that trust. . . . In the case of a digital persona used for IBM business purposes, it may violate your obligations to IBM."

IBM has not issued a press release about the guidelines and did not respond to an inquiry from PC Advisor’s sister title Network World. It's unclear whether IBM employees who violate the guidelines could be disciplined.

See also:

The top 8 Second Life virtual businesses