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Pamela Galli

TRANSACTION PAGE CHANGES

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CommerceTeam Linden
 added a comment - 15/Apr/14 12:33 PM

In order to track the current issues with this page, here is a summary of what we have identified so far from various feedback sources:

  • Results cannot be exported in XML format
  • Subtotal is not shown for items in date-limited results
  • In page results do not contain ID Prefix column
  • Date-limiting appears to filter results after all data is loaded, making page load slowly
  • Default date range should be today
  • Date and time not in PT
  • Updating search filters does not pull new data
  • 30 day cutoff actually means 30 days (current page allows 32 days)

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In the JIRA Issue, CTL had asked:


CommerceTeam Linden wrote:

Why is XLS needed? CSV is a more portable format compatible with Excel.

To which I replied:


Darrius Gothly wrote:

XLS format is directly usable by Excel and includes proper data formatting. For example, dates and times are directly represented as Date/Time format but are actually stored in the exported data as Excel's internal numeric format. CSV format stores dates and times as textual information which must be converted. However the primary reason is .. because that's what is available now and many processes either manual or semi-automatic depend on the input data being in XLS format. Please remember that backward compatibility, as much as feasible, eases acceptance and integration of the new features.

I've not seen it written anywhere, but exactly what IS the purpose of rewriting the Transaction History report? What new data, features, capabilities are driving this effort? What will be improved by making this modification?

I can point to lots of places where the changes will be detrimental, but I'd like some explanation of what benefits this brings. So far I've not seen any benefits mentioned or suggested; I've only seen changes without any explanation of how the new report is an improvement over what exists now.
(In other words, when you sold this idea to upper management, what bullet points did you use to sell it to them .. so they would approve the expenditure of employee hours and QA resources?)

So far CTL has not replied to my request for more information ...

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Here is a lil cherry :

 

As we have stated, changes have not yet been made to this page. We are gathering all feedback before we make changes.

Keeping the old page exactly "as-is" is not possible, mostly because we need to support all customers. Please keep the feedback coming!

Its mainly merchants that use the transaction history, LL have still not said why the changes, where is the transparency Ebbe was talking about?

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Phoebe Avro wrote:

[...]

Its mainly merchants that use the transaction history, LL have still not said why the changes,
where is the transparency Ebbe
was talking about?

(boldface is mine)

It's not just transparency that is at issue here Phoebe, it's basic "Business 101".

Any time a change is made to any part of the Second Life infrastructure, it has costs. Those costs are incurred up and down the corporate structure that is Linden Lab. Here is just a short list of Money Sinks that result from a change to something as critically important as the Transaction History page:

 

 

  • Employee Time - The direct cost in payroll that results from programmers and SQA (Software Quality Assurance) personnel making the code changes and then testing the operation to ensure the functionality is correct.
  • Management Time - As we have seen, CTL has been involved in this change by means of reading and posting to the Forums as well as the JIRA BUG Issue.
  • Documentation Time - The Lab employee(s) responsible for maintaining the KB and Wiki must locate and update all references and instructions regarding the Transaction History report and functionality.
  • Customer Support Time - Any new thing in the operation of the Second Life web site will create reactions within the users that range from mildly baffled to radioactive anger. These must be accepted and dealt with by the LL Support mechanism.

On top of the above legal currency costs (meaning costs that have a direct and measurable money value) there is also the intagible cost of the extremely important "Public Relations". Ebbe is still in his Honeymoon period. As such the community of paying customers is generally prone to grant him a bit extra flexibility regarding decisions such as this. If it turns out to be a horrific fright-mare of destroyed usefulness and customer meltdowns, the "Honeymoon Effect" will work in the exact opposite direction; causing people to heap even more hatred and distrust on Mr. Altberg's head.

In summary, I fear that CTL's decision to choose this time to make a change to a function that was not broken will result in even less usefulness, even more frustration and even higher displeasure with the Second Life product. As such, LL will be once again shoveling even more big rocks into the hold of the sinking ship. And that's something that SL really does not need right now.

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Phoebe Avro wrote:

[...]

mostly because we need to support all customers
.

[...]

PS: And we're still waiting to hear their justification for the changes .. and the new better functionality the change is supposed to provide. We also want them to define which customers are currently not supported by the Transaction History page and what new functionality/data will be provided that fixes that problem.

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Still it is encouraging to see them solicit feedback like this. I feel almost as I do when I am working with a customer giving me feedback on one of my products.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Still it is encouraging to see them solicit feedback like this. I feel almost as I do when I am working with a customer giving me feedback on one of my products.

