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Cinnamon Lohner

Third Party Viewer Policy Changes Comments

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its important for me to be able to know if and when my friends are online so I know when best to meet then and to know quickly that they have come online so I do not miss them.  

I can not easilly sit online waiting for my friends to show up so knowing when they do prevents me missing them , since they do not stay online for hours waiting either.

This change in policy seems like it would prevent this ability ...

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I posted my take on it in the JIRA, but here it is for more angst and hand-wringing in a different venue:

Here's the way I see it.

True online status has been discernible since, well, pretty much the Beginning of Time. The limitations on who could see it were added to the viewer at some point, but it has ALWAYS been known that it is not absolute. Anyone who wants to know that you're online could simply rez an object with a script which queried your true online status and they could find out.

This isn't something that has "recently happened", either. It's been this way for years; ostensibly, for ever. Arguably, hundreds of thousands to millions of items have been intentionally designed to depend on this functionality, for whatever reason.

That said, LL has tried for a long time to put in a "privacy control" that limits the dissemination of this information. Obviously, it has been a dismal failure.

Beyond that, everyone and their housecat knows that, if you want people to not know you are online, you create an alt account and then DON'T TELL ANYONE YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THAT IT IS YOU. If someone finds out, then it is because you told them. Period. This method works very well for most people (who can keep a secret, anyway), and works better than any technological solution, primarily because it is not a technological problem, but a social one.

The issue really boils down to this question: Is true online status really a privacy/rights issue? i.e., is it something which deserves the level of protection for a "right to privacy"? My argument? No. There is nothing about knowing that you are online which violates your privacy rights. I still don't know any more about you than I did before. I can't do anything more to you than I can if I don't know your true online status. I don't know any more about your whereabouts, what you are doing, whom you are doing it with, RL OR SL. There is no veil of secrecy being lifted.

It therefore comes down to a policy decision between whether to finally go the last mile and make online presence information fungible by treating it as a "privacy issue", or simply accepting that it is not a privacy issue and stop trying to pretend that it is by forcing through a change which will break a very large segment of content which has come to depend on that functional interpretation.

If LL continues down this path, one of the side-effects of this change will be that things like Multigadgets and Mystitools (hell, even viewers) will be augmented with scanners that will upload the presence information to a third-party server where it can be publicly queried, almost completely negating it.

My suggestion? Stop pretending that online status is covered under "privacy rights" and stop trying to control it. It is unnecessary, futile, and a complete and utter waste of LL resources to find a byzantine way to implement it that doesn't break a potentially huge amount of content that has been designed FOR YEARS to take advantage of it, for better or worse. Accept that the so-called "privacy controls" for it are irrevocably broken, and just remove them from the viewer and the backend entirely.

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Talarus Luan wrote:

If LL continues down this path, one of the side-effects of this change will be that things like Multigadgets and Mystitools (hell, even viewers) will be augmented with scanners that will upload the presence information to a third-party server where it can be publicly queried, almost completely negating it.


Yes. And at an increased cost of processor and bandwidth. And it would also give location information, the one thing stalkers are really after.

Then to fight that, you have to remove not just sensor, but collision,  touch_start/end, llGetObjectDetails, money, llAvatarOnSitTarget - anything that returns an avatar UUID...

And then you've pretty much destroyed SL.

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Donnamcdc Bravin wrote:

 

This change in policy seems like it would prevent this ability ...

Did I miss something completely?

Where does anyone state you won't be able to see your friends being online?

Just open your dashboard in your internet browser and the entire list of your friends is right there, that is unless they are hiding, in which case they don't want you to see they are online (for whatever reason). This has always been the case.

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Sure Faye - it's been posted all over the forums already, and i posted a summary and key transcripts here: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Merchants/Info-on-online-status-changes/td-p/1400415

What Talarus and I are referring to is the proposed change to the script function llRequestAgentData(k,AGENT_ONLINE); the viewer change is comparatively trivial.

 

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Tateru Nino got some answers from Linden Lab about this policy change:

http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/02/28/linden-lab-answers-questions-about-the-third-party-viewer-policy-changes/

I'm amazed and glad that she was able to ask them and get answers, but honestly I don't think the answers add much to our understanding, except on two points.

One is why they announced it the way they did: they don't think that it affects users; only developers. Which is wrong, but that's their view.

