Wednesday Jessica Lyon, of Firestorm/Phoenix project Manager, conducted an interview with Oz Linden, the director of open source for Linden Lab. After a previous crash prone four region Phoenix Hour the week before, Jessica conducted the Interview on a private region with no audience.
Treet.tv made the heroic effort to stream the interview. With something like 350 or so people connecting, there were problems. But, Treet.tv was able to make a recording of the interview and it is now available on Treet.tv. See: Specials -> Episodes to find it. LINK
I’ve written a review of the audio tape. I paraphrase wording. Transcribing is tooooooooo tedious for me. May be I can find a masochist in the SL community that will do that… Whatever, be warned that I listen, decide what they said and then write what I heard. I try to be objective and accurate. But, I have my biases and prejudices. So, I include the time marks so you can listen to the parts important to you.
0:00 – 01:10 – Intros, purpose, and chitchat. Interestingly, Jessica mentions that Oz was at the Phoenix Hour the week before. So, at least one high powered Linden got to see the region crashes. I think of Oz has ‘high powered.’ I don’t know how much power and influence he does or does not have in the Lab. Jessica did not bring Oz into that meeting. Her reason as I hear it is she thought it would have been too inflammatory to the crowd. You’ll have to decide if her concerns are/were well founded and what that says about her and the SL community.
01:10 – Design Competition for Oz’s Open Source Meeting Place is announced. There is a L$5,000 prize for the winner of the competition. See the SL Wiki for competition details: Hippotropolis Theater Design Competition.
You’ll find that the competition is open to all, with the exception of Lindens and their family members and those participating in the judging.
The build needs to be primarily mesh. Prim parts are ok. The competition will be judged and complete in mid to late April… yes, this year. So, get on it if you’re entering.
Jessica points out: this is where the Third Party Viewer (TPV) dev’s meet.
There will be 5 judges. Two are lindens. Three are residents and the Lindens have decided to keep them anonymous, which again says something about the community and how the Lindens see it.
04:30 – Jessica explains where the questions in this part of the interview came from and what she hopes to accomplish. The question are a mix of what people have sent or asked her and what she sees as important from her take of community reaction. She hopes to get out factual information.
05:00 – Q: Jessica understands the Lab has been investigating why people use the viewer they use. She thinks part of the reason for the policy changes is from the research. Oz is asked to elaborate.
Oz explains that the Lab does ongoing usability testing of the SL Viewer. They bring in experienced residents and people new to Second Life, mostly they use new people. They provide a script of things to do. Then watch to see how they do.
They provide ‘instrumented’ machines for the test subjects to use. They film the subjects. They record keystrokes and user actions. All of which is analyzed and studied.
They don’t do testing with TPV’s simply because they are interested in the Lab’s viewer.
The Lab also looks at statistical data and follow up with SL users, those that register and come back often and those that only come in once or twice and do not return. They are asked about what liked and disliked and other questions to find out what is and is not working in SL.
08: 10 – The research did not lead to the policy changes. HOWEVER, in discussions with interviewees anecdotal information about bullying and tags came up. That did influence the policy change.
09:00 – Much of what the Lab is doing is in an effort to make Second Life more ‘understandable.’ SL is a complex system. Oz having only been here 2 years is still learning what it is and how it works and what people do with it.
09:45 – Policy Changes
2.a.iii : You must not provide any feature that circumvents any privacy protection option made available through a Linden Lab viewer or any Second Life service.
Jessica explains the Phoenix Viewer’s true Online Status breaks this rule and will be removed in the next release.
10:45 – 11:15 – Audio cuts out before the question is completed. It also clips off the first ot Oz’s answer.
Oz explains that some privacy security is enforced on the server and some only in the viewer. The Lab feels it is important to have TPV Dev’s understand how seriously the Lab takes the issues. If they place a security/privacy measure in the viewer, they want to be sure it is not circumvented.
12:00 – Oz talks about how they see the importance of allowing users to have separate identities from their real life selves. The Lab’s research, conversations with residents, and their observations tell them this is an important feature for Second Life users.
13:30 – Oz talk about the blow back they got about planning to changing llRequestAgentData(). He saw lots of distress and outrage. While that conveys some since of how important the feature is to the community, it doesn’t actually provide actionable information. The Lindens need to know WHY it is so important and it is being used that makes it so important. The Lindens have to filter through all the rame to find useful information to fix the problem. Some people did provide what Oz describes as ‘excellent explanations.’ (14:00 ±) The result is any change to the scripting function will be on hold until they figure a way to handle the legitimate use cases.
15:30 – Mostly the reason the function is used as it is, is because something else in Second Life is not working as it should. Use of the function is a work around for other problems. The Linden plan is to fix those problem things making use of the function necessary. Once those things are fixed, they will look at providing new features for the remaining uses.