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Third Party Viewer Policy Changes


Rene Erlanger
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I really liked the idea of "Let's fix TPV's to not show this so obviously, sit back and see what happens."

Look, in my many many years of playing on MUDs, you could hide from programs on those things (similiar to LSL scritps) but you could never ever TRUELY mask your presnse (connection) to the world from others.

This seemed fair to me.  You were not notified when a hiding player logs in and out, you could only actively look for their presense with another command that shows who's online.

Right now, we kind of have this same, IMHO, fair balance.  By default, even with Firestorm/Phoenix, if you want to know if a particular user who is not on your friends list (or actively hiding their presense) is actually online, you have to actively look.  IE: Open their profile, use llRequestAgentData, or other means to peek.

We've already determined there's a myrriad of ways of peek, actively.  So stopping one way of peeking really just doesn't do a darn thing.  Just makes people use the other methods of peeking.

Now someone else pointed out griefing, LL's inability to stop it, not being proactive.  Well pal, THEY ARE BEING QUITE A BIT OVERLY PROACTIVE right now with this planned change to functionality ot the grid.  Now I'm really sorry about this part, but I totally fail to see how its 'griefing' to know if someone is online or not.  Does it hurt to know that others might know?  How is this related to griefing, exactly?  Does knowing you're online make it possible to get around a mute?  No... does it tell them where you are on the grid?  No.  So how does knowing yer online grief you?

And lastly, for those who wave the 'But all my friends distract me when i log in!' flag around.  Well get some friends who respect 'Go away I'm busy.'  Sorry, I don't see why I should have to suffer loss of grid function because you're being distracted by your friends.  As I said above, use RLV to intensionally shut down IMs if you don't want to be bothered.

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Sassy Romano wrote:


Innula Zenovka wrote:

 I still don't really understand why you say an RLV trap needs to check online status, unless it's so the trap knows sooner rather than later if it should reset itself because, since the victim has logged back in somewhere else, they presumably don't want to be trapped any more.    

 

um, my only cage checks to see if the owner is online.  If they go offline then the victim is released a short while after.  I guess this will continue to work since it checks for the cage owner.

So, it appears that the technical experts who have actually written the scripts for these imprisoning games have chimed in and said that (a) as I said, the changes do not make it impossible to script these devices and (b) it doesn't even break existing content, because they don't use llAgentStatus in the first place.   It probably does what I suggesed, llSensorRepeat.

I think there might be some other scripted prisons that could break, ones implemented by other people.  And it rather sucks that LL is breaking content, and the  llAgentStatus change will definitely break a lot of content, even though it does not really make prison games hard to script.  What I'm interested in are the approaches to the problems that can be implemented by us, because I don't think LL is going to back down on this, nor will they timely provide us with enhancements that give us better functionality for these problems.

By the way, another obvious solution to the owner-is-gone-so-free-the-prisoner problem, besides owning the cage, is to periodically ask the jailer whether they still want to keep the prisoner.  If they don't answer, the prisoner is released.  (This communication could be done in a variety of ways and does not require the jailer to be in the same sim or anything.)  This might even be better than checking the online status.  Just because the jailer is knocked offline doesn't mean he's not coming back in five minutes or that he intended to release the prisoner. 

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i think is two other things that this is aimed at other than the online status

one is derending mesh clothing on another avatar. once the deformer is officially released and the need for alpha textures is not required. can easy lead to snapshots of naked avatars with names over their heads being taken by a TPV. at the moment this can usually only happen if you choose to be naked, baked textures and that. can wear baked underwear under your mesh clothes but that probably defeat the point of mesh clothing in general going forward

other thing is the new experience permissions coming soon as part of the realms tools. we don't quite know what they are all about yet. but for instance autoattach or autoteleport may have a permission that works as intended in official linden viewer and a TPV may find ways around this that provides a different experience for people on the sim using the TPV from them using linden official. eg. the ability to deny a autoteleport on a game arena

 

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Just to say, I don't trust anything the Lindens say about griefers, largely because they don't say anything useful. Griefers are to Linden Labs the bogey-men of the Grid. the Al Qaeda seconds-in-command who get killed by drone-launched missiles every time a budget comes up for review.

It's not that they don't exist, I have seen the blighters in action and made the Abuse Reports. But after that, nothing but a uselessly generic automatic message. It's that nobody knows what happens to them. There's no feedback loop, no warning for the foolish or assurance for the afflicted.

