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Thomas Malaby

Interesting post, Prok. While I have indicated before that I was not hired by Linden Lab, let me reiterate that here. Doing research on-site at a company while not in their employ is not in any way a new trend in social science, and I was doing what is often called the "anthropology of organizations" -- studying organizations to understand how they work as communities of practice (and meaning). The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, so I was not beholden financially to Linden in any way. I am glad to hear that you agree with the core contradictions of Linden Lab that I marked, and I recommend Fred Turner's wonderful From Counterculture to Cyberculture for more historical background, if you haven't already read it (as you may have). Stay tuned for the book, Prok (it is now under contract, and should appear in about a year -- I know, the wheels of academic publishing grind exceedingly slowly).

Ann Otoole

One thing is a constant: education tends to work wonders. if more people are educated as to the existence of what would be illegal trusts in the USA then more people would not go running to them to blindly pay them money. eventually the illegal trusts would work themselves out of existence and we would read sob stories on many a blog about how cruel that damned prok and all those others are for ruining their lives.

maybe 2008 will be the year of change for the better. as far as what we can have some influence over. we have no way to predict what LL will do next or if LL will respond to blazing fires such as the jira entries related to IP theft and the 25 group limit. both of which are being ignored, the IP theft issues generally ignored and the 25 group limit issue being totally ignored. only consistent and intelligent writing that is published will make a difference in the long run.

Prokofy Neva

Thomas, I find it reassuring to hear that you were not hired to perform this study, which might have opened up questions of academic credibility, and I'm interested to hear that a book is coming out, and I'll watch for it.

I'm not convinced that there is an already-existing well-established trend of corporations being studied by anthropoligists. I've heard of the book on the hippies and the dot.com tekkies, I'll have to get it and read it some time.

As for the 25-group limit, this is one of those things that is getting flash-mobbed in the blogosphere. It's clubs, DJs, land barons driving the call for it.

I can't get behind that call because I think Lindens should fix the group bugs and wonkiness they have now, before they add more capacity. Get an alt, put another 25 on. How may groups can you realistically follow?!

Prokofy Neva

BTW, Malaby, you're not off the hook for being FIC. The Lindens didn't just let *anybody* come in and study them and get a book out of it. Some anthropologists had to slog it out inworld for years.

Cocoanut Koala

A few assorted comments:

You remember, Uri used to say that SL was good for turning griefers into productive citizens, by appealing to their creativity. (And indeed, under his tutelage, several did reform.)

Most people, griefers and non-griefers alike, though, need something to do that is less open-ended than what SL offers.

Another observation: Educators have been stressing collaboration and group stuff for several decades now, at the expense of individual achievement, and I think this shows up in video games.

In TSO, for instance, it was designed so that you would be much better off to group with several people to have a full-size plot, as it would take you lots longer to get it on your own.

Which, of course, made me more determined to get it on my own.

In schools, what happens is there are usually one or two kids who do the most or the best work, and the others glom onto him to get their grade. Sometimes that kid resents it. I have kids of each type - one who resents it and always did all the work, and the other who can scarcely EVER work or study by herself! lol

This notion that group collaboration is the best thing for everything is to me as faulty as the notion that there should be no top-down delegation of authority.

Group collaboration is great for those who like it, and for those who have good partnerships and groups. But it should never be elevated as preferable to individual work, imo.

The Lindens err in becoming wedded to their ideologies, I think, and are slow to actually alter their notions to fit realities.

In other words, they start with these concepts (such as no authority; group tools; etc.), and are not really EXPERIMENTING to see if they CAN work.

Rather, it is like they started off their experiment determined that their ideas ARE right, and the end result WILL be a certain way.

And this hobbles them, as they continue to parrot the notions they started out with, but which don't work as smoothly in practice. The theory should bend more to what really works, I think.

I agree with your last two paragraphs.


Ciaran Laval

I remember raising the point about estate owners receiving AR's and you suggested it's always the case, which left me to assume that none of my residents had ever filed an abuse report. Indeed they do come to me first. Fortunately I don't suffer as much griefing as you do, largely because I'm a lot smaller.

My only objection to such a process is that it's not possible for me to be on 24/7 and therefore as I pay more for my island than I do for my mainland I believe LL should support my estate tenants too.

I may have to attend one of these awful governance meetings, I cannot stand this microphone policy they have, I feel like I'm back at school, that's not open discussion.

I enjoyed this article Prok, although I've only touched on one issue (that relates more to my line of business) it was an enjoyable read and very well presented.

Prokofy Neva

Yes, yes, Coco you have so hit upon it. It's not like a real lab, with experiments, with an open mind. It's like -- they get a meme, an ideological doctrine, and they just it, and run it into the ground, and grind it as if it should work, and are belated in not admitting it doesn't. See "tao of Linden".

I know what you mean about this school collaboration stuff. It's almost like it's just a modern management tool to deal with a big class if 35 or even 50 kids, put them all in groups, and let them fend for themselves.

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