[UPDATED] Lights on at the Lab

I had a little fun poking at someone else’s mistake about Second Life, so it’s only fair that I make this crystal clear, just in case it wasn’t obvious already: Linden Lab has made more mistakes about Second Life than anyone else ever has.

That shouldn’t be a startling admission: When you are the one developing a product or service, you have more opportunities to make both right and wrong decisions about what you’re making. This is probably true about any complex product offering – the maker makes more mistakes than anyone else because no one else has so many chances to screw things up!

What’s different about Linden Lab is that this place is more transparent about its operations than any other private company that I’ve ever seen. For example, there’s the constant stream of information about our service status, straightforward talk about our grid problems, detailed explanations about governmental tax charges, extensive data about our growth statistics, even open discussion about our future grid architecture. The amount of information we expose about the operation of Second Life is appalling, in the view of some. For many others, it’s not anywhere near enough.

One of the great things about this flow of information is that transparency exposes mistakes while simultaneously motivating both correction and prevention. We don’t mind being called out on our mistakes if it helps us improve our service and develop a product that more people will love.

Of course, it would be ideal to never make any mistakes in the first place, but anyone who tells you they can do that has never done anything great.

The tricky part is finding the level of transparency that achieves the right balance between beneficial correction and burdensome maintenance. At a certain point, exposing a mountain of information becomes as opaque as hiding all of it. We’ve tended to err on the side of exposing more rather than less information, and in making these decisions one of our main guides is comparison to other companies offering similar services.

Not that this is a competition or anything . . . but we love to hear about others who are handling the same challenges better – because there’s always someone out there doing it better, and our job is to learn from that example. Here I’m not really talking about the features of Second Life – I’m pretty sure if there was a virtual world with the same features but with, say, rock-solid stability and faultless customer service, we’d hear about it every day until we came up to par or we went out of business trying!

For this post, I’m mostly interested in how other companies handle the transparency of their operations. What are your favorite examples of corporate transparency, who runs your favorite company blog, who finds the best balance between saying too much and too little? I’m sure good examples are out there, and I’d love to hear enough specifics to be able to learn from them.

UPDATE (original 8 Oct, 19:15, update 11 Oct, 17:14):

Thanks, everyone, for your comments – I’ve read through the first 149. Please note Robin responded in a comment. Here’s the messages I heard, and their frequency in the 148 comments (excluding Robin’s):

9% Here’s an example for you to study. [more on these below]
31% Thanks! You Lindens are doing ok . . . or at least I’ve seen worse!
32% Linden Lab sucks! You’re full of lying, hypocritical corporate bull, and you’ll never do anything right!
26% Give us more information, give it to us faster, and give it to us at the right time.
22% We’ve told you a million times: Focus on stability and bug fixing, no new features!
11% Communication is a two-way street, and you Lindens don’t listen.
12% Hey, fix this one issue [issue varies], willya?

Here are the suggested examples:

Southwest – cited for great blog, self-deprecating humor, customer-centric mission statement, employee relations, crisis communications, and apologies for overzealous dress code enforcement.

Nintendo – cited for respect for customers, at least in Japan.

Sun Microsystems and HP – cited for blogs [Sun, HP]. And Fake Steve Jobs – (humorously) cited for humor.

Smash Bros. – cited for timeliness, technical information.

American Express – cited for customer service reps’ politeness, professionalism and preparedness.

Walmart – cited for employee teamwork.

World of Warcraft – cited for forums and service.

Dreamhost – cited for blog.

LibraryThing – cited for candid admissions and answers. [examples not cited, but they do have a nice blog. and – hey, cool!]

New Coke and IBM PC market share examples cited.

Lush Cosmetics – cited for humility in the face of restart after failure.

Thanks everyone for the great examples – many of these provide real opportunities to learn from, and I hope we can find our own way to meet those high standards.

About Ginsu Linden

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149 Responses to [UPDATED] Lights on at the Lab

  1. Michael Timeless says:

    This is the best post I’ve read in quite some time. I’m only surprised no one has responded.

    Southwest Airlines has a great blog about the things they do right and they have never been afraid to poke fun at themselves to get things corrected. Reading the book “Nuts” which tells some great stories about Southwest may be educational.

    Southwest isn’t perfect, but they make a great effort to make their customers happy.
    One funny point about Southwest, their mission statement is great in terms of their customers. However the part about how they treat thier own employees is better.

    The crash of the Southwest Airlines flight 1248 and how they handled a mistake of that proportion might be a great thing for LL to read to understand how to work on even fatal public relations.

    Just my .02L

  2. CM says:

    I think people want you to listen to them more than anything.

  3. Veranol Eclipse says:

    Hm… I can tell you a place that is far worse…

    Entropia. It’s locked up tighter than fort knox. I migrated from there to here and never looked back, except to cash out.

  4. Uccello says:

    Thank you! Persistent Prim Drift be damned, this post makes me feel better. I used to work for (then) Cingular Wireless and they never would have posted something like this. In fact, talk like this in the hallways was a actionable offense.

    Donuts for Everyone!

  5. So are you saying the Lights are on, but no one is home? Seems like the only people at Linden Lab that know whats going on is the concierges. I think that in my year and a half that I have been in SL, everything has broken atleast once, except you taking your tier money every month. That is the only thing I can count on. But I love the Lab and what you do. Keep up the good work. I just wanted to poke some fun also. I love SL and all the people I have meet here. Dee Linden will marry me? LOL ❤
    This is the only blog I read and the only company that I deal with. And I am happy with the communications in the blog.

    Just me with some Spontaneous Fun.

  6. U M says:

    So in the future you plan to hear us when we don`t like what you done? Or maybe pssible try to do what we like for a change?

  7. ben says:

    Nintendo is good about this but they have a different level of respect for their customers in japan.

  8. Lincoln Lightfoot says:

    Open communication is good; we hear fairly regularly about rolling restarts; grid issues, etc etc.

    My question – why don’t you stop adding new features and start a stabilization program? 25% of SL log ons end in failure (your numbers) – that is mind boggling.

  9. Porsupah Ree says:

    Certainly, openness and honesty helps everyone – the facts get out before the rumors do, thereby avoiding Mark Twain’s caution that “a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Less hassle for everyone, and that can only be a good thing.

    As for good weblogs – personally, I tend to read very few corporate ones, but some Sun and HP folk have some worth reading. Various people and departments at the BBC have some excellent ones as well.

    And of course, there’s Fake Steve Jobs. =:)

  10. Cookie_Juran says:

    Hey…who hasn’t made a mistake or two in business?? You guys are the leaders in virtual reality and always will be in my opinion.

  11. For the technical more experienced some more background what goes wrong often would be appreciated. It may give you some response from others how in there idea can be prevented this and that if the issue is known. Well there is also a downside for LL since the information could also be used to make ‘competitors’ like opensim (DeepGrid) prevent the same mistakes in the developing process.

  12. Slade says:

    “For example, there’s the constant stream of information about our service status”. Wrong, things start going hairy and its hours if not days before you post something about it.
    “straightforward talk about our grid problems” Perhaps once you finally figure out there’s a problem, and if it’s a weekend forget it, we all know we have to wait until monday for anything to be ‘fixed’.
    “detailed explanations about governmental tax charges” Yes, once you put them out and hit people with them without any notice.
    “extensive data about our growth statistics” mhmm, how many of those millions are alts? Millions of users and only 30k on at a time, we’re not stupid.
    “even open discussion about our future grid architecture.” Age old story, fix your existing problems before enhancing them, but I’d be wasting my breath letting you know this because it’s been said a million times and nobody listened.

    Perfect examples? Hmmm, You’d do well to look at your main competition, and by that I mean World of Warcraft, even COH. How many times have I crashed off those games? This is honest to God truth, never once. I know the architecture is different, of course it is, but YOUR job is about customer experience, and whining about architecture difference is for the companies going down the tubes.
    3+ years in SL here, I feel I can say my peace finally.
    Lets get a rock solid platform first folks, that’s all your customers have ever wanted, you only have to read the forums to know it.

  13. Siann Beck says:

    I can’t really point you to any examples you could learn from, but I can give you some pointers. This post is rather ironic, as the one thing I’ve seen LL most soundly and harshly criticized for is *lack* of communication. The gambling ban and VAT implementation are two examples that spring to mind. Both may well have been necessary, but they were handled very poorly from a PR point of view.

    Blogs and performance metrics are all well and good, but if you listen to the customers, they’ll tell you what they need to hear about. You post these blog entries, and provide resident forums, but who really reads them? That should be at least part of at least one person’s formal job description. Call him or her Reader Linden. S/he should read *all* the forums daily, and all the blog comments, and advise management on what people are talking about. Then *speak to those concerns*. When you start talking about what the Residents are talking about, I can guarantee you that customer satisfaction and morale will soar like an avatar with a Neo Flight attachment and a stuck page-up key.

    (Why all the forums? Because people discuss the darndest things in the darndest places.)

  14. karl seungmo says:

    now i agree whit linden ,its new ,new medium ,and in development ,and do it ,not easy i think ok i am olso not agree with lag slow down ,but it s a price for many things they do well good ,and yes it s great sometime on second life ,don t always but many avatars have i better life because linden in rl ,thx karl seungmo

  15. Poolzy says:

    Just Fix The Problems that are here now. And make the sims eaiser to fly across or make them bigger

  16. Doc Nolan says:

    Some others have said it, but ‘feature bloat’ (aka the Microsoft Disease) is at the root of much dissatisfaction. Having a ‘rock solid’ experience is much more important than zillions of new features, IMHO. A recent example is ‘voice’; I sat in on exactly ONE meeting involving voice and fled in horror as the North Texas twang on a monotone grated until I could stand it no longer. Interestingly, I find most residents (except for escorts) have little interest in voice either… they never use it, nor discuss it. This all reflects in my view the overwhelmingly obvious and overlooked problem with Second Life: a class structure much like that of much of South America. A small, highly educated elite (less than 8 percent) of scripters and programmers live in their own world, while the other 92 percent of us live with minimal skills or knowledge in a world without an organized educational system. I’m always struck when I read the ‘Second Life media’ (including blogs like this one) that they are describing a place unlike the one I actually live in while I’m online in Second Life. For many of us, Second Life is precisely that: a SECOND LIFE. 2L is not ‘a platform’, a ‘grid architecture’, nor ‘an economy’. It’s simply a new and better place in which to interact, learn, explore, build, or view. And often it’s just a place where one can ESCAPE the conflicts, arguements, frictions, hatreds, etc of real life. Am I missing the point?

  17. Adeel Cave says:

    My biggest beef, that I have, is the lack of direct customer support for the masses. When I first arrived, we could contact the Lindens if we had problems and we could tell by the “points” they earned in building and other areas. As an idea of how likely they were to be knowlegable, about problems. Then Linden Labs, decided to make it impossible to tell when the Lindens were on, unless you had em on your Friends list. And to the best of my knowlege, there is now no direct *online* support unless you have a corcage account with a tier of 125 USD or more. The vast majority of people on SL can not *afford* to spend that much for land. Also the vast majority of the people on SL do not need or want that much. Or want to own land. And yes, I have a “Paid Account” abet only a 9.95 account, which I made when I could not remember the proper spelling on the first one.::chuckles:: Although I have not needed live help in a very long time, it is a confort to know it is there. And it is a very important asset for new people who need help. I tried the “Help Island” once and I received *0*, none, nada help. I have forgotten how I resolved the issue, but it was. Also from what I have heard, the “submit a ticket” thing does not work well, as I have of people who has not been contacted for many days when they had a problem. Linden Labs, *please* show respect to the little people, and restore Live Help through the Lindens. We need it, for all of us. Adeel Cave

  18. Unmitigated Gall says:

    Reply to 1.

    Interesting you mention Southwest.

    The “Love” airlines from the 70’s who has been caught of late being accused of being ‘uptight’. The latest is the flap about the guy with the “Master Baiter” Fishing T-shirt that someone felt was offensive, so Southwest, in it’s unending effort to make it’s customers happy, asked the passenger to turn his shirt inside out. You can imagine the rest, as the third story in less then 3 weeks is out about them, all instances where the best, rock solid, company, has stubbed it’s own toes in an honest effort to please all of their passengers,even the dam prudes.

  19. Robin Ivory says:

    It is real simple in concept, tell the truth and then deal with peoples’ reactions. I do it all the time in rl, you should learn to do it in sl.

  20. Aodhan McDunnough says:


    Linden Lab has it’s problems and mistakes but something I very much appreciate is the level of transparency. It’s comforting for me to know without hassle when the problem is on the SL side and not my computer. Is saves me a from troubleshooting frustration.

    What I do recommend to LL is to listen to the techs in the community who spot a real problem and send a warning. Another is when an issue like the VAT comes up again to discuss it with the community in a more timely fashion.

  21. From where I stand you folks are doing quite well on average. 😉

    Before coming to SL I played many MMORPGs who, in structuce and community come closest to what SL is, and noone, be it Microsoft (Asheron’s Call), Sony (Everquest or Star Wars Galaxies) or French newcomer Nevrax (with the cool Saga of Ryzom) ever manage to fully satisfy their community, be it in decisions about their online world’s future or their communication with the fanbase.

    Does this mean one can say “Well, develloper-community communication is simply that way” and keep it like that? Of course not.

    The best experiences with community feeling I had with those games where the company realized how close some of the users feel to their products. What in my opinion allways helped were folks who stood in direct contact with the base, for example in a game’s official forums.

    Of course those weren’t able to answer to every single thread, but I as a user allways felt taken more seriously if the company was representing itself (amongst other channels) through people who took an active role in forums.

    Your blog here isn’t bad, but it somehow lack the possobility of a real dialogue. You post a message, ppl respond to it. You can, of course, react to those responses in a future blog article, but the dynamics simply aren’t the same as in a discussion thread.

    My 2 cents. Regards – Kruge Kubrick 🙂

  22. Lem Skall says:

    What would be similar corporations? LL is in a special category because its product, SL, is created in a large measure by the community. The relationship between LL and the SL community has to be therefore special too. Because of that, LL’s transparency towards the SL community has to be much higher.

    Besides that, and I think this is already mentioned by others, the general issue in LL’s case is not transparency as much as communication. Transparency and communication are not the same thing and they intersect only in a small measure.

  23. Athena Whizenhunt says:

    Sometimes it is less about the tranparency than it is about the timeliness. Considering too long about how to make a statement is erroneous, it results in a “spin”, every company I like is merely straightforward and honest, sometimes I think the legal representation of LL is too active. I just want to know what is going on and that aspects of SL are being worked on, when there are problems in SL it is more obvious to the residents than to Linden Labs , a reasonable exchange of information should be considered.
    I am recieving responses to bug reports from weeks ago, there has got to be a better way than that.

  24. Sunkite Lightworker says:

    It’s all good to hear, but timely communication is more important in this case. Blog before you make major changes, not during or after!
    It’d be nice if you could somehow glue a calendar of rolling restarts, downtimes etc. to the SL frontpage. I know the blog is linked on there, but not enough people are reading it. Sometimes you get your act together, announce a rolling restart a week in advance, and people miss it because it’s shoved off by Torley’s-caffiene-infused-Tip-of-the-Week and other announcements. Then they end up yelling at you and saying it wasn’t announced….

