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09/30/2008

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Crap Mariner

I think Genghis Khan is in the cubicle next to me.

Has one of those kitten posters with "HANG IN THERE" written on it.

Well, and a spear through the kitten. It *is* Genghis Khan.

-ls/cm

Gareth Nelson

"I'm debating whether to commission someone to make me a whole new customized rentals system, because I refuse to use Hippo Rentals"

This should be good for a laugh, but i'll do this for you as long as the LSL source can be GPLed. Send me a notecard inworld with the specs and i'll charge L$200 only, just for the scientific interest.......

Blaccard Burks

I have had renters that have been with me for over a year and they seem to know when they are going away or simply let me know. The problem I have seen lately is the following.... I set my rental boxes to go only 2 days in arrears before resetting. Being in arrears is being late.

My question to you is are the people paying up for the late days? Cause what has been happening is they use the arrears, then a few more days, then pay the rent. Basically getting 4 days free sometimes.

This doesn't work. After arrears has ended the prims get returned.

Prokofy Neva

I wouldn't allow Gareth Nelson anywhere near my business.

Yes, people take advantage. So what I've been doing is telling them that if they go a day late, that extra day will be put on the box for the month or week if they want to stay. Yes, their prims go after 48 hours, and they only get to do that once.

Elanthius Flagstaff

Blaccard: Set the boxes to expire after 10 days and keep track of due dates manually, then harass people or manually evict them if they are 2 or 3 days late.

Prok: I think you totally misunderstood what the guy was saying. When he said "I DID rent it" he meant he paid the box already. Then you said he can't rent it, and he pointed out that in fact he did. I dunno man, do you ever think you might have too short of a fuse? We all hate idiots, personally I hate people of all kinds but it's still best to generally be nice to them.

Prokofy Neva

Elanthius, you're a geek, and a literalist tekkie, so naturally you see it this way. I didn't "totally misundestand". He was being smartass and flippant. I was telling him about a rule: "You can't rent it, it's taken." He deliberately chose to reply "but I did," as if morality never applies, law never applies, only code applies, only what you "can do" because "it let you".

He then persists, even though he can see a parcel with a boat and a house. He says "But I did rent it repeatedly" to show off, to let us know that morality, law, don't matter -- only "what I *can* do". That is why he needed to learn a lesson, and not only him.

I don't have "too short a fuse" when I tell a person 4 times that the lot isn't available, but they keep fisking it and trying to literalize it to death. And also this expectation that the box should somehow "know" not to rent to them is one that he's insisting on not from experience, but from technical geekitude. Boxes *should* do that. Why did it let me pay, if I "can't" rent?

I have a lot of time for newbies, and I'm as kind as I can be to idiots who are just stupid about tech or rules. But here is a literalist insolent geek tech, being the typical asshole in SL. He gets a pushback from me.

Elanthius Flagstaff

"Elanthius, you're a geek, and a literalist tekkie, so naturally you see it this way. "

True, true and true.

"I was telling him about a rule: 'You can't rent it, it's taken.' He deliberately chose to reply 'but I did,' as if morality never applies, law never applies, only code applies, only what you "can do" because 'it let you'."

I can definitely see that you would see it that way.

Sean Williams

I'm sorry, someone telling you how a system should operate so that a situation like this can be avoided in the future is bad .... How again?

Your entire attitude when it comes to what you see as 'morality' has always been shown to be "Shoot first and ask questions later".

From what I can see, the entire time he was attempting to tell you how to prevent things like this from happening in the future. Face it, not everyone uses Search Prok. some people actually do go looking around in places known to be Renal areas looking for a place to rent from.

You have this notion that everybody and their grandfather uses the Search Engine and when you come across someone who does not ... You are rather quick to blast them.

I may not be new to Second Life but quite frankly if I saw a rental box that showed it was available and I was out looking for a place ... The LAST thing I'd use is search. I prefer to see such things as they actually are and to get a feel for any possible neighbors and for the landlord. If the neighbors are good and don't have many complaints about the landlord? Time to look around!

His only mistake was renting first and asking afterward. YOUR mistake was in going off on someone AFTER they'd said they understood that the rental was not really expired and then letting you know that your current system needed an overhaul to prevent something like that from happening again.

