Announcing Linden Lab’s A/B Testing Program

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the Second Life user experience, Linden Lab is initiating an “A/B testing” program. A/B testing, a common technique employed by many Web sites, allows us to do comparison tests of various new features and usability enhancements in the Second Life Viewer and on the Second Life Web site. Our testing infrastructure enables us to provide new Residents with different versions of the Viewer or Web site. Data will be analyzed to determine if these changes impact Resident experience, as well as certain metrics, such as registration and retention.

What does this mean for existing Residents? Initially, there should be very little impact. If you happen to register a new account during an A/B test, you may see a slightly different registration screen or get a link to a different (unreleased) version of the Viewer. If this happens don’t be alarmed; accounts created during A/B tests are no different than regular accounts and will work with any version of the Second Life Viewer. Linden Lab Support staff are aware of A/B tests in progress and may advise you to switch to a production Viewer if you experience difficulty with an unreleased feature. Linden Lab keeps any personally identifiable data gathered during testing strictly confidential. For further information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Longer term, we expect A/B testing will result in an improved user experience for all Second Life Residents, new and experienced alike, as features vetted through A/B testing make their way into the production Viewer and onto the public Web site.

Residents with questions or concerns regarding A/B testing or other issues related to user experience are encouraged to attend my office hours, every Thursday at 3pm PDT in Beaumont.

As always, thanks for your continued support and participation as we strive to make Second Life better and easier for everyone!

About Benjamin Linden

I lead the Resident Experience (aka User Experience) team at Linden Lab. Our job is to make Second Life easier to use by integrating user-centered design methodologies into the product development cycle. Stop by during my office hours to chat about User Interface design and usability, upcoming features, and other issues related to Second Life Resident experience.
This entry was posted in Announcements & News, Resident Experience. Bookmark the permalink.

151 Responses to Announcing Linden Lab’s A/B Testing Program

  1. Peter Venkman says:

    This is too funny… So basicly you trick users into becoming beta testers and see if they complain?

  2. Jessicka Graves says:

    @1, that is exactly what I was thinking. It basically looks like they are trying to “confirm” all the complaints given out by most of SL residents, because apparently we hold little or no value, as customers of any kind.

  3. Harris Emmons says:

    So, someone who knows nothing, is going is helping you make decisions for those of us who might know something????

  4. There has been many many many new and confusing statements announced on this blog recently.

    New residents that joined in the past few weeks would have surely been scared off by the insanity of this place by now.

    LL, you announce stuff too much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Carrie Grant says:

    Totally agree with the first two comments – couldn’t believe that on top of everything else LL would even consider such a stupid idea, not that LL are getting more and more self centered or anything…..no probs LL its not like we try and claw our way through every miserable day with you to try and stop our hard earnt businesses failing through all the problems – sure we have time to test extra issues for you – thanks for asking.

  6. Pingback: Second Life Initiates Testing Program to Measure the Known Knowns « Dusan Writer’s Metaverse

  7. ac14 Hutson says:

    as much as i know they LOVE to hear everyone whine and complain, i see tihs as a logical step. linden lab is trying to focus effort into improving anything that a “new user” thinks is wrong, all you pepole that have been here for 6 months or more are trying to get LL to fix what has already broke or what you had before. LL is trying to figure out “what makes us better then our competetors, to a new user”. sounds stupid but it dosent bother you so why should you care.

  8. Bank Robber says:

    I choose C!!!!!!

  9. Tired of whiners says:

    If this game is that bad, people I’d like you to encourage you to piss off somewhere else.

    I don’t see the harm in trying this.

  10. Xplorer Cannoli says:

    Why not just ask people if they prefer the red or the blue pill?

  11. Bluestripe says:

    All my friends make fun of me now… because I actually “BOUGHT” a sim in SL…

    I am such a DWEEB…..

  12. @1 Actually, we’re all already beta testers so what’s the difference with this?

  13. Katerina says:

    @1 – there’s not trick – they’ve come right out and said what they are doing.
    @2 – we do hold value or else they wouldn’t bother at all – they want new “unbiased” opinions rather than the same old complaints from those of us who had it great when it used to work this way or that way.
    @3 – sometimes fresh new eyes can see things that we’d pass right over
    @4 – I’d rather they announce too much than not enough

  14. gambling is back, yay ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Nadine Defiant says:

    On a sidenote… Joining SL is FREE. LL is trying to test different options with new residents to tell the good stuff from the bad stuff. At least as far as I get it (Which means nothing, tho lol). What is the problem? Noone is forced to join SL, for us older residents next to nothing will change, so, even if way late, some heavy beta-testing (and again, noone is FORCED to join, nor to pay) seems good to me.
    Is there just something I am missing? Seems odd that I at least for once don’t feel the inner need to join the whiney side ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Geneko Nemeth says:

    I hope I won’t find some other user asking me about a viewer feature that they have, but I have no clue about… Then again I’m still quite a newbie too.

  17. Darien Caldwell says:

    so if 100 newbies like the option that breaks something they never heard of, it gets implemented? I don’t know if I like the sound of that.

    Plus as a content creator, can I tell what version people are using, what if one of these B clients breaks something, will my customer be able to tell they have the A or the B client, or will i just be left guessing why half the people have issues and half don’t?

  18. Bato Brendel says:

    #!5 Well doneNadine fight the dark side dont join the cheese and crackers group, esp considering the fact life itself it nothing more then a grey matter A/B type of test itself. ๐Ÿ˜› And the whole idea is to give ‘new’ accounts a different interface without bias by bring a previous users.

  19. lynn says:

    my goodness i swear if linden says they are giving each person on the game $1000 people will complain come up with some nonsense how this is showing off wealth or some other senseless crap
    this is a platform,a fun one at that and so far not mandatory to join
    stop complaining already

  20. Dex Trenchcoat says:

    The greatest obstacle to the growth of Second Life is, at times, its own User Base.

    Keep on moving LL… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. lol, since it takes a 2000$ upgraded computer just to run SL even half way decent, you have all ready killed 90% of your potential NEW users. Now you’re going to dump a possibly even worse running program on them and expect them to hang around.

    And btw, A/B Testing is only a common technique employed by Web sites that are already running good.
    Remember, what may seem good to a NEW user may hurt the people over all. Sort of like the sun tanned walls inside everyones houses and buildings we now have!

    For God’s sake, if you really wanted to know something all you’d have to do is go in world and ask a few long time users, builders, designers or just the poor bum that really thinks Camping will pay his bills.
    Fix what don’t work, then you can go ask noobs for advise.

  22. JayR Cela says:

    Sometimes LL seems to defy all logic. Oh my, I am so, soooo sorry, I meant to say Most of the time. OOPPS, silly me! My mistake! :_)

    JayR Cela :_)

  23. Please read the WIkipedia entry first.

    Then please join Benjamin’s Office Hours and ask him all questions.