    Essentially, there’s a lot of communication, but you need highlight the every-resident-needs-to-know stuff, staple it to the login page, and make sure it’s there on time.

    Smash Bros. does weekly updates from their development. Highly polished, lots of lil’ tidbits. It’d be nice to have a technical blog or something for the developers to show off new minor features day-to-day, even if they’re not here NOW now. Might be too much to tease, but it’ll give us techies something to drool over and keep everyone else assured you’re actually working. 😉

  25. Pingback: Second Life News for October 9, 2007 « The Grid Live

  26. Lem Skall says:

    Actually, I think this post itself is an example of poor communication. It is presented as a request for feedback but, in fact, if one really wants feedback one doesn’t start by saying that they’re doing a great job: “this place is more transparent about its operations than any other private company that I’ve ever seen.” I am a cynical person but even as objectively as I can be I don’t think this is a genuine request for feedback. I rather see it as a message that tries to convince us that LL is doing a great job in spite of our complaints for LL’s poor communication with us. So once again, we are being talked to and not listened to.

  27. bigmoe says:

    I guess they dont answer resumes either

  28. Damen Hax says:

    Some people are not happy unless they have found something to pick/moan at.

    I think to anyone that matters, the level of transparency LL provides on certain issues is a bonus & valued information, especially for those of us that like to know what is what.

    I’ve dealt with many companies in the past, never before have I seen information on product/service so available to the general customer base & public. Keep up the good/hard work.


  29. Arsheba Nasu says:

    Linden Lab pretending to be one of us, or pretending to listen to us, does not impress me, and it doesn’t fool me.

    This article only further proves that Linden ignores everything except federal law enforcement and critical mainstream press.

    Meanwhile, Linden continues to ignore us, and allows the camping farms to continue their death-grip on the entire SL economy, exploiting the obsolete and corrupted traffic point system that no longer serves the economy.

    If Linden wants to talk about transparency, they should stop drinking their own kool-aid and recognize when they’re throwing us under the bus, because we can see it plain as day.

  30. Ada Radius says:

    I like the idea of Reader Linden – you can’t be transparent if you don’t know what’s going on.

    I think transparent means putting all the information out there, even if seems like too much. Figuring out how to organize it should be the challenge, not deciding what to publish and what to keep secret.

    Re Doc’s comment:
    I use voice, and so do all the people in the SL Shakespeare Company, and every other theatrical group iSL. Also poetry readings in several of the literary groups. Also for brainstorming meetings of any kind where we want a lot of interaction all at once. It’s probably good for SL sex. too. It’s going to take some time for everyone to get used to Voice plus IM plus Chat all going on at once, but some of us are doing it now. Anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to talk, can still participate by typing; I’ve never heard anyone having a problem with that.

  31. Amazing that it takes a Second Life Resident to point out the obvious, but even more amazing that someone at Linden Lab actually had the backbone to admit to their hypocrisy.

    Thanks for listening Uncle Philip, now how about we let up on the Close Comments from here on out, or will it take another nasty worded letter to shake you from your sleep?

  32. Calin McKinney says:

    The very best company I have come into contact with so far regarding customer service is American Express. Their people are always well-trained, polite, professional, and ready to assist you in any way. I would recommend looking into how they train their customer service representatives as a model.

  33. Matthew Kendal says:

    Great post. I for one greatly appreciate the level of transparency exhibited by Linden Labs. Things aren’t perfect…I know that and Linden Labs knows that. The point is they are working very hard to make Second Life the best virtual world anywhere. By working together with Linden Labs and understanding each others needs Second Life will continue to grow and improve. As someone who works full time in Second Life I have a vested interest in the success of Linden Labs. Sure, I don’t like down time and stuff. But that comes with the territory when using such a rapidly expanding and revolutionary product. These things are growing pains the end result of which will be a mature and even more useful product. So instead of rolling the eyes during the next downtime take it as an opportunity to meditate and visualize on what Linden Labs is working so hard to produce for the future.

  34. Chris says:

    Havent posted here in a while, but I think this is worth a mention…

    LL is far more open than most companies. That’s a very good thing and it’s appreciated. As far as building the Metaverse, you guys have had your share of issues but I think the heart is still in the right place… I don’t know if you can do it but I’d rather you guys trying than a typical business-focused company.

    That said, I have a few issues…

    Why have there been no town halls in months? Is the town hall idea cancelled? Will there ever be another one?
    I realize that SL’s ever expanding population makes large scale events difficult (even with Pooley Stage split among 4 sims), however I miss the large scale open discussions. Perhaps IRC or something would be a better medium until large scale events become more practical… focused events dealing with particular categoris or issues are good too.

    Second, please remove the 100 comment limit on this blog. The combination of no general discussion forums (you aren’t legally required to moderate them, really!) and 100 comment limit here greatly curtails any kind of discussion about what’s going on.
    Communication is good. 2 way communication is much much better.

  35. Vin Houston says:

    this is fuey it is so transparent you cant get a customerservice rep to save your Second Life….look i dont know you from the next linden but transparent actions lead only to more mistakes. why not focuse on this for a change, fix the stability in SL before christmas. we need it more than ever before.

  36. Malachi Petunia says:

    This is an apologia for yesterday’s lambasting of the Yankee Group? Or is it an undeserved self-congratulatory homily?

    You state that “the amount of information we expose about the operation of Second Life is appalling…” I think you may be confusing “validity and quality” with “amount”.

    Keep on truckin’

  37. Shadow says:

    I’m not a techie. As someone stated earlier, not all of us in SL are….as Lem Skall says, about feeling as though we’re being talked to, and not listened to, I can agree somewhat. However, I would say we’re being talked AT, not spoken TO. I like Torley’s posts, the tips of the week are helpful for some of us who are new and still learning how to really use all the tools at our fingertips. Once or twice I’ve seen a few posts on here that spoke to me, the layman, about what was going on with the issues at the time. I think it would help us all if LL would consider, that the residents of SL vary from “gamers” who are just here to party and goof off (like me sometimes), to develepors, technicians, artists, and even rocket scientists, (probably even a few brain surgeons too). Can you please, LL, find someone, as it was earlier suggested, who can communicate with us in a clear and concise manner, who can do so in a timely fashion, even if it’s to write a mass blog entry to let everyone know “Hey this is what’s broken, this is what we think is wrong, this is what Ops is doing to fix it, for those of you who understand the technical aspect, here is a more technical explanation (place URL here and please make sure it’s not broken) and we’ll let you know more in 1 hour”…..I think blogs of that nature would make a WORLD of difference…..I know the ONE blog that I read that was similar to this DID make me feel better, I DID feel like LL was working to make my experience better, I DID feel like my use of their product was appreciated, and I for one would LIKE very much to KEEP feeling that way…..so please, ginsu, whomever you are….don’t ask me which company I’d rather you be more like….tell me instead, in plain detailed terms what LL, you, and the other lindens are doing to show me, and us all….that you hear us.

  38. Chris says:

    agree w/ shadow…

    silence < talked AT < talked TO

    I think LL does a generally good job, no make that a very good job, however on some issues you guys fall into the talkAT category.
    As far as development of the client, coding, etc from what I have seen LL is excellent, good 2way communication. I strongly support the open source ideals LL has chosen to embrace, and hope that the community interaction continues to grow.

    I think in the past however, policy has been one area that could use a bit more TWO way communication. Case in point, age verification systems / mature content policy / ageplay policy. For the record I’ve never engaged in ageplay (or for that matter anything sexual inside SL), however I thing the various issues could have been handled with a lot more community participation, especially when the resulting policy affects all residents.
    There was (from what I recall) little discussion about the implementation of ageplay policies, or ID verification, or discussion of which ID broker to use. Many people raised the (valid) complaint that the company LL chose to use for ID verification may be trying to build some kind of huge identity database, and (IIRC) no assurance was given that the broker wasn’t going to keep all the verification data we provide indefinitely.
    If these policies had been better discussed with the community, especially the choice of ID brokers, that would have gone a very long way.

    I recognize that sometimes LL has to make decisions in order to avoid getting sued or running afoul of the law, however even these decisions warrant something better than a blog entry informing the population of a new policy that they have had no chance to discuss.

    Also, I agree with others about Torley. Torley’s articles and vids are always upbeat and informative and a pleasure to read.

  39. Amras Martynov says:

    Thank you, ginsu. Just, plain, thank you.

    It apparently doesn’t stop people from flaming, though. Look at them go. 😛

    Grain of salt, I always say. Keep on truckin’ fellas.

  40. Calin McKinney says:

    I agree with #35 Chris too….there is no reason to not allow residents to comment on every blog entry. It may make us feel better to get our opinion out there…and helps us heal if we have had an issue with SL. Also, I agree to remove the 100 comment limit as if folks want to comment they should be able to…don’t worry…I am sure that with the number of new blog entries all the time..which is wonderful…no blog will ever get more than a few hundred comments…it will get too old to be commented on after a couple weeks.

    Keep up the good work…and yes…become more transparent…the way to build a true community is to share the knowledge and seek input from everyone. This blog is a great forum for information sharing…and should be a main source of info for every resident! I am amazed at the number of folks I talk to inworld who never have read or checked this blog…but that is ok too….if they are not intersted…that is up to them.

    Oh, and finally…yes..identify a few excellent and helpful Lindens like Torley to maintain this blog…we need the best right here on the PR front lines!!

  41. Giuliani Rossini says:

    My goodness, what a wonderfully crafted bit of propaganda. 🙂

    It’s quite clear that the stability issues do not lie so much in the realm of mere programming mishaps as they do in upper-level management and marketing decisions (cf. voice). The same is true of LL’s other problems (cf. age “verification”).

    Very cute asking the users of the service for tips on how to make it better (as if that wasn’t continually offered anyway) with no assurance at all and even less of a track record that they will be listened to at all. Brilliant empty PR.

  42. SL Player™ says:

    Well Walmart has daily/weekly meetings with employees so everyone knows what’s going on. It doesn’t matter your position, from maintenance to assistant manager. Everyone is appraised of the enter workings and ways to improve.

    The associates are encouraged to voice their opinions and ideals. Walmart is a team of people working together to improve customer satisfaction. With out that team spirit Walmart would not be as successful as they are today.

    This is a good example of how Second Life should going about their business. Listening to the players that are in the trenches daily.
    We are the future of Second Life. Second Life can not be simply run on one mans ideals and put into action with out the players opinions and ideals. We are your customers as well, and if we don’t like our shopping experience we will shop somewhere else despite your everyday low prices. =)

    The “this is they way we’re going to do it like it or not” isn’t working.
    It’s wasting our time and yours creating more headaches and people pulling out. Lets start being a team rather then isolating us.

  43. Darien Caldwell says:

    maintain the blog? They should be maintaining the forums. And for an example of that go to the WoW forums they have a *lot* of forums, and manage to manage it somehow. I think LL could learn from that… 🙂

  44. Ann Otoole says:

    Are we talking corporate transparency or benchmarking?
    If we are talking corporate transparency then we are not talking about technical performance metrics.

    Sure we would love to know more tasty details on the corporate side of Linden Research. However, unless it relates directly to technical performance quality improvement I doubt many people are really interested with the sole exception of improved communications on planning. I.e.; the VAT thing, when will IdV be rolled out, exactly what data is and has been transferred from Linden Research to Integrity and exactly what data is transferred from Integrity to Linden Research, etc. Transparency on this matter is mandatory as it involves identities.

    As for improving Secondlife…
    How many people at Linden Research know what the value of plus or minus three standard deviation on metrics is? Does anyone at Linden research know what control limits are? Has Linden research implemented +/- 3 sigma trending monitors with alarms set to go off when trending or an out of control condition is present? Has Linden research grasped the importance of not introducing any new variables into Secondlife at all until the complete system is stable enough to establish control limits?

    Done correctly such a quality monitoring system will alarm when such strange things happen like a cruddy lithium watch battery on a drive array controller goes bad. It won’t say thats what went wrong but it will give enough warning time for a controlled shutdown so the root cause can be discovered whilst protecting data integrity.

    In addition, such a system, combined with a true transactional architecture, can be a boondoggle for many many other purposes.

    Ok so the root question would be how committed is Linden Research to Continuous Quality Improvement? Does anyone at Linden research know who Deming was? Does anyone at Linden Research know what Kaizen is?

    Come on and be transparent about that topic.

  45. Slade says:

    rocksolid, defy my points with valid reasons and I dare you to sound valid. Your response was typical 3rd grade reasoning.

  46. Pingback: Maybe things are changing… « A Crimson world

  47. FifthPegasus says:

    I hate to say this but I have to agree with comment #18.

    The flow of information from LL is pretty good. I am not sure what could be done to improve it since you are doing better than most pieces of Software of this Type. Look at IMVU, twice as many bugs but only thing they do is tell the users it is their fault that the program crashes tend dozen times. I am a former IMVU user and I have dealt with their service and support. They are very focused on distracting their users with new features to keep them from thinking about the bugs and glitches.

    LL does not do this. I am uncertain as to the complete truth of this but according to the BLOG here most of the recent updates were not adding new features. They were bugfixes. Oh that is one thing that would be a good piece of info.

    Have an easy to find section detailing all the known bugs and the efforts being undertaken to resolve them. Show us that you are working to stabalize the virtual world we inhabit. I do not suffer that many crashes, I use the release candidate viewer, but I do get alot of stumbling points, where the client locks up for a few seconds then continues on like normal.

    In simple: LL could help the users by makinga public, easy to find, Buglist and detail what is currently being done to repair it and possibly list some known causes of severe bugs so that users can try and work around it until the Bug is fixed.

  48. DreamHost is my favorite corporate blog:

  49. Fenleab Barrett says:

    I’m not sure why I still play SL….LL has killed a lot of the fun in it, I suppose I only stick around for my close friends, but the day someone developes an SL-IM, then I’m gone. But what I find fun to poke at, is LL’s inability to help free accounts. And, to provide evidence to this, what some might question as an assumption, here ya go:

    This is a reply, from a Linden, on LL’s inability to provide full help coverage to basic accounts, one can compare this to the US’s inability to provide full health coverage to basic families.

    “Linden: (Saved Fri Sep 07 03:58:41 2007) Basic Accounts: If you are a Basic account holder, you have access to our in-depth Knowledge Base and Solution Finder. You do not have access to our Inworld or Outworld support teams. However, we’re constantly improving our Knowledge Base and Solution Finder to assist Residents who are Basic account holders with resolving your issues independently.”

    Ah the joys of what money can buy you, which in SL, is happiness.

  50. Raymond Figtree says:

    Hey can Jack Linden post as to why there is no mainland on the auction page, and if and when it will return?

  51. I can’t believe this post is a feedback request. Starting a post with >>> “What’s different about Linden Lab is that this place is more transparent about its operations than any other private company that I’ve ever seen…” and then go on to effectively say “show me someone who does it better”, is pretty crass, especially hot on the heels on the farcical communications regarding VAT. Amazingly, the VAT post is even highlighted as something well done! >>>”For example, there’s the constant stream of information… about governmental tax charges..”

    The furore over VAT was to a large extent caused by poor communication: no advance notice, no explanation of what legislation was driving it, no clarity as to why it hadn’t been charged before, no clarity that there was no VAT embedded in the original base price, no attempt to cushion the impact by phasing it in over a month or two, no recognition of the fact that this will be a significant issue for the Europeans.

    No – just send an email to those affected and in some cases send it after the bill with VAT had arrived.

