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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

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Val Suisei

I fear I may be one of the few who votes so positively, but in all honesty I've always felt LL has done quite a fine job of communicating to SL residents, at least ever since they started up their blog. I've never been caught unaware about downtime, maintenance or the addition of new features or big changes since I started visiting the LL blog regularly.

I see a lot of folks complain about a lot of things regarding SL, and they almost always blame LL - rightfully so, seeing as they are running the show. However my experience since joining SL over a year ago has been almost entirely pleasant, and personally I think LL is doing a pretty okay job. I dunno if I'm just really lucky or everyone else is exaggerating over bad things, but that's just the way I feel. =D

Delu Elytis

Lately I've been looking for sources of information such planned downtimes, office hours and grid stability (I want to see if Linden is doing a good job with their current focus on stability). I found it using Google Calendars, which I stumbled upon when I played with my own calendar, and then at the Second Life Grid: Quality Metrics.

Then there's the Second Life JIRA, I can see what bugs there's, what features Residents want and affect how soon they will come to be looked at. Can also see what, at least some of, the Lindens are working on.

Another big information source is blogs and news sites like NWN. Linden is, as Val said, "running the show", and that makes many eyes to look at them more closely and examine them into the stitches.

I find Linden gives out plenty of information. Just it may be a bit tricky to find the info you look for among it all.
I do not know how much goes from Resident to Linden tho.

As you ask how the Linden-Resident communications is, it makes me wonder, what information is failing being communicated between Residents and Linden?

Otenth Paderborn

While the mechanisms have undoubtedly improved by an order of magnitude, use by the Lindens has not kept pace.

Marigold McBride

In many ways, I agree that the Lindens communicate regularly, almost often, with Residents through their blog. We do know about outages and downtimes, at least about their occurrences and schedules (when known). The biggest issue is that we don't know what their short- and long-range plans are for virtually eliminating outages for a service that many of us pay for. If my ISP were offline as often as Second Life, I would have switched providers by now. Reliability, not communication, is the major issue I see, and plans for that haven't been transparent to Residents. I do respect how difficult it must be to operate a service that is worldwide and 24/7 and satisfy the vast majority of customers. But you don't start such an adventure without trying to determine the cost in resources and the cost of not providing the level of service demanded by customers. Why have so many joined and abandoned? One reason may be the issue of reliability. (The one most often discussed, however, is value received, a different conversation entirely.)

Eloise

I went for mixed rather than other, and an explanation anyway.

There are many things that they communicate quite well: planned downtime for example is nearly always well communicated. Certain sub-groups also do well - Glenn Linden is good at communicating with the SLDEV group (even if we're not called developers any more).

However, the flim-flam and double talk about the recent "Wonderland" reports is terrible.

The tendency to announce major bits of news last thing on Friday and then go is moving from risible into satirised.

Jeska's blog post about the new search engine was useful and welcome, but confusing and very hard to understand.

Whilst I understand a choice was made about notifying EU residents about VAT, I'm with the majority that say the *wrong* choice was made - a blog post saying clearly "This only affects you if you're in the EU" is not that hard to comprehend after all.

The list of specific examples could go on, but I'll end with a really mixed one.

Often the official channels to notify us of what I'll broadly call "Grid issues" (failure to tp, etc.) are really slow. They could also add an automatic message to the login screen about stability issues usefully. However for those issue where there is a follow-up story (sadly far from all issues) explaining the reasons, this is welcomed by many and is an example of good practise.

Jayden B

Whilst there are some Lindens who are trying to spread communications the biggest failure is Robin Linden's inability to clearly explain policy.

Broad and Offensive, IDV, Gambling... None were really made clear.

Timing also comes into play, VAT although I am not affected and is valid, was once more bungled by Robin's department.

All problems with communications, the dissatisfaction that residents feels, the lack of care they perceive can be traced to her lack of direction.

Ordinal Malaprop

Communication regarding downtime and technical issues is decent, certainly a noticeable improvement on the past. The Linden Blog actually has reasonably detailed explanations of issues, in-world issues are posted about in a "status update" manner - I'm quite happy with that.

Information regarding policy is bad. It appears that the basic idea that communication of policy is a good idea in theory has been appreciated, so that there are some posts about it, but there are always key questions which are not answered, details not dealt with, and often contradiction between statements by different Lindens at different times in different media, or even self-contradictory statements.

I'm not sure whether this is a _communication_ issue or down to the policies not being firm in the first place.

Nadine Nozaki

Some parts of the informations works some are a disaster, and almost all communication is one way, even is the storm about the planned downtime over Halloween actually made the lindens change something. I hope this is a change to the better, but it still feels like they see them selfs as gods, no wounder they have a god mode. Yet have not got the basic need for gods, worshipers.

Yes, I like and love SL, but i don't like and love the company that runs it. They have since i started added loot of censor stuff, without previous warnings, and not, almost no informations. Look at what Iridium Linden did at burning life for one example. Raised the cost of SL with 25% over the night, trying to blame EU for it. That that say the always payed that taxes (as they had to been doing). What happens was that they decided they could not have a lower income from the EU residents so they raised our prices (at least thats the current story from LL). That might be ok, as they had lower prices for EU resident because they missed that we are supposed to have taxes included. But mailing this out only to most, after one had raised the prices, it's lets say unethical at best. Also the VAT number they clams to have is still invalid, not fixes after numerous comments on the blog.

Down time info have worked, most of the time, at least for planned stuff. Also some stuff is political it sounds like in LL, like the age verification, like voice, like the communication center. As this in manly broadcasting of informations is failing to meet the definition of communication. The information flood is good, the communication bad, or really bad in many areas. However with focus groups with some residents there might be a change of that. I hope that LL changes and starts listen more to customers, or they will have problems when others comes into the market.

