Improving our Lines of Communication with the Community

by Linden on ‎02-09-2011 01:34 PM - last edited on ‎05-02-2011 04:55 PM by Community Manager

As customers, your satisfaction and input is critical to the success of Second Life. However, we know that it has sometimes been confusing and difficult to communicate with us and we can always do a better job of  listening. Toward that end, we’ve taken a hard look at all of our Resident-Linden communication paths and designed, or revamped, a series of new programs and tools to help us all have a more productive dialogue. Our goal is not only to listen and acknowledge your feedback and ideas, but also to work more collaboratively to help build a better Second Life experience for the common good.

In addition to rolling out new Community Participation Guidelines that apply across all communication paths, we also want to make very clear which ones are best to share your ideas about how to improve the experiences, content, and economy in Second Life, which ones are best to communicate with each other, and which ones to use when you want the latest news on Second Life or Linden Lab.

Also, please note that next month we will be rolling out a new community platform--an integrated system that will include SL Blogs, SL Forums, SL Answers, and the Knowledge Base. We will be blogging about that in the coming weeks as we get closer to launch.

First, we would like to explain what we are trying to achieve and how we propose to do it.

NEW COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES SET THE STAGE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE

We've updated our guidelines about community participation and they're largely the same, just clarified and streamlined for easy reference. The purpose of these new guidelines is to keep the conversations  constructive, courteous, respectful, and in the spirit of collaboration so that we can have more thoughtful and effective discussions. The new Community Participation Guidelines outline the ground rules, in addition to our Terms of Service,  for all Resident and Linden communications on the blogs, forums, bug  tracker (JIRA), SL Answers, User Groups, and the Knowledge Base.

PARTICIPATE IN USER GROUPS AND JIRA

Office Hours Transition into Focused User Groups: The best part about the Office Hours program was direct Linden-Resident communications, but it was often a challenge to find the best Office Hours (or Linden) to give your feedback to. And, the conversations were sometimes not as focused or productive as they could have been. For us, we struggled with the unstructured nature of Office Hours. They were not effective enough in getting the right pieces of feedback to the right people who could act upon it--the Product Managers and teams--or creating a broader, representative sample of what most Residents thought about the topic.

Today, we are announcing a new approach--User Groups. User Groups are product or community focused and each one is led by the Linden responsible for the specific topic. The User Group program is about opening up a more representative and focused dialogue about user needs. Most User Groups are public and may include any or all of the following: inworld meetings, JIRA sections, a Twitter feed, an SL Forum, and/or an SL email list. It’s up to the User Group leader and the core Resident team to determine how they best communicate with one another. The discussions should be open, direct, and be more forward-looking and focus more on how we can improve your user experience.

A complete list of User Groups, and their Linden owners, is available here on the Second Life wiki and there’s also a Google Calendar where you can see all User Group meetings and add them to your calendar. Many User Groups will have several Linden team members participating, in addition to the User Group leader. All User Group leaders will be publicly posting agendas and notes from each meeting that may include an audio recording or a text chat log. So, whether you are a participant in a specific User Group or not, it will be easy to check in and see what’s going on in any area that you’re interested in.

Submit Bug Reports in JIRA: For those that aren’t familiar with JIRA, it is our public bug tracking system and it’s the best place to go to let us know about bugs or suggest new features that are proposed in User Group meetings or outside of those sessions.

Our development teams actively review the bugs that you submit in JIRA and do one of several things: place the item onto a development team backlog to address, ask the submitter to contact Support or provide more information if the developer cannot reproduce the bug, or close it and explain why we aren’t going to tackle this particular bug or idea.

It’s also important to note that we are going to remove the “voting” feature in JIRA in one month. Today, we do not use voting to triage or to make product decisions and the last thing that we want to do is set false expectations. So, when you are interested in what action we will take on a particular JIRA, use the JIRA “Watch” feature so that you will be  immediately updated in email when there are new comments on that particular JIRA issue. We will continue to use the number of Watchers as an indication of the level of interest.

PLACES TO CONNECT WITH ONE ANOTHER

Find Solutions SL Answers: If you haven’t explored SL Answers yet, then you definitely should try it. Second Life Answers is the best place to ask questions and get answers from other  knowledgeable Second Life Residents. It’s a very helpful tool when you  need to have your questions answered quickly. And, if you’re a long time  Resident, you should jump in and help answer questions and help out  your noobie friends.

