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Prokofy Neva

Inventory Issues and Log-On

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So, it used to be in the old days, when my avatar wouldn't work chronically and I couldn't log in or I kept crashing, but only on my main account with a lot of inventory, not on the alts with hardly any, the Lindens -- without asking permission to do so, because it's a given that they can do this -- would log my avatar on and do a bunch of tests and often respond to me that they had removed a "corrupted file". I had this happen multiple times.

But now there is a new nail for the hammer to see, which I learned after some 10 days and 3 Lindens went back and forth multiple rounds to get permission to log on my avatar and re-do my "flat inventory". Since I went to a lot of trouble to re-organize my inventory after a big inventory loss last year of some 15,000 items, I was puzzled. What is "flat"?

Inara Pey happened to mention in some notes on a users' meeting:

  • There is some work being carried out by the Lab that improves their ability to fix back-end inventory issues. This work is getting an “unusually thorough” QA pass, so may be a while before it is ready for support deployment.
  • Also, the Lab is working on a new log-in process that adds more checks to the inventory queries performed during log-in.
    • Currently, some of the queries, a necessary part of the log-in process, can be subject to database look-up failures that go unreported to the viewer, leading to inventory issues for the user.
    • The new process will ensure that if a query fails, an error message will be returned to the viewer, allowing it to request further look-ups. However, it will be a while before this enters production.
  • A reminder that large flat inventories (e.g. thousands of items on the same level) can cause the inventory queries to time-out and log-in to time-out. Should this happen, an inventory transform can be requested from support, which breaks large flat inventories down into a folder structure.

So what I've put together is that it is not the files I have put under the system files like "objects" but the ones that go in "flat" at the system level themselves. These are mainly old files of years ago when this is how everything automatically went in. And also some new files that I don't manage to catch that have that horrid "silent unpacker" that automatically flings everything into your inventory, not letting you pull it out of a box's contents so you can sort it properly.

This new feature of SL merchant practice is contributing greatly to the "flat inventory" problem.

So now the Lindens are going to reorganize this flat inventory into alphabetical files -- although I hope the 50,000+ items I have under "objects" in all kinds of categories and sub-categories (but no more than 3-4 down) will not be de-filed.

My inventory is 117,000. The Lindens should say if really there is a ceiling for inventory. It seems to me after about 90,000 is when I began to have all these problems. If I had known about the "flat" problem years ago I might have solved it sooner.

I find the only cure (or seeming cure) for the inability to log on now, or the log-off immediately after logging on, or not all inventory showing up, is to log off, clear cache even several times (force it to clear as you first click to start up again) and deleting the "settings" files finally manages to get me back on. But usually not for long. Anything strenuous, and it's "Darn!" all over again.

Since SL inventory can be held outside of the world on the Marketplace, naturally I wonder why there can't be inventory storage online so that the avatar isn't weighted down. Sort of like the "Cattery" in the KittyCats system where you can hold the cats online. They could even charge for this. But if you can run the Marketplace, surely you could run Warehouse where I could keep unused inventory that I don't want to delete. 

There's no question that the less inventory you have, the better your avatar works and has less problems with log-ons and crashes and also with clothing errors and whatnot.

I still think that since I didn't have this problem some months (and some SL versions ago) that it isn't about inventory but something else, maybe indeed a corrupt file. OR there is something different about the way the Lindens do inventory now so that this is happening.

As for Inara's notes, I'm not getting why "more checks" will mean better log-ons. I should think it will worsen them.

Edited by Prokofy Neva

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The "flat inventory" problem is very simple... if you have too many items in a single folder, especially the (invisible) top level folder of your inventory, it will slow down login. An 'item' for this purpose is either a folder or something else (an object, a notecard, anything). If you have enough of those very large folders, it can slow down login so much that it times out and you can't log in (if it doesn't happen every time, you're probably right on the edge of too many). It's only one level deep that counts; if folder A has 50 items, one of which is folder B, and B has 12,000 items, those 12,000 are not added to the count for A.

We've cautioned people about this many times.

Our support team does have a tool that "unflattens" your inventory by creating new subfolders and sorting the items into the too-large folders into those subfolders. They can apply that tool to your next login if you report a problem and it looks as though it might help.

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On 8/12/2019 at 3:30 PM, Oz Linden said:

The "flat inventory" problem is very simple... if you have too many items in a single folder, especially the (invisible) top level folder of your inventory, it will slow down login. An 'item' for this purpose is either a folder or something else (an object, a notecard, anything). If you have enough of those very large folders, it can slow down login so much that it times out and you can't log in (if it doesn't happen every time, you're probably right on the edge of too many). It's only one level deep that counts; if folder A has 50 items, one of which is folder B, and B has 12,000 items, those 12,000 are not added to the count for A.

We've cautioned people about this many times.

