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Archive for the ‘Problems’ Category

The latest episode of Designing Worlds – where we have the second and final part of a discussion of Second Life’s continued viability and the ways in which Linden Lab might attract existing communities to their new platform – is now on the web.

Our great panel of guests is present again – including Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm, Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden).

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

We don’t talk about the technical possibilities of the new platform; instead we’ll be focus on what needs to be done to keep Second Life vibrant and alive … and, at the same time, what might persuade the residents of Second Life to make a commitment to a new environment – and some of the answers may be surprising!

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Join us today, Monday 21st July at 2pm SLT at the Designing Worlds studio in Garden of Dreams for the second (and final) part of our discussion about Second Life’s continued viability and the ways in which Linden Lab might attract existing communities to their new platform.

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Our great panel of guests is present again – including Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm, Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden).

We don’t talk about the technical possibilities of the new platform; instead we’ll be focus on what needs to be done to keep Second Life vibrant and alive … and, at the same time, what might persuade the residents of Second Life to make a commitment to a new environment – and some of the answers may be surprising!

Join us at 2pm for an important and fascinating show – make sure that you don’t miss it!

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in to the web at 2pm SLT on Monday for a showing on Aview TV, on SLartist or on Treet – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds, on the Aview TV Designing Worlds channel – or on the Designing Worlds blog.

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The latest episode of Designing Worlds – where we have Part 1 of a discussion of Second Life’s continued viability and the ways in which Linden Lab might attract existing communities to their new platform – is now on the web.

We have a great panel of guests in this first part of the discussion – including Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm, Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden).

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

We don’t talk about the technical possibilities of the new platform; instead we’ll be focus on what needs to be done to keep Second Life vibrant and alive … and, at the same time, what might persuade the residents of Second Life to make a commitment to a new environment – and some of the answers may be surprising!

Make sure you catch Part 2 of this show at 2pm today, Monday 21st July!

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That is, of course, if something was intended as a clarification rather than further obfuscation.

I am talking about the new Terms of Service from Linden Lab, of course.

And really, I can say it no better than Inara who has an excellent post on the subject (this comes from one of her comments to the blogpost – but read the blogpost AND the comments if you are interested in learning why not just content creators but machinima makers, artists and writers are so concerned about the changes to the Terms of Service:

A clear, concise explanation of why the terminology used and why the form in which it is presented has been determined as being the most suitable and how it assists the Lab in the execution of their role as the service provider would help. Particularly as for the vast majority of SL’s existence, and allowing for the broader remit of this ToS compared to those pre-August 2013, a more qualified statement with respect to the provisioning of shared rights has in the past always been deemed appropriate by the Lab.

Or in other words – talk to us, dammit!

Not even necessarily with us – I can appreciate how difficult it could be to assemble a representative group of concerned residents for dialogue – every group will be self-selecting, and the loudest voices are not always the most concerned/affected. But what Inara asks for – a clear, concise explanation – would be of immeasurable benefit in helping residents to understand the thinking involved here.

You might also want to take a look at Vaki’s (Agenda Format) legal dissection of the relevant clauses here.

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Join us today, Monday 14th July at 2pm SLT at the Designing Worlds studio in Garden of Dreams for a discussion about Second Life’s continued viability and the ways in which Linden Lab might attract existing communities to their new platform.

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

The Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

We have a great panel of guests – including Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm, Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden).

We don’t talk about the technical possibilities of the new platform; instead we’ll be focus on what needs to be done to keep Second Life vibrant and alive … and, at the same time, what might persuade the residents of Second Life to make a commitment to a new environment – and some of the answers may be surprising!

Join us at 2pm for an important and fascinating show – make sure that you don’t miss it!

Designing Worlds studio

Designing Worlds studio

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in to the web at 2pm SLT on Monday for a showing on Aview TV, on SLartist or on Treet – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds, on the Aview TV Designing Worlds channel – or on the Designing Worlds blog.

