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Is this new round of mentors a good idea?


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25 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

re. the debate between @Coffee Pancake and @Katherine Heartsong about how Mentors should look, and the underlying problem of teaching avatar appearance...

This is a HUGE problem. Where I hang out on Welcome Island, I always look as good as possible (while keeping my complexity numbers low so everyone can SEE how fabulous I look.)

I do this because 1) vanity (let's be honest!), and 2) I do want to show newcomers what's possible and inspire them.

But then they ask, "How can I look like you?" and I come up against that brick wall that Katherine mentioned. What I've been doing is 1) show them how to switch between starter avatars, which at least gives them a variety of looks, and 2) hand them a notecard that has landmarks to freebie stores and tutorials about editing their appearance (among other things).  This is a very poor solution, but it's the best I've been able to come up with for the majority of encounters.

With a very few, who are willing to stick with me, ask questions, and follow directions, I can spend a couple of hours and walk them through some of the basics. But it is a huge investment in time; I can only do this once or twice a week.

Linden Lab has bent over backwards to ensure that new functions don't break old content. But they may have bent so far backwards that they've broken SL's back. This enormous, complex thing we lump under the name "avatar appearance", with its mesh bodies, heads, HUDs, appliers, BoM, EvoX, skins, tattoos, eyes, hairbases, AOs, rigged/unrigged, Wear/Add, and appalachicola whibbertyglibs, has become a black hole that's sucking people, especially newbies, right out of SL.

As someone who has been in Second Life for a while, but still hasn't mastered "mesh bodies, heads, HUDs, appliers, BoM, EvX, skins, tattoos, eyes, hairbases, AOs, rigged/unrigged, Wear/Add..."etc... I don't think I would be much help as a mentor for folks who want to change their appearance. I DO like Lindal Kidd's idea of having a notecard with some basic information on it that I could offer to any newbs who wanted it. Any ideas on how such a notecard could be made available for "unofficial" mentors?

Also, this thread has reminded me to try to be nicer to newcomers, both here in the forums and inworld.

 

 

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I very recently, like two weeks ago, helped a friend who hadn't been in SL for years and years to update his avatar to mesh from system avie. Believe it or not, one of the hurdles to accomplishing this was not that we weren't both on Firestorm, we were, but it took awhile to realize we were using different skins. The difference between the two made communicating pretty confusing. Eventually we just shared our screens in Discord so we could actually see what we were talking about, so the suggestion that the LL viewer be used with brand new residents to me sounds like a good one. Believe me I never thought I'd say that, but here I am saying it!

Get them acclimated first in the LL viewer.  Then they can learn about the different third party viewers out there and make an informed decision as to which one offers the features they would find beneficial. Or they might even decide that the LL viewer works perfectly well and not even need to move in that direction.

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19 minutes ago, Innula Zenovka said:

It would.   

I'm familiar with Firestorm, though for preference I use Catznip or the Official Viewer, depending on what I'm doing.   

And there you admit part of the issue by pointing out how different viewers have differing strengths and weaknesses. The official viewer and Catnipz have no Area Search capability which is certainly something I would show to a new person for when they lose something from inventory rezzed out on the ground or for finding a particular item when inworld shopping. No Quick preferences at all in the SL viewer which is something I use regularly in FS because of the time it saves me adjusting viewer preferences for a particular location. But best of all is the ability to get quick and ongoing support for the FS viewer through the inworld group. That is worth its weight in gold and gives the new person a place to get help for the myriad of issues that will certainly come up as they progress in SL.

The whole idea for mentoring is to get a new person up and running in the most effective and efficient way possible. Why ever would I not tell a new person that the best way for continuing support is to change their viewer to one that is supported by a live group that in many cases is available immediately  with either direct help or at least links to where the specific answers can be found?

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I haven't been following this thread since the beginning BUT in case no one thought of it, this "may" be in part because LL expects a lot more signups when the mobile viewer becomes reality. There is nothing of course in the sign up sheet that SAYS anything about mobile (most likely because LL expects EVERYONE to have a cell phone LOL) but if that was the case, mentors would be learning the new mobile "viewer". 

