How to Contact and Influence Linden Lab
Things have changed, so some links here have been changed to newer support pages. (4/20/2011)
We now have some new phone numbers for the Lab (5/23/2011)
We now have a Linden.Lab profile we can contact. See Linden.Lab. 10m/11d/2011. (More info below)
I see lots of posts in the Second Life Forum that are directed at Linden Lab staff. I suppose those people think staff or someone in staff reads the forum and gets information to where it can do something. As best I can tell that does not happen. If you want your voice heard, here are some tips for getting that to happen.
Realize that you are probably not going to get a quick answer or response. No matter what your subject, problem, or issue is it just may not matter to Lab staff. They have job pressures, agendas, suffer repetition fatigue, and any number of other distractions and priorities that place your information in a perspective different than yours. The staff member dealing with your information is not the company. They probably won’t see things form the viewpoint of what the company should do, they see it from the scope of their job and workload and what they have to do.
Your expectations about what a Linden SHOULD DO are probably wrong. I suggest you give up your expectations and deal with what is. If you do not get the response you want, figure out what YOU did wrong. You can’t change a Linden or the Lab. You can change what you are doing and how you are communicating. Keep changing until you find something that works.
If you think nothing works, YOU have failed. Many others are getting their issues heard and handled. Figure out what YOU did wrong.
Exclude drama and snide remarks in you communications with Lindens. If you have an attitude and are frustrated as you write, it is likely to come through. If you actually want to accomplish something other than venting, lose the attitude. Your view of the Lab is not likely shared by Lab staff. Nor or you likely to make points and get cooperation by trying to convince staff they suck, are incompetent, or have screwed up.
Your venting causes everyone problems as it wears on the Lindens’ patience. So, many residents will start ripping on you and your attitude and are likely to withhold help.
This happens when one has to answer the same question over and over. At some point one has to just skip over the questions and take a break. I know I reach that point when answering forum questions. I suspect Lab staff does the same. You can avoid your question or plea for help being skipped by making sure your question has not already been asked and answered. Search the Second Life Knowledge Base, forum Answers section, Wiki and the general forum.
Staying on Point
You will likely have a question or a problem that is your reason for contacting a Linden or the Lab. For the Lab to handle the massive number of people contacting them they have had to try and get people to those that can help. Management does management, support handles a narrow field of problems, and developers handle narrower fields of problems and questions. Make sure you reach the right person with a question or problem so that it is within their field of purview.
Do a single point, question, or issue per communication. You can include links to related and supporting information, but stay on point.
There are obvious contact points and ones that are not so obvious. People think the forum is a contact point. It generally isn’t. The SL forum and blogs look so much alike now I think people confuse them. If you want to be heard, avoid that mistake. Use the forum to contact SL users/residents.
On the SL web site there is a section for Second Life Help and Second Life Support. These are good places for finding answers and the later for filing trouble tickets. This is a first contact point for reaching support staff. They are not the techs that can change Second Life or managers that can change policy. Also, they are much smaller in number now and likely over loaded. (4/2011 – reports are support is improving and wait time less. But, it can take some time. Be clear and detailed when filing a ticket.) Subjective evidence is they do not handle unique, complex problems well. You will probably get to your answers fastest by searching the knowledge base and forum.
Also, if you problem sounds similar to other problems then you will get a stock answer. Describe the problem in detail, the steps you have already taken, include a link to a forum thread if you have already asked there, and include the information from the viewer’s Help->About…
Office Hours or now User Groups
Most of the development and department heads at the Lab have office hours or chair User Groups. These are meetings in world that Linden Lab managers and team leaders host. You can contact Lab staff in the meetings, with limitations.
To avoid total chaos in the meetings each meeting tends to have an agenda. Also, each Linden hosting a meeting has an area of expertise. They field questions and discuss topics only in those fields and limit discussion to issues and information related to their field. If you are civil and describe a problem well, they will often forward the info to the team dealing with the issue.
