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The Fallacy of Box Farming

Josh Susanto

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Please read carefully and think about the point I'm actually making here, rather than falling back on the idea that too many items in a box is all you need to know in order to understand delivery problems. It's just not that simple.

The unstated logic behind rezzing multiple boxes in multiple regions would seem to be that the mechanisms that allow delivery failure should affect each box independently, and delivery failures from one box will not uniformly also result from other boxes, because their respective patterns of delivery failure are unrelated. Moreover; if this is NOT assumed to be true, there would seem to be NO logic to rezzing multiple boxes (think about it).

For example, assume that someone has so shamelessly jammed his box with freebies that it has a delivery rate of only 50%. Under the model implicit in our instructions to rez additional boxes, the same person rezzzing an identical box in a different region should then experience a 75% delivery rate. With 3 boxes; 87.5%, etc. 

I recently rezzed a second box in order to see what would happen. As I had put over 700 items in my box, I was finally experiencing a delivery rate intermittently dropping to something approaching 90%. What I should have experienced from the second box (as an exponential function of independent delivery failure rates, right?) is NO MORE THAN 0.1x0.1 delivery failure rate; in other words: less than 1% delivery failures.

But that's not what happened. My delivery failure rate remains apparently the same, and the pattern among the failures remains the same: half are shopping cart orders, and the other half are items also temporarily and mysteriously absent from my personal inventory, making the order difficult to correct manually (again, how does jamming my box have any affect on my personal inventory? And ideas?).

Yeah. I have too much stuff in my box. I think we covered that. But it does not explain what stands to be observed; that the duplication of boxes does not do what we are essentially told it will do, regardless of the number of items in the box, because the statistical mechanism implied in the model simply does not exist in terms of real results.

This is further evident in the fact that even people with the correct number of items in their boxes and up to 6 boxes continue to report repeated delivery failures. That is: because their delivery failure rates on a single box can't possibly be higher than on my one box (less than 10%), having 6 boxes should (given the model) reduce their delivery failure rate to something on the order of 1 in a million or less (probably A LOT less).

And yet people with 6 boxes report not only that they get delivery failures, but that they get as many as 2 or more on consecutive days. 

From a statistical standpoint, to tell these people that a delivery failure they experienced was due to having one box too few is essentially no different than telling them that someone won a lottery or was killed in a plane crash in RL because they either did or did not rez enough boxes in SL.

Moreover, from a mathematical standpoint, the suggestion that we defeat delivery failures by rezzing more boxes is indistinguishable from superstition (please note that I hesitate to use other expressions such as "fraud").

Conclusion: pending any more compelling explanation, box farming just seems to me to be a form of compulsory labor used to indoctrinate us in the cult of Lindenism.

Am I wrong?

Don't just tell me.

SHOW me.

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My partner and I were both forced to get new magic boxes recently. Everything always worked in the past, except for the occasional failed delivery. Then his magic box stopped synchronising new items with Marketplace, and so he bought a new one and set it up on another sim and the new item worked there. Now he has 2 boxes. He seems to think that the magic box reached its limit, but this can't be true as some people have 100s of items and he only has about 80. Then a couple of weeks later the same thing happened to me. My magic box refused to work with any new items added to it, and I had to do the same. We each have under 100 items, and I have no idea why it just stopped for both of us, maybe even at the same time, except I only used mine later.

Anyway, I just thought that was interesting and here seemed a good place to talk about it.

In my experience, failed deliveries they don't seem to be magic box related. Sometimes I have a burst of them and then I go weeks with perfect deliveries. If it was the magic box I'd think it would be more consistent. Anyway, I won't find out because my magic box just gives up on any additional items at a certain point.

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Trying to understand this but I jsut don't get what you are saying.  I put one object in each MB and that object is my boxed creations. 

Are you saying that if you put too many items in the Delivery Package or the Magic Box?

