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Prokofy Neva

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Blog Comments posted by Prokofy Neva

  1. Hi,


    I have the haunted monastery of St. Thaddeus in Tethys which you can visit here:

    http://slurl.com/secondlife/Tethys/49/212/81

    Tethys is really a unique old Linden-made mainland sim which has among the highest baked-in mountains in SL and a really cool tube ride on the rapids made by ancient Lindens in 2003.

    I worked really hard on making this monastery last Halloween, and I had help from various friends like Fleep Tuque. I have the potions maker there which is really fun.

    I recently bought the land next to it so I have more prims -- and now I'm looking for more ideas to decorate this year, send me your suggestions.


    This is part of the SL Public Land Preserve.

  2. Also I couldn't agree more about the "don't rest on your laurels" and "blog, blog, blog".

    Ever since "World of SL" went away, there hasn't been an all-purpose fashion feed to look at, or a feed that mixes both SL commentary and fashion both. I can individually subscribe to a few, but I don't know what to pick and I'd rather have a medley of the best picks.


    What do you recommend as an aggregator or feed for SL fashion?

  3. I love Zaara's, her stores have nice architecture, too, the sims are nice to visit.

    Do you know Shekhawati-The Land of Merchants? Great Indian mall with realistic architecture, shops, art, clothing.

    There are hundreds of real-life country sims in SL, I have a list of many of them you can pick up at the International Bazaar in Ross.

    I've come across this claim that there are no good black skins in SL or that they are merely white skins tinted black. It's not true. There are tons of them, and they are high quality and realistic. Use search/places which often yields better results that search/all.

     

     

  4. Well, I guess we've arrived, eh? On Oprah and all...

    I thought this was an extraordinary film. It was shown last year during SLCC10 in Boston, and it was quite controversial for some of the SL oldbies especially -- you either loved it or hated it.

    I loved it because it featured some very real second lives and very real situations, but some of the idealistic oldbies felt that it was "too negative" and that films about Second Life should be only Happy People Eating Noodle Salads and only positive.

    It was really quite something to follow these different lives.

    Here are my reviews -- and my review of the viewers... it was really an eye-opener for me to see how much the educators couldn't appreciate this film and wanted to assign the film-maker some social role of portraying only "educational" aspects of SL.

    http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/08/im-real-hes-fake.html

    http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/10/ive-been-meaning-to-write-this-post-since-slcc-there-were-many-positive-things-i-had-to-say-about-this-years-very-well-manag.html

  5. You invoke a completely artificial and archaic (19th century) notion of the separation of government and business. Perhaps you should read Glenn Greenwald at salon.com to understand better the revolving door between government and commerce, say, in the area of IT and security firms.

    What is developed in IT and everything from games to social networks is part of an overall business culture and bleeds into governance. Gov 2.0 wasn't invented in an environmenatl group in Wyoming; it was invented in Silicon Valley. Watch for the "gamification" trend to work that way.

    No longer can you artificially compartmentalize the issue of customer service as somehow completely remote from real-life governance. Customer service has evolved in extraordinary ways along with social media. Today companies spend millions of dollars to gurus to figure out not only how to mine social media like Twitter but how to address the fact that unscripted twitterers are knocking and criticizing their brand before a huge audience, and they have little recourse. You now have Comcast and other companies openly taking criticism and solving problems in real time on Twitter, something that was unthinkable even 5 years ago, when geeks like you would have sneered that no company has to answer a crank on the Internet, they are "not representative". And you have the U.S. government now operating under TOS-like speech codes on their many "gov2.0" websites -- not the First Amendment, using methods and means crafted in Silicon Valley to structure "21st Century Statecraft".

    All markets are conversations, they said? I say all conversations are markets. No company can pretend that they are no longer part of a social experiment; they are indeed.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with people voting with lack of complete information, or voting in flashmobs with their friends. How do you think Obama got elected? That's life in a democracy. That's never a reason for less democracy; it's only a reason for more. People become more informed in the process of voting and discussing the issue, and that's all to the good.

    The Lindens themselves promoted the use of the JIRA. While they could have put advertisements for Zindra or Facebook in every single welcome area and infohub, they rushed before doing that to put out advertisements for the JIRA! They actively egged on residents to go to the JIRA. It isn't little flashmobs of shoppers with misconceptions who ran there; it's Lindens telling them to go there to siphon off their criticism in every other avenue. And now they have a problem -- large numbers of votes of unhappiness on everything from Zindra to the Teen Grid to something called RedZone said to interfere with privacy -- and they don't want that indictment of their policies to stand. So the votes had to go. That's all. They are an indictment of Linden policy from the user base that no one wants visible -- not during their workday, where it is a demotivator, and not when they try to sell the platform, where it is a marker for trouble.

    Yes, the Lindens marketed the JIRA and so only the Lindens should be held responsible for its inefficacy. It was completely insane as a project to manage user complaints, as most people will never get past the front page to operate the wonkiness of the JIRA, and only a very concerted die-hard bunch will get involved -- the usual fraction of the 2 percent of the 10 percent on the power curve. But the Lindens pushed it as a placebo for democracy, thinking it was "productive". The amazing thing is, people aren't stupid. They may not be able to articulate their grievances very well, but once they had the structure of the JIRA, they adapted to it and used it to channel their problems. It truly is remarkable as a sociological and political phenomenon.

