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Oh well, on more post then. I promise this will be my last!

Ok, if you say so. But that means the ratings have very little value as a search ranking criterium and need to be toned down.

It's also a question how they should affect search ranking, I don't know exactly how they work today. The only way to test that would require blatant TOS violations and I'm not going to do that for obvious reasons. But from what I've seen it seems like the search ranking is simply based on the number of four and five star ratings. One star ratings are ignored and two and three star ones ... well, I have no idea really, they're so rare.

As I said, I don't know for sure if that's how ratings work today but if it is, that's a really bad idea.

The best solution would have been to use median values as Cytherion suggested but that simply won't work with numbers as low as we have. Of course, encouraging people to write reviews will help but not nearly enough and Darrius explained why. His post about what to spend time on and what not to spend time on applies to MP reviewers too. A question to all merchants here: how often do you take the time to write a review for something you bought on MP? How often would you do it if it was easier to find the review function at all? And then remember that merchants are far more likely to write reviews than regular buyers.

Then of course, it's the question: how often do you leave or receive a three star rating? Hardly ever! The way the review system is today, only those who are very happy or very unhappy with the purchase is going to bother with a review. Making the function more accessible isn't enough to change that. I do actually believe that the vast majority of MP buyers are quite happy with what they've bought but not so ecstatic they go back to write a splendid review. We will never ever get any kind of feedback from that big majority of buyers as long as the ratings are hardwired to the rather cumbersome review process.

So it will have to be average rating. Cut out lowest and highest rating and calculate the average of the rest (if any) and you have a figure that at least has some meaning. Eliminating the two extremes will also offer a little bit of protection against bought reviews and revenge reviews.

 

Btw, if somebody isn't familiar with the difference between average and median value, here's an example:

Imagine you have managed to get four reviews for your product but with a rather extreme spread: two five star and two one star. The average of that is three and the median is also three.

Now you get one more single star rating. The average drops to 2.6 which isn't good of course but not too bad either, The median, however, drops all the way down to one.

 

Edit: I just have to comment on this although I know Pamela will hate me afterwards:


Pamela Galli wrote
A review is for the purpose of providing useful information to prospective buyers. A blank one star review provides no useful information other than that someone didnt like it for some reason.


Do you really believe customers read the reviews before they buy? Sorry, to say this but very, very few do. I actually do myself but I'm weird and I know it. ;)

 

Now I'm signing off for real. I'm still wondering if I've wasted my digital ink and - more important - my time on this thread. We'll see.

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ChinRey wrote:

 

 

Edit: I just have to comment on this although I know Pamela will hate me afterwards:

Pamela Galli wrote
A review is for the purpose of providing useful information to prospective buyers. A blank one star review provides no useful information other than that someone didnt like it for some reason.


Do you really believe customers read the reviews before they buy? Sorry, to say this but very, very few do. I actually do myself but I'm weird and I know it.
;)

 

Now I'm signing off for real. I'm still wondering if I've wasted my digital ink and - more important - my time on this thread. We'll see.

Chin dont be silly, you know I adore you!

I don't have any way of knowing what percentage of  people read reviews but I do, too. So that makes two of us. In any case, the information is there for those who do. 

The other problem with a plain star and no explanation, besides providing no information, is that spurious reviews would have no basis for removal:  all those people who leave one star because they thought they were buying a whole dining set instead of a dining table, all those people who say "Give me a refund or I will leave a one star review", can make that one star stick. When I have provided a very clear description of exactly what is and is not included, my product does not deserve to be down-rated for providing exactly what the listing says.

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Y'know, there is a middle ground ...

Leave a 2, 3 or 4 star review: Comment is optional.
Leave a 1 or 5 star review: Comment and name are required.

Just thinking around the edges of the box ...

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Y'know, there is a middle ground ...

Leave a 2, 3 or 4 star review: Comment is optional.

Leave a 1 or 5 star review: Comment and name are required.

Just thinking around the edges of the box ...