The reason I am trying to better understand this is to avoid any issues however, I've had almost 0 delivery issues since I have been selling on SLX and that's been 4 years now.


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Greetings Josh!

Nice statistics.

There are 2 types of Failed Deliveries.

1. Failed Sale.  This is when the sale itself fails for whatever reason. The order on the SLM web site will show an undelivered status on the order.

2. Failed Delivery. This is where the buyer doesn't receive the actual object even though it was sent to them in world. The SLM Order shows delivered but the buyer/receiver says that they didn't get the item.

When discussing failed deliveries it is important to indicate which one you are actually talking about.

If you are talking only about Failed Sales, then the Magic Box may or may not be the problem, so rezzing more Magic Boxes wont resolve the issue if the failed sale isn't because of the Magic Box.

So in that regard, you would be correct. It wouldn't matter how many products you have or how many Magic Boxes you have. You would still have the problem.

Failed deliveries on the other hand are caused by different reasons, some of which are Magic Box related, but most are not.

If the issues with the failed delivery were not caused by the Magic Box then rezzing more Magic Boxes in world won't resolve the problem.

However, none of the above means a merchant shouldn't have multiple Magic Boxes.

Here are the reasons why sales and deliveries fail:

1. If the region where your Magic Box is down or in the middle of a restart, then the sale will fail because the web site will be unable to contact the Magic Box.

2. If the communications on the region are borked and the Magic Box cannot receive or send out messages to the rest of the grid, then the sale will fail.

3. If the Magic Box is backed up trying to deliver dozens of products from sales.

4. If the buyer/receiver placed the seller on mute

5. If the buyer/receiver has the Magic Box on mute.

6. If the buyer/receiver has their privacy settings to not accept communications from people not on their friends list.

7. The buyer/receiver has capped messages.

8. The buyer/receiver crashes before clicking on the accept button to actually accept the deliveries.

9. The buyer/receiver accidentally declines the delivery of the product.

10. The scripts in the Magic Box become corrupted.

1, 2, 3, and 10 above can all be helped by having extra Magic Boxes on different regions.

3 can be solved by keeping less than 100 items in each Magic Box to keep the Magic Box from backing up too much with deliveries.

If one region is having issues the Magic Box on another region should be able to handle the deliveries of the products.

If you keep less than 100 items in the Magic Box then you limit the chances of the Magic Boxes backing up with orders and timing out the sale on the SLM web site.

If you have free items you should keep those items in a separate Magic Box from your pay products.  We all know that free items will be purchased in far greater numbers than paid for products so keeping the freebies separate from the paid for items will keep the paid for items from being affected by any issues with the Freebie items Magic Box.

So while your statistics may be true for your situation, it doesn't seem to take into consideration all of the other issues that cause failed sales and deliveries and appears to only pertain to that one, very narrow, situation that you are seeing.



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Not sure what you just said, and rarely do make it through first paragraph....

....but will chalk it up to you being terminally dissatisfied with every single feature every single day, while milking the system to boot...and adding a convoluted diatribe at least once a day, that wastes everyone's time to decipher (and oh lookie a Linden's time too, while we wait patiently for word on things)......

...but the delivery system as it is working now, in an electronic world that has uncertainty and some glitches, where you can click a few buttons in an air-conditioned room and correct the situation (maybe 98% of the time)... sure beats the hell out of packing and shipping boxes for ebay which is gouging in fees to the max, and mowing lawns every day at vacant houses that are never going to sell.


anyone else want to relieve your burdens for the day?  your turn.  Josh and I had ours.

oh, and hell NO I'm not going to show you anything.  you milk the system and you milk people's time enough already.  every singled damn day.


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To clarify, I am talking about failed sales, not simply failed deliveries.

When I start getting paid for things that don't get sent, I will only consider that to be a more serious problem.

As for the "coddling": while I appreciate Dakota's response here, Dakota has continued to ignore my earlier challenge to provide me with the correct listing category for my seamless block sculpt item.