The other is that they're committed to the vagueness of 2.k: they don't want to make a list of allowed features. If you want to know about one feature in particular, you're supposed to ask Oz whether it's allowed.

Tateru makes an outstanding point when she asks, "Doesn’t the text of the policy automatically take precedence over any representations about the policy?" Meaning that assurances that this or that feature isn't forbidden by the wording of the policy. Apparently, LL wants it to be vague; wants the list of allowed features to be sort of known but not written down.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

 

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I suggest you use a opensim based worlds for testing... You may like it there.The more that use them to more popular they become and the more LL have to lose... Its only the content investment that people have made in SL that makes them stay. Some OS worlds are very stable, have economies, and social events, and generally only lack residence

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Faye Feldragonne wrote:

Regarding temp textures. I would go out of business without them. It takes me about 20 to get one item right! Oh, Lord, I hope that's a rumor! The temp tex is just a damn tool! Nothing more for me.

Temp textures will be gone, as a side effect,  if Linden Lab changes things so that the avatar rebake will be done in the server instead of in the viewer as it is now. This has nothing to do with this new TPV policy. Linden Lab is just considering  this alternative to make the rebaking work better than it is now. Which is a good thing. The temp texture functionality uses the avatar rebake pipeline. And if it is changed then temp textures do not work anymore.

But there is nothing to worry about, we can still use the "local bit map browser" functionality. The word is that Linden Lab might be adding this feature to their viewer too. So, you rez an object, edit "Texture". In this window there are tabs "Server and Local". Select "Local" and browse the texture from your hard disk and apply to the object. Voila!

The only difference with this "Local" method and temp texture is that with temp texture everybody who was looking at the object could see the texture. When the texture is applied using the "Local" method only you can see the texture.

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Ossian wrote:

 If you want to know about one feature in particular, you're supposed to ask Oz whether it's allowed.

But that's referring to certain types of new feature a dev might be considering adding to the viewer.   Isn't it better for LL to deal with it on a case-by-case basis, particularly since how you intend to do it is often going to be as important as what you intend to do?   

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Innula Zenovka wrote:


Ossian wrote:

 If you want to know about one feature in particular, you're supposed to ask Oz whether it's allowed.

But that's referring to certain types of new feature a dev might be considering adding to the viewer.   Isn't it better for LL to deal with it on a case-by-case basis, particularly since how you intend to do it is often going to be as important as what you intend to do?   

I don't think so.  You could get a different answer today than yesterday.

Look at the mesh deformer: LL wasn't interested in the problem, and even after users paid Qarl to create the deformer, LL turned up their nose at it. Only when it was slated to appear in TPVs did LL want to incorporate it into the official viewer.

 

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I think the sequence was that Qarl produced the first alpha version of the deformer, said "here is is," and both some TPVs (Niran's and Exodus, to start with) and LL picked it up simultaneously.   And I don't think LL wasn't interested in the problem; rather, they weren't interested in fixing it as urgently as many people wanted it fixing (meanwhile, of course, just as many people were were doubtless muttering, "bah, mesh -- why don't they concentrate on fixing existing bugs rather than introducing new features?").   And now Qarl and LL are working on it together, trying to get it into something usable that all viewers based on the main viewer can use.

I don't see where LL changed their minds, in other words.

I think there's considerably more force in the objection that, had the policy then been in force, it would probably have been considerably more difficult to get the project off the ground in the first place, because the people raising the funds to pay Qarl to develop it in the first place, would have been doing so on the basis that LL might pull the plug on it later on.    But I don't think there's any doubt in anyone's mind that, were the deformer project getting started now rather than a few months ago, the people promoting it would first have to say to Oz, "we know you aren't interested in developing this in-house, but we want to raise funds to get someone to develop it independently, unless that's a non-starter from your point of view".  

And, one way or another, LL does have to have some veto over this sort of thing, to my mind.   What should happen if, for example, LL and Qarl find themselves in a situation some way down the line where they they can only get the deformer to work properly on machines with a considerably higher spec than the the current minimum requirements?  

Do LL say "we'll up the current minimum requirements and hard luck on existing members who can't upgrade their equipment?" or "we can't use it, but TPs can if they like" and end up with people's mesh clothes appearing to fit, or not, depending on whether the person observing them can afford a decent machine and is using a TPV or can only afford a more basic model and has to use the Official Viewer?    Seems to me that, in those circumstances, they have to be able to say, "sorry, but this isn't going to work for us, so unfortunately no one can use it".