Okay, okay, I adore you too!

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CommerceTeam Linden wrote:

First, please rest assured that we're closely following the feedback in this forum.  You're not spilling ink in vain.  We haven't asked you to test specific things precisely because we need generalized feedback on various aspects of your experience with search both as merchants and as shoppers. 

Based on the feedback you have given, we're working on making incremental changes.  We'll promptly notify you of each new deploy (and yes, we'll list the changes made) and ask for additional responses.  While it's clear even from discussions in just this thread that it's impossible to satisfy everyone all the time, we do this beta process and ask for your time and feedback precisely because we want to avoid the doomsday scenarios colorfully presented here.  

I know you guys listen to the forums, I haven't turned in my secret Linden card quite yet. And because of the hairs on the back of my neck. But listen, as unspecific as it might have been, you still could have given an inkling. For instance, last I knew you were using Solr for search. If that's what you're using and you're doing a "reset" by tuning the rulesets you could have phrased that in a more specific way.

Because now you've got people making suggestions about related things you don't(?) even intend on touching like frontend changes, or overhauling reviews,  how you handle demo's, etc.

And then you got hit with some angst along with suggestions that you kind of go deaf on no matter how long or how hard theyr'e requested.

You parried: "While it's clear even from discussions in just this thread that it's impossible to satisfy everyone all the time"

And that's true, but this thread is indicitive of something that's always boggled me with LL. I look at this thread and I see far more commonality than I see differences. The way this thread is going, like some of the other threads where we boiled down feedback, you could build an entire roadmap of work from.

If I could be so bold, you're developing for residents, not customers. And residents (at least in commerce) want to be treated like customers and not residents. If you were developing for customers you'd be building the features and functionality that they want, not what you want. That including sticking to functionality that makes sense, but leaving the marketeering to the merchants.

If you could turn around your culture, you could solve almost all of the gripes and CUSTOMERS would have the features that makes them giddy with joy and you'd be their best friend and I'd shave my legs and don the cheerleader uniform again. Things just flow differently when you're customer-centric.

Appreciate the bravery in communication and wanting to improve search. And the ability to take a punch. And a pitchfork and umm, what's a little pyre-play among friends? But also, please keep up. When you're done with the stuff in this thread I want spiffy graphical charts, buying trends and other goodies before 2018.

 

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DartAgain wrote:


CommerceTeam Linden wrote:

First, please rest assured that we're closely following the feedback in this forum.  You're not spilling ink in vain.  We haven't asked you to test specific things precisely because we need generalized feedback on various aspects of your experience with search both as merchants and as shoppers. 

Based on the feedback you have given, we're working on making incremental changes.  We'll promptly notify you of each new deploy (and yes, we'll list the changes made) and ask for additional responses.  While it's clear even from discussions in just this thread that it's impossible to satisfy everyone all the time, we do this beta process and ask for your time and feedback precisely because we want to avoid the doomsday scenarios colorfully presented here.  

I know you guys listen to the forums, I haven't turned in my secret Linden card quite yet. And because of the hairs on the back of my neck. But listen, as unspecific as it might have been, you still could have given an inkling. For instance, last I knew you were using Solr for search. If that's what you're using and you're doing a "reset" by tuning the rulesets you could have phrased that in a more specific way.

Because now you've got people making suggestions about related things you don't(?) even intend on touching like frontend changes, or overhauling reviews,  how you handle demo's, etc.

And then you got hit with some angst along with suggestions that you kind of go deaf on no matter how long or how hard theyr'e requested.

You parried: "
While it's clear even from discussions in just this thread that it's impossible to satisfy everyone all the time"

And that's true, but this thread is indicitive of something that's always boggled me with LL. I look at this thread and I see far more commonality than I see differences. The way this thread is going, like some of the other threads where we boiled down feedback, you could build an entire roadmap of work from.

