Monday, 11 April 2011

Can You Save SL?

The day started for me with news via Tateru and Alphaville Herald of the latest figures on concurrency. Bad news.

Basically, in spite of attracting 10,000 new users per day it is managing to hold on to less than the number of people leaving.... well, so it seems.

...and tied to this is a very interesting debate around the mobbing and griefing of noobs as they arrive, unprepared, into a pack of idiot griefers.... there have been a few posts on this recently. Theia Magic's post is interesting in that it has started the debate of whether or not it is our job to go and save these poor souls, grabbing them from the wolf pit and whisking them off somewhere to help get them started on their Second Life.

I know both Theia and Wizzy have been on such mercy missions, and I applaud their altruism.

I have spent many hours, especially a few years ago, helping noobs do the most basic things they need to before they can get around and it was a very nice thing to do. Very time consuming, but nice. I was helped on my first days in SL, Carmen Zinner, Ciin Babii, and Luvit More came to my rescue when I needed a mentor, and I have managed to thank them, and to pay forward with my efforts too.

So, I would fully support the call to action, i.e. going down to the Arrival Hell and helping, but..... and this is an interesting point..... I feel a bit like one of the commenters on Theia's blog when he says....hey, its LL's job, they should police the sim. Now, I didn't feel like that a year ago. I currently feel that we are supposed to do more than our fair share, take the whole JIRA thing for example....we are the maintenance team, we (some of us) build or improve the software, we fill the Marketplace for LL to take 5% sales tax, and we defend them when they get slated in RL should we now also help offset some of the damage done by LL when they disbanded the Mentors (because it was too much trouble for them to police) .... while paying for the privilege??

Now, as I said previously, I didn't feel like this two years ago..... and that is the interesting thing.

My change in attitude is why SL will fail.

Well, to be precise, the reasons behind my change in attitude are probably indicative of why there is a lull now in the amount of time we spend in SL. It no longer feels like my home, which is why I moved out. I still have one foot in SL but I suspect that will change when Viewer 1.23 gets the final chop.

InWorldz has a group of pleasant volunteers who welcome noobs and show them to the freebie store, give them LMs and generally are nice to new visitors......

How difficult can it be??

Such a waste of a good company, and I hate waste...



  1. i will be VERY upset when the original viewer gets the chop ... the "other one " makes me want to cry with frustration.

  2. Is really interesting to read the various point of view in blogs like yours soror. I agree with you in the major points you come to write. What i find even more interesting is what you write about your change in attitude. In multi-various way a lot of people just express the same sentence 'it no longer feels like my home.'I feel precisely the same feeling and so many others. It should be a really good point of discussion. ty Soror

  3. I don't know what we can do, as residents. At least we are past the denial stage: SL is declining. I find that sad, given its promise.

  4. If I arrived in SL today, I'd have turned tail and left.

    The first hour experience of new folks arriving in SL is crucial to the continued success / operation / lifeblood of SL.

    If LL is too clueless to figure this out, then they will fail epically.

    It's sad because in 2007 when I first arrived, it was kind of nutty -- a giant castle, a mandatory four step learn the basics interactive process in the open air courtyard, everything was open / outdoors, colorful, strange, fun and chock full of nuts -- all sorts of characters, noobs, LL peeps and SL/mentors and volunteers.

    It was welcoming and engaging and intriguing enough to make me want to explore much further.

    I read something on a blog last year about how sterile and cold and devoid of staff and people the new arrival place was so I made an alt to see for myself.

    It sucked. The place was sterile, cold, no one around excpet two naked creepy guys and it was enclosed so I felt traped when one creepy naked guy started tracking me.

    Because I know about teleporting and could beat feet out of there, I had that advantage but for a noob with no experience in a virtual world environment, it would be awful.

    If that was my first experience with SL, I'd tell my friends not to bother because SL is nothing more than cold virtual tin can for pervs.

    And I'd never have stayed another minute.

    LL needs to get their employees invovled and active in SL.

    I recently had to talk to a LL CSR person who was new on the job. This poor dude had only been in SL twice -- briefly -- he had absolutely no clue about the community of SL, the environment, the residents, etc. Even my web host support people are more helpful and knowledgeable.

    LL also had this guy wearing about ten different hats as he was handling all types of support but couldn't answer any of my questions because he had no personal firsthand knowledge of SL or the community.

    Whoever is doing the hiring up there must be taking a lot of liquid lunches.

    I sure hope Mr. Humble Linden will look at SL from more than just the perspective of an outsider.

    For any community to thrive -- in VR or RL, there must be measures in place to make sure the community can grow and this is done through services provided to the new and local residents. Welcome wagons for new arrivals, convenient and easy to digest info, cheerful environment, cool places to visit in and around the neighborhood, social orgs, educational centers, art, entertainment and so on.