Participate in SL Forums: SL Forums are a great place to connect with other Residents on specific topics. As I mentioned earlier, we’re going to roll out a new community platform for Forums that is easier to use and more organized. Look for that next month when User Groups will be adding specific areas for lively discussions with our Product Managers on topics relevant to each User Group.

Join the SL Email Lists: Late last year, we cleaned up the old SL email lists and created a few new ones to accommodate discussions happening among smaller communities that may not have any other way of connecting--ranging from the open source community to the educators in Second Life. The lists are a great resource to use when you want to tap into the collective wisdom of a group. Take a look at the current SL email lists that are available and join the ones that most interest you. If you would like to suggest a new list, then just email me (address below) or drop me a note card (SL: Amanda Linden).

GET THE LATEST SECOND LIFE AND LINDEN LAB NEWS

Check out the SL Blogs to Get Second Life and Linden Lab News: The SL Blogs are always the best place to go for news and information about Second Life. As is true with Forums, we’ll be rolling out a new Blog structure next month--and be blogging about it shortly. So, stay tuned!

Follow Us on Twitter: Twitter is a great way to get the latest and greatest information about Linden Lab and Second Life. There are many lists to choose from and we encourage you to follow us and join the conversation. The primary Twitter account to follow, if you want immediate notices of blog posts and other news, is @SecondLife. For a complete list of official Linden Lab/Second Life Twitter feeds, click here. This page will constantly be updated, so check back often. We also actively follow these hashtags: #sl, #secondlife, #slviewer2, #slmarketplace and suggest that you do, too.

Like Us on Facebook: Facebook is the best place to find out about cool things going on in Second Life, share ideas, and get the inside scoop on inworld events, contests, machinima releases, PR activities, fun discussions, and more. Come join over 111,000 people who have “Liked” our Second Life Facebook page.

Of course, these communication programs are evolving, and we look forward to your feedback on these changes and other suggestions on how we can continue to improve our community communication programs. Feel free to leave comments here or email me at amanda at lindenlab dot com.

Comments
by Honored Resident Digital Digital on ‎02-09-2011 01:42 PM

This is some great news, I would really like to see better support offered!

by Member Roberto Salubrius on ‎02-09-2011 01:47 PM

I hope REALLY hope this changes something, you do not lack input from us, the userbase, you do not respond to our input, JIRA is filled, Office Hours have been productive, the BLogurms are filled with people asking for stuff,  really we DO SCREAM to get a better SL, but who is listening, that's where it fails.

by Member Opensource Obscure on ‎02-09-2011 01:50 PM

Per gli utenti italiani, sto coprendo questa novità e questo annuncio nell'articolo Nascono i Second Life User Groups.

by Linden on ‎02-09-2011 01:53 PM

Grazie, Opensource!

by Honored Resident Iynque Loire on ‎02-09-2011 01:57 PM

This makes me believe Linden Lab wants to survive and Second Life won't simply sit still and wait for another virtual world to pass it by. You guys are the de facto 3D social network, but I hope this marks the start of a renewed effort to be the best again.

by Advisor Suella Ember on ‎02-09-2011 02:04 PM

Really looking forward to how the User Groups play out in practice. I'm optimistic that they could be a great way for actual results and action if everyone takes them in the spirit of constructive dialogue intended, and I hope, where necessary, the new participation guidelines are enfoced to keep the spirit alive.

I also hope that transcripts (or at least a detailed summary) of all User Groups are posted on the blogs / forums for people to comment on if they were not able to attend (and again I hope that this 'after the event' discussion is within the spirit of constructive dialogue).

The new community platform for forums could be promising too. If anyone happened to have beta tested some of that under NDA, would your announcement here mean that the NDA has been lifted by any chance? Or do they have to keep schtum for a while longer?

by Honored Resident Cinco Pizzicato on ‎02-09-2011 02:05 PM

Should I sign up for twitter or Facebook in order to learn about Second Life? I have an RSS reader, and in fact, I'm using it to subscribe to this 'blog. Are you guys saying anything substantive on those channels that isn't repeated here?

It's been a bit of a gripe of mine for a while. SL is sort of a social networking tool, but rather than turning the 'sort of' part into a 'most definately,' LL tells you to get a twitter account.