If the rest of you don't want to read what I write, you certainly have no obligation to do so.

The reason I complain all the time isn't because of the persistent pattern of things not working as they should; the reason I complain is that we're all being told to accept explanations that don't stand up to any kind of earnest scrutiny.

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Reporting personal problems would be called contacting support. Reporting bugs would be a Jira.

But right, bringing up some new angle about delivery as soon as one is reasonably answered (and often ignored, as we jump to the next angle) while the very problem of delivery is being worked on is something else entirely.

Got my own word for that, but since that would make me evil to breathe that word, I suppose I'll have to refrain as well, all for the good of the community, eh?

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Shortage of threads that talk about business, marketing, successes, tools to make use of. This passes as my New York Times of SL, so I have to skim everything for those tidbits, There are Linden responses buried here and there and real issues mixed in with sensationalized non-issues  ... in order to stay on top of SL business, I like to know what other merchants are doing and thinking about things.

Maybe I should also ignore the occassional vibes that I get when you try to help someone that there is no end or help in sight and that the resentment is such that if anything someone would rather see SL fail with them, than see it successful.

This is why I continue to keep one foot in RL in business, I don't need to deal with those kind of head games, and I can manage to maintain a level of honesty that I don't need to compromise or apologize for.

I'd prefer to hear answers to solutions by successful merchants, as those are things that are working for people, in spite of problems, but maybe we should all just ignore all SL problems too, because if you ignore it, it ceases to become a problem, right?

Don't get me wrong, plenty of issues to discuss that aren't always about profit and roses, but my personal preference is short and sweet, stick it where it belongs and move on, rather than making "stuff" up. Maybe I don't have the right to that preference in forums or as a business person.

Off topic for this thread, I know and I'm actually pretty happy about the detailed response about delivery failures.

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IMHO by definition, you're not selling anything.  You are giving your items away.  That's fine, no sweat off my back on that.

You brag in thread after thread about how you are playing/gaming/milking whatever term you feel comfortable with, by not paying any fees to sell in marketplace.  It's a conscious attempt on your part and you relish in it.

While doing so...it appears that you try to sway and convince others that the featured listings do not work, and that marketing attempts do not work.  And you are wrong on those counts.

So what I see here, is someone who is taking advantage of the system, with little positive contributions.....oh, you got a Linden to respond with a decent explanation....great work!  But those explanations were handed to you many many times. 

If you want to keep rehashing, that's fine...but others are waiting for a Linden customer service response.

If you want "earnest scrutiny"...let's chat a bit about how someone who is playing a system that they despise, without dropping any funds....and how they receive customer service over the others.

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I have never denied being an a-hole verbally, but I consider that in my actual actions I make a point of treating people no less fairly than they have treated me, and I believe that I show a persistent commitment to show my customers that I will respect them whether I can do what they want or not. I do not dismiss inconvenient concerns from my customers as the Lindens sometimes seem to do with their own customers. We don't work for the Lindens; they work for us. Don't let's forget that.

I appreciate the sentiment that the "attack" on me was shocking, but I'm no longer surprised by such things myself, and I figure that I earn a good deal vitriol by the way I tend to frame the points I'm trying to make. LL needs to be criticized sometimes in a very pointed way, or they may not be adequtely discouraged from repeating the same BS within their organization that they repeat outside of it. They need to be helped by protecting them from their own propensity to complacency and groupthink. It can be hard to do that effectively and to seem nice about it at the same time. Too bad; I know what I'm good at, and I'm gonna' keep doing it. People are welcome to say mean things to me and about me, provided that there is no actual misinformation involved. Thanks to those who choose to participate in honest discussions with me, nicely or otherwise. I won't throw stones from inside a glass house and then sic the Emotional Courtesy police upon you.