    Testing methodologies are a bit more complex than you think: learning about them might elucidate you more about what Linden Lab is attempting to do.

    The truth is, so far, the vaster the testing, the more catastrophic have been the results. Why? It’s simple. Only a minority of users are available to help out LL with testing software. Years ago, only a few hundreds. Now, tens of thousands. This gives Linden Lab a false sense of security: “if tens of thousands are able to login, tens of millions will have no problem”.

    The difference is that those “tens of thousands” are the ones with better hardware, correctly installed software (drivers), know how to read documentation, know how to configure their computers, and, above all, have a lot of patience to tweak their settings until they eventually get it right. WindLight, for instance, is something that took me to tweak about 6 months โ€” I used all test versions that came out. It requires persistence (you might call it “stubbornness”) to download a new version of the WindLight client every week and go through all settings from scratch, until that particular version actually worked for you. Most testers were willing to try.

    LL got the measurement data from a vast array of eager testers (as said โ€” tens of thousands). These showed that the new viewer is more robust, less prone to crash, has (on average) higher frame rates per second, and, naturally, has gorgeous views. It also allowed LL to catch hundreds (thousands?) of bugs over several months โ€” until, one day, it was released to “everybody else”.

    What happened? Well, “tens of thousands” of very special users are not “the masses”. These are users that might not be computer experts, but are willing to learn how to configure their computers properly. They enjoy Second Life and wish to continue to enjoy it, no matter how hard it is to tweak their computers, or how much time it takes to do so. This also means that these are very special users: they understand that LL’s software is often quite hard to run properly, and it’s not something that you can point and click and will always work.

    The problem, of course, is that this approach โ€” even with 100,000 people testing! โ€” does not work for the “below average” computer user.

    A/B testing allows a more clever approach. It doesn’t assume that there is a group of “power users” who will manage to eventually configure their computers optimally for SL. Instead, LL can release the new features to the “masses” โ€” half of them get the new features, the other doesn’t. For the ones that get these features, they will probably have a hard time fixing their computers โ€” but LL will know why, and which computers are having troubles. A patient user will also be able to fiddle a bit with the settings on Preferences and eventually get it right. An impatient one will just get the old version back. This process โ€” understanding how a user will manage to get their computers able to run SL; what settings they’ll try out; which work, and which won’t โ€” will all be fed back to LL’s teams for evaluation. And then they can compare that data with the one gathered from users on the “regular” viewer. And see if there are improvements, or if they need to work harder at fixing the ease of making those configurations more simple.

    I for one welcome all new testing methodologies, specially if they allow a bigger share of “below average” users to actively participate in the testing and get enough feedback from them, too.

    It’s clear that the biggest issues have never come from the “power users”, or the ones with more patience to tweak their settings, but from the “below average” users who don’t have any idea on which button to press. These are not only the ones requiring far more help, but the ones benefiting most from this new testing methodology.

  24. Isadora Fiddlesticks says:

    tsk tsk, why the negativity?

    everything cannot be taken into action if it is just “hearsay” everything, even if we are their “BEST” customers, and are mostly honest, must go through an investigation. besides, not everything reported in this blog or elsewhere can be 100% true. they need to do this test in order to see where things have gone wrong. they have to see for themselves if they can replicate the problem we are having to their own computers so that they can troubleshoot.

    as the saying goes…

    “damn if you do damn if you don’t”

    is this always going to be the case with us and LL? when they ARE actually trying to do something concrete we still crucify them.

    SL ISN’T PERFECT, AND THEY DON’T CLAIM TO BE.

  25. ac14 Hutson says:

    @21

    my computer only cost me 1300$ max and it runs sl at a decent 30 fps average

    so ether you need to choose a better company or turn down your settings.

    (or get rid of some of that crap running in the background)

  26. arthur market says:

    Nice that newbies can be used for testing, but shouldn’t the viability of LL be considered? If this is what you do for newbies, what are you telling them about SL? That they don’t matter, they are just test subjects? SL will only continue with growth. This seems to me like a good way to self-destruct.

  27. Fred Yosuke says:

    I have never seen such a bunch of whiners in my whole life.

  28. Shai Khalifa says:

    I’ll be off to create another new account as soon as this comes into place.

    Am I wrong, or is this one way that I at least get a voice in here?

    If I’m right, then we should spread the word – get everyone who’s having major issues (as I have been for months) to create multiple new freebie accounts and fill in the forms.

    Who cares that it will skew the data, LL have proved that they manipulate stats returns to their own benefit anyway.

    Call me a cynic – you’re probably accurate where LL is concerned. Call me negative – I don’t give a damn what you think, I’ve been in SL long enough to have more than sufficient reason to be negative -patience has run out now.

    Shoot me down if flames if you will, but I’ve been in SL for nearly 2 years, I’m pretty au fait with the the SL world, the grid and whole sorry history of LL corporate events, and my business is pretty much bug*red now after the knee-jerk crap that’s happened in the past 2 months or so.

  29. Toy LaFollette says:

    Ive learned through the last +4 years not to take LL seriously ๐Ÿ™‚ I no longer need to point out the obvious to LL since they are no longer taken seriously ๐Ÿ™‚ I still hold my premium acct but only for the 500$L weekly stipend. My land is gone now and I find myself much calmer. I do feel SL is worth 6$ a month to me but no more ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Thanks for the information on how this is being done that was asked for last week, but as I think I said in your office hours, why test only with new users? That’s inevitably going to skew your results towards simplifying and dumbing down the client frustrating existing residents. Reducing the learning curve is important, but there are ways of doing that without destroying the workflow of the more experienced users.

    See the farce that resulted from the removal of the Friends drop down in the map window last week for an example. A recommendation from the Rx team because it was confusing new users. Even a cursory consultation with existing users could have forewarned you of the consequences, yet it was summarily removed resulting in more bad PR and wasted effort both internally and externally.

    If the way of testing things on existing users is to try things in the RC (it is pre-release software after all) and see if people miss them, then you need to state that in advance, so that people can just register they disagree with the change and know that it’s just a test without generating more bad feeling.

    Please communicate with us, and help us to help you.

  31. Prankster Loon says:

    Version A (agonizing)
    Version B (buggy)
    RC (raunchy candidate)
    Official Release (beta)

  32. concerned says:

    Maybe you need to employ people to service exsisting problems and give a decent service instead of employing people to find problems that do not exsist.I mean it you do not have the sense to work the site right now the chances of you opening the web browser to sign up are slim.

    What is it with you people most Lindens when you speak to them know they have enough to deal with why are you introducing problems that do not exsist?