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

Do LL say "we'll up the current minimum requirements and hard luck on existing members who can't upgrade their equipment?" or "we can't use it, but TPs can if they like" and end up with people's mesh clothes appearing to fit, or not, depending on whether the person observing them can afford a decent machine and is using a TPV or can only afford a more basic model and has to use the Official Viewer?    Seems to me that, in those circumstances, they have to be able to say, "sorry, but this isn't going to work for us, so unfortunately no one can use it".

I don't know, we already have vastly different shared experiences based on low graphics to all out ultra.

Some badly made sculpts look awful on low with the default LOD and require that everyone around you set their LOD to 4 or more otherwise you're the only one who read the notecard from the merchant which says "I didn't think to check how this would look on low graphics and I always use LOD 4, therefore so should you or it'll look cack!".

Is that any different than how mesh might appear to others around?  I don't feel that it is.

:)

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I don't think that's the same thing, Sassy.   

Whatever viewer we're using, and whatever our graphics settings, we can adjust renderVolumeLOD in debug settings in the hope of getting a badly-made sculpt to look halfway decent (at least I assume we can -- I've never been in position to see what happens if you run SL at the minimum specs and put renderVolumeLOD up to 4).  

But in the case of the mesh deformer, no matter how well made is the mesh, either it'll appear to deform to my body shape if you and I (I think it takes both of us) are using viewers that have the deformer or it won't if we're not.   

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Yes, my only point was that we all already see different things and my example with the sculpts was that many won't go around changing their settings to see someone else's shoes and many more wouldn't even know how to even if they can.

It makes sense for LL to have a tighter control, it will come out in time as to how willing LL is to work with TPV developers or whether it's lip service.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

I think there's considerably more force in the objection that, had the policy then been in force, it would probably have been considerably more difficult to get the [mesh deformer] project off the ground in the first place...

Yes, you're right. That makes more sense that what I said.

 


Innula Zenovka wrote:

And, one way or another, LL does have to have some veto over this sort of thing, to my mind.

True, but they've always had that power.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

Yes, my only point was that we all already see different things and my example with the sculpts was that many won't go around changing their settings to see someone else's shoes and many more wouldn't even know how to even if they can.

I see what you mean, but I think there's a big difference between someone saying "lots of sculpties look odd" and being told "try going to debug settings, type in renderVolumeLOD and change the number to 4" and that same person saying "lots of people's clothes look odd" and being told "if your system specs are good enough, you'll have to download a TPV to see them properly,  but if you're using lower end machine, even though it's adequate for most things in SL, or if you're using the Official Viewer, no chance."  

Particulary if the person telling them is an employee of LL.


Ossian wrote:


Innula Zenovka wrote:

And, one way or another, LL does have to have some veto over this sort of thing, to my mind.

True, but they've always had that power.

 Yes, which is why I don't see the problem in their trying to ensure that, if they are going to have to exercise it, they get to exercise it sooner rather than later.

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I've withheld comment on the pure TPV policy part of this because I don't want to divert from the DATA_ONLINE catastrophe in the making.  Nonetheless, there is some cause for concern:


Innula Zenovka wrote in part:

Ossian wrote:


Innula Zenovka wrote:

And, one way or another, LL does have to have some veto over this sort of thing, to my mind.

True, but they've always had that power.

 Yes, which is why I don't see the problem in their trying to ensure that, if they are going to have to exercise it, they get to exercise it sooner rather than later.

Maybe. In that insufferable meeting audio, it sounds that way. Oz asks everyone to remember that this is a different Linden Lab, that they're now actively working on many features that came from TPVs and working with contributors to make things happen faster.  The TPV devs seem mostly on-board with that characterization of "a different Linden Lab." I want to believe that, too.  I really do.

In the back of my mind, however, there's this nagging scenario.  Suppose I'm managing a development team that is stretched thin, trying to keep up with external pressure to innovate with new features. Now suppose I learn that all my very best developers will be pulled away to roll out some shiny new projects.  Now, what if I thought of a way to reduce that external pressure to crank out new features?

I'm not saying that's what's happening.  How should I know, if it were true? And even if true, I'm not saying it would be the wrong decision; in that scenario, it may even be the only path that keeps the original product viable.  I'm just saying... well, I'm not sure, exactly. I just have a hard time getting it out of my head.

