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07/11/2006

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Cocoanut

Glad you discovered this, Prok.

I think most of the newbies are perfectly capable of handling a new game, and manage to do so without relying on this ridiculous, if initially well-intentioned, program. Likely many of them simply bypass it.

Fortunately, I never wanted to be a volunteer. I do plenty of helping on my own anyway.

But the system is corrupt, and the "slider" analogy you use is perfect.

Apparently we have people who are kicked out of the program on the basis of one forum warning (if that's not a "relatively clean" rap sheet, I don't know what is!), with the individuals not ever even allowed to learn what the warning was FOR.

While at the same time, apparently we have people with suspensions who are allowed to stay in the program.

All of it run by one person, who can rule arbitrarily and never has to even say WHY, and those ruled against have no recourse whatsoever, and can never even learn what it is they supposedly did.

The usual argument for this is, "It's their company, they can do what they want."

Yes, it's their company, and they can be as corrupt as they want.

My question is: What sort of people, once aware of how it works, agree to participate in and perpetuate such a corrupt system?

coco

Prokofy Neva

Coco,

I guess I'm always waiting for some Linden to come and say, "Oh, no, in fact the Greeting Industry isn't just run by one Linden, but a committee of Lindens who in fact do check and balance each other. And oh, that one case you mentioned, why, yes, that is of concern, and that's totally an abberration, we never have that."

But...they don't.

Furthermore, you rightly ask, what kind of people can partake of a corrupt system like that? Well, I suspect many of the 1,600 people aren't active, don't think about this, and don't even know about it.

Some tiny group, the usual Toxic 20 type of numbers, have a very conscious and nasty relationship to it, and rule it. The bulk of the people in the group don't realize this or care.

How to change it? Only by public exposure, as I'm trying to do here in a small way.

And also creating smaller, more manageable, accountable alternatives. Of course there are some already, like New Citizens, which is a group independent of Lindens and their official helping industry, even though they do participate in it with the titles of "mentor" and "helper" and such.

I think most "helping" is really more about "socializing". People who opt for the "help" menu just want to talk.

You know, reviewing all this stuff last night, I was struck once again how amazingly complex it is, and how, once somebody decides they are going to undertake making a mammoth wiki and help cards system to explain it, they have a vested interest in keeping it complex so they can serve as gurus and gatekeepers. If the system were made simpler, all their cards would be useless.

Brace

ick.

Oh wells.

Again this whole scene is part and parcel why I started the New Citizens Inc.

(Prokofy, I'm not sure if the titles where changed since I've not been around much - but they were originally NCI Helper or something for the officers - and NCI Member for the members. So that folks who wanted to work at the WA could easily be looked to as those there to HELP.

Now this was long before Helper Island and this was WEH before the Greeters too. I hope to Buddha we aint sporting anything NEAR the word Mentor nowadays - I've tried my best to stay as far away from that group as possible. Don't make meh hafta log in and check: GAHH!!! ;)~~

And again if folks want to be a Helper in the NCI they can simply just ask. No hoop jumping, no bullshit rap sheet idiocy. I used the word before it become such a loaded one. Or should I say before the Lindies fuckted it up completely.)

You can go ahead and check out the credo for the group in game. The underlying theme is respect. I agree that whole head patting the child take on newcomers just makes me sick.

You never know who you're speaking to behing the avatar. In my sojourn at the NCI I actually did meet a RL rocket scientist - no joke!

We had some very interesting discussions I can tell you, and she was extremely pleased and happy when I helped her get the scripting info she needed to be able to start on projects right away.

The other one of the principles is if you want to help, then you can go ahead and help.

You don't need approval from LL, or have to sit around waiting for months to get a nod. There have been RL educators like myself who got so frustrated with that system that they'd nearly weep with relief when they found out they could just sign up and DO.

hell even Nike says: Just Do It.

At one point Carl Metro innocently asked me if I had Instructor status. Half hour later after I finished laffin (not at him - Carlito ROCKS - but at the notion) I splained that I wrote the book on how to teach classes up in here and for real - I dint need Jeska or anyone else saying I was "ok to teach folk".

So how did I get my chops? I gottem because I went out and just did it. Had I gone the route of getting whatever dubious official sanctioning was goin on back then, I'd STILL be waiting - and there certainly wouldn't be and NCI around.

Its sort of like that charming How To Script series of notecards written by this enthusiastic guy who's Eengleesh might not be the best; But he laid things out in such a simple, and easy to follow format, that even the scriptorally challenged like myself could glean the basics.

Just Do It. And don't get yourself caught up in all the crap Prok has highlighted for us today.

Yumi Murakami

I think some of these are a little harsh! :)

First of all, I think newbie help is valuable. All of the discovery and experimentation can go out of the window when you do something like clicking Wear on what appears to be an outfit and winding up with a box on your head, or flying into a no-fly zone and finding you can't STOP flying, or wondering how you texture a skin when the only options you have are tattoos.. and so on. SL's user interface is still very weak for something that's been developed for so long, and it's radically different enough from most online worlds that people come with odd conceptions that really only a human being there can understand and correct. As an example, I once had a new person ask me, "how do I make my Building rating go up, so I can build more than plywood cubes?" In other words he thought the Building rating was an MMORPG style "stat". Now, can you think of any help notecards that could have responded to that one?