Has it never occurred to you that this notion you have concerning those who do not use search for some things could possibly be, oh I don't know, a bit childish? I mean, Christ, there are people in real life who do something similar! They drive or walk around town looking for a place to rent or to buy. Happens all the time in this small town I live in. Hell, some people don't even do that and examine a house or apartment while they are out for a drive or for a walk simply because the deal looked good.

Your way is NOT the only way, nor is it the One True Way.

You have a system that allows this sort of thing to occur Prokofy. This will probably continue to happen until you can find a way to compensate for the additional amount of paying tier .... which if they pay it to you and not LL, should be included in the rental system price so as to prevent confusion and something like this from occurring again.

Cristopher Lefavre

Prokofy, always fun to read your blog! I may not always agree with you, but you write well:-)

I have made my own rental boxes, they do not expire upon end because I feel throwing someone out should be done after a personal evaluation. Also, they do not accept payment from new tenants.

They do keep track of time though, so when "time remaining" is negative, any payment will first be used to cover that debt.

I just wondered why you feel that is "brutal"? I find that being a bit flexible with payments should not be the same as providing late payers with free rent.

Prokofy Neva

Well, I guess in this market, I don't want to boot someone out after only 24 hours of non-payment if in fact they'd come back and rent. I'm willing to give them a "gimme" one time on a day late to keep them for another 30 days rather than hustling to find another tenant. But I don't tolerate them doing that a second time, then their prims go. And I can easily see a record of my manual reminder in the chat log history, plus I have the automatic box messages as well of expiration coming into email, so I can say, look, you've done this twice now, here's the record, time's up.

I think it would probably save me less manual work if I had the negative balance option that they could come and pay up to 5 days or something, but in the end, I think all the over-automation is what loses customers. Customers have enough trouble trying to deal with the harshness of autoreturn and the prim limits and the groups without also feeling like their houses will be whisked away if they are an hour late.

Hands Mensing

Hmmm Hipporent server boxes let you do all these things and you can set them not to return stuff...

I have them set that way on the sims I co-own...

Rebecca Proudhon

Sorry Prok but you do seem a bit intense in that thread. It is too much to expect people to understand , or even care about complicated issues like inadequancies of rental boxes and issue of being a landlord. Once he got it that there was a some nebulous problem with the automation beyond his control, he tried to drop it but you kept going on him and he was surprised at that. It does sound overly emotional.

Prokofy Neva

I don't wish to do business with Hippo -- and I'm not the only one.

Rebecca, people who are tekkie literalist obnoxious types like this "imp" sure does know all about rental boxes and their capacities. That's why he was being a smart-ass. He's actually an alt of someone else. No, he kept going because he was trying to push and push to get this lot -- not even because he cared about the lot, but because he cared about being "right". It was important for him to gleefully "trump" me by sassing me back and saying "nyah-nyah, see I rented it, you can't stop me".

Even being told to cease and desist, he STILL persisted. And to give you an idea of this guy's cocky, in-your-face arrogant manner, this guy writes me, calling me "mate" (so you see the personality type) and telling me that he will remain in the other rental, even though I have "issues" with him. He urged me to "chill".

I wrote back that I don't have issues; I have rules. My rules state that if it isn't in search, you don't get to rent it, full stop. It's on the info cards. He bickered some more, daring me to put this in my blog, and finally refunded and left.

So this is definitely not about some confused newbie facing a "nebulous" rento box. It's about typical Internet insolent youth and their belief that code is law, and morality and courtesy need not prevail. I give it right back to them.

Rebecca Proudhon

Stil, reading that, it seems you caught him off-guard and he was surprised. Even if someone might understand such tech issues if they take time to think, doesn't mean they are thinking at that moment. It went down hill when you asked him to stop being obnoxious and at the moment that didnt compute for him, because he didn't think it was that big a deal in the first place once he realized it was just a screw up.

Its not as though people memorize "rules" and are always intensely thinking about them.

Personally I would apologize to someone had I been that intense. You did come off pretty intense there IMO.

Rebecca Proudhon

Of course if this person is always doing stuff like that and just trying to annoy then what I just said is wrong and there is more there then meets the eye.