If I could be so bold, you're developing for residents, not customers. And residents (at least in commerce) want to be treated like customers and not residents. If you were developing for customers you'd be building the features and functionality that they want, not what you want. That including sticking to functionality that makes sense, but leaving the marketeering to the merchants.

If you could turn around your culture, you could solve almost all of the gripes and CUSTOMERS would have the features that makes them giddy with joy and you'd be their best friend and I'd shave my legs and don the cheerleader uniform again. Things just flow differently when you're customer-centric.

Appreciate the bravery in communication and wanting to improve search. And the ability to take a punch. And a pitchfork and umm, what's a little pyre-play among friends? But also, please get keep up. When you're done with the stuff in this thread I want spiffy graphical charts, buying trends and other goodies before 2018.

 

If there is anyone in this thread pleased with this thing, I missed it.

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Snickers Snook wrote:

It's not search that's broken. It's the listing system itself. 

Yes & no. Search is broken partly because we've been allowed to break the listings. LL have allowed us to get away with the keyword spamming and other bits for far too long, and when folk started to see that the loophole was there they opened up the tin of alhpabetti spagetti and threw in every word that they could think of from other listings just to try and get thiers boosted, hence why we now get bookends when searching for a barn door. Throw in the demos, the store names, the seller names, the reviews and bam! we're in the middle of a big ol' bowl of search custard. 

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:


Tari Landar wrote:

The thread very well may be gone now, I just remember reading it, mostly for entertainment value, knowing that none of the ideas suggested were likely to be implemented, despite being *really good* ideas.  

It wasn't that long ago, but we carefully and completely documented all problems, and were assured we were heard. I think Ebbe even posted in it.

The End

 

Which brings me right back to...LL always says that, but we rarely, if ever(when it comes to MP) know if they actually are ;) I have my doubts, and until I see them prove otherwise, I will keep those doubts firmly planted where they sit, lol. I know LL listens about other things, at least some of the time, when they say they are listening. But with MP?...Yeah, no, I haven't really seen that yet. When I do, I will give proper kudos to the team, and LL, though :) 

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ChinRey wrote:

 

Do you really believe customers read the reviews before they buy? Sorry, to say this but very, very few do. I actually do myself but I'm weird and I know it.
;)

 

I always read reviews. Not only do I read reviews but I look for 5 star reviews before purchasing. I leave reviews too, usually 5 stars if I end up using the item. As for bogus reviews, if people are misled they often come back and give a bad review to set things straight again.

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in addition to most things said here:

1) i want to have a possibility to bookmark "favourite shops", more than "favourite items"

2) i want to have my "96/newest first" preferances saved for the next time i visit MP

and

please review the search in the "shop" tab because i often dont get results when using a part of a shopname or a part of creators name. dont know why, but i think it needs review.

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Apart from the speed (ok I buy its beta) please lose the 'auto fill' in search. It may work for single store own catalogue systems, here its - annoying is not a strong enough term.

And as well as doing 'something' about keywords, make them more easily visible. Up front as it were.

And publish at least an indicator of 'forbidden' terms.

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Cytherion Revnik Wrote:

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I dont think LL asked us a feedback only to NOT read them as some comments are implying.

I do know these comments will be read. Please do understand that these changes arent "live" yet and there is room for improvement. In the light to ease up the negativity 

I would suggest tackling simpler  problems rather than taking shortcut solutions to a bigger problem as it seems in the current beta.

Start with these

  • Eliminate creator names and store names from search. If we want them searched we can put them in title or keywords.
  • Have a keywords section for merchant stores like youtube allows you to add a small number of keywords to your channel. For example if a store is called "Tony's Pottery house" Tony can add description to the store as (mesh pottery, sculpture etc.)
  • Keep tracking valuable data such as total units sold, price per unit sold, average monthly sales per item
  • Keep tracking user ratings but make it easier for users to leave feedback and not only this encourage users to leave feedback. If you bought anything on other ecom sites you know you are reminded to leave feedback. It only helps overall market. Right now it is so deeply buried that it is not intuitive at all.
  • The more people review items the less the chances of fraudulent or impartial reviews to dominate.
  • Take automated measures to prevent manipulation such as ip masking, click farming, proxying, fraudulent reviews. I know this cannot be perfectly achieved but something is better than nothing.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

^^^^^^^

The above text pretty much sums it up.

