In the Second Life online game/world, misbehavior is suspended by banishing miscreants' characters to "the corn field," a vast star-lit field of corn cut off from communication with the rest of the world (a reference to the classic Twilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life"). The existence of the cornfield was only rumored until recently, but now the prison's existence has been made public and documented.
"Sometimes when someone is suspended for a short time they are sent to the cornfield," Linden Lab's Senior VP of Community and Support wrote on the official Second Life discussion forums yesterday, adding that building the cornfield didn't require any significant development work and reassuring the community that "Once someone is permanently banned they are no longer welcome in Second Life, anywhere, including the cornfield."
As promised, Nimrod Yaffle was teleported into the middle of prison simulator, finding a tractor in front of him and the eerie rows of corn. "I was laughing the whole entire time I was there," he told me. "But in a way, I was also worried that the children of the corn were going to get me...it would be great if the Linden's made scripted children there." Yaffle was disappointed at the "insanely slow" pace of the tractor, and bored by the only channel available on the televisions--a presentation of the 1940 film "Boy in Court," about a troubled teenager on probation trying to avoid a life of crime.
Update: Xopl sez, "The virtual world product WorldsAway (now VZones) which just celebrated its 10th straight year of operation had a similar device known as The Void. The Void was (is?) a completely empty and monotonously coloured room where trouble-makers would be sent to think about what they had done. The offender was there an indefinite period of time and unable to communicate to anyone else in the virtual community."
Update: Marc Laidlaw sez, "Let's not forget, 'It's A Good Life' didn't come from The Twilight Zone originally. It came from the inimitable Jerome Bixby who wrote the classic original story, of which the TZ episode is a pale derivative. Say it three times so nobody forgets: 'Jerome Bixby, Jerome Bixby, Jerome Bixby.' And go read 'The Holes Around Mars' while you're at it."