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How Can You Be Accepted By the Lindens?


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So that other thread ended in tears, but Patch posted a statement that I think bears further thought and discussion inviting collaboration from residents:

 I welcome any and all Residents who might have an interesting idea that would foster community growth. If you put together a well laid plan to execute and want to partner with us to do something for the community, I invite anyone to contact myself or Derrick Linden with their thoughts and ideas.  We do expect a plan, we will give you guidance on what we expect, and to date few have been brought forward that we've actually been able to work with. 

Now, I realize there is a certain amount of cynicism about this claim and I'll point out that I myself have generally avoided such collaboration over the years, I think for the sake of the whole world and its future, it is worth taking the statement at face value, in good faith, and asking, well, heck, just what *does* work if a bowling ally in Bellisseria doesn't? 

History of Collaboration

When I began in 2004, the Lindens were just finishing a contest for a free sim which seemed like a windfall at a time when they went for $1500 or $2000 on the auction, and there was only Mainland, not private islands available yet. And it had hardly any applications, as often happens, because the fine print was that you had to pay the tier ever after, and back then it was like $250 per region per month I believe (now it's $175 for Mainland) Not everyone can build out an entire sim (me) -- so you don't get a lot of takers for something this challenging in fact.

So one person who was a game developer got one, and then spent the rest of his short Second Life complaining about various physics/scripting/thingies that made it hard to make games in SL. The other recipient was a group of socialists -- some Lindens like socialism of the DSA or AOC variety (and some still do) and thought it was possible to establish "socialism in one sim." That experiment ended in tears, but the people regrouped and today a different but related projects exists which calls itself "the longest running democracy in SL". That's because they have elections and the trappings of government, but there are other groups, whether Luxwood or Wastelands or whatever that have been run democratically but don't call themselves (or aspire to be) a grid-wide player government (and that's a good thing). I forget the other prize winner.

So among the other things like that I recall among Linden/resident projects was the contest to build railway stations on Heterocera (which coopted and overwhelmed my own railroad-adjacent building contest); and the applications to have resident-run infohubs as the sequel to the Linden telehubs (there are about a dozen, almost all are still in existence although only a few, like ours in Ross called Memory Bazaar, are updated regularly). In that case, anyone could apply, but few did. Besides ours, one was The Shelter, which still exists today as a newbie helping center. The Gateway Communities was another project which you could apply for, but you needed to meet criteria like an account in good standing, 24/7 staff, free content regularly updated or things like that. So that's how Oxford of Caledon became such a newbie landing. The SLEA is another thing that began as a resident project, got coopted, got reconfigured after various dramas, etc. And the SL Birthday -- once that was all Linden-run, with residents invited to put in installations; then when there was a huge uproar over child avatars, etc. the Lindens dropped it and let residents run the SL birthdays by themselves, then they came back again. I suppose the Shop 'n Hop events on Valetine's Day, etc. are also a kind of short-term collaboration. It's not like there are a lot of them. (And I'm not talking about partnerships like Zenoscope or the CSI show in the past -- those are outworlders. I'm talking about inworld collaboration with residents, i.e. lifers, not outside companies).

"The Commuuunity"

So what are these criteria? If you look at what Patch wrote, it is very opaque. What is "something for the community"? For example, I myself might think it's really important "for the community" to maintain sacred sites of all kinds of religions, from pagan and wiccan to Catholic to Islamic to Buddhist, and also to keep up a list of such sites for others to visit. They are the most popular sites in my SL Public Land Preserve, for example. But the Lindens are never going to take on religion. It's not just that Silicon Valley has its own religion of tech; they will want to avoid every kind of drama and controversy, inworld and in the press. So as much as you think "religion" is really what the masses want, and it's not an opiate, you will get nowhere with that idea, even if some watered-down Peace & Love Center. 

Breedables seems to me to be hugely community oriented and I would think given the huge popularity of animals, that some animal related thing would work. But the Lindens basically ignored requests for having "pet walks" on their old Right of Ways (the "Dog Walk Park" in Bellisseria is not that because you can't place prims and it's just for decoration). I would think the Lindens are never going to go for anything that involves lots of prims, and prims that self-proliferate -- I think the Sion chicken v. 1 sim lagging problem scarred them permanently. So that's just out.