    SL is not a game nor is it The Sims or Farmville or WOW.

    SL is a three dimensional social network in which the various environments are created by creative individuals who inhabit this virtual world.

    Those creative individuals who are here or will continue to arrive here are priceless -- to make SL so unpleasant that it's driving these folks out will be the certain death of SL.

    As will making the that first initial impression of SL feel like arriving at a boring booth at a CPA convention.

    LL gotsta bring back the colorful fun and open air feel and the LL mentors and guides and give noobs a feeling that SL is an engaging, entertaining, safe, vibrant and welcoming community with a wealth of fascinating people, places and things to do and discover.

    And LL should consider nixing the increased fees they started charging non-profits and edu sims -- as many of those orgs provided many of the creative content makers who make SL a lot more interesting by consistently creating new and original content that engages SL residents.

  5. Don't be saddened! InWorldz always has their doors open. So, if you haven't given us a try. Come on over!!

    Nice post soror.\o/

  6. As the meerkats say..."simples'.

  7. @Pixels Sideways
    My experience exactly.
    Orientation Island. My first account took 40 mins to get thru....
    Worth every moment...

  8. How did I miss this post? I guess I was "articulating" as Wizzy says... superb post which I may call upon for Part II of my reply to NWN.

    I agree 1000% with Pixels. What I see now is not what I saw in 2009 even; I see what made me leave the VWs in 2000. I am less "angry" than upset and saddened.

    When CalStateU selected me for a virtual artist's gallery/study recently, I could have just... taken my medal and stayed home. Instead, I spent several weeks and much time with the students helping them to understand WHY I worked in SL; why I believed in it; why I thought it was important and why I had spent 20,000USD of my savings on two years of work-time there.

    A lot of that time was mentoring; helping them with camera controls, build tab, flying, getting decent hair, navigating... doing LL's job for them. I didn't get paid; in some respects it took time from my building and writing. But I did it because they needed it; because I wanted them to experience the reasons why I make art there, not just be puffed up with my own self-importance.

    plus... you get +3 for mentioning meerkats; one of my ancient worlds had a Meerkat Colony, so I leave you with our wizdum and our greeting: "Live long and chitter!"

  9. Yes, I think mentoring is a 'must'.

  10. Simple. Second Life looses its interest as the moment as a newbie teleports in. At first SL sets up a guide, leading a newbie on the very basics of movements, shows them the grid, gives a "see ya later" scenario and practically dumps the new person into the vast pit.

    The hubs are boring, endless and filled with trolls/n00bs. There's nothing to do, there's no real sense of "community" except what mr/mrs. land master wants on their e-""property"". Then there's the elite Second Life user who talks about second-life so sophisticated like it's better than the newest fad in real life. Unless your a builder looking out for money, in general people could care less about how "great" and "marvelous" Second-Life is, what the new user wants is to typically get into the "flow" of the "Game" (yes I called Second Life a "game" Oh no! Too bad its listed under several major review sites as a yes, GAME.)in an environment that they feel, very important, WELCOMED in. Many second-life users fail to initiate this step, and instead you find many newbs "looked-down" upon those who considered themselves to be of high-importance because they drowned a year or more on Second Life.

    On the flip side, mmorpg's invigorate and stimulate people to work together. It's pretty easy to go up to someone and have a chat with them, or join a guild. Sure some have level requirements and if u can fight a battle without killing your whole team-mates due to fail, but it seems that second-life users have something we called a "social disordered". The inability to be friendly or to talk to someone. Many of them afk or simply ignore you or act as if your intriguing upon their little e-space if you say something as simply as "Hi". Many sadly, are prestigious and that also brings into play into the poor community of an environment. The only times these people pay attention is unfortunately when their hit with an object, upon whereby they scream "GRIEFER" and alert everyone to AR the baddie into next tuesday. People on here tend to be snobby and snot-lifted, so why should the newbie continue to waste their time/money on a platform where people can act like control-freaks on ego-trips?

    Drama. That's another underlying stoop in Second-Life. It's so easy for drama to creep up into this platform it's pathetic and ridiculous. This happens sadly, when people take Second-life so SERIOUSLY to the point that they can't definite between reality, and whats pix-elated on the screen. Unfortunately the vast majority of Second-Life users behave like this(Especially those who consider themselves to be "Hardcore Second Life Users"), treating Second-Life as their personal homes, as though these random e-people are actually living in their real, homes. This is also LL's fault, as their constantly promoting Second-Life as a substitute for people's real lives (want to see the golden bridge? Just log onto Second Life, it's a click away!) something that just can NEVER replace the real thing.