Be sure you are contacting the Linden that can deal with your question or issue. Get your question or issue on the agenda. This gives the Linden the time needed to find an answer or complete research to understand the question/problem. They don’t know everything. If they feel they can’t provide good response to an agenda item they move it to their backlog or a future meeting. Watch the agendas as they post and the backlogs so you’ll know which meeting to attend. Be there to get your answer or discuss your item.
Don’t be surprised if a User Group doesn’t work as described above. Lindens get busy, sick, and frustrated. They also do things as individuals and change over time.
You can find the meeting times and locations in the SL Wiki under Office Hours or User Groups. Click in the list to see a group’s wiki page. The agenda is usually there. Some groups and project teams use only the forum, hide, or make it difficult to know how to add agenda items. So, if you can’t find the group in this listing, you’ll need to ask in the forum to see if anyone has better contact information for the team or group.
Lindens post blogs. If your question or issue is in regard to the subject of a Linden blog post, jump into the comments. Lindens usually follow up on their posts, not always. They are different people and each handles comments to their posts differently. While you may not get a direct response, your comment will likely be read.
An exception is the server development team in connection with server updates. The team posts about updates in Forums > Technology Forum > Second Life Server. Look for Deploys for the week of… These threads are closely watched and the team often comments.
The Wiki Talk
Few residents use this channel. Lindens are in the wiki updating their pages almost every day. One can use the Talk (discussion) pages to discuss issues and ask questions. There is good information about using the Wiki in About Second Life Wiki.
Project Mailing Lists
Most of the Lab’s projects have a mailing list you can subscribe to. You can respond to subjects and send to the list to raise your questions and problems. See Second Life Open Source.
Lindens’ User Pages
Every resident can have a User Page. Most Lindens have a User Page. Those that have office hours have a page for sure, Office Hours. Visit the Wiki and type in the Linden’s name. There is usually information about how to contact them on their page.
Linden Lab Phones
These numbers are for login and billing issues only.
The main toll free number: 800-294-1067 USA & Canada – Jan 30, 2012
The toll charged line is: 703-286-6277 – Jan 30, 2012
Linden Lab, San Francisco: +1 (415) 243-9000 – Business Office
Customer Support phone number (All Countries): +44 203.362.0268
WARNING: The UK numbers below are reported to not work. See comments. However, Rand Linden updated the forum page with these numbers 1m/30d/2012. See Billing.
If you try them and they fail let me know which number is failing. Also, let me know what numbers work.
France: 0805.101.490 – Jan 30, 2012
Germany: 0800.664.5510 – Jan 30, 2012
Japan: 0066.33.132.830 – Jan 30, 2012
Portugal: 800.814.450 – Jan 30, 2012
Spain: 800.300.560 – Jan 30, 2012
UK: 0800.048.4646 – Jan 30, 2012
Toll-Free Support for UK, Germany, France, Japan, Spain, Brazil, and Portugal: +00.800.712.37123 – Unconfirmed
Email for payment, transaction, and delivery problems: email@example.com
Web: Billing Support.
Update Oct 11, 2011: All the Lindens have social network profiles. Not all Lindens pay attention to them, some do. You can find the Linden profiles at: https://my.secondlife.com/, you need to be logged in. To find a specific Linden add their name to the end of the URL. Example: Linden Lab would be https://my.secondlife.com/Linden.Lab.
This works from both the web site and in-world in web profiles. So, the feature should be independent of viewer version. Some Third Party Viewers do not use web profiles and will not have the feature. But, you can still use the Web Profiles via your browser.
There is a new direct message feature. This will allow you to send a message from the web site or from the viewer. It is a good way to contact a Linden when you cannot login via the viewer.
One can send to groups of people too. Plus it avoids the IM cap. However, if a load of messages are being sent, your message can be lost in the blizzard of messages.
Remember. These are busy people. Their job is not handling resident questions and problems. It is some portion of their job, the key word being portion. They have other work to do. Make any contact brief, to the point, detailed clearly, and complete.