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Avaraia Aljon

Noticed something about second life recently.

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years ago when i first started, there where tons of people who where very open to talking to you and groups you could just hang with, along with people you could discuss things with. now people seem to shut themselves off from other people (along with myself but for good reason) you can't really talk to someone, and theres no place you can just hang out and feel welcome.

whats happened to the community? have we just come old and jaded?

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I think its a matter of perspective sometimes, is the glass half full or half empty? I don't know what the good old days were like cause I have only been here a year and a half so far, but let's say you are right, but that does not mean everyone is like that. Lets say that before 80% would be open to you you talking to them and 20% were not, you just moved on past the 20% and had fun with the 80. Lets say the numbers now are reversed, that means there is stil 20% out there who welcome you talking to them, ok so so you have to kiss more toads now, but big deal, don't let them ruin your day. I talk to random people everyday, and I find a lot of good people doing it, the others, well I can't let thier misery drag me down.

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Avaraia Aljon wrote:

now people seem to shut themselves off from other people (along with myself but for good reason)

Maybe others have good reason too? ;)

I try to say hello to people I meet but I don't expect and answer and I don't usually get one. That's how it's been for the almost four years I've been here continuously.

During my first visits to SL, many years ago, I never met anybody who were willing to talk.

It's in SL's famous motto even:

 "Your Word, Your Imagination, Ignore Everybody Else"

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Avaraia Aljon wrote:

years ago when i first started, there where tons of people who where very open to talking to you and groups you could just hang with, along with people you could discuss things with. now people seem to shut themselves off from other people (along with myself but for good reason) you can't really talk to someone, and theres no place you can just hang out and feel welcome.

whats happened to the community? have we just come old and jaded?

Do you remember when the majority of content and builds were made inworld? Those who did not want to learn 3D modeling software to compete in the marketplace left in droves. That is what happened to the community. I am glad I was able to experience that early era. It is very unlikely that we will see anything like that again.

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Dusky Jewell wrote:

Do you remember when the majority of content and builds were made inworld?

 I do actually. I got here in 2013, right at the end of that period.

 


Dusky Jewell wrote:

Those who did not want to learn 3D modeling software to compete in the marketplace left in droves. That is what happened to the community.

 I don't know about marketplace. Let's face it, if all the creators want to make moeny from their builds, there simply isn't enough buyers in SL for them all and I doubt there ever was.

But hobby building used to be big in SL and that is vanishing fast wihtout adequate in-world building tools. If you are a hobby builder working with Blender with no intention of making money from it, why on earth would you want to upload your meshes to SL? It's not as if there's any audience here. And if you want to make money from your work, why bother with SL when there are other more lucrative markets?

It may be more than a coincidence that the decline started shortly after mesh was introduced but even so, I think that's just one of many factors.

Another factor that has become critical recently, is avatar lag. I know, well made modern mesh avatars are less laggy than old avatars loaded with flexis. All the numbers prove that. All the tests prove that, and I've done some of those tests myself so I know. But even so, in 2013 all I had was a battered five year old Powerbook Pro and I could still go to clubs and beaches with 50 or more avatars, meet other people and have a good time with them. I have a much more powerful computer now but I can't even think of sharing a sim with 50 others - 20 are too many. (Actually - I'm not sure if something's happened to my computer or to the software - but the last few weeks it seems five mesh avatars are too many for it to handle.) This is probably the most important factor in the context of this particular thread.

 

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ChinRey, maybe you have your graphics settings higher now?

I can't say I have noticed alot of difference in the 7 years I have been here. One thing I do remember in the past is empty sims being full of lag, something rarely seen now. For a long time I have occassional problems with textures and objects not rendering that a relog fixes, but whilst I don't remember this when I first joined SL, it has been happening for so long now, I can;t remember when it started. For example, yesterday after a cruise it took 3 or 4 relogs for me to be able to get me and party goers to all rezz body parts. Come to think of it, I remember people being grey sometimes for a whole party when I first joined, maybe that is a function of the same problem just pre-mesh.

As for actual lag, I find avatars now tend to be much less laggy, and sims can take many more avatars before you start rubberbanding and having to cautiously move to a gap where you can do your dance moves.

And for people chatting... that is hard to judge, I remember SL being very lonely place when I first joined, if it wasn't for bloodlines people trying to recruit you I would have thought there was no one interested in talking to new people. Now I find myself hiding on alts to get things done because people on my friendslists chat so much I struggle to get the things done I want to.