    The graphics stink. Fair and square, looking at Second-Life on the mainland is like N64 have become godly. Cheap textures, winky little houses, ban-lines permitting one from flying straight across the land, the immense amount of lag one gets even if they have a top-of-the-line computer just by crossing a region, and the roads that always remain ghostly except for the automated vehicle that tips over 15 minutes or so and stalls.

  11. The cost. If you want to actually have anything "worth" staying on Second-Life, then you better have a big wallet. LL has made it that the average person can't own their own private space unless their willing to put a down-payment of 1,000 USD plus $200+ (and set-up fee cost) if you want a smaller verison of land that's private. 1,000 USD for a online game where you practically don't own any rights except your own creations, where LL hides basically everything about the activity of your account, where their customer service is so bland that 40% of the time they act as though half the time they can't help their own customers. With real life situations and people loosing their homes/jobs, it's better to save that down-payment on something actually important than spending it on some fake intangible e-lawn.

    Lack of liability. In Second-Life, people can create almost anything. They can make shops overnight that disappear in nearly a day's worth, fake covenants that they really "don't" have to abide by and the lovely data-mining that happens behind the scenes. It's choppy, it's unethical, but somehow people get "away" with it because "Well, it's Second Life!"

    The 40+ adult community which has their weight upon Second-Life. The "i'm married but I cheat on my rl spouse" type or the "I got kids but i'm still on second-life, tehehe!". These people often times are the run making fake "business" or playing house with some dude/chick they've never seen before. There's a huge gap between the younger generation and the older, and infact some racism showed (just search "teen merge")towards those of a younger age (whether they be young adults or younger). These types tend to be super serious about Second-Life, and therefore lack any fun.

    "Fun" consist of doing the same dance animation over and over in a pop-n-stop "club", fun consist of a forced RP zone that wants to ban people for going "afk" (that is not TRUE Role-Playing) fun consist of having weapons, but being unable to use half of them due to combat zones issuing strict and tedious rules on anything that looks like competition or because, they can (or anywhere else because your avatar is your living, breathing self in the flesh!)

    People who want to have fun or make invigorating/cool things are "kicked out" before they can really get in, THAT'S why Second-Life is loosing people, because newbies and others are getting feud up of being under "rules" and "laws" and "restrictions" to satisfy every single land user they come across. The cost, the inability to really provide fun/entertainment,the bad graphics and animations and server stability, and those people who ""love"" second-life SO much that their killing off anyone else that isn't in their cutesy circle of politics before those new people/ideas have a chance to feel things out.

    People who try to be casual/fun are often times banned and humiliated for thinking "outside the box" not just by Second-Life users, but sometimes by LL itself! (Just look at Save-Me-Oh, who did technically nothing wrong and got swamped with hate-mail). People don't want to keep investing/coming back to a platform where they feel they can't be themselves without some wannabe big brother/big sister telling them what to do or they get send to the "house" aka LL some loonie (who needs to get off second-life and seek mental attention/help) acting like a flying prim(s) is equivalent of an "e-t3rriost".

    Sure, an mmorpg generally doesn't allow you to create things but I guarantee you'll make more friends/have more fun then you would rotting away in Second-Life's "Closed Door World".

  12. As Ironic as it is Second-Life users, those "griefers" that you obessive about(Your groups, your articles, specially made for these people) are just about the most-free people IN Second-Life. Their not attached to the fake, expensive world and can move on easily when/if they get baleeted.

    I had the most fortunate experience of meeting a couple of griefers which, shockingly, treated me far better in comparison than any Second-Life "Elitist" that I came across as a week old newbie. Some people just have to learn how to hit the mute/tp button, but their too busy running to LL's head and woe over common internet-sense. Then again i'm not the serious type that baws over the moment a prim comes into contact with my fake, non-existent, pixlated avatar.

    Maybe it's a shock for you second-lifers, but for the vast rest of the internet world, we're pretty use to the "engagement" that basically only Second-Life and wannabe Second Life's ban on. Player verses Player.

  13. Thanks, anonymous, I'm sure you are right in most everything you say.

    On the plus side I have met the most amazingly nice people and creative geniuses in this poorly pixelated world, people with great humour and fine brains. I'm sure you could meet them in any free chat room too.

    For me, personally, it is the ability to create content that separates these new grids from other games and why I continue to use them. The price of SL has made me move to InWorldz where I have land at about 10% of the price (per pixel price).

    I agree with a lot of what you have said, but, like moving to a new country or town you can be either lucky or unlucky with who you meet. That is difficult to control..... there are too many rules already, as you say.

    In the newer grids everyone is new/noob so maybe there isn't quite so much of the "elitism' you encountered, but..... you may just have been unlucky with the people you met.

    Maybe you will be luckier in another grid, I hope so, as the friends you can meet are as good as in any other world.... we have the same proportions of idiots and jewels as any other.