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Brooke Linden

Marketplace Release Notes: September 13, 2011

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When new systems are implemented things often go wrong, in the RL workplace too. I know it happens in my workplace. Systems go down, you get freezes, slowness. It's annoying but nobody would ever go and abuse the IT team for it. We show respect, we show patience and understanding. If people acted the way some do on this forum there would be serious thoughts of misconduct counseling or even dismissal where I work.

If thing don't go smoothly in SL I still lean strongly towards my gratitude that it exists at all, and I can do something I love and get paid a little for it. I still made money today, despite all this drama.The good outweighs the bad by a mile - not even comparable.

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Darrius,

      SInce it's  now reporting, instead of removing them for the merchants who want to see them, maybe the SL team could add a settings to turn off freebee reporting. The default being to have it off. That way the merchants who want it can have it. Their is the issue that your SL transaction history only shows so many backwards transactions, and now they will be filled with L$0 transactions. 

 

Old friend. 

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Guys i think  all problems are already reported and they are working really hard to make MKT stable and much better. 

Just relax and stay tuned for news.

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Thanks for that reminder, someone mentioned our overall feedback style as culture, good habit to break but it has this brainwashing bandwagon effect, all better now myself ;)

@MrSL Boa ... true, pretty minor stuff as bugs go, although gaps in reporting can make record keeping a pain, and it looks like they're all over it.

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Dartagan, I try to be patient and understanding as well but this is not something in its early stages of release. They shut down Xstreet completely almost a year ago and not only are we still missing promised functionality, but yesterday had more taken away without warning! And there is no end in sight.

I have invested thousands upon thousands of hours repairing borked listing migrations and getting things boxed and listed on the MP. And yet something as basic as search is still a mess!  "Red shoe" still brings up everything red and everything shoe -- and who knows what the hell they think "relevance" and "best selling" mean. Certainly not "the things that sell best".

No end in sight.

 

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Blaze Nielsen wrote:

Brooke et al, I believe the great frustration we feel as merchants here is the methodology of using us as beta testers for your "upgrades". Many of us have our livelihoods on the line. The money we use to buy food and gas and pay mortgages. For many this is far far more than a hobby. We see again and again and again sloppy code disrupting our businesses here while the bugs are ironed out. From the server, the client and the marketplace you obviously feel your tinkering can be done with the general population instead of in an isolated testing environment. This needs to be discussed at the highest level of management and the policy changed. 

Seconded!

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

Well, if you got Rod to watch this thread, here's my L$2 on some of the subjects in your rant ...

To some extent, I agree with you about certain flaws, but before we get to that, a couple things should be pointed out.

First, that software update details usually aren't announced until after the fact.

Secondly, in many, many cases bugs that aren't found in development often aren't found until they're released. Not that some of this reporting bug shouldn't have been caught, been trying to harp on the value of reporting lately. Or that the ANS should have been caught, they could have adapted the tool Darrius provided into a unit test which catch this kind of thing.

Generally the above points are a given though.

What I do agree with, is that the community should be far more involved in the process from the very beginning, before Lindens make up their minds on what ideas they're going to implement, not after the fact when we can only suggest small features on top of things, or report bugs on features they've already decided on.

Listening to a recent podcast by Charlar Linden brought to remembrance a couple of points that are true of any tool that allows users to create something with, which was that 1) Users will use your tools in ways that you didn't predict or expect and that 2) Users are more intimately familiar with the tool than the developers of the tools.

That said, going under the assumption that the Lab still operates with small, mostly autonomous teams, which make product design decisions. Bad idea.

The reason is that they will often make decisions among themselves, and possibly other Lindens that chip in with feedback, but not properly analyze user feedback.

This results in the misfires that we've experienced for years in SL, which is a disconnect in the fixes and features users ask for, and features that LL implements which are often the wrong features, or the right features and fixes in the wrong order.

An example from earlier today, I'd suggested a way of merging marketplace and in-world products in a way that would make it more attractive to own land and have an in-world store, in a way that would increase land sales, revive in-world sales and make malls a viable venture once again. This can't happen because it's not really compatible with direct delivery.

Because we weren't brought into the process early enough to possibly come up with a better solution than direct delivery and the team came up with it on their own, effectively outside of user input.

