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Monday, July 30, 2012


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I think it's unfair to say that SL users are simply resistant to change. They are just resistant to bad change.

I don't know how many cheerleaders were screaming that "people are so lame and just hate change" mantra when Viewer 2 was released. We all know how that change worked out.

One way to get people behind change would be to fix the many broken changes of the past, and serve people with they really desire.

I thought this was supposed to be our world.

Extropia DaSilva

Imagine if the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy had not been a box-office success...

Producer: 'Oh dear, box office sales are going down, down down. We have a small community of avid fans but the general public are not taking to this film as well as we hoped'.

Director: 'That film Glee was really popular. I know! How about we change the script of the next LOTR so that instead of being about an epic struggle against the massing forces of Sauron it is about Frodo and Galadriel mentored by Gandalf to win a massive talent show?'

The problem there is, what the director suggests is such a drastic change the movie can hardly be called Lord Of The Rings. Change to SL is good. Change to SL is necessary. But change so drastic it is no longer recognizable as SL? Not good.

Dave Bell

I don't know enough about the WELL to comment on that, but it seems damnably obvious that SL has taken years to deal with some of the bad technical choices made in the past. Meretricious new features seem to have become the priority, yet SL has been badly affected by failures to fix known problems, and its reputation for incompetent planning and communication.

I have seen LinkedIn pages for several Lindens, with glittering past careers, and apparently nothing they can boast about in their time as a Linden.


It's still very much disingenuous to keep calling Second Life users "resistant to change" just because their ideas of change aren't yours.

Your primary connection to Second Life is blogging about it. The majority of users use Second Life for very different purposes. It might be more exciting to you if you could blog about Second Life becoming a fully Facebook-integrated, cloud rendered iOS app / Unity competitor or whatever, but most users care about stuff like tier affordability, usability and performance of the viewer, the completion of creation tools. Dead horses I know when it comes to blogging about, but nevertheless rightfully at the top of list of change desired by users of Second Life.

You'd be hard pressed to find a Second Life user entirely content with how things are now and don't want anything to change with Second Life. You'd be more accurate and honest in saying "resistant to my ideas of change", and with reason, because any two different users opinions on how to change Second Life will depend on their individual usage of it. Blogging about it is an outlier activity and it shouldn't be a wonder why your ideas seem so apart of the majority's.

Stone Semyorka

Blame the victim.

The phenomenon of victim blaming is a well established in psychology. It happens when the victims of maltreatment are said to be responsible for the transgressions committed against them.

SL users are going along merrily paying LL's bills and having fun in-world. In six years I've never met an SL resident who is against change that improves the experience. By blaming SL users, you divert responsibility for poor operations at LL toward SL user social factors and away from the behavior of LL, the corporate owner.

Ajax Manatiso

SL is like the corner tavern where people get together to talk, relax, enjoy a few songs -- and it goes on and on. If you turn the bar into a Chucky Cheese you will lose all those patrons and have no guarantee of winning any new ones. Change just for the sake of change is a mindless mistake. For all that LL got wrong, the basic premise is dead-on -- a virtual world meeting place where various activities and experiences can be shared. It just sounds like corporate brainlessness to want to change just for the sake of changing and trying to go with whichever way the wind is blowing at the moment. Change has to have a serious perpose and a definite need. If it's not needed, don't do it. Milk, for example, hasn't essentially changed in thousands of years and no one is predicting milk's demise.

Archangel Mortenwold

Linden Lab simply needs to lower its ridiculously high land tier. In a depressed economy keeping prices artificially high has driven so many region owners off the grid. They just can't afford the $1,000.00 USD to buy a sim direct from Linden Lab and they can't afford the $295.00 USD a month to maintain the servers. Linden Lab needs to be willing to take a short term hit in the pocket book to ensure long term survival and regrowth. Once people realize that land tiers are way down, they may start returning to the grid.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm thinking of the Star Wars MMOs.

Star Wars Galaxies was a fantastic design, but some suit decided to pull the trigger and commit to a hard launch date several months before it was ready.