The "you don't need land to have fun" business - that's because a lot of new folks, on discovering a "free" game, go immediately into super paranoid mode looking for the "catch" that's going to require them to pay money. They identify that as being land ownership and then assume they've been baited. Thus, they have to be reassured that they haven't and they don't need to own land to get on. Yes, sale of virtual property is a big business model but most of these people aren't going to become land resellers, they're going to become land customers, and I'm sure you want to make sure your customers know about the sniglets of owning or renting land on Second Life, possibly including the much more important but relatively understated "social" sniglets.

As for "follow ups" to OI/HI, there we hit a problem, because either newbies are guided to help areas in world (in which case the market again isn't free) or they're not (in which case them getting help depends on them, unguided, working out what the help area is called and teleporting to it). NCI tries to be a follow-up to HI; it has several of their information stations replicated. And there is actually now a "public OI" that you can teleport back to anytime, although it kinda abandons you at the end.

Aaron Hadlee

Is this the complaint box?

Prokofy Neva

Yumi,

I disagree with what you're saying, though I understand where you are coming from.

1. It's ok to wind up with a box on your head. Indeed, I still get boxes on my head. Until you have had a box on your head at least 3-4 times, you don't learn. You cannot and should not be shielding newbies from having a box on their head. Exploring and learning in your body and your avatar's memory bank is how you learn, or at least, how some people learn, and that's fine.

I spent an hour on my first week, stuck in the water under a rock at the Ivory Tower of Prims once, unable to figure out how to get out of there, and how to fly into the Ivory Tower. It was a very unhappy hour. But that's what it took for me to learn.

2. Actually, while some people come from MMORPEGS, most don't, or at least, the ones I see around who are a certain kind of statistical average. And they get it faster than most. Somebody in a MMORPG used to stats and weapons and fighting is someone highly, highly proficient with how to manipulate user interface

You and other helpers need to separate out from this entire issue your need to get the boost you feel from explaining and teaching -- something all of us enjoy as older players wanting to help - and what the *actual need* is.

What I hate about the SL system is that no one seems to have done a realistic and true needs assessment.

There's been no real accurate statistics or information gathered about what the needs are, and anecdotal information gathered from chance impressions in chat channels like "all newbies found teleporting through telehubs confusing and didn't understand the red line" become gospel -- when I know that as a stupid newbie, I figured out the red line, and most people were figuring it out. An awful lot of mythologizing happens around the issue of newbies because it's really about the issue of *transition for the whole society and its fears for the future* and that's why people are very, very jealously clinging to both their heightened sense of themselves as teachers and helpers, and their heightened sense of these helpless and clueless newbies. Trust me, the kids are all right.

lot of new folks, on discovering a "free" game, go immediately into super paranoid mode looking for the "catch" that's going to require them to pay money. T

I'm willing to bow to your anecdotal information based on your newbie stream, but then you'll have to bow to my anecdotal information based on my newbie stream

Yumi, people spend $50 to buy World of War Craft and go online and spend more to buy gold and upgrade their accounts and pay I think it's about $15.00 a month to stay in WoW.

So please, spare me the notion that there is some huge issue of poverty around SL, where people can't manage coming to a free -- FREE - game, where their *DSL line, high-end graphics card and disposable time* is *already* deployed to enter the world. They can go the $9.95 for the first-land experience, trust me on this. They can handle it. There's far, far, FAR too much neuralgia and preciousness about this.

In fact, you do need land to have fun, that is, if you want to control your space and build in a place where it will pretty much always be there when you log on again. This land is given to you for the dirt-cheap subsidized price of only $1.50 USD at the current market rates ($512). The nearly $10 cost for the premium account, the price of a a double expresso soy no-dairy steamed mochachina, is not at issue, seriously.

And with all due respect, because I believe you when you say you've heard newbies worry about being fleeced especially on islands, or "stuck with" land they have to keep paying tier on, the "YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN" mantra preceded the current influx of newbies, and doesn't spring out of the current concern of being fleeced.

The DON'T NEED LAND gang (look at the date on those notecards, it's a year or so ago, and merely updates a card even much older) in fact are the sandbox/IRC/FIC crowd who loathe the land business, and think householding is stupid and unnecessary. They don't want newbies to go the bourgeois route of becoming land-owners they want them to go to prim university, create, or die. It's a very political and scientific point of view, and preceded islands, or the latest influx by far.

Shielding newbies from alleged evil scammers and bilkers, we can all partake in a common mythology about controlling our rapidly and frightenly fast changing world. If we can only take care of newbies and make sure they don't pay into invisiprims, we'll all be OK.

But we're not going to be ok, and neither are they; or at least, we need to accept change and risk to a far greater extent than we do as the price for progress, enlargement, and financial stability.

I think while newbies can get a warning, they don't need to get an INTRODUCTION with a huge message of DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN when in fact land *is* fun, and in fact that's the company business model. This is an ideological disaster at many levels.

I'd like to interview the first 100 people on the boat some time and really have you test your theory that they fear that they're going to get sandbagged with land. I don't hear it. Most freebies get that they can fly around and be free and expect handouts. Most buying the land want the fun of digging into the earth and making a house. Land sells like hotcakes. New sims with 32 or whatever plots on them sell out within hours. There is a huge demand -- we don't know how much really because they don't share the numbers -- for rentals that involve controlling and living on land but without being stuck with recurring ownership costs or the burden of resale. So I think this all bears careful revisiting.