    And to be sure, while having to put up with "yes proposals" that were "no votes on Linden policies", the Lindens did crowdsource a lot of bug work and they also got a lot of very eloquently and neatly written feature proposals for policies that they themselves incorporated later into the TOS (and I'm happy to have been involved myself on issues like traffic bots.)

    The reason version 1.23 of Second Life says "Brought to you by Philip Linden ...and Prokofy Neva" is because ordinary people like me could bring bugs and features that improved SL (your name would be put in this list if you did that).

    There's nothing to say -- despite your very zealous work to the contrary -- that our lives online will continue to be dictated by IT companies and coders over which we have no civilian control. Nothing at all. Indeed, to be successful in Web 3.0 and the coming modern world, if it is to be not totalitarian but liberal and innovative, more and more, coders will have to find their place (somewhere along the continuum of garage mechanics and gas station attendants) and will more and more software executives will have to enable ordinary customers to help write the code -- not as an add-on, not as a marketing gimmick, not as a feel-good, *but a necessity* because *otherwise they rebel*. It's just that simple.

    Your call to get everyone to stop invoking other platforms is as silly as expecting that a jpeg on the Internet cannot be copied.

    You cannot stop the vote of little avatar feet, although, of course, many things are done to try.

    Most JIRAS are not ineffective; most in fact are very effective. The JIRA -- and its votes! -- was consciously, thoroughly, resolutely, avidly, extensively used by all Lindens in the coding department at office hours inworld and in their jobs in the real world. Voting was something THEY invoked CONSTANTLY. It's merely a little tap dance and a sleight of hand we're seeing now as they suddenly claim "it never mattere" or "we didn't really pay attention and it had no effect" and "we filtered your emails to trash" like the Linden once infamously told us.

    Voting is being removed because it mattered too much, not because it didn't matter enough, and we get that. Ask the Egyptian army in September what their thinking is on this sort of issue.

    Yelling about K-mart in the middle of Wal-mart has always worked to improve Wal-mart, and they know it. And fairies can fly to other grids in the blink of an eye...

  6. I'm not having a conversation with Suella. I'm having a conversation with *you* and expressing my dissent to the policy as it has been articulated.

    What Suella is doing is what often happens in these settings -- trying to be more zealous than you are about propagandizing and enforcing a policy.

    But she's stating untruths in the process, such as a claim that the new dispensation has features that weren't here before.

    In fact, Office Hours had wikis, transcripts, groups, and subjects. They even had weekly agendas with a wiki to add items. To be sure, the more wonky groups like the scripting or open source of viewer groups had this more than others, but even so, there was enough of this with all of them to really beg the question as to why a new system is needed.

    When you announced groups, you should have had a sign-up page with Python listserves with the groups, and also indicated that any ideas for additional groups would be welcome.

    But you didn't. And then we heard Brooke tell us that the commerce group is going to be selected, filtered, FIC'd and basically be just a focus group of people she wants to talk to (based on their revenue or category or whatever). She says she'll rotate in some fresher faces than the usual suspects we can already see in one transcript -- but they have to ask, and she has to pick.

    So sorry, Amanda, but that doesn't sound like a lovely new communications system. That sounds like further institutionalization of the FIC. If the script kiddies can still freely sign up for a group or freely come in world on demand to talk to Lindens, that doesn't offset the lack of freedom for the rest of us on the "consumer-oriented" subjects.

    So I suggest that if you don't want this to be a fiasco, you get the groups up there on a listserve with other past groups that are still fun and stop fearing the public.

    Suella is telling us smarmily on your behalf that you can't deal with "every single customer". But that's a straw man. Only a fraction of customers bother with this forums; only a fraction post; only a fraction bother to come to an inworld meeting. Truly, a sign-up list on something like "commerce" or "land" or "live music" would get at most a few thousand sign ups (and more like 300, given the log-ons lately); at most 10 percent of that posting regularly or coming inworld. Why be afraid of 30-50 people, Amanda? That's all there are here. Let's be clear on that. OK, if it is a really hot topic like "sexual content and ratings, " you might get 160 on a four-corner sim that one time. But that's about it. So be realistic.

    And please, don't invoke that "it can't scale" stuff. Of course it can. If suddenly 100,000 people join SL tomorrow, why, you will add them to these groups, or make sub groups or say, finally, "You know, with 2000 people in "Land and Sea" and 200 talking regularly, we can't function so we are moving to an invite-only focus". And even there, I'd hardly think it would be necessarily. You're in marketing. You ought to be familiar with the power curve by now. Truly 10 percent of the people ever supply the content/talking/arguments for the 90 percent of the rest that just watch. Of those 10 percent, only 2 percent do it often.

    So arguing "scale" is a dodge. And to start with that now, at a time when you are trying to prove your spurs here as improving feedback channels, just unnecessarily antagonizes everybody.

  7. Let me say *this* as clearly and succinctly as possible: you are telling half the truth here.

    You told me at SLCC when I asked directly about this that no, you had no plans to make any single viewer mandatory.

    But then you added cunningly:

    "But if you want to see mesh, you'll need Viewer 2".

    Sigh.

    So yeah, you don't "have" to use Viewer 2, but you better, if you want to see a new feature of the world that could become ubiquitous as sculpties.

