Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Ultimate Viewer

It is has become pretty obvious recently that the Perfect Viewer is being developed whether we like it or not. The Display Names thingy is the latest in the line of seemingly pointless developments which, like a complicated cake mix will all bake out fine in the end...

...well, it does depend on your taste of course.

The Ideal Viewer from the current LL management perspective has the following features....

It allows banner adverts...

It promotes the use of Real Names alongside avatar names...

It allows you to Tweet and give Face from within SL...

It permits Marketplace shopping, and buying from sim owners...

It loads on a mobile phone..

Now, this may hack you all off enough to leave SL, but that's OK, because all white mice will be replaced by the Streaming Hoards of Millions. (yes, I was wrong, the Myth Of A 100 Million Users is not dead at all.)

Now, those that actually use Virtual Worlds have a slightly different set of priorities when it comes to developing the Perfect Viewer....but... those priorities are ONLY shared by Third Party Developers, the Lindens have their hearts set on the 100 Million scenario.... and cloud computing, (project "Skylight") for those too stupid to download a viewer.

I will certainly hang around to see what happens when the drunk fool in the pub, for example, stumbles via iPhone cursing and misspelling his or her way onto my chat list in the middle of a conversation I'm having. I declare war, as of now.

I don't really care that LL has this Display Names thing, I NEVER have names displayed, I'm odd like that, I figure I can wave my cursor over someone, use radar, look in chat, that gives me 3 possibilities of identifying who is there without having to read it over their heads in a way which would not be acceptable in a movie... but... I do hate being lied to very blatantly ....subtly is's called advertising, and I have got used to that over the years.

So...this quote has annoyed me a bit...

"Why is Linden Lab introducing the display name feature now?

Growing the SL Resident-base is a business objective that we're deeply committed to and we hope that you'll also benefit from that growth. We're also exploring ways to attract new Residents by making their registration and first-hour experiences in Second Life more compelling. We have long known that selecting a Second Life name is one of the biggest hurdles in the new Resident registration process; it is a common reason why potential new Residents abandon registration and it has consistently received very low ratings in new Resident surveys. The freedom to choose an avatar name in Second Life is something that many Residents have been wanting for a long time and it took some time to develop a feature that gave you as much flexibility as possible. This feature is an important step on our social media strategy that will ultimately allow you to connect your inworld identity to other social networks, on an opt-in basis. Again, Display names and eventually, the connection to social networks, is all about choice."

Well, excuse me, but that is a whopper of a lie.... and even if people were that stupid it does not account for all the people who manage this extremely difficult trauma of choosing a name, log on and never come back.

The lie is there to make you think that this is not part of their master plan to integrate real names and Facebook into the viewer for advertising income, which is, after all what this whole viewer thingy is about.

I don't think any one change in the viewer has been accompanied by 3 videos from the Smiling One, FAQs and pages of explanation. It makes everything more complicated, another layer of confusion for the noob (and oldbee) and another way for the griefer to escape before I have cut and pasted the name into the appropriate report. It has been developed with Facebook in mind, not the noob who can't decide on a name.

The "opt in" ..."it's all about choice"... is smoke and mirrors. It takes very little for this supposed freedom-to-choose to morph into an 'expected' or "normal" behaviour. This is how Consent is Manufactured. Those who refuse get marginalised and ridiculed over time, and eventually ejected from the group.

So What??

Well, so...nothing... it's their world, they will do what they like with it... if you don't like it, get out. They think they will manage well without you and me. They can buy in outside Content if all the creative people who want a viewer you can build with, leave.

...but... I believe Blue Mars has a basic flaw in allowing only the Elite to build, and that this flaw will passed on to SL if this is they choose to run this world. The flaw has to do with the amateur, and with Content by Committee.

The best content is supplied by the amateur, the worst by Committee.

That, for me is fact.



  1. How do you know it's a lie? I'll bet the Lab has better data than we do. :)

    I can certainly imagine lots of people who are on the SL page sort of out of curiosity, and who have lots of other things they could be doing, getting to the Select A Last Name From This Odd List step, and thinking "wtf is that about?", and closing the page.

    I've certainly closed signup pages on some services that I was mildly interested in for similar reasons; they wanted me to choose a gender, or wanted my RL zipcode, or just had some question that I didn't understand or that annoyed me.

    It might not be unreasonable to say that if someone's interest in SL is so casual that they will abandon the signup process because of something as silly as that, maybe we don't want them anyway. On the other hand, I expect some / many / most of SL's most ardent supporters today were once just marginally interested.

    But anyway, I'm not at all sure that it's a lie...

  2. Even if they don't have the data back it up, it's not a total lie -- I was extremely turned off by having to choose a fake name from the list provided. I'm still annoyed whenever anyone address me by it -- I know it's not their fault, that's the name hanging over my avatar, and in the chat pane, and in IM's -- but it's not my name.

    The thing is, I don't mind using a pseudonym in many circumstances -- on dating sites for example, to avoid creepy stalkers. If I was using Second Life for social gaming reasons then yes, I would want to have a pseudonym. But still, I want one that I pick myself, not one that SL hands to me.

    Why give new users yet another reason to reject the platform?

    They could have handled the dislay name roll out better, sure, or implemented it differently, but I personally am looking forward to the day when I can ditch "Marie Kolache" once and for all.

