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10/10/2008

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Melissa Yeuxdoux

"You know how they have these things called 'double-bind studies'..."

Is that where the subjects are damned if they do, and damned if they don't?

Sean Williams

The difference between a Mentor and a Greeter?

The Mentors are supposed to aid new and old users alike. A general purpose member of the group.

Greeters are most often to be found helping the newest and month old users with the focus on the newest of the new.

I hope that clears something up at the very least

Ann Otoole

Perhaps Linden Lab needs to seriously evaluate exactly why mentors and greeters are even needed. There are no mentors and greeters elsewhere. Well there is an old guy at wal mart that must have the brownie points to have that job but really all the wal mart "greeter" realy represents is a member of the loss prevention team to search people that set off the alarm as they exit.

So an efficient company with a good product that real people can use easily and figure out does not in any way form or fashion need "mentors" or "greeters".

Try explaining how to adjust a necklace to fit properly to a new resident sometime. There is no way this is going to come easily so the software needs to be determining where the attachment is intended to sit on the shape based on how the creator positioned it.

But that is hard to do. Not a chance of that ever happening in a company using the "tao".

Gareth Nelson

"This concept of the experimenter affecting the experiment is of course called the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle, and Niels Bohr also wrote about it"

Quantum physics fail.
Heisenberg's uncertainity principle simply states you can not know both the location and the velocity of a particle at the same time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy

Gareth Nelson

"You know how they have these things called 'double-bind studies'..."

Is that where the subjects are damned if they do, and damned if they don't?

No, that's where neither the subjects or the researchers know who's on placebo and who's on the real thing.

Jane2 McMahon

Hmmm...when I taught university, I always wanted to teach first year students, and when I put on my Mentor hat, I want to greet newcomers. Likely it's for the same reason...all the smart, talented ones can go for the "advanced" and teach everyone their own fabulous skills...I just want to help whoever shows up to stay and check SL out furhter. If that makes me a lower-class drone, great!

ichabod Antfarm

Since you cite Wikipedia as an authority, Gareth, I will quote for you the first sentence of the article on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle:

"In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that locating a particle in a small region of space makes the momentum of the particle uncertain; and conversely, that measuring the momentum of a particle precisely makes the position uncertain."

See that word "measure" glaring out from that sentence? It is that measuring which is precisely the effect of the observer on the event being observed. Read further in the article. I will quote again for you:

"The uncertainty principle is related to the observer effect, with which it is often conflated"

So, although, Prok might have been more accurate to refer to the observer effect, his point still stands and his use of the uncertainty principle is hardly the case of "FAIL" you thought it was.

As for your second comment, you do realize that Melissa was trying to make a funny because Prokofy made a typo and spoke of "double bind" studies rather than "double blind" studies? As a nitpick, I thought you would have sunk your teeth into that one.

Darien Caldwell

While I've thought of Lindens as many things, Scientist has ever been one of them.

I applaud them trying to find new techniques to retain new users, but if what you say is true, They aren't likely to come up with meaningful results.

It can also be analogous to debugging software, something maybe some can relate to more. When attempting to discern the issue, one can change things and observe what the behavior of the code is after the changes. However, if you change 3 different parts of the code, you can't say for certain which change caused the change in behavior. It's important to only do one change at a time, or face the prospect of backtracking and trying to find out what change was the relevant one.

Tight controls on conditions is crucial.

As for Mentors, I have to agree, it seems they give that title to just about anyone. It almost always seems everytime I get someone in my store blasting gestures and making a particle poofs all over the place, When I check out their profile, yep, a Mentor. If there ever ends up being a way to ban by group, I know which will be the first on *that* list.

Darien Caldwell

"While I've thought of Lindens as many things, Scientist has never been one of them." - Fixed :p

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Actually, that's a double BLIND study. I guess I should've put a [sic!] in the quote.

Ciaran Laval

I hate reading your blog when I get home from the pub because I'm just gonna have to say how the fuck can a greeter be considered more important than a mentor? Greeters say hi, mentors do a shitload more. That's how it works everywhere!

Theser are volunteer positions right? Some people are going to want to self inflate themselves with a tag, it's not organised, it needs organising, how can this be a hard concept to grasp, it's this tao bullshit on a lazier scale.

Yumi Murakami

Hmm.... As I remember it, greeters were supposed to be the volunteers who met new folks in the WA and took them on SL tours. Proactive, while mentors were traditionally reactive. And, ironically, officially sanctioned to do what Prok complains that Mentors do - promote individual locations. In fact, they had to do a thing called Greeter Experience - basically the itinerary for the tour they gave - and have it approved by the Lindens..

Prokofy Neva

Actually, ichabod, I know all about this discussion, as it was all discussed ad nauseum in university and later in life. And Wikipedia is misleading, and you can't take Wikipedia or its readers as "authorities" on this matter.

