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Zed Avedon

Its amazing how strong SL seems to be!?

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On 7/4/2019 at 9:30 PM, Zed Avedon said:

The strength of SL (today & for at least the next half decade) I think is clearly stated in that the decline in users is so      v - e - r - y       v - e - r - y      s - l - o - w .

"If the ship sinks on an even keel, then damage control has been successful."

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5 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

If this is true then how do you explain me still being here? I can't always be the only "exception to the rule".

You're not. I talked with three people in my first year In SL, and those were hello exchanges with neighbors. I explored by looking for places with no green dots. Yet here I am, nearly 13 years in SL without a break.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Parhelion Palou said:

Here I am, nearly 13 years in SL without a break.

 

Next time I see you online, I'll try to break your concentration... or little toe.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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9 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Next time I see you online, I'll try to break your concentration... or little toe.

I like you. 

EEE0D59D-0BE1-4ACF-A274-33650DF8006B.jpeg

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On 7/5/2019 at 5:10 AM, BelindaN said:

And I have OCD tendencies, all of which fits nicely into Inventory management!

Does this mean you’re “mad”, by some old definition?

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1 hour ago, Parhelion Palou said:

You're not. I talked with three people in my first year In SL, and those were hello exchanges with neighbors. I explored by looking for places with no green dots. Yet here I am, nearly 13 years in SL without a break.

 

Not what I meant but ok. 

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Posted (edited)

When i say promote it with some 'freak' or 'edge' .. i mean do not omit the 'self exploratory' dark side of SL.. its attractive in that it allows for the first time in a powerful medium for folk to explore their own inner buttons/ fetishes .. what are mine? why are they there? so i can safely explore that in a virtual reality? It is so unique as an opportunity.

If i see a promo for something with flowers, smiling happy people on a sunny day, or happy nightime clubbing it only tells me to avoid that as a possibly 'interesting' thing. But also do not show me a 'ghoul' .. way too childish! .. maybe the whole task is the perfect picture and tagline that is exciting but not offensive? Yet maybe being offensive enough to cause a stir and get peeps talking? 

Its easy for hetero folk to be pilloried for physical expression in the media today. So maybe take the angle of gay and trans expressive avatars! The message being that if that works then hetero stuff will be ok too :)

Yes.. i dont know .. just thinking it through from my own perspective!

Edited by Zed Avedon
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Zed Avedon said:

Its easy for hetero folk to be pilloried for physical expression in the media today. So maybe take the angle of gay and trans expressive avatars! The message being that if that works then then hetero stuff will be ok too :)

I get the point you're trying to make but speaking from my experience if I saw the gay and trans avatars I would probably avoid too. I'm hetero but my best friend is gay. I'm not by any means or shape homophobic and nor do I condone homophobia, and I sincerely believe that people of consenting age are free to love who they want. But I have to be honest; I'm drowning in well-intentioned media saturation that has turned sex, race, gender, nationality, and pretty much every other defining characteristic of what makes us "us" into not just political agendas but divisive issues. And I don't want any part of that.

EDIT: I'd rather see a wider array of options as opposed to honing in on one particular "area". Though that just takes us back to where we are now in terms of being too broad and ill-defined.

Edited by RaeLeeH
To edit. Of course.
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@RaeLeeH

you might want to think a bit about what you have written. As wrote there is a bit of transference going on

"if I saw the gay and trans avatars I would probably avoid ... but my best friend is gay ... I'm drowning in well-intentioned media that has turned ... sex ... gender ... into ... divisive issues. I don't want any part of that"

as wrote the transference is: I don't have a discriminatory bone in my body. My avoidance of gay and trans avatars who I do not know, is because of the media

i don't think this is what you mean't to say

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Ideally, it wouldn't be promoted the same way in the same places. 

For people who are exploring their sexuality, and suspecting it might be outside the norm, SL can be a literal life-saver, especially for those who live in areas that aren't exactly welcoming to those in the LGBTQ community. Marketing SL to people in their 20s and 30s in the Bible Belt that have done Google searches for things related to coming out? Yes. 