I second the "keywords" field for an entire store as opposed to "name" of the store itself being factored into search. If we want our brand searched, we will add them as a keyword.

MP Beta is just too rough right now for me to have any specific comments. But in the unlikely event of these changes going live, as a creator I am not afraid to start over, Its life.. its business...it happens.  #whomovedmycheese

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Cart before the horse seems apt. Seems to be a solid consensus that other issues need fixing first that affect bad search results before search itself is tackled. Doing it the other way around means double work on a search revamp later.

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DartAgain wrote:

Cart before the horse seems apt. Seems to be a solid consensus that other issues need fixing first that affect bad search results before search itself is tackled. Doing it the other way around means double work on a search revamp later.

Exactly.

The focus first should be on making the Marketplace the very easiest to use.

Why do demos even show up in search results?  Why is that the default?  Why am I forced to wade through them or take steps to eliminate them from my results.  All they are doing is adding massive clutter to the results.

Likewise when merchants/stores are listed under a search for 'items.'  It just clutters the search results when I shop.

Why can't the description field be made smaller to reduce keyword spam?

If there are viable reasons then CTL should state them and we can move on.  But saying, "We can't please everyone," just comes across as a lame excuse.  

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Our feedback as a community has been basically "restructure your entire project."

 

IF they take our advice~  I'd expect turnaround times on the order of MONTHS ~ because computer programming isn't something you just flip a switch on and "make happen."

 

I refer you to XKCD.



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Be under no illusion, none of this would have been instigated by any altruistic intent to address the needs of merchants. This feedback has been given over and over and each time work is stated, none of it is to address feedback and requirements.

 

This initiative will have been driven by an LL cost saving exercise and since they've not responded to their stakeholders, what this work is supposed to solve for US, this will remain my perspective.

 

As such, little of our 15 pages of feedback is what they want to hear about. *shrugs*

 

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Sassy Romano wrote:

Be under no illusion, none of this would have been instigated by any altruistic intent to address the needs of merchants. This feedback has been given over and over and each time work is stated, none of it is to address feedback and requirements.

 

This initiative will have been driven by an LL cost saving exercise and since they've not responded to their stakeholders, what this work is supposed to solve for US, this will remain my perspective.

 

As such, little of our 15 pages of feedback is what they want to hear about. *shrugs*


This is exactly the point, and if you'll allow a bit of "reply skipping" .. 

@polysail - We who shout against this latest initiative are neither new nor inexperienced in matters such as these. We have, for years, replied with all manner of emotional and technical reasoning to LL's periodic requests for "feedback". Even the term itself has become almost painful to see attached to a Linden signature .. directly BECAUSE of our past experience.

It is often argued that "Linden Lab is a business and businesses exist to make money." That argument is lost on a majority of those posting here because we are businesses. We are the sole proprietors (and often only employees) of businesses that must thrive, grow and become established just like Linden Lab had to do.

We have learned in many different ways and from many different "schools" how to listen to our customers, how to solicit feedback and then how to act on that feedback. We too are in business to make money. And even though the amount of that money may vary from pennies to a full-time living wage, we all still learned the same lessons:

Listen .. Incorporate .. Improve .. GROW!

When we see faux statements such as those that headline this thread, we cringe reflexively because we realize that none of what we say will alter the Lab's predetermined path. We cringe and respond with anger because the statements made are .. on their face .. false and intended to mislead. We know these things because we have done this loop so many times before.