I don't know what sniglets are. Are they like piglets? Explain.

I do have plenty of cards in my office, which I also hand out in world, explaining the pluses and minuses of rentals, sales, or simple sandboxing. Go and pick them up some time. I have an elaborate card spelling out every single plus and minus feature of mainland versus private island, and I think it's a far more objective card than either Anshe's or Ellie Edo's, both of whom have ideological and/or financial stake in prevailing on this issue.

Please keep in mind the limits on your helping mandate: 75 percent of the people skip orientation. Isn't that the figure? 75 percent don't need you. They have their friends. Like me, who was first helped by Ingrid and Barnes, or like other people who I knew from TSO who I helped, and like the hundreds of others I help every month, they learn by *picking something they want to do, attempting to do it, and getting help over the rough bits*.

The current help ministry is foundered on a false faith: that all avatars want to learn everything about the platform and how to become technically proficient in it. It's an earnest tekkie effort to try to create giant manuals for the uninitiated. But that assumption is erroneous. Most people never want to learn about 75 percent of the stuff in the client. They only want the necessary bits, and they differ.

To this day, I don't know how to load gestures and get A/Os to work -- and I probably will never bother. I will go on being a poker-faced avatar unable to wave and do anything but belly-laugh. I'm fine with this, and I don't feel any need to change. Somebody else, who has learned the A/O ropes out the wazoo will never, ever rez a board and line it up with the numbers, which is something I taught myself to do torturous trial and error.

I never went back to a help station; most people I try to guide back to a help station never go. They learn by doing, or by getting a person to show them. That's why Live Help home visits are very popular.

Since you're in this mystical society, please tell me this: what are the benchmarks for your success? How can you tell when you are doing something right?

Answer: user retention and upgrading to tier (that's been LL's traditional metrics anyway).

So...what percentage of the 25 percent of the newbie stream that gets helped and oriented and mentored retains and tiers?

Now...was that worth all this fuss?

Cocoanut

My thoughts on the "You don't need to own land to have fun" mantra.

I say, hey! Maybe YOU don't, but I do! haha

I think there ARE those who don't need to have land to have fun, but they are the minority in the group of those who actually play the game on a regular basis.

I would say these regular but basic players fall into two (and maybe more) groups:

1. People with friends who have land. Lots of people are happy to live on the land their friends own, and their friends are happy to have them. This works out well for those who want to stay basic.

2. Determined nomads. For a very few, this is just a desirable way of life. For others,it is almost a point of pride never to buy land, and for some of them, never to spend any money on SL at all. Some of those actually make money at SL, which means a double win in the "I don't pay money" game.

Most others either are a more casual and less frequent resident, or else they want to have land of their own to play with.

And as you say, it behooves LL for people to buy land and pay tier, so I wish anybody still telling people they don't need to own land to have fun would stop.

coco

aEoLuS

I left the helpers because to many newbies realy didnt want to have help but just wanted to grief AND I seen to often that mentors/helpers sell their or friends stuff in the name of helping.

Must say that Jeska always was nice and helpfull.

Anyway in concept I liked the idea to get help by ppl that liked to show you arround, help/learn you howto unpack a box and such..

Prokofy Neva

Jeska often is nice and helpful, but she's only one person, and she's presiding over a system with many flaws and many people doing exactly what you say: using this system to sell for themselves or their friends.

That's why I say end the discretionary nature of it, leaving it to just one Linden who decides who gets to sell for themselves or their friends, and make it an open market system, allowing various businesses or non-profits interested in bidding for contracts, or even just billboard space, to do so on the open market.

Yumi Murakami

Thanks for replying!

1. The idea isn't to STOP people getting a box on their head, the idea is to make sure that if they get one, they can find out how to get it off (and if it's me, I'll also tell them WHY it wound up there).

You are perfectly right that people learn better by exploring and doing things themselves than by being told them; I believe there's even scientific proof of that. But there's also the issue of motivation to do so - educators have to deal with this in the real world too. YOU were prepared to send an hour working out how to get out from underneath a rock but that does not mean that everyone would be. The easier it gets to register for SL, the less advance commitment it will require from people and many of the new people coming in now have no advance commitment - if SL doesn't clearly show fun potential, it's going to get uninstalled.

We want newbies to get to learn by doing, but we want them to learn the exciting and interesting stuff that way, not the fundamentals without which many people get stuck and frustrated.

2 - I figured out the red line when I was a newbie too. Your point about "need" is actually quite fascinating but I really wonder where it comes from. Nobody is forced to go to NCI, or HI, or even to complete OI. If people decide they don't want or need help it's not forced upon them. Or are you saying there are too many volunteers for what they need?

Sort-of-3 - Yes, people pay more for WOW than they do for SL, but on the other hand, WOW is completely upfront about the fact you have to pay for it. It is also sold from shop shelves which many people (wrongly) seem to consider a sign of higher quality. Anything that is actually given away for free must be viewed with deep suspicion and ideally subjected to at least 5 spyware scanners before it is installed. It's simply a psychological thing that people are not always happy to pay for something that they thought was free.

"In fact, you do need land to have fun, that is, if you want to control your space and build in a place where it will pretty much always be there when you log on again." But what if someone doesn't need to "control their space" in order to have fun? You don't get to "control your space" at all in WOW. If someone enjoys going out and dancing at clubs, they don't need to control their space. If someone enjoys walking through the streets of Nakama challenging people to katana fights, they don't need to control their space - or maybe they aren't as talented as the builders of Nakama were and are willing to sacrifice the idea of having their own dojo in exchange for getting to save on tier and spend the time playing in a larger and better-looking build that is however controlled by somebody else.

