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Maturity Changes in the Marketplace

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Brooke Linden

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Hi all,

As  many of you know, the teen grid was shut down on Friday. This week, we  will be rolling out some changes in Marketplace to ensure Residents  under 18 will not be exposed to adult content. Here is a quick summary  of what changes will be occurring.

Phase 1: 1/27 Release
On  Thursday, the Marketplace will move to the General, Moderate, and Adult  content levels already in use in the Viewer. Just prior to this release  (starting on Wednesday), we will be running a process that will add a  content level to existing items. Once the release has been completed,  you will be able to review the ratings set on your Marketplace listings  by viewing your inventory: there will be a new column “Maturity” showing  what level the item falls into. Search will now support viewing general  or moderate/adult content. Please view the updated listing guidelines (link points to the current guidelines) on Thursday for more details.

Note  that, in addition to automated process to migrate listings, it will  continue to be possible to flag listings. Please take some time after  the new guidelines are posted to review your listings and make sure they  comply. People will be able to start flagging listings based upon the  new guidelines on Thursday (though I do not expect that we will see much of this right away), so the sooner you can do this, the better!

Phase 2: by 2/28/2011
Before  the end of February, Marketplace will be updated to allow setting  maturity level preferences at a more granular level than is currently  supported, such as allowing Residents to view moderate content without  adult content included.

Why was this done in 2 steps? Timing, pure and simple. We  wanted to ensure we had the proper controls in place as soon as  possible for the teens entering the main grid. Phase 2 will provide  further refinement.

A quick update on Maturity is on the agenda for the Marketplace Office Hours on 1/26.

Regards,
Brooke

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B00tsy.Compton wrote:

 

Pamela Galli wrote:

 

Bootsy, read the chat Brooke posted. Prefs will be persistant. Problem solved.

Read it just now. Well it does give hope, especially the part that mature is not treated the same as adult anymore. I still have my doubt about the word filter, I think it will remain a pain in you know what. For every new listing you create you will have to save the unfinished listing after every sentence to check if there isn't any word triggering the filter.

Writing down a 5k description and then saving it, finding out that there is a faulty word, having to check all words, re-save the listing a zillion times trying to find the word before it is actually rated as G will result in whole bunch of swearing behind the PC.

I am glad that there is a jira now and a open communication. We will see what happens this week.

 

I imagine before long a list will pop up somewhere, though not here. I have already seen a link to a list in another forum somewhere.

 

LL wants to keep the list secret, but I don't see the point. What is the point of "gaming" maturity if a handful of teens are the only ones who cannot see Adult stuff, and the pref is persistant for everyone else? There is no point because the only advantage of being G (or M) is that is seen more often because ppl do not bother to check the Adult box each time.

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I haven't opted out either (with my business account) and I usually get these kind of emails just fine. I don't use spam filters for my SL email address at all but still haven't received the email about the maturity changes.

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Thanks for the update, Brooke. The communication and transparency is very encouraging.

My thoughts/input:

1. Interim decision to default to Moderate settings for logged in, over-18 users: Good.

2. Longer term plans to enable persistent Maturity settings, with defaults set to in-world Search defaults: Even better.

3. More communication via User Groups and rotating in-world Group Meeting times: Not sure I understand the full plan for this, but it sounds good at the moment, and would be welcome. I am absolutely delighted and encouraged by the increased engagement with merchants overall, and any plans for it to continue.

4. Not publishing the bad-word blacklist: I still feel strongly that it is a red herring to refuse to publish this list because some people might "game" their listings to try to get around it. My reasoning is as follows:

a) their goal is to be found by potential customers -- if they purposely edit their listings to get around the words despite the items being M or A, they're just shooting themselves in the foot...their customers use those words as Search terms, after all. Most of those circulating that "alternate" search term list are doing it in protest of the current flawed implementation, and as something of a joke because they're upset.

b) it does not make sense to force the majority of the merchant population to jump through hoops in order to outsmart the bad guys before the fact.

c) it's ineffective; they bad guys will get around the the list anyway if they really want to, whether you publish it or not.

d) if you publish the list so we can edit our listings more knowledgeably and efficiently, then trust me -- the rule-abiding merchants will be only TOO happy to help you police the yahoos by reporting listings that are obviously gaming the list. It's in our best interests to do so.