    The gambling cull was just as poorly handled.

    It strikes me that the LL policy of crashing through bad news and mopping up the aftermath is a deliberate policy. It’s that hip/cool/ do it on the fly/planning is for dinosaurs routine.

    Another point is that communication works two ways. LL delivering information it wants customers to see is not communicating. It’s poor public relations. Journalism minus the truth.

    Ensure that bad news is never delivered in this blog on a Friday afternoon. Evidence the fact that you listen to the weight of comments made. Remove the 100 comment limit. Provide some valid commentary/whitepapers on important issues.. land supply, griefing, camping, grid stability..

    It’s rather serendipitous.. you’ve asked “How can we improve communication”.. and the residents’ comments above say “stop talking at us – and listen to what we’re saying to you”.

    Your lights might be on.

    But are you listening?

  52. MikeC Althouse says:

    How about making it NOT possible to leave your junk or spam or griefing scripts in a sim when you leave? How about that one thing? How about just that one thing?


  53. FD Spark says:

    Anyone who has played the earlier EA games like The Sims the game were terribly buggy and what made it worse was the users of the game literally stretch the limits of what the game was designed for.
    The standard official policy from EA Arts was not to use and uninstall any user made products but what personally made the game as popular as it was at least for me and those who were hard core about was the customized parts and the community that surrounded this and their several content developers who began actually selling their content.
    EA games I don’t think ever really got it and still hasn’t entirely got this from what I have seen. I spent lot of money on their products eventually I found SL and i wouldn’t spend another dime on their products.

  54. Woopsy Dazy says:

    Great post. I suggest “forcing” your employes to spend 25% of their day in game. That way your whole company will understand what you’re really dealing with. At some point I think you’ve lost track of who’s your income here, the players, and the game they play.

    It’s just a feeling I have, I could be wrong.

  55. Simeon beresfoed says:

    hmm best blog has LibraryThing. a small start up that knows to admit it when it has got it wrong.
    and answers questions instead of ducking them.

  56. katykiwi moonflower says:

    The flavor of transparency frequently encountered with LL reminds me of people who make excuses about why they cannot pay a debt, or perform a commitment. The transparency seems to be better characterized as excuse making.

    Success stories relating to information sharing by other corporate entities may provide interesting anecdotes but transparency will never replace good performance and customer service.

    Sometimes the information shared by LL is frustrating and the result backfires. One example was the disclosure by LL that employees can choose what to work on, or not, which seemed to present a business environment of chaos in light of all the bugs and stability problems.

    People dont want to hear about why problems exist when the same problems are disclosed over and over. Customers want resolution, stability, and are happier when the corporate entity interacts from a position of competence, and not from one of excuse making in the name of transparency.

  57. Harwood Hax says:

    A thought for you…

    A game that i used to p-mod for (runescape.com) had a very interesting concept that kept its players REALLY happy and YOU COULD SEE what improvements they were making based on PLAYER suggestions and ideas. it was quite simple, actually… a post, or as they called it.. “forums” .. open to registered (members) users for comment, and everyone for viewing. what made this so interesting, is that over time (i was pretty much on the game from the get-go) it evolved into a mass mercantile, (like a version of SLEX) a roleplaying forum for those who were interested in that aspect, a clan forum for group based… but the most interesting part is that it took on a life of its own…. the suggestions/rants forums have now evolved into guaranteed content polls for users… meaning, while keeping control of content.. they had a way to let the masses see THEIR ideas in-game… and it has taken off like you cant believe!!

    where i see this helping out second life could be a good number of things… first and foremost.. it would bring back the world “created by its users” which made SL so popular to begin with.. im not saying it isnt… just more to the effect that sometimes it seems like things are taken out of the players hands and just “handled” … of course.. lawsuit-pending decisions SHOULD be handled by the million-dollar-company that employs lawyers instead of its residents who are anything from graphic designers to bartenders like myself… but there are MORE than enough things that could have kept multiple people happy by asking for a decision… the AVS idea ( i for one support it, but some dont have HALF the education and information to make a reasonable justification for it yet) (hint, LL…… lol) the voice debate… (ya.. most whiners are 40 yr old virgin-ites who dont want to lose their 4 year reign as the hottest lesbian stripper in the club.. but the argument of lag has its valid points.. and we COULD stand to see two seperate main viewers for those who dont want it… again one i FULLY support.. i LOVE voice.. but to each their own)

    in any case… my point here is that giving us an open forum could do GREAT justice to re-installing people’s faith in a “user created game” … might be worth checking out how runescape runs theirs.. quite a simple thing, really.. and adds GREAT benefit to the users end of things, as well as the game itself…

    oh, and MAD PROPS to you, ginsu… ive actually been waiting to see someone “run down the hallway naked” here and give in to the better side of humility. and hopefully SOME people will read this (*cough* post-whiners *cough*) and realize that JUST MAYBE the lindens have a REALLY FULL plate… and it takes A LOT to run something like this …. and a few hours of shutdown is out of the makers hands when the crap hits the fans sometimes, and maybe you cant get into that “fr33 s3x” sim for a little while.. but in all honesty.. in the 7 months ive been on here… i like the way SL has evolved, and hope it will only continue to …

    … honestly… i would like to see you whiners find a better environment… we actually have more freedom on here than ANY other MMO out there… maybe sometimes give a little back?? ya??

    … just my thoughts..

  58. DR Dahlgren says:

    On the surface at least, Linden Labs has the appearance of transparency. I am afraid though, that except for the superficial, I really don’t see it that way. Saying “We goofed” is not enough. What the goof is, and the steps being taken to see it does not happen again, that to me is being transparent.

    We seem to get details when it is a vendor to LL that goofed, but often it seems that questions about a problem are posted and never really answered. Often in fact, the blog comments are closed.

    Example: Why did it take LL so long to fix the “vanishing water bug?”
    Example: Why do we continue to have inventory problems?
    Example: Why do the voice clients seem to have several problems that the non-voice do not, that do not seem to be voice related?
    Example: Why do bugs seem to fixed, only to pop up later in another version? (sounds like version control issues to me..)

    While it is true that LL is more open than many companies, not too many companies have a prodoct that is TOTALLY DEPENDENT on the customers building the pieces that really make it a product. With out the SL content creators, those of us on this side of the Blog, you have a bunch of computers, some virtual water and a barren virtual landscape. So, LL is open when compared to say FORD. But not nearly open enough to be my business partner… yet.. that is exactly what we are.. Business Partners. So YES!! you need to keep us involved and informed.

    Let me end with this Ginsu.. If the tables were turned, would you be happy with the information flow out of your partner company? Would you be okay with your co-lo vendor saying “Ooops, we goofed, but we fixed it” ??


  59. DR Dahlgren says:

    One last though, before I get labeled as a whinner, etc. I am still here, after more than a year. I still see the potential.

    Yes, we have more freedom, get more feedback, etc. than any other MMO I have been involved in. However, the relationship between the users and LL is also unique and unlike any other MMO I have experienced. I do more, and more depends on me here in SL than any other MMO.

    So yeah, I expect more..


  60. Eden Rainbow says:

    I for one read the BLOG. I just wish I could count on it for *timely* information! Too often things are going obviously badly in world and there is no entry for hours. We need someone in charge of in world communication 24/7! Just “something is wrong and we are looking into it” would be an improvement,

  61. Chris says:

    just wanna make something really clear so there is no confusion-

    What I’ve said in my previous posts should not be considered a complaint. I think as Ginsu said there is always imrpovement to be made, but as a whole Linden has done an awesome job of managing the community. I don’t consider this blog to be propaganda, nor should anyone else IMHO. I believe they’re trying, and while they may not be perfect, they are at least thinking about their community communications which is much more than I can say about many other companies.
    As I said I think LL could do a bit better on the policy communications, but I only say that because I think they might just want to hear it and maybe become a better company from it. It’s my opinion, meant only as constructive criticism.

    I’m not angry, I’m not pissed off, not even annoyed (well maybe a little annoyed that my comp can’t run SL worth a damn but that’s not LL’s fault :D). I bought my subscription a while ago because I support the idea of SL and the principles with which LL is building it. Sure there are issues, both technical and otherwise. And hell I don’t know if LL can pull it off (turn SL into internet 2.0) but I’d sure as hell rather support LL’s effort than say AT&T or some other big faceless company that only wants my money. LL isn’t perfect, but they’re doing pretty well and are certainly a hell of a lot better than many others. I’d buy them all a beer if I lived in SF 😀

    And with that, I’m out for the nite. Good luck to the last ~50 posters…

  62. The best thing you can do is tell the truth and exactly what happened. Transparency is a thing of the past and if you want to operate in a tech savvy world with tech savvy people you have to tell them what you broke so they know for themselves because some of us have a really good understanding of how SL works.

  63. Claudine Chantilly says:

    Quote: “What’s different about Linden Lab is that this place is more transparent about its operations than any other private company that I’ve ever seen.”

    Very well, may we please have the list of wagering games that have been vetted by the gaming hit squads and found to be ‘games of skill’ and hence conformant to the TOS.

    Thank you so much for being so transparent about this problem.

  64. Doris Haller says:

    You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Do some mistakes, it’s ok. As you pointed out, usually people learn from mistakes. That is what “moaners” and “whiners” are good for… to let you improve. Let them whine and listen to them. As long as they do this, they are still interested in being your customers.

    The transparency and information flow of LindenLab has a lot of capability for development, even though there have been many mistakes in this area by LL. Sometimes, a message like this comes up, which is very promising. But then, something like the VAT disaster on information happens. I cannot understand how you dare to try to make it look like you were “transparent about your operations”, after all it was the citizens who had to demand for this information very intensive.

    I prefer to have too much information to not enough, but the problem with LL is more that the information is not there in time.

    – The server status page tells me all is up and running but I can’t login, or it says “grid is down” but I am logged in.
    – [RESOLVED] but it’s not… just see the last “Worldwide Grid Slowdowns”… it was closed, re-opened, updated, resolved… and still it is very slow..
    – If you are aware of a problem, tell us, even if you don’t have a clue about it. Say “yes, there is a problem… dunno, we find out”. or “we decided to wait until it heals” or “Noboday here knows what to do. we wait for xx to return from holidays”. Your customers believe that anyway, if you don’t say something. Anything is better than nothing. If you wait until you know more about it or solved it, people will believe you do not know about the problem (or its severity) and try to get heard by adding off-topic comments to some blog that is currently open where nobody will find it. And they will get angry. disappointed. Telling them from the beginning gives them hope.

    (I wish I had a previewer and edit function just as it is in other forums)

    – Listen to your customers. Fore example, most of them said (and still say) make it stable before you add new features.

    Hey, and be more honest!
    Your post tries to make us believe that your mistakes have been a good job.

  65. Jessica Veressi says:

    Very much a self serving undeserved pat on the back IMO.

    Fix the bugs, at least have someone working through ans assigned to the critical ones on the JIRA, critical bugs setting for weeks without so much as a note on what LL is doing about them is quite unacceptable. As is the increasing lagg prominent on the grid in many areas, ( 5 different pc’s, 3 different IC’s, 4 different accounts, not me, not the pc, not the connection, others are complaining also).

    Transparency is wonderfull and appreciated, but the timeliness and communication of major policy changes need to be handled much better. Wheather you like it or not, wheather it was intended or not, and wheather they should be doing it or not the fact is people are in here making their living now. You need to realize your decisions now impact peoples livlihood and begin acting like it. These people are depending on LL to make solid decisions, to keep a workable stable platform up and running. Decisions like a late friday update and leaving the grid to flounder untill monday costs people money, and lots of it, You do not act like you realize this.

    2 way generous timely communication, stability, uptime, better handholding through major changes (not necciscarily one on one, just walk through it with us on the blog better even <glaring example – answering the resident questions about the third party service being used for verification).

    Talk to us like adults, read the forums, open up better lines to accept criticism, pay someone to read conplaints, coalate it and advise managment on resident attitude and major issues weekly.

    Dont blindside us with major changes. BTW not everyone bothers to read the blog, it is truely a poor medium to relegate mojor changes to the community.

    I would also like to be proven wrong that this is the first one of a seris of LL posts to soften the community for a soon to come bombshell, that pattern has repeated itself before, and this looks like the start of it again.

  66. Linden Lab does expose more of its innards than most companies and opens itself up to criticism. I appreciate the attempts at honesty by providing metrics. But there is a profound sense that you are not really listening.

    You got a clue the second time around on the VAT issue.

    You STILL haven’t gotten the clue about Project Open Letter. The rampant asset server instability is a huge deterrent to investment in this game – as a business owner, and as a resident. Inventory – worth thousands of L, that you will not replace – sometimes disappears. Building tools don’t always work the way they should. Although Havok 4 should take care of many instability problems, it still will not cure the chat session closing bug that has never been fixed since 3-4 mandatory releases ago and drives people out of busy, chatty groups on a daily basis. You break our furniture with changes to LSL, without thinking about the impact on business owners and residents. The map api has been broken for six months and no progress has been visibly made – you can’t see most of the new continents, if any. Heck, even the Forums are starting to slow down and give database errors. What is wrong with the databases?? We have this thing called JIRA where (amazingly) we vote for bugs to get fixed and some seem to be a permanent fixture. What point is there to using JIRA for triage if you won’t actually take care of popular issues? The low hanging fruit is easy – but if you have a holdup on the hard stuff, you can do a much better job at telling us. We can’t really see where the supposed 70-odd percent of resources went, other than to implement new features that bring with them new bugs(voice – I do like it, but I would have preferred fixes to group chat and build tools first).

    I could go on, but that is exemplary of how many of us feel that the only people you are really talking to is yourselves.

  67. Sumeklam Kidd says:

    IMHO, the main thing that needs to be changed in SL, it to allow residents to back up their inventory on their own hard drive. SL will never be a viable business opportunity for the individual entrepreneur until this happens. Currently, if your inventory is lost, you have no way to recover it. In my multimedia training at SDSU, perhaps the main thing that was drilled into us was that if you don’t have 3 backups, you don’t have any. Currently at Linden Labs, we have one.

    Point: you spend countless hours developing an online business, and your inventory is lost, by circumstances outside of your control. It is simply not worth the investment of time and money to create a business in SL at this time, as the risk of catastrophic loss is just too great.

    I think in order for SL to become a foundation of the Internet, this change must happen. Sure, major companies use SL for web meetings, but they don’t count on it for their bread and butter.

  68. Sling Trebuchet says:

    This blog post appears to be making all the right noises.
    – but only if one reads in a vaccum, knowing nothing about the past performance.

    “For example, there’s the constant stream of information about our service status, straightforward talk about our grid problems, detailed explanations about governmental tax charges,..”
    That last one on VAT is outrageous. This is NewSpeak. It’s brazen-faced lies.
    It completely destroys your post for all those who were suddenly slapped with the increase (of up to 25%). It was on my account before I got the email and obviously well before it was blogged.

    Never mind who is doing “it” relatively better.
    You should set out to put the customer first. You absolutely don’t do that.

    There have been some very informative blog posting by LL, but they are definitely the exception.
    We get too little to late – or nothing.

    What caused last Friday’s issues? The Blog only records that they occurred, over and over. Are we in for a repeat next weekend? Has anything changed?