Linden Lab is indeed a business. And it is indeed trying to make money. But they are NOT in business to make money satisfying their customers or acting on feedback. They are in business for motives and goals that remain invisible, inscrutable .. and illogical. The proof is not in the few tiny blips of "verbiage" set forth in special chat events, or forum posts. Instead the proof is found in years .. YEARS .. of saying one thing and doing quite the opposite. Years of turning a deaf ear to all legitimate and heartfelt feedback provided by a giant number of caring, skilled, educated and intelligent people that wish only to help. Years of being told "We are listening" .. only to watch as the direction of the Lab goes inexorably toward a goal that seems focused on failure instead of success.

We do care. We care not only because our lives and our businesses are tied fundamentally to the continued success of Second Life, but also because we live each day providing real customer support, listening honestly to what our customers say ... and doing our very best to take those comments into consideration as we move forward in our goals.

But we also care because we have come to love Second Life. We come here not just to line our pockets or meet some self-established goals. We come here because this place, this platform .. this WORLD .. is one in which we find pleasure, companionship, satisfaction and delight. And we provide feedback, even through gritted teeth, exactly because we want to see things improve and grow and reach a point where we no longer worry that it will all be gone tomorrow.

So when we see yet another "loop" through this wasteful and deceitful routine of putting out useless updates, discarding valuable and honest suggestions that have been proven by their application in 100's of other similar situations .. when we see that we are being lied to and treated like idiots .. it rankles us to our core.

I realize you want the same thing polysail. You want the joys and pleasures and delights of Second Life to continue. I understand you worry that our angry words will somehow upset the leaders that dictate the direction the Lab takes. I get it that you are scared we might anger them and make them take a turn that will harm us instead of help us. But count on one thing that has been proven true by management team after management team, president and CEO after president and CEO ..

Linden Lab will not be altered from the path they have already chosen. Linden Lab has posted this thread and made this effort to "fix search" for reasons all their own .. and not a DAMN thing we say or do will change their goal. And not a DAMN thing they say has anything to do with improving Second Life, improving the function of their web sites or tools or features. Not a single damn thing we say or do will change the outcome.

Because Linden Lab has goals that exclude common business ethics or methods .. and instead protect only their own self-interests .. including and at times absolutely dependent on the destruction of the customer base and everyone that has made it work to date.

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@Darrius: Just wanted to give you a shout-out, ltns.

Agree about the way they handle customers, which tends to be a game company approach. It's just not a fit for commerce. They're treating the userbase as if we're players just whining about the latest nerfs to paladins or warriors, and a we-know-better-than-you-about-game-balance so we're not going to give you better weapons. The next expansion will be out when we get to it.

@polysail:

Commerce on the other hand is pretty straightforward. There's nothing about commerce with LL's technology that can't be explained to a layman, especially those who have experience in using the mechanics of buying and selling using the applications.

And the development world has changed, while LL moves in slow motion on the dev front. It's never been easier to solve problems than it is now. We're in a a cloud, multi-device, multi-technology world where we can deal with big data more easily. Everything is more scalable, more modular, more asynchronous, etc.

LL, not once in its lifetime has been able to publish and stick to a roadmap. Meanwhile even the open source front has generally moved to a faster paced and more reliable ecosystem. And you don't see many companies these days floundering over commerce solutions.

You don't see many companies that take 2+ years to fully implement a delivery system even in game development.

Last night I upgraded my ASP.NET.stuff. Beta 8 was last month, RC1 this month and a final RTM by end of first quarter next year. I removed one framework by another company from my stack because they published a roadmap and did nothing on it for almost a year. The same for most software. If it moves along and makes deadlines, the team is competent, if it doesn't, they're not, or there's some other issue at play hobbling progress.

For instance: From all indicators on the types of feature requests that are ignored, it would appear that search-from-scratch is far easier for them than it is to wrangle the shopping cart into treating demos as an entity of their own. From scratch work is always easier. But in this case a from scratch solution in search to filter out demos isn't really a solution, it just masks an underlying problem with demos.

I remember when we got Rod Humble in here after making a comprehensive list. He agreed, the team gave us a smaller version of the requests in a cheesy bulleted list rather than a solid roadmap. We got 2 of those things or so done. Rod went poof and so did the list and the work.