Griping aside.. Topic-focused office hours are a good change, if they really end up being authoritative in any way. I remember going to Jack's office hours and he'd waste everyone's time by not showing. Having a 'Land Office Hours' would take the pressure off the one person.

by Member Gavin Hird on ‎02-09-2011 02:07 PM

Since you are removing voting in JIRA (we kinda suspected you did not use it anyway, hehe), would it be possible for to publish a flowchart on how product improvements/requests are handled, and what stages they move through so we better can understand the process?

by Honored Member Ciaran Laval on ‎02-09-2011 02:10 PM

"Facebook is the best place to find out about cool things going on in Second Life"

It really isn't, the best place to find out about cool things going on in Second Life, is in Second Life. Why on earth would you want to send people to Facebook? There is no way that Facebook is the best place to find out about cool things in Second Life, that's a rather insulting statement Amanda.

Twitter and Plurk both have very active Second Life communities, who can post without fear of having their account deleted for having the audacity to use their Second Life name and are chock full of conversations with fellow residents.

Hmm you're chaning the forums again, are you changing the software or doing a redesign via Jivespace?

by Member WolfBaginski Bearsfoot on ‎02-09-2011 02:11 PM

I find the use of JIRA to take reports of technical problems to be intimidating, and I don't consider myself to be ignorant of computer technology. It is a channel biased towards the jargon of the computer programmer, using methods intended for professional management of bug reports. All this is necessary, even desirable, within the process of developing software. But for those of us not amongst the cogniscenti, it remains a barrier. What shibboleths do we use to discover if the problems we experience have been reported? How do we classify the thousand un-natural shocks that virtual flesh is heir to? When some problems seem to have JIRA entries referenced by fewer digits than Django Reinhardt needed to play his guitar, how may we be confident that you are listening?

We've have had plenty of fine words. When are you going to deliver?

by Member Han Held on ‎02-09-2011 02:16 PM

NEW COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES SET THE STAGE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE

We've  updated our guidelines about community participation and they're  largely the same, just clarified and streamlined for easy reference. The  purpose of these new guidelines is to keep the conversations   constructive, courteous, respectful, and in the spirit of collaboration  so that we can have more thoughtful and effective discussions. The new Community Participation Guidelines outline the ground rules, in addition to our Terms of Service,   for all Resident and Linden communications on the blogs, forums, bug   tracker (JIRA), SL Answers, User Groups, and the Knowledge Base.

I want to know if forum and blog posts that are critical of Linden Lab and Linden Lab policies are now going to begin to earn in-world bans.

by Member WolfBaginski Bearsfoot on ‎02-09-2011 02:16 PM

Oh joy! Oh bliss!

Twitter and Facebook... Such an inspired choice—well, it's inspiring something, anyway, but I am not sure I can express my feelings on the matter with a sufficient combination of vigour and clarity, given the new rules.

by Honored Resident Ossian on ‎02-09-2011 02:17 PM

I'm very glad to see this.  I've been in SL since 2008, and have always felt that LL had no interest in us.

I hope this initiative really works.  I think most of us residents are willing and have always been willing to do our part, but LL has carefully maintained a distance from us.

Of course, in our considerations, we always separated individual Lindens from the corporation itself, and we understand that it's been a very hard year for you Lindens.  I think we could have made that time a little easier to bear, if you had only let us be a part of it.

Thanks for trying to start something.

I also hope that you won't depend on Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with us. I'm busy enough already without those two. Second Life is a good medium in itself; you have websites and blogs galore.

by Honored Resident Cherry Tungsten on ‎02-09-2011 02:17 PM
As customers, your satisfaction and input is critical to the success of Second Life.

Seems to me the community has spoke up dozens of time and yet LL hasn't listened. Please quit blowing smoke up our pixellated rears. LL will always do what it wants whether the community wants it or not.

by Member Nika Talaj on ‎02-09-2011 02:36 PM
It’s also important to note that we are going to remove the “voting”  feature in JIRA in one month. Today, we do not use voting to triage or  to make product decisions and the last thing that we want to do is set  false expectations.

Have you considered that supporters of a particular Jira will simply tell their friends to "watch" that item?  Given the much greater numbers of people who now vote than watch issues, be prepared for vastly increased load on your Jira messaging system.

Facebook is the best place to find out about cool things going on in  Second Life, share ideas, and get the inside scoop on inworld events,  contests, machinima releases, PR activities, fun discussions, and more.
From Facebook TOS: Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way.