  33. Damona Rau says:

    It sounds, that SL is the high-priced betatest in the world, followed from windows. It’s also nice to ask ppl without any experiences how SL runs – because they didn’t know that there was a time who SL runs very smooth, long time ago.

    I don’t know who does the time management at Lindenlabs, but there are many things wrong. Major issues never fixed and no words from LindenLabs – but every time new things. Since havok4 is deployed, the issues increases dramatically.

    I think it’s time for Lindenlabs to give a payback to the residents. Why should the residents pay for the failures from Lindenlabs? It’s our fault that the grid is unstable, transactions fails and that we loose items from our inventory? The answer is: No.

  34. Datapanic says:

    The first A/B test should be Dazzle vs. Old UI, since us longer term residents’ opinions do not seem to matter.

  35. concerned says:

    According to your figures 13 million users found how to sign up easy enough.Do you really need to test this or are you thinking you are losing potential customers because adding name,email etc is a little to hard?

    If these people are waiting to sign up i think we will get better input from the bots.

  36. Kat Hynes says:

    If 120.1 is a “release candidate” then why am I required to download it? (that blog was full).
    Also are the Lindens really to cheap to tip a dancer at a club to take her skirt off? I guess they just take everyones instead!
    At least I can rest comfortably knowing one thing in SL will NEVER be borked.
    And thats the big machine that deducts premium and tier payments from our accounts !

  37. Kira says:

    19 said “my goodness i swear if linden says they are giving each person on the game $1000 people will complain come up with some nonsense how this is showing off wealth or some other senseless crap”

    No complaints here! bring on the chaching!

  38. Delgado Cinquetti says:

    ‘Ok,all the A’s will have to stay! All of the B’s, follow me!’ :: Marches 1 million avatars over a jagged cliff, while the whole group hums and sings, old songs of lore ::

  39. LoLo says:

    theyre probably goingto look if windlight, dazzle etc scares people away. though windlight is nice (with atmospheric shaders off and terrain details on) not knowing how to set these may scare away a lot of people

  40. @34

    That’s a good example of the skew that I was talking about in a previous comment. New users are less likely to be doing the type of tasks where Dazzle is most dangerous.

    Unfortunately the fact it literally causes a large number of users physical pain has so far gone without any indication of intention to even investigate the issue. Just acknowledging that there is a problem and saying, “OK we’ve heard the reports and read the evidence provided, we’ll seriously look into it” would go a long way.

    VWR-5080

  41. Haden Cazalet says:

    so what wiill the nooooobies report back to LL be?

    couldn’t log in for hours, can’t teleport, crashed while teleporting, feeling the lag real bad, half inventory missing, search not working, profiles not working…. so not sure what this is gunna do cos it no different to what you been told for years…..lmao

  42. iliveisl says:

    if ya need any guinea pigs? i am always open-minded and straightforward ๐Ÿ™‚ good luck with the testing and it was very interseting reading about this =)

  43. Ener Hax says:

    very neat to learn about this. i find it very interesting. if you need any open-minded test subjects, here I am! =)

    i approve wholeheartedly (see i would be an impassioned LL CEO) o_O

  44. Avalon Asturias says:

    Before you start testing…and running tests of this nature. How about fixing the animations in my ao or hugger and other items I paid a great deal of money for, so they work again? Something majorly changed when you changed the physics of SL. There’s no stability in my viewer. Not in any version. In fact I crash as much as 20 times in a day. Why do I get annoyed at blog posts like this? Because I don’t see any improvement in all of the problems all of us have been screaming at for so long. I been in this game going on 2.5 years, its only gotten worse and worse.

  45. Malacath Kirkorian says:

    one day the lindens will stop trying new things…an focus more on whats already here, new users are fine and all, but the current ones are troubled far worse than the new people who dont know how to make a cube

  46. Another ill thought out strategy. Yes, what happens for merchants supporting things that might be broken in one or other of the choices (and let’s face it, something is always broken in any new shiny LL releases).

    But you are still not LISTENING are you? What we want is the bugs and borks fixed, the system capable and stable and working, not yet more ruddy unwanted shinies.

    May I remind you once again of the Open Letter, sent to Linden Lab on 30th April 2007, and of which NONE of the major concerns have been addressed, but we have had way loads of shinies forced on us, shinies that are not working or containing loads of borks and bugs, or are forcing users to upgrade their computers or quit.

    Go read it once again. That’s what we want.

    http://www.projectopenletter.com/Letter.aspx

    “There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable.”

    Inventory loss
    Problems with Find and Friends List
    Grid stability and performance
    Build tool problems
    Transaction problems

    These have actually got far worse over the last 4 weeks since you forced Windlimp and Havok 4 on us, via the new server code. So bad you are now disabling some functions at peak periods/ You think that is progress?

    Roll on the new CEO ASAP so he can fire the lot of you.

  47. richard says:

    number 3 i’m laughing at that one.

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  49. Marianne McCann says:

    @19 – you said it. I wonder what it is that causes people to be unable to be pleased — are things just that bad (they don’t seem that way to me), or is it something else causing their displeasure?

  50. richard says:

    a+b=crash

  51. Uber Stein says:

    Yikes! people…some of you need to settle down and do the best you can to get by, and keep up some hope that they will fix some of the major issues. this is such a minor thing to be jumping all over just because you have problems with graphics and transactions and rezzing and teleporting and are angry. sure we’d love to have a better forum for complaining about all these problems, but this one little thing is a drop of water in an ocean of messed up stuff.

    BUT HEY! Let’s try to help each other out, support your fellow residents and business owners when you can, and as such we show that we can rise above the lindens.

    *big hugs*

  52. Wow what an awesome idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. sweet primrose says:

    What happens when half an alt farm is on A and half is on B? ๐Ÿ˜€

  54. Just more LAM @SS 5hit from Linden Labs.

    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!

    All we ever ask for is the grid to be stable & not all FUNKED UP!!!!!

    Why cant you listen to what the USERS OF SECOND LIFE WANT!!!!

    This is why CORY left Lindens Labs… More DUMB 5hit from King Phillip!!!!

  55. Go read it once again. Thatโ€™s what we want.

    http://www.projectopenletter.com/Letter.aspx

    โ€œThere are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable.โ€

    Inventory loss
    Problems with Find and Friends List
    Grid stability and performance
    Build tool problems
    Transaction problems

    These have actually got far worse over the last 4 weeks since you forced Windlimp and Havok 4 on us, via the new server code. So bad you are now disabling some functions at peak periods/ You think that is progress?

    Roll on the new CEO ASAP so he can fire the lot of you.

