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Innula Zenovka

Please don't hide the channel we're on

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I was rather alarmed to read in Ciaran Laval's and Inara Pey's blogs that the idea was floated at the last Beta Server Office Hours of hiding -- both from the viewer and from LSL scripts -- the release channel a sim is on (see the discussion from 15:18 onwards).

I take Oskar's point that

  • [15:25] Oskar Linden: in general the view of RC channels is highly negative
  • [15:25] Oskar Linden: and we've been discussing ways to redice the negative view of server releases

but, as a scripter with a lot of products to support, I need to know what channels people are using when I get complaints that "it's not working".  

That's primarily because -- and this is why I understand Oskar's frustration -- I'm now very used to being told "it's not working and I think it's because I'm on a RC channel," so I need to be able to say to people

"I doubt that's the case, because I watch the jira and the release notes and subsequent forum discussion of the RC channels, and I've not seen anything to suggest your issue could be caused by being on whatever channel it is, but give me a few minutes while I tp to that channel's sandbox to test a copy of the item, and then I can probably exclude the channel as being the cause of the issue".

If I can't hop over to the right sandbox to check things, I've no way of telling if it's the channel that's the issue or something else (as it usually is), short of hopping round all four of them, rather than just one, which I'm not enthusiastic about having to do.

And when there is a serious problem -- something like llGiveInventory to scripted objects, or llSetLinkPrimitiveParams([PRIM_PHYSICS]) -- we need to know why stuff's breaking. 

I think that, if the channels are hidden, it's just going to give RC channels a worse reputation because every single issue's going to get blamed on them, and there'll be no ready way of reassuring people that's it's not the RC channel's fault.

 

 

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:smileymad: This is appalling but I can't say I'm surprised.  More and more they seem to be trying to hide from their customers instead of fixing things that have been broken for years, giving good customer service and listening to their customers.  That is why they are getting such negative views.  People are fed up.

If they want to test RC's on sims, then it should be done on LInden owned estates or mainland.  On a private estate the  owner should have to volunteer and get a reasonable break in the tier in return, after all they are already paying  $$100 US more a month than the mainland tiers. If they did that, they would probably have to turn away 'volunteers'.  If I'm paying full premium price tiers, I should should be on as bug free and stable server as possible, not one being tested without my permission.

In RL products being tested are not foisted on consumers against their will, and it shouldn't happen here.

 

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I can only see the view of RC's becoming more negative if they all of a sudden start saying "Guess what? Your sim may or may not be on an RC. It's a surprise!"

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I have to admit that I can barely believe this. 

Does this mean that when we go to "help >about..." in order to give LL support some knowledge of where we are, the RC channel won't be shown?

That would be utterly insane and counterproductive.

I am a little disgusted at Oskar's attitude, RC channels viewed in a negative light?  Surely not...I've had half a dozen scripted objects either temporarily or permanently broken by borked server releases, two instances of which have occurred while our sim has been on LeTigre.

I can only echo Innula's comments and those of Wolf.  This is another seemingly barking mad move by LL.

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I can fully understand Oskar's reasoning, at work we've rolled out Windows 7 and users tell me that their problem is due to being on Windows 7, when often it's not. However I don't agree with the proposed solution, the answer lies in providing more information, even a sticky here in this forum would be a start, explaining what release candidate channels are for and how they work.

I wanted to test llGetParcelMusicURL() last night, to do so I had to go to a Le Tigre region, being able to easily identify that the region was on Le Tigre was therefore useful for that purpose.

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Apalling... no, I think it is a natural reaction to what is happening. Reading the RC KT thread ones sees rants about the channel and little actionable information for correcting any problems in the channel. The Lindens do not need the abuse nor does it serve any useful purpose... other than letting the complainer whine and vent, which most of the rest of don't want to hear.

Innula makes some good points. I would hate to see the channel ID's disappear or turn into something I can't use. But, something is probably going to change so the Lab can get more useful information less usless heat.

As to where to test... I've been following the current testing processes for about a year. We have had a couple of significant disruptions from the Lindens having too small a test base. In one case private homestead regions had big problems from an upgrade tested in a channel in which their representation was too small for the problem to show up. The result is the problem rolled to the main grid and more people had to deal with the issue.

If the Lindens ONLY test on their regions then the private regions are going to get screwed over. The Linden regions will be fixed while the private regions remain broken. Not a good solution. Becareful what you ask for.

Private regions can opt out of a release channel. Enlightened region owners generally want to be in the Channels and get things fixed first. The trade off is they also get some of new bugs first too. For those selling things that is often a big advantage. They get a head start on fixes before all their customers get hit with a problem. They can be working with the Lindens early in the process.