    It's like this: you don't "have" to use a higher-end graphics card but you won't see Windlight.

    Yes, it was possible to turn off all the aspects of Windlight and keep one's draw at 64. But as those of who had purchased the graphic cards on the "minimum requirements" list, even with all the settings dumbed down, the new existence of Windlight in the viewer at that time severely compromised the view even without the Windlight options. That's just "how it is".

    Another situation like that now is with sculpties. If you happened to purchase the minimum-required graphics card six months ago (not five years ago, as Lindens constantly claim when people say they have graphics problems), in many cases, you are now seeing sculpties as balloons every time you land on a sim, and they can take 5 or more minutes to resolve into something comprehensible.  This problem has worsened.

    So, no, you don't "have" to buy a better graphics card for $280, but if you want to see SL, you'll have to. Same concept.

  8. Oz, I don't care if you as a proprietary private software company say, "We as a company don't want customers voting on our product features" -- that's an understandable and universal position. One of my favourite avatar profile quotes I've put on Random Unsung is from Spin Martin: "We are a customers of a software company. The end."

    I personally don't think that's how software projects should be run, and indeed I'm convinced that just like tyrannies in Egypt or Belarus are ended, so software tyranny will end and we will move to socialware, where coders will be constrained by user demand in ways they think "impossible" now. But we're not there yet in Egypt and certainly not in Belarus, and we're not there yet in software.

    What I won't accept is pretenses that what you are doing is *not* about removing democracy, and smarmy technological determinist messages telling me that it's not about being undemocratic, it's merely about being "useful".

    Lukashenka in Belarus tells the intellectuals dissenting in the cafes in the cities to go out in the provinces and pick potatoes and be "useful" because they are not "useful" criticizing him in the capital. (Mao did this in even more bloody fashion). It's an age-old technological determinist Leninist argument but it's no more valid today with today's modern software than it was 100 years ago with only the telegraph or the combine. As always, one must ask the question of power: useful *to whom*?

    As I've patiently explained about the kind of polls I ofter, I'm FORCED to offer more granularity because that's all there is in the way of products in SL, because polling products in SL are geared toward dance or song or popularity contests, product opinion polls, etc. and not the yes/no of a referendum in a real country on a real political issue. If there were products that had yes/no vote options, I'd use them. There aren't any. So don't take my setting of a commercial exigency in SL as my preference, or use "granularity" as a cop-out to dodge the need to have a normal yes/no vote in a normal system if we are ever to have a normal society online as we do in real life (where I realize that some of you are busy removing this feature, too, but at least it's recognized in real life as extreme and undemocratic).

    And again, you're welcome, as a company, to have any theory you want as governance -- Zee Linden once admitted that the Chinese economic model came close to the Second Life currency model ideal -- but don't then decide that the problem with critics of this sort of regime are somehow making unjust or invidious comparisons.

    You're arrived rather late in the experiment. Indeed Philip Linden *did* have exactly those sort of New England town hall meetings in SL for years, as the record shows. And I think one problem with people claiming that they accept this in RL but don't for SL is that in reality, they don't participate in anything like that sort of town hall meeting and therefore don't really feel any social demand for it. That's the problem. We don't have town halls; we have Facebooks and Twitters.

    The architecture of what you're suggesting now -- breaking up people into very narrow classes and constituencies with very narrow channels for expressing their interests and needs -- is what most political scientists would simply call "corporativism" -- and of course, we know where that leads.

    In fact, America is like a big game with lots of stakeholders and constituencies and interests and needs and very, very diverse views and so on, and the yes/no democratic voting system actually is pretty much in demand there, and works pretty well. There is absolutely nothing to say that a situation with multiple and diverse constituents somehow "requires" less democracy -- nothing at all!

    Again, Oz, I don't care if you say that software companies have to be despotic because customers can't run the product, but don't pretend while doing that, that you've now adopted a democratic model or some "new' form of democracy that is "better". It's not.

    As we all know, the JIRA is not anything nuanced by having yes/abstain/watch. Indeed, many JIRAS exist as a workaround to the problem of having no "no". People are forced to post a feature calling to undo a feature as their "no" to get a "yes" to the "stop this" and large omnibus features develop like "traffic" that contain within them direct contradictions and confusion. Watching is only adding to the blurring of these distinctions, as we all know that people watch both because they like as well as dislike a feature. So that's hardly an argument.

    What's most scary about this interaction now is the notion that someone criticizing your notion of democracy is "not civil" or must be forced to be "constructive" and accept the program. That's creepy. And you must know it is creepy at some level. There's nothing "uncivil" about discourse that makes comparisons and openly discusses models and calls them positive or negative -- indeed there's nothing about my post that has obscenity, name-calling, etc. etc. and is "TOS actionable".

    And yet you, like other Lindens before you, try to drive me and others into a funnel of "civility" that is really about going against intelligence and common sense, and accepting something that isn't at all about democracy and isn't even at all about feedback, but is *the semblance of democracy"

    I could add that the entire construct of "engage with us in a positive way" is one of those utopian ideals that neither you nor we will ever reach becauase it's a fictitious construct. The people who accept your basic premise as positive and provide you accolades for your product are only going to have minor quibbles with a bug or the speed with which something is added. If that's your idea of an interlocutor, you won't have customers, you will only have fans. Running a company and a product on the premise of "fans" is fine and can carry you a very long way. For example I'm a fan of Joy dishwashing liquid but not a fan of Dove diswashing liquid, and I'm a fan of Coke, but not a fan of Pepsi.

