I may come across negative in this coverage as I’m frustrated with the ACUG (Adult Content User Group) meetings. I’ve had my tail chewed for wasting people’s time in meetings (RL) I lead and allowing the meeting to wonder. So, I find the ACUG frustrating. But, we did get some news.
This was the meeting at which we where to hear who’s Gateway Proposal was accepted. One was accepted. We have a winner. But, it cannot be announced until Viale Linden has had time to work out things and get possible preparation work done. So… we wait another week.
We are told the gateway will be larger than just the Zindra region.
Viale is saying this will then become a community project and the Lindens will not lead it. Right.
Also, he said about the Gateway Proposal winner, ” They are pros at welcoming residents to the adult community and SL in general.” I find that rather scary considering SL’s record of poor player retention.
Since not everyone can attend the ACUG meetings, and possibly User Groups in general, they, whoever they is, are looking to find a way to make meetings available to more people. Also, since User Groups are narrow they are looking for ways to broaden them.
Viale says the best feedback they have gotten is via ‘asynchronous notes’. Asynchronous? I suppose that is forum posts, instant messages, profile feed comments, and email. So, may be the ACUG will evolve into a mailing list…
Getting items on the ACUG meeting agenda is now a secret process, as far as most residents will be concerned. One needs to send agenda items to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Thursday preceding the next meeting. May be that gives us hint that ACUG will become a community group covering community…
The typical process of adding items to the group’s Wiki page, used most user groups use, is ignored by Viale Linden. As he is the owner/facilitator of the group that effectively eliminates a standard channel of communicating with the Lindens.
If fifty people have the same idea/issue then fifty suggestions will need to be processed. None of the other participants will know what is being suggested by others. Also, if there are/were historical solutions to the issue, they can’t be presented.
It will be interesting to see if the agenda items are made public prior to the meeting.
It looks like the new process will be much less transparent.
What’s Hot Now
What’s Hot Now (WHN) is a feature on the current splash page. It shows which regions have a large number of visiting avatars. WHN gives us a way to find where people are in SL.
Word from Viale is that the Lindens are working on making WHN available post login. For now you only see WHN when you login. Those of us that login for a reason bypass WHN to get something done. Then we either have to re-log or have a bookmark to the page. We can then open it in a browser. That’s clumsy. Newbies can’t be expected to know how to find the page’s URL. So, this should help player retention and SL usability.
The Lab is working with TPV’s to get them to include WHN in their viewers.
There is speculation the Recommendations from social networking and Destinations Guide will evolve to work with WHN in some hybrid combination.
Snapzilla Feature or KOINUP Replacement
Viale suggests that something like Instagram (Apple App) will be added to SL. I suppose this would be like having KOINUP within the viewer and connected to our social networks. We have no idea how it might be implemented or even whether it will be. But, such an idea fits with what we are hearing about new products from LL and its social networking direction.
It was hoped that Viale could get the commerce team to come and talk to the ACUG at this meeting. To avoid the traffic jams that would have been created by truck loads of tar and feathers coming into the meeting area, those of us at the meeting that blog withheld the information. As many of you probably suspect, they didn’t show. I guess I could say something specific about naiveté…
However, Vaile is saying better channels of communication will be built between the residents and the Commerce Team. So… I suppose that is possible. But, I doubt anyone will start a pool on when that will happen.
Summing It Up
Several of the people at the meeting and Viale think things are moving along well. I personally think it is organized chaos moving in whatever direction the wind blows that day.
It is good the Gateway Project is moving along. But, there is little continuity from meeting to meeting. Whether or not we will be able to get some of the premium sandbox regions moved into release channels seems forgotten, as an example. It is obvious Viale never looked at the agenda page prior to the day’s meeting. The idea to do agenda by email… The idea that meetings will be broader in scope, does that mean beyond the scope of adult content? That asynchronous meetings are thought a good idea…
Also, I think the idea of LL not leading the community and of facilitating the community is way confused. Without a clear understanding of facilitation and an ability to facilitate the result will be a frustrating and poorly performing community. A fact of SL communities is that the Lab and their policies decide what can and cannot be done. A facilitator has to understand that and how to intgrate those restrictions with the meeting and move residents concerns and ideas into the Lab’s consciousness.
Office Hours and User Groups are different things. The User Groups without Lindens form and do their thing all the time. Anyone can form one for L$100, but we label those Groups, but they are made up of users.
Lindens provide Office Hours so residents can handle issues with Lindens that only Lindens can resolve or explain. They are a way to inform interested people what it is the Lab is doing or planning. They serve different purposes and are run differently.
Now some confused effort is being made to turn Office Hours into User Groups. Notice a search on Second Life User Groups and Office Hours leads to the same Wiki Page. I think that is a major conceptual failure on the Lab’s part. Consider. If Viale, or any Linden, tries to turn their office hour into a user run and user sustained meeting… how does that work? How will the users be able to change LL policy or server set up or viewer development, advertising, ToS, and on and on? They can’t. It is absurd on the face of it.
Office Hours have a purpose and function. Forgetting that and trying to turn them into user groups just seems counterproductive. Residents need some place to talk to Lindens and try to get them to change policy, development directions, recognize resident problems, and other things that only Lindens can affect. We have already seen forum posts, JIRA’s, email lists, and support tickets fail to efficiently handle residents issues in SL. Office Hours when well run have probably done more to get things working well, PR-wise, than anything else.
User Groups are made up of users. They can do whatever they want and people are free to join and leave as they please. The founders of the groups are responsible for the groups and can ban people as needed to keep order.
Think about having a group like ACUG that is controlled by residents and is the access point for Linden contact on a subject. That gives those in control of the group control over access to the Lindens, as they can essentially ban people from the existing style of groups. Oh, that will work.
On the other hand, if discontinuing office hours and turning them into resident run and sustained user groups is the goal, what is it that LL is doing? We have seen the end of the Viewer Evolution user group. Esbee returned and the group was reassigned to her. There is no Esbee office hour. Is she working on the iPhone-Web viewer? Has she moved on abandoning the residents? Is the lab moving on and leaving the SL grid behind? Is the Lab even clear on what they are doing? As best I can tell no one knows, Linden or resident.
Or may be I’m having a bad day…