    I think that LL is killing customer confidence.
    This blog posting worries me. It’s corporate PR speak. Anyone with half a brain can see the contradictions in it. In that, it could be said to exhibit transparency, but not they type that you refer to.

    I hate to be negative, but that reference to “detailed explanations” (on VAT) pushed my big red button.
    Your actions on VAT spoke of nothing but contempt for your customers – not because of the VAT itself (that had to be done), but because of the way you simply slapped it on the bill without the slightest warning.

    Stop treating us like ignorant peasants.

  69. Jessica Veressi says:

    @ 68
    I dont know that we could ever back up to our own HDD. All the inventory is really is a list of UUID’s. If this nfo was allowed out and imported back in, it would take all of about a day for someone to hack the local files, and an open market for UUID’s to be proliferated on the net for anyone to slip into their local inventory files for upload back to into SL. LL just needs to back up thier stuff better and be able to “rollback” our inventory from inworld on demand.

  70. johnny says:

    who cares i wanna knw wot your going to do about real issues like your charging me 356$ a month for a sim i can t even get from 1 end to the other without crashing its been like that for 3 months how come i still pay for a maintained sim when clearly it isnt ,and are you going to help us e u members with the huge disadvantage we are at i have to sell off anotheer sim now because i cant make enough down from 3 to 1 sim thanks sorry to bring it up but if you botherd answering tickets i wouldnt need to

  71. johnny says:

    how about this for an idea sort out that stupid pain in the ass ~ linking failed objects too far apart~ cant you sort that so you can link any damn thing you want and more i know this bugs alot of builders please

  72. Jamie David says:

    I must disagree.

    There is no real information on the plans of LindenLabs. Verification is comming when? What happened to Windmark? What really happened with the VAT? Explanations are weak and answers are not comming.

    Residents are not given any warning.
    Friday is the favorite day for putting out the trash.
    Forum -> Blog
    Live help -> No help
    Important issue. Close comments. Nothing issue. Open Comments.
    JIRA an exersize in madness for the uber geek
    Support an exersize in zen patience (4 months for an answer to sim double billing)
    Verification, verifies false info why?

    With the last example of poking a little fun at some one elses mistake it shows up a greater issue. A wopping 90% departure rate of the residents . Be praised that they did make a mistake and not point out that gem.

  73. Sandor Balczo says:

    And for that matter, please double-check your VAT registration number, Linden Lab. Generally, to the best of my knowledge, a EU VAT number is prefixed by a two-letter country code which represents one of the countries composing the Union and charging VAT on their consumers. And there is no such thing as a country code EU, obviously meaning European Union. The EU is not a country, it is a free association of independent countries, to simplify (and I am simplifying a lot).

    I am still wondering why I am not charged VAT if I watch a porn movie online and pay for it if the servers are not in the EU. Perhaps porn is not taxable? Ah, no, maybe VAT is included in the price, which is not the case of LL fees, apparently :).

    Ginsu, I agree with those who say yours is typical, contradictory corporate PR. And I do not think that asking US to compare customer services is a good idea. YOU do that! But please do not use the same ‘advisors’ you used when you decided to charge us VAT.

    I work for a broadcasting company in RL, a state-owned one, and most of my management preferred to say that nothing was wrong when we had problems and we could still solve them, with that arrogant, patronizing, elitist attitude most bad managers show when they do not listen.

    In time, slowly, but regularly, the workers saw my company’s position decline in a competitive broadcasting world. However, in spite of the facts which are plain to see, most of our management continues to ignore the facts and pretend we are the best, removing all causes for friction (the workers complaining) in the process.

    One day, I am sure, the government will close us down and license its public broadcasting service to the competition. They may do that, it is not forbidden by law.

    Unless you are a government-owned entity and we don’t know it, please start re-engineering your management before you try to re-engineer your customers or those workers (I am sure there are a few) who understand problems more than your management does. Or continue to pretend we are all happy until you will be alone at the party.

    How sad to see so many nice startups fail when they grow…sigh!

  74. Maite McMahon says:

    … why does this post feel to me like just fulfilling the purpose of keeping us busy for some time? Like…”hey, give them a new toy to play with”?

    LL, you don’t really care about what is beeing said here, do you…?

    (I do apologize for the sarcasm)

  75. Chris says:

    Where was your ‘transparency’ regarding the taxation? On the same day, and in rare cases BEFORE you told us we’d be charged up to 25% more, you charged our credit cards! This is just one of MANY instances where you don’t put the customer first. You post a second VAT blog entry about the EU situation at 5pm SLT/PST which is 1am in the ‘earliest’ of any of the countries effected! This allowed it to be trolled heavily by fools with no impact or reasoning on the situation. You say you were paying the VAT out of the fees before and then claim that due to the amount of EU acceptance of your puerile policies thrown upon us (was the largest percentage of active users per continent) yet if you’re happily paying VAT at x% of 100 users, that SAME x% did not change for 50000! The volume changed but so did your income from us at a similar pace. 5% of 1 is the EXACT SAME PERCENTAGE AMOUNT as 5% of 100. The lack of foresight in giving notice is the same lack of foresight on so many issues you’ve thrown into this mix (voice *cough*).

    You have too many cooks and not enough raw material to go around to keep them busy – so we get official blog posts about one website (that I’ve never heard of mind you) using stats to their advantage to create a negative piece. Yet it was proven their stats are correct just not in context with LL’s joyous stats showing how wonderful the project is going. Both are skewed to their favour, but neither are ‘wrong’ and the post was childish at best. ‘90% fat free’ is still 10% fat no matter how you boil the egg.

    Lag is intense at nearly all times, we can’t teleport half the time, sims are crashing like never before, yet you throw sims out at a rate of 10 per day for a prolonged period to create more infrastructural nightmares – and then charge us MORE for it. It’s laughable, honestly. When I started it was possible to get a response off Philip in world, now he (probably quite rightly) hides away from the masses who would flay him over coals if it were possible for allowing what was a wonderful, open, ‘transparent’ platform become a dithering, authoritarian, ‘we follow USA laws and selected few EU laws that will get us more money’ platform. I am sick of the cheerleading squad coming to your rescue so often, when people have a RIGHT to be angry at what you’ve turned this into.

    Go back old school! It’s not too late! Put the customer first, not the nice sound byte that’s factually/technically inaccurate. Who pays the bills? How much more would you be making if you managed to keep 10% more of the 90% that got away because it’s broken? Take a page out of 99% of large global corps and remember WHO PAYS YOUR BILLS!

  76. Henri Beauchamp says:

    This admission is a first step… But there are still MANY things to improve in both your communication and, most important, in the way you make decisions.

    “Your world, Your imagination”

    These are your onw words, but so far, it has been:

    “Linden Lab’s world, Your imagination”

    I.e. you are taking benefit from the residents’ work, but you hardly listen to them when decisions about SL’s future are involved…

    I could cite the age verification, the VAT, and many other issues that were never brought up for actual discussion and for which you made unilateral decisions.

    Don’t take me wrong: There MUST be a pilot in the plane, and I don’t ask for democracy (if such a thing even exists in the Real World), but I ask for at the very least some concertation and for our voices to be heard and -LISTENED- to.

    Mind you, many of your residents could well, thanks to their own experience with either programming, management, legal expertise, etc, help you avoiding committing serious mistakes that could well impair or even doom SL (and LL’s) future…

    ’nuff said.

  77. Jamie David says:

    Here is a bit of news that will not make the blog for a while.
    November it seems that the Sim prices are going up. Those of us who are useing older servers and paying 195 the price goes up to 295.

    A 30%+ increase. So my bill goes from 400 – 600 per month. Damn if I was in europe there be another 20% or so on top of that. I find this hard to understand when I just got a drop in charges of 25% by my Hosting Provider due to the drop in network and hardware costs.

    According to the SecondLife Herald this is all comming in November. I guess I get the email on the 31st of October.

  78. U M says:

    “78 Jamie David Says:

    October 9th, 2007 at 1:12 AM PDT
    Here is a bit of news that will not make the blog for a while.
    November it seems that the Sim prices are going up. Those of us who are useing older servers and paying 195 the price goes up to 295.”

    Well that is not new news. That was said some where in late 2006 that older sims payig $195 per month were “grandfathered” unitil no later then Feb 2008 with a 60 day noticed Hence that being Late nov 2007 to early Dec 2007 the notice for sim price increase. At that time ALL sim would be paying the $250 a month charge.

  79. Matthew Dowd says:

    Well, the blog post asks for criticisms – please note that the following may be negative since it highligts what I believe to be problematic at the moment. LL *do* do good things, so shouldn’t be dismayed by the negatives – these are meant to be things to imrprove.

    My main concern is there may be confusion between quantity and quality: LL do communicate a lot of information but not all of that information is communicated well.

    The blog itself is problematic in that there is a lot of assorted information jumbled in one place. Often major policy changes are notified via blog only. The blog is not a suitable mechanism for this. The blog is not references in the TOS or any other information that a new user is presented with. Major policy changes are often burried by other posts. A good example was the gambling ban – within 24 hours this had vanished off the top 4 blog entries displayed in the viewer; by the following week it had vanished off the first page of the blog; anyone away for a week would have missed it entirely; new users would not be aware since there is no reference in the TOS or community standards, not would they be aware to check previous blog posts for policy statements.

    In terms of quality – as has been mentioned above, it is necessary to understand and listen to your customers not just talk at them. It is necessary to anticipate issues in advance and respond to them (this does require a good understanding of the customers), not consistently attempt to firefight after the issue has emerged.

    VAT is a good example – VAT was implemented on the accounts pages *before* any e-mails were sent. The original e-mails were vague that there had been an increase (the wording that the bill would “reflect VAT” could just mean the bill would be VAT itemised but the prices remain the same). It was predicatable that people wouldn’t like an increase, would expect notice of an increase (and certainly not tolerate an attempt to retrospectively increase payments in arrears), would question why VAT was applicable, would question why VAT had not peviously be applicable. The blog post finally answered these, but these questions could have been predicted and included in an e-mail in advance of the increase.

    The blog about paedophilia was badly worded. As far as I can tell the ban is on depictation of sexual activities with minors, which there is almost universal agreement should not be allowed. However, the blog itself talks of “age play” – a vague term with lots of meanings which has resulted in people being AR’ed for being a child avatar – or even an avatar which (due to height) might be mistaken for a child avatar! The blog post actually has caused more confusion than help.

    The infamous “broadly offensive” post was also badly worded – using the term “broadly offensive” which could mean “grossly offesnive to the vast majority” but also could mean “potentially offensive to someone”. Even LL seems confused in that whilst the blog post bans “broadly offensive” everywhere, the community standards permit it on mature areas. Perhaps this is a different interpretation? The post itself is naive – it was predictable it would result in vigilantes and false ARs rather than encouraging a “safe” environment – again a misunderstanding of the customers.

    Likewise for IDV – some understanding of your customers would make it obvious that people are afraid of identity theft, are concerned and reluctant to give personal information over the net etc. yet the blog posts fail to address this major concern with the empahsis and attention it deserves. Instead they overstate the veracity of the IDV proposed, and talk of trust, which betrays a misunderstanding of how trust online works. It also includes classic double speak – taling of how you are more likely to trust someone who reveals their name. Indeed this is so, but that doesn’t make the person more trustworthy.

    These are just illustrations where, yes, you are communicating but you are not listening or understanding your customers and hence are communicating the wrong things, making unnecessary errors of communication or just not communicating in a timely manner.

  80. Alf Lednev says:

    “Self praise is no recommendation,” an old adage but so true.
    Wankfest is a more modern adage that also fits.

    Is this sudden talk of transparancy a clumsy attempt to negate the looming HipiHi threat? The flaws in SL are deep, restated ad- nausem by frustrated users and IGNORED consistently by Lindens. LL rolls out more wonder things that a minute number of users want and bury their heads over the countless complaints from ordinary users who just want to log in, move, buy and sell , basic simple things that break down over and over and over and over and over every week.

    It will take just one competitor who may not be as “transparent” but who listens and acts on customer complaints and concerns and the lead LL enjoys will disappear. The gamblers and a lot of EU members may have a different take on LL concepts of transparency already, time will tell on that.

    Transparancy was so missing on the court case reported last week. Why bother making a Notice, when all it said was no one is allowed to talk about it ? ROFL

    I do stand corrected though , Torley Linden did publish last week, a wishy washy thing about managing inventory items and had crocodile tears about “how concerned everyone at lindens is about lost inventory items” . All the fixes offered, never once said it could be a LL bug and sorry nothing will be done if these placebos don’t work.

    I’ve said before computer nerds and accountants should never be allowed to run businesses.

  81. Simba Fuhr says:

    listen to us ll, please listen to us, sl will die when you dont do.
    I love this world, but to see how it dies, this hurts me.
    There are some new games like sl, hipihi is one of the best sl alternatives for the future, i have try it.
    It uses the sl interface by better graphic, a newer technologie, the support is much better too.

    I know its a hard work to manage sl, but when you dont listen to your customers they will leave you.

  82. Tonio Roffo says:

    Well, failures… one failure is particulary weird, and one I don’t understand from my knowledge in TCP/IP.

    Any disruption in the internet connection causes the client to go in “soft crash”… still “being there” but no more interaction with the world, huds don’t work, chat doesn’t work etc. That’s a serious shortcoming. I can stay on SL for multiple hours (6 or more), but if I “crash”, it’s this that causes it. I can easily simulate it just pulling out the network card and putting it back in. I’m sure handling this little bug would improve SL for many with unstable (or heavy loaded) internet connections. Other than that, to me SL looks rock stable. I’m not afraid to say I’m an addict here, and my frustrations in world are little. 🙂

  83. Weedy says:

    It’s raining!


    It’s just someone pissing on my leg.


  84. blackcrow6667 garmes says:

    There is a lot of transparency and open discussion within Linden Lab but only concerning matters of lesser significance. Discussion and clarification around those matters even remotely controversial is usually avoided and always left vague. I see a lot of repeated questions, and no answers. Thus, this blog here (in my opinion of course) is only for the residents to vent or praise and perhaps get a general sense of how people are reacting.

    Either way, remember the whole gambling thing? The only thing that wasn’t surprising to me, was the surprise!

  85. Wyald Woolley says:

    ginsu, you write about LL making a lot of mistakes, which is normal in the course of pioneering something new. However, making the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

    One can learn by the mistakes made by others as easily as looking at what they did right.

    The attempt by the Cocoa Cola company to push “New Coke” off onto a surprised market went over like a fart in church. Had LL learned from that mistake, they might have reacted like the Cocoa Cola Company did when they discovered they’d made a mistake.

    Cocoa Cola quickly came back out with Classic Coke because they realized they made an error in judging what their customers wanted.

    LL, on the other hand, pushed an unwanted Voice onto the SL community, It came with a horrible UI. It caused performance problems that LL still pretends are not there, it destabilized the grid, and has divided the community. And what has been LL’s response? Nothing…live with it. If you don’t like it go somewhere else.

    And that’s the nature of a company who has no competition snapping at its heels..

    Cocoa Cola has real competition in its market and acted to protect its customer base.

    Let’s take another company who once owned its market totally: IBM. They practically invented the PC market and treated their customers like they had an exclusive on that market. They built no loyalty and when the competition showed up they lost their entire market share. IBM makes no PCs today. Nada, out of the market.