 

The sign up sheet does talk about classes and passing a test before being made a mentor.   Just a thought. 

 

PS This was on my mind because I was researching MY audience and was REALLY surprised to see the huge number of folks on mobile. 

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Edited by Chic Aeon
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4 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

I haven't been following this thread since the beginning BUT in case no one thought of it, this "may" be in part because LL expects a lot more signups when the mobile viewer becomes reality. 

If that's the case, then that would be a bigger argument for LL to provide a quality, interactive, and concise onboarding tutorial and avatar creation process for new users. Unless, of course, they're planning to recruit an army of mentors with a one-to-one correspondence per newbie and an average of three hours of tutorials per person, which again begs the question of why LL isn't planning to compensate the mentors for all those human hours they'll be expending to help a for-profit corporation save money. 

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15 minutes ago, Arielle Popstar said:

And there you admit part of the issue by pointing out how different viewers have differing strengths and weaknesses. The official viewer and Catnipz have no Area Search capability which is certainly something I would show to a new person for when they lose something from inventory rezzed out on the ground or for finding a particular item when inworld shopping. No Quick preferences at all in the SL viewer which is something I use regularly in FS because of the time it saves me adjusting viewer preferences for a particular location. But best of all is the ability to get quick and ongoing support for the FS viewer through the inworld group. That is worth its weight in gold and gives the new person a place to get help for the myriad of issues that will certainly come up as they progress in SL.

The whole idea for mentoring is to get a new person up and running in the most effective and efficient way possible. Why ever would I not tell a new person that the best way for continuing support is to change their viewer to one that is supported by a live group that in many cases is available immediately  with either direct help or at least links to where the specific answers can be found?

Sure, though if I'm looking for something of mine in any viewer I simply use Build>Region Objects (which shows me stuff I can return, so anything I've dropped) and I've never used the Quick Preferences in Firestorm, since I'm used to using Graphics Presets and (at least in the Official Viewer) to right-clicking on myself if I want to adjust my hover height.

But none of this (apart from maybe the hover height) is stuff I'd be covering with a completely new user who wanted to know the basics of how to walk, fly, teleport, make and use landmarks, change their avatar, use their inventory, use IMs, use search, use vendors, open boxes and so on.   

And I certainly wouldn't, before telling them how do any any of that, first tell them to log out, go to a third-party website, and download and install a different viewer.

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2 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

It's easy because you're used to it.

I know SL inside out, I don't use FS and never have.

When I have to use it, for testing RLVa etc etc, I find it to be a deeply frustrating experience. There are a bazillion options, cluttered dense UI, and everything I might need to poke has been renamed or moved. 

Newbies coming to SL find SL hard because they are used to a different medium (games) and SL has different rules.

I was new just a little over 3 years ago. I was not used to the fs viewer. I still found it much easier to use than ll's viewer and I still do. I am still somewhat new imo-even if I've been here for 3 years. I am still learning new things every single day. I am still not necessarily "used" to anything at all. Fs is still the better viewer out of all the ones I have tried. I have tried all that I possibly could and fs beats them all hands down. Even in areas where I'm not quite used to where to find things or how to to things. Fs beats them all hands down.

Of course everything in sl is going to be harder than anything we're used to. Sl is a product all of its own-it might share some minor similarities with other things but it is not them. Everything takes getting used to-no matter what viewer you use or how many tutorials you follow.

You find it frustrating specifically because you don't use it. Others find it easy specifically because they do. It's really just a matter of preference though-not necessarily ease or difficulty of use on either side. The same can be said for most of the viewers I think. Except when you take the ll viewer into account-because it really is a hot mess. The vast majority of tutorials and guides-which new users will find and try to use with or without a mentor program-use fs as their basis not any other viewer. You can look for specific guides using other viewers but most use fs for good reason. 

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1 hour ago, Alwin Alcott said:

and that is the total wrong approach, you have to teach them how to change and show it on the way, not put their eyes on spikes and see the impossible job for for them when they enter.
Mentor's teaching appearance should appear in starter avatars.  You don't insprire newbies you make them desperate to ever reach that.