Sean Williams

I'm sorry but this obsession of yours with calling people alts without any real proof needs to stop. The only ones that can verify such things are the employees at Linden Lab.

Is everyone that points out a flaw in your system an alt Prokofy? Do you have proof that he actually got and read your info cards? Do the boxes display the basic rental information (Price, prims, time) above them when no renter is present? Are they set to send out the info card on basic touch?

With that last one, if a person does not left click the box, they will not get the 'rules'. If it is in your profile ... Gee, not everyone reads profiles these days.

It is simple: You had a run in with someone that 'rented' a plot thinking that it was available. The situation was explained, they said fine. They then proceeded to tell you what was wrong with he system you use and you snapped.

Anyone else would have remained calm, explained the situation and how you run the rentals, refunded the box and asked the potential customer to pick another spot. In the case of the system you use, find it through search.

Simple, calm, done and without the needless drama of someone 'pushing back' based on some wild notion or attitude.

You simply DO NOT treat potential customers like shit. In a business if you have reservations or simply wish to refuse service you tell them so in a polite manner.

Personally I'd have rented from you when I first started out ... I actually considered it once. Then I saw and was given the attitude you show here. Your attitude cost you a potential long term customer and will continue to do so until you can grow out of it.

Prokofy Neva

Rebecca, you are totally reading into this -- this guy is *not* caught off guard. Keep in mind that this guy moved twice before this, with great fussyness -- he refunded out of a place where he'd set up his entire house because he claimed that "the sim was making him crash". I couldn't find a thing wrong with the sim; SL crashes. Yet he moved, like so many do, thinking it's "my land" that is the problem. He moved there from another place that didn't have enough prims. I spent quite a while trying to indicate to him various places that had prims and were waterfront -- he was fussy about them in the belief they were making him crash, etc.

I was then surprised to see he finally settled, on the same sim where he'd started, but on another lot. He's got a house put out, everything is fine, and then the next thing I know, he's aggressively renting this other neighbouring lot very soon after it expires, even though the lease indicates you can buy extra prims if you need them.

So you have to see the picture of the typical pesky type tenant --r restless, fussy, spoiling for a fight, looking for trouble. I always find it best to move such people on their way from me and the neighbourhood very quickly, as neither I, nor they, nor their fellow tenants will be happy. So his persistence and obnoxiousness, I repeat, was not some newbie kerfluffle; it was part of a long-standing restless impatience and demanding tone.

As I said, some people love role-playing landlord-tenant because it gives them a chance to boss people around that they could never boss in RL.

It would not have been necessary to tell him if he were obnoxious if he would have *just stopped* after being told it wasn't available 3 times. But he persisted, even after saying "oh, ok". He couldn't even let go after seemingly letting it go! And *had* to keep pushing it relentlessly:

"impi Quandry: I did IM you about that very point
impi Quandry: so the obvious question
impi Quandry: how come the rent box took my money"

Self-justifying, self-righteous, persistent -- obnoxious. He knows full well why the box took his money -- like it took his money at the other *three rentals* that he rented in rapid succession from me on two sims! It took it because it was expired and available. But the presence of someone's boat, and the presence of an odd price (reflecting tier contribution) should have been enough to make him first IM and ask what the story was.

Anyway, if you don't get it, you don't get it.

Sean Williams is not a valid interlocutor.

Prokofy Neva

The person was on an alt, and there's no reason to go into how I know that, but it's not disputed.

The tenant was told that the place was not available three times, over and over, and persisted in being aggressive, pushy, and obnoxious. There is no need to accept that from people eager to RP tenant-landlord. I think not missing a chance to teach someone a lesson on these matters is more important than taking abuse merely for the sake of the grand US $9.85 a month this guy is going to pay for his 2048 m2. What this is about is building a community and spreading civilization. If aggressive nits can come and grab away people's houses the minute the box expires, we do not have civilization. If they can't hear "no," and can't hear "rules," they will be pushing them endlessly, and not just this time -- let them go relentlessly bug another landlord who will charge them more for their tenant/landlord RP experience.

I will continue to push back when and as needed. It's good for the whole community, and it's also good for me, to make sure that people who will be endlessly trying to skirt the rules and break them aren't constantly coddled. SL is a big place, it's a buyer's market, let them go elsewhere. I don't need to be a rich land baron through eating shit. I'd rather have stable and nice customers.