    -- Maria Korolov
    NOT Marie Kolache

  3. @ Dale...obviously there is no way short of physical torture of the "powers that be" to be certain of "it's a lie", but I equate it to that duck test {ie: looks like etc.}

    If I remember my "old" SL history there was something about having a lot of common last names as a way to generate "family connections" {/me looking in the old *Official Guide to Secondlife* and I cant find quote}. It's difficult for me to believe that with todays computing power, code couldnt be written that would allow people to use any name they wished within certain parameters {length, obscene, copyright}.
    As an independent mentor that has worked with many hundreds over two years on the old HIs...I've yet to ever hear a single complaint about names. I can say that every new person that I work with today does have one very common comment after I get them to go back and download the 1.23.5 viewer. "WOW! THIS IS A LOT EASIER"

    Secondlife as we know it will never be easy...
    I survived with a total of less that 90 days computer experience, and that at just a couple hours a day after work.

    The Benevolent Monarchy can plead FastEasyFun all they wish... I still believe it's about money... a 3D Facebook. They look at the 500 million people on facebook and see dollar signs.
    OK...that's fine...just dont try and B***S*** me.

  4. Gosh wow... this whole debate has stirred me to my very core, ayup, it has. True Names... yes, we should be identified. In fact, I don't think this goes far enough! I think there should be a feature to allow the display of Social Security numbers, driver's license and home mailing address!

    Just think for a minute: how do I know, when someone tells me they are in Australia or Japan, that they really are there? Maybe they are lying to me in order to cover up their delay in answering my chat! Or like when they say "I have to make dinner now"... how do I know it's really dinnertime where they are? They might be lying just to get rid of me!

    Or say when someone doesn't answer me right away and they claim they are busy, or chatting to multiple IMs. How do I know that's true?

    A display of SS#, DL#, address, keyboard status and the like (you know there's tons of keystroke monitors on the market that could help with this) would go a long way towards reassuring me about SL. Esp. in the case of someone named "Linden."

    So let's roll out Viewer BB (Big Brother) soon and stop all this anonymous avatar madness!

    - (signed) The Avatar Known As Miso who is actually a dozen other names because when you sign up for some service like Hotmail or anything they ask you for a user name and you have to try like 57 names because the name you wanted is taken so you end up being "Kathy9644520" or something and it's really irritating -_-

  5. ps - the "consent is manufactured" thingie you are speaking of is called the Overton Window.

  6. @Dale...Well, that's all very interesting. Maybe the Credibility Gap is just so huge that I assume they are lying even when they are telling the truth... we will never know.
    Recent 'office hours' attitudes, past and present behaviour has, however, not shown any inclination to pay any attention to what residents want or would difficult to believe in this instant that they are "listening".

    @Maria... it is still an irrelevance when 21,015,677 people have managed to get past that name hurdle to become residents. InWorldz just lets you pick your hard can it be?

    @ Brinda, yes, that was my thinking too.

    @Miso... yep, and with Google Earth linked in I can see which is your front door too.... there's a reassuring thought.
    (someone once said that to me when I was a noob ...that's when I decided not to leak RL info).

  7. The stated rationale for display names is indeed lame... If the inability to choose a name of their choice is holding back the user, why not just open up last names? Why do they need a *second* name in order to provide that kind of flexibility? Whether they are intentionally lying about the rationale doesn't really change my conclusion that this couldn't be solved much more simply than introducing an entirely new second concept of names. If the stated rationale is to simplify the sign-up process with regard to choosing a name, now there is both the old process and a new second "display" name concept. How does that simplify things for a user?

    Either the lab is intentionally lying about the rationale, or they are foolishly promoting a much more complex system as a simplification for new users, i.e. they are lying or they are twits. I don't think they are as dumb as they would appear, therefore I too call B.S. here.

  8. Yep, the complexity of it all is what made me suspicious too.

  9. oh gawd. this is getting too close to that whole "what is real?" question. are we fictitious avatars any less *real* than a writer with a nom de plume or an actor with a stage name? i feel a guest column coming on. Is Virtual Real? or not.

  10. @soror: the ancient maxim applies: don't ever put anything on the net you wouldn't broadcast in a public square, because that is where you are.

    @Jim: oh, i think it's much more pragmatic than that; it is for data aggregation/monetizing/selling your info to marketeers.

  11. @ Wizzy...yep, virtual is real... a guest post? you would be very welcome.

  12. This post, and others, are just piling up the justifications for my total tier-down today.

    Linden Lab is obviously gearing up for a change in direction, and it's not one which favors content creators or what I like to think of as the "old guard" of the SL grid.

    I recently read a very interesting 3-part series which postulates that they are changing things so that SL content is "portable" to places like Facebook. Think Ozimal BunnyVille, for instance. Or BloodlinesVille. That would make being inworld optional and they could reduce the size of the grid substantially. This also explains why they gave the boot to edus and nonprofits - they know that a great deal of content will go with them, just like they knew the Iron Curtaining on April 30 would drive a score of content creators off the grid in the interest of having freedom with their creations.

    Everything they're doing is driving more and more factions off the grid. I happen to believe it's because they want to make the "portable" apps a primary thing, and the inworld time a secondary thing.

  13. Well, you won't be the first or the last to tier down, Marie... but Iwz benefits..:)))

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