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I just signed on because I saw some cool youtube vids that made it seem like something fun to do in the afternoon and such. but as a complete noob I have to say that it is a real disapointment to wander around for hours and not see anyone. and the few people I saw didnt talk to me. not that I care, but it is a ghost town. it looks really cool, and I like rolling around, but it gets kinda boring. thats what is wrong. and I have no idea where to go to hang out with people. I probably won't log in again. which kinda sucks because i have  cool hat. 

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Aethelwine wrote:

ChinRey, maybe you have your graphics settings higher now?

No but to be fair, maybe my expectations are a bit higher. ;)

I also noticed the development of this thread https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Your-Avatar/At-my-wits-end-Mesh-avatar-and-the-SL-Viewer/td-p/3096154

Nobody told me when I bought a new computer specially for SL that SL only supports Nvidia so guess what I bought? But oh well, too late to do anything about that. I'm not going to waste more money on SL and LL shows no signs of being interested in fixing the Radeon incompatibilities.

In any case, the point in this context is that the hardware requirements for using SL effectively increases, excluding more and more potential users, the graphics you get is too old and outdated to interest people who are into top level computer graphics and fewer and fewer people are willing to spend money on hardware only for Second Life. It is quite telling that a computer that can handle the advanced and detailed graphics of Valley Benchmark with ease still struggles seriously with the much cruder Second Life.

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Could it be that a lot of the chat has moved to groups? Even in the middle of the SL night, when it's always been tricky to find gatherings, there's often conversation in several groups I'm in. I don't remember groups being quite so active conversation-wise when I rezzed back in 2009 (or 08 maybe). Building groups, yes, but not so much with the non-building ones.

But how is a noob to know? Could be I was just in the wrong groups for chat back then. I know some of the busier ones, like a very active MM board group, frowned on too much general conversation. Anyway, those who are finding SL a bit empty might try a group like SL Frees & Offers. Seems like there's always talk going on there and it's not always fashion-orientated. Anyway, that might be a place to start. Searching for groups is pretty useless though because there are so many dead ones. Signs posted on walls are better for currently active groups.

And building. My SL social life finally sorted itself out after I got serious about creating. My friends are pretty much all either builders themselves or people I met through something related to my store or creating. That could be a door back into the good old days. Builders Brewery has an active group and Helping Haven has social events that I really need to get along to..... :matte-motes-smile:

Just my suggestions. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that many of the people who are just standing around not talking in local have gotten caught up in a group or two.

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Bitsy Buccaneer wrote:

Could it be that a lot of the chat has moved to groups?

Yes, you may well be right. But that means SL is becoming more and more a text-only chat room service...

 


Bitsy Buccaneer wrote:

But how is a noob to know?

And why should they be interested? There are lots of good chatrooms that don't require special software on the internet. It's different if you already are in Second Life and have friends there of course but how many people want to join for that good old irc experience?

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I'll throw something else into the mix. The marketplace. Before LL took over the 2 third party places to create the marketplace, inworld stores were the way to sell stuff. So there were loads of inworld stores, and loads of people around. Now the way to sell stuff is in the marketplace and, on the whole, inworld stores are no longer needed. The change wasn't intantaneous but over a relatively short period of time the mainland continents largely emptied, and now gives the impression that there are very few people logged in. I do think that that has had a effect on SL as a whole.

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Well, there are 3 types of stores that actually still benefit a lot from having an inworld store: Furniture, houses and animations. All of them usually sell high priced products, which raises the interest in testing it first before buying. They are also easier to be tested at a store, than to be made into a demo version, that can be brought seperatly.

Beside that, the marketplace is the virutal equivalent to online shopping in real life. Its easy and simply comfortable in many aspects. But I don't really miss shopping mostly inworld much, to be honest. It had many downsides and some stores recently reminded me about them. Most of my inworld shopping now happenes on montly shopping events.

But shopping never felt "social". Everyone was doing their own thing. The most conversation probably came from people begging for L$.

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Maybe relevant:-

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/511846/an-autopsy-of-a-dead-social-network/

Social networks don't die all in one go. It's the 'hinges' that fall away first, and that breaks folks up. Isolation and heat death can take care of the rest.

My personal opinion is that it's probably a wide bunch of factors, including but not totalling:-

  • The raised bar on hardware (e.g. the final...ish death of WinXP in SL)
  • Marketplace (which does reduce time spent in public - even though many homebodies were around before MP came along)
  • The.. Sansar problem (and, to some extent, the struggle for purpose that SL's always had, which is now... 'worse')

Even with the above issues, that's probably only 5-10% of the problem. Trouble is, that it's 5-10% SL can't necessarily afford to lose.

