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Seeing as the new user experience is finally getting some attention, please can we have the Live Help & Mentor programs reinstated (or replacement programs that involve residents in the same spirit).

They weren't perfect, or didn't help everyone all the time, and weren't free from 'issues'. They didn't directly affect the raw retention numbers, but they did have value, both to those who needed the help and those who participated.

 

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Posted (edited)

I hated it when LL decided to discontinue Live Help and folded it into the mentor program since both had very different skillsets. I just don't have the patience to deal with newbies but I loved helping established residents with problems or answering questions (and of course nothing beat watching a Linden explain how SL genitals work 😇).

In many cases resident volunteers also helped in ways that just aren't feasible for Lindens or support staff because of the time investment. My best memory is still a resident who started a Live Chat in full panic mode because they'd accidentally rezzed something and granted it debit permissions and the prim whisked away and was draining her L$ balance. She'd moved the remaining balance to an alt, but that account would be useless for as long as that prim was out there. So I teleported over to where she thought she rezzed it and we spent at least half an hour just flying around and eventually I found the prim and she deleted it. Account saved! 🥳

It was at that point that a Linden who'd been silently monitoring the conversation jumped in, teleported to us, god teleported the scammer and kicked (banned?) them off the grid with a witty remark. LL can't dedicate that amount of time to helping a single resident, but by just monitoring us he could jump in at the right time and at least take some action (you still don't get your L$ back unfortunately).

Another case was someone who'd lost a 'no copy' object (some kind of cuddly animal if I remember) after rezzing it and they were upset because it had sentimental value. This was at the time where items had a good chance of appearing at 0,0,0 so sure enough, I found it hiding there and selecting it made it return to their inventory. 10 minutes later I got a snapshot they'd taken with it as a thank you which made it feel really worthwhile.

We also took care of concierge type questions for people who didn't qualify for concierge level, helped people sort out tier by calculating their group bonus, or just answered "why is there a box on my head?!" or directions to a "nude beach" 🙄.

TLDR from the ex-Live Helper side, it did serve a big purpose. At the time LL support was somewhat lacking and it can't (and should have never been) a replacement for official support, but it definitely filled a void.

Edited by Kitty Barnett
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3 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

Seeing as the new user experience is finally getting some attention, please can we have the Live Help & Mentor programs reinstated (or replacement programs that involve residents in the same spirit).

They weren't perfect, or didn't help everyone all the time, and weren't free from 'issues'. They didn't directly affect the raw retention numbers, but they did have value, both to those who needed the help and those who participated.

 

We spend a great deal of time talking about how the SL new user experience differs, in almost entirely negative ways, from that in other MMOs. There's a steep learning curve; no one knows what to do at first; avatar customization is difficult, etc.

This is one area where SL used to differ, in a very positive way, from other "games" and grids. Talking to an actual living person at the onset of your experience makes a HUGE difference to one's perception of the platform. I, for one, will never forget being hit on by a guy who wanted to show me his "music collection" (which, oddly enough, he kept in his bedroom) during my first hour in SL. Or my alt, Laskya, being snubbed and ignored by @Lindal Kiddin the welcome area (true story! But I forgive her.)

Ok, I'm being a bit facetious, but actually those real experiences make my point: it's the interactions with people that we remember.

And the bizarre thing -- there is a legion of people who'd be very happy to do it for free. Hell, even I'd put in a few hours a week if asked to. (Not that anyone would -- I'm hopeless.)

I am sure that there are lots of things that can, and probably did, go wrong with volunteer mentor and live help programs. There need to be safeguards and mechanisms to guard against those things happening again, obviously. But it's surely not an insurmountable task. It's not as though we'd be reinventing the wheel here.

And I really do believe that talking to a real person at the outset of one's exploration of SL could make a huge difference. And those doing the mentoring would (and do, in practice) find it rewarding as well.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Sister Nova said:

I can still remember the mentor who helped me back in 2006. I think it was a wonderful system.

It was. From the Help request in the top menu bar, I was helped a few times by both user-helpers and Lindens. It's a shame that that feature was ever stopped. It was great for those who needed help, AND, as Kitty said, for those who gave the help.