To fix this, what we need are product managers (and not very many are needed, more than one product manager can be over multiple LL products) who are outside of these development teams, gathering both user and team feedback, and then blending them into a list of tasks to be done, which are then pushed down to the development teams, with deadlines.

These product managers need to be aware of the above points that I mentioned groking from the Charlar podcast.

To accomplish that, we need more extensive User Groups and discussion (more than an hour or so a week, or bi-weekly, or monthly) in order to give time for these ideas to form, as one users inspires a better idea from the second user and so on, until ideas mature and become ready for implementation.

This of course requires a staff large enough to put in that face time, and less of a reliance on a few employees to come up with these ideas which are more in the interests of the company, and not necessarily of its users. This explains why LL can pump out lots of work, new features and still have flat numbers.

For this to even be feasible, user input needs to be guided but not hindered in good parental fashion.

In your case, tone means everything. If you want respect, you've got to have a respectful tone and even tempered feedback once you do get those ears, otherwise it's a bust.

I know it's great sport to criticize the Lab and their blunders, but at some point that needs to give way to dialog that works, in a company that knows how to optimize and use it. So there needs to be a clear dividing line of where one stops and the other begins.

[Edited, minor cleanup]

(apologies for quoting the whole thing but it's worth repeating)

I too have championed Product Managers that are integral to and interactive with the population in a much more visible manner. It is a "Feature" of such a user-created world that the expected use and the actual use vary by such a great degree that unless the LL staffer responsible for charting the course is fully immersed in what has been done, any change will almost guarantee that a massive segment will be cut off, disabled or just plain borked. Today's update shows that in a most painful way.

Excellent post Dart .. although I think you're catching my Novella Disease. May want to wear rubber gloves when you type .. it may help. :)

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lazlo Ahren wrote:

Darrius,

      SInce it's  now reporting, instead of removing them for the merchants who want to see them, maybe the SL team could add a settings to turn off freebee reporting. The default being to have it off. That way the merchants who want it can have it. Their is the issue that your SL transaction history only shows so many backwards transactions, and now they will be filled with L$0 transactions. 

 

Old friend. 

Excellent suggestion Lazlo. And good to see you still hanging about. I hope the (ahem) lovely weather hasn't dampened your enjoyment of the new digs.

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I havn't read through the entire thread. Just half. I noticed this on the 13th. It must have been the exact same time they rolled out these changes. They are taking more L per sale. Is this correct? If this has already been mentioned I do apologize. Can someone tell me if this is going to be the new percentage they are taking per sale.

(The information below is two customers purchasing the exact same item)

09/13/2011  12:48:50 xxxxxx Source: Commerce Linden MKT2 Item Purchase L$1,805
            
09/13/2011 06:53:13 xxxxxx Source: Marketplace Linden MKT2 Item Sale
Description: Order #xxxxx, Item #xxxxx (Customer Name) L$1,843

Thank you for any info on the situation :)

Alexxis

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Dartagan, I try to be patient and understanding as well but this is not something in its early stages of release. They shut down Xstreet completely almost a year ago and not only are we still missing promised functionality, but yesterday had more taken away without warning! And there is no end in sight.

I have invested thousands upon thousands of hours repairing borked listing migrations and getting things boxed and listed on the MP. And yet something as basic as search is still a mess!  "Red shoe" still brings up everything red and everything shoe -- and who knows what the hell they think "relevance" and "best selling" mean. Certainly not "the things that sell best".

No end in sight.

 

Jeez, this is easier to say when not hiding under an advocate hat. I completely agree with you here. The old site done almost single handedly by Apotheus was far more well received than the one we have today by a revolving door of Lab employees.

At no point did I ever hear ... "what features do you love and would like to keep from SLX as we move forward?" Such a simple question that would have generated all the right answers and created a roadmap that would have gone over so much better with merchants.

One underlying problem I think is that they don't understand just how powerful merchants are, and could be. Those early days with Pink and Colossus jumping in and we were talking about retail and Amazon and how this relates and newspapers and all of that juicy business stuff and yet we've lost the most simple, useful features without much consideration or explanation.

