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Recent updates to the group chat system


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  • Lindens

Last week, we updated the group chat servers in Second Life, with a change designed to improve the performance of the chat service.  This update affects how Second Life group chat online member list updates work, and what the viewer displays.


What changed, exactly?

Second Life has historically listed all the people online in a group or ad-hoc chat session.  In an effort to improve overall chat performance, we have limited when these updates are sent.

The Second Life group chat servers has been modified so that large group (over 10 online at once) will work so that only moderators get the full list of everyone online.   Non-moderators now only see online moderators listed in the group chat participants list, for large groups.   Groups with 10 or fewer users online should not be affected by this change.


How does this change appear in the viewer?

The list of visible group chat participants shown in the Conversations panel, when the drop-down menu is expanded.  Before this change, the participants list would show all online members who were currently subscribed to the group's chat session.  With this change, updates to list is limited for large groups, as described above, unless the "Moderate Group Chat" ability is enabled for the agent.


Will this change affect who can send or receive a group chat message?

No, regular chat messages are unaffected by this change - any group member with the "Join Group Chat" ability will be able to participate in group chat just as before.


Why was this change made?

Broadcasting the online members list has been a significant performance drain on the group chat service, particularly for large groups.  Prior to this change, the volume of messages required to inform chat participants of all other members' online/offline transitions dwarfed the volume of actual chat messages sent in groups.  When the group chat service experiences performance issues, chat messages can be severely delayed in delivery, or dropped completely.

This change was driven by the belief that it is more important to be able to send and receive messages in a chat session rather than view the full list of participants, especially when the list of participants is very large.


Are there any other major changes in this group chat update?

Aside from the change described above, we have improved our internal diagnostic tools for measuring group chat server performance.  This update should help Lindens detect other slowdowns or errors with group chat more accurately.

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1 hour ago, Fritigern Gothly said:

Will this change be permanent, or is it temporary while LL looks for ways to broadcast online group members again?

I would expect this change to remain in place in medium term - there are currently no plans to revert it.  That said, I would not declare the change as "permanent" - group chat will continue to evolve as Linden Lab evaluates its performance and tweaks the design.

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So, i wondered what happened, and filed a jira over this (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-230515) because i use that function all the time, every single day.

 

You guys seem to think it is a good idea to systematically reduce or disable options and functions. I can not wrap my head around the fact that you guys seem to think that is a good idea! You guys go to great measures to announce you're going to make everything better, are you? Really? What function are you going to disable next in an effort to make things "better". I don't know what your definition is of the word "improvement", but it ain't that sunshine!

 

I've said it in the jira and on occasion in the forums, i defend LL, i understand the complexity behind it. That time has passed. I don't defend LL any longer, i can not. I can not possibly defend this backwards stupid method of "fixing" things.

 

The writing is on the wall. Everyone can see it. You changed the pricing for premium members, you absolutely completely thrashed SL and most of its workings with that "uplift". you've broken a good chunk of LSL, Groups are still lagging and all you are desperately trying to is to see what functionality you're trying to take away in order to make it limp along. Fun fact, daily active logged in member numbers are down, so it's not like you're experiencing a surge of users and the servers can't handle it or something. You are a dying company desperately trying to hold on, throwing all kinds of crap to the wall in an effort to see what sticks. Its pathetic. I have no idea what you are doing up there but it is laughable.

 

I want you to justify this. I mean really justify it. Tell me how it is possible that your user numbers are down, so by definition less workload on your servers (or the Amazon ones) and yet everything is working worse than it ever has. Justify that please. I'd love to see you come up with something. I'm here all week...

 

 

 

And fix the damn map tiles!!!

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Hum, well, the change doesn't seem to be helping much, thus far anyway. On my first log in today, Firestorm Support English never opened for me (and it is never quiet for very long). Last night, I was getting dropped posts there. However on my log in a short while ago, it did open. Similarly, 2-3 days ago, another group I belong too, a small one (66 members) was inaccessible to everyone who tried. It threw errors on trying to open it. Yesterday however, it was just fine.

I get that this is a non-trivial issue - I offer the above purely as information.

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9 minutes ago, XxDarkTemptressxX said:

this is awful

all other chats work except those 4 group chats....this has gotta be *chat server error* of sorts and why dont they detect this stuff and fix...

Go study the underlying setup on how the system runs first, before you go "fix it" this has been a work in progress for LL for a very long time, because this system is not like other and is very complex and they have to make sure the changes they make do not affect everything else in the chain, because there are times where they make on little change and it borks logins, or it borks groups or it does things to performance,  SL is tied together in so many ways, this is not a game, these are not game services, these are mostly custom coded solutions because that's how this works.

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1 hour ago, XxDarkTemptressxX said:

okies thanks

 

You could try conference chats with your friends instead of relying on group chats.  As far as I know, those still work fine.