So I am kinda stumped on what this could be, but that's the direction you have to think in, if this question of collaboration interests you.

Cool Factor

So it has to be cool and the Lindens have to like it. Now, the Lindens have changed over the years, like anybody, and what was cool to them 20 years ago -- blowing up stuff  and telling users to build stuff like it was a big sandbox -- is not cool now, when they have sedate Bellisseria. The idea has to be compelling and be applicable in at least the one area of Bellisseria (I think probably that's all that would fly now) or be grid-wide potentially, and it has to be PG, of course (the Lindens' effort to corral Zindra ended ages ago and the Linden assigned to the warring groups there left). I haven't really given thought to what would be cool for the Lindens; I worry about this just at my level in my rentals and try to add activities, "a look," variety, etc. We know sadly bowling has been ruled out. Maybe some day they will create a whole non-gambling kind of games area -- something tells me we may see this sooner or later. But I don't think they will want residents to run it. I personally have no radar for coolness and haven't had a TV since like the year 2002 and I haven't watched Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or anything even streaming. But whatever makes those things cool, is part of what would engage the Lindens -- up to a point. Others can fill in more on how they see this.

High-Quality Content

Obviously prims and sculpties won't cut it now. It would have to be made of the highest quality mesh, whatever it is - the resident-built infohubs are in prims and sculpties (like the Lindens own infohubs, not all of which they have updated, although they did optimize the Moth Temple in Iris I know). I think prim builds hold up if you can adjust them and add mesh content around them but if you can't produce the absolute world-building quality of mesh builds like Fantasy Faire does, and your concept involves building, then don't bother.

A Group

I think without a very cohesive, solid, long-term group, you can't get anywhere with Lindens. They love groups. Actually, more often than not a group with a very strong-willed leader, usually male, surrounded by helping females, some of whom are girlfriends or boyfriends. That's the SL formula for pretty much everything, whether a steampunk continent or an art gallery. And that's because doing things in a virtual world is very hard and time-consuming, trust is required, there is always drama, there are always financial/organizational arguments and when there is just one personality to herd the cats, it's much easier. But it can't just be one personality, period. I recall a person who had all these well-built and well-trafficked venues, he put a lot of money into SL, he spent a lot on one of the SLCC RL meet-ups, he had certain ideas about how to increase users and retention, and he could never get the Lindens to care about him or listen to him (until they coopted some of his ideas without him much later, when he was long gone).

And I think back then, there was a cultural factor or cool factor -- you have to be a kind of suave California type or perhaps London or Tokyo hipster, and if you are from the midwest of the US, you're just never going to be seen as cool -- except when you are, by a certain set of factors of many years of toil, loyalty, etc. The Lindens have to see you as peers. That means the tendency like a lot of things in RL will be white and male, but not necessarily; you can overcome the usual filter if you fit the other criteria, and have more chance with LL than you would Google. I think some people intuitively understand what Linden culture is; I think others struggle to understand why their own culture isn't accepted. 

So why do they want a group as distinct from an individual? Because the project has to be run, it's hard work, and one person would burn out. Because customer contact is usually a big part of things like this that the Lindens will go for and that means there has to be tag teams and shifts. Because in a sense, they want it "institutionalized" and not dependent on one person -- although see above for why I don't think that is possible for most groups in SL, which die when their strong leader dies or leaves SL, even if the Lindens rescue it (Ivory Tower of Prims, in a world where prims don't sell any more). You have to show that you can get along and survive, without splitting and crashing and having your community end up with 5,128 m2 easements for sale. Or wait. That would be my personal criteria, but I don't think the Lindens look so closely at such things. You have to be a success in SL, and your failures have to be well hidden.