The problem I mention at the top of the thread is not to be reported as a personal problem because the pertinent facts are not constrained to my own accounts, and it doesn't warrant a JIRA because it's not actually a bug. It's merely a continued misstatement about the practical utility of multiple boxes, which is leading people both to rez more boxes than utility would warrant, and to encourage me to do so.

Dakota's points, point by point:...

1) A region could be down, and, in that case, ONE working box in a different region seems like a pretty reasonable idea, but the suggestion also seems very incomplete. I have never seen the region where I keep my box go down, but I have seen temporary inventory absences (not just in the box, but in my personal inventory) correlating to sales failures of individual items. And when my whole account is inexplicably inaccessible, that pretty well prevents me from correcting sales failures personally until that clears up, much less do anything to a box or boxes. Complete instructions should probably be to duplicate the sale items under different names, put them into an alt account's inventory and rez a separate box with that alt in a separate region. At least, looking at the pattern of what actually goes wrong and how often and what can conceivably be done about it, the suggestions I mention certainly don't make any less sense than rezzing a 3rd box in a 3rd region in case 2 regions go down at the same time. There's no legal or safety reason why a landlord shouldn't install a 2nd lightining rod at the opposite end of an apartment building, but if the pipes and ceiling are leaky, none of the electrical outlets are grounded, and there are no sprinklers or fire extinguishers or alarm system, installing a second lightning rod is no different from busting open a jumbo can of turd polish. SLM merchants are like carpentry students being told that the reason we can't measure, saw, or screw anything is that we don't have enough spare hammers. Sorry, Linden; the fact that hammers are all you think we should have doesn't make everything a nail.

2) Region borked or region absent is effectively the same thing; it might just look different.

3) "Magic box backed up" is a problem that, if it were significant, should be ameliorated to something like 50% of such significance by a second box. So far, I'm not seeing any such effect. It's conceivable to me that some failures could be due simply to boxes being backed up, but there's nothing in the pattern of orders and failures so far that should lead me to conclude this is more likely than some other explanation which will be unrelated to the number of boxes rezzed, especially considering that there are other patterns I clearly CAN see.

4) I think it's fair to ask why LL hasn't provided a muting exception for SLM orders. Failure to do so is an invitation to confounding such a problem with other problems. Of course, if you don't fix that, it helps to maintain a problem that you can suggest to people might be solved by getting more boxes and renting more land on which to rez them (and that money ultimately goes where?) How does another box help to fix this problem?

5) Again, why no exception? How does another box help to fix this problem?

6) Again, why no exception? How does another box help to fix this problem?

7) Again, why no exception? How does another box help to fix this problem?

8) Again, why no exception? How does another box help to fix this problem?

9) Again, why no exception? How does another box help to fix this problem?

10) In other words, the scripts have been ALLOWED to become corrupted. And who has allowed that? Assuming that the duplicate box has the same corrupted scripts, how does it help to fix this problem? Wouldn't it just be more reliable to use a new magic box and a new account in the new region with all newly catalogued items?


I DO expect that reducing the number of items in a box will improve the delivery rate, but I disagree that we can trust the basic mechanism to be any different from this: fewer items means fewer and smaller shopping-cart orders, thus reducing shopping-cart-related failures.... the downside being that that also means fewer and smaller orders, more generally.


Putting freebies in a second box is a strategy that assumes one's other orders will otherwise compete for box bandwidth with an inundation of freebies. This has not been my experience. I offer MANY freebies, but they do not make up anything like the bulk of ordered items. Out of my top 20 selling items, only 7 are freebies, and those are not the top 7 items. Only 1 of my top 5 items is a freebie. With listing enhancements, non-freebies should only sell even more consistently are rates comparable or greater than the rates for freebies. 


The point I make has relevance beyond my situation as long as people with fewer than 100 items in 3 or more boxes report multiple failures on consecutive days. Have they said that this problem as ceased?

As you said, none of the things I mentioned are a reason not to rez one more box. Also, nothing I mentioned is a reason not to stick one's tongue into a light socket, either, but that doesn't make it a good idea (and it also might not help fix sales and delivery failures).

