The big news sweeping the Second Life™ community is the change in the JIRA. It is not a popular change. I’ve been following the threads I can find to see the reaction. I’ve updating my previous post with new links. I’ll repeat them here.[vimeo 49016161 400 240]
The video is comedy/satire. It well describes how many of us see the Lab’s JIRA change.
Innula Zenovka: Changes to the jira.. hiding bug reports? – SL Forum
NeoBokrug Elytis: Point gun at foot, pull trigger. [JIRA CHANGES] – Main thread at SLUniverse.
Botgirl Questi : Bugsy Linden Interview: The Real Story Behind the Jira Change – Comedy or… biting satire
An interesting bit of trivia is the JIRA change before on 9/7/2010. This was the upgrade to JIRA 4.1. It is almost exactly two years later.
There are a number of aspects in the reactions to this JIRA change. I’ll consolidate the comments I am seeing into generalizations and comment on them. You are welcome to comment on my comments.
A number of people are characterizing the Lindens. In general the characterizations I’ve seen are based on a Linden comment. The basic form is: ‘some statement’ (quote) shows they are ‘some characterization.’
Few people realize the dynamic at play in such comments. An illustration probably explains it best. In awareness training one of the common exercises in multi-day trainings occurs when attendees have been engaged long enough to start to know each other. The facilitator starts the group describing his/her personality, the facilitator’s. No one really knows the facilitator or their personality. The facilitator is often following a script prepared by others. So, there is little of the facilitator in the material and presentation. Often such facilitators are even trained in the style and delivery of the program. Good facilitators are usually decent actors.
But, that doesn’t stop people from giving their opinions. After 10 or 12 people have voiced opinions it starts to become clear what is happening. Facilitators usually allow the process to run until it is obvious to the majority of people what is happening. People are projecting their personality on the facilitator. Some say he is mean and others say he is caring, diametric opposites that just aren’t likely in a single individual.
In any event, characterizing people usually produces poor results. Imagine having to deal with being characterized every day that you go to work by the people you are trying to help. I’m not surprised that the Lab is reducing communication channels nor that the community fails to understand their responsibility and contribution to the problem.
As a community we need to find better ways to handle these problems. Especially since we don’t like the Lab’s solutions.
There is always the temptation to conform to what others are doing as that is somehow likely the best way to do whatever. So, it is natural to compare the Lab’s bug reporting system to other reporting systems.
If one is to make such a comparison, does one compare to other games or software companies? Do either accurately reflect the scenario in Second Life? I doubt it. One might be able to do a good comparison using support systems for Unity or Unreal SDK’s. I think that would be the systems most like SL, where users are contributing to the project. But, even that is not a perfect match.
I do not believe the Lab is trying to conform to industry standards. I think all the Lindens know SL is a unique case. I do believe they are trying to solve a problem. We have to speculate on what that is. But, I am pretty sire conformance is not it.
A number of people have commented that if there were a good competing virtual world, there would be a mass exodus from Second Life. I don’t believe that. Cloud Party is building a pretty good virtual world and adding in many of the features that users want in SL.
We are seeing a number of SL creatives moving to Cloud Party and working in that world. It has been awhile since I visited. I’ll be making a new visit soon. Their market place is in Beta now.
For there to be a mass exodus another virtual world (VW) will need to work as well as SL and have the customer base to buy products that SL has. Until then, they are not a real competitor.
OpenSim has serious physics engine problems. However, a guy from Intel is working on fixing that. If that fix happens and the currency and IP protection issues can be resolved, any number of companies could quickly open competitive worlds.
Everyone is predicting a flood of duplicates. That is a reasonable assumption. I’ll point some of the other side of that concept. I spend some time answering questions in the SL Forum Answers section. One cannot ask a question without being presented with a number of possible answers. Yet people ask the same EXACT question. For instance: Can’t Login or Cannot Login. Try it.
So, there will be a large number of duplicates no matter what one does. The question is whether there will be that many MORE duplicates with this new system. I think it is apparent the Lindens think there will not be that many more. I believe neither the community nor the Lindens know the answer to that question. The Lindens will find out over the next few weeks.
But, the result the Lindens see is not going to be a pure measure. As always we have other factors that are difficult to measure. We know some number of people are going to stop reporting bugs and submitting feature requests. Others may attempt to game the period of testing by rallying groups to do mass reporting of a single bug to overload the system and skew the results. I presume it hasn’t occurred to them the Lab has seen this before and likely anticipates it. So, the effort at best is meaningless and at worst prolongs the testing period.