As a result, the game struggled to reach the audience they had anticipated. Key systems were ignored as the live team got pulled away to other priorities. It was a heck of a lot of fun, but it was never quite finished.

So the company decided to do something bold. Rather than fix and finish what was there, it stripped out the innovative skill-based system, replaced it with a standard class system, eliminated or simplified the crafting, and otherwise introduced a raft of "bold" changes.

The players OVERWHELMINGLY told them not to do it, that the new system ruined almost everything that was unique about the game. But they did it anyway.

Result: disaster. Existing players abandoned ship in droves, and the new audience never materialized. By not consulting with the players and forging ahead to a more "mass-market" product, they plunged into the abyss.

Fast forward a few years and Star Wars: The Old Republic goes into development. But instead of being innovative, the new game took the same "mass market" approach -- and now they're tanking. Hard.

Now look at the population growth chart for EVE Online over the last decade. I'm no fan of CCP and their attitude problem (yeah, yeah, cry more devs), but they've stuck to their guns, delivered a consistant, hardcore experience with a steep learning curve, and enjoyed a constant climb in accounts as people grow weary of playing simple games with simple people (and it has a subscription model, thank you very much).

Listen to the people who already love your world. They know it better than the people who created it.

Archangel Mortenwold

Ezra, Stone, and Ajax make good solid points. What users embrace is change that improves viewer performance. Instead we got an outsourced, resource-hogging, buggy viewer in Viewer 2 that was replaced by an even worse one in Viewer 3, and while mesh seems like a spiffy new toy to play with, Linden Lab's outrageous upload costs have caused it to settle into a similar niche to sculpties. Now LL is altering prim physics in such a way that users now have to completely revamp their scripted moving objects, including doors. That's a huge inconvenience that does not improve users' experience.

Add to that the high prices, and it's no wonder the grid is stagnating.

shockwave yareach

Change for the sake of change is NOT a good thing. Nor is change which either breaks things people count on with the current design, or makes it HARDER to do anything.

Viewer2 was clearly designed by blind idiots who never so much as heard of second life, much less used it. And they released a viewer with black icons on black backgrounds, and expected everyone to magically know to hover the mouse a certain place just to turn off the media. Whereas before you had a pair of buttons for music and media. But that was too complicated to use, so it was replaced with an invisible gear icon which opened up a dozen sliders and checkboxes... if you knew that the gear was what you needed to touch, that is.

Improvements are one thing. We like improvements. Sculpts are nice. Meshes are nice. New commands in LSL are nice. What would be nicer is actually fixing some of the real problems in SL, like Lag, 50 person sim limits, and sim crossing issues. These have existed since day -1 and frankly we are ticked off about cosmetic changes that don't fix major issues. Not to mention LL's repeated changing of rules and trying to turn SL into something it isn't because apparently our money isn't good enough for them anymore.

LL has "improved" SL straight into the toilet. We'd love to see some fixes and changes that will get it out again. But nothing LL has done makes me think the lab has the willpower to fix anything important. All they want to do is wallpaper over the gaping rustholes in the ship and then look surprised when water still comes pouring in, sinking us all.

shockwave yareach

Archangel - I have to disagree with you there. While Viewer 2 clearly escaped from some netherworld programming cubical after killing it's creator with the keyboard cord, Viewer 3 is very stable and very easy to use once you are actually using it. It also fixes many of the things I hated most about V2, such as giving us back the floating IM windows. I detested V2; I love V3. But it is different from V1 and you have to get used to it first. And the code cleanup and stability under the hood make that a worthwhile investment of your time.

V1 is going to go away, like it or not. And as much as people say they'll quit, 90% of us can use V3 and will still hang around for our VW fix. Incidently, my cruddy laptop cannot runn Pheonix but runs V3 just fine with double digit FPS, so the argument about it not working on old machines doesn't wash either.