  56. magnus says:

    Hey Testing is great, but right now I am sitting here naked and I cant even put my freaking pants back on. The System is Broken people, has been for weeks and they are not doing a goddamn thing to fix it. And yes I too was stupid enough to buy a SIM the week before Havoc came and destroyed what was left in SL that still worked. This is a Cluster F__K of the highest order and all LL can do is sit and spin.
    Oh yes for those of you who are going to respond and tell me well if you hate it so much leave SL , well unfortunately I have already sunk too much actual real life money into SL to just walk away. I have a business and a SIM, both of which are in different states of shambles while Marie Antoi-Linden is telling me to eat Beta cake.
    When the peasants start to rise the LIndens will be the first ones to the gallows.

  57. Blinders Off says:

    First of all, I agree with most of the negative comments here. Since new users don’t know how SL used to be and how it could be, they’re like new users to Micro$oft Windows… they like it because they don’t know any better. Just proves you can fool all the people all the time.

    As far as LL being up front and telling people this… what, is this going to be on the login screen for new users, telling them they will be guinea pigs for new ideas? I assure you they won’t read this blog.

    @ 9 Tired of Whiners: Tired, I’m tired of you whining about being tired of whiners. Oooh that sword has two edges does it? LOL Ever heard of FREEDOM OF SPEECH dude? Chill out.

    But bottom line, I really don’t care much about what LL does at this point, because they are either going to do things right and survive, or continue messing up and have the competition eat their market. We know that, LL knows that, so let the games begin.

  58. Cocoanut Koala says:

    You know, you gotta stop thinking up all this stuff. New features, new enhancements. New methods, new systems, new plans, new versions.

    Fix what you have!!!

    Please!!!

    In addition, I don’t want to be the unwitting guinea pig testing unreleased features, thank you.

    coco

  59. Aundrea says:

    I find it funny that some people complain about everything that is wrong with SL now and when LL is trying to run tests for a better SL future they whine STILL. Problems aren’t fixed with a snap of the finger so get over it !

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  61. Lysana McMillan says:

    @46 – Grid stability under LL’s control has improved drastically under Havok4. Didn’t you read the post indicating how much it’s reduced server-side crashes? Blaming Havok4 for stuff outside the control of the physics engine is nonsense and illogical.

  62. magnus says:

    #59 – Clearly you have been asleep, its the same problems that don’t get fixed, the things that make SL work, not the bells and whistles. TP, Log in, Inventory, FRiends Lists, the things you need to live in SL. Unless you are just spending you time getting yanked in sex clubs, which perhaps you are,I need my pants to rez when i put them on, I need to be able to TP to my shops and rez items and look at scripts, I need to be able to contact people. ITs the same stuff week after week after week that doesn’t work. FInd me in world and I will give you a L$1 so you can buy a clue.

  63. magnus says:

    Logins have been down for ten minutes, has anyone form LL posted it? Not even a message in world – Hey Don’t log off you or you wont be able to get back in.
    Give me a break.

  64. hope antonelli says:

    @46 Oh yeah, if its that much better tell me why my new class 5 sim runs 80% slower than the class 4 I was renting a week before havok (good name for it) rolled out? Why half my scripts in my ao and hugger wont work, why I cant turn more than 45 degrees without locking up the whole system for minutes at a time with a 2.4 ghz computer, an Nvidia 8800 graphics card and 2+ gigs of ram please? WoW runs just fine, as does every other program I use EXCEPT SL. Granted I dont crash on every TP now, just every third one or so…and only half the transactions Ive tried of late have timed out instead of 75%. Rolling out two major updates within 72 hours and making the viewer mandatory was not only stupid it was negligent. You let one release settle in and work out the bugs before tossing on another or you’ll never figure out what the actual problem is. Doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out but obviously is beyond the comprehension of a few techie gurus.

  65. jane says:

    Hehe, it seems that the playful Lindens has found a new toy to improve us! But you are on the right way, i hope that in the closer future SL is more fun for us.

  66. Riven Homewood says:

    I train new users. They have enough trouble using one that is supposed to work properly! Now you are going to give them, at random, a beta test version? So I can’t even help them–how will i know if they are making a mistake or if the software is screwing them over. Who came up with this insane idea? Who are these other major companies who use it — I want to know so I can advise my clients to avoid their software.

  67. hope antonelli says:

    oops, #61 that is, apologies to 46…since they referenced your post.

  68. Malachi Petunia says:

    You might call it A/B testing, but in this case it sounds more like “design by shotgun” or “monte carlo feature finding”.

    Hey, we have absolutely no idea what would be good or bad so lets just throw things out there and see what new users don’t complain about!

  69. Oxytone says:

    After working at a university for over 7 years, I have to say, just like there, the percentage of people who do complain and need their hands held is minor compared to the ones who don’t.

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling! ha ha ho ho hawwww.

  70. thaumata strangelove says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea, and that 100% of people doing business in SF would agree with you. People like Guy Kawasaki and Max Levchin have been preaching for years about how you need to follow your new users over and over to see where they get stuck and where they succeed and adjust accordingly. There is nothing at all unusual about this kind of testing any anyone whining here about how it’s oh so bad needs to sit down and read for a while.

    Reading: It’s hard work, but oh, so rewarding!!!

  71. Shai Khalifa says:

    My earlier post was removed – not unexpected, but my suggestion is..

    get out there and create new freebie accounts when this is launched…

    and tall all your friends to do it too – may be the only way we get of being actually heard.

  72. A/B Tester says:

    Linden Lab is initiating an โ€œA/B testingโ€

    A/B = Announce & Break. First we announce new stuff, then break old stuff.

    What does this mean for existing Residents?

    Lag, crash, inventory loss, hair up your crotch, scripts and objects not returning to your inventory. Basically the same old story that has been Second Life since years.

    Linden Labs will be the laughing stock of the MMO’s, right behind SOE (who did a fine job into scaring away a whole community too).

    Men landed on the moon, but LL can’t fix continuing daily database problems, that is ongoing for years now (backtrack the log to see the clear fact).

    Yet, forget all about that and start working on new functionality!

    It’s like repainting a car that does not drive. It looks nice, until you try to start it.

    Seriously, LL has a real problem with management. How in the world can you focus on the exterior when the interior is not functioning?
    As soon as there is an alternative to SL, it’s over with LL and that would be a waste of all those years.

    Open up your eyes!

  73. Have you forgotten already what Philip said just back in January?

    “We will focus intensely in 2008 on continuing to make SL more stable. We will keep opening the SL platform up to residents, developers, entrepreneurs, and partners. We will shift from our historical focus on relentless feature innovation to put making and keeping happy customers first on our list of priorities.”

    http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/01/09/year-end-updates-and-thanks-for-the-emmy/

    I guess you have…

  74. Cherry Czervik says:

    @71 Shai, frankly, it’s a shame that they ever allowed freebie accounts – for every person who made one and spent some of their money here, did something creative, made a difference and was generally worth the bandwidth there are a thousand or more bloated sucking leeches getting fat off the labour and REAL MONEY of people who were here a lot earlier. Here and whining like babies … I’d like to see a lot of these freebie accounts relegated to a freebie only part of the grid with their own kind. One public whining 12 year old moment = banishment to the megacornfield till you grow up.