What you show is the old mentor attitude. skip it.

I think you show them a taste of what is possible and if they ask about it, which most will.. You walk them through  it..

I'm always helping new users in a step by step way, if they are interested in moving to mesh.. I walk them through the huds trying to explain it with SL terms and explaining what those terms mean in a none SL language..

If they have the time  to sit with me, I won't let go of them until they are working the huds themselves..

The reason this is good is because, most get excited as they see their avatars changing.. pretty soon they are off  shopping and IMing me with things they are finding and always asking more questions about little things that they come across and don't understand..

Mentoring is more than a one time thing and more than just lending a quick hand.. A mentor is someone that starts a relationship with those they help, well after a new user is off doing their own thing..

I get IM's from people I helped 6 months ago.. Sometimes it's just to show me how they look now.. Most all of them end up on my friends list  in case they ever have any questions.. Most of them.. Definitely not all of them, because some of them come here for other reasons, like Slex, which I can't help them much in that area..  hehehe

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18 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

Tormentor! Where do I sign up? Mentor? Ohhh. Nevermind. 

When I first read your post, I thought, "What about Dementors?" 

Everybody loves Dementors, they..take your breath away!

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Edited by Love Zhaoying
Love not live
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We'll have to see how it goes. I don't see how they are doing anything significantly different this time around than last.

When the Lab turned off the last previous mentor/helper teams they explained the stats revealed those using mentors left sooner than those that did not use mentors. Eliminating mentors increased retention. 😵 Which doesn't make sense to me. But it is hard to argue with simple stats.

The Lab has provided lots of training and learning aids. Yet an age old problem in computer support is getting people to use what is there. People just do not read what is in front of them. I think the big restriction in using help is in being able to find what one is looking for. I generally want to know a very specific thing. I do NOT want to dig through pages of stuff to find an answer.

Maybe someday we will have a AI to answer questions and get one to the right information. You can try it now using Bing's AI. try asking "How do I turn on the lights in SL?" then follow up with "How do I make the world brighter?" Bing's AI does a decent job of answering.

I used to pop down to the Help Island and ask questions. Most of my "How do you..." questions got answered. For complex problems I learned to go to the forum and search for the problem. I think all of my problems were ones someone had already run into. So I could find the answer by searching in Answers. Later I learned about the JIRA. If there was no answer in Answers, then I would usually find it in the JIRA.

I don't have any stats from the Firestorm Support team. I do think they have The Best Support Group in SL. They do seem to provide the best support and provide some supervision of those helping.

The SL Knowledge Base is better organized than the forum's Answers for finding answers. But the Answers section is a better place to ask for help and get a response.

I am also convinced people are getting dumber and losing the ability to communicate and think. It may not be that long before we start growing tails and swinging from tree to tree...

 

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2 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:
2 hours ago, Arduenn Schwartzman said:

I'll raise you one: "Where is the Page Up key?" More and more people don't seem to know anymore.

I'm on a 60% mechanical keyboard* .. there is no key labelled page up (Fn+Enter)

That's the biggest issue, nowadays. A lot of modern keyboards no longer have Page Up keys anymore. This makes it particularly hard to both fly forward and upward at the same time in SL. Not to mention flying forward and downward at the same time. You'd have to hold at least four keys at opposite ends on your keyboard for that.

I don't envy the new round of mentors.

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I think the new mentors need to dress in something special to show their position and to stand out from the crowd. Maybe gold colored robes would be appropriate. 

Newbie: Can you help me?

Me: Sorry I can't but do you see  that person over there in the gold robes? Yeah, they can help you!

Newbie: Ok thanks so much!