Are you saying that no one in LL's marketing department finds it the least bit ironic that you are pointing to Facebook, a no-fly zone for SL avatars, as the best day-to-day source on what to do in SL?

Also, please note that next month we will be rolling out a new community  platform--an integrated system that will include SL Blogs, SL Forums,  SL Answers, and the Knowledge Base.


by Member Han Held on ‎02-09-2011 02:40 PM

I also hope that you won't depend on Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with us. I'm busy enough already without those two. Second Life is a good medium in itself; you have websites and blogs galore.

It looks to me like that's exactly what they're doing. Otherwise what else would " Facebook is the best place to find out about cool  things going on in Second Life, share ideas, and get the inside scoop on  inworld events, contests, machinima releases, PR activities, fun  discussions, and more" mean?

by Member Yuriko Nishi on ‎02-09-2011 02:41 PM

that sounds nice indeed, but some older residents have heard such announcements before, and where disappointed before.

can only talk about myself, i am not expecting much anymore, but i´d welcome a real change.

guess we´ll see if you guys can really keep those promises. i hope so but past experiences let me have doubts

i am a bit confused though why you make advertisment for facbook on your own website, instead of advertising SL on facbook allways thought you want some people from fb to join sl, and not slers leave sl to facebook

i am (and many other sl users are) really not interested in fb... -.-

by Honored Resident Rudee Voom on ‎02-09-2011 02:46 PM

No offense, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I have been a long-time supporter, defending Linden Labs when others shot it down - but at this point there is literally nothing in my life that I have put more work into for less reward.

"Jump to change this."

"Jump to change that."

"Pay us weekly for a search listing that doesn't exist, then dry up and blow away. Oh, and have a good day in Second Life."

I'll believe it when I see it.

by Member Jimbo Mimulus on ‎02-09-2011 02:47 PM
As customers, your satisfaction and input is critical to the success of Second Life.

Certainly hasn't appeared that way in the past. There have been many times your customers have said ... please do not do this ... or please do not do that ..... only for the flavour of the month to be pushed through regardless.

Our goal is not only to listen and acknowledge your feedback and ideas, but also to work more collaboratively to help build a better Second Life experience for the common good.

I guess we'll just have to wait & see. although i can already hear the calls of ... heard it all before

by Member Darien Caldwell on ‎02-09-2011 02:58 PM

I'm actually glad to hear that voting is being removed from JIRA. Getting people to vote for something is really no indication of the relative importance or severity of a bug or issue. I don't know that the number of watchers is either. But lacking anything better I guess it will do.

by Member Maelstrom Janus on ‎02-09-2011 03:02 PM

How about sections in the forum where all questions about all aspects of SL are guaranteed an answer from a linden representative .... It seems to me no interest is taken at all by serious views relating to the everyday issues which face sl users.....?

by Member Cully Andel on ‎02-09-2011 03:10 PM

There's plenty of comments from plenty of residents right here in this forum. It would be nice to think that a few Lindens sat and read them and took note instead of encouraging us to go to Facebook or Twitter (I do neither).

by Member Maelstrom Janus on ‎02-09-2011 03:14 PM

     Im supriseD we're being told to go to facebook and twitter. Are we also likely to find out more if we go to places like avination - other than land and tier charges are a fraction of the price in SL ?????

by Recognized Member leliel Mirihi on ‎02-09-2011 03:17 PM
It’s also important to note that we are going to remove the “voting”  feature in JIRA in one month. Today, we do not use voting to triage or  to make product decisions and the last thing that we want to do is set  false expectations. So, when you are interested in what action we will  take on a particular JIRA, use the JIRA “Watch” feature so that you will  be  immediately updated in email when there are new comments on that  particular JIRA issue. We will continue to use the number of Watchers as  an indication of the level of interest.

I'm very sad to hear this. Just because I'm interested in something doesn't mean I want to follow the discussion or get emails about it. Especially with the issues that degenerate into flame wars with lengthy diatribe posts (e.g. VWR-24746)

by Honored Resident VooDoo Projects on ‎02-09-2011 03:21 PM

The Linden Lab Official:Community Participation Guidelines do not  mention how to become a member of a user group or how to become a member  of a core resident group. I found no mention of this anywhere.

What is the procedure to become members of these groups?