Oh, and FYI, I'm just answering the question posed. I don't think SL's in a particularly bad state, and it can definitely afford to shrink a good deal further before it reaches 'hobbyist'/'wind-down' territory.

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MissDeeMeanur wrote:

And Ebbe is obviously trying extremely hard to reach that state.


Maybe. Goes a bit beyond my capabilities to guess.

I do know, though, that tin-foil has a suspiciously high render-weight. :-)

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

My personal opinion is that it's probably a wide bunch of factors...

Here's another one:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Second_Life_Education_Directory

That is the official list of the c. 300 educational institutions in SL. Click on a few SLURLS and see how many actually exist. I checked the first ten. Three of them were still technically there but none of them showed any signs of recent activities, they were all relics of the past.


Freya Mokusei wrote:
  • The.. Sansar problem (and, to some extent, the struggle for purpose that SL's always had, which is now... 'worse')

Maybe but interestingly, when LL first announced the news about Sansar, SL's decline actually slowed down a little bit for a while and the same has happened recently when Sansar again has become a - if not hot at least lukewarm - topic.

 


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Oh, and FYI, I'm just answering the question posed. I don't think SL's in a particularly bad state, and it can definitely afford to shrink a good deal further before it reaches 'hobbyist'/'wind-down' territory.

There's no real limit. A grid based virtual reality is very scaleable.

 

I still think the graphics quality, or rather graphics efficiency is one of the most important factors though because it's an important reason why SL fails to recruit new users. I've already mentioned Valley Benchmark and I have to say it was quite an eyeopener for me first time I saw it. That is the current state of real time 3D graphics and what newcomers are likely to expect. Second Life can afford to be a little bit outdated since it has a few other unique qualities but it's ten years behind and that's far too much. There's not much hope of improvements either. The current SL team is doing their best - and they're beginning to be quite good at it -  but they're still trying hard to avoid falling even further behind. It'll take long before they can even begin to start catching up - if they ever can.

This is also a bit worrying for Sansar. Sansar can't afford to be behind in graphics, it can't even afford to match what others can offer. It has to set a new standard far enough ahead of the big names it has time to establish itself before the rest of the virtual world can catch up. I've yet to see or hear anything that suggests Sansar is up to that challenge. Remove all the PR language from the official statements and the extensive use of the candlelight trick from the pictures and videos and you have something that may match the existing competition and it may even be a fraction of an inch ahead. But there's nothing yet that should give any of the big names in virtual reality reason to worry.

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

Maybe relevant:-


Didn't get to read that article before I responded to the rest of your post.

Yes, I think it's very relevant. If I understand correctly, SL has a very poor cost-to-benefit ratio but it still hangs on because of a reasonably good k-core distribution.

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Syo Emerald wrote:

Well, there are 3 types of stores that actually still benefit a lot from having an inworld store: Furniture, houses and animations. All of them usually sell high priced products, which raises the interest in testing it first before buying. They are also easier to be tested at a store, than to be made into a demo version, that can be brought seperatly.

I didn't say that inworld stores were defunked. I pointed out that the marketplace has caused the end of many thousands of inworld stores, which, imo, has led to the perception that SL has very few people logged in at any one time. I.e. there is only a small number of stores left for people to look in, and only a small number of people actually looking in them.

Beside that, the marketplace is the virutal equivalent to online shopping in real life. Its easy and simply comfortable in many aspects. But I don't really miss shopping mostly inworld much, to be honest. It had many downsides and some stores recently reminded me about them. Most of my inworld shopping now happenes on montly shopping events.

I didn't suggest that the marketplace is a bad thing for shoppers. I've always said that it's a bad thing for SL though.

But shopping never felt "social". Everyone was doing their own thing. The most conversation probably came from people begging for L$.

Not social, although it did have a slight bit of social about it. I've made lasting friends when shopping, and I rarely shopped. What the stores did was show was that there were plenty of people around. The lack of actually seeing people around, and the emptiness of the mainland (largely due to stores being no longer necessary), are some of the things that people use to show how SL has changed from populated to scarecely populated.

 

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ChinRey wrote:


 Education is a tricky wicket. I'd definitely agree it should end up on the autopsy, but if I'm reading your impromptu investigation correctly, 3/10 isn't bad. Market forces adjust popularity, and many edu institutions had good opportunities for their own students but no outreach. See also, RL brands. So it's hard to say how much of a dent they make in the numbers.

