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  ‘Project Open Letter’ Points Out Persistent ‘Second Life’ Problems  
 
 
Posted 2007-04-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Cristiano Diaz (Cristiano Midnight in Second Life) has launched Project Open Letter, in which serious problems with Linden Lab's virtual world are addressed. Many veteran Second Life users, including myself, have complained loudly over the years about show-stopping technical issues with the platform. Project Open Letter aims to consolidate those complaints. While I may not agree with 100% of the letter's content (and note that it's easy to make up or falsify the letter's signatures), I feel it hits enough important points that it's worth signing and reprinting here...

    In the past eighteen months, Second Life has expanded, growing from a small community of early adopters to a platform supporting millions of users. Linden Lab has created a world that inspires a deep level of passion in its users and provides unprecedented opportunities to share creatively, socially, and financially.

    With explosive levels of growth often come unexpected problems. In keeping with your company's policy and rich history of resident involvement, we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to address some concerns that we feel have gone unanswered for too long.

    There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable. Here is a brief list of the main concerns:

    * Inventory loss - this is a devastating problem that is worsening. We have no ability to protect our own inventories through backups, and are trusting you to protect that data. This is the highest priority. Sensible inventory limits (on non-verified accounts only), combined with better management tools and ways to protect our inventory ourselves would help to mitigate the problem as well. Regardless, this cannot continue - we will not accept financial loss as a feature of Second Life. It is your responsibility as service provider to ensure our data is not lost, and you are failing us.

    * Problems with Find and Friends List - we continue to see search outages on a far too regular basis. It is bad enough trying to get anywhere without being able to use search, but many users are also paying money for classified ads. Our friends lists just do not work reliably any longer, after years without an issue with them. If America Online/MSN/Yahoo can provide presence information for hundreds of millions of users, surely there is a way to make our friends lists work again.

    * Grid stability and performance - teleports fail quite regularly, especially under heavy load. Attachments end up in places they did not start out in, and sim performance varies wildly. None of this makes for a very pleasant experience for users. Long promised improvement to physics and scripting would help dramatically to reduce these problems, but there are a lot of other scalability issues as well. It often feels like the grid is coming apart at the seams. The promised use of limiting logins of non-verified accounts during peak load has been severely lacking. This would be an effective interim solution to load issues, but Linden Lab seems unwilling to use it.

    * Build tool problems - the importance of build tools that actually work as promised cannot be overstated enough - we rely on them to create content. Prim drift, disappearing prims, imprecise placement, problems with linking and other issues with the tools need to be addressed. Too much time is being spent trying to work around the problems.

    * Transaction problems - inventory deliveries are failing with an alarming (and annoying) frequency, leaving merchants with the burden of replacing missing content and having to try to confim the transaction in the first place. We trust that our L$ balances are accurate, but given recent problems, that is a cause for concern as well, and one we place our full trust in you to ensure its accuracy.

    We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, but our confidence is steadily being eroded due to a general lack of communication and the apparent failure to successfully address the many issues detailed above. What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. We accept that this will not happen overnight but it also cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely either.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

    Sincerely,

    The Undersigned
 
     
 
   
 
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  44 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by TrevorFSmith
April 30, 2007 @ 12:29 pm
     
 
It's bad that it has come to this, but on the other hand think of how strong the community must be to stick with the platform instead of just jumping ship.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
April 30, 2007 @ 1:17 pm
     
 
Dunno. Oddly enough, I haven't had major issues with most of these.

I expect Inventory Loss is seen mainly by people who just store way too much garbage in their inventory. It isn't too difficult to sift through it now and then and either toss out what isn't used or put it in a prim somewhere. I mean... do you walk around with all that crap in RL? Of course not. So lightening user inventory might make some of the inventory magically reappear. Then again, maybe not.

Problems with Search (Find?) exist, but are transient when they do occur.

Friends list - I'm immune. I appear offline to everyone anyway. Too many 'friends', too many IMs...

Grid stability and performance: If you're wearing 1000 scripted prims, expect some trouble. Still, some of this is probably due to the lazy convergence of the beowulf clusters which, naturally, increases with the size of the grid.

Build tool problems: Erm, OK. I've seen a few things, but they were usually associated with low performance sims and other issues (mainly lag).

Transaction problems: Hey, let's hold up and talk about land for a second instead of Little Bob's infatuation with female underwear, ok? People have been losing lots of money due to network latency, and some of these are being labeled 'human error' by Linden Lab (in *defense* of the likes of Landbaron Merlin) when network latency is quite likely a factor.

Commonalities: Does anyone see what is in common here? It's all ethersnot, kids - internal ethersnot at LindenLab. Conserve some lag, take off your scanning devices and the listening devices which post sometimes witty things over your heads. There are things people can do if they are worried about ethersnot (network congestion).

On the flip side, Linden Lab seems to be painting itself into a corner with the beowulf cluster methodology... but I'm just 'yet another user' who has no insight into what the heck it is that they are doing other than educated guesses.

Maybe it's just about feeding the hamster more often.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
April 30, 2007 @ 2:25 pm
     
 
Tony, I think you might want to re-articulate your stance about non-verifieds. Is this part of the non-100 percent support?

Surely you aren't calling for caps on inventory of unverifieds, who hold the least of it, and caps on log-ons for unverifieds, who log in the least and spend the least hours by contrast with these top-end content-creators who filed this letter?

