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Thursday, April 23, 2009

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Mitch Wagner

Should LL ban camping next?

My vote: Yes.

Mozy Pera

Wow....this will definitely stir things up just a little...

Widget Whiteberry

Seems to me there are at least two more big questions.

Can LL set up an effective metric of 'resident' in-world activity?

Can LL design a system that encourages optimum sim usage where optimum is a function of smooth running 'resident' experience?

Rika Watanabe

I predict the resurgence of camping, (which is not against this policy as announced) and bots being increasingly better disguised as campers -- they'll probably even be paid at ridiculous rates no human will be tempted with -- and in general, far less positive change than desired at greater cost to everyone than it could be if traffic was removed in the first place or calculated in a completely different manner.

Also, land bots aren't "going to be prohibited" -- the text implies that they will stop working because the ability to purchase a parcel inworld will be removed. Instead, far cheaper (in terms of computing power) and more effective web bots will be used, so they will be even more effective than before.

Frans Charming

You are right on the arms race. The easiest first step is to make them behave as mannequins. Since LL allows that you don't have to do anything fancy, just have them wear a simple outfit and say they are show models, and have the outfit for sale.

This will either trigger LL to treat some mannequin more equal then others, or ban them all. Either case, the race is on.

Adric Antfarm

The devil is the details. My idea of a mannequin may not be linden's and I need 20 for my store (which I don't have - but still).

I didn't know a lot about this until I moved next door to a porn monger superstore (very well priced land) and noticed the same two people show up on my HUD every time I came on. I found them "scrubbing" floors 24/7 in the place and they even show them earning money! (pics on my page). I admit the first time I was sort of taken it, but after it was clear they had put in 500 hours I was all like...hmmm. Dedication!


Mitch Wagner

I imagine you need to clean floors a lot in a porn palace.

Hmmn

So what stops people setting up camping stations and putting their own usual bots on them? (effectively paying themselves, masquerading as campers).

Adric Antfarm

Man Mitch..

that so should of been my line.

Hamlet Au

Ooof.

I'm wondering if a better solution would have been to forget about the bots, and just re-architect the Traffic stats. Now they pretty much just gauge number of visitors and time spent. An alternative would measure visitors/time spent with other indications of meaningful activity -- interacting with items, building, chatting, spending L$, etc. etc. More important, these measurements would be KEPT SECRET, so they couldn't be gamed. Google doesn't reveal its search algorithm, why should the Lindens?

Adric Antfarm

Hamy got lost (on his own site) but he has a valid point.

The problem is (like with the awards) if you don't show the math people get all cranky and start claiming all sorts of stuff.

Before you know is V. is IMing you and it gets weird.

Ciaran Laval

Hamlet it looks like that is what they are doing, Jack says search is being rehashed. Although he says traffic will stay I wonder if they're going to pull the places tab at some point and incorporate it all into the Google appliance search.

Connie Sec

Who in god's name really goes to the first place that comes up in search? I can only speak for myself, but i usually search for a place if I have heard there is something I want there.
Really, these Bot herders are kidding themselves if they think any SL'er with half a brain REALLY takes notice of traffic stats or placement at the top of the search list.
But the thing that really gets up my nose is the waste of resources and general degradation of performance that these bots (anecdotaly) cause. So..to you traffic "gamers", here's a virtual finger..and it's not pointing you the way to my skybox. It's to tell you that cos u are top of the list..I avoid you like the plague. And to be frank..the "banning" of Bots by LL will probably make as much difference ( for reasons pointed out above) as this virtual finger.

Ran Garrigus

"More important, these measurements would be KEPT SECRET, so they couldn't be gamed."

Security through obscurity only delays things. People invested in gaming search statistic _will_ figure it out given time, so this just pushes the problem to the future.

As far as L$ expenditure as a measure goes, this is a very good idea in theory, but it's not that hard for a traffic gamer to dump L$ on his bots and have a script that makes them buy something, sending the cash back to him. Now, if all L$ transfers between residents were taxed...

A scary thought.

