The controversy over the Lindens' recently announced policy on freebies sold on the company's ecommerce site xStreetSL continues to roil. In a reader survey which garnered a disproportionately large response, nearly 90% consider it a bad idea that won't improve the Second Life economy.
In response to Resident objections, Colossus Linden pointed out that the policy was shaped in large part by three in-world meetings. In effect suggesting: If you didn't attend a session and offer your feedback then, why are you complaining now? But here is the chief irony: as a synchronous, system-taxing, international platform contiguously limited to several dozen users, Second Life is not necessarily the ideal venue for holding large feedback sessions which involve a lot of text chat. Context and conversation gets lost in the barrage of multiple public and IM chat threads, those who use voice are stymied by those who don't and vice versa.
Or to put it another way: In its current state, using Second Life to shape Second Life policy seems like a recipe for confusion.
Noting that many Residents have suggested as much, I put that point in a question to the Lindens earlier today:
A lot of Residents are asking why Colossus made her decision on freebies mainly (or almost solely) based on feedback from three in-world sessions. Why weren't better feedback channels pursued, such as a poll on the xStreetSL site?
Linden rep Pink Linden replied to me this way:
"These decisions were made after a great deal of consideration, discussion and debate; they were initiated and refined by Resident feedback, not only the in-world meetings held specifically to discuss the topic, but also feedback we received over time through other channels including a number of threads on the Xstreet Merchant Roundtable forums and the in-world group, SL Commerce Merchants."
Pink added: "The new policy is not a referendum on freebies, in fact, freebies inworld remain unchanged. Ultimately, this policy is a move to enhance the merchant and buyer experience on the Xstreet platform. Lastly, we will continue to invite more Resident feedback on the issue in upcoming office hours to discuss the details of the implementation."
I put this to content creators and patrons of xStreetSL: What's your sense of this reply? Does it satisfy your concern that this policy was shaped by user feedback?