These kind of things are why you're not hearing explanations, not because the tech will go over our heads.

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Okay~ I get that people have been dissappointed in the lab before.  That has been made inescapably clear by the blind cynicism and ongoing negativity.  My point I've been trying to make the last 3 posts is a lot of the requests people are putting forth here haven't been thought through with a "feasability" mindset.  You can sputter with indignant rage all you want that you're not getting your golden hen that lays golden eggs of golden golden-ness, and "god damn LL is worthless at solving the lack of golden hens problem".  But that narrative is not solving the fundamental underpinning issues that a lot of what we're suggesting be fixed ( and what genuinely NEEDS to be done ) has some very serious technical issues that are unresolved.

Pretending that those don't exist and posting "is it fixed yet, is it fixed yet?" isn't solving anything ~ nor is it even helping.

On that note I'm going to try and redirect this discussion towards something more productive.

 

Problem #1: Creator & Store Names

Removing creator names & shop names from search results has a compounding difficulty that a substantial portion of our items we sell as creators are labeled "[MY SHOP NAME] GoldenChicken".  Or {MYSHOPNAME} GoldenEgg.  We habitually do this in the hopes of creating some sort of brand name recognition.  And it's an important part of that.  But it throws an absolute monkey wrench in the idea that such names need to be excluded from the search results.  Keep in mind we do this for listing titles, listing names, listing keywords, item names ~ each of us has decided to stick our store name in a different place.

Potentially you could scan for similarities in shop names to item names and then try and match and compare that to the store name but then you wind up with incorrect comparisons against abbreviations as problem.   But what if I'm selling items another vendor created that's a gatcha resale.  Then suddenly the store name is 100% critical on what the item is.  XYZ Golden_Egg [RARE] needs to be relevant when I'm searching for "XYZ" + "RARE"

Now to solve this you could naming conventions for marketplace listings but there's literally millions of items that are for sale on the marketplace ( many of them fantastically made and still best sellers ) that are made by people who have left SL and are no longer managing their account for various reasons, in many cases those reasons are exceedingly valid, such as being deceased.  Their store is their lasting legacy.  So updates *MUST* be automated and accurate.

If you have a solution to this sort of thing please post it.

 

Problem #2 : DEMOS Existing listings.

Again ~ an offshoot of the prior dilemma.  A lot of people have chosen to label their demos differently.  Not everyone with a marketplace shop currently is there to manage / curate it.   Catagorizing existing listings into specialized "DEMO" classifications automatically cannot be 100% accurate.  Not everyone's demo items are linked to a main item.  Retroactively doing a decisionmaking process on this is not a simple problem.

Things to consider on this: From the Labs perspective every purchased item on the marketplace that funds an inactive account is pure profit for the Lab.  As a businses they have no interest in removing these listings from the marketplace. Ever.  Nor should they.  SL is a user generated world.  People should be able to buy bizarre stuff from 2004.

If you have a solution to this sort of thing please post it.

 

Problem #3: Keywords

Revamping the keyword system is difficult due to the fact that LL has catagorized and listed everything by keywords.  Certain keywords are associated with different ratings and visibility.  LL attempts to keep keywords secret in this regard in and attempt to reduce the number of people who exploit the system.  Reducing available keywords (as was suggested)  would hinder the visibility of newer products compared to the older ones overall which is the exact opposite of what people want to have happen.  Removing them as a ranking metric entirely would effectively render all entered keywords as a negative impact on search listings as the only thing they'd impact would be G/M/A Visibility.

 

 

These are just the 3 that popped into my head while I was half awake and pondering.   Nevermind database management concerns~  Because I seriously haven't a clue about those.

 

My point is this:  It's NOT SO SIMPLE.  So if you really really believe LL is as utterly incompetent at handling your needs, then guide their incompetence, rather than just complain.  These aren't even coding issues I've posted they're logic problems.

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