Read this site, for example:
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/04/heisenberg.html

I've listened to wave physicists describe this and indeed it IS about the literal affect of the observer on the observed when measuring -- and frankly, you can't separate observing from measuring in this regard.

"Wikipedia, and at least some physics textbooks, claim that it is misleading to ascribe Heisenberg effects to an "observer effect", that is, perturbing interactions between the measuring apparatus and the measured system:

'Sometimes it is a failure to measure the particle that produces the disturbance. For example, if a perfect photographic film contains a small hole, and an incident photon is not observed, then its momentum becomes uncertain by a large amount. By not observing the photon, we discover that it went through the hole.'

However, the most technical treatment I've actually read was by Feynman, and Feynman seemed to be saying that, whenever measuring the position of a particle increases the spread of its momentum, the measuring apparatus must be delivering enough of a "kick" to the particle to account for the change.'

In other words, Feynman seemed to assert that the decoherence perspective actually was dual to the observer-effect perspective - that an interaction which produced decoherence would always be able to physically account for any resulting perturbation of the particle."

I'm talking about that very kick -- and BTW Bohr was, too.

Prokofy Neva

I find it loathsome that the Lindens would actually grant Greeters permission to flog various venues -- a kind of guided inworld Showcase. THAT IS AWFUL. JUST AWFUL. The market really should be taking care of this, not socialism. The Lindens need to stop all this fucking feting! My God, they only raised up retention a mere 3 percent by having their pets flog their other pets -- could they STOP DOING IT THIS DUMBASS WAY and allow people to buy ads in the welcome areas and take it from there? They can be PG; they can be rotated; but the point is, they will be ads that people have motivation to take care of customers because they get paid by the business itself to do so!

Nothing else is working -- when will they finally be ready to do that?

and yes, duh, it's a typo there, should be "double *blind*" but frankly, newbies find themselves in a double BIND as well, as they get either Greeters flogging their wares and Linden-pre-cleared and pre-sanitized venues, which are inevitably boring, or they get Mentors hawking their own stores.

Imagine if you ran Grand Central Station this way, and New York City's Time Square this way...

Prokofy Neva

I don't understand why Mentors, who I thought were by far the more feted and skilled group, would be overthrown for Greeters, which seemed less skilled, but I can only conclude this: the Mentors got too big for their britches and too out of control, and the Lindens needed people who could take orders better. That's my hypothesis. But I don't know enough about it.

Basically, my premise about the A/B experiment is simple: if you are testing the effect of a greeting program, the "B" that contrasts to it has to be "nothing" not other islands where "Greeters/Mentors" do their "usual thing". It's just too chaotic and not clean enough of a contrast.

And if you wish to compare "Greeters" and "Mentors" you have to have very clear-cut functions that both are doing, such as to be able to say "Mentors aren't needed". If you can't control the venue of "B" such as to understand what the Mentors are really doing "when they do what they usually do," then you can't really have a fair experiment.

ichabod Antfarm

That was a great article you linked to, Prokofy, "the Heisenberg Student Confusion Principle" says it in spades. I remembered enough of the chapters on quantum physics in Penrose's Emperor's New Mind to know what effect you were referring to and that Gareth had grossly over-simplified the concept.

As far as Wikipedia goes, I laughed when I read the article on Second Life and learned that Stephen Colbert had called Wikipedia "Second Life for Corporations"

Yumi Murakami

Looking at the meeting transcript, it seems that the Lindens are actually just going to create an entirely new and unrelated group called "Greeters", who are mentors who can enter the Prelude, as opposed to ones that can't.

I agree with you that "feting" individual locations is bad, but just advertising in the WA wouldn't compare to the old Greeter Experiences, which would give the newbie a responsive human to talk to, the opportunity to fly around and explore the world generally (this was still TeleHub days, so the Greeter would be flying them out from the hub as part of the tour, or maybe even using a vehicle) as well as a shortcut to interesting places. Sadly I can't think of any way to "tour" a user-created world without the places visited being created by particular users who benefit from the fetedness..

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, there shouldn't be created this separate group. Greeters aren't what are needed, nor should some resident venues be privileged over others -- the Lindens need to stay out of constantly feting only certain content, and let the market decide, and people decide by their free will, when given information. That's why we have what we call "advertising".

Those who advertise in welcome areas to attract newbies will have the staff to handle them -- or they won't get the business. And some venues don't need such hand-holding.

Police in the welcome area are for more important, to get rid of all the annoyances, infestations, and outright griefers. And that function should not be turned over to residents, who inevitably are biased and carry grudges and settle scores, more than the Lindens, anyway. One full-time paid, benefitted Linden circuit riding the hubs could accomplish wonders; two would really make a dent; three would probably solve the problem forever.

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