Track Record

Does your group and your idea need to have already been tried and already running? The Lindens imply this and certain successful projects I've outlined might fit this criteria, but I have to say, I see a certain very blessed project now has really no track record or uptake and sprang into people's awareness pretty much suddenly -- maybe after a few weeks or months? But not like Luskwood, you know?  So I honestly don't know if longevity or proven customer service and customer satisfaction is really a thing, although you would think that would help. A certain chemistry has to come into play, where an idea will seem like it fits with what the Lindens themselves are doing with their mysterious plans, and has to seem like it will have "legs". 

Engagement

The BBB concept, for example, could grab the Lindens because it fulfilled some people's craving for being given things to do and even told what to do, but the stamp idea (which they admit they took from me) could take off because it promised stickiness, travel, showcasing of Linden sites and resident sites etc. etc. Now why was it that the other stamp program, Forever Tourist, could not gain the Lindens' blessing, despite YouTube adulation of the Moles, more membership and more sites? This could be pondered, but I think it's because not only wasn't it a group and the content wasn't screened as much as Lindens wanted it to be, there was this factor:

There Can Only Be One

The Lindens don't want an ecosystem; they want the strongest fish in the pond, even if it eats other fish. So let's pretend the Lindens endorsed the Bellisseria garbage game (they didn't, although it became a factor in beating their Halloween trick or treat game). If you then came up with a plan to compost table scraps, let's say, the Lindens wouldn't be able to add that to their menu. There Can Only Be One.

So they will pick one stamp game, and there can't be others. If they were ever to do some breedables thing, let's say, it will only be one group. It's like how George Soros began with the notion of funding diversity and all kinds of little groups to create the ecosystem of civil society in places where it was weak or didn't exist; eventually this was too frustrating and didn't produce results (like his getting meetings with the presidents of some countries). So he began funding only the strongest, and sometimes they were the ones more accommodating to the government. He also shifted to the US ostensibly with weak civil society or at least the kind he didn't admire, and funded, say, Human Rights Watch with a handsome endowment, and not a lot of little local groups working on, say, refugee rights. There was to be one, full-service, giant group and that was it. And I think like Soros, the Lindens can't wait around for 50 years for the ecosystem to develop, they need results now. Hence: one.

So there's the Athens approach, where you support the class of 30 and out of the interactions of 30 scholars, a few geniuses emerge like Socrates, with the whole class benefiting, or there is the Sparta approach, where you take 30 select people away from their families into isolation and stringent, authoritarian training in the mountains and create super humans among them, which a few dying or going rogue. It seems to me, the Lindens are on the Spartan side of this approach.

Accommodation

It goes without saying that the group with the big idea, and a group that will be the only one of tis kind, has to get along with the Lindens, and go along to get along, as the saying has it. Note well what Patch wrote: We do expect a plan, we will give you guidance on what we expect. So you can't just say, "Wouldn't it great to be have Second Life-wide census" or "Wouldn't it be nice to have a poll-taking agency RP?" (Just to brainstorm on some idea, not that they would accept this).The Lindens would have a weather eye to anything that seemed like it might produce negativity, no new accounts, drama, people leaving etc. You could convince them that your plan was only to ask people what kind of ice cream they liked, and whether they ate it every day or just on Sundays. They would say ok, but to make it useful to us, we need you to ask people why they don't get a premium plan. Or you could say that churning issues like the kind of doors there are on Bellisserian houses in focus groups would be useful to the Lindens before they get static on the forums -- then they might bless your Pew Charitable Trust knock-off in SL -- especially if they essentially fed you the questions.  

You would have to demonstrate at every turn that you would not only take suggestions; you'd have to be the proverbial assistant who, when asked to jump by his boss, asks "how high?" and doesn't get into a debate much less an argument. You have to *like* taking direction of the kind that people whose houses and content have been returned from Belli may not want to take; you have to pre-anticipate what is "acceptable" and just fit in, so that you won't propose the dog walk park in advance because you will have already factored in all the reasons why the Lindens would say "no."