    But again, let's not pretend that this is better, or positive or engaging. It's not. It's killing a long-running social experiment that worked very well for many years despite your embedded beliefs about it and should have been improved in the direction of more democracy, not less.

  9. The problem with this concept of "trolling" is that it is overbroad, wildly subjective, and merely a tool for whomever is in power to ban others they don't like on a whim.

    "Trolling" is supposed to be defined as the act of deliberately, with malice, posting something nasty to get a rise out of someone, and then pretending that you aren't doing that.

    To me, that is what trolling is -- deliberately, with ill will, harassing and harrying someone on minor points, or literalisms or fallacious points to incite them to anger -- sometimes to goad them into swearing and getting them banned.

    But because trolling is so overbroad, people have come to think of trolling as "whatever I don't like" -- it's hugely arbitrary.

    The bad faith and ill will with which people in Second Life approach the intentions of others is breathtakingly astounding. But they make these assumptions of ill will in others precisely because they themselves are ill-willed.

    Example: I post a thread asking for comments on the fact that the voting feature is being removed. I put in a link to my blog merely because I've already spelled out my arguments there in depth and don't want to repost them or shorten them. I definitely have no reason to try to provide "link bait" to my SL blog, because the ad-sense is insignificant -- the people who click on it from SL that day who either aren't already clicking on it or have it subscribed in a reader

    But what happens is that instead of people just reading it and commenting it without assumption of malice and manipulation, I get comments from several ill-willed insisting that I have deliberately posted a link to my blog to gather link-bait income. They persist with this because the come to the entire transaction with ill will, with much baggage.

    Obvious spammers in SL are doing this, but the average person caring enough to post a thought on the forums isn't doing this, and the malice that goes into treating people this way is always, as I said, astounding.

    In an ideal forums moderating system, the moderator would step in and tell *the person with the malice and ill will making the presumptions* that it's ok to post links to blogs  in a discussion, and that assumptions are misplaced.

    But that sort of moderation in trying to insist on good will and good faith almost never ever happens in SL. Lindens themselves make the assumptions of ill will, or they refuse to make a value judgement and comment on the real problem in the thread.

    *It's that failure to moderate very early in instances of this kind of nastyness and ill-will that make the forums impossible to use*.

    So what happens in this situation is that the person slighted and harmed by others with their false assumptions and ill-will begins to fight back, and eventually finds themselves then in a true flame war. He may now be goaded into TOS-violating speech; others may, too in his defense.

    Meanwhile, the original person who really is the troll with this bad faith is rewarded by remaining unreprimanded, and turns around and gloats at his handiwork and lives to harass another one another day, Lindens oblivious.

    It's that dynamic that is really loathsome here.

    Some of the people calling here for more strenuous "community guidelines" enforcement are just those sort of malicious trolls themselves -- goading and harassing and insulting others just to get a rise out of them and to emphasize some tendentious and outrageous claim, and then getting off scott free.

    People always say "don't feed trolls," i.e. don't rise to their malicious bait. But the problem is that when no one pushes back, these people keep lording it over the forums, smugly gloating at their sly malice, hatefully silencing debate against what is often outrageous tendentious or sycophantic behaviour.

  10. What's really scary about this thread not only for Second Life but real life is that two major coder Lindens, Oz and Yoz, have come on to soothingly explain why we can't have democracy, citing the usual code-constrained geek arguments.

    Suddenly, you come up with this idea that "the votes aren't democractic enough and don't include enough of the user base" to claim that as your reason for making less democracy. Orwellian! The answer is to put in a "no" and advertise and simplify it better, and maybe even considering going back to the old Feature Voting System, which was simpler, less geeky, and separated from bug tracking, which really is a different job. FVS was unceremoniously killed off for no good reason.

    And *you yourselves used to vote* -- on this device that you claim now is pointless and unrepresentative (!). Indeed, I thought that was unfair.

    Furthermore, you always cited votes as a reason to do something. For example, one of the gravest undemocratic acts that took place in Second Life history is when you cited the votes on the old Feature Voting System in favour of putting in peer-to-peer teleportation, and pulling out telehubs. Goreans for various RP-specific reasons wanted the p2p and they flash-mobbed the Feature Voting System with thousands of votes. Some oldbies with stores very far from the newer telehub malls also talked it up as a great idea on the forums -- it was in their commercial interests. Lindens then began to cite "all the votes" for the p2p as a reason to pull the hubs (which didn't *have* to be pulled even if you did put in p2p).

    So it's breath-taking now to see an argumentation saying that "gosh, the votes aren't democratic now, let's remove them".

    A key problem with Linden Lab is that we have more institutional memory now than you do for things like that -- scary!

    Like Oz, you don't seem to admit (or didn't know) that there is no "no" vote because a) JIRA itself doesn't have it --- it's not a technical feature! b) you weren't willing to lobby JIRA on that c) you weren't willing to figure out clever workarounds.

    Voting is a profoundly democratic act that is hugely important to an open society and your believe that it is "gamed" is profoundly destructive and scary.

    It's part of the undermining of representative democracy that constantly goes on in real life by the wired left as well, but that's another story.