You have to bear in mind that there are users who, when they click on that swirly hand icon on their desktop, are starting up a katana fighting game, and that's something that we will probably see more of if SL is going to develop as a platform; the defining factor of a platform has always been that its applications define it for end users far more than its platform capabilities do.

I don't mean that they're going to get "sandbagged" with land in the sense that people will con them. What I mean is that if we were instead to convey the message that you *DO* need land to have fun in SL then lots of people would buy land that they then probably wouldn't use. How would that be of any benefit to anyone?

"Sniglets" are irritating non-obvious little catches, like the fact that you can have a rental house even though the barrage of notices when you logged in told you you needed to go Premium to own land.

As for the comment that we are encouraging people to "learn everything about the platform and how to become technically proficient", again I must point out that nobody is forced into the help system. If 75 percent of people are skipping it then what harm can it be doing?

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, there's a persistant idea that people don't want land. But they do. If it were free, as it is in TSO, or part of your initial "stash" that never costs anything again, as it is in TOS, 99 percent of the people would take it. in TSO, everybody had land, just about. Some people floated a bit while researching, or just lived with friends, but once you make land available for cheap, and it's not a recurring cost, they take it because it is indeed how you have fun.

All this ginning up of examples about people having katana fights in Nakama is baloney. They may do that! But they also want the thrill of having their own little dojo or whatsis type house where they put their crossed swords on the wall and sit and have tea. This is a very universal desire. The only thing to obstruct it in SL is lack of knowledge. People can't understand that it is only $1.50 US, and that it can then be sold such as to recoup $10 US. This simple, obvious, salient fact -- that you can buy the account and have the fun of selling it ingame and get paid back for your experiment if you chose not to continue it -- needs to be spread far and wide, and many more people encouraged to try it.

Instead, a whole industry of fear-mongering has risen up around the first-land issues, alleged scams, swoopers, haters, grief, blight. And the entire thing -- precisely because of the climate of fear whipped up -- has become unappetizing. The psychology could be turned around, however, by a few non-socialists on OI and HI who say frankly, "try getting some land, it's fun, you lose nothing by trying."

Most people learn this hard game by hacking around in a yard somewhere with a sympathetic friend or helper nearby. One on one tutorials are most effective. It's a lot of wear and tear, but it's how the Lindens build bonding, since they don't have "kiss" and "Jitterbug" in the interactions.

I know it is fashionable to believe that SL is a fighting game now, and it's future lies there. I think that will always be a distinct minority. I think it's a marketing ploy. I think boys like Cory Linden don't like to think they're making a game for girls. But they are making a girl's game, a game where you play dolls and house. When they can stop fussing about that and let go and let God, they will be the richer for it.

Most people can use a 512, Yumi. That's all. A 512. A try. A spin. It's not so terrible. I am always amazed at the fastidiousness around this showed by some.

I don't see any barrage of notices about premium and owning land. I see it once in a blue moon. And there is no systematic land-oriented orientation. Which is amazingly wierd in a game with a business model based on land sale. It's political, and ideological, and the result of a determined clique or sect that keeps flogging this, which is why I fight it.

Most orientation, when you're new or in the Ivory Tower or at the infohubs, is about how to become technically proficient using the tools. I think this is not viable for many people which is why I'm making an alternative.

Brace

The thing thats so difficult about helping folks is there is such a huge amount of STUFF to learn to begin with.

Back when I actually cared, me and many others were pleading for some sort very easily implemented concepts to help people simple know that they can adjust their settings so that they could actually move around.

Something as simple as a sign right in your face when you log in for the first time (on help island or wherever it is people go nowadays) that says: "If you can't move - CLICK HERE"

But no LL had to go and get all complicated and whatsnot - sorta like the illfated Cabinhead sim that lasted for all of three seconds - and serve to make what could have been a simple thing, that much more hard.

I remember being at the WA and spending about 5 minutes or so helping ReallyRick learn how to sit down.

There's little things like that - TONS of those! And then you have TONS of the big things like the ins and outs of land renting/owing, building, scripting, how to use the UI etc etc etc.

The NCI tries to simplify the process and not make it another whole learning process to learn the process on how to learn what it is you wanna learn.

That's LL's MO, and really guess what? All of this has the end result of halting growth.

I used to care about that, but after so much time trying to get LL to see the light, and then giving up and trying to do it myself - hey well ya reap what ya sow.

The simple fact that places like the "Welcome Area" are veritable sewers, and all of that could have been nipped in the bud long ago - tells you exactly where the LL "helper" industry is gonna go too.

I can't tell you to stop caring. Robin carries on about "be the change" and all that. Well I WAS the goddam change and I simply got tired of the uphill battle.

You'd think that LL would be prioritizing things so that they could be in help and support to those that are basically doing the job for them, but it appeared to me over and over again, that things were going in the opposite direction.

So then we are left with whatever and whoever stands up to the plate to help, and we get an informed and indepth post on a blog like Prok's. And mind you, he's talked about this before, several times.

