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Reader Comments (23)

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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If Tateru's report is correct, I wish the lab had shared any findings with the Mentors before pushing us out the airlock. If in fact we were part of the problem and we have subsequently been encouraged to mentor all over the place now, it means we are metastasizing that problem. A little straight talk from the lab might have helped us mitigate any deficiencies going forward.

Note to Linden Lab: We are big kids. If there is a problem, be straight about it. Tell your marketing people we swear we won't quit if we hear unvarnished information. The varnish is what's killing us. Be honest, direct and open with your customers and you will earn their confidence. Customer Service 101.

I've been a resident for awhile now and have been very active in what is broadly termed the "New User Experience". It *kills* me to see the Lab has so seriously lost focus on the community. Yeah, it's great that NUWC is behind a firewall now, and it tickles me silly that some blue chips are doing what they do inworld (albeit hidden). But to paraphrase James Carville;

"It's the community, stupid!"

When the most committed resident/evangelists have completely lost understanding of the lab's goals and objectives (and vice versa), it's time to look in the mirror and start asking the really honest and difficult questions. I would give my eye teeth for lots of Lindens come to SLCC2010 and really listen (have formal listening sessions), collect data and report back on what the community is telling you.

Please(!), stop making it so difficult for us to be your advocates.



On a more positive note, I wish *everyone* in the community and at Linden Lab, a safe and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Saxon

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:58AM (Unverified) said

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Help Areas don't really help anyone. The area is lagged, and new residents don't really know what they need to ask of mentors dotted around the place. Give them info on a HUD (that is up to date and usable), and let them explore, and go to Help Areas if they choose to.

New residents don't know what they need to be asking questions about - mentors are no good for the very new born in Second Life. Mentors are much better equipped to be helping those who at least know what they need to be asking - the learning curve is then easier for them to overcome.

Funnel the new born to places with few people, easy to load textures, and better load balancing. Make their new world grey for as little time as possible. Let them explore to find what info they need to have - THEN let the resident Mentor groups help them on their way.

I was a mentor - but I did my work without my tag on, and never at a hub, I preferred to help those who knew the direction of help they needed.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:58AM (Unverified) said

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I can't swear that it's the only possible theory, but it's the only one I've seen that makes sense. The Lab's been heavily orientation-focused and doesn't make a move on orientation process without results from A/B testing.

If anyone's got an alternative interpretation that fits the Lab's behavior and proclivities, I'm all ears.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 2:35PM (Unverified) said

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I can't speak to why people are leaving. Or, not liking the new player experience. What I can tell you. As some one who want's this type of product. Yet won't sign up with SL. Is that the introduction material is even worse than most of the (bad) Press they have been getting. I can find very little information on the viewer. Descriptions of grid options, who gets what, how things are organized, it's all a mess. And yes, I am aware of the third party materials and tutorials. Which brings up another warning flag. The ratio of official information versus third party should not be huge (in favor of third party). Linden just comes across as not caring, and happy to have third party material as a crutch.

What you get as a result, are new people that fit a very narrow, and sparsely populated demographic. Those that actually know what SL offers, and see it as some thing they need to be involved in. In my case, the one thing that bites Linden in the back side, is I don't "need" their product.

Obviously the preceding only contains facts in regards to how I interpret them. Making this almost pure opinion. But that is the (biggest) market force that Linden needs to fight, if they are going to change their numbers for the better.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 8:29PM (Unverified) said

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The Lindens have to get their act together, unless they want to be walking an empty world it's only the content and people that's holding me there now. I have a niegbours megaprim across my land and he is over 3 other peoples land as well, he won't answer im's and seems to not even ever been in world. reported it 4 times to The Lindens now to no avail so I had to move my house up to the sky. Does Linden care? not in the least.

I have been to the re-invented Blue Mars which now offers a low res setting and it's looking good and I can now move around it. This could be the imediate virtual future

People to chat to even though the subjects are how do you move, how do you talk etc and a refreshing sense. Of organized content. Not excatly sure where it's going but it's got heaps more style than SL and if I was a newbie to both BM is where I would stay

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 6:40PM (Unverified) said

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The sort-of-official reason to shut down the Mentor group is just unmanageability. A handful of Linden employees at the vTeam had to successfully communicate to a group of 3,500 rather independent volunteers, of which just a few dozens kept in touch. But even if all kept in touch, it would be absolutely impossible to make sure that each and every one strictly conforms to LL's mentoring guidelines.