    You have absolutely no reason to conclude after all these years that this device is "gamed" when there are many, many examples of people voting on it significantly -- and you yourself, when you found it convenient, would cite all the votes on it in support of what you wanted!

    To cite a more recent example in your historical memory:  the very controversial proposal to make it possible for people to put in a permanent default of no permissions (to satisfy a concerted copyleftist builders' lobby that wasn't representative at all of anything). That was something I repeatedly pointed out wasn't representative and didn't have merchants' concerned about IP issues to buy in, and Andrew Linden then invoked the idea that there were votes on the proposal implying I wasn't recognizing its "democratic legitimacy" -- even though I called him on the time at the notion that a few hundred votes could hardly be seen as a plebiscite for Second Life.

    Voting is not about decision making. It's understood that users are not able to make decisions, unfortunately. It was clearer when there was an internal JIRA and a P-JIRA merely as a kind of "voice vote" or "straw poll".

    But just because the vote isn't "really" affecting a decision is no reason to remove the marker of the vox populi.

    User generated content should never be killed in a platform claiming to celebrate it.

    Will you at least save the votes in an archive so that scholars can see how people voted in this world?

    So once again I want to express my profound sadness at what you are doing here, because Second Life is a prototyper for the wider web, and you are inflicting on generations to come a use case for authoritarianism that will constantly be cited.

  11. You could be helping to change that, Oz, but you Lindens have always refused to, and you are heavily distorting the issue here.

    Yes means yes, and no means no. Watch means interest, for or against, but that's not enough. Ask the people in Tahrir Square whether they want to just "watch" Mubarak or vote "no".

    Long before there was a JIRA, there was the Features Voting System. And hundreds of us put up a proposal to have a yes/no vote on that system. That system was Linden-coded and could have easily gone on serving the population on *features*. There was no technical reason whatsoever that there couldn't be a "no" vote -- none WHATSOEVER.

    But Cory Linden decided that there could be no "no" vote. In fact, this is a very intensely held view of many a geek, and particularly many geek Lindens. They really don't believe in voting at all. They believe in a kind of democratic centralism in the IRC channel, a kind of tribal consensus building, not up and down voting. Voting undermines that tribal authority, and they as a class don't like it. We see this in many platforms -- you can't "dislike" on Facebook, but only "like," you can only "favour" on Twitter, and not "disfavour".

    Cory -- like many a geek on the forums -- insisted that there "couldn't" be any "no" vote because it would  be "gamed". Why he would think this argument was at all persuasive is totally beyond me, given that rampant way in which "yes" is also gamed. Indeed, "no" is a good corrective not only to "yes" gaming; it's a way for Lindens who think something is popular with merely 100 votes or even 1000 votes to see just how much of a dissent there is against various notions.

    The same proposals for a "no" vote were made on the JIRA, including by me. But in fact, these were all killed off by Rob Linden (who also didn't believe in the "no" vote and is something of an expert on "reform" of voting systems in general in RL).  And his argument was that the JIRA software didn't allow for this. Some workaround or hack might have been found to relabel some other checkoff box or something, but he maintained that the real issue was that the software didn't allow for it, and if we wanted that feature, we had to go to the original JIRA makers.

    So I did. And there I found that same sort of extreme, tendentious geek view: "No, we can't have a 'no' vote, it will be gamed'. I was told I could suggest it on *their* JIRA -- but that meant of course fighting all their geeks and the tendentious comments and all the rest of it; SL is enough for me.

    The reality is, you at Linden Lab as a major customer and a very visible customer could have weighed in and brought users to weigh in and could have gotten this done. You chose not to.

    This issue is very political, Oz, and you know it, and I know it. It is not about "neatness" of coding environments where you want to remove "inutility" or "futility" or "disconnectivity" or whatever.

    It's about disenfranchising the people.

    As for your notion that people will now have a 'premium" on thoughtful commentary, you're about to see how flawed that preconception is. Without voting, without being able to express will formally, people become more angry and frustrated and protest more, and then inevitability get charged with "flaming". Before, someone would come by and vote "yes". Others might avidly try to get that proposal closed or dissed (one of the main games of the JIRA) but then you could argue against them in the comments.

    Now, with mere "watching" there will be piles and piles of comments and I guess you will then set up the situation to close the JIRA completely, eh?

  12. Let the record show that the last vestige of democracy has been removed from the tools after 7 years, ironically just at the moment when in real life, people in Yemen and Tunisia and Egypt are crying for democracy.

    First, the town halls were cancelled in 2005. They were griefed too often or uncomfortable unscripted questions were asked.

    Then, voting was taking out of the group tools. "Nobody used it," said the Lindens.

    Then, one very overactive and aggressive resident, Angel Fluffy, was allowed to thresh through and vet the entire old Features Voting System, which was better than the JIRA, and cull out anything he didn't like, and "remove duplicates" or declare certain proposals as "unworkable" on his own discretion. This was then blessed by Jeska Linden, and the FVS was closed -- Torley Linden shot it at dawn without notification. We were told it would be revised and made better in the JIRA format, but the JIRA didn't have some of the same features and forced people more to do bug reports.

    Battles were fought on the JIRA to obtain the right to have your proposal never closed by another resident (which stopped voting) -- WEB-200 was a landmark decision. Then "won't do" or "needs more info" became the new "close".