Self-Starting

While you have to be accommodating, PG, PC, docile, cool, etc. -- all the things a lot of us don't want to be -- you also have to be a self-starter and a turrn-key operation. The Lindens don't want to hold your hand; they're busy. They don't want to answer "what if" or "why can't I" questions all day -- if you have to ask, as I would put it in my business, "This is not the rental for you." You have to "get it," and go forth and multiply. You have to come up with new ideas and burnish the old ones. "Fail fast and reiterate" or whatever that old Tao of Linden thing was that is gone now isn't on the menu -- you can't try and fail; you have to plan and succeed.

The Lindens used to complain privately, and then not so privately, how our content made them look bad, especially when they started courting big business in 2006-2007. They wanted to put either some content away in another continent (Zindra) or steer business to private islands or even inaccessible islands (Nebraska). Ultimately, they want to be out of the land business and just sell the hook-up, the software, the currency, the content. But while they're still in the land business, they want things that get people to buy premium accounts -- which primarily consist of land, and now a house. The Lindens have tried having their favourite content makers or contractors put things in the Library, even whole avatars -- it doesn't have a lot of uptake. So they aren't going in that direction they once toyed with, which was "let's have projects that get into the Library, like somebody's texture empire."

So if we look good, they look good. So we have to look good on our own and figure out those mesh bodies and BOM things on our own (that eliminates people like me right off lol). And whatever you pitch to the Lindens has to look good, and make them look good, and bring in more people.

Do you have such an idea? And what do you think it takes to be accepted by the Lindens?

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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I did that though. I pitched an idea, offered copies of scripts, marketed it, showed them it was successful & sustainable, and that it shouldn’t require any additional work for them in any way. 
 

What did I miss? 

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10 hours ago, Feorie Frimon said:

I did that though. I pitched an idea, offered copies of scripts, marketed it, showed them it was successful & sustainable, and that it shouldn’t require any additional work for them in any way. 
 

What did I miss? 

o You didn't have a group -- that is, maybe you have a hired scripter or a hired builder or something but it doesn't present as a group, a collective. The Lindens love groups, see above.

o There Can Only Be One -- your experience proved it once again.

o Midwest -- that is, you may not be literally in fly-over country, but there is a cool factor that really ties to geographical location/culture/nationality. It doesn't matter if it plays in Peoria -- unless it's a faux German knock-off, of course.

The rush to create Mainland passports for non-Bellisserians is all about competing with Forever Tourist, so you should be proud.

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I wanted to pitch weekly or monthly market area - for residents to pitch up at the same time, run a stall, chat, meet new people etc. I've run similar in other estates and people like it because they can make money, shop for new stuff, clean up their inventory, meet new people in the community and be a part of an event. Not a new SL idea! But reading your post and acknowledging that it is just another "shopping" angle put me off. Anytime I have run an attraction in Bellisseria like The Cabinet of Curiosities and the Houseboat Coffee Shop I have met new people and would have regulars popping by so now am not sure if I would run attempt something like that again...

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Some good thoughts here, but a couple of comments.   

 

I ran the Machinima Open Studio Project for about five years.  I did it completely alone (no help at all and no one else could build on the land). I did not burn out. So not everyone is in that burn out category and a resume (example here) would likely  prove that to the Linden folks.  I suggest making an online resume for anyone sending in an application.  

 

While Linden representatives were always welcome and opening invited many times, they never attended any LEA meetings. This when I was in involved and by comments from board members about their historical absence. So for those that don't LIKE overseers (Chic waves hands madly) I suspect that this would likely hold true today, especially if the person involved had a clear (and accepted) vision. The company folks are busy enough and if things are running well, they don't historically micromanage. 

 

I definitely agree that any project needs to fill a "hole" and not be repetitive of something already there.

 

I thought the video above was impressive, well thought out and well made.  Since I couldn't understand the speaker that well though, there was too much text to read and the pace would have been better slowed down a bit. That being said, the project itself isn't all that "inclusive" as there are tons of folks that wish to go back to the past rather than "live" in the present or look towards the future.  And I do think broad appeal is an important criteria. Niche is great for some things but probably not for a Linden supported project.  