Marketing it to straight, white, midwesterners that way, though? Probably wouldn't go over quite as well. 

Diversity in marketing to a variety of different communities is needed with targeted messaging for each. 

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On 7/5/2019 at 5:30 AM, Zed Avedon said:

I would establish 2 teams at the lab.. give them an equal budget, and get them to compete for attracting & retaining new signups at two different New Citizens locations.

Right Group A, you focus on selling the creative aspects of SL. For gods sake whatever you do, DON’T let on that learning ANYTHING in SL now requires a few decades of study and definitely don’t tell them how many different programs you now need to “simply” create clothing. Remember, short and sweet “Second Life : Become a fashion designer and make money”

Group B, you focus on selling the more social aspects of SL. Just be sure not to mention that most of us residents are social inepts who already have our own personal private cliques and definitely DON’T tell them that all newbies are viewed with the utmost suspicion and are generally shunned and hated until they are at least 30 days old. In fact, just go with “it’s like IMVU only better”

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9 minutes ago, ItHadToComeToThis said:

Just be sure not to mention that most of us residents are social inepts who already have our own personal private cliques and definitely DON’T tell them that all newbies are viewed with the utmost suspicion and are generally shunned and hated until they are at least 30 days old. In fact, just go with “it’s like IMVU only better”

What if we got rid of the ages on our profiles? 

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2 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

What if we got rid of the ages on our profiles? 

Can you imagine the oldie rage. No longer shall they be able to look down upon others who have not been in SL as long as they!

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Just now, ItHadToComeToThis said:

Can you imagine the oldie rage. No longer shall they be able to look down upon others who have not been in SL as long as they!

Right? It's such a bunch of crap. Why do we need it? All it does is cause derision. Let it show on our dashboards, but remove it from profiles. No one knows how long anyone else has been in SL. BOOM, there's that problem solved.

Next!

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Even more powerful than removing the ages from our profiles.  When you see someone new give them a helping hand.  Even small stuff can help people out greatly and help them learn some of the stuff that took us all years to figure out.  Don't forget this is a social platform.  Being social to people (even new people) helps immensely.  

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28 minutes ago, Billy Daxter said:

Even more powerful than removing the ages from our profiles.  When you see someone new give them a helping hand.  Even small stuff can help people out greatly and help them learn some of the stuff that took us all years to figure out.  Don't forget this is a social platform.  Being social to people (even new people) helps immensely.  

Some people just aren't going to do that, though. It would be nice if everyone could be nice all the time, but some just won't be, especially to new residents. 

Taking away the age would remove a bit of their power.

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10 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Does this mean you’re “mad”, by some old definition?

Mad? Me? Yeah I think so, at times anyway.

It helps preserve my sanity. ;)

 

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6 hours ago, Mollymews said:

@RaeLeeH

you might want to think a bit about what you have written. As wrote there is a bit of transference going on

"if I saw the gay and trans avatars I would probably avoid ... but my best friend is gay ... I'm drowning in well-intentioned media that has turned ... sex ... gender ... into ... divisive issues. I don't want any part of that"

as wrote the transference is: I don't have a discriminatory bone in my body. My avoidance of gay and trans avatars who I do not know, is because of the media

i don't think this is what you mean't to say

No, I know what I meant to say. And I said it. Sadly it doesn't seem to matter how I word things people always end up being offended. And in a roundabout way this is also the problem SL would have dare it attempt to push or promote one area over another. Basically watch your step lest you risk offence, well intentioned or otherwise.

For the record those who identify as any specific gender don't scare, sicken, offend, or upset me. You are what you are or who you choose to be. But sexual identity is like religion in that I don't need to know your preference just like you don't need to know mine. I'm certainly not going to rush to join a game I feel is further promoting division between the sexes, or darkening the waters regarding sexual identity - which COULD be a risk of you promote ONLY gay or ONLY TG avatars over ONLY heterosexual ones. That is all I am saying.