But go ahead and keep rezzing those extra boxes (and paying to do it "incidentally"), while continuing not to do anything to address other parts of the problem which are potentially soluble by other means.

There is no reason not to bring a couple of extra bailing buckets with you on the Titanic. There is no reason not to bring an extra fire extinguisher with you to work at the WTC on 9-11-01. In fact, if people had done these things, we can't be absolutely certain that one less person wouldn't have died.

Maybe if Osama Bin Laden had bothered to make this last point in any of his videos, he'd be alive and well today, working at Linden Labs.


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Do you think that the phrases box farming and compuslory labour might just be overstating things a little bit, for those who are confused by this, Josh is actually referring to Rezzing a second copy of your Magic Box, there is no absolutely no farming, and a very minimal amount of labour involved.

I am afraid I am going to do what you asked me not to and fall back on the idea that your problems begin and probably end with the number of items in your Magic Box, if one box isn't working correctly rezzing another that isn't working correctly is unlikely to improve things. However I do have to agree that this is an unproven theory so...

I am quite happy to test this with you. All you need to do is make 3 copies of your box and dump 2 thirds of the items from each, so you end up with your inventory split across 3 boxes (or more if you like) with a different 230 items or so in each box, give me a shout inworld and you can rez copies of the boxes at 1, 2 or 3 of my locations and lets see what happens.

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Hello Josh,

The reason why I didn't answer your question is because it had already been answered in another thread.

There is no way to offer a suggestion on what category the product should be placed into.

If a seller does not wish to spend the time learning the categories that exist on the Marketplace they may contact Customer Support to ask what category their product should be placed into.


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Again the theory that the problem begins and ends with the number of items in the box would only be consistent with a scenario in which the failure rate of one box would be reduced by the proportional success rate of a duplicate box as 2 independent series of events.

If that were how the benefits of box duplication actually worked, I should be experiencing a failure rate of less than 1% with the rezzing of a 2nd box, and 6 boxes should seem to be gross overkill.

Splitting a 700-piece inventory over 7 boxes would just mean that I would need 14 boxes to assure that I have them all backed up.

If I'm going to start doing things this way, I might ask why I don't just create a separate alt account for every possible sim where I might rez a box, put a separate set of diffirently-named items into each of their boxes, and rez them in each of those sims.


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I don't have a question about dishes.  That was months ago.

I had a question titled Q for Lindens here.

I asked how to remove obscure profile pages that are being picked up in google search, that are not even really proper profile pages.

I submitted support ticket to another department, and they don't seem to understand the question.

Someone with seo experience outside of LL explained why the pages are scoring so high, so I definitely have the question about do we have options to remove the obscure pages which make no sense to have plugged in/indexed/whatever lingo you want to apply.

I can only assume that no...we do not have that opportunity. 

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Why on earth would you waste your time theorising about this, common sense should tell you that cramming 700 items into one box is bound to be a bad idea, not to mention the huge amount of time it must take to load and update when you make changes.

I have had a second box rezzed since the day I started, it makes such obvious sense when we know that regions go down from time to time, sometimes they run badly, sometimes items (such as magic boxes) are returned in error, and sometimes merchants mess up and delete the wrong stuff, however rare these events are, it's surely worth the cost of rezzing 1 single prim to insure against them.

I have followed the advice of LL and other merchants and I have few delivery problems, you choose to stubbornly ignore this advice and you have delivery problems, knowing that, isn't it better to take a few minutes to at least try what is suggested, if for no other reason than to be able to prove me and others wrong, rather than donning your tin foil hat and inventing this ludicrous conspiracy theory.

If you were actually serious about doing business here you would be trying everything you could to get things working, so far your only action in this regard seems to be to constantly whine about it in the forums, and then dream up weird mathmatical reasons why you shouldn't try anything thats suggested to you, this is unlikely to have much effect on how efficiently your inventory is delivered.