Look forward to the next in-world meeting. Thank you again for your update and efforts to keep us in the loop and to take our input into consideration, and please keep it up; it is the most positive and encouraging thing I have seen from LL in a long time.

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Loving Clarity wrote:

 

I would like to also add..this is not only to Brooke but to the commerce team, and especially those who oversee them...

Please don't mistake the results of your actions as general merchant hatred/distaste for LL in general.  It's just that we have been shouting issues at LL for months now.  Since MP went "live" (I use the term loosely as it still operates as a beta product IMO) we have filed jira after jira.  We have begged and pleaded with any Linden that would listen to fix known issues that are plaguing the merchant community.  We have begged and pleaded for known issues to be examined and fixed.

Yet the first public act of the "new" commerce team has just added to our issues.  We are fed up, frustrated, disillusioned with the whole thing.  Had you fixed MP search, come up with a short term fix for delivery failures, made adding listings easier, addressed any one of the numerous other issues/complaints about MP (publicly) before swinging your mighty filter around, we might be a little more inclined to say "ok, this was a MAJOR screw up but at least they fixed XYZ."  Instead, your first public act was to reign down a mess eqaul to the initial migration from SLX.

And "sneakily" too, I might add.  I, for one, do not recall ANY mention of a filter being used when the new system went into effect.  You were clear that anything marked "mature" would be moved to adult.  That didn't seem unreasonable to us and we all were aware we might have to go in and fix anything that was mature before and decide if it was moderate or adult.  We were given NO indication there would be a filter put into place.  Nor was it indicated that the judgements of this filter would be irreversible without the hoops we have had to jump through.  Bad form.  And shame on you all!

It's as if we are kids who have been left home alone countless times then all of a sudden, mom and dad have decided we need a babysitter.  We didn't do anything wrong.  We've done well at keeping the house clean, didn't throw parties, didn't eat everything in the fridge.  But now we have a babysitter telling us what to watch on TV and when to go to bed... it's insulting, quite frankly.  The merchants have always had the ability to police their own items.  And for those who tried to "cheat" the system, we've been able to flag them and have action taken.  Peers policing peers has worked up until now.  I could understand if this came after a public request from LL to properly rate our items "or else".  But there was no indication in advance this would happen.  And it's just a shame that this is our first experience of the "new" MP team.

 

Loving, I could not have said this any better!!  You are dead on!

We have been waiting and waiting for LL Commerce and Development Team to fix the missing peices of the SLM like poorly deployed SEARCH RELEVANCE, and EFFECTIVE REPORTING & USAGE ACTIVITY.  And what does the new LL team do.... deploy a solution that makes the weak SLM service even more ineffective and problematic to the merchants.

Brooke, do you not see why we are so utterly frustrated with what your team deployed?  You state you will listen... but what your team deployed last week just shows that YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LISTENING.

So we are frustrated Brooke... and skeptical that your promises will be nothing more than "how can LL stroke you better and still be allowed to accomplish our objectives and ignore the Merchant's demands"

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I think maybe Pam meant without any sort of filter (but I could be wrong).

The answer to that is simple... go back to the old way where WE were responsible for properly categorizing our items.  As I've said, I can understand running the filter for a preliminary sort (especially considering what little time LL alloted to make this changeover).  But once that was done and the "bad things" were safely sorted away, it should have been disabled and left to the merchants (as it has always been) to properly rate their items and the flagging system used to enforce those ratings.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

 

I am just curious how they are to determine ratings without using keyword filters at all.