    Being Beta Testers in SL is nothing new. Perhaps if more people were willing to use the First Look at HELP out then a lot of issues would be addressed quicker.

    This is a formalisation of what always was the case, and some honest communication – which I am glad to see is returning. I also will be glad when all the issues are fixed, I am as frustrated as anyone else, but working in online gaming myself I know what these guys are actually up against.

    Stop flipping whining, children, or put up the huge amounts of money, time, expertise and COJONES it would take to make an alternative. I know I couldn’t. Something as complex as SL is mindbogglingly hard to create and they can’t possibly test it themselves under stress load … some common sense and thinking for at least three seconds should tell you that.

    You might actually be heard by SUBMITTING TO JIRA.

    @ LL – This is better communication than the chirpy messages of late. You can do that when you’ve won back hearts and minds and people will love you for it. No offence Torley ๐Ÿ™‚

  75. A/B Tester says:

    Uhmm, my dear Montana. It’s month 4 in 2008, and i have not seen any improvement yet.

    I am a lot in SL, making content, and I still have inventory loss, taking back stuff that disappears, not able to work in weekends (because of database load stress), crashing etc etc etc.

    Furthermore I heard this improving stability faritytale throughout the years, but fact is that nothing happened. Give me a week without crashing and without losing objects or scripts due to database errors and I might change my mind.

    So, please do not tell me I forget things they might have said. It’s facts and action we need, not empty words.

  76. @74 Much more likely you’ll be ignored in JIRA.

    All I want to see is the promises honoured. Is that unreasonable to ask?

    Try this one from Philip in November:

    “Stability is what weโ€™ve got to be all about in the first half of 2008, at the cost of other work.”

    http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/11/21/long-road-behind-long-road-ahead/

    Seen any of that in the last four weeks?

  77. Cherry Czervik says:

    @72 You are showing your ignorance I’m afraid. In the dev cycle there are crucial points where you CAN add new features and it might break things a bit. Otherwise slotting them in later is impossible and/or even more heartbreaking.

    New physics engine alone (yes I know it isn’t cutting egde of Havok, but it is THREE versions down the line) is enough to cause problems. 65K online? That’s ten times more than when I started playing and until very lately, and MASSIVE work being carried out, there has not been ten times the problem.

    LL? You should invite people to write to a designated email address per Blog entry. It’s all very nice and trusting to leave it public – you’ll only get reactions like this as a result, which will blot out anyone who didn’t happen to see – think of the HUNDREDS of useful bits of info you miss cos the professional whiners got here first. That would be my advice – and then you’ll get some sense as well as the bleating.

  78. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    Basically a good idea. But if only new residents get alternative versions, I see a problem there. I don’t think they’ll be using the building tools or the land-related functions much in their first SL weeks, for example. You could easily overlook major flaws in an alternative client version if the residents who use it only chat & shop.

    And like Montana already pointed out, there’s the problem of inworld product related customer support. How would I know if the bugs my customers complain about are caused by some beta client? I may stare at my scripts for hours and ask myself what could go wrong there, to no avail, and end up having to refund the customer.

    Aside from that, it appears that most of the bugs we’re currently suffering from are on the server side. The client works fine, you should only add a less performance hungry alternative for less performant machines. The asset server seems to be borked though, as are the sim servers unless we manually reboot them every day (looks like they badly needed their daily crash).

  79. Arth Karas says:

    As a SL Mentor this is helpful data – to know you are launging a new A/B testing program. But how would, say, a free account newbie tell you about something that won’t work on the viewer? How would you know to say “switch to a production Viewer”? How would a newbie even know to tell you?

    And, as a SL Mentor, how can I point him in that direction, if I find out about it?

  80. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    PS: One thing that the current client could need is the option to choose between different interface versions. Also a slider in the preferences to change the avatar lighting / shading.

  81. Broccoli Curry says:

    The big problem with all this is if testing is VOLUNTARY, then few people will be bothered to do it.

    Most people are only concerned about making money, rather than the fun they can have and the what they can contribute to the overall good of the game experience.

    If they have to take an hour out of their time to download a new viewer and go test some stuff, that’s an hour they aren’t camping or having pixel sex.

    So, it’s human nature to always take the easy way out and do as little effort as possible when it doesn’t benefit them.

    I’m not entirely clear how all this is supposed to work – but if it makes people test features and give you feedback, then I can only really see benefit to LL and thus the overall game experience for the rest of us.

    It doesn’t take much brane to realise that feedback from 10,000 users is far better than feedback from 100 users.

  82. Cherry Czervik says:

    @76 Nope Montana I can’t say I have. Like many people I’ve seen my time and investment stymied by all this. I’ve seen my venue (run for fun not profit) sitting with traffic under 1000 because people can’t get online. I can’t stay logged in for more than five minutes. Yes I’d like to see promises honoured … you think that’s gonna happen overnight? If only the world were like that … /me snaps my fingers and RL I have the same figure as my avatar and the same lifestyle.

    MEH

    This is all going to take time to sort out. Plus, I hope this doesn’t sound patronising, just because an individual’s request on JIRA etc is not taken up (mine haven’t been either) doesn’t mean it was ignored. If you have something you feel that passionately about, lobby in world for people to submit JIRA requests. Just so long as it’s not “Fix the grid” which just makes work for someone who probably doesn’t have the technical ability to fix the grid in the first place!

  83. A/B Tester says:

    @74: Basically what your saying is that we should not whine, because LL is incompetent to make software that runs 100%, with the argument that it’s very hard (Something as complex as SL is mindbogglingly hard to create).

    It’s simple: If you are unable to the task, stay away from trying to make it. There are plenty of examples out there that are far more complex then this software from SL which DO run 100%.
    But then again, the examples i have in mind do not have over 50% of open-source software created by third parties inside their software.

    So yeah, beta testing? Sure thing. But do it for stability reasons, not for new functionality.

    Starting this A/B program to find out what customers want in terms of functionality is A) insecurity about where you are heading and B) a huge slap in the face to your current community, which are providing loads of idea’s in the forum and the jira.

  84. FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!
    FIX THE GRID!! Quit Adding More & More $HIT that will break it!!!

  85. Interesting !

    It looks like LL is trying to correct its autistic behaviour towards its customers.

    We will have to see how this program is put into practice and how it actually impacts the development of the viewer, but for once, I can only approve and encourage LL in this process.