And I have them. I should publish all the fan letters and nice comments and tips I get every day along with these sort of nasty incidents, which do not occur so often.

Blaccard Burks

Elanthius Flagstaff writes:

"Blaccard: Set the boxes to expire after 10 days and keep track of due dates manually, then harass people or manually evict them if they are 2 or 3 days late...."

I'm aware you have many rentals and so do I. I don't think it is necessary to track things manually or "harass" people. Makes for a great deal of work. For me I have been very fortunate that people know the quality of my services. The Hippotech systems work fine FOR ME. They will allow people to go into arrears (late) as many days as you permit, they do notify people when they are late. The networking feature of running servers allows updates to rental instructions in bulk, however the prim counting is flawed. I do not use that aspect. I write one of the best selling counters in SL and the combo of the two makes a great system FOR ME. I've actually tied the HIppoRent system into my home controllers so that when the box has a rental,the home controllers lock doors and tint windows and create access lists that are locked to the renter.

Yeah, I'm a geek, hard to believe...thats it a Punkrocker gone geek.

SEARCH? I never used it. I have enough word of mouth and referrals.

The trend of people not paying after arrears, then paying is very common place. If you are firm with your rules, then simply they will rent somewhere else.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Prok's argument is that he would prefer the system to be more like the real world and people embrace real world values, rather than leave everything up to technology? Kinda think before you push?
Even with boxes overdue I have never had people rent from under other people. They seem to ask me first and say "The box is available but someone elses objects are there. Can I rent here?"

The XO

Pork, pork, pork... what are you like? Yes - I did mean to call you "pork".

After reading your transcript it becomes clearly evident that you are the one who initiates hostilities, and then continues to bait the poor guy into an argument so that you have something to publish on your daily rag.

Let me say this; Your attitude and conduct as a so-called "professional" in SL is well below par. Not to mention your morals as a landlord.

You could have at least had the decency to obscure his name if you just wanted to make a point of the actual transcript. But no, that's not what you wanted at all, is it? You wanted to humiliate and belittle this person who is a _paying customer_ of yours!

You say that over-automation is bad and that you're happy to deal with customer enquiries? Well I think you should leave that to the hippo system as it certainly has more manners, charm and personality than you do.

If only you could see yourself and how you come across to others! Why, what for? Ego, lack of confidence or are you just plain obnoxious? Whatever the reason, you need to take a little time to look about how you treat people and the reasons for it.

One day when it comes and bites you on the ass (it probably already has actually) you'll sit there and scratch your head wondering "What did I do to deserve this?" and you'll always ask that because you don't look at yourself and the way you act.

Ok, the guy made a mistake and was somewhat clueless. You say you "cut people some slack" - I saw no evidence of this, and what harm would it have done?

Just try and treat your fellow human beings with a little respect and humility once in a while.

I look forward to your;

a. Deleting this post
b. Belittling and ridicule of me
c. Your explaining away
d. Your failure to acknowledge that you might just be wrong
e. Ignoring me totally

Ciaran Laval

Blaccard, direct debit is awfully popular these days, indeed it's often cheaper for people to have their bills paid by direct debit than it is to do so manually, so in RL people do embrace technology to automate billing and this is an area that will grow.

I'm surprised you've never had people rent when other people's objects are on the land, that's certainly not an uncommon scenario. I try to reserve boxes when I believe the tenant is late but I have had people rent land with objects on, in such circumstances I either refund or offer them an alternative.

Prokofy Neva

XO, in order to continue posting here, you must provide a first and last SL name or recognizable RL or blogger's name.

I think cranky and arrogant geeks are not going to see the cultural mores at stake here.

Basically, it's about not being an insolent smart-ass. It's about accepting when someone tells you "no", not once, not twice, but even three times.

The idea that you constantly push and encroach and say, basically "anything goes" and "there is no law, because it let me" is a very deep-rooted problem.

It goes to the heart of what is wrong with geek culture, and why it is so destructive, and why there is so much insolent and assholery on the Internet.

Deep in this story you can see a default of this spoiled Internet child: if something is enabled, if something "lets him," if *there is no mechanical stoppage* then, "I can do WTF I want".