Hitomi Tiponi

Second Life users love good change - just give examples of good change that the users are against. We also had to put up with 2008-10 when LL tried to push Second Life in a direction (of corporate virtual worlds) that it was never able to go.

We will have more gamifying of SL, more diverse ways of accessing it, and more features in future - all good things. But we need more dramatic change. Look at what makes other games successful and copy them - plagiarism is cheap and effective!

Hamlet Au

"Second Life users love good change - just give examples of good change that the users are against."

I'll give you two: Gaming systems, and Facebook Connect as an account creation/login option. Both of them are fairly consistently reliable ways of growing communities, and are both vigorously opposed by much of the userbase, often for not very sensible reasons. A Linden recently complained to me that he fields lots of heated user complaints that the company was going to make them use Facebook, when no one ever said anything like that, and when it's only been proposed as an option.

shockwave yareach

Hamlet- I'll give you the reaction to Gaming systems. But Facebook? Sorry, but that was a stupid plan, especially with Facebooks TOS forbidding pseudonyms and avatar names. And what problem would it have solved? The fact that people can't enter their own avatar names and passwords?

I give them points for actually not forcing it down our throats after saying "we're just thinking about it" as LL has done so often in the past. That's the detail you are overlooking here; the fact that today's study is usually a fait acompli' and we normally have no choice but kiss the Linden rings and accept it. Making a spot in the profile to put your FB link, not a problem. Requiring a FB account to login, that's a really really big problem, as the revolt against it showed you all.


"Both of them are fairly consistently reliable ways of growing communities, and are both vigorously opposed by much of the userbase, often for not very sensible reasons."

Usually ideas like that aren't brought up in isolation of "these would be good optional features". They're usually presented under loaded pretexts like "if Second Life doesn't do this it'll die".

Ideas like gaming systems and Facebook connect are fine if optional. It's when they're framed as more important than the thousand problems and incomplete other features Second Life has do people take issue with ideas like that being put on a pedestal.

Linden Lab is a company of limited ability and resources. I think everyone has opinions on what they should be doing within the understanding that they can't or won't do everything, and the things they're willing to do takes anywhere from half a year to three years to achieve.

So I wouldn't take it as resistance or anger when a user scoffs at something like an achievement system, its just not more important than a thousand other things.

If you want to suggest something with those thousand other problems and incomplete features as an aside, frame it like Rod did on SLUniverse with the provided assumption Second Life was perfect performance and stability wise. If you don't do that though extra niceties like new login methods will get caught in the wheels of the same kind of frustration you post with when you blog about your Alienware not running Second Life.

Hamlet Au

"Requiring a FB account to login, that's a really really big problem, as the revolt against it showed you all."

The statement illustrates the point I was just making: in fact, *no one* at Linden Lab suggested requiring a Facebook account at login, just that it should be an option. So the "revolt", such that it was, was based on misinformation. Which is one big reason why Linden Lab isn't willing to add features like this, for fear of roiling the userbase.

shockwave yareach

Hamlet - Aaaaand when you read between the lines, as years and years of decisions the lab has foisted upon us over they years have taught us to do, what conclusion would any rational being come up with? This IS the same bunch that said they weren't going to ban gambling, then banned all gambling. That said they didn't want to make the VW follow a California-centric behavior code, then cemented a California-centric behavior code into the TOS. That said it had no plans to get into social media, and revealed it had purchased Avatars United weeks prior. And so on and on and on...

foneco zuzu

Facebook will be replaced much faster and enter the oblivion long before LL will lower the tiers!

shockwave yareach

Not to mention everyone quoting Phillip as wanting to bring the teen grid into the main grid. Oh, but no LINDEN said that was going to happen. Nosirreebob. Nobody said they were going to combine the grids, no no and no.

Weeks later, the combining of the grids was announced.

And still, after all this time, you expect us to cheerfully believe everything the lab says and does to us.