The alternative, which is more manageable, is having smaller self-appointed "helping groups" of 30-50 people, each staffing their own "helping areas" (whether "official" Community Gateways, or just "unofficial" areas set up on private land), and having a representative giving feedback to LL's teams. Since these groups are independent and not coordinated by LL, they don't carry the responsibility for "representing Linden Lab" and thus can be coordinated much more loosely — and easily, since LL just needs to meet with the group coordinators.

But then again, it might just be an excuse, and the real reason can very well be that statistics have proven that even helping out newbies didn't really make them return to SL...

Posted: Dec 26th 2009 11:16PM (Unverified) said

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Yes, it's time to make the truth known, orientation is better *without* mentors who pushed their own agenda, "helped" the way they wanted to help, had hugely political or lifestyle or economic agendas, and were about feeling needed, not about really selfless help.

And the results show it.

Posted: Dec 29th 2009 2:13PM (Unverified) said

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So Prok proves once again that if your views are 180' in the opposite direction you are in good company!

Prok- I have never, ever, seen a mentor in any of the mentor groups I have been in (including the official group) push an agenda on new residents. Not to mention that a lot of us were there on the help islands helping them right up until LL gave us the boot.
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Posted: Jan 1st 2010 8:56AM (Unverified) said

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You simply do not know what you are talking about. Prove this with verifiable and statistically significant data and I will buy you lunch at Tavern on the Green.
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Posted: Dec 25th 2009 9:57PM (Unverified) said

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In my opinion:
the main reason is the decline in bots.
aside from that:
January-June are good months for Second Life concurrency.
June-September are slow.
Oct to mid-December are moderate.

We'll see in January, once universities start their new semester.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 10:11PM (Unverified) said

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The graph doesn't really indicate that those sorts of seasonal variances are significant. Here, this is the longer view of the same chart (from 2006 to now): http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/sl-statistical-charts-testing/#slucb

The peak of the graph was the day that the mass in-world protests about the adult-content policy announcement took place.
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Posted: Dec 26th 2009 7:02AM (Unverified) said

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As an ex-SLer (was heavily involved with Motorati via the Parkade and after for 2+ years DJing every week, sometimes more) I have definite views on LL's woes - ones that I think are behind these issues, cos certainly if they pissed off a seasoned user like me spending/earning LDs and contributing to the grid, then people with fewer attachment are more likely to never come back.

Impermanence, basically. When the Open space rules changed, loads of places I used to go went, and those communities dissipated. Motorati pulled out, then the club had to move eventually closing down, via many locations and such hassles and eventually wasn't helped by the Open space thing, eventually closing down.

Stuff like this is why people leave - if the really cool areas with your friends go, then you have little reason to go back.

It is rather confusing at first, but if areas don't get preserved or helped by the largely distant and unhelpful Linden Labs then the people disappear like the deleted prims when they realise the effort was wasted and there is nowhere fun to go or the place is empty - newbies or otherwise.

Posted: Dec 25th 2009 11:00PM Joystiq Login Bugs SUCK said

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Hmm, nice new graphs you are testing there Tateru. The User to User transactions also show something interesting in the last quarter. To my eyes there is a definite decrease in the trend for that amount too. Can't wait to see how T will spin this, especially given his assurances that this figure really does matter.

Personally, as my take on it, the number of people signing up is dropping a lot. Those people who wanted to try SL for whatever reason have probably now tried it since the media frenzy of 2006 and to be honest Corporate use will be scattered and very very low time (also low spending on residents creations).

The lab on the other hand has kept reaming the players with 1997 fervour people who were hooked on the game keep getting fed up paying thousands of dollars a month for uncertainty and a steady stream keeps leaving.

Without real numbers to join the game and prop up these losses the numbers decline.

Sure lots of people sign up, I am positive that a many a school aged kid reading massively will see this as a free game and think, Hmm, I can't play WoW or EQ2 and I am bored of XYZ online but I can try this... log in and think "O_o zomg" logging out never to return. New user orientation isn't to blame there, it's that the game is well, different.

I wish we had a figure for the number of minutes a new user logs in for before never returning; the number of abandoned accounts. The drive by and run away in horror trials. heh.

Long end of the tail. No denying it.

Posted: Dec 26th 2009 12:25PM (Unverified) said

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Why doesn't LL create a SL Tip of the Day Kiosk that we shop owners can put out on our land? We'll look new-user friendly, new users can get info at their own pace. If the kiosk were low-prim and new users could click through a large database of info whenever they wanted to, that might help.