    I know I’ve simplified things in my examples, but the basic premise remains. Threat your customers as if they are golden and you will never have real competition. Oh, others will try to compete, but loyalty can never be bought, it must be earned.

    Transparency is just a word. It takes a corporate culture with a focus on satisfying the customer to make it what you want it to mean: customer satisfaction.

  86. U M says:

    LL is pushing for some parts of the possible new users. But trying to get people to work for LL ( here in japan ). I keep seeing ads all over the internet for possible business between LL and Japanese business. Don`t you think LL is better off trying to get people from China more in to the game then say Japanes? Since China has the ( almost the largest online users of the internet? LL is wasteing resources in TRYING to target the WRONG future user base. I think as one poster here said how th egame is dieing. Hence why LL is trying to cut in to the fastest and easiest possible quick fix of the problem. But its not going to work! Why? because they doin`t know the japanese people and how much the spend and how much free time people have. Now on the other hand China has much much more people with free time and money to waste.

    U sagi M usashi

  87. Jewella says:

    some silly thoughts from a silly girl – probly not even one cents worth. I been here 9 months now, and I notice two things:
    1. most people just get on with it – whatever their “it” is – they gripe some, but then cheerfully work/play within whatever constraints there are.
    2. I seen many, many examples of kindness and helpfulness between residents, whether old-timers or newbies. It’s about time we started to accentuate the positive a little more.

    So I say yay LL – you just keep getting better and better, don’t be discouraged by all the “negative waves” – follow your hearts – they seem to be in the right place.

  88. U M says:

    I want what your drinking

  89. Ziggy March says:

    Drop tier prices untill it really becomes worth the money, for now its really not the case… AND PLEASE STOP THE CAMPING !!! Really do something about that crap !!! have a nice day

  90. Novis Dyrssen says:

    “detailed explanations about governmental tax charges”

    All long after the facts have been dumped on us and countless residents have screamed in outrage, and not only in this case – we’re still not clear on all questions that have been asked concerning age verification. Information is good, and I really value your openness and this blog, but regarding your policies, all information seems to come in retrospect lately.

    I have spend all my working life in customer service, and as sad as it is that I have to say this, regardless of the qualities and instabilities of your product… it’s the service that is less than mediocre.

  91. Tegg B says:

    Hmm yes I wonder what will the economy be like when 50% of online accounts are bots?
    WoW of Warcraft quality service would be nice, even if we had to pay WoW rates to get it I guess.

  92. Weedy says:

    Since open source, landbots took away the livelyhood away from a diverse cross-section of the population and put all the money into a number of pockets which I can count on the fingers of one hand excluding the thumb. To this day, bots continue to traumatize residents.

    Yet nary a word from LL. Transparency you say?….. pfft.

    Just because you say it …. doesn’t make it so.

    Keep your platitudes for the staff, they mean nothing to me.

  93. Johnothan Tobias says:

    First off, let me say that some may consider this post to be off-topic. If you are not interested in reading an “off-topic” post, then feel free to skip over this post. I am merely expressing my opinions in an open forum, which myself and any other SL-ers are entitled to do here.

    Second, I would like to divulge that I am a free (non-paying) member of the SL community. I know that with a little effort, by reading my profile, which any of you could find that out, but I thought that I would save you the trouble.

    I realize that there are people on these forums that resent the fact that many of us do not pay for this service. Some even think that our free accounts are the brunt of the problems in SL due to the high level of concurrent users that SL has experienced lately. I will freely admit that it is a very likely possibility that the number of non paying users has contributed to some of the lag, and much of the greifing that has taken place in SL over the past months. However, it was LL’s decision to allow free accounts, and it was their decision to make. At any time, they are entitled to revoke that decision, and if they do I and many others would have to decide our SL fate at that time.

    I am not here to judge anyone. After all, it is not my place, however it still amazes me that many people that complain about the free accounts are the same people that seem to resent the fact that they are paying so much for a service that they seem so unhappy with. It is ironic to me that a person would regret paying for a service of this nature, but harbor such hostility at the people that choose not to do so. If you regret that you choose to pay for this service, please do not be surprised that some of us choose to save ourselves that regret. Like I said, I am not trying to judge anyone. I am merely trying to make observations, and state my opinions on some matters.

    Now to the brunt of why I took the time to write this lengthy post.

    Let me say here, before I go any further, that I think that SL is purely amazing. I don’t really know of any other way to put it. Think about it. A 3D world, where one can collaborate, build, script, shop, explore, make money, spend money, and so much more. Sure there are other metaverses around, but in many ways none can compare at the present time. That is why so many times we see people on this blog threatening to “cash out” and leave SL, but weeks later those same people are still posting on the blog. They are still here. I am sure they went to other worlds. I am sure they explored their options, and I am sure that they found out that they just simply could no do the same things that they do here in those other worlds. It is one of the main reasons (along with the time, money, and effort that they have invested in SL) that they are still here.

    As of lately though, SL seems to really have an extremely poor customer relations score. If one were to read the comments in the blog entries of the past few months, before deciding to invest their time and money in SL, it would be a very hard call to decide to join and pay, even for individuals investing $10 a month, not to mention large corporations which are expected to invest thousands. I honestly believe that this is some of the reasons for such a large percentage of non-paying members. Take myself for example. I have no exceptions to paying for a service on the net, especially one of this nature. However, I choose not to. Why? Well it occurred to me that the only real advantage that I would have by becoming a paying member is support. The land ownership and stipends can be circumvented by renting and simply getting a “job”. Therefore, support would be my only real advantage. By reading the blog entries and talking with other members of SL, it seems that support is one of the biggest frustrations that exist in SL these days. I read post after post of people so frustrated with their support responses that they are literally screaming at you to try to get their point across. Why would I pay for this? Why would I put myself thru this? Quite simply, I wouldn’t, and I don’t.

    After taking a step back, and looking at things, I realize that it’s not just the support system that is the problem; it’s actually communication in general. People are so unsatisfied with the way that they are spoken to and treated by LL these days it is really sad. It’s come to the point of people explaining to other people how to partake in SL, but bypass as much contact with LL as possible. This is such a sad state of affairs. People love the idea and possibilities of the game/world/platform that LL has created, but have come to loathe the company itself. If you think about it, LL has created this problem for themselves.

    I was happy to see that some of the people inside LL seem to have begun to realize the problems that are so obvious to many of us outside of LL. Here are a couple of points that I have noticed:

    1.) Application for Vice President Customer Relations
    -Develop and lead an international customer
    support organization that drives high customer
    satisfaction and retention; customers should
    rave about their Second Life experience.
    -Ensure the underlying metrics are in place
    for evaluation and transparency into overall
    customer satisfaction with Second Life support

    It’s great that you are looking for someone to fill this position. I hope that anyone that is qualified and motivated will apply, and I hope that you choose the right person for this job. At this point in your company’s existence, it may be the most important choice that you have before you.

    In the meantime, who is responsible for this? Is there a President of Customer Relations? If so, who is it? Can we get a post from them stating what they are currently working on? Do we have to wait for this new VP to be hired before we start seeing some improvements implemented?

    2.) BLOG POSTS

    The last couple of days there seems to be an improvement on blog posts. Though some of these posts seem to be little late, residents seem happy that they have come, none the less. Blog posts are a major problem as of late. We see posts that seem to be demeaning, or belittling. I realize that LL does not intend it that way, but a little thought about customers perceptions of these posts should be considered before posting the entries.

    Can any Linden just post a blog entry at any time without asking anyone or getting it approved? Does anyone in your Customer Relations or PR department proofread these posts before they are posted on the web for millions to read? Are the Lindens required to pass the posts around between themselves internally so that 3 or more have to approve of a posts wording and content before it is posted? Is there any form of checks and balances on what the many individual Lindens are posting? Are you allowing the Lindens with no Customer Service or PR experience post whatever they are thinking at any random moment?


    Lately a few of the blog posts have actually gotten replies from the Lindens. Not just a blog posting then us being ignored until the next blog posting comes along. The recent replies were very welcome, although they shocked many of us. We are so used to feeling ignored that it almost felt strange.

    All too often in your blogs I hear people saying “Are you listening”, and 99.99% of those posts go unacknowledged. I mean, there may be some Linden(s) reading our replies to the posts, but how are we supposed to know that? Would it really be that much of a hassle if the Linden posting to the Blog were actually required to read the replies to their post, and reply where applicable? Would it be too much to ask for a post that simply says “I have read your request and will pass the information along, and then a little follow up if necessary?

    I have read hundreds of replies over the last few weeks that give LL advice on how to do things better, but none seem to have been taken into consideration. Then today we get a post asking how things could be done better. Are you serious? Have you read these blogs? We have been telling you this for some time now. Have you been listening? Was that part of this post even necessary? I realize you had to semi-retract the badly written PR blunder about the second grade math, but did that have to end in an insult to our intelligence?

    With those points made, there are also a few areas that have been, and continue to be lacking in SL. Some things that seem to have not been addressed at all are still happening, and we would also like to see some improvement in these areas:


    Why would you ever disallow replies to a blog post? It really makes no sense to make a post about something affecting residents and then close out their voice on the matter. We read the post and have something to say, but have nowhere to say it. Then LL pretends that it values the customers’ point of view. Are we supposed to believe this, even when you won’t allow us to speak?

    From my and other users of this blog’s, opinion you should never close comments in a blog post again. It is bad enough that the comments are limited to 100. If you want to brag about transparency, also be transparent in allowing people to see what the users think of your service, status, decisions, opinions, and rules.

    2.) Report on your own progress frequently and to everyone.
    Set weekly goals and report progress to everyone.

    These 2 lines come from the “Tao of Linden”. I am curious to know if your customers/Residents are not included in this “everyone”. What about our progress reports? What about being transparent to us in the same method? Why can’t we get weekly or bi-weekly updates on what is going on with the development aspect of SL?

    I think there should be a Linden that gathers information on all aspects of SL and make a regular scheduled report of what is happening behind the scenes. It would be a great feeling if we had weekly reports on how Havoc 4 is doing on the beta, on the progress of Windlight, or how much progress is being made within the large team working on big fixes and stability issues that we heard about a month or more ago without any further details or info.

    I would say that Torley keeps us more informed about Windlight than we are about any other part of SL. I have read many of his blog posts, and been to his office hours, and he seems very excited about his duties with Windlight. Why do no other lindens seem to be enthused with their duties like this? It seems most of the time we are only told what is going on when something goes wrong, or we demand it over and over. Why not have reports on a regularly scheduled regiment, so that we know it is coming, and when. We would feel much more “in the loop” with things like this.

    Like I said before, I am a big SL fan, and am only trying to help. I am not trying to be extra critical, to put you down. I am just giving you a resident’s point of view.

    I have many more suggestions but this reply is getting quite lengthy. I will leave you with these to think about. If you need more feel free to message me in world.

    P.S. Glad to see the post from Bob, was wondering what had happened to him.

    (Sorry for the lengthy post)

  94. Yep open communication, honesty and transparency yep thats cool.
    Like the VAT fiaco, the gambling fiasco oh and lets not forget the land dumping LL has been doing before the VAT thing.
    Transparent as coal, honest as a politician and as ope as a locked cell door.
    Well done LL keep it up, don’t spoil a good record.

  95. Chris says:

    I agree with Ziggy 100%. You raise prices a few times now, despite hardware prices dropping over the same period.
    LL, stop listening to a 0.00001% of the user base (AKA the FIC) and start listening to the masses as a whole.
    And I apologise Usagi but if the price hike will occur on grandfathered, that is new news! This will likely be thrust upon us with no notice and one day will login to our online banking to see an extra 100/sim owned taken out followed by an email a few days later saying grandfathered prices are no more (ala how they implemented VAT). Yes, they did say they’d review it in 08, but they did not say they’d change it. Don’t forget the reason most were grandfathered in the first place was they are on tired old servers that are not keeping up, I hope LL plan on moving them all to new hardware if this is the case.
    I’ve managed to sell all of my land at a massive loss and I’ll be going to a free account when my current premium ends, after THREE YEARS of concierge level fees being paid in. Primarily due to VAT but consequentially because LL do not care about the customer. I’ll do as Jewella ‘joined so recently it was already broke and doesn’t know the difference’ says and I’ll carry on logging in. But I won’t be dumping any money into it as the horizon yields a fabulous view of many direct competitors who hopefully won’t bloat their software to the point it’s hardly playable and might actually listen to the customer.
    (please note, I’m not the same Chris as posted the early comments but glad we Chris’s seem to follow the same line).

    PS on that note, can you please limit the number of times someone can post to the blog IF you’re going to keep the 100 limit so UM et al don’t take like 10% of the comments each?

    PPS can we please get rid of camping and give a metric that actually works instead of ‘traffic’? heck I wouldn’t even complain if you implemented a google-esque pay a set amount on each search term if you want to be listed high on that – and raise or lower it to climb or drop lower. It will still help reduce the clutter when performing a search and coming up with 90% that have nothing to do with the term you looked for.

  96. Anderson Philbin says:

    Interesting that you’ve invited us to comment because I’ve never seen any evidence that Lindens read the comments. Fair enough really, since they usually degenerate into Linden bashing fests.

    I work for an insurance company and I really can’t say their service levels are better than yours. Except they don’t have users all around the planet 24 x 7. But they do things like advising scheduled weekend network outages at 4:45 pm on Friday. And I can report a server down and they’ll send me an “issue closed” email without checking that the server successfully rebooted.

    So, I am looking forward to your inclusion of better monitoring tools such as the teleport one. The grid status page is useless. It could more useful if it indicated that activity was occurring such as logins/hour, teleports/minute.

  97. Jamie David says:

    @UM “At that time ALL sim would be paying the $250 a month charge.”

    I think you ment 295. 250 would be a 55$ increase and mean that those who are paying 295 would get it 45$ less. Fair if one considers that hardware and bandwidth costs are dropping.

    I got a linden, the only way left, through Concierge webchat. “I have not heard anything, you will need to montor the blog for changes”

    This is a classic example of trying to work in a SL world. Spend an hour a day hunting all over the web for information. Wiki’s, Blogs, Jira’s, google to find out what is happening. Once upon a time there was linden answers. Now there is the Herald, GridGrind, SLNews and so forth. Everyone struggling to find out basic information.

  98. Inigo Chamerberlin says:

    Nice fresh whitewash you have there Ginsu.

    Now think back a little – to the time when Philip was whining, in public, at a Town Hall no less, about how ‘hard’ reading the forums (the real ones, not the neutered version we now have) was because of the ‘negativity’.

    The fact of the matter is that certain segments of Linden Lab do NOT like hearing anything but positive comment from FanBoyz, they will NOT admit to errors, they do NOT see the necessity of providing an acceptable level of service.

    Initially, when this Blog was implemented as a ‘replacement’ for the old style Forum, it was sterile and meaningless with no real Linden content and severely restricted opportunity for Resident reply.

    Subsequently matters have changed a little and in recent weeks I have noted more information being made available and Lindens never seen or heard of previously, such as yourself, making reasonably informative posts, and keeping comments open – which I applaud.

    However, I still suspect that the attitude of certain segments of senior management remain unchanged.
    We aren’t seeing any real improvement in the service.
    World shaking announcements are still being made immediately before the office closes and the senior Lindens run off for a relaxing weekend, leaving the residents to deal with yet another Friday afternoon bombshell.

    So, please, a little less of the revisionist history?