    Finally, today, we're told that voting is removed entirely from the JIRA, merely because the resident voice and plurality of votes cannot be connected to the Linden agenda.

    So that's it.

    What I hope to do is rev up my inworld voting station in Duck on various issues so that public opinion can still be addressed. And ideally someone will buy the JIRA software and start a parallel JIRA with voting intact. That's what it can take.

    So, the longest running largest participatory open software program on the planet that was run on principles of democracy that most software projects aren't ever run on, just closed in that format.

    I'm stricken with sadness.

  13. When you get all indignant that 6800 sims are "running on empty", you're forgetting several very basic facts:

    1. There are 4 sims to a server. They need to run the servers anyway. It's not like they have to fire up lots of extra servers to handle this "burden". There are 32,000 islands or 8,000 servers roughly. Of these, then, 1,700 run "pointless" Mainland infrastructure.

    2. A lot of that Linden-owned land rivulates through simulators that people have land on and pay tier on. For example, Ravenglass, one of those old sims where the Lindens put all this Linden water to have boating right-of-way. They collected their US $1501 off the auction from me for this sim that wasn't the full 65,556, but some 55,000 or whatever due to all their excess water. So, I wouldn't worry terribly about this.

    3. That extra land makes for a nicer Mainland and drives up value of sims and makes the sims habitable. So the Lindens can "eat" the cost.

    As for Wayfinder Wishfinder, he is always engaged in a kind of wishful thinking that LL will finally wise up and listen to his complaints all these years. The Lindens are neither scared nor bashful nor indifferent to the idea of their business model being dependent on re-renting servers.

    The Lindens are in the server leasing business. This is an ok business to be in. As Seagate or Rackspace. It's how you make money in Silicon Valley. Add some content and software-as-a-service, which SL really is, and you can charge even more! And these are legitimate businesses, too, of course, ask Salesforce and others.

    So this indignation and fury about the Lindens having a model that involves renting servers and SAAS are entirely misplaced. It's a very age-old and threadbare narrative of the oldbie chattering classes, and it's pointless.

    The Lindens will go on selling land -- and devaluing your land -- until the heat-death of the sun, or until they go out of business, whichever comes first. They will go on adding servers. They have better software and architecture and whatnot than they did five years ago to handle this load.

    And at any time, they could fork the grids if the load somehow became unbearable. People are used to the concept of "playing on different servers" from their friends from WoW, and adjust accordingly.

  14. Nelson, I don't think you do yourselves or anyone else favours by removing key figures that used to be transparently available in these tables on a daily basis on the website, and now are pulled.

    And that's the number of "positive montly Linden flow" accounts, i.e. accounts that monthly had more Lindens than they spent. This number was tanking, and maybe that's why you wanted to stop showing it, but it's important because it tells us whether large and small businesses still find SL a place to operate.

    I'm also asking again whether "economic participation" means "spent $1 or more" or what it means. It used to be reflected in those terms, i.e. whether or not a person had spent more than $1. Thus buying Lindens but not spending them, or getting a stipend on the premium account and not spending it would not count as "economic participation".

    You also used to show these figures in terms of expenditure categories, like how many people spent $50 a month, how many spent $2000 or $50,000 a month. And that was also tremendously helpful for merchants to know, in terms of pricing and market size. But now you've hidden this, and needlessly.

    Another thing I find confusing abouty your numbers is the question of concurrency. Repeat log-ins is something different. So what is concurrency and how has it ranged over the month?

    You also seem to forget that some of us have been around a long time following this, and can compare the figures from past years or even just a few months ago. So a statement like "1 percent growth" in log-ins seems incomplete, when we know, from having seen this figure perched up in the upper right hand corner of our log on screens for years on end, that the figure of repeat log-ons was 1.5 or 1.6 million or more. So it dropped from 1.5 million to 795,000. Ouch. Why? If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say: Viewer 2.x. It's a commerce-killer, it undermines sharing, it hurts.

  15. Hi, Rodvik, all that sounds neat.

    Roman toga -- perfect outfit for this game.

    Well, here's a few cheats and walk-throughs:

    On the mailbox, there's a way to make those scripts less laggy so they don't "listen" all the time and lag your sim but "sleep" -- I think Ordinal Malaprop will know how to fix this, and I hope you get things running so that she would want to come back. Talk to Ordinal, get all her free scripts, then go back to your camp.

    On the cabin, don't use actual logs as they take up prim space, put on a texture instead.

    Go to The Alchemist's, get some potions, go back to your camp, grow some flax, then cross the ocean on the raft with the potion and the flax, making sure to dodge the man-eating sharks and then...I forget. I have to go look it up. Stay right there until I come back.

    P.S. You don't need to buy the flax or seeds because you can just make them yourself.

    While you are waiting, you should get a bear made. Every Linden has a bear. This is essential. You can use Nicole Linden's template bear and add some one feature that says "you".

    Oh, and maybe this is a test they give you, I'm not sure, but I think you're supposed to hack into the code that makes the accounts say "Linden Lab Employee" and add your own special title. Your predecessors had "Il Presidente" or "El Chefe' or something like that I recall. So that's your next quest.

    Also, in order to make your population happy you have to build some more community buildings. Also five friends are needed to make it snow.

    Back soon, I promise.

  16. Yes, I insist on having open groups.

    There should be a toggle -- invite only or open.