I don't support this letter, for reasons I've outlined on my blog and the Herald, but basically it comes down to this:

1. It is a privileged class in the corporativist society of Second Life merely doing a limousine-liberal protest temporarily biting the hand that feeds them mainly because one Hollywood movie-maker lost her inventory
2. It is an indefensible slam on the class of unverifieds, and a veiled attempt to make a bigger grab on the economy by trying to cap unverified activity that threatens the stranglehold that the high-end content-creating class holds.
3. The real issues to focus on are stopping the endless clamour for unnecessary features that the FIC itself yammered for, like "hide my status online" which is costly in programming time and data base load. They almost as an afterthought at the end ask for no more new features until old problems are solved, but they're the very class calling for all the new features, like Voice. So it's particularly hypocritical.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
April 30, 2007 @ 7:21 pm
     
 
Hmm. Well, I don't think Tony said he agreed with everything in the letter - he pointed said no - but I think you make a valid point about the squeaky wheel with regard to inventory.

The slam on unverifieds is probably something which would be worth applying to verifieds as well. I believe that the whole verified/unverified idiocy simply demonstrates that people who pay money aren't necessarily smarter than the waiter, though they may think that they are. :-)

I'm quite surprised to see some of the names that are attached to this thing. I won't sign it. It's not very well thought out, it lacks a good solution and the basis is a matter of centrism on SecondLife class structure which continues to be assaulted only because a few people think if they spend a few bucks on something every month, they are better than everyone else.

'Equal, but separate'. Where have I heard that before? As Prok points out, the letter is basically telling people to get to the back of the bus.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by TrevorFSmith
April 30, 2007 @ 10:19 pm
     
 
"...it lacks a good solution..."

My reading of the letter (and the reason I signed it) is as a call to stop building new features and fix the core functionality while pausing growth to let the grid resources catch up with the current use. That seems like a solution.

"...a few people think if they spend a few bucks on something every month, they are better than everyone else..."

You dance with the ones that brought you. I agree that unverified versus verified is bogus, but paying customers are by definition more valuable to a service of the form of Second Life.

Compare the actions of Linden Lab, which is bringing on customers when they can't support them to Six Apart, which also experienced growth rates beyond their ability to scale.

When Typepad was spotty I received an email from the founders that they found the failure unacceptable, details of exactly what they were doing to solve the problem (with hard dates), a pause in new user signups, and the offer of a refund for the slow period.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
April 30, 2007 @ 10:48 pm
     
 
My reading of the letter (and the reason I signed it) is as a call to stop building new features and fix the core functionality while pausing growth to let the grid resources catch up with the current use. That seems like a solution.

Trevor, at the very end, they very limply imply that new features should be held up, but this weak statement is nearly overlooked, and completely obliterated by these very signers' unseemly rush to clamour for "hide my status online" and Voice and such, and to celebrate the Lindens' gimmicky puzzle game around the sculptured prims. Not five minutes before this open letter was coming out, moo was busy gushing over the sculptured prims on SL Insider.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 12:10 am
     
 
Trevor, the reason you signed it is fine and dandy. but you didn't selectively sign bits of the letter, you signed all of it. That's how they try to sneak things in Congress.... and pass all sorts of strange things that would not otherwise stand on their own merits.

I'm sorry you signed it in the spirit you explained - but you signed the whole thing. The same applies to Prok. In this letter, the fine print isn't fine - it *is* blatant.

Thus I will not sign it, and I cannot help but shake my head and sigh at those who would.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by TrevorFSmith
May 1, 2007 @ 12:28 am
     
 
It's clear that you don't agree and shouldn't sign it, but it's also clear that the people who signed (including myself) don't think the points you raise are important enough to sigh, shake our heads, and do nothing.

I guess I prefer a system with slack to one incapacitated by an unreachable ideal.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 1, 2007 @ 12:39 am
     
 
I failed to indicate in my previous post that I was quoting Trevor. I didn't sign it.

It has 1,500 signatures, mainly content-creators and people allied with the FIC and the SC gang but also various people brought in by the news coverage, including from Reuters and this blog. Will it grow to anything significant? What would be characterized as really significant? 10,000? Or 10 percent of concurrent log-ons, 3,000? It's hard to know, as this civil society is really in its infancy.

I find that an open letter process like this that begins by finding a solution to all the problems the blaming of one class of people like the unverifieds is doomed to failure. It would be doomed to failure if I myself wrote an open letter and blaimed only the FIC and content-creation class for all the problems.

Basically, the problems come down to the fact that a software company created a world almost as an afterthought, as a kind of beta testing product, and are overwhelmed by how many people took it seriously. They have no realistic way of coping with its demands.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 1:51 am
     
 
Trevor, if you prefer a system with slack then I don't see why you signed that letter - but that's your business. I don't think trying to call me an idealist was meant as a compliment, but what I can tell you is this: I am not an idealist. I am pragmatic, and I see several loopholes that I would never associate my name with. If you want 'em - you got 'em. Signing that letter seems more of an idealist bend than what I've written. Your mileage obviously varies, and that's fine.

It's not about you. It's about the letter, and I think the letter is crap for reasons which Prok and I have mentioned. It's rare that Prok and I would agree on something, and that would probably be a sign to pay attention instead of tossing the 'idealism' flag up. But that, too, is your choice.

Were the letter written with an attempt to be objective instead of an obvious slant toward an apparent agenda, I might not think it came from a roll of paper in a bathroom.

