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We have the power to make SL a "big thing" again (really) and tip the ongoing narrative, let's do this! c= let's do our part (for our sake)


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On 6/11/2021 at 2:04 PM, animats said:

Now that's a good review. His main complaints:

  • Frame rate sucks. He's right. SL users are way too tolerant of low frame rates. That's fixable, but it takes a viewer rewrite. (I can say more on that in a more technical forum.)

It could be fixed to some extent right now by not enabling shadows or ALM by default on computers where they make SL an unplayable mess. 

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21 minutes ago, Lyssa Greymoon said:

It could be fixed to some extent right now by not enabling shadows or ALM by default on computers where they make SL an unplayable mess. 

It could also be fixed by users (in general, not just newer ones) not expecting Second Life to run or operate the same as World of Overwatch 9000: The New Duty.

Second Life is not pre-made/generated. It is not heavily curated. It does allow all and sundry to create/upload content.

And even in the early days, it was not something you could expect uselessly high FPS from, using off the shelf or "gamer" builds.

That last has somewhat changed - in some instances getting better and in others getting quite a bit worse. Amusingly enough I have actually seen some minor to moderate improvements FPS wise with some of the newer Kernel and GPU driver updates (Linux user, nVidia GPU, Proprietary drivers). Yes, even in the club I frequent most, when several avatars are on screen.

Can it be further improved upon? Possibly. Will it? Well that greatly depends on a few factors, one of them being how Content Creators go about making their content and another major factor being the end user's use of said products.

It has long been established that both groups will find a way to push the envelope/limits of the existing system. Funnily enough this is one of the very few things some of the other "worlds" out there (such as VR Chat) have in common with Second Life. Another thing they have in common? A system in place that simplifies or outright changes/blocks other avatars from being fully viewable to an individual user through the use of varied preferences and tools (Complexity/Jelly Dolls (etc) for Second Life and varied Complexity/Shield settings for VRC). Yet in both ... the stated problem persists.

So, it has rather little to do with the engine needing an update or with the generalized use of certain features (though that later can be contested a bit, seeing as there are those who insist on trying to use all the bells and whistles because their setup "works just fine for Pre-Rendered Experience 666").

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1 hour ago, Coffee Pancake said:
  • Whatever else they can dream up.

 

As far as "dream up" something, I'd like to suggest something and then just leave it to the powers that be.

How about clicking on a box at Newbie Island or any of the "newbie friendly places" that has a scripted hover text showing and the script says something like, 'click and copy to inventory, then open RECENT tab of your inventory and Read Notecard'.  Notecard says 'right click and open on the notecard' itself.  Such as the notecard could read "Inventory How To Info - Right Click and Open Notecard".  And, then the notecard has some beginner basic 'how to's' written on it about the differing ways to open boxes, go to sandbox and/or find more sandboxes in guide, find a dressing room, add/detach, go to some newbie friendly places....some simple starters.  In the box could be a prim hat or some other simple prim stuff wherein at least one begins to learn how to "work" their inventory, use guide, teleport.  

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On 6/5/2021 at 2:28 PM, Gwyneth Llewelyn said:

Actually, that used to be the case... we'd have personal tutors (volunteers), and, over time, we'd become tutors for newbies. That system was stopped when it became clear that some unscrupulous tutors were just interested in having newbies in order to sell them their content (newbies used to come in to SL very rich and not really knowing how much things costed...)

The idea has its merits; the problem is always the same: how to 'police' volunteers to make sure they behave according to a strict Code of Conduct?...

I can see that being the case, especially with the community (where creators are concerned) has become so greedy and capitalistic. I think that it would have to be a situation where the volunteers would be self policing and the people with good intentions would have to just look out for the newbies ourselves. For example just keeping an eye out for situations like this where someone may be being taken advantage of. It's hard to enforce anything strictly in SL, but we can set an example and uphold the example, and make sure that the newbies are aware that there's people who just want their money.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/13/2021 at 10:48 PM, Kittie Hexem said:

I can see that being the case, especially with the community (where creators are concerned) has become so greedy and capitalistic. I think that it would have to be a situation where the volunteers would be self policing and the people with good intentions would have to just look out for the newbies ourselves. For example just keeping an eye out for situations like this where someone may be being taken advantage of. It's hard to enforce anything strictly in SL, but we can set an example and uphold the example, and make sure that the newbies are aware that there's people who just want their money.