Remember too that SL doesn't have a routing engine; when something doesn't exist all the user sees is a failure. This hasn't been acceptable in web design for a long time as it cuts short user curiosity. That's just as likely to have a negative effect on tourism as the absence of a specific attraction (my guess is that approximately zero new users have heard of SLED - but I bet a lot of us still remember the Gossipgirls).


ChinRey wrote:

There's no real limit. A grid based virtual reality is very scaleable.

Maybe technologically, but not socially. When SL starts to 'feel' empty, that's going to be a heavy knock. When there are popular products that can't be found in search anymore SL will struggle to keep even the most commited eyes here. The Internet's a big place, and if all your friends have moved onto playing New & Shiny, why are you still here? We'll reach that point eventually.

Graphics efficiency... I don't know if I buy it. The barn door's been left wide open there for a long time and sure, sign-ups probably suffered but beyond the shallow end of the hardware pool (+mobile devices)... people still either stuck with it or left. I don't see new users being impressed by the jellybabies project, nor project Interesting. Maybe you're re-iterating my first point? The slow march of technology has finally plodded on, leaving legacy users with a tough call: upgrade or move on... and they're moving on.

That was an insightful reply, and I'm glad you liked the article I linked. It's a lot more thorough on the concepts than I can be, though I've been paying attention to the trends for some time. I'm not sure how it will all shake out.

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I'd like to speak to the issue of not finding someone to chat with in voice. I was around before voice became an option and my 'generation' eschewed voice for  a long time. Now? I use it daily. Unfortunely a lot of trolls and griefers use it also. You used to be able to go to an Infohub and talk in voice. Now with the advent of the screaming Bilbongs, it's almost impossible to find a place that allows voice for the general public. 

 

I am a helper at the Firestorm Gateway, welcoming new residents to Second Life. Our voices make the job easier. It's so much harder to explain how to change clothes using text. So we are predominately voice users. We do get older residents who like to hang out and chat but our focus is helping new residents.  But chats can be disrupted by just on 'screamer' or loud open mic resident. It ruins the communcation via voice, so we revert to text. 

Voice has not gone away, sometimes it's just waiting for the obnoxious trollers to go home.

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Amalia Broome wrote:

I'd like to speak to the issue of not finding someone to chat with in voice. 

[snip]

Voice has not gone away, sometimes it's just waiting for the obnoxious trollers to go home.

When I came  to SL, i used to hang out at [censored] and nobody there used voice, something i was quite glad about after listening to voice at a safehub on my first day.

 

One day an individual arrived, called 'suckmypixels'. The staff member on duty and several regulars greeted him normally in local chat "Hello Suck"

He just stood there, so eventually we carried on our chatting amongst our selves untill the only regular who did use voice arrived, some 10 mins later, and informed us that Suck was screaming into his mic demanding to know why we wern't talking to him and why we called him Suck, when he had voicespammed at us that his name was [whatever].

 

When the staff member explained that most of us did not use voic e spam, he screamed that we were a bunch of "dried up ****s", at which point he was ejected from the sim by the staff domme, who he than apparently im'd complainingthat she was 'abusin ur powa of boot'.

 

Voice spam deserves to die...

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You can't help idiots.  It did not take me 30 seconds to realize that people without a white dot would never hear me.  Even now, how often do you see someone ask in chat if anyone can hear them?  If someone goes off on a rant as their first option you don't need to hear what they have to say anyway.

 

Amalia, voice chat is perfect for instructions.  However I always found it disruptive to the in world setting.  It breaks immersion.  I often joke that I don't want to hear tech-support while role playing but the more honest truth is that I have a horrible old lady Texas accent.  So the few times I voice now it is always to help someone with a technical problem while my inworld avatar sticks to text.  I have known my in world partner for a long time.  We have even lived together in 1st life for 5 years before.  She knows my voice very well.  And yet I still prefer to text with her.   think some people are like me and it is just the image we want to portray.

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

Education is a tricky wicket. I'd definitely agree it should end up on the autopsy, but if I'm reading your impromptu investigation correctly, 3/10 isn't bad.

In reality it's 0/10. The three that still exist are ten-years-or-so old builds. Visit counts were 38, 0 and 12 respectively. In other words, the installations are still in SL but they're not actually used. Seems somebody just forgot to cancel the tier bill.

 


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Maybe technologically, but not socially. When SL starts to 'feel' empty, that's going to be a heavy knock.

Oh. That happened long ago.

 


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Graphics efficiency... I don't know if I buy it.

To use a car metaphor, It costs as much as a Bugatti Weyron, it uses as much fuel as a Bugatti Weyron and it runs as fast as a Toyota Yaris.