    It is definitely a move in the Right Direction(tm). ๐Ÿ™‚

  86. Cherry Czervik says:

    @78 Hi Ishtara darling X

    Tell them to create a position for that level of CS and let me have a role I can do which makes use of my RL online gaming skills, mainly ๐Ÿ™‚

  87. Cherry Czervik says:

    @83 That’s not the entirity of what I was saying, no. Nowhere else has the same level of user created content as SL, which is tbh the only thing which keeps me here, seeing what people will do.

    Stability and new features go hand in hand. Would you prefer that everything remains static? Well I wouldn’t. I’m picky about this – I want it to evolve and work … what I am mainly saying is people like 84 and the spamming crap are not worth bandwidth.

    Plus, 83 – I notice you’re not prepared to put your name against your post ๐Ÿ™‚

  88. A/B Tester says:

    @77: Ignorance eh? I’ve been developing since 1980, how about you? And yes, of course you can add new functionality in between, but please, how long have you been in SL? Do you realize the same problems have been here since the start and never got solved?

    But then again, RL online gaming skills eh? (@86) What on earth are you doing in SL then?

  89. Sumiko Yokosuka says:

    The biggest problem I have had with the new viewer is that the camera seems to have a mind of its own. I almost get vertigo looking at it. It just seems to drift and drift and drift arbitrarily and oh so slowly, moving in and out on a whim like it was stuck in permanent mouselock. It made setting up my new apartment hell. So please fix that or I will need to take dramamine every time I log into SL.

    Also, just shutting down without warning is really rude. What, you couldn’t get somebody to type a short sentence in world to warn them so that they can wrap up everything they are doing before it goes black? That kind of laziness is callous and inexcusable.

    I respect that LL is indeed working its collective butt off trying to stabilize the grid and I hate to complain because of that fact, but please, do the simple issues first. You have to have your feet firmly under you before you can think of dancing.

  90. chemiker kohl says:

    Its a good idea except that it will remove the only reliable easy to access source of support for newbies: asking more experienced users.
    It will be impossible to help in such cases because not only may the problems the newbies have arise from new features, but also it will be impossible to lead them by the hand through the intricacies of the UI if they have a new interface differing from your own.

    Of course they can always use LL support. HA!

  91. Ms Z says:

    @19 ah I’d be cool with $1000 from LL and promise not to complain for humm…two months. But a free and clear sim with no tier fee for life that would buy my life time endorsement. I’ll slap on a Vanna White smile and wave my arms about or pull out a pair of pomp-pomps and be LL’s biggest cheer leader in the blog. =p

    @39 True…but why don’t they care about what oldies think of the grid? Ask us why the heck we keep logging in even though again and again LL….*sighs.* I’m sure that dazzle idea came from some twit newbie winning about things being too dark. Don’t cha know LL that we need it dark else we’ll go blind eventually?

    And Please…PLEASE stop trying to distract us with “candy” and “new bells and whistles!”

    WE WANT WHAT’S WORKING TO KEEP WORKING. STOP MESSING WITH THINGS THAT ARE NOT BROKEN. QUIT THROWING INTO THE MIX OF THINGS HALF COCKED AND HALF FINISHED IDEAS. (LIKE THAT CRAPPY DAZZLE!)

    WE WANT GRID STABILITY. WE WANT TO TAKE OFF OUR CLOTHING AND ATTACHMENTS AND NOT WORRY ABOUT IF LATER WE CAN PUT IT BACK ON.

    WE WANT TO GO SHOPPING AND NOT GET THAT ANNOYING STALE TRANSACTION ERROR AND SEE OUR LINDEN BALANCE DROP WITH NO PRODUCT TO SHOW FOR IT.

    WE WANT TO BUILD THINGS AND BE ABLE TO SELL THEM SO WE CAN AT LEAST BREAK CLOSE TO EVEN WITH YOUR TIER FEES!!!

    There I think my frustrated rant is over with! Alot of good it will do! =p

  92. Wyald Woolley says:

    All animals are equal.

    Guinea pigs are more equal.

    The Koolade come in two flavors, “A” and “Borked.”

    “A” doesn’t work so good and “Borked” works less so. We, at LLยฎ want to see if you are more disgusted with “A” or “Borked” and are more likely to quit SL with one or the other. We will carefully compile all the data, tweak the results to show what we want it to say and attache a red arrow pointing up to show that you were wrong and we were right and announce that frame rate in the future will be measured in frames per minute (FPMยฎ) so that we can get back to a two-digit number.

    All together now, let’s do the Happy Happy Joy Joy sing!

  93. Yami Katayama says:

    You know, for those of you who don’t seem to understand those of us who are disgruntled – we aren’t asking for instant fixes – we would be happy with EVENTUAL fixes – problem is, this is all stuff we have been complaining about for YEARS now. The bottom line is, when I started, things weren’t too bad, but it wasn’t long before they started with all the “shineys” (read, features that further BREAK second life). They add a shiney, we tell them it broke something, they go on and add ANOTHER shiney, which breaks more stuff – how long can you continue this before EVERYTHING falls apart? We have been saying for a LONG time now that the STRUCTURE of SL is faulty and needs to be fixed, not patched, FIXED. But no, we can’t do that because we are too busy pushing out the new feature – fixing things isn’t FUN, making new things is fun! Well, when you screw things up bad enough, you have weekends like one past that had everyone blocked out for 12+ hours (with some broken uptime periods during that). Personally, I’d be happy to not see one new feature for six months, during which ONLY the structure of SL is fixed. I can’t comprehend how you could possibly be trying to fix the structure while piling more features on top of it. I quite imagine now that fixing the structure would probably break many of their features because they have been implemented on top of, and compensated for, bad code.

    So why are we so negative? We, who have been around for a while, know what SL looked like before sculpties, before flexies, and definitely before windlight. We know what it looked like when it was smooth and reliable. But when they started pushing the features out, before they could even fix the problems it caused, they are announcing the next feature is being worked on. Meanwhile, a lot of us asked, begged, pleaded, for them to fix the problems – and YEARS later, we are still asking – THAT is why we are upset. Some of us have years invested into this and LL turns a deaf ear to what we say. Give it time? how many years are we to wait for them to START fixing the problems?

  94. Nibb Tardis says:

    Do you really need a new way of finding defects ? The JIRA is already full of unresolved and even bugs that go unassigned for weeks. Bugs are reported and go through several first looks and RCs and end up in the mainstream viewer.

    You’re just (yet again) slapping your existing customers in the face: “You don’t like dazzle ? Fine, let’s ask some newbies !”.

    And LL, how exactly do you expect to get feedback from newbies ? Basic accounts don’t have access to support ! Are they supposed to submit defects in the Jira ? As it is, most of them sign up, log in, get hair stuck up their butt, a TP failure or a stale transaction and leave with a “WTF?”