Its an ongoing issue that doesn't get better as you down the road, but continues to worsen. I do give props to those of you who are still trying and still caring. I can't say that I understand why - but you get my kudos anyhow - cuz I been there.
---

And the whole land thing.

Yep you sure can have fun without land, yes you can.

If you are that sort of person.

If you are coming into SL to play house - you gonna need land, rented, bought or whatever.

To each his own, and I prefer people getting detailed info on both aspects, biased free.

I had fun when I started and didnt have land. I had fun when I had a buncha land. I aint got no land again and I'm having fun (when I log in).

eh and I'll end this here and save my rant for the "hey noob: shut up and learn how to build" folks for another time.

Prokofy Neva

Brace,

You've made a lot of good points. I don't have anywhere near the experience you and Carl and Yumi and others have in trying to prepare the entire newbie package experience. I just stick to the things some want to do -- like you said, play house.

So when they are motivated to lock their doors, I teach them how to buy the prim, recompile the scripts, etc. At first it seems hella daunting, it took me forever to learn too but I promise them that they will feel a sense of accomplishment, and then they do.

Of course locked doors are absurd in SL....They don't work. But they're a mild deterrent.

Well, the other thing I do is JUST what you said. I try to pick out those little annoyances. Like "how do I sit down?" I hated that for weeks. Still can't get it. Or, "how do get the roof to stop rocking up into my face when I build" answer: turn off that auto edit thing which now defaults ON when it should default OFF.

Anyway, when I get done with Memory Bazaar I look forward to getting feedback. I already try to change whatever I can based on response from newbies. But most of them can't tell you what they want.

Ash Venkman

Hi. I'm an SL user and I don't own land, nor do I plan to. It is certainly true that owning land is not a requirement of enjoying SL for everyone. There's plenty of other places to play.

If SL didn't have free basic membership I wouldn't have signed up. I've been in-world for about a month -- if I had to choose now between signing up for Premium or closing my account, I'd quit entirely. SL is interesting but it's not interesting enough to spend money on every month. I'm not that committed.

I don't mind buying stuff -- I'll probably buy some L$ pretty soon. But I'm still not sure I won't get bored with it and not login for 6 months. If I bought land, I'd have to choose between paying $45-60 to keep something I might never want again and giving up entirely. Not an enticing proposition.

And really, there's nothing that owning land could add to the SL experience for me, so far as I can see -- I don't want to host events, if I want to sell something I can rent a mall slot, and architectural builds aren't what I enjoy making.

So I find your claim that people who aren't "land-oriented" are "socialist" ridiculous. It's a financial decision.

Yumi Murakami

I think I'm feeling similar to you here, Prok - I can understand your points, but I'm not sure I agree with them.

I noticed that some of our earlier dialog was deleted - I'm not sure if this is something you did by choice or the result of TypePad going down last night, but if it really was the case that you thought it was going off-topic, then I apologise for not realising :)

Yes, SL is all about playing dolls and house, but that doesn't limit it! Girls love those but boys can play those too. Yes, the boys' dolls are called Action Man and Doctor X and they come with quick release weapons instead of accessory packs (and your kid brother will go mad if you say he's playing dolls) but basically the spirit is the same. So "playing dolls" doesn't, IMHO, exclude our notional example player who enjoys staging katana fights at all.

And it isn't a case of "$1.50 to have a try". It starts with $9.99 for Premium, then the land is effectively free with a Premium primer and stipend. They can sell the land for maybe $10, but if they've held it for more than a month they'll take a loss, and if they haven't been able to learn about the land trade they'll wind up with a plot that nobody really wants. (Oh, and NCI *do* do a class on land dealing, by the way - I think it's on Sundays with Carl Metropolitan.)

But after that, they have to pay for the dojo prefab, and for the crossed swords to hang in it, and for the poseballs that let them sit down. And then they realise that nobody is coming over anyway, because they can all go to the professionally built public dojo with the baked textures on the private island. To add their own "touch" to the dojo they need to either spend even more or start making things themselves. And making things themselves is a matter of creative ability - and technical proficiency with the tools.

That's why people teach technical proficiency, Prok. It's because it's free to learn, and if you know it, it adds value to ANY land you buy. Most people can use a 512, but if they have a 512 with just a bare prefab while they save up for the decorations while their neighbour has already build themselves a beautiful original design then their "value-for-money warning" alarm is going to start ringing. People don't have to be building their own houses, but even if they only build a simple table light or something it's at least the start of the freedom that's so vital to SL.

This isn't "creator fascism" (on a side note, didja know that way back in the days of Linden world, for the Alpha test, you had to show 3DS/Maya experience in order to create an account?) - it's just the way SL works that so much of it is designed around everyone being able to create. It's because of that that it has to have a streaming protocol that causes massive lag and technically cripples it compared to most online games. If someone is frozen out from that, they still get all the lag, but they don't get any of the benefits, and we can at least try to make sure that as many people can get those benefits as possible. As I said, we're not talking about getting everyone to the point of selling content, but just knowing how to modify or create their own things in their houses.

Prokofy Neva

>Hi. I'm an SL user and I don't own land, nor do I plan to. It is certainly true that owning land is not a requirement of enjoying SL for everyone. There's plenty of other places to play.

I assure you this is a minority experience. It's the kind of experience that urban, educated, intellectual, technically-trained people often look for, enjoy, and then fiercely defend in Second Life. They are the ones who also tend to be on forums, blogs, and podcasts. So they tend to think it's "the truth" and one that "they need to spread the gospel on".

