That's a wrap for the First Resident Help Network (RHN) Fair! The event took place over last weekend, March 19-21, which brought together six of the RHN groups and three Community Gateway groups with the goal of reaching out to each other and the community. They offered presentations on a variety of help topics such as: how to help in multiple languages, how to effectively volunteer, orientation tutorials & the first hour, accessibility issues, and much more. These volunteers collaborated and supported each other through information exchange at booths while they mixed and mingled to get to know each other better.
Metrics and Feedback
- The fair had 2042 visits within 1033 sessions at RHN Fairgrounds 1-4.
- Number of distinct visitors: 531.
- Second Life Residents spent 47,051 minutes at the fair.
- 26% of visitors had been a Second Life resident under a year. The majority in attendance had been in Second Life for 2-3 years.
- 76% of surveyed Residents were also participants at the fair.
- 26.9% joined one of the help groups or became involved with a Community Gateway.
- 83.3% plan to talk to others about the Resident Help Network.
Take Aways and Future Plans
This first fair offered a great opportunity for feedback on what we would like to improve upon and what worked well. Many felt we should have the booths spaced farther apart, offer more presentations on different days, promote the fair more, and have more time overall to prepare. These are all great suggestions, and will surely help make the next fair bigger and better! Increasing community awareness of this event is a key goal for the next event.
The fair participants were impressive, knowledgeable, kind, and inspirational. Their booths were brimming with useful information, making them both educational and memorable. The presentations addressed many meaningful topics that any Resident could benefit from, so they were well received by new and seasoned Residents alike. It was a great experience, filled with positivity and community spirit, and I can't wait to see what these amazing groups are able to accomplish next!
Mark your calendars for the first Resident Help Network Fair, which opens to the public on Friday, March 19, running through Sunday, March 21. Mix and mingle with fellow volunteers and enjoy special presentations all weekend long from 8AM to 5PM PDT!
What is the Resident Help Network Fair?
The fair is about community help, connecting people together, and highlighting existing resources. It will be a great opportunity to find out if you would like to participate with these groups and gateways. One of the great things about Second Life is how the community joins together to help each other. In that spirit, some of the Resident Help Network groups and wonderful Community Gateways will be in booths and giving presentations to reach out to Second Life Residents.
Whether you are a Resident who is new or old, in help groups or not, the fair will allow you to connect, learn, and enjoy time with some of Second Life's most helpful Residents. Building connections, resources, groups, and friendships makes Second Life an even better experience for everyone. Come by and check it out!
What's happening at the Fair?
Click here to see the lineup of presentation times and fair SLurls. But don't forget that the fair is open all weekend. You can come by and walk through, browse the booths, and spend some time meeting your fellow Residents anytime over the weekend.
There will also be feedback kiosks available. So, once you've spent some time at the fair, please take a moment to let us know about your experience. Hope to see you at the Fair!
The Resident Help Network (RHN) program was designed to promote "the best of the best" inworld volunteer-run help groups, by providing them with a cohesive network. We received many excellent candidates for the first phase of the program and are confident we have brought in some very wonderful, helpful and skilled groups.
- These first groups have a primary focus on helping the new Resident.
- They maintain helpful information and offer assistance in multiple places across Second Life, as well as within their own group channels.
- Currently these groups exist in many places across Second Life, including Infohubs, their own land or islands, Community Gateways and Help Island Public to just name a few spots.
- Many of these groups are already working with other groups as well. Networking for the win!
The RHN groups will soon be listed in the Destination Guide! This is the first light we are shining on the network. It will enable Residents to quickly and easily find the high-quality help they need. We will be placing kiosks inworld and also have plans to develop other ways to collaborate with these helpful groups. News on a Resident Help Network Fair coming soon!
A big welcome to the RHN and thank you to the following groups for assisting Residents across Second Life:
- Help Sandbox
- Hobo Helpers
- Mental Mentors
- New Citizens, Inc.
- Phoenix Wave Team
- SecondAbility Mentors
- Virtual Ability
- White Tiger Mentors
Going forward, the Resident Help Network will expand with additional groups that have other focuses. Helping Residents discover and explore Second Life is one of the upcoming segments. When applications open again within the next couple of months, it will be updated on the RHN page.
Second Life Answers began as a quiet beta in the last days of May 2009. Community volunteers stepped up and helped answer questions as they came in. Soon the questions began to come in faster. More of the community began to participate. Word of mouth, Message of the Day (MOTD), a few blogs and a link in the Support area all helped to fuel its growth by attracting more Residents and volunteers. On December 3rd, 2009 Second Life Answers left beta status and officially launched.
How much is the Community helping themselves and each other through this platform?
A lot! As of today, there have been more than HALF-A-MILLION views on the Second Life Answers pages! 502,879 to be exact. Once again the Second Life Community demonstrates how much they care about each other, about Second Life and about the quality of the experience all Residents share. They seize an opportunity to make an impact and succeed!