    The retention rate is already abysmal. For 10 users that sign up, only 1 actually sticks around for a week. Do you think that giving them beta software is going to improve things ?

    What you really need to retain users is some consistency and predictability. Stop playing with the UI and shinies and concentrate on bugs and reliability.

  95. Nulflux Negulesco says:

    As if it wasn’t bad enough. Keeping up with a multitude of viewers that don’t behave, or even look the same is hard enough. It’s not about Windlight, or Dazzle, or Voice, or Havok, or Joystick Support, or SpaceNavigator or Skinning or all these new features you’ve added. For me, these are all good improvements and (we all hope) they will be stable someday, enough to use for periods of time without crashes lag spikes or lost inventory.

    What it IS about is stability, usability and performance. When the core services such as chat, group chat, IM’s, L$ transactions, item delivery, search, building and object permissions are consistently messed up, or fixed then messed up the next update, repeatedly – every single week for the last oh… 3 months… we all all get disheartened. Disheartened because the above mentioned services pretty much comprise the bulk of what is called the “Second Life” service. Most of us have invested hundreds or thousands of hours in-world creating new and wonderful inventions that we hope to sell.

    When search goes down for any period of time, it effects our sales. When login goes down for 16 hours while the grid is being serviced – it shows on our SLX sales history. We see not only the 16 hours the grid was down, but the additional 10-12 hours it took the community to feel comfortable with transactions again. If this were a monthly occurance, it would be something we could deal with but it’s not. It is an (almost) every day occurance for the last 3 months.

    On top of that if you are a scripter you run into all sorts of quirky behavior with the scripting system – functions that used to work last week aren’t working today, vehicles that were supposed to work after the Havok update still don’t work; all sorts of elevator, teleport and push scripts stopped working too. Then you run into these functions that LL intentionally made so restrictive that if you use them in your work you have to make your object MOD/COPY/TRANS or the function stops working. Honestly, I rather HATE being forced to make my objects full perms just to make these functions work.

    Then, you stop to think about the services themselves and WHY are they causing such a strain on the system. Why does LL have to stop voice services so frequently for maintenance? I thought voice was peer to peer communication and the server only performed the ‘matching’ service for the initial connection. Forgive me if I’m wrong as I’ve not studied the voice infrastructure entirely, but my initial thought is that LL is actually pumping the voice data through the server farm. Why, may I ask, would this be necessary if you weren’t intercepting voice communication?

    To add another rotten apple into the pie, the latest RC viewer has the most jerky dysfunctional camera movement I’ve ever seen in a SL viewer. Suppose you start walking and decide you’d like to zoom out. Guess again, the moment you turn or the moment you come near another object the camera goes back to default behind the avi position. Try walking around in any sort of oversized avatar and you’ll find yourself very very annoyed. On top of that if you use any view except mouselook view your viewer take a huge performance hit.

    Some of you may ask… wtf is this guy doing spending this much time writing on the blog. Well personally, I have a lot of work I’d rather be doing but at this moment in time my sim is super laggy and when I’m there I walk in slow motion. Yes I checked scripts, nothing above 0.07 ms… I returned all objects except mine… cleared my cache… relogged… and it’s still slow. When I first started using SL over a year ago the biggest thing we had to worry about was griefers. Now, we deal with the grid itself being a griefer.

    I would ask for support but as I’ve been bluntly told by one of our ever loving Lindens I’m not entitled to support because “I chose to be a basic account and rent land from an estate owner”. However, talking to other premium members they say even paying premium won’t help unless you are at the concierge level. The bottom line? If you are the normal every day average citizen, premium or not, you don’t matter. Even if you rent/purchase an entire sim from an estate owner and the estate owner wanted you to receive support you are not entitled to it. The moment you attempt to justify your right to support you get the scientology act. All of a sudden it becomes a conversation about your motives and how deceptive you’ve been trying to obtain support and how it’s an important distinction between renting a parcel of 16 acres and actually being an estate owner… etc.. Forgive me if I’m wrong – nobody in SL actually owns their land. Everybody – even if they purchase a sim – is renting. If you own 16 sims and cancel your service LL doesn’t mail you the servers they bought with your money. In that respect – I feel that everyone that own OR rents land is entitled to support. The simple fact that someone has ‘purchased’ a sim does not relieve LL of any and all responsibility to support it’s users. The only way for LL to delegate this responsibility is to actually send the ‘sim’ buyer the hardware and software to run the server on their own with full control over it’s operation. LL simply should not be allowed to deny the responsibility to support the residents of SL until the servers are no longer in their possession.

    I hope that LL doesn’t forget most of us are normal people. We have talents, skills and abilities that we want to utilize to to their fullest extent. Not all of use are here to feed the LL Money Machine. I, personally – am here because I hope my hard work over time will provide a steady income so I can support my family. I don’t even have a large family, just my girlfriend and my 2 year old son – it doesn’t take a fortune but I do require enough money to buy milk / diapers and such. Have I handed over thousands of dollars to LL? No. I don’t have that kind of money. I work hard to scrape by earning a hundred or two USD a month here in SL to support my RL income. If that makes me evil and unworthy of support then I apologise. I guess I should have saved my milk money to buy a sim.

  96. Gumby Roffo says:

    I like the idea , Its great to find out what folks like in a program with out having biased opions from previous builds. I think they should pay the beta Newbies a stipend as well for assisting.

    Throws Bait into the ring

  97. Tegg B says:

    Hmm so if all the bots logging in report no problems with new features they must be ok?
    Will they be suggesting to bots to swap viewers and wonder why there is no reply?

  98. Burgess Miles says:

    I’m sorry, but I frankly don’t understand your policies. You develop viewers that quickly becomes mandatory but are full of features that only a privilaged few of the users (those who can afford to upgrade their comps every 3 months) can enjoy fully, for the vast majority these features only means more lag, longer rezz times and other problems. (My comp is fairly state of the art, but I have seen my performance decrease with each new viewer over the last 4 or 5 months.
    On the other hand Linden labs strive for volume, the more accounts the merrier. SL have seen a boom in new registered accounts…most of which are abandoned after a short time and then never deleted…taking up server space….
    These two strategies doesn’t add up, they don’t match…like the marketing department isn’t communicating with the development department…at all…

  99. Navin Dawes says:

    @95 Thank you for making an effective, eloquent statement. I wish more people in SL presented the tact you did with that statement instead of the normal “OMG WHY?!?!! LINDEN LABS SUCKS!!” that I see other places.

    Create a well thought out idea and I assure you that the Lindens will listen.

    I’ll agree with the statements made about there being a few too many viewers. I see a beta and a stable live viewer as being enough for the general population. While I understand that the lack of a first look client would hinder the ability to seek out bugs before the final release, I think the multitude of choices is a bit much for most.