It's like the way everything in SL has to be accomplished with red lines, bans, mutes, restrictions because you cannot get a soft compliance with people, you have to put up tools which, as Ordinal Malaprop once very astutely pointed out, are like shotguns. A ban line is a shotgun. It doesn't do anything but ban -- it doesn't accept reasoning or special circumstances, it just bans, mechanically.

And that's death. That's what we cannot let happen to ourselves as a people, as human beings.

So my little struggle here, in my lonely corner of the virtual world on my rentals, is actually a very important world struggle that others should see and join.

It's about decency and civilization. Not just consideration of others, and "do unto others," although that's part of it. Note that in this little story, I keep trying to appeal to this guy's sense of the "do unto others" ethos. "You wouldn't want someone to take YOUR house if your box expired a mere hour ago," says I. That's how I hope to persuade him: by invoking empathy.

But the fuck-you hedonistic world, the "anything goes" world, the world which does anything it wants *until it is stopped mechanically* cannot have empathy.

And I'm sorry, but that's deeply, deeply fucked. I'm going to take a stand here. This is where the battle *is*. To give this obnoxious brat the benefit of the doubt, when in fact he is in entitlement-mode, and "stop me if you can!" mode, is to allow civilization to lapse. I don't see why we should do that. And that's not being conservative or old-fashioned. It's actually being very liberal and progressive. Because there's nothing more backwards and conservative than the law of the jungle, and the tribal ethos of violence that this notion of "I do what I want until I'm stopped" signifies.

After facing this awful problem of people not paying on time, and others pouncing on their rental, and then the original person coming back hopping mad, if merely an hour or even a day went by (because messages cap sometimes, and sometimes they don't get the rental box messages), I hit upon a solution: a rule, that is put in the introduction card, although not in the lease (if it were put in the lease, the lease, which is constantly in danger of becoming even more of a Christmas tree with add-ons, would get even longer -- you can't predict and prescribe every situation, so some of them are put in the introductory card.

I tell people in the newbie village cards, however, that prims do not magically clear because they paid, and doors do not magically open because they paid. That's because the way islands work is that the manager manually sends them the group after they paid, and then once in this closed group, the door does magically spring open because it's set "group only". That of course means that anyone in the group could open it, however, which is why I don't do it that way -- I manually put their names in the doors.

There are also lots that magically clean of themselves the instant they expire (or at least, there is a widespread belief this is the case) so people get hopping mad when they pay, and prims of past tenants are still there, and the door is locked.

AFAIK, no one has been able to script a scenario where an automatic group join offer is provided upon payment -- that is, hinging on payment. If they have, I'd love to hear about it, but it presents a complicated problem to solve.

That's why I have this rule: if someone hasn'd paid after their last manual reminder when they've missed the automatic expiration, and it's already 24 hours, I then manually put the lot in search. That way, it's free to be rented if someone comes upon it.

If it is NOT in search yet, but expired, then the person can still pay. By putting that as a rule, I have a way of handling those irate people who pounce.

Except a guy like this is beyond explainnig things like this.

Tammy Nowotny

Someone could probably build a bot whose avatar/agent was programmed to group invite anyone who paid her... but that wd probably be a lot of trouble to go to.

A payment box which issued a group invite in the incoming-payment trigger shouldn't be too hard to implement. Linden objects have many triggers on them, beginning with onrez .. though the LSL program editor kinda hides that fact from you.

Tammy Nowotny

Someone could probably build a bot whose avatar/agent was programmed to group invite anyone who paid her... but that wd probably be a lot of trouble to go to.

A payment box which issued a group invite in the incoming-payment trigger shouldn't be too hard to implement. Linden objects have many triggers on them, beginning with onrez .. though the LSL program editor kinda hides that fact from you.

Prokofy Neva

Tammy, there are bots that automatically invite every avatar all over now, that is a programmed event, but I think it is tough to make a linkage between the payment event to the avatar, and then the springing of the group invite. That requires conscious thought of the kind I think bots don't have yet but I could be wrong.

I would think the Lindens would want to be careful in linking payment events to other things to prevent hijacking. For example, what if you paid the wrong amount, or paid, and then immediately refunded, the bot might still generate the group, enabling you to break in and grief people.

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