Updated: Nov 8, 2016
These tips came out in 2011. They inspired me to write my version: Second Life Camera Position Tips. I never run a viewer using the default camera position these days. I change them first thing.
To get to the settings: in the top menu click Develop->Avatar->Character Tests->Test Male/Female. If there is no DEVELOP in the top menu, press Ctrl-Alt-Q.
There is a downside to changing the default position. When you sit, your new camera position pushes the camera into odd places. For me that is a minor annoyance. I think the improved view of SL is worth the minor annoyance.
In the Linden viewer one uses the Debug Settings to change the default camera position. See Penny’s or my article to learn how that is done.
In the Firestorm viewer changing the defaults is done from the keyboard and mouse. See their instructions here: Movement and Camera. To the right of the page is a link to the VIEW section. Firestorm has shortcut keys not in the Linden viewer. You can restore the viewer’s default position for the camera inadvertently (Shift-ESC) and wipe out your changes. So, once you set your default camera position, remember to save the viewer’s settings. Pressing just ESC once or twice resets the camera to your default camera position in FS and Linden viewers.
We don’t have precise information on the user turnover in Second Life. Older studies when the Lab was more open about stats had revealed the average users spent 2 years in SL. So, four years later, a significant number of users have departed and arrived. For many, this old information is new. They are hearing it for the first time.
Also, it is curious that some of these basic things, like the default camera position, have never been addressed. Users have gripped a lot. But, the Lindens don’t user SL as we do and see it differently. Changing a default is generally simple programming-wise. So, these changes would seem to be the low hanging fruit the Lab likes. But, it hasn’t happened.
You however can change the defaults and they stick. So, you seldom have to think about it once changed.