Prok - sorry. I thought you meant you had signed it, but obviously this was not the case.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 6:02 am
     
 
"Trevor, at the very end, they very limply imply that new features should be held up, but this weak statement is nearly overlooked, and completely obliterated by these very signers' unseemly rush to clamour for "hide my status online" and Voice and such"

A classic bit of Prokofy bait and switch. WHO exactly clamoured for those features? The majority of the people I know on that list weren't asking for voice.

"the blaming of one class of people like the unverifieds is doomed to failure..."

There's no "blaming the unverifieds" here. It's not the fault of a non-verified member that LL has constructed the system so that it cannot support massive numbers. If there's any blame, it lies at the doors of the people who believed Philip's voodoo claims that SL could scale into infinity. Note, too, that locking out non-verifieds at peak times is a interim solution, not a permanent one.

The fact is that a bunch of people have got together and done something that's actually got the attention of LL, something that all your hysterical wailing and gnashing of teeth hasn't done. You're jealous because you're not getting the attention, and it's showing.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 1, 2007 @ 7:40 am
     
 
Why am I not surprised that Ian has showed up to police this thread?

Indeed, the signers of this letter *do* blame the unverifieds as being "a problem" -- although they are not demonstrably a problem at all. They imply that much of SL's most severe problems can be fixed by limiting log-ons from new/unverified accounts and capping their inventory.

Who clamoured for "hide my status online"? FlipperPA Peregrine and others who signed this letter. Read the forums. Who was just five minutes before signing the letter sparked by her very inventory loss, crowing about sculptured prims? moo Money, in the SL Insider. And so on. You don't have at all to look far to prove my point, just read SC and all the other blogs -- most of them defend Voice, and beat down those who criticized it, and yet now suddenly backtrack and say it should wait.

When I say "hide my status online," and Voice and such" I'm referring to the whole batch of new features, not just Voice, obviously, as the sentence structure shows you.

Locking out non-verifieds is a non-solution because they could do it, and it won't matter, given the high churn rate, and the reality, which is that their most committed and invested customers log in really long hours and use up a lot of the energy.

The idea that I'm "jealous" of somebody else getting attention lets me know the world *you* live in, where you sit and fume at things like that.

I simply don't think in those terms. I get more attention than I know what to do with it, and a good deal of it unwanted.

An interview with me is in the Rolling Stone this week, for example:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/14306294/second_life_the_nets_virtual_paradise_heats_up

Somehow, I think that's likely to get a good deal more attention than the Linden's blog, a few SC blogs, and CNET and Reuters pages devoted specifically to SL. What, are *you* jealous that your only attention comes from tackling someone like me who is out there with a major critique of the management of this world? Do you imagine that by hanging on to my coat-tails, you, too can get "fame and glory" (such as it is!).

I'm not hysterically wailing and gnashing my teeth, I'm calmly and rationally poking holes in this hastily-formed emotional critique that is an inch deep and not even half a sim wide. Long after these limousine liberals retreat to their core sim palaces and private island villas, I will still be writing letters like this several times *a week* not once a year.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 8:52 am
     
 
"Why am I not surprised that Ian has showed up to police this thread?"

Shock! Horror! We read the same blogs! Hold the front page!

"They imply that much of SL's most severe problems can be fixed by limiting log-ons from new/unverified accounts and capping their inventory."

For *two* out of the *five* points. That's not *most*, even in your world of wacky arithmetic. What's more, it's clear if you actually bother to read that they're not claiming these measures will fix them - they will mitigate them.

"You don't have at all to look far to prove my point, just read SC and all the other blogs -- most of them defend Voice, and beat down those who criticized it, and yet now suddenly backtrack and say it should wait."

I do read SC, unlike you (apparently). And I don't see anyone requesting voice as a high priority before LL announced it was being implemented. Provide some links, or stop lying.

"Locking out non-verifieds is a non-solution because they could do it, and it won't matter, given the high churn rate, and the reality, which is that their most committed and invested customers log in really long hours and use up a lot of the energy."

This isn't an argument, it's a statement. Valuable content: zero. Argument value: zero.

"An interview with me is in the Rolling Stone this week, for example:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/14306294/second_life_the_nets_virtual_paradise_heats_up
"

Which, of course, illustrates my point perfectly. You constantly whine that people are linking your real life name with your chosen avatar name, and yet here you are... doing exactly the same thing. And why? Because you can't resist a little bit of fame-seeking. "Oh, I've been quoted in Rolling Stone, you know" - like anyone under the age of 40 reads Rolling Stone anymore.

"Long after these limousine liberals retreat to their core sim palaces and private island villas, I will still be writing letters like this several times *a week* not once a year"

No - you spend the majority of your time making personal attacks. Everyone who says something you don't like is "a fucktard", "a griefer" , "snotty" etc etc. The fact that you don't know the difference between an argument and a personal attack speaks volumes.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 1, 2007 @ 9:07 am
     
 
Ian, they *do indeed* imply that if two major steps are made -- capping inventory on verifieds and restricting log-ins -- that will fix the problems the grid is facing. Indeed they do. Read the letter. And that's consistent with what these same authors have said in other settings, including FlipperPA's infamous concept of even denying unverifieds the right to sell anything in SL.

You have to take seriously the only remedies this gang *does* propose in their letter, and that's restricting unverifieds. There are no other suggestions made, other than a general "fix it!".