Asp Grelling

Technical communication is good on downtimes, updates and what is coming.

Linden Labs seems to be struggling with social issues such as theft, abuse, griefing, verification and crime. I suspect that LL don't know how to deal these issues and don't have a unanimously agreed policy. As a result communication in those areas can appear poor.

Re: Robin Linden. I think she is honest and concerned about the users and community. From reading the blogs and chat logs, I get the impression that she is being asked questions where Linden Labs do not have a clear policy and is trying to answer as best she can - don't kill the messenger.

CyFishy Traveler

I likewise put "mixed", for much of the same reasons people have stated--while they're reasonably good about letting people know about things like downtime and certain grid issues, they also fumble the ball on major policy changes like the VAT for EU Residents and ID verification (which we're still waiting for a clear answer on.)

At the same time, I do feel sometimes that certain people go a little over-the-top in the volume of their complaints, as if anything less than absolute perfection is some kind of personal insult. I tend to weather the storms of lag and glitchiness with a sense of perspective that the technology is still catching up to the demands made on it. Yes, I agree, the grid needs to be stabilized. But flaming every blog post with 800 tons of entitlement complex isn't going to do much to speed up the process.

Torley

I've been wanting to see the results-in-progress of this poll thus far, altho it appears I'm unable to unless I vote... which I will NOT do for obvious reasons (I work for Linden Lab).

Communication is a "Big C" and a high priority for me within my own job responsibilities, and I would certainly like to know, personally or otherwise, what I could do to improve my Linden-to-Resident communications on the projects I'm working on.

For those not familiar, I regularly update my Project updates page here:

» https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Torley_Linden/Project_updates

in addition to creating video tutorials, public wiki pages with tips 'n' tricks, updating status of bugs on the Issue Tracker, and other knowledge to "fill in the gaps" of what you want to and should know, but don't yet... because these resources didn't previously exist. But, I know I CAN DO MORE!

Any and all Residents are welcome to comment here or email me with suggestions on what I could do to better serve the community within my expertise (meaning, please don't ask me about what I don't work on/don't know, e.g., I'm not involved with Abuse & Governance — we have a good Team already dedicated to that, so please inquire at their new office hours @ Kremer!). For emphasis, my responsibilities as a "Product Manager & more" are listed on my wiki page here:

» http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Torley_Linden

Or heck, if you can make my office hours, come on down!

» http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Office_Hours

/me looks forward to seeing the end of the poll =)

Tenshi Vielle

FOURTY EIGHT PERCENT, Torley. Are you proud of that number?

It doesn't surprise me to see that the Lindens are doing horribly on this poll. I've been beating my head against the wall with this online stalker that's been operating in SL because of the Lindens. They're too good to be bothered to do anything. I continue to get "It's not my department" comments and "AR it." I've AR'd countless times now - had my friends do it also, we had an AR party - and NOTHING has been done. Not a thing. In fact, my friends are STILL being harassed by this girl.

Torley, if you want to save your company some face please make sure they've bothered to go through the AR's and that they WILL take care of this girl and her 25 alternate accounts. I don't want to have to take this matter into my own hands. There should be a way we can DEPEND on the Lindens to fix a problem - for god's sakes, most MMO's will ban a player for harassment, and we have got NOTHING over the past three weeks.

"Not my department"? Yeah right. Go find someone whose department it is, then, and get it taken care of. We're desperate.

http://shoppingcartdisco.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/the-girl-of-many-faces/

Regan Turas

Anyone who regularly visits the un-official SL forums is well aware of the complete chaos behind the scenes regarding serious punitive policies that are never explained, as well as outrageous problems with billing.

LL has put into place what appear to be automatic bans for avatars making certain kinds of money transactions. Simply transferring money from one avatar to another, or paying off beta testers has resulted in the banning of friends or content creators in the middle of production. What it takes to trigger this banning is not clear, but some people have been banned more than once for the same innocuous transactions.

More bannings when different, but perfectly valid, email addresses are used for alt accounts. Again, no notice or explanation of stated policy until people are caught in the banning net.

Currently LL is double-billing accounts, then freezing accounts for lack of funds, and their billing office appears to have virtually no access to their own records or their records don't match those of the credit cards and banks involved in the billing transactions.

LL will warn residents they will be banned if they don't remove contraband products from their stores, but then REFUSE to name the product they want removed, even when asked. Evidently it's against policy to let a resident know HOW they're breaking the rules, even when the penalty is severe.

And hanging over everyone is the uncertainty of Age Verification, which is mentioned in fits and starts, and in such vague and contradictory statements that makes it impossible to plan for how to deal with this change when/if it becomes a reality for land and business owners.

This is pure insanity and creates an atmosphere of fear, distrust and resentment among those who have substantial investments in the SL platform.

WarKirby Magojiro

In the areas of bugs, features, technical info, etc. I think they're doing a good job. But policy is horribly lacking. I've observed not just inability to properly define policy, but actually flat out REFUSAL to do so.

In one recent case. "You have an offending item on your land. Remove it, or you will be banned. We cannot tell you what it is"

Said by a linden, to a friend of mine. And I've heard of other similar incidents. I STILL don't know if tringo and sploders are alright.

REfusing to judge articles of content, as to whether or not they comply with p0olicy, and Iron fisted, inconsistent enforcing of various violations. One of my friends got permabanned for breach of the peace, for using a particle effect. Thankfully she's back now, as Linden caved in when her lawyer called.

There's a hell of a lot to improve yet.

Cocoanut Koala

Very well put, Regan Turus!

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Time to run this poll again and compare responses?

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