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Wednesday, March 21, 2012


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David Cartier

You know there is only a (relatively) small group of people who act badly at the 1st Welcome Area but they are there all the time and have been for the last five or six years. LL just needs to ban a few sociopaths from the areas and they will be fine.

Chic Aeon

Happily it was different when I joined long ago, maybe new demographics in play.

My main concern is this. Did the machinimatographers (especially in the first video where tags are clearly shown and chat on the screen) get the consent of ALL those avatars before making the film public? It is possible of course, and if so, well gold stars to them. But if not, it definitely appears that they have broken the Linden Labs Official Snapshot and Machinima policy (http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Snapshot_and_machinima_policy) which is linked from the TOS.

It really is important for machinimatographers to respect the rights of others when they film.

Just sayin'.

Inara Pey

It appears new users don't get pushed to Welcome Areas as of recently; After sign-up there are dropped into one of 24 new Destination Islands, which are LR-type environs with a single structure and a series of teleport portals.

There are currently no instructions other than footprints and arrows directing people to the portals - and where the portals drop a person seems to be dependent upon what is top of the list in the relevant Destination Guide listing.

Daniel Voyager and I covered the system at length last week. Word is, the new areas are a "work-in-progress".


Way back in the day, I was the guy at LL tasked with leading the team to dismantle all the telehub builds in SL. We visited every single telehub and deleted every telehub building, including all the ones in all the Welcome Areas.

But when I came to Waterhead, I paused. I couldn't bring myself to delete the last one. So I ripped out the scripts but left the telehub build intact tucked away safely in the Waterhead Welcome Area building. It's still there.

Waterhead was always special to me. Particularly since Waterhead was also where I started the whole inworld Linden Offices project, encouraging Lindens to use SL as a place to meet with Residents and hold office hours to learn about community needs.

Like Hamlet said, the sound of a dream fading away.

Ann Otoole InSL

It would require effort and money to staff the welcome areas. Better to delete those regions and force people to staffed venues. There are years of SL welcome area recordings on youtube. It is not a secret and LL has known about it all along. The welcome areas reflect the LL company culture and personalities of every LL employee or they would have dealt with it years ago.


The WAs serve a wonderful purpose: to congregate all the people like the ones in the video. As long as noobs are not dropped into that septic tank, let's keep the WAs in place to congregate the worst sorts of emotionally damaged sociopaths who log into SL.

I once watched a Linden at Ahern/Morris trying to hold a chat with these losers. He IMed me that he was doing this "off the clock," and in a Star Trek uniform. He enjoyed it, he said. What he needed was a phaser.

Whenever I feel down, having a rotten day, I'm going to watch this YouTube clip and think "but for the grace of God..."


This was where I got dropped my first day in SL in 2006. The video sounds all to familiar but with a different cast of characters. Its a little tamer under the shed. Back in 2006 we were being seriously griefed every day and it was snarky as ever. I asked a couple of new SL users why they kept returning so often to WH and their answer was a little surprising. They said they came because of the ENERGY of the place. I've always remembered that answer because I think there's something true in what they said. I want to say hi to Pathfinder. When I ventured out past the asylum gates to explore the surrounding area I discovered the Linden Village, the Castle and lots more. There was a building which I assumed was long abandoned designed for Lindens to meet residents - never saw anyone there and always wondered who put it up.

Krinkles Q Klown

Doubt it. Ann O'Toole has nailed it I believe.


It's becoming worse than a soap opera. Believe it or not, there are youtube channels devoted to recording this kind of thing.

One that came to my attention is the SecondDrama channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/SecondDrama/) that has recordings of all the popular venues like violet, waterhead, korea, ahern and probably a bunch of others.

It just blows me away to hear the things that people to say each other under the cover of anonymity in the SL public welcome areas.

The only useful purpose I could think of that this would serve is getting new people acquainted with who the worst ones are and to avoid them at all costs if they decide to venture there (which they shouldn't).

That, and I suppose it might be a handy resource for anyone writing a thesis on internet trolling or griefing.

Moni Duettmann

This only confirms to me, how horrible "voice" is. If Linden won't develop a technology, that will limit the volume levels plus choices of persuading voice modification, I will not ever use it. This SO spoils the magic.