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Complaining won't do anything so just accept the changes and move forward until they ban Phoenix or make it so inoperable that it's really not worth using, which is likely the desired intention and you really can't blame them, it's their show afterall, not yours. 

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Faye Feldragonne wrote:

Hasn't anyone listened to the recording by Linden Oz about these changes? I have the link but not sure they will allow it posted here.

Yes, I listened to it last night. If anything, it reinforces what I said above and will say below.

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Setekh Ichtama wrote:

Complaining won't do anything so just accept the changes and move forward until they ban Phoenix or make it so inoperable that it's really not worth using, which is likely the desired intention and you really can't blame them, it's their show afterall, not yours. 

The adfarmers said the same exact thing. "Complaining won't do anything...". Well, guess what? THEY WERE WRONG.

Now, I will grant you that, in the majority of cases, you're right; however, there IS value in at least attempting to elicit change for the better because, sometimes, it DOES work.

Also, I think you're kinda defecating on the concept of "Your World, Your Imagination", but that just puts you in good company with LL.

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The new policy is the epitome of stupidity. No other way to put it.

Showing online status is a "violation of privacy"? Is this like Nazi Germany or something? Who actually get offended if someone can see if they're online? Did people at LL forget that we can check their online status by simply IMing them or checking their status in group profile?

Showing what viewer we use is a "violation of privacy"? LOL. I find this funny because it was one of the ways to catch copybots since they used a different viewer. Someone tell the police, some guy is stalking my viewer status. If anyone thinks their privacy is "violated" just because someone knows you're using Phoenix, then you should go and play Adventure Quest or something...

And lastly, the grand epitome of stupidity: "You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer". Translation -> "You're banned from doing anything better than us because that'll make us, the bosses, feel dumb. Therefore you're only allowed to act like you're dumber than us and follow our instructions so we feel better about our insecurities".

TPV > LL viewer, fact. This essentially means that there is no point to TPVs at all from this point on. LL won't allow any additional features, so what the hell is the point of even allowing TPVs then? TPV devs have to give LL all their ideas and let LL take all the credit for their innovaction? Why not just make a Nazi SL law banning all TPVs altogether instead of phrasing it like "you only allowed to use clones of our official viewers"? SL version of Dilbert anyone? Sounds like something that PHB would say.

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Hey Cinnamon, I am with you all the way, and yet another voice in opposition to these rediculous changes.  I have had a post I left on the Jira removed twice in the past 24 hours, along with all the comments left in support in what I had to say, so I am posting here,  just to feel like there is actually freedom of speech and what I have to say is valuable.  Here is that post:

Well I have read through most of the comments on this proposed change, and I have to say I am flabberghasted that Lindens are even considering it.  I have read dozens of reasons for NOT making it, outlining the disasterous consequences of this action, but let me see, were there any good reasons for it?   Well there was the whinging by a few people who got caught out lying, and want to be able to lie and not get caught, and all under the guise of wanting privacy LOL!  When you step back and see this for what it is, it's actually pretty disgusting, and Lindens can feel very ashamed for ever even including the option to lie about online status in the first place.  I mean, come one, where's the integrity in that? Oh, and there was the lame one given about griefers LOL!  Geez, you people, learn how to submit an abuse report, and that problem is solved.  But back to the right to lie that some of you want to call privacy.  My God, if you dont want to talk to someone, dont talk to them.  If you dont want to stay friends with someone remove them from your list.  Rather than providing an option in preferences to lie, why dont the Lindens provide some free communications courses so that the ones who prefer to lie, rather than just let their friends (LOL! thats a joke!) know honestly they dont feel like talking that day, are able to communicate that to them in a kind and loving way.  At least there would be integrity all round.  And a win-win too, I imagine.  Why am I concerned enough to leave this comment?  Well I am not a content providor nor do I have an online business selling things that rely on scripts remaining unchanged on this issue, but I do have a few alts, and because the time I have available to spend in world is limited, I see the online notification tool that I use everyday as a Godsend.  I can see at a glance which friends are on and instead of having to log in with each avi to see whos there, can just login as the one I need to catch up with a particular friend if I know she is online.  Basically (Lindens) if you change the scripts in a way that breaks this tool, then you have lost me as a participant, so please, please, if you want to make a change, then make the only sensible one here, and that is to show (model) the fact that YOU have integrity (I'm sure you all do), and remove the option to let people lie to each other, and for heavens sake, stop calling it a privacy issue, because it simply NOT that.

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