Recka Wuyts

In the current world wide economic environment and with a hardware evolution on the horizon, I wonder what changes SL could make at this point that would encourage growth. Lower tier will keep those who are here now and richly invested and it would quiet them for a time, but the way we use these gadgets is changing so fast...I believe the LLab is just trying to hang on for dear life and hope that no one come along to offer something better. Could be you are right Mr. Au, but it is some distance in the future yet and there will be many viewer upgrades before that happens.

Hamlet Au

Shockwave, you first said there was a "plan" to make Facebook log-ins a requirement -- do you have evidence of that? Asking me to "read between the lines" isn't quite convincing. (Especially since I talked with a lot of Lindens on this subject off the record, and they said the opposite.) Can you at least understand why it's difficult for them to introduce changes, when this is the kind of reaction it provokes?

Archangel Mortenwold

Shockwave, I've downloaded and installed V3 (and the latest FS) and the GUIs are still unusable. When you have to take courses just to figure out how to use an SL viewer, that's a bad sign that the GUI is a large part of the problem. That's why Phoenix is still the dominant viewer on the grid and why it, Singularity, and Cool VL Viewer (among other V1-GUI-based TPVs) will be around for a long time to come. Even Linden Lab isn't stupid enough to shut off access to the majority of the grid, which still uses Phoenix.

As Kadah Coba pointed out in a previous thread, plans to "shut off" access have been made and broken so often that we shouldn't expect V1-GUI-based viewers to go away any time soon. For various reasons, time has always been plentiful enough that developers can import new features to their viewers. What we have in Phoenix, Singularity, and Cool VL Viewer are V2-V3 viewers using the V1 GUI. That's a bit of oversimplification, mind you, but pretty much accurate. As long as the developers can find a way to import features into their software, they'll keep producing the V1-GUI-based viewers. it was never going to be LL that kills Phoenix Viewer; that decision always was and always will be that of the Firestorm team, whose head honchoes obviously prefer to keep lying to people hoping that eventually enough of them will transition to FS that they can finally stop offering updates on Phoenix.

Of course, just like LL, the FS people are shooting themselves in the foot. Between putting out a cruddily-programmed viewer that is user-unfriendly and not as stable as Phoenix, and by turning people off with elitist attitudes and falsifications, they're just causing people to refrain from switching over.

I suspect that if the FS team were to stop offering updates to Phoenix right now, the majority of grid users who use it will simply flock over to Singularity. Hell, Singularity might even manage to snag some of the Phoenix programmers (just wishful thinking on my part with regard to that, mind you), leading to Singularity overtaking FS and LL's default viewer for highest use. That's why you probably won't see phoenix go away any time soon.

Archangel Mortenwold

Hamlet, "reading between the lines" may be an inaccurate description of what Shockwave was suggesting. "Taking it with a grain of salt (the size of Luna?)" might be a better phrase. In any case, given the lab's history, I think there's legitimate cause to believe the opposite of what they claim much of the time.

Hamlet Au

Maybe, but saying there was a "plan" to force Facebook use is much different than being skeptical. Not to pick on Shockwave, it was a common conspiracy theory. One fairly well known blogger insisted there was such a plan, and offered as evidence (I'm totally not making this up), the fact that Philip Rosedale and Mark Zuckerberg ONCE TOOK A PHOTO TOGETHER.

shockwave yareach

Hamlet - I'm glad you aren't picking on me. :) And no, I can't say I saw a plan.

Just like I can't say I saw a plan to close Teen grid before they did it after insisting they wouldn't. Just like I can't say I saw a plan for them to ban gambling before they did it after insisting they wouldn't. #include llbetrayals.h

The lab's terrible relationship with its customers is the lab's own fault. And who knows, that might have something to do with the lab's less than stellar income.

Emperor Norton

shockwave yareach@"The lab's terrible relationship with its customers is the lab's own fault. And who knows, that might have something to do with the lab's less than stellar income."

Impossible, Linden Lab is run by the personification of John Gault himself and we customers should be grateful they graciously allow us to use their product for the absurd fees they charge. As M Linden famously said "Our customers are scum and moral degenerates and just wish they would all just die"

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