Personally I feel the media attention drawn to so many different sexes now is ludicrous. That isn't to diminish or trivialise those struggling with said issues, but I worry more for the bigger picture. It saddens me people would rather get offended over 101 new genders rather than save a planet that may not be here to support us when we've sorted out our collective gender issues. That's my opinion and if you disagree you are entitled to do so. Not disputing that fact. Again, bringing things back into the context of SL and NOT personal or RL beliefs as much as possible, I would not be more interested to join a game where all of that media buzz specifically regarding gender identity was still for a better word, buzzing. I want a place to escape RL politics and drama as much as possible. If I see advertisement that suggests any hint of what I'm trying to avoid IRL, I will avoid the game. I can't put it any simpler than that, and should anyone be offended, sorry. It's not intended.

I'll say it again in the hopes this makes things clearer. Don't imply. Include. That's the point you missed, and what I didn't say as eloquently as I could have. Sorry for that. 😔

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2 hours ago, RaeLeeH said:

You are what you are or who you choose to be. But sexual identity is like religion in that I don't need to know your preference just like you don't need to know mine.

The preferred terminology is “gender”, not “sexual” identity. Good job at being a little bit open-minded, though.

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On July 6, 2019 at 1:49 AM, Garnet Psaltery said:

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.  If you believe no-one wants to live in a General-rated area then you are mistaken.

It is like anything else, different flavor so for different folks, companies normally advertise all thier products. While SL has family friendly aspects that many people enjoy, using these exclusively for promotion will not attract those looking for a more edgy experience.

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If you want to improve SL's ability to draw in and retain new users, you have to identify what keeps people from checking SL out, and what drives away those that do before they get "hooked".

Here are the major complaints you'll hear from people who've checked out SL but didn't stick around:

  1. There is nothing to do.
  2. It's ugly.
  3. Despite looking ugly, it also runs poorly.
  4. It's confusing.

Number 1 "There's nothing to do" is the hardest for LL to tackle. It requires new features and new content creation tools. I'd also argue it would mean improving the existing tools which could also fall under number 4, but I'll get into it here as it applies to giving people more to do in SL. We finally got animesh, and so the ability to create believable NPCs and that's great, but there's still a lot LL needs to do.

  • Improve SL's physics and give us the ability to create more immersive vehicles. Sailing and flying are already popular SL activities, imagine how much moreso if we could make boats, planes and cars that all felt more responsive, more like actual vehicles. Sure, upgrading the physics to the point they'd need to achieve this might break existing vehicles, but it would totally be worth it if it meant a big enough improvement for new vehicles.
  • Fix Search. It's very difficult to find relevant content and experiences in SL. Shop and club owners tend to toss in any popular keyword they can, whether or not it applies to their shop/club/event. How can LL curb this problem? By improving and expanding the "interest tags" feature they seem to have forgotten about. We should be able to apply a limited number of keywords (I'm thinking three, five at the very most) to land, marketplace listings and events. The limited number would encourage people to only use tags that really do apply to them. Then interest tags could be an additional factor in search results, or a complete filter so that people could search exclusively by tags
  • Create an SL calendar. The calendar could be integrated with profiles, event listings, groups and land. When at a location in SL you could open the calendar to see upcoming events listed at that location. With the calendar open you could see all events for all of the groups you were a part of, or filter to specific groups. For events you were interested in, you could set reminders, so SL would remind you when an event was coming up. You could see account creation dates for your friends so you could wish them a happy SL birthday. Group anniversaries. Partnership anniversaries. Etc.
  • The big thing is that we need the tools to create more immersive, more game-like experiences. We already have more such tools than I suspect most SL content creators are aware of, but LL doesn't make these tools obvious or very user friendly. The fact that one needs to learn how to use scripts to create something as simple as a chair or a teleporter one can simply walk into to use, or even an animated texture illustrates the problem. If people could create such simple scripted elements more easily, they'd be even more common than they are now. Many game engines and other software for creating interactive experiences have a "visual scripting interface". For example, there is absolutely no reason one could not build a prim chair, select it, and from a simple menu set the chair as an item avatars can sit on, and through that interface adjust the sit target and even apply multiple animations that could be selected through a dialog menu, all created and applied to the chair without the resident ever looking at a line of code. Such menu/UI driven interfaces people should be able to set up NPCs with interactions, pathfinding and scripted events. Interactive elements like a control panel in a spaceship that opens a door, including all of the lights and sound effects. You'd find much more engaging content springing up all over SL.