I do believe that a low threshold virtual reality with basic graphics like SL could do well. And I do believe a high threshold virtual reality with advanced graphics might be a good idea although the competition is rather fierce there. But a high threshold one with basic graphics isn't going to cut it and that's exactly what SL is today.

 


Freya Mokusei wrote:

I don't see new users being impressed by the jellybabies project, nor project Interesting.

Project Interesting went off to a bad start because it was launched long before it was ready. But I do believe it turned out to be a genuine improvement once the most serious bugs were sorted out. It's not going to impress anybody of course, if only because it's an under-the-hood upgrade not directly noticeable to the users.

I'm not sure what to say about the jellybabies. At first glance it looks like a crude patch trying to cure the symptoms rather than the disease. That's exactly what it is of course but the question is, could it have been done much better? There is something fundamentally wrong with how mesh was implemented in Second Life. It's a classic example of copy-and-paste programming and as this article says, it must be a nightmare for the current LL programmers. It may well be that the disease is incurable by now and that the jellybaby project was the best way to reduce the damage at least a little bit.

 


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Maybe you're re-iterating my first point? The slow march of technology has finally plodded on, leaving legacy users with a tough call: upgrade or move on... and they're moving on.

Indeed.

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Yes  I think because of all the trolls and how people behave online you don't know who you're talking to there so many bullies and it sucks but we've all expereinced it.

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I find my experiences meeting folks in SL has been much more in-line with out things work IRL than some bizarre utopian cyber-world concept some people hope to find on the grid. 

I always say, if you walked into a club/store/cafe in Real Life, how many people would you meet? How many would become lifelong friends? Would you walk around and strike up a conversation with every individual? That's not necessarily how the world works. Obviously some locations are more social than others, but it does not change the fact that if you login to a sim with 10 people, they probably aren't all going to start jib-jabbin with you, they are in the area for their own reasons. 

Over the past 2 years in SL, I have found myself making more "solid" friendships rather than simply collecting names on the friends-list. The connections I have made are more meaningful than anything I experienced in the first 2-3 years exploring the grid.

While I do think there is potential for SL to become a truly "Social" platform, there are many hurdles to overcome. Not everyone is in SL for the same reason, everyone has their own interests and hobbies. That fact coupled with the fact that not only is the Grid a massive place but quite fragmented by Private Sims and Islands - makes "Gathering Points" and "Socializing Spots" quite difficult to create and populate. I personally do my part by encouraging both the creation and use of "Public Spaces". Locations that people can be comfortable visiting and enjoy hanging out in! As a owner of Public Property, the best thing we can do to cultivate a social community is to be as nice and open (NO BANLINES hehe) as possible, so that the general population can step in and appreciate :-) 

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ChinRey wrote:

I'm not sure what to say about the jellybabies. At first glance it looks like a crude patch trying to cure the symptoms rather than the disease. That's exactly what it is of course but the question is, could it have bee done much better? There is something fundamentally wrong with how mesh was implemented in Second Life. It's a classic example of copy-and-paste programming and as 
says, it must be a nightmare for the current LL programmers. It may well be that the disease is incurable by now and that the jellybaby project was the best way to reduce the damage at least a little bit.

I suspect from a new user to sl pr perspective, that the autoblob feature was a damn mistake...

You log into this new world with a default viewer and go exploring and suddenly you see that it doesn't look like the 'kewl' pictures on the adverts, loads of people are yucky primary colored blobbies and it's EWWWWWW.

 

Exit SL, uninstall, go play Tera Online where everyone is beautiful, and you have killer special moves with Megatastic Weapons of Ultimate Anime Awesomsauce!

 

And... For only *cough* dollars in their store you can unlock the ability to battle evil in a raunchy cosplay french maid outfit in gleaming digital latex... Makes SL look a little lame to many of the people we hoped would come and keep us company huh?

 

There are threads on the forum now with people paniking about their complexity settings or that they get endless annoying popups telling them that some fossilized permanoob relic in a 13 yr old avi can't see them.

 

Where are the popups telling people that the parcel they are on has a damn awful build with a renderweight of 5 million and suggesting they tell the parcel owner to attend remedial anti-gpu-lag building classes?

 

Why spend time and effort and money on SL getting a nice avatar, if nobody can see it, because of a poorly concieved, poorly implemented, and poorly explained system

 

Asshat.Linden wrote:

"Welcome to SecondLife, our adverts were a LIE! For your convienience we have auto-downgraded you to FUGLY! 

Have a nice SLife! Don't forget to spend on things you must not use! "

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