We didn't have voice when I joined back in 2005 and the Welcome Area I landed in [DAMB] wasn't quite as psychotic but still weird enough although it had its moments of hilarity. And we'd have various Lindens dropping in to hang out, chat and reprimand reprobates.

I remember the day I discovered Luskwood: an oasis of calm and civility with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy playing on the radio stream. To this day possibly only outdone by Caldeon when it comes to the well-mannered civility stakes.

Silverfox Rainbow

the landing areas have always been like this - it doesn't give a good impression on sl, since i joined in 2005, i only went back to the huds a few times, as others have said, it like people want to live their own 'days of our lives' soap operas dramas every day there, its really not healthy nor is it a good impression for sl.

Alazarin: Caldeon has a great tutorial for new players, and its one of the few places where you can still have a decent chat :) without gestures being played every minute

Hitomi Tiponi

I think that LL are taking measures - they are now dropping people at other places, but not telling anybody. Now all we need is a few bots dropped in those welcome areas from time to time and the pondlife will stay in those small ponds.


@argo, nice to meet you too. :)

shockwave yareach

Neither welcoming nor helpful.

A possible solution would be to have one staffmember in the middle and a sign saying "PG AREA -- BAD Words will get you kicked!". On the other side of the Linden is a quiet area clearly marked as "Help Only -- conversationalists will be assisted to the limits of the law!" so people wanting help or having a question can get an answer.

If not an actual linden, a volunteer in a help group where the help group has the power to boot troublemakers and griefers from the welcome zones.

Arcadia Codesmith

Reminds me of the West Britain Bank in Ultima Online. The designers put all manner of taverns and other venues into the game for people to socialize, but the Bank became THE de-facto social hub. There were always people fighting, people spamming, and piles of dead bodies (mostly thieves).

If you lasted more than a week in the game, you either blended right in with the other delinquents, or you obtained a recall rune to one of the other banks off the beaten path.

It amazes me how many virtual world designers utterly refuse to learn from each others' mistakes (or learn all the wrong lessons). There's nothing wrong with having a noisy drama-flled cesspool for the idiocracy, but don't let any of those fools within a hundred miles of a newbie if you want to see any sort of recruitment succeed.

Glorf Bulmer

I spent quite some time touring the various infohubs - even wrote a travel guide to them, at one point! And, honestly, I do think that if there was one thing LL could do to improve new users' experiences, it would be to clean up the infohubs.

Every one of them has the "welcome area" rules clearly posted - no nudity, weapons, soliciting or griefing - and every one of them has those rules openly broken all the time. For every one person (at places like Isabel or Orientation Island) who's there to help out and answer questions, there is at least one griefer who's out to make new people's lives as miserable as possible... and, mostly, the places are inhabited by these toxic shrieking cliques, as demonstrated in your videos above.

Either clean them up, or cut them right out of the new user experience - LL shot itself in the foot when it axed the Community Gateway program; funnelling people towards *those* instead of the infohubs would be a major step forward.


In any case, if a region goes down and there isn't a home location to return to, from what I've seen people will end up in their respective welcome areas. (For unverified, PG or Mature sims. And age verified users going to the Adult Welcome areas) But anywhere the story is the same. Also I apologize if I've broken some rule I can make it private or edit out names!

Pussycat Catnap

As others have noted above me...

The present solution is no welcome area at all.

You end up in a forested room with portals that take you to random destination guide entries - according to the theme of the portal you hit.

This is both the best and worst possible solution - depending on what random destination guide entry you get tossed to.

You could end up in some empty vampire zindra place who's neighbor has half covered it with pink magenta giant cubes - which for some reason a linden let into the guide... or you could land in something like The Shelter and have an active host there and a crowd of people partying who all start chatting you up in a nice and helpful way.

- Pure chance either way.

The idea of using the Destination Guide as the gateway is a good one. But it needs more QA going into the destination guide for it to be done.

The problem there of course, is that we residents always start crying 'FIC' everytime the lindens do try to do any quality control...

As for info signs about how to move and talk...
- This is 2012, not 1995. The number of people who have not used a competing 3D or 2D video game at this point is getting very small. Such signs are just a distraction at this point. Get them in, get them somewhere social, and let that hook them - then let them learn the details.