It's a bit like the claims of copybotting. The last dodgy viewer I can be sure was blocked is Emerald, which was blatantly public about the TPV rules it broke in the last-ever version. (And that sort of uncertainty probably fuelled the Redzone Affair--the Lindens don't act, so I have to protect myself.)

I know some of the legal problems: name somebody as a wrongdoer and it is possible you will get sued. Even getting a frivolous suit dismissed is going to cost money. But avoiding that doesn't depend on total silence.

 

The Lindens even admit that this new policy isn't going to stop the stalkers. 

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Feldspar Millgrove wrote:

So, it appears that the technical experts who have actually written the scripts for these imprisoning games have chimed in and said that (a) as I said, the changes do not make it impossible to script these devices and (b) it doesn't even break existing content, because they don't use llAgentStatus in the first place.   It probably does what I suggesed, llSensorRepeat.

 I don't want to derail this into a discussion of the best way to make RLV cages, but, for the sake of accuracy, as far as I'm concerned, while I know a lot of cages do use llRequestAgentData periodically to check, should the prisoner log out while still a captive, to see if they've logged back on another sim (if they have, you infer they don't want to play any more, so forget about them and prepare the cage for use by another captive), it's not -- or shouldn't be -- vital to the cage's operation since you'll anyway want to set a limit for how long the cage should wait for someone to log back in, so you don't have the cage sitting there for a week or so with no one else able to use it.    So, to my mind, while it will certainly be a nuisance for some cage-makers and owners if llRequestAgentData(id,DATA_ONLINE) stops working, it shouldn't actually break anything.

In contrast, lots of stuff is going to be well and truly broken by the change -- I'm particularly worried about vendors that check to see if the recipient is online before sending the item out if you buy it as a gift for a friend and about subscribeomatics and similar systems.   If you've got a large mailing list, it's far better (and more grid-friendly) for all sorts of reasons (which I can explain if necessary) to send out notecards and suchlike as and when people come online rather than try to send them out all at once, and that's just not going to work any more if the changes go through as planned.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

 I don't want to derail this into a discussion of the best way to make RLV cages, but, for the sake of accuracy, as far as I'm concerned, while I know a lot of cages do use llRequestAgentData periodically to check, should the prisoner log out while still a captive, to see if they've logged back on another sim (if they have, you infer they don't want to play any more, so forget about them and prepare the cage for use by another captive), it's not -- or shouldn't be -- vital to the cage's operation since you'll anyway want to set a limit for how long the cage should wait for someone to log back in, so you don't have the cage sitting there for a week or so with no one else able to use it.    So, to my mind, while it will certainly be a nuisance for some cage-makers and owners if llRequestAgentData(id,DATA_ONLINE) stops working, it shouldn't actually break anything.

In contrast, lots of stuff is going to be well and truly broken by the change -- I'm particularly worried about vendors that check to see if the recipient is online before sending the item out if you buy it as a gift for a friend and about subscribeomatics and similar systems.   If you've got a large mailing list, it's far better (and more grid-friendly) for all sorts of reasons (which I can explain if necessary) to send out notecards and suchlike as and when people come online rather than try to send them out all at once, and that's just not going to work any more if the changes go through as planned.

 

Yeah, you are right, it won't really *BREAK* them, it'll just make them less functional.  They'll need to rely on other means of keep themselves in a 'sane' state, not stuck waiting for someone that probably won't come back, to come back.

But really, as I've said already, the reasons for NOT breaking llRequestAgentData are numerious.  Some are trivial and can be worked around, others not so trivial and some have NO WORK AROUND whatsoever.  Not to mention, I imagine these 'work arounds' will end up being less efficient, more computationally expensive in the long run.  So more lag for all.

The real question is this.. Is it REALLY worth breaking this function in the name of hiding people's online status, especially given, this is NOT the only way to tell if someone is online, so at the end of the day when llRequestAgentData is broken, no body seems to be really getting anything, or winning.  You can still easily figure out if someone is online (just not from a script.)  So why is this being considered?  Why not go after all the other ways of telling someone is online that won't break anything, first.

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I know this may sound logical, but instead of breaking the agent data function so that it's far less functional, why can't LL simply recode it so it shows the resident's chosen status? I know that this script function was put in way before we had the ability to hide our status, but it shouldn't be that hard to change it. If it is, then it's poorly coded, and in desperate need of updating. If a person chooses to be hidden, the script should show them as offline. Simple as pie, huh? No need to break what works. Instead, update it.