Oh absolutely yes! When I was paired up and working on ANS with Brodesky Linden, it was an incredibly exhilirating and engaging dynamic. What impressed me most was Brodesky's dedication to getting as much info as possible in the hands of the Merchants without creating a confetti storm that would be mostly ignored.

We spent time .. SPENT TIME .. more as an investment into the final quality of the function. I think that investment paid off. ANS is very usable by many and as such has proven to be a valuable resource as well.

But back to your central point, the dynamic cooperation between the developers and those that will be using it constantly is not only very rewarding in ways that are visible in the final product, but it also rebuilds trust and desire to continue working together on future endeavors. Not to wear out that old saw but .. "It's a Win-Win for everybody!"

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I am guessing its one of the following

1, land Barron's etc that are licenced to sell L$

2, LL may have accounts they sell breadables under alts (an ex Linden hinted that LL make more money from the MP and Breadables than they do from tier^^) so my  thinking is that LL must have some alt accounts that sell these breadables

3, something else LL are keeping secret 

I did a google LL have only used the word 'customers' twice ever  the first in Rodviks leaving statement and the second was Ebbe's first statement when he joined LL

It seems like a very odd word coming from LL, it struck me as soon as i read it

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Phoebe Avro wrote:

I have always wondered why ANS is only used on MP sales and not on the transaction history?

ANS was actually the brainchild of the XStreet creators. When LL bought XStreet, they had to make sure it kept working because far too many people were dependent on it. Their complete rewrite, what we now call the Marketplace, was originally going to be without ANS but once again the masses raised a holy stink and it was decided to implement it after all. To the best of my knowledge, it was the last functionality that Brodesky worked on before he had to exit the building.

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My comment is somewhat of zero value here but i'm just amazed that they found developer time to do something that has absolutely no use yet that same time could have been put to use enabling this which would have benefited many:-

mp side banner.png

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After reading the SL Wiki page again:

The L$ Transaction History web page allows Second Life Residents to view recent L$ transactions involving their account. As business has grown in Second Life, this page has become challenging for some Residents to use


It becomes clear these changes are being made for a few residents, the residents with the largest amounts of transactions! that's why LL scrapped the totals in the first attempt

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If that's the case then meddling with it like that is the wrong solution.  It doesn't matter what type of export they provide, a static file downloaded via a manual process will always prove cumbersome and currently such residents have to resort to html scraping of their transaction data via scripted methods.

A better solution would be to send signed (and possibly encrypted) XML blobs to an external web process, live as the transaction occurs, similar to how Marketplace pumps out transaction data via ANS.

If I were LL, that would be my approach "Hey Bob, seems like you have a huge number of transactions, surely you're using an external system for transaction logging and record keeping?"

(If Bob isn't, then Bob is missing a trick!)

"So Bob, what we plan to do is send live transaction data as it happens, using well documented and understood web communication principles to your system where you can then consume this data in an orderly manner.  The benefit is that your system can easily use this, it won't alter any existing methods for existing users and anyone else can benefit from this enhanced data source."

Bob:  "AWESOME!"

It's not hard...

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Pls put that on the JIRA, Sassy. Or I will, if you give me permission.

This whole effort is apparently driven by a very tiny percentage of merchants who clearly have back door access to Lindens.  Without so much as a nod to the 99.99 % of us who rarely have more than 500 non zero transactions in a day, they do all this.

I am still waiting to hear about progress based on the Search survey we filled out months ago.

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The jira was just updated:

 

CommerceTeam Linden commented on BUG-5664:
------------------------------

------------

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing feedback. Here are the planned changes based upon your feedback so far:
* Add back XML and XLS download formats
* Add the running total for the date range selected at the top of the first page of results
* Show time in in Pacific (SLT)
* Default the date range to today only
* Allow users to view all rows for the selected date range in one page
* Change the 30-day cutoff to 32 days (this is the maximum number of days possible to support)
* Add the ID Prefix back to the web page view of results
* Provide a way to refresh data w/o losing filters
* Add a clear for the filter box

We did see your feedback on tighter Marketplace integration with Transaction History pages in addition to ANS type support. These are great ideas, but we will not address them at this time.

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Phoebe Avro wrote:

The jira was just updated:

We did see your feedback on tighter Marketplace integration with Transaction History pages in addition to ANS type support. These are great ideas, but we will not address them at this time.