Fly around Second Life a little, and get the real picture. Most of the 65,000 people logging day after day and night after night *are on land*. They are on land because they are *playing house*. Or business. Or store. But playing something that involvse land, buildings, people, relationships. They aren't just in sandboxes, scripting. They are consumers, not creators. And even the creators tend to have lots of land, sooner or later.

The business model of SL knows that, and that's why instead of asking people to pay by their CPU unit needed to make interesting scripts in sandboxes, so that wealthy tekkies who are retired or self-employed or have huge amounts of disposable income could come and play, instead, they made a land-based model so that thousands of ordinary people who just enjoy playing store or house could play.

>Re: "If I bought land, I'd have to choose between paying $45-60 to keep something I might never want again and giving up entirely."

You're unlike thousands and thousands of people in SL. Look at the 150 islands Anshe owns, where typically the expenditure people lay out for their online relationships, sex, creativity, and business isn't even $45, but $150 US. Go fly around. Get in touch with virtuality.

I'm always baffled at this fear of land, and fear of a recurring expense. You pay $9.95 a month, or $7.25 for 90 days of a subscription. You buy a 4096 for about $50 US. You pay $25 US to hold that land. At any time, you get sick of having to do this, you instantly cancel it and have absolutely no recurring fee -- only the bill for what you already used at your highest peak of tier usage.

To be sure, if you don't want to wait, you will lose that $50 US you spent on the land in the first place. Which is why you should set it to sell well before your tier date hits. Or you could think of it as the same $50 you bought the WoW disks with. WoW discs can go on a shelf and be used later. SL land can't. But then, you can't sell your WoW discs, and you can sell your SL land.

No one holds you hostage to anything. If you land doesn't sell at the price you bought it, well, that's life. You'll see that paying the tier another month on it, versus taking a more realistic market price for it, is the option. A good percentage of people sell land for more than what they paid, which is why the Lindens model in part works.

>Re: "And really, there's nothing that owning land could add to the SL experience for me, so far as I can see -- I don't want to host events, if I want to sell something I can rent a mall slot, and architectural builds aren't what I enjoy making.

>So I find your claim that people who aren't "land-oriented" are "socialist" ridiculous. It's a financial decision."

It is socialist to FORCE this position on you, and to assume, as you are doing, that this is "some kind of norm that needs to be fiercely protected," as you are doing. It's not.

Ash, I'll go over it once again. You have a minority opinion. It's the experience of a small sector of people in SL, who happen to be the most vocal, and also sometimes the most creative and productive in the 25 percent segment supplying content for the other 75 percent.

But whatever powers of influence they have, they do not represent this society. At all.

Content producers sometimes don't see any need for land -- they live in sandboxes, go to friends, or don't log on much, selling out of vendors and third-party sites.

What's "socialist" about those screaming YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN is that you are *forcing this viewppoint on the majority of the people in SL who do have land and do have fun.*

The MAJORITY of people logging in to islands or owned mainland are on LAND. There, they pursue sex, relationships, clubs, business, education.

Even socialists have to have land, as in Neualtenberg, to pursue their ideologies of government-on-a-prim. Pretty much anybody trying to live a life in Second Life finds they do it on land.

Therefore, it's irresponsible, when the entire business model and actual life as it is recorded on actual servers and sims is about land and locating things on land to scream at the entrance gates YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN.

Everybody can see that you DO.

And when they see this as some impossible thing for them to attain, they SHOOT AND GRIEF.

This is a large part of the idiocy, griefing, and shooting that goes on in the early weeks for some accounts -- nobody steers them to the more productive uses of their energies, tilling the soil, and bringing in the harvest.

They make it seem as if there is nothing in between sandboxing and flying around like you're doing, and owning a big-ass palace on half a sim. And that's why there is so much griefing.

When the Lindens and their pals like you can smarten up and stop having a business model dependent on land and oligarchs and an ideology depending on socialists and forums regs, and merge the two logically, they will broaden out the space for a middle class to grow, and that middle class will both absorb the ranks of the griefers they can absorb, and repel the ranks of griefers they cannot absorb.

Finally, I have to point out the deep flaw in your argument: "if I want to sell something I can rent a mall slot."

So, your sandboxing, creativity, and fun-without-land has to depend on somone *else* who is not only maybe NOT having fun by having land but who is assuming costs, headaches, problems just so YOU can have fun with your little mall slot selling your content made from a sandbox. This is the epitome of socialism, frankly, having something at someone else's expense, even if you pay some pittance for it.

Yumi, No dialogue here is ever deleted. Typepad chews things up sometimes, I have no way of restoring even my own posts.

Playing dolls and playing house are activities done by males and females, and males and females and females as males in SL. But we all know that despite all the political correctness in the world, girls like to shop more, and boys like to shoot more. Sure, there are some girl shooters and some boy shoppers. But by and large, it's pretty safe to say that girls shop, boys shoot.

Paying $9.95 for a premium account in which the land tier is included for free AND the first stash is included for free as part of that initial cost (so my $1.50 US isn't really accurate) is a steal. It's less than most games out there in the metaverse. It's a nothing. It's a latte. So pay it, play it, see if you like it.