Posted: Dec 26th 2009 7:28PM (Unverified) said

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Some of the comments here should have Linden Lab sitting up and taking notice. The comment about lack of official information and how it's heavily skewed in favour of third parties is a particularly interesting point to note.

The Openspace fiasco is something I don't want to go over again, suffice to say it was one of the worst example of customer service and taking your users for granted I've ever witnessed. A company simply cannot treat their customers in this fashion.

The comment about being straight with your customers is something I wholeheartedly agree with, don't try and spin things, be it Xstreet changes, doing away with the mentors, adult segregation, just be straight, spin just further antagonises the situation.

Bots are definitely down, places have been reported, bots have been removed. I see ex bot uses complaining that another location is still getting away with it but that in itself is evidence some action has been taken.

Posted: Dec 29th 2009 3:28PM (Unverified) said

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I have many, many times caught Mentors doing the following, and have documented proof:

1. Telling newbies to go shop in their own stores -- and the Lindens even let them put their own stores and freebies on Orientation Island for awhile to try to curb this problem (!).
2. Giving newbies folders of landmarks that included their own stores or friends' stores
3. Steering newbies into various RPs like Gor or Vampire
4. Taking newbies to sex clubs.
5. Using their titles to bully others by threatening to "get somebody banned" if they hassled them or their friends (had this happen in my rentals several times)
6. Told me my land for sale was "too expensive" and I shouldn't be selling it for that price.
7. Griefed me viciously on my land because I publicly criticized a mentor's investment scam where people lost lots of money -- land near me was deliberately bought and ad-farmed with ads telling people to come and grief Prokofy -- after repeated ARs, this person was FINALLY removed from Mentors.

And so on.

So I'm unimpressed with Mentors. I've seen too many bad things over the course of five years, and it is not about "a few bad eggs". It's about a system that rewards people who like to swagger and bully and exploit. No one is in it for altruism's sake, they are in it either to take advantage of others or to "need to be needed". Neither of these are good motivations.

If you "helping" is so marvelous, there is absolutely NOTHING to stop you from continuing in another group to do the same thing but without the glory and the Linden connection and the ability to bully and exploit others. Full stop.

Posted: Dec 29th 2009 9:27PM (Unverified) said

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I don't remember if the title was "mentor" or somthing else, but i remember when i joined, after following the trail of the Orientation Island effortlessly (i never cease to be amazed of how many people are dumped out into the grid without knowing almost anything that the trail taught me), someone approached me, my understanding is she was a volunteer, identifying herself as someone i could resort to if i needed any assistance, she was assigned to assist me (perhaps she assigned herself), i mostly managed to do figure out most things in Help Island by myself, though i remember going to her for some questions, and if my memory serves me right, she was the one that helped me not be scared of leaving the protected and enlightening place that was Help Island, permanently moving into the "outside", into the rest of the grid.

Back then we had this thing in the help menu where you could click and then ask a question in a IM-like window, and any volunteer and even some Lindens somtimes, that was avaiable and believed they could help would move in and start talking directly to you live. That also was somthing that helped me feel quite comfortable out in the world.


All the disrespects and screwups from LL are what i identify as the main reason SL isn't going as well as it should.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 1:39PM (Unverified) said

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If you want more reasons why people are leaving SL, read through the JIRA sometime. There are feature and bug requests that are over three years old that haven't been addressed or even assigned to anyone. Some of them are wildly popular, such as requests for more clothing layers or attachment points. Even these are being ignored.

Name five major technical improvements in SL in the last three years. I'll get you started:

1) Sculpties
2) Flexible prims
3) Voice chat
4)
5)

Could you even come up with two more? If you said Windlight you're disqualified : ) There are hundreds of really neat ideas and suggestions in the JIRA, many of which would be relatively simple to implement and would help keep people interested. At least work on the popular ones! But instead they fiddle while virtual Rome burns.

SL was fun three years ago when new features and capabilities were being added. But it has grown stagnant and thus people lose interest. LL doesn't have to listen to its customers if they don't want to, but they shouldn't be surprised when those customers start to disappear. I suspect that 80% of the remaining residents are only sticking around because there's nowhere else to go. If another similar VR springs up there's going to be a mass exodus.

Posted: Jan 5th 2010 12:53AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah,but if there is any replacement VR,it has to have a furry community otherwise i'm not going to join it.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 6:11PM (Unverified) said

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Zach-

4) Havok4
5) Mono

=)


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