    The one boon I would like is to have the ability to ban people even from open-membership groups. I'd like to keep the convenience of open groups for the majority of people who are law-abiding, but still be able to keep out frequent-flyer griefers who just join open groups "because they can" to be annoying.

  17. Great news about the groups! I'm always having to leave groups every day and go through the nuisance of rejoining them again, even my own groups for land and activities, because of the limitations. So this will really be a huge boon! Thanks! In fact, I'm surprised not to see more gratitude here because people have asked for this for years, furiously. Guess it's the rising tide of expectations!

    I realize you are following the stampede everywhere on all the platforms to increase traffic and sales by linking Facebook. But I do wonder if these new web profiles can EASILY be an OPT-OUT or even better, an OPT-IN (always preferable) for *Google*.

    Currently, avatar profiles show up in Google. Do they have to? Yes, there is a check mark that I know can be eventually accessed to shut this off. But is it really easy for everyone, especially new people?

    For all those preparing their little lectures to the effect "Don't go on the Internet if you don't like exposure," um, no, I don't need to do this. I'm all over the Internet, with my blogs, and with my RL and SL unfortunately linked (because of vicious people long ago on the forums who forcibly linked me, so I've had to resign myself to it).

    The reason I ask is that recently, as you must know, there was a lapse and an exploit. Hidden groups that people checked off as hidden as founders/owners, i.e. groups that *themselves* are not in inworld search (as distinct from any group that an individual may chose to hide on his profile) were suddenly visible via the web -- and visible in Google. This was fixed within a day, but still, it's disturbing. Second Life is a world; it is not a web page. If we wanted to be on web pages, we'd be on Facebook or a forums.

    The other issue I have to raise (since I continue to be arbitrarily blocked from the JIRA) is the loading of groups. In a word -- they don't. The chat issue is one thing -- but name lists and land are yet another.

    Currently, in groups with lots of land and lots of people (I have about 600 in one of my largest, and about a  quarter million meters or so in it), the list of people are never searchable by alphabet. I can type in a person's name in the box, and even if they are in the group, they will not return as a search answer. I can sort by alphabet and try to search, but the group hangs, shows blanks, and sometimes then finally aligns, but often is unusable.

    The land also never loads so you can see if all the tier is covered and tell when someone has pulled or added a donation. It says and never shows.

    So how do you think that will go with 42 groups -- will the land groups also load?

    Linden Lab's New CEO

    Dear Rod,

    I love your name, it sounds like a Second Life name and I hope it speaks volumes!

    Don't give yourself an alphabet name like "M' and the marketing suits who came before you, call yourself "Humble Linden," find 10 ways of listening to customers every day, be it a drop in to the forums, a blog post answering queries, or an in-world townhall, and I guarantee you will have many eating out of your hand, after 7 years of Arrogant Linden.

    I couldn't be more pleased that you're from the Sims. I'm a refugee from the Sims Online myself and I kept my account there until the last "GAME OVER" sign. Think of Second Life like the Sims on Free Will, and without having to go to the bathroom, and you should do fine.

    Please please please can we have job objects? I'm serious. This is the single most common request of newbies, a job in order to make money. Hire some of those Sims coders to modify the pizza or map games into SL collaboration and exploration games for at least shopping tokens if not real money, and you could  have a game-changer.

    I would say that rather than focusing on fixing viewer 2.x, where the chat chiclets are still in a clusterfrak, or rather than fussing with mesh, which nobody really asked for, you should concentrate on fixing one thing tht will fix up many other things: SEARCH.

    A Farewell From Jack

    I've had the same critique, for longer than Deltango Vale, and about many other things (the outrageous tolerance of the ad farms and grief cutting of sims for four long years, starting with the "Impeach Bush" guy, devaluing people's land terribly.

    But I don't view this as a problem that has to do with "negligence" or one manager's poor performance, nor do I believe that the departure of Jack himself would somehow fix this problem.

    That's because these issues aren't functions of negligence or poor management, but an inherent contradiction in the nature of the business model: it's in Linden Lab's interests to sell more and more land and make more and more sales and permanent tier arrangements as possible, but it's not in our interests as secondary retailers of this land to have them keep glutting our market. At the end of the day, they have to care less about landlords and more about themselves, and finding a balance has not proved possible in six years, and probably is not possible because of the exigencies of the Linden land revenue model.

    The reason why I said that Jack could put on his resume for the next job opportunity things that I criticized and cost me income is because *those policies made revenue for his company*. That's the hard, cold fact.

    The shortage of snow and the real estate bubble that occurred in 2004; the domination of the market by Anshe Chung and the inflation of prices as a result -- that might have been fixed by Linden Lab, and to some extent *was* fixed by the acceleration of land supply in 2005, but ultimately the Lindens had to face a reality -- more land and more customers and more customer service costs? Or let this big real estate service provider shoulder the cost of customer service for the Lab? And they chose the latter.

    Land wasn't undersupplied in 2006 -- the Lindens bought and laid out servers as fast as their hands could type, but there were determined buyers like Anshe and like Adam Zaius who were cornering markets and jacking up prices -- and again, it was in the Lab's interest to let the land barons pay for the Customer Service State which is what Ed Castronova told us we would expect in virtual worlds and real life. The Customer Service State costs a lot of money to staff.