Everyone knows that the FIC leaders, on their blogs, on the official forums, and on SC, have always taken the position that the platform is most important, and the features that enable the software to be robust and competitive are the priority. They embrace Voice and promote it in every setting. The challenge to you is to find the leaders of this letter and of SC somehow protesting against Voice, back before moo's inventory was lost and they cooked up this protest. Sure, there are people who say they aren't wild about it, but for those very voiced beings like Cristiano on Second Cast, the introduction of Voice is only a plus, and they've never opposed it.

Chief among their sins are their clamouring for "hide my status on line" which is a huge data base suck, work for the Lindens, and now something that is perpetually borked with a constant hiding of even friends. So...do the math on that, champ, would you please, and stop bickering.

If a journalist asks to have my RL name, I give it. He makes the link between my RL name and avatar because it's important to him to have a credible source who exists in RL. I don't believe journalists should be thwarted in that regard. In this article, he refers to my RL name, location, and generic profession.

Unlike Second Citizen, he doesn't *publish my address,* or publish my picture or a picture of my door, or publish my RL work speeches or anything of the kind. I guess that's all fine with you, Ian, that sort of awful stalking and invasion of privacy because you never counter it and always give it a pass. But it's wrong. Nobody should be subjected to such harassment. I suppose you wouldn't rest until that journalist could publish my RL home phone for everybody to call like the notorious SL griefers, hmmm?

And on my blog, no, I don't wish to write under my RL name, because the field of SL is a separate endeavor. That's my choice. This forcible use of my RL name that you engage in is a form of harassment and bullying. It's wrong. Most SL-related forums make it an offense to out people's RL information on that forum, as the setting is one in which people want to be kept in the sphere of SL. Just because there's a link that can take them to some other place in the Internet to peruse their RL information doesn't mean they want to be bullied and harassed and served up forced connections between SL and RL all the time.

Your failure to respect that choice of people in SL makes you simply suspect, and illustrates what a rude boor you are.

I hardly need any "fame," and my critique of SL is an intelligent and reasoned one, and well argued. I frequently have to fight off a horde of idiots from SC and the old forums who pester me relentlessly because they don't like what I say. I'm happy to dish back out the same kind of personal attacks on these people as they dish out on me, it's not the method everyone finds effective but I think it works well on you, as you continue to tie yourself up in knots polemicizing with me and finding ever new ways to harass me.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 10:05 am
     
 
"Ian, they *do indeed* imply that if two major steps are made -- capping inventory on verifieds and restricting log-ins -- that will fix the problems the grid is facing. Indeed they do. Read the letter."

No, that is NOT what is implied. There is a difference between the English words "mitigate" and "fix". That you choose to read into a very clear statement something that clearly isn't there is your problem.

"They embrace Voice and promote it in every setting."

Again, give me links. Facts, not just you stating that something is so.

"Unlike Second Citizen, he doesn't *publish my address,* or publish my picture..."

Perhaps you're forgetting the picture of you that appeared in the New York Times.

"I guess that's all fine with you, Ian, that sort of awful stalking and invasion of privacy because you never counter it and always give it a pass."

I have said on many occasions that the invasions of your privacy are wrong, including especially the call that Plastic Duck made. And yet, you have consistently ignored this because you wish to make personal attacks on me, and you don't let little things like facts get in the way of those personal attacks.

"This forcible use of my RL name that you engage in is a form of harassment and bullying."

I'm sorry you think that, because it isn't. Your RL name is in the public domain and I will use it to refer to your real life work and endevours. Despite your claims, it's not against the ToS - I checked.

You have repeatedly linked your real life name and your Second Life avatar name yourself. Had you taken any steps to keep your RL name private, I would not have used it. However, not only have you not taken any such steps, but every time there is an opportunity to publicise your RL name in a prominent media outlet, you do it. You're like the celebrities who complain about being doorstepped by the paparazzi while making sure their agent circulates their whereabouts to the newspapers.

"I'm happy to dish back out the same kind of personal attacks on these people as they dish out on me, it's not the method everyone finds effective but I think it works well on you, as you continue to tie yourself up in knots polemicizing with me and finding ever new ways to harass me."

Confronting your ludicrous assertions and outright lies isn't harrasment. It's strange how you accuse *anyone* who disagrees with you, sooner or later, of "harrassment" or "griefing".
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 10:51 am
     
 
All the lovely stuff aside (!), this letter - for better or worse - was acknowledged by LL.

I still take issue with asking to penalize unverified accounts. I will always take issue with that. The majority of problems that I have seen are not with unverified accounts - they are with verified accounts. But the people who wrote this letter are not sensitive to issues which permit people to lose money over latency errors, among other things.

That said, this is overall a victory in getting Linden Lab to listen. What is sad, however, is that there isn't much to be said in the letter that cannot be explained by network latency issues internal to LL as well as some personal management issues.

Now that the community has a voice that LL selectively decided to listen to, perhaps the community will be more careful in *what* it says. LL acknowledging is fine and dandy, but frankly I expect to hear "we're talking about it".

Right. Prove it :-)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 11:41 am
     
 
Nobody says...

"I still take issue with asking to penalize unverified accounts. I will always take issue with that."

I don't look at it as penalizing unverified accounts - I see it as rewarding members :)

Unverified accounts are ultimately likely to be the backbone of the Second Life economy going forward. They're vital, because it's vitally important that anyone can get in-world any time, without having to have a registered, paid-for account.