    Agreed, Linden Lab does have some excuse for ‘mistakes’, errors of judgement even – initially.
    But how long does the Lab expect to use the ‘developing a product or service’ excuse? How long has it been now?
    Four years?

    Don’t you all, think it’s about time you got this tangled mess sorted out?

    Philip once boasted at a Town Hall ‘Where is the opposition? Where are the competitors? Bring them on, we are ready for them,’

    Well we have some news for him. They have arrived. They are doing it better. And you AREN’T ready for them.

    I fear the sand in Linden Lab’s hourglass is rapidly running out.
    At this point nothing but swift decisive and above all, competent action can improve the situation.

  99. As others expressed here, I appreciate LL transparency.

    I would just like more in-game warnings when something goes wrong (a failed group notice ruined one of my meetings recently)

    I would also appreciate a better return from users to LL, especially in the JIRA: when somebody expresses a concern, about bug, bad working or improvement, the first thing to do is to assess if this concern can be translated into a work to do. There should not be unknown guies or “BDSM masters” wandering on the JIRA and closing our reports just because they don’t like them. Closing reports should be done only by LL people, after serious checking that nothing can be done, or after months of exposure without gathering votes.

  100. Tony says:

    Your transparency is good, in fact it’s absolutely top notch. The problem is you don’t learn from your past mistakes.

    Island fee rises led to people complaining about you making a sudden decision, you backtracked.

    Gambling ban led to people complaining about you making a sudden decision, you didn’t backtrack.

    VAT led to people complaining about you making a sudden decision, you sort of backtracked.

    Can you see the consistency here? You ask for feedback but people have very little faith in you actually listening or noting that feedback.

    So whereas you are very honest and open in your faults, as you consistently do what you like then it’s difficult to take you seriously when you ask for feedback.

  101. Master Quatro says:

    Making mistakes is certainly the sign of great risk taking in improving any venture exponentially. However, if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, we will repeat them with exponential concequenses. When “up-grades” are actually “downgrades” in service and stability I have to wonder. Looking at long term improvement I don’t see much progress. Oh yes we have sculpties and all the rest of the personally useless innovations. But I also find myself crashing more then ever before, rezzing surroundings takes longer then ever, saving notecards, posting in group chat, loss of objects, etc. etc. etc. all operations that are taking longer and longer. This is not progress nor is is learning from mistakes. Looking for best practices is a worthile endeavor, leading with best practices is where I would want my company to be.

  102. Kitten Radio says:

    I love the transparency, but it takes somone of keen intellect to realize whats given in data form, and it takes hunting, I agree the transparency is nearly umparalelled, but LL does need to communicate much more, for that, would make it all much more close to perfect.

  103. Dekka Raymaker says:

    I haven’t read any of the other posts yet but please “detailed explanations about governmental tax charges,” this was blatantly a complete c*ck-up and the information was only given after the fact. Some people had been charge VAT long before they were informed that it would be applied.

    There is also doubt about LLs decision to release acres of land previous to the implementation too, some new tenants feel they were duped.

  104. johnny says:

    o0 all these users on sl imagine the amount of electrcity we all use maybe that will carry another tax for us

  105. Jessica Veressi says:

    The current state of affairs for the everyday resident…
    (There entries encompass several accounts, pc’s and internet connections, not all errors/bugs/brokeness have been looged, this is but a sampling of the problems being faced by myself and friends around me)

    09-15-07 Had friend over, tried to give her shoes, repeatedly as she tried to rezz the shoeboxes they failed ?
    rezz and disapeared from her inventory, Shoe cost 99each, lost 5 pair (luckily these were self made)

    09-15-07 Loged in to find myself wearing an outfit that I had changed from previously the prior night, the ?
    outfit that i had changed into was no longer in inventory, nor was the box it was purchased in, Dress Cost ?
    1200L, luckily the maker was nice enough to replace it.

    09-15-07 123 amWas with friend chatting when she crashed out

    09-15-07 144am Was with friend chatting when I crashed out

    09-15-07 147am Friends list not working on relogg, several waitings, and a hippo

    09-15-07 209am relogged to try and fix friends list, worked propperly on relogg

    09-15-07 Shopping, lag became unbearable in the sim i was shopping in after being there for about 10min, ?
    relogged and lag problem disapated somewhat on re-entry

    09-15-07 While building, recived several Failed to rezz request timed out notices

    09-16-07 Items attaching in odd places, hats shoes hair, attaching to thigh. Trans part of pants and skirts ?
    showing as solid white, Happening across sims and on others viewing me.

    09-16-07 intersim TP failed, locked avatar, had to relogg

    09-16-07 Small prims not rezzing even from close distance, primarily Rclick TP buttons that were used

    09-16-07 Clothing becomes a growing issue, shirts that should be sleeveless are showing as full sleeved and ?
    huge cuffed, with armskin inflated

    09-16-07 relogged with cache clear, small prims reappeared, clothing still not showing properly

    09-16-07 approx 20 min after cache clear relogg shirt sleeves cleared up and looked proper, pants and skirts ?
    however still baking with white where trans should be, cuffs on many pants are full wide and skin textured

    09-16-07 – exploded skintoned shirt issue came back, sleeveless shirt showing arms as skin colored and fully ?

    09-16-07 545pm – parts attached to nearby avas (shoes skirts) do not move with ava if ava is standing in one ?
    place for a while then moves, a primpart will linger where the ava was standing

    09-16-07 613pm repeated instances of – failed to rezz at current location, please try again

    09-16-07 822pm – asset server didnt return in a timely fashion, object returned to sim

    09-17-07 9:08pm – Told by people around me they saw me as Ruthed, rebake and toggle appearnce did not fix, had ?
    to relogg to repair

    09-18-07 1024pm – Intersim TP to Home failed, locked ava had to relogg

    09-18-07 1032pm – Several small prim items refusing to rezz even from extremly close range (1-3m)

    09-20-07 11:18pm – Offfered TP to friend, TP failed, avatar locked forcing her to relog

    09-20-07 11:27pm – Saw prim attachemnts on friends (hair, shoe) stay in place as friend moved, items floated in ?
    place until relog

    09-21-07 11:54pm – At a gethering of about 11 ava’s saw 2 Ruthed and one in “Missing Image” clothes

    09-21-07 12:32am – Was with friends one complained of continuous crashes and logged on/off repeated times

    09-21-07 8:02am – Logged in, walked about 20m and crashed to desktop

    09-21-07 8:04am – Recieved region logging you out message on relog attempt, second attemp worked

    09-21-07 940am – Failed to rezz object at specified location, please try again

    09-21-07 10:01am – Unable to load script

    09-21-07 629pm – Pants showing full long with skin colored bellbottoms again

    09-21-07 7:28pm, pants still bugged, relogged dumped cache, problem still persists, is getting beyond ?
    irritating at this point

    09-21-07 1131pm logged in on different pc, pants bug still persists

    09-22-07 206am pants still bugged

    09-23-07 various Times – Pants still bugged, happening across four PC’s and several pants from different makers
    2 TP’s failed and locked ava, 1 instance of script unable to ?

    09-24-07 late PM – could not see any of the things on the sim next to mine, as if it were offline or something, ?
    could however fly over it.

    09-24-07 Late PM/Early AM – Friend and i went to burning life, a greeter took us on a bus to the “heart” of it ?
    all, the ride was horribly laggy, vehicle dragging underground, ruberbanding horribly. When we got to where we ?
    were going the lag was unbearable, nearly everyone was greybodied for a long time and i would chance that 50% ?
    of the textures around us never came in. Friend eventually crashed out I relogged to home. She came in at our ?
    home when she logged back and had the UI plastered on her instead of clothes. She had to relogg and dump cache ?
    and change clothes a few times before this was rectified.

    09-25-07-09-26-07 – Wasn’t on much

    09-27-07 – around 3pm – Went to a comdey show with friend. Lag was horrible. Took a very long time for ava’s to ?
    rezz in, was there nearly 45 min and all of the surrounding textures never did load. The comedian on stage ?
    crashed out 2 times during the show.

    09-27-07 – Lagg aoround the grid seems to be getting worse, and it isn’t just me, I hear others complaining of ?
    it, and close friends that have not ever really had lag issues are complaining of it as well. I am noticing it ?
    on 3 different accounts, 5 different pc’s and 3 different internet connections.

    09-27-07 Various – 3 TP’s failed, 1 locked ava had to relogg, 1 locked on the connecting to region screen had ?
    to relogg. Saw a couple of ruthed avas running around, they kind of look like E.T. I think. Saw a couple ?
    missing image avas as well, and my friend appeared to be hampered by the pantsleg bug.

    09-27-07 Uploading texture that had a grey/black side on it, texture kept uploading with a light colored line ?
    around its sides that wouldnt have been noticeable in ordinary circumstances, but this was ment to be tiled ?
    side to side on prims and the line was showing in the center of the grey doorway. I checked the texture in the ?
    photo program repeatedly and this line was not in it, it was coming purely from the uploaad. Uploaded several ?
    times, finally had to set horizontal offset to .001 to get the line out of the doorway.

    09-28-07 Early morning- Went to the welsh isles, lagg was again horrible. Friend noticed it to. Lag was evident ?
    at several places we went and was commented on by people around us as well at a few places. I looked on two of ?
    my PC’s and SL seems to be commonly pulling 700-900mb of memory, one system is 2gig, and another is 1.5gig. ?
    Unknown to me if it has anything to do with the lag, but when SL is in its first hour of running the lag isnt ?
    nearly as bad and it seems to be only pulling about 300mb of memory. Drives are defragged regularly on all of ?
    the PC’s am using for SL.

    09-28-07 9:23am – SL crashed to desktop.

    09-28-07 0957am – this notecard refused to save. Unable to save UUID due to the following problem – server ?
    experiancing unexpected difficulties, try again later. Notecard greyed out (like no edit) and would not let me ?
    edit it. was able to copy it over to notepad which is where i am adding this info from.

    09-28-07 10:01am – glad i copied this out to notepad as all of the new entries since last save were lost on it when it refused to save.

    09-28-07 0- I have been noticing on group IM’s the second entry is coming up before the first entry – like knock knock…. who’s there, ?
    instead it comes up whos’s there..knock knock. Issue has been happening for a few days now at least.

    09-29-07 1102am – argh – pants bugged again

    09-29-07 300pm – crashed to desktop

    09-29-07 5:30pm closed client and the entire pc restarted on its own

    09-30-07 847am- On the PC that the client crashed and restarted in the previous entry, when i logged back into SL with that PC the ?
    client had lost all settings, it acted like a brand new install, I had to redo ALL preferances, go through all of the help popups.

    09-30-07 1012am – Pant legs bugged again

    0930-07 447pm – Asset server didn’t respond in a timely fashion. Object returned to sim.

    0930-07 450pm – Asset server didn’t respond in a timely fashion. Object returned to sim.

    09-30-07 451pm – This notecard refused to save – server experiancing unexpected difficulties please try again later. Saved out to ?

    09-30-07 455pm – Asset server didn’t respond in a timely fashion. Object returned to sim.

    09-30-07 500pm – relogged to try and rectify instability, The remember password box was checked, which is odd because i had previously ?
    unchecked it, i unchecked it again. On relogg SL locked on the “connecting please wait” message. Stayed nearly 5 min. I finally ?
    forceclosed and started SL again. The remember password box was again checked.

    09-30-07 – 509pm – friends list not working, several listed as waiting

    09-30-07 510pm – After copying this back from notepad to a notecard ?marks were automatically inserted everywhere into it

    09-30-07 540pm – Crashed to desktop

    093007 1110pm – logged in friends list not working, most people not listed at all, the ones that were are shown as waiting

    093007 1130pm – relogged, friends list still showing several “waitings”

    100107 847am – friends list not working on loggin, several “waitings”

    100107 101pm – TP’s not working, Profiles not loading, Search Down, Classifieds Down

    100107 210pm – Customer IM’d me, paid for item never recived object

    100107 244pm – llSetLinkPrimParams not working properly when avatar is the linked prim, was working last night, today has no effect on avatar

    100107 313pm – Notecards folder would not open

    100107 318pm – TP’d landed with all attachments in my butt, had to relogg

    100107 328pm – Ruthed

    100107 605pm – Friends List not working, showing several waitings

    100107 953pm – Shopping, tried to purchase items, purchase would not go through – request timed out

    100107 955pm – Shopping, tried to purchase items, purchase would not go through – request timed out

    100107 953pm – Notecards failing to load, relogged

    100107 959pm – rloggs taking excessivly long to connect all night, on relogg ended up at place i was before the previous logout instead of, last place

    100107 1002pm – Shopping, tried to purchase items, purchase would not go through – request timed out

    100107 1002pm – HUD Images failing to load

    100107 1002pm – Notecards failing to save

    100107 – 1004pm – relogged, again ended up at place i was before last instead of last place i was at

    100107 – 1012pm – friends list showing friends offline that are online and are verifiedly NOT hiding from me

    100107 – 1026pm – hair attaching to butt

    100207 – 125pm – red zone crashed

    100207 – 142pm – Profile not loading, classifieds not loading from profile

    100207 – 148pm – profile not loading

    100207 – 149pm – L$ balance not showing (loading…)

    100207 – 151pm – search not working

    100207 – 151pm – paid for classified ads not showing up in search

    100307 – untagged – Client memory leak? SL running slow and pulling over 1.1 gigs of memory.

    100407 – 1137am – TPd Attachments in butt

    100507 – continuous – TP option greyd out in profi unless they are on friends list

    100607 – 409pm – Kicked out – the sim you are in is going down, had an extensive setup notecard in the middle of building and an adjoining script as well, both lost

    100607 – 942pm – TP’s not working, L$ balance not showing, paid for calssified ads not showing in search,. paid for parcel listings not showing in search.

    100607 – 1127pm – Friend i was with crashed out.

    100707 – 810am – Avatar crashed but still inworld, (like a red zone crash, but minimap wasnt redzoned)
    100707 – rezzed a no copy item (couch), saw it rezz, turned around, walked 10m or so away. Came back a few moments later – couch gone and not in inventory

    100707 – 1024am – Login would not complete (noticed users online dropping by thousands). Tried 5 times to loggin, finally connected.

    100807 – Friend and I both redzone crashed at the same time.

    100807 – Friend crashed out, the instant she went offscreen, my pc arbitrarlily rebooted

    100807 – Standing with friends, one could hear me, but not see me, relooged and she could then see me

    100807 – Several instances of friends list not working properly, (waitings – missing entries)

    I think the above speaks volumes about the current state of things.

  106. Inigo Chamerberlin: competitors to SL….

    Please Linden labs, speaking is great, but HEEDING is super.

    There.com was laminated by Second Life, just because Second Life was offering a little set more of possibilities: in world building, groups, IMs, search, notecards, easier TP, etc. This tells us a lot about what people WANT. Heed!

    So Second Life could be similarly laminated by new competitors (Multiverse, Barbie Doll world…) if LL don’t heed for some more demands:

    -griefer free environment. The only solution is a real identity checking before entering. OK, your idea is good, to make this with a third party company, but just age check is far not enough. Also abuse reports should be efficent immediately and for 100% of incidents (difficult, I admit, but it would be a better investment than things such as voice). Lands which immediately respond to every incident ARE peaceful.