Being on a Bug Free Server... That is an interesting statement. It is debatable as to whether the main grid has more or less bugs than the release channels. We know the bugs in the main channel. We are getting those fixed first in the release channels, so there are more known bugs fixed in the RC's. But, it is true that mistakes do make it into the RC. But, those mistakes had to make it through ADITI where something like 20 different server versions are running at any one time and the Lab's QA/Regession/Beta testers. Limited numbers of scenarios make testing in ADITI less effective. So, the RC's were created to improve testing and provide more scenarios and one more buffer between the majority of users and the testing. Even the RC's are too limited and some problems make it through.

Solutions... People complain and provide lots of shoulds, but before we had RC's the fixes rolled to the main grid and everyone got to deal with problems at the same time. Due to complaints the Lab came up with a better solution. If one goes to the actual stats the percent of crashes is decreasing. There are notable spikes in the graph. But, fixes are coming faster and they are a good quality. But, the Lab employees humans and SL is never going to be perfect and bug free.

There are surprises and the Lindens do make mistakes. SL will always have problems. With millions of lines of code there will always be mistakes. I have a friend that works for one of the big US defense contractors. They estimate they spend 2.5 days on each LINE of code. So, unless one can come up with something better... we are using the best solution available for now.

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I think removal of the channel ID means we will see some ID meaningful only to the Lindens.

Oskar's attitude is fine. He is looking for some way to get actionable information without the useless informaton and rants. After all the whole grid is a test of the software. That Lindens broke it into regions for various tests seems to have given people the ideas that only the RC's are test areas... which is misleading.

By removing the ID's... that conceptual image can be removed from users' thinking. I suspect they hope people will then focus on the symptoms rather than the idea they are a guinie pig and being experiemented on. 

I have no doubt Oskar is responding to users. Its much more a user attitude that is the problem.

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Nalates Urriah wrote:

I think removal of the channel ID means we will see some ID meaningful
only 
to the Lindens.

Oskar's attitude is fine. He is looking for some way to get actionable information without the useless informaton and rants. After all the whole grid is a test of the software. That Lindens broke it into regions for various tests seems to have given people the ideas that only the RC's are test areas... which is misleading.

By removing the ID's... that conceptual image can be removed from users' thinking. I suspect they hope people will then focus on the symptoms rather than the idea they are a guinie pig and being experiemented on. 

I have no doubt Oskar is responding to users. Its much more a user attitude that is the problem.

Taking away identifying information for the user is not the way to get actionable information without useless information and rants, this is the wrong approach to that issue.

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I think removing identifiable information is just going to cause more rants, because in that case, people are simply going to blame every bloody thing that goes wrong, from the fact they keep on crashing with the new Firestorm to the failure of the Marketplace to deliver something, on the fact they are on, or might be on, an RC channel, and LL is hiding from them whether they are, in fact, on a RC channel and, if so, on which one ("Why won't LL tell us, eh?  You answer me that.  It's because they've got something to hide, that's why!").

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@Nalates

Sorry, Nalates, I REALLY disagree with you over this.  If you, Oskar, or anyone at Linden Lab seriously believe that they will get better information from users you and they are badly mistaken.

Ciaran and Innula sum it up, I cannot be bothered to repeat their words, this is JUST PLAIN WRONG.

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Oskar, if you are considering this, it's a mistake.  You guys are doing the best you can with the resources you have.  Since you can't get a decent test on the beta grid, release candidates, and expeditious handling of real issues, is all you can do.  You're doing both.  Ignore the whiney ones.

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Absolutely Jack, I love the release channel method, it works beautifully, just because some folk don't understand what's happening shouldn''t mean LL retreat, they should embrace the opportunity to tell everyone how it works and why it works well.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

I think removing identifiable information is just going to cause more rants, because in that case, people are simply going to blame every bloody thing that goes wrong, from the fact they keep on crashing with the new Firestorm to the failure of the Marketplace to deliver something, on the fact they are on, or might be on, an RC channel, and LL is hiding from them whether they are, in fact, on a RC channel and, if so, on which one ("Why won't LL tell us, eh?  You answer me that.  It's because they've got something to hide, that's why!").

Indeed, look the release channel method is one of the best ideas LL ever came up with, it's not perfect but Second Life is an imperfect world, however trying to hide this info is not helpful to LL or customers, many more people than LL realise appreciate how this works, that many don't understand it should not be a reason for LL to step back from what is a very sensible process.

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