 

 

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23 hours ago, Feorie Frimon said:

I did that though. I pitched an idea, offered copies of scripts, marketed it, showed them it was successful & sustainable, and that it shouldn’t require any additional work for them in any way. 
 

What did I miss? 

A male avatar?

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, animats said:

Luca Grabacr has a plan.

A new look and image for Second Life.

I appreciate what Luca is doing here and I know she means well and is passionate about SL. But none of this literally makes sense. It is a lot of buzz words like "modern" and "exciting" and content-free phrases. That is, clearly they have meaning for Luca herself but I think most people aren't going to be fascinated.

Dev Diaries?! Huh? I can't think of anything more dull to the average *ordinary* user who does NOT want to look under the hood. Reports on how avatar foot shading was fixed or infinite moons were remedied or imposter shadowing improved? Some kind of thing that speeds up script time installed? There is this assumption always that to succeed, you need all this geek car talk. But it hasn't worked to grow the world, ever.

There's also an assumption that "cool" and "modern" means rectangular, edgy "modern" houses with harsh lighting. But this is a concept of "modern" that is probably really 50 years old -- or older. Frank Lloyd Wright might be edgy to some, but we know even from his SL knock-offs that they aren't comfortable. They don't draw people in. They are sculptures, perhaps, to look at, not live in. People like a wide variety of houses, and cliches like a "modern Tudor" or earthy "Tuscany" are more attractive to the average person with mass taste. Mass taste is a good thing; it's mass, it pays. It's what people want. Bellisseria is that thing. The Lindens have Bellisseria to show off now, and Newbrooke sort of fits that modern look although it has some strange aspects, it seems to me -- too simple, rounded edges where they aren't expected. Still, that's the direction, I suppose.

Showing cool activities isn't so workable, either. Recently Little Santorini was show-cased, a great build. And there was a video to go with it, showing a scuba diver. And as cool as that was, and as fun as I would think it would be to do, having experienced underwater caves myself and put them out for others to enjoy, the video looks clunky because avatar movements are a bit clunky and that isn't going to change any time soon.

I think geeks can't get away from this idea that "under the hood" and "building" and "modern" are all drawing points. If they were, there would be another round of lifers that came in after the early geek adapters. But that didn't happen. 

This video does identify the three key areas to work in -- presentation, which is "the look" and the "cool factor" and media; world-building, which the Lindens constantly try to pitch with Destinations, with varying degrees of success, and onboarding, which continues to be a weak point. I remember Patch spoke enthusiastically about this new user experience. What happened with it? Did it work? 

Despite all this, I think the series the Lindens have done lately is quite good -- featuring individuals who aren't necessarily from the popular or FIC set, or maybe no one even heard of them, and making the effort especially to feature Black artists and developers. This has illustrated in fact some of the most appealing and "cool" aspects of SL. The activities shown aren't the expected ones of "Cyberpunk" or "Game Devs" but a winery. Something unaccepted, something interactive and social. The YouTubes of these features only have a few dozen hits much of the time and I don't know why that is. Maybe they need to push them more on Instagram and Twitter and maybe LL needs to go TikTok. Because I think they are good videos, better than what has come before.

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@ Chloe Bunny I think there is a a Zen here, you can't deliberately try to appeal to the Lindens as it will always seem contrived even to them. If you like doing a thing like Cabinet of Curiosities and it attracts people, do it and have fun, you don't need Moles to encourage you. I think that's a key problem of SL, looking to Linden/Moles for validation. I think it's much better for your own sanity and enjoyment not to do this. It might then work to attract them if you have a big following, or might not. But then you shouldn't care.

@ Chic Aeon Your claim that you didn't burn out really doesn't match your past posts describing exactly such burn out. Maybe not with machinima, but with other aspects of SL.  And if you are that jazzed about machinima, you haven't posted that here.