    -stable bug free viewer. I am not moaning like many here, I know that designing such a piece of soft and running such a network is extremely difficult, especially when everybody is frentically pushing all this to the extreme limit. But I strongly suspect that the viewer is made of patches and fixes, that there should be some rational rewriting of it, some centralized harmonization and quality process.

    -at last LL should be aware that now mainstream people are entering SL, together with scientists, companies, etc. not just vampires, sex morons or stalkers like in the beginning. This requires a more neat ambiance: -more policed communication (from and to LL, administrators, etc) -no “folklore” such as humiliating animations (when we fall, or when we are “ruthed”, for instance). -rewriting basic animations such as walk, etc, and provide more choice for them
    -have a white horizon haze, not the brown Frisco’s fog (Don’t you know, this is not the natural colour of the sky ??)

    OK, you LL are on the good path, and competition will not catch you soon. But please keep on effort and HEED the users, not just speak to them.

  107. Feed Back says:

    Well, you felt urged to speak to us…That´s good, so you realized the mood on the grid is rather apocalytical.

    Anyhoo, i will not discuss the point of you being transparent in your communications or not. Cose that is totally missing the point, when most problems we have are about your service & reliability.

    Nevertheless, fine that you´re stepping up and try to talk to the community again.

    You still have the chance to prevent the age verification as you plan it and by that not to kill the last bit of life on the grid. Rethink about that part and you might re gain a bit of credibility & trust.

  108. bob brown says:

    I have proof that the mighty Lindens listen, i posted a while ago about me running an SL class in RL on wednesday afternoons and they moved the restart to late enough for us not to be effected.. well i think they listened.. i can’t blieve it was pure coincidence… the Mighty ones see all! 😀

    More seriously, i have yet to see any kind of competition for SL, yes theres MMORPG’s all over the place but when i can build a giant flying armoured angler fish in thier worlds without a working knowledge of some indescribably hard 3D package i’ll think about checking them out. In Sl everything is possible, and yes I lag like crazy, and yes i crash, and yes, of course, camping pads are unfair (though i think they are a first step of newbie’s indtroduction to SL and the same campers go on to get a premium account and spend like crazy when their account kicks in) but i love it, put up with it and hammer on having fun.

    Also, transparency is a Very Good Thing. I don’t think SL would function without us knowing whats going on, what the problems coming up are going to be etc. I know that sometimes it can seem like Sl is full of holes but if one actually looks at what LL are achieving daily it’s a dashed miracle! I say bravo and carry on!

    Oh and havok 4 is exciting indeed, that and windlight O.O 🙂

  109. Lukas Mensing says:

    We are all users here attached to Secondlife. We invest our money our efforts and our dreams in it, and we all want it to work well, develop and grow. We want more people from the whole world join us here and exchange and learn…
    We are NOT your enemies, you don’t have to fear us and you are NOT gods that we should venerate.
    You owe us information and service, the service that you can provide, in a reasonable way, and the necessary and sufficient information that we need to plan and build.

    You say this Mr Ginsu:”[…]exposing a mountain of information becomes as opaque as hiding all of it”
    You proposing two absolutely extreme and opposite alternatives and trying to show that you did the “reasonable” middle way choice…

    This reasonable position consisted in sudden important decisions followed by barking sessions (nothing insulting here, its a linguist expression coming from the proverb ” the dogs bark, the caravan passes its way”).

    We feel that there is a major change concerning our virtual world, and many of these pretended errors are just signs announcing this change.
    Why acting with us like if we were children?
    Why not organizing a “real” blog or info sessions and share your projects with us?

  110. Deltango Vale says:

    I believe that LL made one critical strategic error that spawned almost all subsequent problems:

    The anonymous accounts.

    They generated an explosion in population and publicity for which LL was unprepared and they encouraged an influx of unknown, anonymous players for which LL would become legally liable.

    Grid instability, land-price volatility, the scramble to introduce ID-based age verification, the sudden and unexpected ban on gambling and the overnight introduction of VAT are all a result of a failure in strategic planning.

  111. Gigmonger says:

    I really don’t have any issues. I think it would be interesting to have LL describe (in detail) what they are up against each day. Your residents would then be able to see what is probably a gargantuan task and hopefully be more understanding. Additionally, having trasparency of this nature at the granular level, could be helpful for LL. When those of us who have talents for identifying and removing “waste” are reading such information, we can provide feedback and ideas about how to remove the “waste” that may be in your systems (i.e., processes, information flow, etc). You would, in a sense, be getting professional services, free of charge.

    The types of questions to start out with might be:

    1 How many requests for support are there in a given day?
    2 How many support folks do you have to deal with those requests? 3 How many requests are dealt with per support tech each day?
    4 Who is their direct report, and their direct report’s direct report?
    5 Where does the information flow to?
    6 How does the information flow back?
    7 How efficient is the flow?
    8 Is there someone analyzing that flow?
    9 Has that flow improved?
    10 Are techs truly held accounable?
    11 How empowered are those techs?
    12 What leadership do the techs and surrounding departments receive?

    I could go on, but I would rather not bore you all to death. 🙂

  112. Psistorm Ikura says:

    Ive read through some answers here, and of course I wasnt disappointed in finding the typical “stop making new stuff, fix the old!” comments. apparently people still want the openGL programmers to fix their databases 😀 – Id love to see whether they also order the carpenter when their plumbing breaks ^^

    seriously, though. I like how LL is a very transparent company, but IMO they should focus their transparency on important issues. aka, when you announce things like the VAT, make a faq right away, not after 100 comments of blazing flames. also, if questions arise in the blog, have someone follow the 100 entries at which it is usually capped and answer any further questions by editing the blogpost and maybe notifying the users in the blog comments.
    this shows you listen and react. and thats what people want 🙂

    furthermore, once again at all the comlainers:
    a MAJOR architecture change is being developed, which will fix most if not all of the inventory/lag/whatever woes. the huge central asset server will go and make room for a decentralized, stable and scalable system. it just needs time, since LL cant rush a job like this 🙂

  113. Jewella says:

    re: 107
    “This requires a more neat ambiance” ???

    ambiance comes from the people within – the last thing SL needs is LL to impose someone’s unique vision of a mainstream-friendly more neat ambiance.
    Wanna better walk? – buy an ao or get a freebie.

  114. mimi says:

    Not to make it sound too negative, but I don’t think linden labs should praise themselves for beeing transparent when they have failed so many times in beeing so:

    * the VAT was announced ONLY after you took peoples money
    * The gambling ban was handled crap and for most people came unexpected
    * at laggy times 5-10% of the items people purchase are never delivered and you IRGNORE to explain this bug to them or mention in in the help finder
    * We still don’t have any answers regarding our concerns about the company doing the age verification which we have posted many blogs about

    You are not transparent at all when it comes to things that hurt us the most. You ignore questions people ask for over 100 times in multiple threads. you only answer questions you like to talk about, but ignore to answer ours which we worry most about

    Will we ever get answers about the age verification.. probably no..
    we will probably get answers about that AFTER we have been forced to verify and have lost 1/2 of our sales & customers because they do not dare to verify… and maybe even our ID has been sold in some ‘unexpected way’

    Why do I even write this post? It will probably be ignored too.

    Transparency = communication and that doesn’t happen here

  115. Gigmonger says:

    I would like to add…

    Crashing and having other issues might not be such a bad thing sometimes. For any unhealthy addictions to SL, crashing is what gets you off the computer and taking a break. And maybe even experiencing that long forgotten condition we call Real Life. 🙂

  116. Fellatione Aabye says:


    For the first time in long someone who took care of reading the concerns of the SL Citizens.

    Their biggest ERROR at Linden Labs is … sorry to say … Their ARROGANCE ignoring the voice of those who made SECOND LIFE what it is today …. THE USER, THE SL CITIZEN … and sometimes trearing them as 2 year olds ….

    OK, some comments are a ventilation of frustration from the users. Cose whatever they said or even begged for was ignored by LL. And i think they (THE SL RESIDENTS) are mostly just asking for a Reliable and Stable Platform ….

    A maybe even big ERROR is i think NOT TESTING for some time all the codes (I know I m not an IT formed person, but if you make changes … just try to get it right for starters.). So maybe with a bit more QUALITY CONTROL before unleashing the Beast on Wednesday onto the main grid would be recommendable.

    Very good point in favor of LL .. is indeed the extensive preview of what they want to add or improve … BUT .. I think that NOONE ever asked for the VOICE thing (uncontrolable, griefing, verbal abuse …etc) … and since that Voice thing had been enabled Second life went, on stability, down the drain… and still is ….

    So would maybe be an idea to God Linden to make some poll about such hughe changes. (with 2 counters Pro and Con … ) Democracy you know …

    About the VAT (Yes, i m a European) … Thought at first a scam to get rid of all those pesty Europeans who where at a point represented more then 50% of the SL population ???? !!!!!

    Indeed was more then LATE and nearly without notice that the VAT was added. In Europe all prices are VAT included… unless otherwise stated and then the VAT RATE must be mentionned …. and the fun part of it each european country has his VAT RATE for the same services, products …

    AGE VERIFICATON? sounds ok to me BUT …
    1/ What happens with the collected data? Will they,after processing, be destroyed?
    2/ Not to forget the FEAR of identity theft ….
    3/ That collecting agency, will they have enough security build in, for the net to avoid any leaks????
    4/ Won t they sell the collected info to some companies so the user can get tons of spam ???
    That are only some of the major concerns (not forgetting the warnings in europe to avoid transmitting personal data by internet)

  117. mimi says:

    lol if they were really transparent there would actually be a linden here and for one time answer our questions lol

    *dreams on*

  118. Gil Druart says:

    I liked this article. But there is one delusional aspect. Transparency implies two directions – the current scheme is more like one-way glass.

    We have quite good information (if not always timely and immediate) about what’s going on at LL – but getting information to flow the other way seems near impossible, particularly in real time.

    How’s this for a nice simple idea. On the login page have a set of radio buttons …

    I am relogging because
    x – I chose to
    x – I crashed
    x – Teleport is broken
    x – My inventory/attachments/assets were messed up

    Collate and make available to yourselves as a simple rolling percentage for the last hour. Of course, it won’t tell you about people who can’t login at all …

    It would certainly give me a warm feeling to think that someone there knew (if only as a statistic) that I am relogging (for the 20th time this evening) for cause and not because I like the login screen. Particularly when the latest Blog post is – as usual – one telling me that all the problems have been fixed and everything is back to normal.

    Oh yes .. and transparency doesn’t, unfortunately, imply *accuracy*. If you want to really annoy people make erroneous information transparently available and give them no way of correcting it …

  119. Peswold Desoto says:

    If I didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t be paying and wouldn’t own land and spend money. But I do…. Things move on and get better, things break and get fixed. Happy are I! It’s good LL is so committed, and all the staff working so hard. Hooray!

  120. Archer Braun says:

    Your much-vaunted “transparency” means less than nothing until you actually produce a product that you can stand behind.

    Read that sentence twice…and you’ll get it.

    As long as this product and service continues to be plagued with problems that cost me time and money…all the transparency in the world won’t make a bit of difference. Fix the bloody inventory problems, stabilize the database, create a way for residents to back-up their inventories, and focus on your core values. THAT will make LL look tremendously better.

    Your so-called “transparency” is just now becoming apparent for what it is…a ruse to mollify herds of angry, shuffling residents upset about some problem or another with your service. Fix the problems and they’ll go away…keep murmuring soft and gentle reassurances will only make the zombies charge the electric fence. And we all know how THAT ends, dont we?

  121. Raudf Fox says:

    I.. don’t know what to think about this very ironic post. Maybe we could properly discuss it if it was posted on an official forum?

    Yeah, LL runs a lot of transparency in some regards, but when it comes to really communicating with the residents, not so much. Communication is a two-way street and right now, one side says “Road closed for repairs.”

    A mistake is an error that is not corrected.. and it was a mistake to close the discussion forums. Please, can we have our discussions back?

  122. Chrysala Desideri says:

    106 gave a perfect list of recent bugs, though i have to say i have much less mesh issues and much more logon, rez and upload fails, crashes and lost connections. completely irrational crashes hae become a staple – memory is fine, 2/3G left free.. big video card, but it’s crashing in the same manner it did when it was finishing off my RAM~

    i.e. freeze –> Fatboy Slim moment –> crash to desktop.

    surely some persistant “issue” (please just say ‘problem’ lol!)..

    having these things noticed by a persistant in-world staff and taken care of, not being blindsided by unpleasant developments (VAT, gambling, feeding the IDV cronies), and generalyfeeling listened to would make everything peachy-keen.

    besides that, thanks for having made the best conceived 3-D interaction platform yet. The idea was right from the beginning, it’s about peoples imagination and the empowering freedom that the creative platform furnishes. i truly think i’d have no will for a less malleable world, and sure i hope this one doesn’t petrify.

    you’re realizing you have to change course a bit… now thake the next step and realize that the residents have been assistant navigators all along. listening at any point in time could have been profitable. please don’t let this just be lip service or PR. your answers are all here, and in older blog post comments. read ’em!

  123. Irene Mulford says:

    OH my…. Transparency…..and Lindns are this ? Well I read through the different posts here on the page and I am still at the same conclusion LL is as transparent in there operations as it is clear to see the sun at night.

    You make new stuff and tell ppl about it…for most time in advance ill give you that. Then you make the here and now decisions or “Ups we did it again stuff” and those normally get annoucnced 2-3 hours later 5 mins before you emplement it.

    I could rambl on about what to do but read evry 3rd post there have ever been made also posted here…its no secret what your users wants and no it is NOT to pay you guys more money for a half working product. Its allready overpriced and full of bugs and pending fixes.

    And about the users stats and the economi you are so proud that you dont hide from the public ?
    Why and where did it go on holiday right after the Gambling ban ?? I mean I could see the stats in the viewer but on them webpage it suddenly went down, and not only in numbers but also in function.

    There are many examples…but I dont think mentioning the past errors will help just start to LEARN from previus ones to make it better might be a start 😉

    I remember a time when the Second Life where magic and unlaggy. Then it became wednsday again and I had a hole new week of problems to look forward to.

    Keep up the good work guys…we all more or less hate you but cant live without you…..you should be proud you are on the top 10 list of adictive games !!


  124. Tegg B says:

    Hey speeeaaking of fudgy numbers, where did our 9.9million residents total go to? 🙂

  125. Toxic Menges says:

    Well I hope you manage to get to read down this far. I work for a virtual world as a community manager. It’s a big virtual world in terms of it’s target audience. The difference between my employer and LL is huge – and you guys are winning, You aren’t going to please all the people all the time that is the the main tenet of community anywhere on the web, but your ability to prepare and keep people informed about what is happening is fantastic.

    When changes are made to a community, you affect a lot of people, not only SL an extension of their den, lounge, bedroom – it’s also a part of their life, you have to prepare the ground for changes. My company just changes thing and then informs the users, I don’t necessarily agree with that.

    Managing expectations is an integral part of the process of managing a community, and you offer a lot of explanation as to why you are doing things. It is the responsibility of the resident to enable themselves with the information.

    As for things failing – the infrastructure in this product is huge, I expect that despite the best intentions of the beta grid, you just have no way of knowing what it is is going to do when it gets into the wild.

    I adore the fact that you listen to your residents as much as you do – the public jira is a testament to that fact.

    Perhaps because I have an idea of what the task is that you have on your shoulders, I have a different view as to what you do right and don’t do right.

