Deltango Vale Posted April 11, 2011 Share Posted April 11, 2011 For a long time, I have felt Linden Lab does not take advantage of the huge pool of free expertise available within the resident population. Time and again, I have read brilliant posts by a wide variety of residents who weep with frustration at LL's seeming disinterest in their contributions. Two years ago, in an article called The Way it Should Have Been, I said, "The forum would be 50% shorter and 100% more productive if the company had the wisdom to treat its residents as an intellectual goldmine rather than a herd of cattle."Having been in the fora since the vBulletin days of 2007, I would estimate no less than a dozen regular posters are at McKinsey level. In total, I'd say Linden Lab has at its disposal about 500 highly skilled, professional consultants within the resident population. The billing rate for a such a pool of talent would range between US$300 and US$2,000 per day, averaging about US$500 per day. Presume 10 of those 500 consultants are posting on the forum at any given time, Linden Lab has free advice to the tune of about US$5,000 per day. On major issues such as gambling, banking, VAT, Openspace sim pricing, 'adult' content, viewer development, mesh or script limits, that figure can rise to US$10,000 per day of consulting services. Any sane business would kill to have such a pool of talent at its fingertips for free!How, then, can Linden Lab best utilize this priceless resource? Well, there is the Knowledge Base for one, which LL has indeed converted into an asset. Now, there is this integrated communication system (Lithium), which, in my opinion, has been very successful at facilitating resident-company communication. Recently, inworld Office Hours were scrapped as being unproductive. They were replaced by inworld usergroups, which, in my opinion, are equally unproductive.So, this new forum software (improvement) coincides with an attempt to revitalize Office Hours in the form of usergroups (basically, a name change for something that never really worked). Put all the pieces together and one cannot help but come to the conclusion that fora-based usergroups could be a major improvement in resident-company communication. With that in mind, let me repost from another thread:The purpose of usergroups (inworld or fora-based) is to:facilitate communication between resident experts and Linden Lab employeesenable realtime communicationThere are two media suitable for usergroups:inworld meetingsspecial sub-fora with regular, 'live attendance' timeslotsHow would fora-based usergroups be set up?create a new forum called User Groups (Second Life, Content Creation, Technology, Commerce, Buy and Sell Land, International, User Groups)create 11 sub-fora within the User Group forum (Scripting, Mesh, my.secondlife.com, Simulator, V2, Viewer Evolution, Marketplace, Community Translation, Community Tools, Events, Server Beta)only LL employees can create threads in the User Group sub-foraeach User Group sub-forum has a top-level thread called AgendaLinden employees would create threads for agenda items (which would persist)How would these sub-fora usergroups work?members and employees could post in the usergroup threads at any time, 24/7employees would have a 'live attendance' schedule when they would participate in realtimeAdvantages of fora-based meetings:the location of the User Group forum is fixed and obvious to everyonemembers could contribute at any time (bypassing RL constraints)members and employees could read posts, think and prepare for 'live attendance' slotsrealtime communication (text, image, video)contributions persist and can be added to even if a 'live attendance' slot is canceledbusiness is conducted in non-competitive postsemployees can post on an ad-hoc basis if they wish (outside of 'live attendance' times)no need for transcriptionno need to log inworldDisadvantages of fora-based meetings:no visible avatarless funwider and possibly more frivolous participationmore work for Linden Lab employeesAdvantages of inworld meetings:avatar-to-avatar visual symbol exchangerealtime communication (open chat, IM, notecard)more funDisadvantages of inworld meetings:participants must search for date, time and location of meetingsparticipants must be available at time of meetings (RL schedule, timezone differences)meetings are very limited in terms of timeno business can be accomplished outside of allotted timemeetings may be canceled, resulting in zero productivitybusiness is conducted mainly in competitive, open chattime wasted in non-business banterchat history must be transcribed (including non-business banter)lag and crashesRegarding inworld meetings and conferences in general, I think Second Life has much to offer, but not all meetings and conferences are the same. If the goal of a meeting is to facilitate metaphorical transactions (nightclubs, fashion shows, sensual liaisons) where symbol content is important, inworld is the obvious choice. I would also say that unidirectional presentations (lectures, slideshows) work well in SL, but if one wishes to solicit knowledge and experience in the form of a dialog for the purpose of decision-making, I believe clearly-written arguments in a forum work best. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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