I find it hilarious to see people fuss and fume about paying this $10, as they then proceed to spend $50 US on skins, videos, and sex attachments. I watch these aging newbies telling me they are poor and shouldn't be kicked from my subsidized rentals for newbs, and that they can't afford land and can't even afford $250 L$ per week in rent, as they parade around in hair, skins, and vehicles that not only would sink a sim but that would buy my family's groceries that week. I personally would have a hard time taking that kind of money and putting it into all those disposable items. Yet people do.

There's no poverty here. What there is is DISCRETIONARY income. The reason they call it DISCRETIONARY is because people chose: $1000 on an island, or $1000 on call girls and skins and sex balls, or $1000 on whatever. That's all.

>And then they realise that nobody is coming over anyway, because they can all go to the professionally built public dojo with the baked textures on the private island.

Well, I think a significant number of people coming into SL still want to make their own little house and have friends without sharing it, and do it for less than what people pay on islands. Your point is obscure here. You seem to be saying "people realize they can't make quality stuff so they go to where people have made it for them". Well, yes and no. I wouldn't have tenants on empty land unless there were people who liked building from scratch. Or people who like to buy a prefab, but then put in a lot of their own touches they might not be able to put in a heavily themed or regulated island.

Ultimately, the mainland and island differences I see, however, are about cost. People with more money go to islands -- they cost a lot more. People with less money they want to spend on *this* go to the mainland, where they often sometimes have greater freedom in terms of building and the predictability of having Lindens keep that land available for them instead of land barons.

I'm not getting your point about the 512s. People usually don't enjoy trying to make a 512 house. Even the best architects in SL have broken their heads on trying to make good 512 houses. There really isn't such a thing. A small percentage of people like to try it. Most put out a prefab, then try a table instead, or curtains, that's more their speed at that stage.

And yes, it is Creator Fascism, and it is Wuhadism, to say that all that can happen in Second Life is that droves of newbies come in, get a 512, try to happily build a house, but then look up from their shovel and see, oh, Jauani Wu has already built Rich Content for them or Anshe Chung has already built Rich Content for them so they are shoveling in vain and they must dump their 512s and fly away. Not on your life. It's absolutely vital to keep up a free, creative, sustained space where neither Wu, Chung, Adam Zaius, or even Governor Linden can frame the space and call the immersion shots. No way.

It's our world, our imagination. We must keep that alive.

I have many hundreds of happy tenants who build pretty good unique houses often, or take prefabs that aren't like everybody's and make gardens and walks and plazas and stores that they enjoy, and in some cases are even really creative and interesting. I think this is the beating heart of Second Life.

I'm also not getting your point about lag. You seem to be saying, "leave the driving to us". "If you don't want lag, then have us build your houses". Otherwise, you might be stupid and put out a 2048 texture and not a 512 and lag a sim.

But these are just good neighbour policies that should be taught and inculcated by community assocations, not coded into the client or forced from above.

Yumi Murakami

Thanks for your reply. Do you really know anyone who's spent US$1000 on avatar attachments? I find that quite extraordinary. But even if that was the case, once they have spent that money, they have the avatar. They don't have to spend it over and over again every month, like that US$9.99, or like the US$195 it would cost them for an island. I think anyone would be hard pressed to spend that much on content regularly.

I'm very glad to hear that you have happy tenants who make good, unique houses. I agree with you that the ability to do this kind of thing is the "heart of SL". And that's exactly why newbie helpers are so keen to teach the technical skills needed to do this kind of thing to new folks. We want them to be able to experiment with their house, and to set things up in their prefab the way they like. Moreover, we want them to be able to experiment in ways that lead to them actually getting a satisfactory result instead of finding that all they can do is make their very own ugly house.

I think you misunderstood the point about lag. I was actually agreeing with your viewpoint. The disadvantage of SL compared to other games is that it is laggy, slow and a resource hog and has much worse graphics than most. The advantage is that you can create your own world. These are tied together: one is the tradeoff of the other. But if you can't or don't create your own world then you don't get the advantage, but you still get the disadvantage. So given that, we want as many people to be able and want to create their own worlds as possible, and that means knowing how.

Stan Pomeray

Brace, what sort of help is usually needed at NCI? I wouldn't mind doing some if you need extra pairs of hands.

Don't ask me to teach anyone how to script though. I can just about manage Q-Basic!

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, in the course of a year, someone might spend $1000 on all avatar-related accessories, sure. We're told people spend $1500 L$ on the average 4-hour log in daily, and that may be more now (that's about $3.50). The amount of dollars generated each day visible on the website are amazing. A good chunk goes to content for avatars.

And it always needs to be refreshed for the style conscious, so it is as perishable as land at times. To be sure, you have your decorated avatar regardless of recurring expenses (except the subscription) but frankly, the difference between the $7.25, let's say, you might spend on the subscription for 90 days, and the $20 US you might spend a *week* on an avatar, the $25 US you spend a *month* on land of a decent size, i.e. the 4096 m2 plan plus free 512, isn't any worse. In fact, frankly, most people who spend this much on an avatar to have relationships, entertainment, business need land of their own on which to display it all. They pay for it!

I guess I'm always marvelling that people are so resistant to the obvious in Second Life: most people who log on and enjoy Second Life enjoy it with land, not without land. The tiny minority of landless who aggressively defend the concept that "you don't need land to have fun" either don't have fun, or worse, wish to prescribe the way in which others have fun.

Cocoanut

Yes there IS such a thing as a good 512 house!

I give you . . .