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I can not for the life of me figure out, seeing what viewer someone is using, is an invasion of privacy. Its like what sort of bag you carry your lunch in, Walmart or Target...i seriously think LL is ashamed of how few use the LL viewer due to its insensitivity to the player and the huge lack of common sense used in the interface.

The last thing that no one can have anything in their viewer that LL does not, is quite the knock for free enterprise in SL. These viewers were created by people that actually spend large amounts of time in SL, and listen to others that do as well. LL should be paying them and paying them well to code, test and produce these viewers.

Shameful once again LL, but not surprising.

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Solar Legion wrote:

False - the capability to see who is truly online has existed 
prior
to the advent of Third Party Clients.

I have stated this before - There are people whom I want
nothing
to do with. Sadly, they frequent places
I
frequent. instead of going to these places and then teleporting out when these "people" arrive, it is easier to know when they are online so they can be utterly avoided.

And no - muting doesn't do jack squat to solve this.

When I say
nothing to do with these people
I meant I do not even wish to be in the same sim. 

thats kinda funny since there has always been 3rd party viewers

and also not false..because you didn't understand what i said..i'm not worried about it and i know there are a ton of other ways to be seen..

..but thats really not what i was saying..

my point was would things be getting broken right now if it wasn't added to the 3rd party viewers?

we already had so many ways to see peoples online status ..was this really needed?

it was a feature that was added to make a viewer popular..there was no real reason to have it other than that..

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Perrie Juran wrote:


Ceka Cianci wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:


Ceka Cianci wrote:

if tpv's would have never broken the offline option in the viewer..we wouldn't be having this change where things are being broken..

nobody would have complained about the viewers and things would still be good..instead people had to know who had them blocked from seeing them online..because who in the hell would dare do that to them..

omg why you haz me show you offlines..you b!tch you not mah BFF anymoorze!!i know cuz i haz better viewerz powerz and can still seez you thatz how i knowz!!dis is insta dramma war..i'm tellin everyone you know that you are onlines!! \o/

lol

The TPV's didn't "break the offline function."  They only completed a simple hoop to jump through.  Way before there were TPV's, I knew how to check if someone was online.  The ability to know is still there even with this function being killed. At least for now.

Sometimes I just like to wander the Grid by myself.  If a friend IM's me I just respond that I am taking some "Me Time."  If they can't respect that they won't stay on my friends list very long.

Really, the way I see it is that removing this function is not going to stop the Drama's that the lab is trying to circumvent.  It may reduce it some, but it is not going to stop it.

ok let me turn these into a question?

if this was never implemented in the tpv viewers would things be getting broken soon?

with so many other ways to see peoples online status..was this something we needed or was it something added that would make a viewer more popular?

i know a lot of people that got them for more than bouncy bewbies lol

this was a popular reason besides the bewbies hehehehe..

so i guess my main question is..did tpv's bring this break on??

 

i don't have anything against tpv's..i love them..but that option was one that i made voice about when devs came here asking about features that were under debate and wanted our advice in these forums about..i just didn't think it was smart since some tpv's were already getting a hard time because of privacy reasons..

and now here we are lol

 

I really don't have specific answers to your questions. 

I think like any tool, it can be used for good or bad, or shall we say in a good way or a bad way.

I don't get offended if someone marks to appear off line to me.  But if it goes on for several days I wait till they are offline to send a simple message, "Hey, hadn't seen you for several days, hope all is ok?"  Seriously, 90% of the time the next day I'd log in and see an IM to the effect of, "OMG, I'm sorry, I forgot to turn you back on." 

I understand that some people don't like having their online status available because of griefers.  If LL was more proactive about dealing with griefers it would reduce that problem.

Beyond avoiding griefers or a merchant or creator needing some private time to work, why any one in SL should feel so strongly that they need to be invisible I don't know.   (I don't  mean that as a criticism, just my thought on the matter).

My comment was actually mainly about being factual that the TPV's didn't break the function, it was already there for anyone to use.  In one sense I give them Kudos for being upfront about something that people were doing surreptitiously anyways.  

I know you can find pros and cons to any of the above I've said. 