Edited by Phil Deakins
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I was setting up my first proper home, parceling up my little corner of mainland to transfer it to another account and messed up. I accidentally set it for sale for 1L$ to no specific avatar. Instantly (as in less than a second) a bot arrived bought the land out from under me before I could correct my mistake. It set the land for sale at a crazy amount and a split second later another arrived bot arrived and flipped it, then a third and seconds later a forth swung by cleaned up, set it for sale at the going rate and I was left standing there with all my stuff auto returned. It happed so quickly and I'd just lost a lot of money. I was freaking out.

I poked live help, someone came out to my location, I explained the problem, they escalated it to a Linden who came right out and unpicked the mess. I got my land back because someone was able to respond quickly and personably. If this had happened today and my only recourse was a support ticket I have no doubt that I would have lost out.

After that, I became a mentor and later a live helper (right at the end of the program).

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I'm part of a couple of Discord servers where residents offer this kind of live help service. The primary purpose of those servers isn't usually to offer help, but there are many kind users there that are willing to answer questions when they do arise. 

Seeing the value of these interactions on Discord, I also would love to see something similar be implemented in SL itself! These servers, while wonderful, only cover a very small portion of the people that are on SL. The benefit of chatting in these servers is that people can easily and quickly send images, but unless people set up a time to meet in-world, it makes it somewhat difficult to help since all of the conversation is happening outside of SL. 

When I first joined SL, Live Help & Mentoring wasn't something I had access to. I was dropped into the onboarding area, followed the static tutorial, and was left to explore SL on my own from there on out. Even if I never asked for help, I feel like just knowing this was even an option could have made those first few days on SL feel less lonely and less overwhelming. 

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19 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Or my alt, Laskya, being snubbed and ignored by @Lindal Kiddin the welcome area (true story! But I forgive her.)

WHAT!? Great heavens above, I MISSED one? My most abject apologies.

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23 hours ago, Kitty Barnett said:

It was at that point that a Linden who'd been silently monitoring the conversation jumped in, teleported to us, god teleported the scammer and kicked (banned?) them off the grid with a witty remark.

Sounds like something Michael Linden (2005/6) would do. I've had the pleasure of watching him work. I  wonder if he is still around. 🤭

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1 hour ago, Lindal Kidd said:

WHAT!? Great heavens above, I MISSED one? My most abject apologies.

Oh pfffft! I've beaten you up about this before, you poor thing, and you apologized about it (totally unnecessarily) then! The odds are good you were probably busy helping someone who actually need assistance!

It does, again, sort of make the point. I was back in SL after a two year absence, on a new (and hence friendless) avatar. It was a real delight to run across someone I knew and liked before I was even out of the starting gate.

Real people make a real difference.

(Or would if they acknowledged you. *sniff sniff*)

 

 

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On 5/12/2021 at 4:36 PM, Kitty Barnett said:

"why is there a box on my head?!

I'll never forgot "wearing a box".  LOL  I stood there at least five minutes not knowing what the heck to do and thinking what am I supposed to do with this stupid box?  Then, help came to rescue.  I had to go to a sandbox.  I got a home shortly after that so I could change in private, etc....  I think SL should at least come with a basics pamphlet.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

I think SL should at least come with a basics pamphlet.  

Once a user is out of orientation island, there are problems that no knowledge base article can help with and no one has the time or inclination to get down to studying.

There are no Linden documents to assist in picking a mesh body (or why you would want one), how <brand x> packaging works, how to try demos, what that thing you need to make your avatar not walk like a duck is called, are scripts safe, how do I wear this dress and those shoes at the same time, and so on.

Having a mentor on a users friends list means there are no stupid questions.

Edited by Coffee Pancake
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10 hours ago, simplemint said:

I'm part of a couple of Discord servers where residents offer this kind of live help service.

i think a, perhaps, new initiative should not be on external chats or other programs. Newbies have their hands and heads full of new stuff to process.

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I agree with the need to reinstate something like this. It would also help to minimise the "new-user-feels-alone" reaction that there are strong hints of.

 

There is also an added benefit to the helper and mentor I have recently become aware of: the learning experience extends to the mentor as well :) You can never know everything, and being taken out of your familiar territory by somebody's odd request leads you along very interesting paths.

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