Cool stats—from beta through today:
- 3,831 total thread
- 17 categories (including 4 other languages)
- Top 3 categories:
- On Average: Second Life Answers is in the #2 most-visited spot for content on the Second Life blogs.
- Approximately 50% of questions are marked answered or helpful. Many question authors forget to go back and mark for that. (We will look at ways to send reminders.)
Here are a few of the top questions/topics to date:
- Is the Emerald viewer legal? (over 12,000 views)
- Multiple Partners in SL? (over 6,100 views)
- Many questions about Lag (over 9,000 views)
How does the future look for Second Life Answers?
Awesome! Get ready for bigger, better, and easier-to-find features!
Over the next few months we will shine the light on how Residents can help Residents even more. We have plans in progress to increase the visibility of Second Life Answers, with the help of other excited Lindens across the Lab. Thank you for all of the suggestions on how to make this happen—we are already working on implementing some of your great ideas!
Here are some of the improvements you may see coming soon:
- A logged in link on the help area of Support
- An added link on the Help drop-down menu on the website
- Possibly a customized URL for Second Life Answers
- A listing on the Community page
- Prominently placed banners
- Additional Messages of the Day to help more people find—and benefit from—Second Life Answers
Stay tuned for future updates on Second Life Answers activity in the Volunteer Community space!
So, what happened during the beta launch?
We are thrilled with the number of questions answered and the number of Residents already helped through the Second Life Answers Beta program, thanks to the time and knowledge shared by our wonderful volunteers. Check out the stats from beta:
- With over 1,034 pages of content, there have been 315,656 page views for Second Life Answers and its categories since beta launch.
- Second Life Answers is the #2 most popular location on the blogs for content right now.
- The 4 most popular categories during beta have been General, Account, German, and Technical questions.
- Resident speakers of 66 different languages have accessed the Second Life Answers main page. The list includes English, German, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Italian, and many more.
What is Second Life Answers, anyway?
There are vast amounts of Second Life knowledge out there among our Residents, and many have mentioned how much they'd like to share that knowledge to help others. Second Life Answers offers a real-time system where Residents can ask questions that are routed directly to Resident volunteers who are monitoring Second Life Answers. They post their answers, and other readers can comment and contribute their own answers.
Here's how to post them to Second Life Answers:
- Go to Second Life Answers and log in at the top of the page with your Second Life name and password.
- Choose either a language or topic category from the list on the left side of the page and then click the Ask a Question button (on the right) to get started!
- Give your question a title, making sure to click the Mark this thread as a Question box and fill in your main question text. Feel free to add a few tags for your question if you'd like!
- Click the Post this Message button and you're done! Hopefully soon, someone else will be able to help you with your question.
Here's how to answer questions in Second Life Answers:
- Go to Second Life Answers and log in with your Second Life name and password at the top of the page.
- Browse language or topic categories or check the list of questions on the page. Each question has a Reply option in the bottom right-hand corner of the post. Click Reply and type your response in the window.
- Click the Post Message button.
What's next for Second Life Answers?
We'll continue to work hard to improve the site with additional features and design refinements. We received (and appreciate) some really great feedback during beta, and we're already working on some of your suggestions. For example, very soon all of the discussions started in Second Life Answers will be marked as questions, which was one of the aspects of Second Life Answers that was causing some confusion. Additionally, Second Life Answers is now linked in the Help area of Support. Soon you will see links on XStreet, kiosks in world, and in other useful areas to make it easy for people to find this growing, Resident-driven help resource!
In case you didn't already know it, Second Life wouldn't be anywhere near as cool as it is today if it weren't for our volunteers.
The Official Volunteer group size has varied over the years from a handful to hundreds to 3500. The contributions of time and talent made by these Linden-sponsored groups have been amazing, but some of the really remarkable accomplishments were achieved by volunteers acting on their own. From holding meetings, forming teams, creating their own projects and events (including the very popular Community Gateways and recent Burning Life event), our volunteers are very motivated, organized, and all kinds of awesome.
While Linden Lab has worked in conjunction with our volunteers through the "Official Volunteer" program, it has been our volunteers who have breathed life into these ideas—fully embracing them with the spirit of volunteerism and the belief that helping others is worthwhile and helpful to improving everyone's Second Life experience.
The company has decided the time to evolve and grow as a volunteer community has come. While the official Mentor Volunteer Program has been an extremely valuable endeavor, its sheer size has made it increasingly difficult to support, and we need to reallocate our resources at the Lab for other Resident-focused programs. We've decided to retire the current Mentor Volunteer program—launching new opportunities for expanded volunteerism within Second Life.
For more information about the close of the Mentor Volunteer Program, please take a look at our FAQ.