I use a TPV for a two fold reason, it runs best on my computer and I prefer it's interface.  The on line status indicator at least for me is way down on my list of reasons for using the TPV.  I would gladly exchange that ability if someone comes up with a Mesh viewer that ran half way decent on my computer.  I'm one of the 25%'ers who aren't logging in with Mesh.

Damn. I'm tired today.  I hope I'm being coherent.

i only put it to questions to kind of show where i was coming from..

a lot of us know how to see others online status..but there are a lot that don't..this only made it easier..

and as i said..when they came to the forums because this and a few other features were under debate ..peope were more or less saying  it probably would not be a good idea ..not because you can see someone online..but because certain 3rd party viewers were getting a lot of heat beause of security issues already..and that since there are so many other ways already..why  not distance themselves from it..

ya just got nailed for something related and  now you want to add this? was basically what we were trying to say to them..

so now changes are happening to second life in the 3rd party section and things are going to be broken because of online status in the viewers..this is about the viewer rule changes..

so if this option was never added to the viewer..there would be nothing getting attention to be broken..

 

it doesn't matter that me and you and solar and anyone else knows there are tons of other ways to see online status..

a lot of people that didn't know  must have been getting in LL's ear about the tpvs ..so they are doing someting about it..

it just wasn't smart to put it in back then..i said it back when they asked like a year or so ago and i'm saying it now..it drew too much attention..

just like redzone that did nothing for stopping copybots..it had great snooper tools on it for detecting alts..people jumped on it like free icecream  at the park in the middle of july..

and it drew too much attention and  it went away..

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Catherine Cotton wrote:

How dare ppl try to improve on what LL has done.  They have some nerve making the experience better BEFORE LL does.  No problem we just have to wait for LL to download other ppls work, claim it as their own, put it in their viewer...then OS ppl can release their orginal work.

/end sarcasm.

i can't really think of much that tpv's have really  done that do mess with the shared experience..

a lot of the neat features really are client side..

i mean we had the attach points awhile back that were floating all over the place for those that couldn't see where they were actually supossed to be attached to..but other than that i don't see a lot of things that really fall in that area..

most are what makes things cool for that user.. click to tp is neat and  the AO's and build tools and so on..

i love the click to close all folders in the inventory or expand..thats great for sorting  and when you spend a lot of time in the inventory..

there are a lot of great things in the tpv's..

i just never really saw them messing with shared experience in a lot of ways that would dampen  them down from being the popular thing to get..

the bad thing is the stuff being broken..

i think they still will have a lot of room to work to be inovative..there is a lot they can do.. =)

and if there is something that is shared experience..they will just have to do it like Qarl is with the deformer..

but now at least they will know that ahead of time..rather than findign out after they did all the work and it not get in or have to be taken out..

 

 

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Wolfee Yaffle wrote:

I know this may sound logical, but instead of breaking the agent data function so that it's far less functional, why can't LL simply recode it so it shows the resident's chosen status? I know that this script function was put in way before we had the ability to hide our status, but it shouldn't be that hard to change it. If it is, then it's poorly coded, and in desperate need of updating. If a person chooses to be hidden, the script should show them as offline. Simple as pie, huh? No need to break what works. Instead, update it.

That's been suggested, and would, on the face of it, be the idea solution.   However, LL's response is that doing the extra checking -- am I allowed to show the avatar as online as well as simply, is the avatar online -- would place too much of a demand on the system.  Obviously, they're the only people who know that for sure, though I'm wondering if their calculations take into account the fact that a very large proportion of llRequestAgentData(id,DATA_ONLINE) calls must be made by users of Phoenix every time they look up someone's profile, so that number will, presumably, shortly be dramatically curtailed.

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Zanara Zenovka wrote:


Rene Erlanger wrote:

 

2.k :
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.

 


Huh? Isn't that the whole point of using a TPV?

No.  There's all sorts of things in the TPVs I use that alter my experience of the virtual world for the better without in any way in any way affecting anyone else's experience.   Enhanced graphics settings, RLV, enhanced building tools and so forth don't other people.   The example Oz gave (or one of them) was the old Emerald attachment points, which did affect other people's experience in that they looked right if you were using a viewer that could see them but very odd indeed to everyone else.    