However, at present LL's infrastructure cannot support more than 30-40,000 concurrent users. In those circumstances, as a *temporary* measure, paid users should take priority - if that proves to be a measure which works.

Without data from LL on the split between verified and unverified users and their usage metrics, we can't know that for sure. If, at the Town Hall, Cory turns round and says "no, unverified members are not the issue - it's X and Y and Z" I'll be really happy about it.

"What is sad, however, is that there isn't much to be said in the letter that cannot be explained by network latency issues internal to LL as well as some personal management issues."

I've said exactly the same thing on many occasions. Throwing processors isn't the answer: bandwidth between servers is the answer. I suspect that LL's theory is that once the server code goes open source, bandwidth will be less of an issue - with servers distributed around the globe, the company can concentrate on the bottlenecks like asset management. But meanwhile, we all suffer.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 11:44 am
     
 
Ian, that is a matter of semantics - and as I just wrote (http://www.knowprose.com/node/17542 ), there are no metrics which support that. And you've admitted same.

What we should be asking are questions, not going off half cocked with solutions with no supportive data.

But 1500 people have said, effectively, that they didn't need supportive data to propose a solution. That's kind of funny.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 11:45 am
     
 
Oh, the link: The Success of Project Open Letter - And, Perhaps, The Failure. I really don't like bbcode; the reinvention of HTML always annoys me. :-)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 12:04 pm
     
 
It might sounds like semantics, but it isn't, really - it's the way that 90% of web services work.

Consider Gmail. My Gmail account gets a 2GB storage space. If I pay Google $50 a year, I get 10GB *and* a guarantee of 99.9% uptime. Am I being penalized - or are the paying customers getting something extra? Are unverified members being penalized because they can't own land?

Yes, we need those metrics: but even in the absence of data, it's better to make practical suggestions and be shown how you're wrong than to just complain. That way, at least you learn something. As I said, no one will be happier than me if unverifieds prove to be no problem at all - because SL needs them to succeed.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 1, 2007 @ 1:07 pm
     
 
Heh. Well, let's switch from SecondLife to gmail. :-)

Seriously, I think the letter is more of a statement of elitism than anything else. See, even with gmail - your example - there a limits for verified accounts. We don't even have those.

The best fit solution with the given data would be *everyone* have limits imposed. From there, you can give other people less. I could agree with that. I can't agree with "We want unlimited access and ability to lug around amazingly large inventories but go screw those people over there". There's not even a semblance of fairness in that when you look into it.

So, as I said in my original comment, things can be done with these issues to avoid them. Mind you, I'm on a 256K ADSL line with 128K up, and I don't have as many problems with these things that people are griping about. I *am* handicapped when it comes to bandwidth, but I actually don't have these problems which makes the whole 'verified vs. unverified' argument null and void for me.

Now, you can tell me what I say doesn't count. If you do, I won't stop saying it. I promise you I will be a thorn on many issues that need to be addressed, and I will be outspoken about good things as well. I have been, I will continue to be. But I will also try to make sure I have my ducks in a row before asking for one group to be penalized and another given unlimited access. That is the fatal flaw of that letter, and I have to go with Prok. It's a bit indefensible if you step away from it and look at it for what it is.

So here's my question: What are premium account holders willing to give up? I'll tell you what. I think any premium account holder with over 15,000 items in inventory should pay an inventory tier. I think that if you wear flexiprim hair with 200 prims in it, there should be a flexiprim hair tier as well. And scripted objects? Hey, we're on a roll, let's create a tier for them too.

Then we can talk about unverified accounts. :-)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 1, 2007 @ 1:29 pm
     
 
"Seriously, I think the letter is more of a statement of elitism than anything else. See, even with gmail - your example - there a limits for verified accounts. We don't even have those."

But we do have limits for verified accounts - limits on ownership of land. Of course, I can pay more to own more land - something that, by your argument, is wrong. After all, why should unverifieds be "handicapped" by not being able to own land?

"I can't agree with "We want unlimited access and ability to lug around amazingly large inventories but go screw those people over there"."

You missed out the corollary to that statement. It should read:

"We want unlimited access and ability to lug around amazingly large inventories... AND we are prepared to pay for it. What's more, if you want or need it, you can pay for it too!"

Want 15,000 objects in your inventory? Fine - pay for it. Meanwhile, if you want a free, unverified account, you won't get that. What's the difference between this model and your suggestion:

"So here's my question: What are premium account holders willing to give up? I'll tell you what. I think any premium account holder with over 15,000 items in inventory should pay an inventory tier."

Fine - Let's just call the ones who aren't paying that tier "unverified" members and I'll be right there with you :)

I take it from the fact that you didn't answer my question about whether unverifieds are being penalised because they can't own land that you believe there should be some benefits to being a verified member?

If so, the only question is what benefits you believe are valid - and that means we can stop talking as if all members are equal in terms of rights, because they aren't.

If you believe, on the other hand, that EVERYONE should have exactly the same rights no matter what their membership status then I look forward to you campaigning for an end to membership as a concept - and preferably a refund on the money I've already paid for mine. I'll be right behind you on that one! :)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Brace Coral
May 2, 2007 @ 1:16 pm
     
 
This is the way I see it.

There's been a few of these open letters, wether sent to LL, Board of Directors or "merely" posted on personal blogs etc over the past few years.