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14 minutes ago, Innula Zenovka said:

But none of this (apart from maybe the hover height) is stuff I'd be covering with a completely new user who wanted to know the basics of how to walk, fly, teleport, make and use landmarks, change their avatar, use their inventory, use IMs, use search, use vendors, open boxes and so on

Some of the stuff in quick preferences can help them do some of that stuff more efficiently though too and just as helpful and basic as some of those things are. You can quickly change draw distance turn on or off particles adjust the complexity level and such, Those are all important things and while yes they can be done with preferences open-a quick preferences makes it much smoother and faster for someone who might be struggling with lag. Quick preferences opens faster than opening the actual preferences box. For some this won't matter because they don't have the limited functionality others do such as lower fps. As someone who does have lower fps sometimes-admittedly my own issue but it is what it is for now-I was beyond grateful when I found out about quick preferences. It can make a world of difference in temporary-or not-functionality especially if I am at an event or something, 

 

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6 minutes ago, Nalates Urriah said:

I am also convinced people are getting dumber and losing the ability to communicate and think. It may not be that long before we start growing tails and swinging from tree to tree...

One of my favorite Sci Fi authors had a novel in which the general population would speak like this: "Duh..Duh, Duh Duh Duh, Duh!"

And that was written in the 50's.

 

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2 hours ago, Arduenn Schwartzman said:

I'll raise you one: "Where is the Page Up key?" More and more people don't seem to know anymore.

This one is personal to me - they moved it between keyboard layouts in the 90's!!

Plus, you now have to choose if you want to use the one on the Number Pad with Num Lock on, or the other one.

Get off my lawn!

 

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3 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

This one is personal to me - they moved it between keyboard layouts in the 90's!!

Plus, you now have to choose if you want to use the one on the Number Pad with Num Lock on, or the other one.

Get off my lawn!

 

Wait, keyboards?

My first exposure to computers in high school was a Wang behemoth the length of a wall we had to program with a stack of punchcards.

Get off my lawn!

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Edited by Katherine Heartsong
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Just now, Katherine Heartsong said:

Wait, keyboards?

My first exposure to computers in high school was a Wang behemoth the length of a wall we had to program with punchcards.

Get off my lawn!

LOL! I wasn't talking about "who is older", just that keyboards had changed. 

I barely missed the period where my high school apparently had a mechanical dumb terminal.  I think my brother used that when he was in school. I don't remember it having a punch card reader when I saw it.

However:  When I took a college break and attended a local junior college one summer, they did have classes (I took one) in some old school mainframe stuffs but I digress:  They had a punchcard class but I missed it.

Yeah, I didn't do computers until 1974 I think.  After punch cards in general..

DANG you're old! But still pretty!!

 

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2 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

I am SO in agreement with this, except the "contractors" term. My initial reaction when I caught a rumor of the new program was positive...I was sad when LL discontinued the old Mentor program, and did not witness the abuses that other people have ascribed to it, so I'd be happy to sign on again. But I was much less positive when I found out the requirement to use the stock viewer, and a requirement to commit to one or more specific 2 hour blocks of time.

That sounds like conditions of employment to me. If we are to be volunteer mentors (as I have been, for years), then we are independent contractors and set our own hours and choose our own tools. If you set conditions of employment, we are employees and are entitled to wages.

I understand the need to have coverage .. and if it's that critical, they can and should be paying for it.

However, as we're actually paying to do this "job". Using our own equipment, our own avatars, our own stuff, our own electricity and our own internet and time. Delivering desperately needed expertise to bolster a tent pole part of the on-boarding process that has been neglected for years.

If that's not good enough what are they going to do .. write me up? Invite me in for a performance review and raise my attendence?

9 minutes ago, Katherine Heartsong said:

My first exposure to computers in high school was a Wang behemoth 

Everyone loved their first Wang behemoth *sighs and wistfully stares off into the middle distance* ... although I never got to experience punch cards, mine was 8 inches and floppy.

4NXcUCk.png

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18 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

LOL! I wasn't talking about "who is older", just that keyboards had changed. 

I barely missed the period where my high school apparently had a mechanical dumb terminal.  I think my brother used that when he was in school. I don't remember it having a punch card reader when I saw it.

However:  When I took a college break and attended a local junior college one summer, they did have classes (I took one) in some old school mainframe stuffs but I digress:  They had a punchcard class but I missed it.

Yeah, I didn't do computers until 1974 I think.  After punch cards in general..