Pamela,

How?  Look at all the fields on a ITEM in SLM.  If you remove "KEYWORDS" field which is a customer hidden field and who's objective is to be used to properly index the item in the SLM search engine, there are many other fields that would be much more effective to be used to TRY to assess an item as to its child friendliness.

Fields that LL should have focused on are:

  • FEATURES (since this field should primarily be used to talk about the technical aspects that describe the item - its an excellent candidate)
  • DESCRIPTION which might still be using LL "censorship bad words" but at least they are visible for all to see and that an item listing can be openly reviewed and judged by all - including customers that would have the basis to flag a listing that is wrongly rated.
  • TITLE which I would not leverage as much for item censoring / categorization but since the content of this field is visible - it is a candidate.

But KEYWORDS are bad bad bad and a "NO NO" to accomplish this strategy.

I want to state this again, I am totally against categorization of item maturity based on an arbitrarily created secret "Black LIst" that LL created and that Merchants will only be forced to guess what those bad words are.  We all know that its only a matter of time before the Merchants begin creating TIPS and "how to improve your item's searchability in slm" documents and postings.  They will be forced to.  and as Rachel said, the bad guys are not stupid and they will easily get around your lame keywords censorship filter while the good merchants suffer.  And since LL has decided to hide the keywords from the item listing display - it makes it even harder to review and report by other merchants and customers.

BLACK LISTS have never been a good idea - specially if the list is kept secret.

If Brooke really wants to show that she is willing to work with her Customers (us merchants) then she would be willing to discuss better approaches to CHILD PROOF slm for the few teens on the grid and that shop on slm.

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Apologies for not putting this in last night. I meant to communicate a delay in the date of 2/1. Because of the issues we have seen, we will be extending this through next Tuesday, 2/8. Please hold off on flagging items, and we will do the same.

Brooke.

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Can some1 invite me to this inworld Merchants User Group, cause i have no idea what it is or why we need to be part of it, but obviously I'm missing stuff.

Does it make any1 else cringe when LL says they consulted with merchants, yet you, yourself, nor any1 you know, is part of the consulting?

Oh, and I did not get any email, and I have not told any1 to remove me from any list.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Can some1 invite me to this inworld Merchants User Group, cause i have no idea what it is or why we need to be part of it, but obviously I'm missing stuff.

The group is called "Second Life Commerce Merchants" and you should just be able to look it up and join as I think it's open enrolment.

I'm not sure you are missing a huge amount - it's basically everyone chatting (arguing?! ) about commerce stuff in group chat as with most groups. So you are only going to catch things if you happen to be in group chat at the time of a particular discussion. For some reason, group notices don't seem to be sent out that often though - so I'd like to suggest to Brooke that perhaps notices of important changes / user groups etc are also sent as group notices. I get most of my info from the blogs / forums or Twitter, but it makes sense to use all communication channels


Medhue Simoni wrote:

Does it make any1 else cringe when LL says they consulted with merchants, yet you, yourself, nor any1 you know, is part of the consulting?

Yes and no. I've been thinking about this in relation to the new concept of "user groups" Brooke is running with actually. I've been in two minds about it because I can totally see the logic in more focussed smaller discussion groups rather than larger office hours which can have a tendency to go around in circles with everyone wanting to say their piece. However, the danger with smaller discussion groups is that it may not get all viewpoints.

I think Brooke has recognised this dilemma though which is why she has been talking about these select user groups in which participants will be rotated from the pool of merchants who want to be involved. On balance, it could be a good way to get some useful discussion going without it being a huge bun fight.

What I'd personally like to see though is that when these groups are held, the chat logs and / or summary are posted here in the forums on which we can all comment and add our own feedback that the commerce team can study.

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Thanks Suella!

Really, all LL has to do to stop pissing us off, is don't touch our stuff. If something needs to be changed, then spend time creating a way for us to do it fast, do not change it for us. LL could just as easily added the maturity options to the manage inventory page and we could have checked all the right maturity setting ourselves.