I doubt this one will illicit any major changes, unless the BOD gits to firin and hirin, but I'm all ok what the heck, so signed the damn thing.

Who knows?

The points on the letter are interesting, and if I don't agree with the whole thing, at least for me, thats not the point.

The point is, here is a vehicle that MIGHT light a fire under LL's butt. I don't think it will, but its worth supporting just in case.

This doesn't mean that alla sudden each and every point will be attended to. This isn't a fix crap OUR way or die letter.

The way I see it, is its a general plea to let LL et al know that folk are sickantired of the fixed being broken, and the broken not being fixed, and the shiny shiny new being brought on board without attending to the busted stuff.

So I signed.

IF it comes down to LL doing some sort of shenanigans with unverifieds, then I'll fight that battle if/when it comes up.

Actually I won't.

I'm sort of "meh" on that whole thing. it was an LL thought up division of the residency, and as such, I'm not inclined to chip my nails cleanin up their messes.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 2, 2007 @ 1:32 pm
     
 
Ian - you're talking about things which are pointedly NOT in the letter that was sent or signed. If that's what you meant, shouldn't it be able to be read in the document instead of how you explain it afterwards? When you start a petition and get people to sign stuff, you need to be clear about this stuff. As I have said and as I will continue to say, the spirit in which people have signed the letter does not matter. The contents of the letter do. Period. And the contents of that letter do not say what you are trying to say, otherwise I might have signed it.

I'm real careful about where I sign my name. How other people use their signatures is not my business, but I have to say that when I read that letter I see 1500+ people who believe that limiting unverified accounts without one iota of evidence. 100 (or even 2) years from now, people aren't going to read this and get everything that everyone has been explaining away. They're going to read 1500+ people blamed another group of people without any evidence. Despite what many think, much of what is written develops a permanence and as it grows older it becomes stone.

Boy am I glad I didn't sign that letter. My descendants are going to have to put up with enough stuff, they don't need to have to deal with that sort of thing being drug up on some witch-hunt. But then, I take the long view and others take the short view. :-)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 2, 2007 @ 1:43 pm
     
 
Come on Taran, answer the damned questions :)

You know from my comments elsewhere that I think the petition would have been better off without the elements about unverifieds - but I don't think that they undermine the fundamental point of the protest, which is that LL must start doing things to address these concerns NOW.

And, as I've also suggested to you, if you disagree with that part of the statement but not with the rest of it, post that much on your blog. Would that be too much effort?
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 2, 2007 @ 1:49 pm
     
 
>It might sounds like semantics, but it isn't, really - it's the way that 90% of web services work.

>Come on Taran, answer the damned questions :)

I'm so glad you two found each other. Talk among yourselves.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 2, 2007 @ 2:14 pm
     
 
Yes, Prokofy, we will: we'll get a conversation that doesn't involve anyone calling anyone "a fucktard", and where one side can admit that the other makes a fair point when they do.

I other words, unlike any conversation that you get involved in, thanks to your determination to make every argument a personal attack.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 2, 2007 @ 2:49 pm
     
 
Ian - What I have to say is this: SoapBox Moment: Shouldn't You Agree With What Is Written Before You Sign It?.

Answer what questions? Those who signed did not sign bits and pieces of the letter, unless their signatures are diluted. So why not take it up with them? I did not sign, I have explained why, and I have just explained why I would not sign something I would completely agree with.

What is your signature worth? That's my question, and that is rhetoric. If you're here saying, "well, I didn't really agree with that part" and "well, what the letter meant to me was", it sort of indicates that you really didn't sign the document in question. Perhaps the mechanics, but this isn't something like being half pregnant.

When you affix your name to something, you're supposed to agree with it completely. I'm not getting that from the comments here. I'm getting that "We signed it to be a part of something!". Well, that something is only the letter itself - and that letter, if it is as valid as people and the media have proposed, is based on the value of the signatures of the people who signed it. And if the signatures are diluted because now people are explaining things away which they didn't agree with in the first place, well...

What's the value of the document?

If you have to explain why you signed a document and in doing so you explain that you didn't mean parts or that it was just thrown out there... *sigh*

I'm sorry. I can't accept that. If you signed it, I associate your identity with what was written because to do otherwise would be to devalue my own signature on things. When I sign something, I *agree* with it completely. 6 years in the Navy reinforced that, years of dealing with copyright law has further reinforced that... not to mention signing checks and putting my name on documents that I do/did agree with.

Since I didn't sign the letter, the onus is not on me to change the letter to the meaning the signatories were after. What were they after? All these comments indicate that the signatories were signing a meaning which is not readily apparent in the document.

Of course, you can have it both ways if you want to. I'll just be more leery of what people's signatures mean on the internet... which is working away from what myself and others have been working toward for so long. Identity is a strong part of culture, signatures are a culturally important aspect of identity. Diluting that...

I'll have no part of it. Therefore, when I read that letter and the signatures, I see a lot of people who went off the wall with no statistical evidence to support things. You can't take it back. What you can do is find the evidence which supports the letter... but if you turn around now and say that there is no evidence, that what was written was not what you intended to sign... well, that letter doesn't mean anything then. It's tripe, made famous by media mention which may have captured the spirit of why some people signed it... but doesn't seem to actually read what was signed. That it was taken seriously underlines why it is so important to sign things which one believes in. When you have to explain it with things that are pointedly not in the letter... then maybe you didn't really sign it. Your name may be there, but if you disagree with it or do not agree with it completely... why is your name there?