Our support team does have a tool that "unflattens" your inventory by creating new subfolders and sorting the items into the too-large folders into those subfolders. They can apply that tool to your next login if you report a problem and it looks as though it might help.

Dear Oz, thanks for getting on the forums and providing answers! I read them carefully.

I have been in Second Life for nearly 15 years now, imagine that. And what a long, strange trip it has been. And most of those "flat" folders in my inventory come from the old days of 10 years ago when everything was done this way without a thought, and no one ever said anything about it, neither Lindens or knowledgeable residents! It may seem hard to believe, but if there had been more messaging about "inventory hygiene," we would have done it. People talked about how large inventories lagged you and how you should try to control them but they *did not connect that with log-on issues, ever.*

Remember, those were the days when the Linden library and all Linden made distributed items were put on all perms, creating endless opportunity for griefing and appearing as if a grief object was made by a Linden, or made by the person who rezzed the Linden item out of the library. That's not done anymore, but it's unfortunate because you can't convex hull some of the high-prim things like the avian teapot because they're not even on mod anymore.

Actually, more than half of my inventory (60,000) is carefully -- painfully -- filed in sub-folders off "Objects" that obviously do not hang directly from the root, especially after an inventory loss of 15,000 items last year you may recall which led the Lindens to change some things about trash warnings. That hurt! Actually, I have come to see this loss as another problem - the ability to accidentally put 15,000 items into a prim -- something I have now seen replicated at least once, creating an object that Lindens had to take multiple times to get off the server (and that only had like 5,000 items in it). That's insane and there should be a hard stop on it as it is too easy to do -- especially if you have a large inventory that loads badly BUT you have in fact sorted it into sub folders, which means an entire sub-folder can be shoved into a prim when your cursor slips (obviously this isn't done purposefully).

EVEN SO, another good chunk of my flat inventory is caused by a very modern and pernicious phenomenon called "silent unpacker," a script that automatically unpacks purchases, especially gatchas, right into your inventory "flat" where obviously it isn't sorted. You can't be a good citizen and file your purchases immediately away from the "top level" into a sub-folder of a system folder (like "objects" or "clothing" sub-files) because it has already zoomed out of the box into top-level inventory!  When I look at my "flat" folders I see other than those of 10 years ago, they are numerous hunt items, gatchas, and sets that the merchants deliver in folders right to the top. I really loathe that script because it makes you lose inventory -- you bat away incoming items thinking you will file them out of the box and then whoops, they're gone (if single-copy).

As for this new Linden  "de-flattening" filing service, it is definitely a good thing -- although highly arbitrary as it is filing all "top" objects, photos, and landmarks into either alphabetic or dated folders. Only *some* things are put in alphabetic folders and not for every letter of the alphabet - so I ended up with a set of like 6 folders with "!" and "C" or whatever. Then the dated folders are arbitrary in the sense that the date only reflects either an arbitrary date or the oldest date or something and not of most of what is inside the folder. Still, from there you can work at sub-filing. So I'm not complaining -- since log-on was my goal -- just explaining that it's arbitrary. Fortunately, search works.

For me, however, this process led to error messages "Can't Create Inventory" when I logged on -- with a dozen things. And still does that. What are those things not created? Who knows?

There's also the funny issue of the things that *didn't* sort. They should have -- as they were at top level -- I remember them, they are some of my oldest things OR things I didn't manage to delete which griefers spammed at me. That suggests corrupt or malicious files. Among these are the infamous Rodney Linden Bear with its chat commands to create orbs to ride to people or kiss them and so forth -- total nuisance. Rodney, an extreme cosmic engineer did not last long at the Lab, possibly due to his friendship with the Woodbury miscreants. Someday, a Linden should examine that Rodney Linden Bear closely -- it's not on mod so a resident can't but I do see an obvious Woodbury prim in it.

Also: even wearing a system avatar with no attachments, I still get "fail" messages. I will take this up with the relevant Lindens. But it's better than trying to log on 30 times even on totally empty sims and not getting on. Thank you!

Now what do you think about my idea to have the ability to store inventory online rather than on your avatar? After all, inventory is on the Marketplace so it can "go" online. The KittyCats breedables let you put the cats online in a "Menagerie" where you can view and even feed and breed them online so they don't take up prims or lag your sim if you have a lot of them. So isn't it possible?

 

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva

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On 8/12/2019 at 3:35 PM, NiranV Dean said:

I should unflatten my inventory some time when i'm bored, every first login ends up failing 100%.

You can file a ticket and the Lindens run a script to do this for you. When you file the ticket, make sure you explicitly tell the Lindens they have the right to log on your avatar and run this script or you will go several rounds sorting out permission to do this. And explain that you know what is involved, i.e. folders filed by alphabet or numeral, which then require a lot more filing on your part, but which will enable log on.

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