So as I understand it, just to be clear.

A small number of merchants have a lot of transactions so LL spent time doing something that affected a wide number of merchants to much outcry.  Then they spend time putting it all back again...

while NOT doing the ONE thing that would be of most benefit to the original small number of merchants and possibly many others, i.e. provide a live data feed of transactions.

Meanwhile...

The new viewer comes out soon with a bunch of fixes but for this 2 year old one.  Sorry merchants on Linux, still no outbox for you!

https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/WEB-4659? remains a "known issue".

Ebbe Linden, you're wrong.  Sometimes we do know what we want and also what we need.

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What I think, Sassy: There are not a whole lot of people around who have both a macro and micro view of both running a business in SL and programming.  You and Darrius and a handful of others that I see in other forums periodically. These are the people that LL needs to consult -- the experts on the technology  of running a business in SL.

But if they will keep communication open, maybe they will become gradually more aware of what it is business owners need. Evidently at this point they do seem to prefer to have secret meetings with and tailor policies and technology to cater to  tiny sub-categories of merchants. 

Ebbe said that sometimes the customer correctly identifies what he wants/needs, but does not have a reasonable idea about what processes to follow.  However, what he also needs to realize is that the Commerce Team often may know how to get where it is going, but doesn't know where it needs to be going. 

The result is what you describe -- a misguided, not well thought out half-measure. 

 

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In the past I have been out spoken about LL ^^ but at least this time LL have actually listened to the outcry and have actually listened to all the ideas and comments! and acted positively for the benifit of all, so far and thats due to us!

Thx Ebbe ^^

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I think that over the years many people have had some good ideas, that could be easily implemented with almost no cost!

But those ideas have fell on deaf ears and some times the customer is actually right,  this modification to the transaction history proves it, the fact that LL removed the totals shows they were out of touch with the way merchants and general residents work, shows this!

But at least LL actually listened this time^^

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The main thing is LL should have said 'hey we need to change the transaction history and while we are about it we would like your ideas' instead of rolling out a piece of crap, as a famous meerkat says 'Simples'

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Phoebe Avro wrote:

In the past I have been out spoken about LL ^^ but at least this time LL have actually listened to the outcry and have actually listened to all the ideas and comments! and acted positively for the benifit of all, so far and thats due to us!

Thx Ebbe ^^

There are just a few notable instances where the outcry of the masses have been both heard and followed by LL. The flap that arose from the Freebie Roadmap is one that comes to mind. That particular event actually required several weeks of intense, unending and extremely loud protest. I even organized a rally on Linden Land to protest the proposed changes.

This time it required far less noise to get our needs and desires heard. That's a good thing IMO .. and a thing that should be recognized as fruitful for all parties involved in the future.

In fact, going forward, perhaps a more productive and less confrontational methodology would be to create a "Proposed Functionality" page on the site and then invite people to review it and comment on it. Making clear that it is only a proposal should reduce the negative emo-bombing that occurs anytime LL suggests changes in the site's operation. (Sadly though, I suspect it won't totally eliminate it. There will always be those that respond with flamethrowers on full blast.)

Putting proposals in front of the wider community, notifying the interested parties via the Forums, collecting feedback also via the Forums will IMO result in a productive Win-Win solution. For example, in this case the Bullet Points posted by CTL would have been collected easily, as the result of positive constructive suggestions, and not as the wincing (and winging) gripey comments that result from being blind-sided with unexpected changes to critical functions.

In my world every event such as we've just undergone is an opportunity to learn. In this case I believe we learned that putting the ideas out there as suggestions and not as finished code would almost exclusively result in positive progress toward better functionality all the way around.

But above all else, I believe we need to LEARN from this event. That is something that has been sadly lacking from past events between the Community and the Marketplace Devs. There is no shame in saying "Ahh, I see now. That way would be better." It's part of improving and growing .. oneself and the "Product".

/soapbox off

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


<snip>

But above all else, I believe we need to LEARN from this event. That is something that has been sadly lacking from past events between the Community and the Marketplace Devs. There is no shame in saying "Ahh, I see now. That way would be better." It's part of improving and growing .. oneself and the "Product".

/soapbox off

Linden's have operated under Omertà so long they may actually be having to learn that under Ebbe they can start talking again and not only that, but learn how to talk once more.

Though I bet there may be a few Lindens who are thinking "heresy" and will do everything they can do avoid communicating.  Protecting one's turf is still very embedded in corporate culture.

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