 Here is an article I wrote illustrating that last point with a comparison to both professional and end user tools in other software.

Number 2 "It's ugly"  is another tough one, but not impossible. The main take away should be that presentation matters.

  • Mainly LL needs to expand it's art department to create, and guide the moles in creating, more impressive public builds, like the new user orientation sims, the welcome areas, and other public Linden managed areas. The moles are a talented bunch, but they're largely talented SL enthusiasts. With a little more guidance from professional design leads you could get a whole lot more out of them. More ambitious projects, more engaging experiences. And a much better looking SL experience.
  • SL also desperately needs sound and music people. Why is there no SL sountrack? Why are most of the public builds almost entirely lacking in sound design? People notice that kind of thing and it detracts from their experience. And LL needs to lead by example. When LL shows something can be done, residents are more likely to pick up on that and use similar features in their own creations.
  • More "professional polish" in all aspects of SL's design. Better UI sounds, a better looking interface. Better looking starter avatars (they've improved dramatically over the years, but they're still frequently 7' tall and often suffer poor proportions, or just looking kind of generic).
  • A new system avatar. Brand new. (For those already chomping at the bit to complain that replacing the existing system avatar would break a lot of legacy content, I'd like to preemptively point out that SL could support multiple system avatars and allow users to toggle between them. In fact it already does. The male and female avatars use different mesh models and have different slider weighting.) For the new system avatars they should look as good as any of the mesh bodies sold currently. They should support materials. LL could even introduce a new type of system clothing, simple wearable models that system clothing textures could be applied to, similar to how the clothing that comes with the popular Aesthetic mesh body is made. And the new system avatars should have their slider weighting improved. Currently, we can make avatars between 4 and 9 feet tall, but you can only have proper proportions if you stick between 5-6.5' for women, or 5-7' for men. Go outside that range and even with maxed out sliders arms will be too short, heads will be too small, etc. And women are not allowed to be as tall as men can be. In a world of our own imagination, this is rigidly enforced by the appearance editor. LL could fix all of these issues.

Number 3 "it runs poorly" is another difficult issue, but not insurmountable. People tend to misplace the blame for this, believing SL runs poorly due to an aging engine or LL's bungling programmers. This is not entirely the case. The fact is, SL runs pretty impressively well when the content rezzed inside of it is moderately optimized. The main problem is that avatars are frequently using over 200MB worth of textures apiece. Sims regularly exceed 8-10GB worth of textures. Avatar attachments, unbound from Land Impact limits are frequently excessively high-poly. Add to all that content creators who don't understand how LOD works create content that only renders properly at the highest LOD, then tell their customers to go into SL's debug settings and set Object Detail far higher than you can through the regular graphics options.

There are solutions to all of these problems, I'm not going to get into them here and instead I'm going to provide a couple of links.

Click here to see just how much you are being affected by unoptimized content. There's also some links in the article to tutorials on better optimizing content for SL.

And here I explain how Linden Lab could hitch "new content rules" to new features, preserving legacy content while nudging the content creators and the SL resident population at large onto a trajectory that will see old, unoptimized content slowly being phased out in favour of new, optimized content over time. The "slow and steady" approach that creates the least amount of disruption for the userbase, but guaranteeing major improvements over time.