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Join us this Wednesday, July 2nd at 1pm SLT, for a special recording in the Designing Worlds studio in Garden of Dreams for a discussion about Second Life’s continued viability and the ways in which Linden Lab might attract existing communities to their new platform.

Designing Worlds studio

Designing Worlds studio

We have a great panel of guests who will be live in the studio with us – including Jessica Lyon, Project Manager of Firestorm (who will be fresh from her own earlier Question and Answer session with Oz and Peter Linden), Jo Yardley, owner of 1920s Berlin, Maxwell Graf, owner of Rustica. JJ Drinkwater, Virtual and real life Librarian and Pathfinder Lester, Community Engagement specialist (and the ex-Pathfinder Linden).

We won’t be talking about the technical possibilities of the new platform; instead we’ll be focussing on what needs to be donne to keep Second Life vibrant and alive … and, at the same time, what might persuade the residents of Second Life to make a commitment to a new environment – and some of the answers may be surprising!

But you will also have the opportunity to having your thoughts and ideas discussed by the panel, either by coming along and joining the live audience, or by posting your thoughts and ideas in comments on this post.

This show will be recorded and shown again on July 14th.

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You can now see the recent Designing Worlds show discussing issues related to Second Life retention on the web.

In this show, we are joined by some of the people who’ve been involved in the ongoing web discussion of this issue – Carl Metropolitan Chancellor Emeritus at Caledon Oxbridge, Caledon Oxbridge Chancellor, 2009 to 2012; Executive Director of NCI/New Citizens Incorporated, 2005 to 2009, and Jo Yardley of 1920s Berlin and the Drax Radio Files, together with two people who are working on the production side of this at Linden Lab – Brooke Linden and DaveR Linden.

Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

We discuss three aspects of the retention problem – how Second Life is marketed, how the initial experience is managed and how to embed new residents so that they remain and become integrated. We share ideas – and learning more about developments at the Lab – including the introduction of the new avatars.

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Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Join us today, Monday 19th May at 2pm at the Designing Worlds studio in Garden of Dreams for a viewing party of our latest episode as we discuss the problem of Second Life retention.

The problems for Second Life surrounding attracting and retaining new residents is an issue that has been much discussed on blogs recently – and we will be joined by some of the people who’ve been involved in that discussion – Carl Metropolitan Chancellor Emeritus at Caledon Oxbridge, Caledon Oxbridge Chancellor, 2009 to 2012; Executive Director of NCI/New Citizens Incorporated, 2005 to 2009, and Jo Yardley of 1920s Berlin and the Drax Radio Files, together with two people who are working on the production side of this at Linden Lab – Brooke Linden and DaveR Linden.

Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

Second Life Retention Discussion, photographed by Wildstar Beaumont

We’ll be discussing three aspects of the retention problem – how Second Life is marketed, how the initial experience is managed and how to embed new residents so that they remain and become integrated. We’ll be sharing ideas – and learning more about developments at the Lab – including the introduction of the new avatars.

Join us at 2pm for a fascinating show – and it will be followed by a discussion where you will have the opportunity to share your views in a session that will be recorded for later viewing.

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in to the web at 2pm SLT on Monday for a showing on Aview TV, on SLartist or on Treet – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds, on the Aview TV Designing Worlds channel – or on the Designing Worlds blog – our very own version of the iPlayer!

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The Creativity of ocean-loving, energy-consciousSecond Life Residents when given a small house and 117 prims!

The Creativity of ocean-loving, energy-conscious Second Life Residents when given a small house and 117 prims!

I’ve had quite a few comments on my post of a few days ago – The Need to Nest – building communities to retain new users, and several have suggested that – in essence – the Lab should use the experience within existing communities to develop the program, and even – rather than developing new estates themselves – actually embed the new residents within existing communities.

I like the idea of the connection with existing communities … after all, my original example was Caledon Oxbridge. And perhaps there are some (many?) communities that would like to participate – and would offer genuine communities. However, that sort of thing would need to be judged so carefully … and would need to be monitored. That’s higher maintenance than my original proposal, and high maintenance is something that the Lab has stepped back from (quite logically, in my estimation).