Indeed... that was everybody's expectations, back then. There was a code of conduct for the volunteers; there were weekly (I think) meetings with the Lindens responsible for community management which were free to attend (only a tiny, tiny fraction of the group — 5,000 strong at some point, if my memory doesn't fail me — would attend, though); there were even 'tutoring classes' for the volunteers, so that they could learn the code of conduct, and, naturally enough, how to tutor newbies in a consistent manner (in other words: learning how to answer the main questions in the same way, in order that if a newbie would ask a different tutor for something, they would receive a similarly worded answer). There were lots of available resources, including packs of freebies to be given out (everybody could give out even more than the 'common' pack, of course; but at least they'd all have, at least, the 'common' pack of goodies), as well as notecards with all sorts of FAQs and their answers, subdivided by topics/area of interest (e.g. clothing, inventory, in-world shopping, scripting, etc.), and pointers to places where more information was available; there were some online forums/communities for general discussion and sharing of resources; and the in-world group was thought to be a way to 'call' a volunteer when the volunteers needed help — for instance, if a newbie started asking questions on a subject that they weren't familiar with, or had a newbie who spoke a language they didn't speak themselves. Newbies were even encouraged to keep volunteers as friends so that they could still IM them afterwards if they had new questions to ask (this, of course, later became one of the main vectors for abuse...). So it was a pretty large organisation with a certain degree of complexity, but it gave newbies the impression that Second Life was super-organised by the residents themselves (it wasn't, but that's the first impression you had, and first impressions count...). There were even a few logos, especially when Linden Lab stopped the overall official programme, but many continued to do their volunteer work, even without Linden Lab's official blessing:

sl-volunteers-logo.png.8af1a47c2a5053210095a7fa7dfe6fc8.png

But of course there was no mechanism of 'enforcement'. A rogue volunteer could only be expelled from the group by LL — tough to do, when you have just a handful of Lindens as community managers, and a population of 5,000 to 'police' — and nothing prevented those that were expelled to create a new group with a tag identical to LL's official group, so that newbies really didn't have a clue if they were talking with an 'officially-sanctioned tutor' or just someone abusing the system for their own profit. Obviously, if an official tutor caught one of these rogue ones, they would report them — but justice, in SL, is very slow, as you know, and it was more than likely that it took ages until anyone got 'caught' and potentially expelled. Also, it was not clear that the ToS explicitly forbade such type of behaviour — mostly exploiting the newbie's ignorance — so long as the 'rogue' volunteer was clever enough to disguise their scamming under the cover of actually helping newbies (which, to a degree, they also did).

Here is a typical scenario which would be impossible to prevent, and that technically wasn't even against the ToS: a 'rogue' volunteer also owns a shoe shop, and is well aware that newbies would have some L$ to spend without really knowing how much their L$ are worth (or how to get more...). So they approach the newbie, introduce themselves as a 'volunteer tutor', and start helping them out, teaching them how to dress, how to use inventory, and so forth. They give the newbie a lot of the officially-sanctioned freebies, as well as many notecards with information, most of which coming from the official sources. Subtly, though, they shift the conversation towards the avatar appearance, telling the newbies that the freebies are not really very nice (they weren't, back then), and that the better-looking outfits would cost some L$ — such as the one that the rogue volunteer tutor was wearing, which would be 'designed to impress'. Or sometimes the newbie would innocently ask, 'how do I get such a nice outfit as yours?' and that would lead to a truthful answer by the rogue volunteer: 'well... these kinds of outfits are not free, they are sold for a few L$, if you wish I can teleport you to some shops where you can find such lovely outfits as mine.' This could be dropped matter-of-factly — all volunteers would naturally ask what the newbies were interested in, and have a ready-made list of popular spots — and it would be just a question of chance that they'd brought newbies to their own shop. In some cases, they would bring them to friend's shops — and get a commission on sales. Think about tourist guides in real life: they do exactly the same, and it's perfectly legal (moreover, tourists know this to be the case, unless they're also 'newbie tourists'...), and profusely done all over the world. So why not on SL as well?

The problem back then was: where to draw the line?

Just like real-world tourists are 'scammed' by tourist guides — but only to a degree! — and this is both expected and ubiquitous, it would be hard to start making judgements upon the rogue volunteers who just signed up to grab newbies and dump them at their own shop and the shops of their friends (some of which — like in real life! — had overpriced, low quality products, but these were still marginally better than the available freebies...). This was especially true if the rogue volunteer would also be very helpful with all other questions — i.e. they were actually helping them out, not merely herding them towards the shops! Wouldn't it be the most natural thing in the world to have newbies visit the shops of your best friends? Of course it would. Didn't everybody do the same, in one way or the other (even if most volunteers naturally didn't earn any commissions...)? Of course they did... to a degree at least.

Eventually, the whole concept broke apart as the system was overabused, i.e. old volunteers would start to leave in protest, while the new sign-ups would be eager entrepreneurs, ready to spend all their time with newbies in order to get their L$ in various ways — some of which would be classified as extorsion or blackmail... and plainly ignore all codes of conducts or rules, never attending meetings, never bothering to chat on the in-world group or on the community forums (for them, a waste of time, since that meant spending less time 'hunting' for newbies...). I even saw cases of what could only be described as racketeering — newbies being 'forced' to shop at this or that location, 'or else' — and very scary scenes of alleged volunteers herding groups of newbies, making sure nobody could lure them away. Let's say that it became nasty at several levels — and that's not counting with what I have heard but of course didn't experience first-hand, so I'd be wary of reports such as forceful submission by volunteer dommes who claimed the newbies as their slaves — allegedly without the newbies' consent, who were lead to believe that this was 'expected' in SL, at least for a while, and later on they'd become dommes themselves... or some similar nonsense.