No1 needs LL to have a naughty Keyword list, either for the marketplace or for inworld search. If you have a flagging system, then there is no need to treat customers like children. Let each merchant be responsible for what they do. If LL is going to have a list, then that list should be agreed upon or created by, the merchants, not LL.

Just look at the results of LL's current system. There are still naughty crap all over the place, and usually the first places in inworld search. Their naughty keyword BS accomplishes nothing but to add even more unnecessary complexity to the whole thing.

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It seems to me that, given Brooke's extensive and on-going efforts to "reach out" to the merchant community, we can and should give them a bit of slack here.

While I'm not happy with the way this change was implemented, what I'm currently seeing is a) an admission that this could have been done better, b) a willingness to think about ways to fix it and do it better in future, and c) opportunities for us to offer additional insight and ideas via the blogs/forums, additional in-world group meetings, and polling various merchants in smaller groups. She's reading and responding in the blogorum, she's listening to the group chat, and she's got people at LL thinking about potential changes and fixes.

From my perspective this is massive improvement, and worth the benefit of the doubt while we see how this plays out...I would not like to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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Yes, it was suggested to Brooke that announcements through that group would be a good idea.

And yes, I agree that not a lot of info comes from the group if you read the forum. Rather, info from the forum gets passed to the inworld group.

It seems to me that ppl who are best informed, and wish to stay well informed, read the forum regularly.

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Ann Otoole wrote:

 

They consult with the merchants that sell lots. Because they do not burn time in forums.

 

To me that's kind of like saying successful business people don't burn time reading the WSJ.

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Rachel Darling wrote:

 

It seems to me that, given Brooke's extensive and on-going efforts to "reach out" to the merchant community, we can and should give them a bit of slack here.

While I'm not happy with the way this change was implemented, what I'm currently seeing is a) an admission that this could have been done better, b) a willingness to think about ways to fix it and do it better in future, and c) opportunities for us to offer additional insight and ideas via the blogs/forums, additional in-world group meetings, and polling various merchants in smaller groups. She's reading and responding in the blogorum, she's listening to the group chat, and she's got people at LL thinking about potential changes and fixes.

From my perspective this is massive improvement, and worth the benefit of the doubt while we see how this plays out...I would not like to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I fully agree, Rachel.  While I have been one of the loud voices against all this craziness the past few days, I can't deny that I have seen almost as much contact from Brooke as I saw the entire time I knew Grant during the MP switchover.

As for whether or not the merchants who were consulted (I assume you mean the itty bitty office hours Brooke held) I did see some names I recognized.  Some from the SL commerce group.  Others from around the forums.  While I can't speculate as to WHY they were chosen, I have seen opinions from some of these people before and they've all come across as level headed (although perhaps a bit harsh when LL messes with us).  And as such, I can't object to it.  If anything, I'm shocked and appreciative that Brooke was open about having had this meeting, shared it's content AND participants with us... That's not something I've seen before when LL CLAIMED to have had "sessions with various merchants".

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 

Can some1 invite me to this inworld Merchants User Group, cause i have no idea what it is or why we need to be part of it, but obviously I'm missing stuff.

Does it make any1 else cringe when LL says they consulted with merchants, yet you, yourself, nor any1 you know, is part of the consulting?

Oh, and I did not get any email, and I have not told any1 to remove me from any list.

The "user group" is Brooke's new name for Office Hours.  The link is below.  She's posted the date and time and asked about any topics that should be discussed.

There is also the SL Commerce Merchant's group which is just a collection of Merchants sharing news, advice, answering questions, giving opinions, gossiping, complaining... it's not the best group for all types.  There are many days (like when this censorship thing got into full swing) when it's just a lot of griping and moaning.  There's always good info in there but we all spew our share of whines as well.  lol

Thus far, the mods don't have notice rights and as the previous group owner never sent notices, I've asked the new one to annouce Brooke's office hours as even with the vast amount of notice she gave us for the last one, people still complained they didn't know.  As it stands now, I posted reminders in chat a week before the meeting, twice the day before the meeting, and three times the day of (including a 30 minute warning and a "it's RIGHT NOW" post).  It was the best I could do with no notice rights and there are those who treat it much like spam groups, only reading back when they're free or bored.  So if you don't plan to be "active" in the group and take the good with the bad, it might not be the best place to get info on what's going on.