When you can answer that question, you will not need to ask anyone else questions - which is really the whole point here, at least for me. Thus, I'll end my participation on that note.

And Prok - yes, I am glad Ian and I have been able to discuss things. No matter what happens, I respect Ian for his perspectives. We may not agree - in this case we do but do not - but that doesn't matter. What matters is that we are discussing things without insulting one another.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 2, 2007 @ 2:50 pm
     
 
>Yes, Prokofy, we will: we'll get a conversation that doesn't involve anyone calling anyone "a fucktard", and where one side can admit that the other makes a fair point when they do.

Translation of Ian's statement: "Yes, when I talk to people of my own clan who are tekkies I can respect, I don't insult their intelligence or make tendentious comments about them, although I do troll as much as I do on any occasion".
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 2, 2007 @ 2:50 pm
     
 
*(would not completely agree with)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 2, 2007 @ 2:52 pm
     
 
>No matter what happens, I respect Ian for his perspectives. We may not agree -
in this case we do but do not - but that doesn't matter. What matters is that we are discussing things without insulting one another.

Translation of Nobody's comments: "Yes, when I'm talking to a fellow clansman in my tekkie clan, I will treat them with respect, unlike people who aren't tekkies whose intelligence I insult and about who I constantly make tendentious statements, but yes, I reserve the right to be as literalist and finicky as I am on any occasion."
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 2, 2007 @ 3:33 pm
     
 
I'd feel bad for you Prok, I really would, but I have no emotion left for you. You demonstrate what Ian has said better than Ian could have written with your attempts to get a tail end here. In case you're wondering, now would be a good time to stop proving other people's points. L8r.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 2, 2007 @ 4:21 pm
     
 
"I'm sorry. I can't accept that. If you signed it, I associate your identity with what was written because to do otherwise would be to devalue my own signature on things. When I sign something, I *agree* with it completely. 6 years in the Navy reinforced that, years of dealing with copyright law has further reinforced that... not to mention signing checks and putting my name on documents that I do/did agree with."

I think that's a perfectly respectable position - I, on the other hand, take a different one: that's it's better to support the document overall, and worry about the details later.

Incidentally, Cris has posted a clarification up at the site (projectopenletter.org) about this issue. It's not quite what I would have wanted - which is simply to remove the passages about unverifieds - but I'm happy with it. And it shows, I think, that the people who wrote the letter are prepared to actually listen and respond to criticism - something that I'd be glad if LL did.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 2, 2007 @ 4:34 pm
     
 
>I'd feel bad for you Prok, I really would, but I have no emotion left for you. You demonstrate what Ian has said better than Ian could have written with your attempts to get a tail end here. In case you're wondering, now would be a good time to stop proving other people's points. L8r.

Translation: "I can't really accept your critique of me because I'm blind to my own faults as a know-it-all tekkie who has even been in the Navy 6 years -- take THAT! -- but I will adopt a faux world-weary but arrogant and patronizing attitude to you and belittle you with false claims that you're pointless and marginal, thereby in fact tactitly admitting that you've struck home."
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
May 2, 2007 @ 4:42 pm
     
 
It's a basic rule of any social movement worth its salt that you never change the text of a manifesto after you've released it to signatures. It's a profound deception to those who have signed it with one text to start monkeying with text, and then

This whole exercise is more about Cristiano securing his self-chosen and not-widely-acknowledged role as "community leader" than it is actually about making SL work.

And it's true that many people have signed it without being happy with the text merely because there are no alternatives, and in the very polarized, atomized, and incoherent society of SL, there aren't easy ways to make alternatives and negotiate them among classes of people and power groupings.

The clarification Cristiano has now put up probably helped add to the signatures (now at 3,400) but I find two things really weasly about this:

1. To gain further falsely-based popularity, Cristiano junks a position that in fact he holds -- one in which he believes that there shouldn't be unverified accounts, or there should just be two-week accounts. This is the sort of thing that gives "leaders" a bad name down the line when they revert to form.

2. To gain even more falsely-based popularity, Cristiano invokes suddenly a more robust position of "no new features until you fix SL" which wasn't in the initial petition, and in fact isn't something he and the other core FIC types ever believed or followed in the past. Cristiano has also not commented on my recurrent challenge about the "hide my status online" clamour.

Is the world of endlessly correctable and rewritable 24/7 social media to give us this kind of weasly social movement politics? Bleh.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ian Betteridge
May 2, 2007 @ 4:59 pm
     
 
"It's a basic rule of any social movement worth its salt that you never change the text of a manifesto after you've released it to signatures."

And that, my chum, is why you are a failure. Like a 14 year old boy, you cannot understand compromise. You see clarification as failure. You see dialogue as an admittance of defeat. You see anything less than the total destruction of your so-called "enemies" as impossible to bare.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 2, 2007 @ 6:19 pm
     
 
"Translation: "I can't really accept your critique of me because I'm blind to my own faults as a know-it-all tekkie who has even been in the Navy 6 years -- take THAT! -- but I will adopt a faux world-weary but arrogant and patronizing attitude to you and belittle you with false claims that you're pointless and marginal, thereby in fact tactitly admitting that you've struck home.""

Translation: Prok has nothing of worth to add to the thread at this point, and has committed herself to personal attacks and outright trolling.

Don't feed the troll.