    Customer service wise – I am a concierge level customer, and have yet to be able to make contact via the live chat, and as I am in europe, phoning is not an option for me unless it’s a huge emergency, but friends in world have always had good treatment. I am all for tiered support – if you do not pay anything to Linden, why should you get as good a treatment as someone who pays for that?

    It is firmly my belief that the onus is on the resident to make themselves aware of issues that pertain to their personal SL, LL give enough information out. yes things happen, things break – it only seems worse on SL as everything is maginified.

    When I get home from my work in a virtual world, I like his one enough to go into it. it can’t be all that bad.

  126. Novis Dyrssen says:

    “It is firmly my belief that the onus is on the resident to make themselves aware of issues that pertain to their personal SL, LL give enough information out.”

    Yes and no. If we are talking about changes in the ToS (like with the gambling thing or the rise in island fees or the sudden application of VAT), we as residents do not have the chance to inform ourselves before the fact. Getting it shoved down our throats is what sits queer with us.

    Lately, LL has begun to carry the “ebay flavour” for me. “Oh, it don’t matter what we’ll hit you with, right? Because we’re first in the market and enough people will stick with us no matter what we dish out, right?”

  127. LXIX Freund says:

    There is several good thing about the way that Linden Lab work and how they try and I belive wants to make this abetter world.

    Then there is the places they go wrong during the attempt of this.

    But all that is not importent what IS importent is that they dont try and hide…..or do they ?

    Perfect example: They publish the gambling ban. Person responsible: Robin Linden, where to find ? ….On Holyday please check back at her office hours. Who else to contact ? …No one only Robin Linden can handle this issue !


    See the problem in the Transparency Linden Lab ?

    This misscommunication or what it was and way of dealing with issues makes Linden Lab look like the Joke most people think it is. I have heard it been called evrything from a afterschool project to a Goverment Mind Controlled experiment.

    If anything I agree with the 97.6% of all users that its time to create stabillity in your product. Its not a question of age. Its not a question of adding new features. SecondLife is a company with unclear goals for the future. Its time to make it work with basics.

    Just another oppinion in this “Never to be read by Lindens because we had nothing else to say today” post 😛

  128. Milo Bellow says:

    Oh Dear…What A Pathetic Example Of Patronising Comforting…Shut Up And FIX SL! 😛

  129. Mildred Mapp says:

    I completely agree with Mimi (115-118) !

  130. Lazarus Longstaff says:

    In our less paranoid or frustrated moments, I dont think any of us doubt that your hearts are in the right place.

    I think that if there is any lack of transparency it is the result of normal people (i.e., the employees of Linden Labs who have the occasion to go about in-world in Linden avatars) are having a rough time dealing with success. In-world, you’re made defacto gods on account of the capabilities that come with your superuser roles. In RL, you’ve become a sort of countercultural group of geek rock stars.

    Try to get past all that and recognize the importance of some of the mistakes that have been made. At the top of the list, releasing what is clearly an untested revision of the client code; hey it crashes everyone, and would have crashed in testing -had it been tested effectively- (read for more than a 20 min login). This is the first time that this scenario has impacted me, but it is by no means the first time such shoddy work has been foisted onto the userbase.

    There’s a long laundry list of other mistakes as well, many far less technical; most tied to appeasing legal teams and users with an installed product base dependent on a stagnating scripting language or rendering bugs.

    C’mon guys – live up to the hype. Give us back liasons we can IM when we have trouble. Place the emphasis to fixing the bugs, both in the grid and the client; clean up the mess before you make a new one. And here’s a biggy: implement the web services system you’ve blogged of in the past that will allow most or all client upgrades to be optional. I could tolerate a catastrophic memory leak like this one, under such circumstances under which I might opt to go to the prior rev in sacrifice of added/fixed features. I mean come on, I went from crashing an average of once every few months to several times an hour in the blink of an eye.

    Be proactive. Do the same things any of the rest of us would be expected to do by you were our roles reversed.


    attachments: copiable tickets to the clue train

  131. Maldoror Damone says:

    Transparent and honest? LMAO – just LMAO

    What was tranparent about the whole Integrity fiasco. Where was the honesty. If you were honest you would let your users know all about the company you chose to verify age and the fact that they have s seriously crappy reputation.

    Honest would be to say “Search and Teleports have been fixed (until they break again in a few hours”

    Honest would be to say “We have no clue why the missing texture bug still exists”

    You are as honest as Alberto Gonzales and as transparent as the San Fransisco fog.

    Just LMAO. How stupid do you honestly think your user base is.

  132. Tree Kyomoon says:

    I think Linden Labs is taking the smartest possible approach by being transparent and welcoming input from residents.

    The main thing is handing responsibility for this huge thing off to the residents, which is happening bit by bit.

    “Your world…your responsibility”

  133. to say one words,”There is Left,Right is DIGITAL”.

  134. Megaera Cioc says:

    Linden Labs Global-Orbiting Mind Control Satellites: Beaming Your Thoughts to you Every Day.

    Just to reiterate what others have said: why do you bother asking for feedback if you are going to continue to ignore what we say? You might as well change your corporate motto to, “Ignore that man behind the curtain.”

    Instead of what it is now: “But daddy, the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”

  135. Ken Thereian says:

    Hey who turned the lights out i cant log in the game

  136. Amanda Ascot says:

    Interesting topic! I just wish I could tell you what you asked, but I really don’t get involved in corporate dealings enough to have any favorites. I’ve skimmed the other comments, but I really want to say a few things without being prompted by what other people have said before I actually read this whole thing.

    Of the companies I’ve dealt with which show any degree of transparency at all, I think Linden Lab does a good, if spotty, job. Recent months have shown a remarkable improvement, perhaps in response to people actually speaking out with their pocketbooks and leaving in response to the near *lack* of actual communication of things to us before that point. Note that I said “to”. Talking *at* us, instead of *to* us is one of the things which has earned Linden Lab a reputation of not caring what we, the people who pay your bills, think. “Talking to” is a two-way street. Linden Lab has grudgingly seemed to accept this. You’re getting better, but you’re not there, yet.

    With respect to technical issues I couldn’t be happier right now. I love the fact that some of you actually take the time to explain things to us, and even reply to some of our replies, proving that someone there actually does read at least some of what we take the time to write.

    With respect to legal issues, Linden Lab has been up-front, but these have been few — Internet gambling, and VAT being the only two I can recall. Zee Linden’s “VAT are you talking about?” thread is a very good example of what I like to see. I was in the process of trying to research this issue for something I’m writing, and this helped me quite a bit to fully understand Linden Lab’s situation, making it unnecessary for me to guess.

    With respect to moral/ethical issues, Linden Lab fails woefully. I’ve already written about the “Disneyfication” of Second Life, elsewhere, so I won’t detail it, but there’s a common perception that Linden Lab has some prudes at the top who are attempting to enforce their own version of morality on everyone else … or that there are governments (Germany comes to mind) who might have their fingers in our in-world “laws” … or both. The reality is that Linden Lab is an American company on American soil, and none of us understand why we should have content/behavior rules of other countries piled on top of us until the Grid (and, yes, I mean “Grid” in the sense that all of us *residents* use it!) merges, in terms of what we can see/do with the Teen Grid. In matters like this there is no transparency — Linden Lab talks *at* us, giving us the clear picture that it doesn’t care what we think. Specific issues with regards to us are both age-play (which is now illegal on the Grid even though it’s not illegal in America *or* involves a necessary pedophilic connection) and more recent, although currently ignored, edict regarding non-consensual role-playing which got the entire Second Life BDSM community up in arms, perhaps opening Linden Lab’s collective eyes to just how many people, many of them Premium and even Concierge members, are involved in this sort of thing. The perception among most residents is that Linden Lab has lost its grip on Reality, and the Reality, here, is that Second Life is not “real”, but *fantasy*. This is an issue which has been brought up many times in this very blog, as well as in publications read by people all over the world, but it’s an issue which Linden Lab has never addressed — and it’s silence serves only to confirm our fears.

    Like I said, Linden Lab is getting better, but it still has some serious shortcomings in the matter of transparency, and this is still causing a loss of paying members, and forcing a lot of us with plans to invest more in Second Life to take a wait-see stance with a willingness to jump ship to solid ground as soon as a competitor can offer anything remotely like what we have here.

    Linden Lab seriously needs to take a look at how it handles its dealings with it’s users — even those who do not directly pay into its hoppers. Every person is important, whether she’s the lost newbie who can’t figure out anything on Orientation Island because everything is broken (yes that has happened) or the old-timer who pays out the nose to support multiple “theme islands”. There aren’t too many communicators among you, it would seem, but at least those who are interested in talking to and with us are coming out of the closet, now. That is very refreshing, and gives at least some hope for a brighter future.

  137. Robin Linden says:

    Thanks to you all who have taken the time to respond here.

    As the person ultimately responsible for communication, I take your unhappiness with recent mistakes very seriously. Some of the things we’re doing to improve:

    – hiring someone to *only* work on communication, including supporting forums, responding to blog comments, finding better ways to reach more Residents
    – expanding the number of comments
    – improving our processes for timing, review, and placement (combination of blog, email, message of the day, etc.) of our messages to Residents

    Also, it sounds like there are still many questions about identity verification, so I’ll post an update separately. For the moment, we have been testing the process and working on a support plan for helping with failures. In addition I have been following up with Integrity Services regarding their own processes and privacy policy, in addition to reviewing the legality questions raised by some Residents in specific countries such as France.

  138. Getting back to the original question (remember that?) – one example of a company who failed spectacularly, and came back and were better for it – is “Lush Cosmetics” (formerly Cosmetics To Go) – they produced natural handmade cosmetics, smelly stuff for the bath! Unfortunately, as “Cosmetics To Go” they couldn’t meet the deamnd, and eventually folded with lots of orders unfilled. The mistake wasn’t the product, it was the delivery mechanism (sound familiar?) not being up to the job.

    The guys who started that company went away, cried a bit, regrouped, and came back as Lush Cosmetics – now an internationally known name. They’re so open about their mistakes they actually put it on their catalogues that they “reserve the right to make mistakes, lose it all and start again”. Looks like a little bit of that attitude is rubbing off on Linden Labs. What do the Lindens put in their bathwater? 🙂

  139. Shadow says:

    Look…..way more than 100 comments!

    Seems someone might be listening folks

    Good on ya Ginsu….good on ya.

  140. Chris says:

    (I am the first Chris, posted around the 30-50 mark)

    Expanding the number of comments is sort of a mis-nomer… it’s not expanding, it’s to cease limiting that’s requested. The blog didn’t used to have any limit at all. Not trying to mince words, just figured it’s worth mentioning.

    I don’t have such a big time of day issue, but I think perhaps a way to keep important entries at the top of the blog would be good. Having policy entries shoved off the page by inventory tutorials certainly isn’t a good thing, even though there’s a place/need for both. And as I and others have said, important policy changes need blog notification with time to discuss BEFORE they go into effect, not 30seconds before they go live, not after they go live.

    For the record, I disagree with LL limiting ANY type of content on SL. I have no problem with restricting it to certain areas, perhaps even create a second level of mature ‘red light district’ that requires a second “i agree that I’m 18+” agreement to enter (even show it every time you try to TP in, up to once per session). However I think outright banning any sort of use between consenting adults, no matter how disgusting or offensive or unpopular it is, is a very slippery slope that LL should try very hard to not start sliding down. Sure I find pedophilia disgusting, offensive, abhorrent, take your pick but I also recognize that perhaps being able to express it in SL might prevent expressing it in RL.
    “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

    IDV isn’t a horrible idea, but it shouldn’t be mandatory for ANYTHING (any type of content) IMHO unless parcel owner says it is. One of the nice things about the Internet is people can express themselves semi-anonymously, that’s a lot less likely to happen if IDV is required to do it. I really don’t think that having <18 kids steal a credit card and go find porn is a big issue, any kid can find tons of much better porn on Google or Limewire. I think IDV can be a good tool for parcel owners to choose their visitors or customers. But for screening porn, I think ‘payment info on file’ (if even that) is plenty.

    Lastly on IDV- The only way I would find this service acceptable is if it’s ONLY IDV. That is, whatever information I provide to Linden/Integrity will be used ONCE to verify my identity and then PERMANENTLY ERASED. NO copies stored by Linden OR INTEGRITY. I have no interest in helping build some large commercial identity database.

  141. I appreciate any effort at communication by LL. Of course, the better it is, the happier most of us are. I think a very crucial point that LL needs to grasp is this: I think if most of us feel that you (meaning the management of LL) “care” about our SL experience, then the amount of grumbling goes down dramatically. Of course, it will never go away entirely but the caring factor is crucial. Caring is demonstrated by words and deeds.

  142. Pingback: MMODump.com » Lights on at the Lab

  143. Sed says:

    Every month I watch my tier fee leave my bank account. And every month I wonder when the service will justify the cost.

    Since I started about two years ago (more?) (before open registration was thrust upon us), I have witnessed SL slide farther and farther down. My ‘SL experience’ now is much worse than it was when I began. Lag, disconnects, inventory … the whole host of issues repeatedly mentioned.

    I am hoping that there is a big turn-around in the making (laffs) but if not … I have come to accept that I may not re-up my subscription and sell off my land. That ‘deadline’ such as it is, is in about 6 months.

    It just pains me to see something with so much potential get beat to death by horrible management decisions and poor quality control. Mistakes happen. But when they happen all the time they aren’t mistakes. They are the status quo.

  144. MasterLiveWire Moody says:

    I have been here a year almost.. i have seen the ups and downs.. i just wish they make it to report problems and let us no.. when and how they were fixed. like lag..crashs etc etc.. i am still waiting on a ticket i submit 90 days ago.. still no answer..


  145. Linda Brynner says:

    Excuse me, but I don’t think it’s possible to do a proper self evaluation. I would publish a web based compact customer satisfaction survey to be mailed to all sl accounts. Then process the response and communicate feedback with plans of approach of the weak points.
    Moreover, Linden Lab’s customer services level is undoubtely below the benchmark of any company. I would really, really work on that issue anyway. Especially multi lingual services as LL knows which countries are active in SL and for which %. I would start to install a proper friendly service desk 24 hours available.

  146. xavier hathaway says:

    Friends Online is temporarily disabled due to technical difficulties. We’ll re-enable it as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.

    What’s up with that?

  147. Lindal Kidd says:

    I think #80, Matthew Dowd, expressed my thoughts best, so I won’t repeat them here…but I will add one request: Fix the volunteer application process! You have tons of Residents eager to help out. By making us wait a year or more to be approved, you’re wasting that resource, which it would cost you very little to use more fully.

    I’ll also add this: LL may be “more transparent” than other companies, I won’t argue it. But LL NEEDS to be…because it is the individual Residents who are the heart and soul of Second Life, and have created so much of it. As someone pointed out, SL is “a nation of shopkeepers”. Lose sight of that in pursuit of major corporate customers, and you will lose everything SL has become.

  148. Ssieth Anabuki says:

    Just to echo many here – very nice post indeed. This is just the sort of openess and frankness that sets Linden Labs apart from the crowd 🙂

  149. Dudeney Ge says:

    Excellent post – but before we get too warm and fuzzy, could I please ask once again for my VAT invoices for my accountant here in Spain? Thanks in advance

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