DANG you're old! But still pretty!!

 

Love, if you are talking about using computers in 1974 i hate to tell you this, but YOU are old. And I thought I was a dinosaur. I was 1 in 1974. 

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2 hours ago, Drake1 Nightfire said:

Love, if you are talking about using computers in 1974 i hate to tell you this, but YOU are old. And I thought I was a dinosaur. I was 1 in 1974. 

It was an HP specialized computer, my Dad had me input programs into it when I was in maybe 4th grade at his job at McDonnell-Douglas. 

It had a tape drive to save programs, 1-button BASIC keywords, an LED display, and a plotter.  I remember two programs that he and my older brother wrote for it:  A Tic-Tac-Toe program (for the Plotter), and Multiplication "teacher".  I think that I learned some of my higher multiplication tables using that program!

The next computer (at the same office) that Data had me try with him as a "DataPoint". It had a CRT and keyboard!  I remember trying to write a "Hangman" program.

These weren't Dad's computers at the office - just computers he had access to.  Way more advanced than any kids my age could have had, unless their parents were rich, or had ALTAIRs or something.  Or possibly PETs. *Correction* These were both much more advanced than ALTAIRSs, not sure about PETs.

Edited by Love Zhaoying
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7 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

It was an HP specialized computer, my Dad had me input programs into it when I was in maybe 4th grade at his job at McDonnell-Douglas. 

It had a tape drive to save programs, 1-button BASIC keywords, an LED display, and a plotter.  I remember two programs that he and my older brother wrote for it:  A Tic-Tac-Toe program (for the Plotter), and Multiplication "teacher".  I think that I learned some of my higher multiplication tables using that program!

The next computer (at the same office) that Data had me try with him as a "DataPoint". It had a CRT and keyboard!  I remember trying to write a "Hangman" program.

These weren't Dad's computers at the office - just computers he had access to.  Way more advanced than any kids my age could have had, unless their parents were rich, or had ALTAIRs or something.  Or possibly PETs.

What does it have to do with the topic again?

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4 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

That sounds like conditions of employment to me. If we are to be volunteer mentors (as I have been, for years), then we are independent contractors and set our own hours and choose our own tools. If you set conditions of employment, we are employees and are entitled to wages.

Not from a legal viewpoint, no.  Employers can stipulate that contractors use specific software (otherwise there would be MANY fewer databases in the world, lol),  set minimum and maximum numbers of hours/wk, and (within limits) set schedules for them.  If LL were bringing mentors into the office and/or requiring that mentors use specific hardware supplied by LL, things would be fuzzier.  By keeping the mentor program volunteer-only, LL actually bysteps the whole debate about whether mentors should be contractors or employees.

I don't get this whole discussion about how mentors should look.  Frankly, if I were running the program, I would stipulate that mentors choose their mentor "look" from a set of avatars supplied by LL.  (Will NUX be released by the time the mentor program cranks up?  They were first introduced a year ago, 6/22)  Also, if I were mentoring someone who was insistent about looking better, I would:

  1. Change to a few different avatars to give them a sense of the possible (cute lapdog, centaur, cyber android, fantasy drow),
  2. Go back to my mentor look and point them to a few SL University videos on mesh body and head upgrades, rather than giving them a notecard or walking them through it all myself. 
  3. MAYBE offer to take them on a shopping trip in a week or so, if they decide to invest a few dollars in SL, and are nice. Did you know the Destination Guide has a section on mesh bodies and heads?
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2 hours ago, Nalates Urriah said:

Maybe someday we will have a AI to answer questions and get one to the right information.

That's quite feasible now, if it doesn't need any visual information. But it won't help with avatar and clothing problems that need visual inspection. LL had a chatbot at one point, as sort of a gatekeeper for live chat support, but can't find it now. It was pre-ChatGPT, and mostly useless.

Personally, I think that LL should rotate their entire staff through in-world support, for maybe an hour a week each. This promotes awareness of what's giving users trouble. Bill Gates used to take Microsoft phone support calls once in a while to keep in touch with problems.

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