But if you were to go that route, there would need to be a basic level of servicing the community that the landlords would need to sign up to – otherwise you would end up with newbies being dumped in land every bit as soulless as a Linden Home estate, with landowners trusting that inertia will prevent the newbie tenants from moving on.

Sadly, too many Linden Home regions lack a sense of community

Sadly, too many Linden Home regions lack a sense of community

Of course, many landowners and their teams will do community much better because they have an already existing community. But would they necessarily trust the Lab enough to participate? Some of the best estates poured a lot into the Community gateways … and lost it all when they closed. I would think the service level agreement would need to be pretty stringent on both sides.

I do, for what it’s worth, see such a program as benefiting content creators and other creatives. In addition to building and furnishing the new homes, there would be opportunities for musicians and artists, and also for creators of the games that enrich our lives – a Seven Seas Fishing dock in a sim and a Greedy table in a community centre would both be great ways of giving newbies (and Linden Homes escapees) something to do – and a way of connecting with others. One of the reasons that Elderglen scores (for me) over the other Linden Home Info Hubs is that it offers Fun Things To Do.

And having a few stores would get people interested in looking at things from a grid eye level and not just clicking on the marketplace.

It could be possible that the Lab could sponsor landowners to add these newbie sims to their existing landmass and run them this way, rather than creating replicas of Bay City (although Bay City is terrific – evidenced by its strong community and high land prices). But one of the points of my concept is to allow people to take an active part in BUILDING their community (as Bay City did).

Bay City Community Center, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

Bay City, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

The problem of being added into an existing community could be that it would be harder to assimilate. And there would be the howls of unfairness … do these new communities get distributed on the basis of how many sims the landowners currently have, regardless of their communities, or is some measure of community-ness applied to each, and the higher they score, the more new residents are directed to them?  Very tricky to do.  Or do landowners apply for these new islands?  It may not be the most community minded who can take the most residents.

And think about the problems if you have a new sim that can hold 60 residents in your adorable village of Umgebindehausen, and all the new residents want urban grunge and head off elsewhere, The Lab can, to a greater extent, suck up the damage. Landowners shouldn’t have to.

In addition, handing this over to private landowners would kill the second part of my proposal – that existing Linden Home owners could transfer to the new estates – stone dead.

The estates have to be on Linden land for this to work. But there is certainly room for the location to be close to existing estates, and even for those estates to take on the management and provide community elements.That might work really well – and also offer landowners the opportunity to engage with new clients.Would they be interested? Would Linden Lab?

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Linden Homes - little boxes ... on the hillside

Linden Homes – little boxes … on the hillside – nicely built, but no community

There has been some recent talk about the problems with the new user experience (clue – it’s not good) and the dire state of new user retention. A recent video by Skyspinner Soulstar goes some way to explaining why …

The issue is being discussed on Hamlet’s New World Notes – and Carl Metropolitan has offered some very sensible advice and suggestions in the comments – well worth reading.  He’s expanded more on this on his own blog.

The discussion has crystallised for me some thoughts I’ve had for a long while – back to a time when a group of us, including Cain Maven and pitsch Parx discussed doing something to revitalise the Linden Homes experience. And this could be adapted to fit new user retention too.

I think Cloud Party had a good idea in creating tutorials that had you learning the basics – Move, Communicate, Build – and then rewarded you with a house. The houses were a little dull though, and not geared to foster any sense of community, which I thought a weakness.

A Home in Cloudy Party - photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

A Home in Cloud Party – photograph by Wildstar Beaumont

It’s a weakness of the Linden Homes too, which are actually rather nice, well constructed little homes, and cunningly built to use the maximum space available (planting the Master Prim on Government owned land means that residents can spend the full 117 prims on decoration). But they lack any sense of community.  They are just … little boxes, on the hillside … and, too often, they all look just the same. It’s a great idea … but one feels the love ran out.  There was an attempt to create community centres and the Elderglen one is actually quite fun (you can forge metal and catch fairies) … but the Meadowbrook info hub looks like a half-hearted attempt at a country club that ran out of money …

It was this problem that a group of us discussed a few years back … and it does tie in with the new user retention.