Pussycat Catnap

"Every one of them has the "welcome area" rules clearly posted - no nudity, weapons, soliciting or griefing"

I know of at least one that lacks that sign. And as a result has become one of the more friendly infohubs, though it also has a small group of regular nudists as well as some who 'join in' on some days.

Pussycat Catnap

"The welcome areas reflect the LL company culture and personalities of every LL employee or they would have dealt with it years ago."

Yeah... sometimes...

LLs spent years promoting sandboxes as the be all end all of SL.

The same culture and folks that permeate sandboxes fill up welcome areas.

The welcome areas are a sort of 'grief teh noobs 4chan style' place that fits with the tech-geek culture of LLs...

Welcome folks in by hazing them, and if you survive being hazed, you're kewl, with a k.

I'm not yet willing to say this is -the- culture of LLs, but I will say its part of them, at some level high enough up the chain or deep enough into the mix that they can't shake it.

I've worked in enough places where the bad conduct of one key executive is very hurtful to the actual business, but he's too entrenched and everyone else ends up to afraid to do anything to call him out.


A) The ones causing the biggest issues have been banned before and have been coming back for quite literally years. Simply put Linden labs got tired.

B) Those that are new and want to be cool will throw on a few huds and roll a sim, they come and go very quickly.

C) People come to these areas for the energy they emit just as it was mentioned before. We all are well aware of other sims that are social nice and all that fluff. Human nature has drawn them into the "TV world" that exists in real time right there on SL.

Reality that needs to be faced is that Second Life caters to many people, each of them with their own desires and differences. Linden Labs knows a good chunk of their active oldest residents exist within these areas and yet they keep coming back, so surely its not all that bad.

Allwa Frognik

such pretty sublime faux images used for the last articles puffery..

log in for real and find the jersey shore drunkards given VOX and the idea of narcistic virtual freedom.

a great sell.... perfect lie.

and btw- that "video of the whore mouths" would be a 100% better advertisement for SL... would get 10x the intial looksies gotten from pastel barbie photoshop art.

foneco zuzu


Krinkles Q Klown

@Allwa Frognik LO-F-L. Let's put the "reality TV" in "virtual reality"!

Pepys Ponnier

Who cares? I'd say Allwa nailed it down pretty good.

val kendal

Thank you for reminding me why I have had Voice turned off for years!

Allwa Frognik

LL should pay me 10% of the 100k it should pay Snookie to license her/and her bambino to be's AV image for a national commercial.

WOW..mr T whos youre avatar redux pr rippoff...

imagine growing/ morphing baby snookie bambino pets... buy them pasta feed and self tanner.

Dizzy Banjo

oh man that video is hell to an audio engineer


The Jersey Shore is proof that we are all doomed. It's like some creeping evil out of H.P. Lovecraft.

Every time I hear the words "Snooki" or "the Situation" I pray for the alien invasion.

Allwa nails it down hard.

jo yardley

I think that the best solution may also be an impossible one; a private start place for every single new avatar.

It doesn't have to be big, just a skybox somewhere.
Here you are all alone, you see signs, perhaps a video, explaining you the basics.
In this room you get to walk around a bit, click a few items, change your avatar.
Once you think you're ready, you get to use a teleporter that first asks you a few questions.
Where you are send next depends on your answers.

Stone Semyorka

Hamlet, thanks for bringing this to the foreground again. While it's true that LL has known about this forever, it needs to be revisited.

Henri Beauchamp

Won't turning off parcel voice in welcome areas be the solution ?...

I mean, 50% of SLers are not even native English speaking people...

I personally *never* used voice... I hate voice ! It's a segregation tool against non-native English speaking people, and it breaks the fantasy/virtual aspect of SL: I certainly don't want to know what another avatar's player looks or sounds like: in fact, I don't care !

Welcomes areas were much more welcoming, back in 2006, when I joined... and there was no voice !