I realize, and I think merchants do too, that SL isn't best served by being too commercial, filled with elite sellers. There has to be a powerful free/hobby/creator aspect to SL too. That said, they seriously underestimate merchants and their role, how powerful the draw is to new users of making money in SL, and how we've probably got better views on how to run the virtual goods business here in SL. I've taken lately to referring to them as "masters of the universe" ... bogged down with so much sheer data, and the desire to monetize that they can't see the organic bits that we do.

Not saying to not fight the good fight, and understand the desire to get things back on track. Understand the impatience and frustration better now I think, seeing that their way hasn't paid off for us. It has paid off well for them at the expense of many merchants, and that is entirely the wrong thing for a bigger, more economically sound SL for its users.

Comments which seem contrary to that are only directed at those that serve to make real feedback seem silly by association.

Note to commerce team ... please address  Alexxis post, I want to know for my own peace of mind as well that you're not squeezing any more out of merchant income as well.

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

 

 The old site done almost single handedly by Apotheus was far more well received than the one we have today by a revolving door of Lab employees.


Apotheus had a very good reason to listen to his customers and have a satisfied customers base. He directly depended on merchants for his income in the form of commission.When the old Slexchange didn't work for a day, Apotheus felt this in his own wallet as well.

LL employees are in very different position, they get their salary any way, whether the marketplace works or not works, whether there is loose in commission payment or not, whether bugs are solved in an day, in a month or not at all. None of this is felt in their own wallets.

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@ Darrius -- good summary, I retweeted

 


@ Dartagan -- good post -- I get that old "brick wall" feeling again; are we not speaking loud enough? I don't think Merchants are very powerful in LL's eyes. I pay LL a lot of money every month, but compared to someone with 20 sims, it's nothing.

 

@ Mad - Yes, makes a difference if your own income is affected by the quality of your work (as ours is), doesn't it?

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WOW, I go on one all day career development course and this thread turns into a War & Peace novel. lol  So you all will love the course I went on... "Communication with Tact and Professionalism" :)  It was interesting and in light of trying to use some of the new skills learned in this course let me have a go at it after reading some of the more interesting posts on this thread today. 

Here we go:

@Dart

So we will start with you and your posts.  I have to honestly say your posts today replying to me and Pamela and Darrius were refreshing and I would completely ThumbsUp.  In fact I used your one statement as part of the course today when you said "Jeez, this is easier to say when not hiding under an advocate hat.". 

I've always known you have a lot of intelligence and inside knowledge of LL operations (somehow) but to remove the shackle of LL Advocate will make you a powerful forum poster that can hopefully help influence LL Sr. Management (like Rodvik) that LL weakness can be addressed in the Commerce group.

And I look forward to forum posting, discussing, and even debating LL Merchant/SLM/inworld issues with you in a healthy professional manner when be both can back off polarized positions.

@Pamela

Your frustrations reflect my deep frustrations (which to me manifests itself at angry head shaking venting posts) at how the continued lack of maturity from the LL Commerce Team seems to be a never-ending saga.  After all these years and with 3 complete overhauls of LL Commerce Management (each one promising to be the team to break the cycle of this team's business incompetence), we sadly continue to see the same weakness in this team that risks all our SL businesses to this day.  This week's release of pre-DD changes screams how absolutely nothing has changed within this team.

So again, although I will apologize for my fist shaking angry posts at how business and IT immature this LL Commerce team continues to be, I guess I just dont know how else to bring attention to LL Exec (i.e. Rodvik).  History has shown that with LL commerce's strategy of Black-Oping all their Commerce activities from us lab-rat Merchants/Customers, the only proven strategy for non-inner circle Merchants to get heard by Brooke and company is to embarass them with how bad their strategies / activities are.

But an overhaul of the LL Commerce Team is a MUST.  This weeks actions have proven what many of us already knew since spring (i.e. how they have been running with the DD activities).  I hope Rodvik has read this thread and is truly a man that sees how weak and customer disrespectful this LL commerce team is.

@Darrius

Man... most times we are always on the same page.  Nice to see that Dart is joining out team in wanting to expose LL weakness and hopefully work as a larger Merchant Team to influence effective TRUE changes that improve Merchant interests in SL.

As for your Blog post.  AWESOME!  As usual.  I hope you personally contacted Rodvik to read this blog post.  If you dont - I will.

@Rya

As per your posting....