And that meant that Linden Lab shut down the whole operation — or, rather, the Linden-sanctioned group. As said, many volunteer groups have kept up the spirit — although in much smaller sizes — without LL's official blessing (but they didn't mind that it happened spontaneously, so long as nobody claimed to be endorsed by LL). Then we got the private orientation islands and so forth, and this allowed several volunteer groups to remain around certain communities and keep helping newbies.

But I'd be very hard pressed to believe that Linden Lab would be willing to resurrect this concept again. It's very hard to manage a vast group of volunteers, working for nothing, and keeping them all focused towards the same goal. While in real life many ONGs are most definitely able to manage that, they also have professional managers who have been trained to coach and encourage volunteers to work according strict rules and procedures 'coming from above' — while still keeping such volunteers happy about donating their time for the common good. This was clearly way beyond Linden Lab's community team. It's worth to add that they did their best — probably giving 120% of their effort towards the project, which they clearly loved — but they were also burned out by the end, when it was clear that the whole concept was backfiring, with several residents protesting against the 'special status' granted to so-called 'volunteers' — not everybody would be accepted, they had to be in good standing, etc., there were a few rules to evaluate one's submission as a volunteer, and many, many were kept away for various reasons, only known by the Lindens — who could have direct access to the 'source of money', i.e. clueless newbies with their bonus L$ package, while other legitimate entrepreneurs were not able to attract customers to their premises in such a straightforward way (and not everybody was willing to be part of the racketeering scheme of paying commissions for volunteers to bring groups of newbies to one's shop...).

I'd say, in retrospective, that LL had no real choice in the subject. You can manage reasonably large communities even without 'carrot and stick' (the carrot meaning mostly money, or at least privilege; the stick being swift justice being administered to those breaking the rules), but it's not easy to do so, especially when the community grows too fast for the few 'overseers' who have some 'punishment' powers. The concept of self-governance fails when there is no effective form of actually enforcing the group's own rules. Expecting that people follow rules all the time 'for the common good' is actually a very naïve vision of the world — I know I've been repeating myself for the past 15 years or so, but it's always worth taking a look at Kohlberg's stages of moral development. They show quite clearly that the concept of acting for the common good is a lofty goal which is just followed by very few; although current real-world democratic societies are utopians-under-construction having that goal in mind — a society where everybody does whatever is best for the common good, without being asked to do so (much less coerced) — in the real-world governments know that most people are, at best, at levels 2-3 of their moral development, requiring strong rules and enforcement of those rules (with the threat of actual punishment) to get most people to comply with them.

Second Life's resident population is not much different. One might be lead to believe that, due to its nature, SL would appeal to those on the highest moral stages of Kohlberg's hierarchy; but that's necessarily not true. It's true for a few — and those can most certainly be a part of a community-based effort for the common overall good — but it's not true for most.

And to tie in with the original question on this thread... it's a very long one, showing exactly what I think about human nature. If we residents see ourselves as stakeholders in Second Life, as opposed to customers of Linden Lab, then it becomes apparent that, whatever effort we make to attract new residents and keep them happy, is an effort that is beneficial to the whole community of stakeholders. In other words: if we do LL's marketing, we benefit (because we get more happy people regularly using SL — and that has also some financial implications, i.e. more people consuming content and paying rent, bigger attendance on events, and so forth). It's true that LL also benefits — financially speaking — but that is secondary and irrelevant; you can see it as a positive side-effect from our collective work. It also has a non-negligible effect, of course: if LL makes more money, they're likely to be able to keep SL around for much longer. But the focus of those who see themselves as stakeholders in Second Life is the community of stakeholders — if LL benefits from the collective work of the stakeholders, more power to LL, but it doesn't concern us. We may just be happy about it :-) (or not!)

By contrast, if we merely see ourselves as clients of Linden Lab, using a product for which we pay, then, obviously, it makes no sense to 'volunteer' for anything — neither for helping out newbies, nor for helping to spread information about SL by word-of-mouth or social media. That's up to the owners of Second Life to pay for; that's what the good money we pay them is to be used for.

Granted, Second Life has a mix of both kinds of users (and perhaps even a few more types!), and that means that no answer can ever satisfy everyone. But that has been true of SL since its inception...

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There was a time when SL was envisioned as the next thing, Web 2.0 if you will, where instead of browsers, people would interface with the internet through a 3D environment, transforming the internet into a VR experience, a step towards total immersiveness.

In the spirit of that, the server code was put out there to allow people to utilize it, hoping that we would have a sort of true Metaverse.

But then, the company changed tactics. And took the 'we're just a game' route.

And now what we have is a decades old game, with other companies trying to create the VR metaverse, while SL just offers a themepark mall with boobies.

I, like so many others, have been here since almost the beginning. And I was so excited by the potential of SL. We were a part of something ground breaking and world changing. It's hard not to be disappointed to see it resigned into what it is today.

So now, to hear people talking about trying to take SL to a meta level space, seems ...I dunno. Frustrating.

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