Whoops.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Alexia
May 16, 2007 @ 1:42 pm
     
 
perhaps a bit late to comment, but i thought i'd just add my bit.

Alexia is unverified, not because I chose to be when registering, but because there was a glitch and it didn't store my card details or put me on premium membership when i signed up. Since then I have considered and rejected it, but I do have a couple of other verified alts, including at one stage 2 premium accounts.

So, as an unverified alt and considering that a cap on inventory size would make me unhappy, I'm quite happy (!) to have her inventory size reduced or her logons denied at peak times. If I needed her to have unfettered access I'd then take the steps needed to get her the access.

As it is, there's only one place I've ever been denied entry to because of my (lack of) status. That's their choice, but it means that I won't even go there with the premium account. Their loss not mine.

Whilst I can agree that most unverifieds do no harm or add to the richness of SL, if bringing these changes in will improve the performance then I'm all for it. After all, that's what LL is good at - reducing features rather than solving the problems.

SL is one of the few businesses I have come across where you can pretty well get all the same features as the paying punter and get them without time restriction or reduction in features after an introductory period to get you hooked. I can only believe the LL don't actually have enough faith in their product to take appropriate business decisions.

It really makes no business sense to give the non paying customers free rein and is not even doing the inworld commerce any good as spending per head is down...
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Alexia
May 16, 2007 @ 1:45 pm
     
 
oh and that's why I signed the letter.. The main gist is that they need to fix what's broken rather than adding new unstable features..

and to those of you who are getting uptight about restricting non paying/unverifieds - as one all I can say is 'get over it'
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 16, 2007 @ 1:55 pm
     
 
Thank you, Alexia, for demonstrating the point that the letter was signed not for the content but the hope that things would be fixed. Unfortunately, that intent was not clear in the letter.

Such a letter, as you put it, would have taken one line:

"Fix what is broken instead of adding unstable features.".

That I could sign. But that is not what was offered. What was offered? Something to which your response is, 'Get Over It'. I suppose that response could have been sent in response to the letter itself, but fortunately Linden Lab has at least attempted (!) to be more involved than that. They can, by the ToS, simply tell you to 'Get Over It' as well.

Doesn't matter anyway. The status quo remains the status quo... ad nauseam... and I do think you sum it up quite well with 'Get Over It'. That has the beauty of brevity, while the actual response(s) of Linden Lab have been much more verbose yet effectively the same. What has changed? The Open Letter got a blog entry.

Woohoo! :-D
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Alexia
May 16, 2007 @ 2:09 pm
     
 
the 'get over it' comment is true though.. people being people always find others to despise - the unverifieds, the wasters, campers... the list goes on.

in this case though my point is that if you like sl enough to whine about it then become a paying/verified punter which gives you the right to complain. otherwise you're just being churlish.

you're right about ll paying only lip service. the letter didn't generate enough bad publicity to do anything more.

I haven't checked recently, but the last time I looked it was around 3k signatures - out of 6 million accounts!!!! and I'll lay bets that of that 3k very few were premium members.. Get a petition where only premiums can sign and that gets a large proportion of premiums signing it and LL may pay attention. Otherwise this is just like an insect buzzing.. easy to ignore - which is what they've done.. A town hall to make it look like they care and then hope it's all forgotten.

and don't forget, I'm one of the potentially oppressed and even if i didn't run other verfied accounts I would still say the same thing. you can't continue to get something for nothing when it impacts on the performance for all and the potential revenue stream for the provider. which is what free accounts has done. I closed one of my premiums because of the bad customer service and poor platform performance..


but after saying all that, don't get me going on this age verification thing.. I've never seen such and over-reactive crock in my life.. :)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 16, 2007 @ 2:20 pm
     
 
Dunno. What you have verbosely demonstrated to me is that you are one of many people who signed something that you didn't read carefully and which you didn't really agree to 100%. Following that logic, we should outlaw credit card receipts. I don't care too awfully much if you signed something which you *say* would cause your own oppression. That is really your business. Some people are into that sort of stuff. But have you considered other options?

That has been my point, and the number of people who sign is not relevant to that.

Lemmings. Cliff. Whee! :-D

'Nuff Said.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Alexia
May 16, 2007 @ 2:33 pm
     
 
sigh.. try paying attention to what i said - and others too.. it might help you cope with some of your anger management problems, and of course looking foolish as you go off on a tangent that has no relationship to the comment in question.

but you're right, there has been enough said.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Taran Rampersad (Nobody Fugazi)
May 16, 2007 @ 2:46 pm
     
 
There's no anger management issue, Alexia. I simply find it amusing that you would sign something which you did not agree with to the letter. Why should I be angry? Because you did something I consider strange in signing something which you have demonstrated you do not agree with as it was written? Wow. I should be angry? I must have screwed that up somewhere.

I believe if you are going to practice closet psych, you should consider transference, because that is what your response seems to be. See, I don't get angry when people do silly things. I point at them and say, "wow! that looks silly!" and I laugh.

Now you can continue trying to get personal with me. I'd suggest, "I know you are but what am I?", since that would be the next level to sink to. That is when I really start laughing. I'll leave you to your own devices.

Sign whatever you wish. It *is* your signature. My point has been and continues to be that your signature shows what you stand for... or don't. If you don't agree with me, I expect you'll be in court sooner or later over a rubber check.

"Well, I didn't *mean* to write $300, see... I meant I agreed that I owed them some money... but not $300..."

roflmao
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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