Sure, it might be that once the Lindens pick their favourite residents where they have a comfort level, and they are "turn-key operations," self-motivated and self-sufficient, they don't need to keep "looking in" on them. Once we made the resident-run infohub, except for one major disaster years ago where the entire build had to be re-done, we never heard from any Lindens, except perhaps when they wanted to put in one of their own advertising boards.  In fact they were super cautious about changing a thing. I asked if they could put "avsitter" as an experience in the land so that various food and drink could work. They refused to do this, although I imagine they put it in on community centers in Bellisseria (I should check this theory.) The logic of this escaped me, but I think it had to do with the idea that "Experience" is user created and not entirely tested, and also they feared a tide of rising expectations, that today it is only avsitter, but tomorrow it might be some elaborate custom Experience that maybe doesn't work or something. So they didn't want it on their land.

They sure did intervene once drama appeared among the LEA set, however, so don't assume they never watch. That was why LEA got entirely re-done. And I think there's a reason for the pictures posted frequently with Lindens and even Patch himself meeting with the BBB. Patch specifically mentioned "guidance". "Guidance" from Lindens, other than their TOS which I must sign to log in, is not something I personally seek or would want to attract. I think it would be a slippery slope. Other than Bay City built by the Moles, or Bellisseria, what, historically, can you point to as an example of thriving and healthy resident-Linden collaboration? And buildings are one thing. You build them. They come. But more complex activities around buildings and landscape like the stamp game are actually more difficult. Or even the Moles trick or treat. 

The reality is, interest in the stamp game fell off quite a bit, and getting the passport was a needless chore. Forever Tourist, by making this instant, and by making the process of becoming a venue also instant, got many more participants. This prompted the BBB to then issue a Mainland passport for anyone, even if not in Bellisseria. The obvious exclusivity and classism that at first was a selling point for Belli (and still is) worked against them, there were too many complaints and "voting with feet" so that's how they fixed it.

@ Sparkle Bunny I agree that it is that much harder for a female to pitch to the Lindens than a male. This is a built-in function of RL. My mother always told me, "It's a man's world." You can "lean in" and do all those things, but still...

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My projects were all just fun things for engagement - which happened and so I see them as worthwhile but yes I can see they don't have broad appeal - I think in terms of having more land allowance to create a public space, really go to town on the design and creation - that would have been desirable to me but I guess, desirable to everyone. I've moved on a little from Bellisseria generally in my head and made my peace with not having a public space. 

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On 3/10/2022 at 2:48 PM, Chloe Bunny said:

My projects were all just fun things for engagement - which happened and so I see them as worthwhile but yes I can see they don't have broad appeal - I think in terms of having more land allowance to create a public space, really go to town on the design and creation - that would have been desirable to me but I guess, desirable to everyone. I've moved on a little from Bellisseria generally in my head and made my peace with not having a public space. 

Anything that is about commerce and shopping is anathema to the Lindens for Bellisseria because they decided that they don't even want to put in a Busy Ben's type of mall as they did at the dawn of SL. And now they could argue they have Shop 'n Hop often enough that they don't need a Linden-run dedicated shopping mall. Actually, all of SL is a Linden-run shopping experience if you know what I mean, but specifically as to your proposal.

There is this built-in problem for Belli which is you cannot have search. So even the Lindens hobble themselves from judging a project by *traffic*. They only have purchased accounts as a measuring stick, and whether there is an uproar in the forums, of course, but the Lindens especially know that the forums don't represent that much. (Or do they? They have bent over backwards to publish long and heartfelt apologies and explications of their policy lately.)

Maybe the Lindens have traffic somehow turned on internally on their own dashboards, but I think they go by purchases and possibly group activity? But there is no way to measure engagement. So how can you evolve and improve? I go by the same things I do in any project -- how many people take the free gifts or interact in some other way -- they get a stamp or they leave a comment in the guest book. I have to say the Mainland parcels in the SL Public Land Preserve get way more interactivity simply because I can put them in search AND offer items for sale AND have more elaborate activities like quests, which you can't really do effectively on a 1024 parcel. Maybe one of those Madpea type games where you break out of imprisonment? That might be more appropriate.

The Lindens are going to have 4096 m parcels soon enough. They have already given one out to the "best and brightest."

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