Meadowbrook, a bleak unfinished country club

Meadowbrook, a bleak unfinished country club

I liked the idea that newcomers who went through the community gateway process at Caledon Oxbridge could then rent a place in the student dorm for a month – it helped them nest AND gave them a foothold in a lively community. That was in the days when Caledon Oxbridge was a full sim – with a community gateway.  When the community gateway programme was abruptly closed (18 hours notice from the Lab, after many of those involved had invested THOUSANDS of US dollars … that was not a happy time) Oxbridge became a homestead, focusing on education.

Inside Elderglen, a more engaging Linden Home infohub

Inside Elderglen, a more engaging Linden Home infohub

So … this is my idea.

That like Cloud Party, there’s a task/quest/tutorial route, designed by Carl and his team (or someone like him – if that is possible!). On completion of this task – whereby you have learned to walk/talk/manipulate objects – and anything else felt to be core, you are given the choice of a house/apartment for thirty days – in a choice of community styles. NOT a soulless box on a hillside, but one of a number of community choices.

Here are just a few suggestions …

A Irish fishing village, with houses grouped around the harbour, and rising up the hill behind. Everyone gets a sea view … and there’s a pub on the quay (selling only non-alcoloic drinks – but with Irish music on the stream, maybe).

Greater Ireland: Limerick - photograph by PJ Trenton

Greater Ireland: Limerick (now gone) – photograph by PJ Trenton

A set of streets with New York brownstones, two or three storeys high. Somewhere on the block, or a couple of streets over, there is a very cool coffee shop.

A lake in the Himalayas with houseboats, with a sim surround that depicts the snowy mountains.

A fairytale medieval village.

A forest with tree houses.

A futuristic city with apartments.

Whatever the type of build/community the new resident chose, they would find it came partially and simply furnished, to match the style of the community they had chosen – but still with enough free prims to allow a little creativity.

The Brownstones in Nova Albion - apartments, cafe and arts

The Brownstones in Nova Albion – apartments, cafe and arts

Each location would come with several public buildings.

  1. A community gathering place where people could hang out or party.
  2. A performance space, possibly part of the community gathering place, or separate.
  3. A gallery that could display original Second Life Art – with links to other art venues, such as the LEA.
  4. A small number of stores offering freebies or dollarbies (with links to main stores).

Each location – or group of locations – would also have a community warden.  This person would be a volunteer, but would get a special house, rent free, in return for their efforts. They would be responsible for making sure that the art galleries were properly maintained, that streams were available for performances … and generally oiling the wheels that keep the community functioning.

And I mean functioning. New residents would have the chance to participate, not just to watch. There could be building competitions, show and tell sessions, chances to organise visits to interesting places, game nights – things that the community residents might develop for themselves, with the support of the Warden.

Part of the houseboat community in Junkyard Blues

Part of the houseboat community in Junkyard Blues

So what would happen at the end of the thirty days? Well, some of the new residents would not have come back anyway. But for those who have – there would be choices. They could convert to a premium membership and keep their home as their Linden Home. They could stay a base rate member and start to pay rent at a commercial rate. Or they could move out and move on.

But the idea would be that these communities would be so successful that people would want to stay.  And more than that – premium members could choose to move there as well, using these new communities for their Linden Home. The idea, over time, would be to create communities that interacted, and also welcomed newcomers.

Should they all be mainland, like the Linden Homes? Possibly – although there might be grounds for partnerships here eventually with land barons. After all, they have experience in running communities.

Elegant (and low prim) Regency Homes in London, Knightsbridge

Elegant (and low prim) Regency Homes in London, Knightsbridge

Carl has offered his assistance in developing the community experience … I can offer my rolodex for contacting the designers who would LOVE to be a part of creating regions like this (and probably my cat-herding skills too).

 

 

 

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