    Then in 2006-2007 the hype began to die down, the land barons began to find they were overstretched with a land glut and now the Lindens were faced with a big problem: how to make revenue? They had a stagnation, but they still had to keep making money. They had to keep growth and revenue or they wouldn't make bank and pay back the VCs.

    So they had to glut, it was in their interests to glut -- first by slashing prices to build up volume, a common sales tactic, then by building up prices again. They had to encourage more people to buy more land for less, so they had to flood the market and break the back of barons who were now also in the same, mirrored land business, trying to maximize revenue for themselves and not low prices for their customers.

    The Lindens, in my view, could have pluralized the market and made it more stable by a simple thing: not making the Mainland a garbage scow and immediately setting a firm policy on the ad farms issue. But here it was purely ideological -- it isn't that they made money from ad farms (as far as we know, unless they had alts on the take). Instead, they were enforcing Philip Rosedale's vision of maximalist hedonistic freedom on your space to "do WTF you want" within the TOS without any sense of community obligation -- Communist Standards No. 2, that thou shalt not interfere with the enjoyment of SL of another, was something Lindens couldn't and wouldn't interpret to mean (as they should have), "No to extortionist ad farms". It took them FOUR LONG YEARS of massive losses for us and driving away customers before finally new managers could get Philip Rosedale's anarcho-hedonist sandbox vision to be put to rest.

    But then, no sooner did they begin to prettify the mainland and make new continents with nicer stuff, the Lindens had to listen to the screeching lobby of the land barons in a crunch with too many islands -- they hated like hell that the Mainland now competed with their overpriced services ($50 US for a 4096 for a month instead of $25 or even $12), and they wanted to see the Mainland remain a garbage dump, and themselves openly took part in the destructive ad farms, or used alts. We all know that. Some land barons openly advertised by showing the negativity of the Mainland to drive people to the islands. Anshe Chung first cornered prime new waterfront, then slapped very high prices on it and put portal objects on each parcel for sale that said "Tired of blight and high prices on the Mainland? come to the islands" lol. Brilliant little campaign, there -- that was in 2005-2006.

    As for the "homestead" fiasco, there's no fiasco. The Lindens behaved properly. Greedly landlords interested in a low-cost and no-work option to flip land and reroute customer service back to Lindens grabbed hundreds of these cheap things, made their tenants have estate powers, and told them to call the Lindens if their overloaded content made the server fall over. Great racket. The Lindens said, sorry, you can't put 20 rentals on a homestead and then make us hand-hold it, we're jacking up the prices to shake you loose. And that was the end of that.

    As for Linden Homes, here, the Lindens own ideologies crippled them on new-user experience, where again, due to that hippie libertarian stuff, they wouldn't delete miscreants out of the welcome areas and made landing a horrible experience, and they couldn't or wouldn't make the viewer usable, so they had to make landing in a house a smoother experience from the sign-up process.

    So given the hand he was dealt with, that included some rigidly orthodox hippie technocommunist doctrines that he couldn't jump over (nor could others), and given the exigency of having to make money for his company (he wasn't free to be a sharebie hippie to *that* extent), Jack performed the ultimate hat trick -- turning communism into capitalism and turning capitalism back into communism again, when and as needed. Truly, it should be captured in powerpoint and textbooks and taught to business management classes for decades to come, it's that brilliant. Many a Metaversal myrmidon is going to want to learn how to replicate that neat trick the Soviets couldn't quite master called "We pretend to work, and you pretend to pay us" -- but still collect some tier.

    Here, again, is the riddle: had Jack managed the Mainland the way it needed to be managed, he wouldn't make money, the island barons wouldn't buy and keep sims, and newbies wouldn't keep coming, given the hippie stuff he had to work with (ad farms must be allowed, etc.)

    However, in my view, had he been able to prevail against the ad farm disruption, he could have created the middle and low market for newcomers that would have kept them coming and prevent the land from being devalued and encouraged commercial and art areas, while still having the islands as a higher-end option for residences, classier shopping, and combat and RP sims that needed more controls. But for that, he would need the option of better controls over welcome areas, and given the Lindens hippie tendencies there, he couldn't act without a bunch of oldbies screaming about Black-Ops in the landing areas.

    There was another thing that Jack did that was hugely problematic -- allowed auctions to lose their names -- these all got hidden with "new software" but of course, software is eminently rewriteable -- this was just a policy disguised as a technical exigency.

    So that meant that anonymous alts with no accountability could come on the auction and force up your bid -- yet not buy the land, or even return it to the Lindens later. There was an enormous amount of that going on. The Lindens couldn't seem to stop this practice because they needed the land barons and the griefers to come on and make lots of bids to keep their system at maximum performance of revenue.

    A Farewell From Jack

    Dear Jack,

    Second Life will leave you with a better resume leaving than you had coming in, which can't be said for all Lindens:

    o group tools and communities

    o new user experience

    o ending ad farms and traffic botting

    o Concierge, estates, Homestead crisis

    o Linden Homes, Atlas

    All of these programs, features and "solutions" to challenges are all or in part to your credit and you can proudly list them. I don't agree with some of them obviously as they harm *our* business, but for *your* business, they were a good thing. But there's one thing that should accrue to your eternal shame, and you know that:

    SEARCH.

    Goodbye,

    Prokofy

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