That being said, it tends to be where I, as a merchant, get the majority of my news and often before LL officially makes an announcement.  *shrugs*

 

OH thread from Brooke:  http://blogs.secondlife.com/message/598664#598664

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Pamela Galli wrote:

To me that's kind of like saying successful business people don't burn time reading the WSJ.

I see the point you want to make. However to compare these forums to the WSJ is ridiculous. The only comparison can be made to weekly world news. Even I have begun looking here less and less because LL's blogrum forum is an unmoderated cesspool of drivel for the most part (except in the technical forums where the forum remains useful).

Looking in these forums is like seeing a picture of batboy on the WWN at the grocery store checkout.

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Ann Otoole wrote:

 

Pamela Galli wrote:

To me that's kind of like saying successful business people don't burn time reading the WSJ.

I see the point you want to make. However to compare these forums to the WSJ is ridiculous.

 

To me pretty much everything about SL is ridiculous :-) (One reason I like it so much.)

But this is where I get most of my business news and information, plus hear a lot of discussion about how things work, etc. I guarantee that most merchants in SL have never heard of Brooke Linden or the new maturity ratings.

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Loving Clarity wrote:


The "user group" is Brooke's new name for Office Hours.  The link is below.  She's posted the date and time and asked about any topics that should be discussed.


No it's not, Brooke is fully entitled to hold meeting how she sees fit and so far, it looks good, but secret meetings where you ask if it's ok to publish logs are not open office hours. I'm not against this process, we'll see how it pans out, but an office hour it is not.

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Yes.  Brooke has made it confusing... Perhaps you could clarify, Brooke.  You speak of "User Groups" which, at first, I thought were meant to be the smaller focus groups you spoke about at last week's OH.  But then you go on to post the thread in roundtable about what I presume is to be this week's OH (since it seems to be open invite) but you call it a "User Group".

Are you using these synonymously?  Was this a mistype?  Or are you implying there will be User Group meetings (renamed OH) and then more focused User Group meetings by the same name?

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That was not an OH, it was a quick focus group in prep for the real OH, which will be entirely about Maturity, on Thurs. She is now better prepared for the Thurs. meeting than if she had not taken the initiative to have some questions answered beforehand.

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No one knows exactly what the User Groups are, just that they will be representative in some way. My guess is that they might be pulled from different time zones, so everyone will have a chance to attend.

 

I do agree that OHs as they are, are fine. Since I no longer have any sort of sleep schedule, I am available to attend any that interest me, and would not want to be excluded from those. But I don't see pulling a focus group for quick feedback is a problem.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

 

That was not an OH, it was a quick focus group in prep for the real OH, which will be entirely about Maturity, on Thurs. She is now better prepared for the Thurs. meeting than if she had not taken the initiative to have some questions answered beforehand.

no, I'm talking about the thread marked "user group 2/3"

http://blogs.secondlife.com/thread/58707

It's confusing as it seems she has renamed her OH "user groups" or she just mistyped and meant to call it office hours and user groups ARE the other little meetings she's spoken of.

Quoted from that post "In order to try accomodating different schedules, I'm having this week's user group (formerly called office hours) at 9am PST on Thursday, 2/3."

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Ciaran Laval wrote:

 

Loving Clarity wrote:


The "user group" is Brooke's new name for Office Hours.  The link is below.  She's posted the date and time and asked about any topics that should be discussed.

No it's not, Brooke is fully entitled to hold meeting how she sees fit and so far, it looks good, but secret meetings where you ask if it's ok to publish logs are not open office hours. I'm not against this process, we'll see how it pans out, but an office hour it is not.

yes, it is... see my post just above this one.

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