Ann Otoole

Kinda shows you who is really up to date with Second Life business when people are making grandiose claims of success when no mention was made of the blatant gaming of profile picks that have a much larger impact on search relevancy in addition to the fact you can hand money to a broker who pays the picks "campers" via a hud.

Oh and they loiter for cash too. You pay the broker and the broker tells campers where to go loiter via the hud. There are no camping chairs and all the "campers" look like legit accounts. Because they are. Well maybe. The bot AI is steadily improving. It is already to the point with some of them that it takes time to figure out the conversations they are having are such gibberish that it is comedic lol.

I guess if Linden Lab begins spying on all SL communications they will be able to spot the bots/campers. But all they are going to do now is penalize people they don't like that are too obvious. And only a smidgen since traffic is diddly compared to picks relevance.

But hey you "experts" have fun with your celebrations on your "victory".

Arcadia Codesmith

If there are allowances for mannequins and "atmosphere" bots, they ought to be registered as such and excluded from stats. Delete unregistered bots and other afk macro accounts (e.g. campers).

Or give residents the right tools and we'll do the job with great glee. I recommend an electronic sheep cannon. Dream of this, bot!

Nalates Urriah

I wonder how many bots are actually in-world?

The AI is improving. There are LISP routines that do an excellent job of imitating a conversation, provided the human does not become repetitive. But having a computer detect bots... that seems like it would add more load to the system than the bots.

Whatever the case, one the rules are known there are likely a large number of people that will be happy to report suspected bots.

A Linden tax on purchases... they would have to tax even small purchases, L$1. Since the smallest transaction is 1L, that would be 100% on 1L items, 10% on 10L etc... THat would be pretty hard on newbies.

Mitch Wagner

I like the idea of the Lindens setting up algorithms to distinguish Traffic-bots. Such a filter would be a Turing test, and the Traffic-bot developers' efforts to defeat it would bring abou the Singularity.

camilla

I use a bot for group inviting, I just hope this will not be banned ! Maybe I should give it an outfit and make it pose..
This said, this is a very good decision, I'm tired be hidden in search because of ppl using bots armies, when I try to do my work honestly and with good, true efforts.

Rose

How about this ~ I teleport to a busy store sim showing maybe 23 avatars. I see 2 or 3 other shoppers scattered about. I tp to the obvious activity spot hoping for a lucky chair but its empty. On my minimap they are all ^ up there. Is there a party? A higher shopping level? Doesn't seem to be. Mmmmm .... since I've seen the same level of activity in this sim for weeks/months, and the store boasts high traffic, I wonder if they are bots. Should I refer this to Linden Labs?

Tateru Nino

I've found some interesting bot installations lately where the traffic bots cannot be seen at all - by placing them below ground (not actually in a hole, but 30 metres or so below ground level. The viewer and sensor scripts seem to pretty much ignore their presence, and you can only detect them via the map/minimap as green dots. Very clever.

Extropia DaSilva

'Such a filter would be a Turing test, and the Traffic-bot developers' efforts to defeat it would bring about the Singularity'.

But the Turing test determines whether or not a machine can be said to have an intelligence equal to that of people. The Singularity is defined as the creation-by technological means- of GREATER than human intelligence.

Obviously a machine intelligence that is on a par with human intelligence brings us closer than the kinds of bots we have in SL today. I suspect insect brains are more sophisticated than the software minds possessed by current bots. But a bot passing the Turing test is not evidence that the Singularity has happened.

Mitch Wagner

Ah, as Vernor Vinge pointed out, once software has achieved human intelligence, computer speeds will permit them to reprogram themselves to godlike levels in minutes.

Think of that the next time the grid is down. Could be just a routine unannounced outage. Or it could be the Singularity.

Archie Lukas

Damn right too

I have often browsed the map, found a location with lots of green people dots; TP'd there and found the place as barren as a witches tit.


We don't need cheats.

ColeMarie Soleil

YAY finally!
Maybe now real art can be on top and the crap go to bottom... feel free to ignore the camping chairs or find a replicating prim and hope rez is on... but I never said that

Little Lost Linden


It has been over a whole year since this announcement, and honestly, I have seen minimal impact of this new policy because until it becomes abuse reportable, this problem will continue to exist forever.

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