Another example might be flexible sculpties, which LL and some TPVs (before the term was invented) played with a couple of years ago, briefly, before abandoning them as hopelessly laggy.   They looked OK if your viewer could see them properly and horrible if it couldn't.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:


Wolfee Yaffle wrote:

I know this may sound logical, but instead of breaking the agent data function so that it's far less functional, why can't LL simply recode it so it shows the resident's chosen status? I know that this script function was put in way before we had the ability to hide our status, but it shouldn't be that hard to change it. If it is, then it's poorly coded, and in desperate need of updating. If a person chooses to be hidden, the script should show them as offline. Simple as pie, huh? No need to break what works. Instead, update it.

That's been suggested, and would, on the face of it, be the idea solution.   However, LL's response is that doing the extra checking -- am I allowed to show the avatar as online as well as simply, is the avatar online -- would place too much of a demand on the system.  Obviously, they're the only people who know that for sure, though I'm wondering if their calculations take into account the fact that a very large proportion of llRequestAgentData(id,DATA_ONLINE) calls must be made by users of Phoenix every time they look up someone's profile, so that number will, presumably, shortly be dramatically curtailed.

That's all well and good but... since the sole reason given for breaking this feature was PRIVACY, somewhat emphatically, yet it totally fails given that other LL methods don't honour "show me offline", then it's rather a smoke and mirrors exercise.

If it's a load issue, change the architecture and method, e.g. throttle the requests from the same object.

 

 

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Solar Legion wrote:

No, we have NOT "alwayd had third party clients" - 
they came into existence officially after they open sourced the code.
Prior to that, it 
was against the ToS and almost no one made actual clients, just code wrappers or skins.

i stand corrected on the 3rd party client..i could have sworn i had one not long after i had gotten here but i guess it was longer  lol

but i'll stand my ground on the rest..

since there were so many ways and still are to see someone's online status..this feature was not needed and only setup what is happening now..because this isn't about changes to all those other things..this is viewer changes and if it would not have been added to the tpv's.. stuff wouldn't be breaking because of viewer rule changes..

it wasn't  needed..it was a good draw..and it drew attention..only the wrong kind.. the predicted kind..LL attention..

there are a lot of users out there that don't know any better and anyone could have seen that they were gonna blame this feature..

and they did..it doesn't matter if there are 50 other ways to skin a cat in world..

this is the one that became famous enough to bring the hammer down..

devs came and asked and a lot of us said it wasn't a good idea..don't get associated with those other tools that can do this..they put it in and now it's all over but the cryin..

 

 

 

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Couple of interesting posts by Oz Linden that people may have missed.

Over in the jira about online status he says, in part, 

We hear what you've all said, we understand the issues, and we're going to discuss what we can and should do about them.

Nothing is final.

We appreciate that Phoenix is moving appropriately to remove the privacy violation from their next release, and hope that they'll do that soon, but we understand that these things take time.

And in a reply to Inara Pey's blog about the changes, he says, again in part, 

 we want to focus on core issues, and that means things that affect what the world is, and how it behaves. We encourage third party Viewer  developers to innovate with user interfaces and controls (which is both what most TPV users cite as the reasons they use them, and the vast majority of all TPV changes). We want to be sure that development of features that can affect all users is done in such a way that they 1) don’t cause problems with the server systems (something TPV developers don’t have a good way to check on their own), 2) fit into Second Life as a whole, and 3) are available to all Viewers in an orderly way. We are already working with open source feature developers in this way, and look forward to more.

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Pserendipity Daniels makes an interesting claim/point in the feeds over what may be another purpose of the TPV changes.

 

"pserendipity.daniels

Oh, by the way, the reason for the change in policy about Third Party Viewers is not because of anything the TPVs are doing at the moment, but because LL are about to insert advertising into the user experience - and they don't want TPVs to be able to do what the netintelligentsia do with AdBlock on Firefox to eliminate adverts. Pep (Go on Viale/Rod, tell me I am wrong, and make yourself public liars!) PS Again.


So far no advertiser would seriously consider it because most users use TPVs, who would/could block any advertising, and any such introduction of embedded advertising into the LL viewer would force the number of TPV users even higher.

So what would LL have to do to secure that advertising dollar? Firstly, remove any information showing what TPVs other users might be using apart from the LL viewer, don't want advertisers seeing that LL doesn't control the monopoly on viewers or even a sizeable majority of the market and then secondly, dictate that all TPVs must adhere to the same viewer experience that will be rammed down the throats of V2/V3 users, namely advertising.

Slap me on the ass and call me Susan if this isn't on the cards.
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