In addition to all of that I'd argue an LL run content creation blog is an absolute must. LL needs to engage with the users on this topic. There's a lot of misinformation on the forums about what causes lag and other performance issues, with no real official line from the Lab itself. LL could provide layman explanations on the impact of high poly attachments and excessive texture use on framerates, rez times. Explain why "texture thrashing" occurs and how sim builders can reduce, or even entirely remove that particular problem from their own sims. LL can't just lay out new rules, or even provide new tools, and expect the userbase to just go along with it if the Lab doesn't explain why these changes are made and how the userbase benefits. Such a blog could also be used to demonstrate new features and share good content creation habits in ways that every SL user could understand, not just those who spend time reading technical documentation on the wiki.

Number 4 "it's confusing" requires a major attitude change within the Lab itself. I already pointed out how LL could put more engaging content creation into the hands of a much broader range of SL users with a "visual scripting" interface. But LL would also need to make everything about the SL experience more intuitive, and do it without sacrificing the freedom and creativity we currently enjoy. A better designed tutorial that users could revisit as much as they need. I've long argued LL needs to create tools for interacting with the viewer UI, so much like a videogame a tutorial could open menus and point people directly at buttons and features, this would also open up a lot of possibilities for experience designers, but in the short term this could be done with YouTube videos LL could trigger to pop up during scripted tutorial experiences or as a part of the viewer's own help system. LL needs to also better identify what trips up SL users, new and old and figure out how to fix it. I regularly run into people who don't know about "alt+camming", some of them are people who've been in SL for years. Pushing people towards mesh bodies just to look as good as long time SL residents is a barrier both financially and in terms of easily figuring out "how to SL", so here again a new system avatar would help. The reason "display names" turned into such a fiasco is how confusingly LL made that change. I still see people using their display name like a titler, so more a lot of other SL users they have no name, just their title. These are all things LL needs to work out before rushing into a new feature.

There's much, much more to this I could get into, like how the Jira is an atrocious method of getting feedback from the broader userbase and that it's crazy how the SL viewer, even projects viewers, don't have a feedback feature.

 

 I agree with Zed that SL has astounding resiliency despite its many flaws, and that with a little work LL really could breath all new life into the platform. In fact, I'd argue that until LL can figure out how to make SL more of a success, until they learn the lessons SL should have taught them, any attempts like Sansar at a new platform are doomed to failure.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Penny Patton said:

until LL can figure out how to make SL more of a success, until they learn the lessons SL should have taught them, any attempts like Sansar at a new platform are doomed to failure.

uhhuh.gif.a25ea2c3e3ff499c201788ebd2564244.gif

It's been 16 years and they haven't learned yet. I ran out of hope that they ever would. Needed it for other things that have a better chance of learning from mistakes and making changes accordingly.

Edited by Selene Gregoire
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6 hours ago, RaeLeeH said:

But sexual identity is like religion in that I don't need to know your preference just like you don't need to know mine. I'm certainly not going to rush to join a game I feel is further promoting division between the sexes, or darkening the waters regarding sexual identity - which COULD be a risk of you promote ONLY gay or ONLY TG avatars over ONLY heterosexual ones.

Publicly affirming a group that has been trashed throughout history just for being who they are is a method to give them the power they've been denied  (the power that comes from respect) -- it is NOT "promotion" nor is it "promoting division".  The division was already there, and people suffered immensely because of it.

Making gays prominent for awhile shows them we value them.  This prominence will lessen once they have equal rights, and once the far-right is not so compelled to create a war along with all the media attention that follows such drama.

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BTW, I'm at work as we speak creating a new Instant Garden for heterosexuals, named "Heterosexuals In The Grass"....just because they are so traumatized by attention being given to gays lately....I just want them to know society still thinks of them.

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15 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

BTW, I'm at work as we speak creating a new Instant Garden for heterosexuals, named "Heterosexuals In The Grass"....just because they are so traumatized by attention being given to gays lately....I just want them to know society still thinks of them.

Stop that! I'm not supposed to like you, remember? 

(That's hilarious, btw... have an olive branch.)

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