We're sad to see the Mentor Volunteer Program go, but we're also excited about new opportunities! Now is the time participate in new offered programs, create your own programs or groups, or simply volunteer on an individual level. On our end, Linden Lab will work even harder to create the framework that highlights your efforts and supports the efforts of even more volunteers—heralding in a more sustainable and more creative phase of volunteerism. Rest assured that we will always want and appreciate volunteers in Second Life!
Announcing two new programs!
Linden Lab is focused on building robust volunteer programs in collaboration with the Residents of Second Life. Not only do we plan to help support their amazing work, but we also want to increase the visibility of their contributions for other Residents to enjoy.
If you're looking to volunteer, here are two Linden-supported programs that might interest you:
1. Second Life Answers. Residents submit questions and other Residents answer them—it's both simple and awesome at the same time. With over 200,000 page views, the Second Life Answers Beta has been a huge success, thanks to our Residents who participated by sharing knowledge, guidance, and friendly support on a wide range of topics in multiple languages. As Second Life Answers continues to grow, it will become even more effective as it attracts even more questions from Residents and more knowledge from our volunteers.
2. Coming Soon: The Resident Help Network (RHN) Beta! This program, which is expected to launch in about a week, will highlight the “best of the best” Resident-run help groups. There's a lot of great information out there among different help groups, and this network is designed to help our Residents find what they need. To apply to be part of the network, help groups must meet a high standard for helping new Residents, maintain over 50 active members, have an established history, produce documentation on how they help, and submit three Resident testimonials. There are more criteria for applicants, which you will be able to read when the blog and wiki information is available at launch. The accepted RHN groups will be listed on the website, featured inworld, and help shape future new Resident experience. We also hope to have an inworld Resident Help Network Fair early next year, so you and other Residents can learn more about the first groups accepted into the network.
We are excited about our continued support for our other existing volunteer efforts as well, including the Community Translation project and the Public Wiki. Combined with these two new Linden-structured programs, we hope our renewed focus on volunteerism will enhance visibility of our volunteers' efforts and improve the Second Life experience for everyone. But it's the volunteers themselves that can make them a success—we can't do it without you!
Whether you are a Mentor, Translator, Wiki expert or a helper in one of Second Life's many awesome help groups, volunteers all have something in common. Each and every volunteer helps improve the lives and experiences of Second Life Residents in very powerful ways.
We all have our stories of our first day in Second Life. They are often memorable, maybe a bit funny and usually are touched by some kind of volunteer effort even if we didn't realize it at the time. Some of these efforts are more visible, such as those volunteers who welcome new Residents inworld at the Help Islands and Welcome areas, everyone sharing their knowledge via Second Life Answers and those who flex their writing and editing chops in the Second Life Wiki. But, volunteers also do good deeds that are not immediately seen. These contributions have high impact as well.
Awhile ago I spoke to various volunteers and asked what kind of things they did over the last few weeks to help other Residents. Here is just a small sample of what some volunteers do:
- Rusty Cleanslate volunteered to be auctioned off for a good cause. He also maintains a public land space for Residents to come visit.
- Lara Shepherd has spent time helping to translate KB articles into German.
- Lisa Lowe and Malwina Dollinger have spent time translating text into other languages for Ava-line.
- XLR8RRICK Hudson hops around to all the Help Islands even if there is only one Resident there. He was recently helping a new Resident figure out how to adjust new shoes. (I have to make a comment here and say: As a female - great looking, well fitted shoes will always have a special place in my inventory! Yay Shoes!!)
Back on topic now...
- Bolek Amat and Link Kiranov have spent time helping with French KB translations.
- Shinya Tandino assisted a Resident who did not speak English and was frustrated enough to want to cancel her account. After helping her understand Abuse Reporting and Mute/Ban options, the Resident stayed in Second Life.
- Lauri Mayfair has helped Residents understand updates and some blogs better by explaining more about changes that occur in Second Life. She even assists people to help reduce lag especially related to scripts.
- Biancaluce Robbiani has helped people understand the Abuse Report process by translating and even helped some understand the support ticket process.
- Desmond Ardel has assisted people in many places across all of Second Life. He volunteers to help Residents as he finds those in need.
- Many volunteers help each other within their own help groups chat channel. By doing this they better assist Residents with collaborative answers.
- There are even a number of volunteers helping at the Community Gateways!
Many of these activities are things we cannot see happening while they happen, but the Second Life community sure feels the positive impact and results of these efforts. They have a wonderful ripple effect across our Second Life world.
So, why am I writing all of this?
Please Remember: You are appreciated every day no matter if it’s volunteering on a big project, assisting people out of your backyard, helping fit a new Residents shoes, translating, welcoming Residents, giving helpful tips or sharing your experiences with other Residents and volunteers. You have impact. We see it. We feel it even when we do not see you in action. We know Second Life is a better experience because of what you do.
A big THANK YOU to each and every volunteer in Second Life!!
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