THE SANDPIPER!

My best-selling house.

coco

Yumi Murakami

I find it a bit hard to believe that anyone really spends US$20 a week on their avatar, but I don't really have any more data than you, so I won't worry about that one. What I think is important is this: "most people who spend this much on an avatar to have relationships, entertainment, business need land of their own on which to display it all."

You are tacitly assuming that their own land is the best place to "display it all", and I don't agree that is necessarily the case. If you want to display then you want people to come and look at the display, so it will be far better to display in an existing popular place than to build your own and then find that nobody shows up. And if you just want to show off your avatar, that probably means going to a popular club and dancing, which is exactly what people do.

I know you know about this kind of thing, Prok, because I remember your forum post where you claimed that services such as Snapzilla and SL-Exchange had "grabbed" particular sections of the market because although technically people were free to compete with them, there was no reason for anyone to pay attention to the competitor. What makes you think that this wouldn't apply to builds as well? I like Nakama as much as the next gal with a Japanese name but I strongly suspect it will be the last anime theme build SL sees for a while because there is just no need for any others and even if there were, they couldn't marshal the resources to compete in the quality stakes.

Yes, many people will enjoy owning land. Nobody ever said that owning land is not fun. But you do not NEED to have land in order to have fun. What do you think all those public builds are for? And we certainly do not want to encourage people to buy land only to find that their tier fee is wasted because they didn't realise what owning land really means. I know, Prok, I've been there: just after I sold my First Land, I bought a big area of land thinking that it was a very nice area I could grab and that it would serve me will to develop in the future. But it quickly became apparant that there was nothing I could meaningfully build there, so I put up a prefab, but that had no meaning for me either so I never went in until I took it down. I now consider the money on that land wasted and I don't want other people to make the same mistake. Yes, not everyone has the same attitudes as me but I can at least CHECK whether they do or not instead of just telling people that they need land to have fun and they should be getting out their credit cards right away.

Cocoanut

Well, Yumi, I don't think the issue here is people telling others they CAN'T have fun unless they buy land. That would be bad, too.

The issue is the motto that "You don't need land to have fun."

And anyway, you can't tell me I don't need land to have fun, because I most assuredly do!

Besides, it's against LL's best interest for us to try to talk people out of buying land.

coco

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, what you have a problem distinguishing is your concept of what you think, and the facts of the whole population. I have to say I get exasperated with this.

FLY AROUND. LOOK at the dots. The dots are ON LAND. It's not good enough to them to go to a ladies' tea in Caledon as a guest and rez out their cool new Victorian gadget. People want HOMES. They want to HAVE AV SEX IN THEM. I mean, I hate to burst your balloon here, but that's what most people want in SL, privacy, land, homes, relationships.

Sure, there are significant numbers of people just going to clubs. But the people who log on day after day and log up the hours are ON LAND. Where the hell ELSE do you think they were???

So while YOU may think this, do not PRESCRIBE it others, please. And don't misportray the facts, visible by the green dots. The green dots tell the truth.

And yes, Coco is right. The issue isn't meeting newbs at the door and saying YOU NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN BUY MY LAND. Instead, it is getting these sectarian ideologically-narrow and oppressive mentors/greeters to end their propaganda telling everyone off the boat YOU DON'T NEED LAND TO HAVE FUN.

It's patronizing, it's oppressive, it's wrong. Because they will see you do. And they shouldn't feel that is wrong, and they shouldn't feel NO land is encouraged, and they shouldn't feel there is something not supported of having land in Second Life.

Yumi Murakami

Prok, I'll trust your greater experience on the question of how people use their land. But I'm not sure how you claim that the phrase "You don't need land to have fun" is oppressive. It isn't telling people not to buy land.

Cocoanut, of course you're right that some people might need land to have fun because everyone's definition of fun is different. But human language has some common sense filters that cut in when subjective terms like 'fun' arise. You wouldn't say that we should avoid telling people that they can build whatever they imagine in SL because the thing they are imagining might be something that SL in fact doesn't support - the listener understands that the speaker cannot know the precise thing they are imagining and accepts the general principle that their building is relatively unrestricted. The way in which it's intended to be understood is, I suppose, "I am saying 'You don't need land to have fun', but since you are aware that I can't possibly know exactly what you consider fun, you will understand me as saying that not every potentially-fun activity in SL requires land ownership."

Can you think of a better way of putting that - or do you believe that to be wrong, also?

Prokofy Neva

Yes it is. And I have to say I'm getting really more furious about this. My effort to raise this issue is to COUNTER the PROPAGANDA.

Yumi, it is IS propaganda. It intimidates, it puts a chill on, it makes people faulter, it stops them from jumping and doing the natural thing they do in TSO, for example, which is just to click and buy land and jump in and fool around. My god, the money spent is included in a cheap subscription. It's not like some horrible loss occurs even if you dump it. You could skip one milkshake this week if you're that worried. $1.50.

I'm really dismayed that this sectarian belief of Stoneself Karuna and a handful of other tekkie wiki sandboxing scripting types is now set in stone here in the official SL Knowledge Wiki that Torley is flogging now:

http://secondlife.com/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=Land+Ownership+Guide#id60349

In fact, read this document, it will annoy some of you surely. It's all little sectarian grouplets writing their stuff and having it be grabbed and made policy, without any input from those affected and involved.

Either LL doesn't care, or they don't read this stuff.

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