I am not suggesting you split your inventory over 7 boxes, I admit that then things might become inconvenient, but a couple of hundred in each box should run fine and can be achieved in less time that it will take you to reply to this post.

Josh Susanto wrote:

If I'm going to start doing things this way, I might ask why I don't just create a separate alt account for every possible sim where I might rez a box, put a separate set of diffirently-named items into each of their boxes, and rez them in each of those sims.


Reductio ad absurdumm don't you think?

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I am considering rezzing additional boxes just to see what actually happens,

But you've obviously missed the point that, even given what Dakota has explained, what is observable is not consistent with what should happen to the number of failed orders after rezzing a new box, given that the number of items in the box is taken to be the core problem.

The core problems are:

1) Having 700 cheap items means that my customers tend to use the shopping cart, and the shopping cart, itself, is a marginally functional device, at best. As long they continue to use the shopping cart, and as long as LL does not fix the shopping cart, having too many items in a box is less of a problem than simply having too many items on the market, regardless of the number of boxes in which they are contained. The incentive not to fix this is that it essentially forces me to bundle my products and charge more per order than 9L, assuring that LL gets a bigger piece of the action.

2) Single-item orders not delivered increasingly consist of objects also absent from my personal inventory when I attempt to send them in-world. This is a new problem that I think we should all agree should not logically have anything to do with box content or box function. The incentive not to fix it (or to "allow" this new problem in the first place, as it were) is that if the item doesn't get delivered in-world as a correction, the customer will more likely re-order it, and (after not having used the shopping cart the first time), has at least some chance of using the shopping cart the next time, possibly driving the order above 9L and causing LL to get a commission on the total order.

It's not that I think LL would bother doing such things just to me (I'm not depriving them of that much); it's that I think they know they'll make less money if more people start doing things the way I've been doing things, so they need to make sure it somehow stops working for me in as many "subtle" ways as possible. 

As for reductio ad absurdum, I think the criteria for that were met the first time that someone with fewer than 100 items was encouraged to rez a 6th box after rezzing a 5th box had no noticeable effect in terms of eliminating the errors which a 2nd or 3rd box should have been more than sufficient to address.

So when I do it, it's reductio absurdum, even though it includes at least one solid additional idea about how to get around know problems affecting sales (use an alt), but it's not reductio ad absurdum when LL obliquely tells people that they can adequately compensate for things like vanishing personal iventory items, inaccessible accounts, and a total lack of system exceptions to stupid things that interfere with deliveries, ALL just by rezzing one more box (or, OK, maybe just one more after that, or....)

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I don't understand why it's such a big deal when DD is just around the corner. Then you can use your magic boxes as farm fertiliser. So just forget about how, who and why. It's not important anymore. And it won't ever be solved or improved. We will live with this until we don't have to anymore.

I would suggest  that Josh save his wrists and fingers for when DD comes. Then he can join the party and compete with everyone else, and be drowned out by the hundreds of long and repetitious posts/shouts/ speeches/ essays/ novels on the subject.

I have my stockpile of popcorn ready :smileytongue:

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Good on Dakota for posting a detailed reply, even if it's more than he deserves as he's been told all this before, although unfortunately I guess it's necessary to stop this silly hysteria and paranoia spreading further.

Remember this is the person who had to start a thread complaining that he couldn't reset his magic box using the menu... Seems that altho he likes to present himself as the expert on all things Magic-Box-ness, the act of 'right-click >> Reset all scripts in selection' was beyond him.

It's all just pointless attention-seeking from a little troll who has nothing better to do. Suggest not feeding.

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Hello Mickey,

Thank you for the correction on the issue that you raised.

Since my focus is the Marketplace, I cannot address or answer questions regarding issues outside of my focus.

Please ensure that a Jira Bug Report has been created regarding the issue and encourage other users who are having or seeing the same issue vote and comment on the Jira Bug Report.

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