I have almost all of my group chat turned off so I didn't even realize it was an issue until I saw it discussed in the forums.

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8 hours ago, CaithLynnSayes said:

So, i wondered what happened, and filed a jira over this (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-230515) because i use that function all the time, every single day.

 

You guys seem to think it is a good idea to systematically reduce or disable options and functions. I can not wrap my head around the fact that you guys seem to think that is a good idea! You guys go to great measures to announce you're going to make everything better, are you? Really? What function are you going to disable next in an effort to make things "better". I don't know what your definition is of the word "improvement", but it ain't that sunshine!

 

I've said it in the jira and on occasion in the forums, i defend LL, i understand the complexity behind it. That time has passed. I don't defend LL any longer, i can not. I can not possibly defend this backwards stupid method of "fixing" things.

 

The writing is on the wall. Everyone can see it. You changed the pricing for premium members, you absolutely completely thrashed SL and most of its workings with that "uplift". you've broken a good chunk of LSL, Groups are still lagging and all you are desperately trying to is to see what functionality you're trying to take away in order to make it limp along. Fun fact, daily active logged in member numbers are down, so it's not like you're experiencing a surge of users and the servers can't handle it or something. You are a dying company desperately trying to hold on, throwing all kinds of crap to the wall in an effort to see what sticks. Its pathetic. I have no idea what you are doing up there but it is laughable.

 

I want you to justify this. I mean really justify it. Tell me how it is possible that your user numbers are down, so by definition less workload on your servers (or the Amazon ones) and yet everything is working worse than it ever has. Justify that please. I'd love to see you come up with something. I'm here all week...

 

 

 

And fix the damn map tiles!!!

The change was a LONG time coming as it was first disussed almost 2 whole years ago.

 

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2 hours ago, Rowan Amore said:

You could try conference chats with your friends instead of relying on group chats.  As far as I know, those still work fine.

I have almost all of my group chat turned off so I didn't even realize it was an issue until I saw it discussed in the forums.

I had broken conference chats on Saturday.  We were using it because of the group chat issues but some of us would stop being able to chat in it and have to drop and re-add the convo.  there were only half a dozen avies in the chat. I hope it's an isolated occurrence.

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I truly hope it can be fixed.. We had this issue some time back and it has reoccurred the past two days now.  We use group chat a lot to populate our group sim and without it we are feeling like we are losing part of the community feel.. I know it's a big ask but just hope something can be sorted soon.  I don't mind not seeing who is in the group chat.. i just want to talk to folks in the group :)

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Well, @Maestro Linden, it rather looks as though this work made absolutely zero difference.

Try again?

You may have reduced the data load on the chatservers but it did not achieve at least one of the other objectives. Group chats are still broken.

Edited by Aishagain
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What a stupid change this is

Quote

How does this change appear in the viewer?

The list of visible group chat participants shown in the Conversations panel, when the drop-down menu is expanded.  Before this change, the participants list would show all online members who were currently subscribed to the group's chat session.  With this change, updates to list is limited for large groups, as described above, unless the "Moderate Group Chat" ability is enabled for the agent.

Like in helpful groups like Builders Brewery, and Blender Benders 2.0 it actually help to see ALL participants in the list, because someone might have helped you in the past and in the list they are easy to find if you didn't save their name in the past or sort of just vaguely  recall their name. With this change you leave us with a big guessing game.  Maybe instead not list participants that hasn't been active chatting in the group for like 2 hrs. ago?

 

 

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And would i chat in a group where only moderators are listed, and where i know they are only active chatting if someone are rude and breaking the rules? Not likely.... most groups with Mods the mods are AFK and thus seldom provide help.... previously listed participants do provide help and a good chat

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/me is feeling like a groupie... 😉

[EDIT] For the groups I own, only I can list the members. No one in my venue's group ever complained about that, and it's been always like that.

Edited by MBeatrix
adding info
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Use Discord as THAT chat was built to do exactly what people seem to think SL group chat was built to do.  Apples and oranges so don't expect them to taste the same ffs.

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1 minute ago, Jordan Lefevre said:

@Solar Legion

Out of curiosity, how was group chat intended to be used? 

I have no doubt it's being used differently than intended since SL as a whole seems to be used very differently than originally intended.  

The same way Groups were intended to be used - as part of Land Management. Not idle chatter, not feedback enabled announcement systems, not as a variant of subscriber list ..... The original use was 'simple' but also intrinsically tied into Land. There are quite a few backend systems that are cross linked in this way/for this purpose as well, adding to the currently overloaded pile we see now.

it is - sadly - quite a bit late to rectify this entanglement in a neat manner either. The 'fix' this thread was stated over is just a singular step in the direction of even attempting a proper fix/disentanglement.

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