When new systems are implemented things often go wrong, in the RL workplace too. I know it happens in my workplace. Systems go down, you get freezes, slowness. It's annoying but nobody would ever go and abuse the IT team for it. We show respect, we show patience and understanding. If people acted the way some do on this forum there would be serious thoughts of misconduct counseling or even dismissal where I work.

If thing don't go smoothly in SL I still lean strongly towards my gratitude that it exists at all, and I can do something I love and get paid a little for it. I still made money today, despite all this drama.The good outweighs the bad by a mile - not even comparable.

Your example comparing the "LL Commerce Team / MP Merchant" to your RL "Business Users of IT / IT TEAM" are way off for many reasons.  I have been in the IT industry for companies and as a vendor to IT Customers. 

The most fundamental difference is that LL Commerce/MP is not the "workplace" for us Merchants.  We are NOT staff of LL (maybe you are but most of us are not).  So being forgiving to an IT Team for their business / IT incompetence is not a factor.  Lets remind all that SL Merchants are "CUSTOMERS" of LL.  As a Customer of LL, when a Vendor constantly provides sub-par service to their customers and impacts our costs/revenues, and refuses to listen to us customers, we are not obliged to be Nice and forgiving. 

Secondly, unlike how LL develops strategy, and ignores its primary customer needs/requirements, and carelessly develops and deploys poorly tested code into production, and refuses to effectively communicate plans and up-coming changes;  most RL IT Operations of any large scale (which one should thing LL would qualify base on its IT footprint and scale of customer user base) would have their senior IT Management fired and replaced if they operated the way LL Commerce and Software Development operates. 

I work in the IT Team of an international company.  I can tell you that for the most part you are right, most times our business unit customers do not get as angry as posts here.  But this is moreso because our IT Team does not have such immature and Customer neglectful practices that risks our users.  We have staff (Dart calls them Product Managers) that directly interface with our business users and accurately capture their needs and focus out development and operations based on these needs.  WE DO NOT CREATE OUR OWN NEEDS BASED ON WHAT WE THINK OUR USERS NEED. 

We also have mature ITIL change and problem management processes that include extensive effort in communicating an impending change, the risks, and the deployment plan.  These changes DO NOT go forward until approved by a representative for the business users (i.e. our account managers for the users).  If they are uncomfortable about the change, then its our job to address their fears if we can.  BUT, we do not surprise them with changes we developed in secret and implement before we tell them "ohh we made the change and here is what we did".

We also have a formal Q A team that develops use-cases and actually tests new code well before it see any production system.  LL Commerce team proved this week AGAIN that they pretty much have NO QA TEAM.  They missed some basic function tests and anyone out of school could have caught.

Finally, you mentioned that systems break and systems slow down.  Well no one in this forum was angry and venting at Brooke and company because a server broke or slowed down.  We are furious because - as we already saw coming - Brooke announced a change was going in the next morning and that LL would not tell us the details until after the change.  Then contrary to how the message implied (she made it sound like it was such a small change that she didnt even have to tell us what it was), the changes her team put into production were huge fundamental changes to MP and commerce system activity!!

So... I hope you can agree that your comment of comparing LL to a RL IT shop has no merit for this situation.

 

There you go folks... and Dart / Darrius... I can write war and peace novels as long as you both can. :)

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Toysoldier Thor wrote:

There you go folks... and Dart / Darrius... I can write war and peace novels as long as you both can.
:)


*prods*... you forgot this part:-

@sassy... "I Toysoldier, promise to write no more than two sentences so as to accomodate your brief attention span"

;)

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Sassy Romano wrote:


Toysoldier Thor wrote:

There you go folks... and Dart / Darrius... I can write war and peace novels as long as you both can.
:)


*prods*... you forgot this part:-

@sassy... "I Toysoldier, promise to write no more than two sentences so as to accomodate your brief attention span"

;)


Look.... I am already taking a two day course on "communicating with tact and professionalism" for all of you in this thread, you are stretching it with me having to address my lengthy postings.  I can only solve one weakness at a time for all of you.

PS... that was actually a summary of 5 postings.

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Amazing, good dialog, good points. Jealous of that course. Thanks for the community welcome into "the fold".

Proving to the women-folk that you actually can have more than one male in the fish bowl without them killing each other.

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I have updated the main post with information on which JIRAs are under test. We are hoping to deploy these tomorrow if our build passes.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Brooke

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