Eveline Nixdorf

Why do I persist in thinking that all this could all be so easily solved? LL should "Disney-fi" the intake process. Make it totally safe, policed, enjoyable, and above all STAFFED with people who are paid to be polite, welcoming, and to provide mentoring services. As an older person - who is becoming increasingly perceptive of how decreasing mobility might make virtual vacations very engaging - I can't imagine that there aren't thousands of people of like mind and age who would love to sit about in some lovely virtual setting and chat up other folks who have nice sailboats, shoes, and jewelry :)) Silly as it may sound to the usual online demographic, I think LL could reap a bonanza by marketing itself as a safe, interesting experience for older, less mobile folks. But the key is a friendly reception. That has to be guaranteed, and the new residents would have to be sent there, as well as protected once they got there. Strict rules on behavior, immediate ejection of miscreants, and so on. Surely there are legions of college kids and grad students out there who could be paid in Lindens - they'd be wealthy! Isn't there a tremendous lack of "ready employment" in-world? Screen them, train them, and pay then minimum wage, but in Lindens. Wealthy! I suggest putting Lindal Kidd in charge of this initiative.

Connie Arida

Someone logs in to the welcome area. The UI is unfriendly, the "residents" are unfriendly, the world is fugly. The residents themselves don't follow the posted "rules". It becomes a self perpetuating draw for retards and sociopaths. Any noobe would conclude SL is a haven for the above. Next, lets all write statistical contortions of why SL can't retain new accounts.

jjccc coronet (@JJcccART)

i made mute 2 one of the many videos showing what really goes on in second life whether you hate it or love it this is what really goes on. second life is better than any tv soap because its real people speaking there minds on any subject which can leave a bad taste in the mouth some times but saying that the welcome areas that have agressive communication serve a purpose for everyone who wants to rant and vent there opinions

Bridget Pinkerton

Seriously, I've been around the WAs mentioned and rarely there's much trouble. In reality, the worse problem is the fact that there are people crashing the sims in question due to being Internet Angry (tm). Just sayin'.


Yes, welcome areas are this bad and sometimes worse.

Ahern with Waterfalzz Extraordinaire and her cronies who can't think for themselves. Tending to do most of their bullying on voice so it is hard to write an abuse report on the situation. Claiming to own the steps on one side of this welcome area. This has been happening so long that an actual Linden renamed the steps to "da stoop" as Waterfalzz calls it. You will often here her demand all but her closest mindless followers get off of the "stoop" she claims is hers. It is horrible Linden Labs "honored" an internet bully with that. Sometimes one of the busier welcome areas, also one of the oldest.

Violet with a constant tidal wave of loud meaningless yelling and swearing between being crashed.

Waterhead is a huge mess. Many of the trolls from Violet and Ahern make visits to this disgusting place. The video in the artical doesn't even come within a meter of how bad this place can get.

Hanja with the internet couple Glurp Gurbux and Shazz Larnia attacking random newbies with scripted attachments that bump their avatars. Glurp Gurbux with invisible hollow spheres set to be physical trapping them and dragging them around. Shazz Larnia with the crazed insults and swearing. Lately this welcome area is effectively a ghost town, likely due to their treatment.

Castle Valaria with the vampire "gangs" that bump everyone off the side with scripted attachments down into the ocean below.

Moosebeach has mostly died but it was known for crazy yelling and swearing.

Ross is dead.

Helfell was known as the place to go if you wanted to endlessly play gestures.

Bear is a mix of calm moments and the mentally disturbed.

Encompassing all the welcome areas is the occasional particle spam that features such lovely images as a man stretching his anus open with his own hands so you can see inside, aborted fetuses, rotting dead bodies, Nazi symbols, and genitals with very severe cases of disfiguring sexually transmitted diseases or self mutilation. New users are unlikely to know how to counteract this. This is not mentioned often but this does happen.

Welcome to Second Life enjoy your stay, if you survive.

Kei Mars

Late as usual to the party, but...

If I want to feel an immense wave of melancholic nostalgia, I set the world to sunset and teleport to the four corners of Plum, Gray, Lime and Blue, where there stands a decaying, deserted replica of the original Ahern Welcome Area, where I came into Second Life in 2004 and came across a small, friendly group of oddballs, furries and Linden liaisons in primary and alt form who were there to welcome new people like me.

SL was just as hard to use then and equally daunting but I was made to feel welcome. Later I became a 'mentor', then a member of 'live help' then a Linden liaison myself because I was trying to hang on to that sense of people meeting, greeting and helping each other out that made me stick around in SL past the first few days.

I guess we all eventually found out that community spirit is not scalable. But it's not just a Second Life problem. The real world itself can be an equally incomprehensible, hard and unwelcoming place.


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