    For example, I think the dazzle viewer would have been best suited to be released as an upgrade, not its own seperate client. I like the the best of all worlds, but having 4 SL clients on my PC is a bit much. (Stable, First Look, Beta, Dazzle)

    Back to the issue at hand, I think this could be a great idea if implemented correctly. This is really no different than a product survey. I’d like to think of it in terms of “which toppings taste better on this pizza” Two different test groups could provide a great bit of info as to what needs to go where, when, how, and if a all.

  100. Waster S. says:

    seems you dont need drugs to see purple elephants /w yellow spots when you play sl, i doubt this A/B thing only will make things more confusing. im also verry conserned the client will get changed to a degree you cant even figurout how to use it. take the latest versions clients, tp links broken, goofy graphics, then all the the ‘older’ computers even failed running it.

    you have to break a few eggs at times to get things done, but your breaking more and more. exploring havock4 i concluded it can be crashed as easy. is all this worth having box prims that aint flat sided? is it worth falling true floors? these serverupgrades lately also effects ragion stability, some even dont come backup, remain offline for days if there whasnt a region down cliam. the loss in inventory is like shocking last few weeks. the blog itself looks like a pinball machine display with all the scores about the assets server bads and fixed. things are ‘fixed’ way to soon, you wait a hour and its a reopened often.

    i meen you want to go test clients running on the same old system witch doesnt make sense in the first place. how you posibly get a valid info from this A/B thing if it runs on the same bugs.

    can we please get some stability?, worrie about the loud bells and pritty flashing lights later?

  101. Cherry Czervik says:

    @88 – ok Mr Troll.

    I work in online gaming. I will admit that my post was not perhaps the most well worded – may have looked like I was saying I am good at online games, which frankly I am making no claims about. Or being a programmer – but I know plenty of people who would also state that features go in at the time when they can.

    However, if you are working in development then yes, you are indeed showing ignorance. Or maybe you work in the much less fraught world of business apps. Put your name to yourself and IM in world if you want to debate me instead of being lily livered in public.

    @ people who are frustrated – yep. It is frustrating. This policy might help – and I remember a world without all the bells and whistles where you could make money, get dwell, have events rated and be rated yourself. Those days are gone – and there were also crashes, outages, etc then. This thing is MUCH MUCH bigger now.

  102. CC says:

    “Linden Lab Support staff are aware of A/B tests in progress and may advise you to switch to a production Viewer if you experience difficulty with an unreleased feature.”

    So if you are a new user do you really think you will download another client or just give up there and then? I doubt this will help retention.

  103. Sascha says:

    Well, seems to be part of your ignorance. You didn’t achieve it to fix bugs in months that were already fixed in third party clients, just because you think they go the wrong way. Now you do this, what I only see as sending troyan horses to people. Well in the end you only will put some more features and no real fixes with the infos you gahtered from this. Change your policy and get some program managers that understand their job and how to sell a product.

  104. Amiryu Hosoi says:

    @11, my mriends do not, Wanna know why? I don’t whine I just create and get payed for it as a bonus;-)

    Stop complaining and start creating!

  105. ChatNoir Moonsoo says:

    “Residents with questions or concerns regarding A/B testing or other issues related to user experience are encouraged to attend my office hours, every Thursday at 3pm PDT in Beaumont.”

    Here’s a revolutionary idea: use the darn blog for to listen to those concerns, and respond to them..duh!

    Not everyone with serious concerns can be online when you hold your office hours..which aren’t representative of the actual “concerns” anyway. If you’re really interested in our concerns, just read the darn blog..and don’t dismiss us as whiners, but assume (at least for a minute) that behind every complaint is an actual problem/experience.

    Is that concept of reality really so hard to grasp?

  106. Krimson Gray says:

    101 – So tell me. When you can’t make custom textures, because uploads fail. You can’t make sculpties, because uploads fail. You can’t script, because the asset server fails. You can’t rez inventory because the asset server fails. You can’t take things to inventory because the asset server fails. You can’t make financial transactions, because transactions fail. You can’t maintain vendors, because teleports fail. You can’t keep griefers out of your store, because land management and estate management fails. You can’t get customers, because teleport AND logins fail. When many or all of these are happening on the same night, how pray tell me do you make things to sell and make money?

  107. Marcel Flatley says:

    So far Cherry seems to be about the only one opening her mouth to day actually some sensible things.

    Second Life is a platform that cannot be compared to anything else. Why do you think there is no competition yet? They are working hard to make it more stable, and I am pretty sure the client side is more stable indeed. Not the RC, but the regular version.

    The major problem is at the server side. The amount of current logins at peak hour puts too big a load on the system, and they seem quite busy working on that. But we are not talking about an easy system where you can look up questions in some knowledge base, it is revolutionary software. So it is a tough job to solve these things. Some solutions will work, others will not, they can hardly be tested in a test environment, so we as users will suffer from the efforts that don’t work out as espected.

    If that is bothering one too much, one has an option though: leave and never look back. Saves a lot of whining in the blogs and on fora ๐Ÿ™‚

    @97: Tegg, are there moments in your life that you do not think of bots? ๐Ÿ™‚

  108. ChatNoir Moonsoo says:

    “If that is bothering one too much, one has an option though: leave and never look back. Saves a lot of whining in the blogs and on fora”

    Wrong.

    It’s true that this kind of application is revolutionary.
    It’s also true that the underlying principles of it are based on well-established IT-procedures.

    The “whining” you so easily dismiss is a legitimate complaint that these principles are not applied (or not competently applied, but that distinction is rather moot).

    There are serious issues with SL that need not be, no matter how “revolutionary” the application is. It boils down to applying well-understood principles of IT.

    It’s like the newest recipe: the recipe may be “revolutionary”, but the principle behind it is simple and quite well understood: you eat the stuff and digest it. And when you get hiccups in the process, something is fundamentally wrong.

    We’ve had a lot of “hiccups” recently, and LL insists on serving us more almost every day. THAT is what wrong..not stating the fact.

  109. Zep Palen says:

    @107 So you want the unsatisfied to leave ? But then you will be alone in sl with Torley & Benjamin Linden.

  110. Vivienne says:

    “Second Life is a platform that cannot be compared to anything else.”

    Depends on the view. You are 100 percent right regarding the contents of SL, which is a social network in a 3D environment, a “metaverse”, allowing ppl to do whatever they want in a virtual world. THIS is really “revolutionary” and “new”.

    But if it comes to the technical aspects, nothing is “revolutionary” or “new”. In fact, there are lots of 3D online games out there which use client/serverside software and databases as well as haedware networking. OpenGL, which the SL rendering expรถoits, is a widespread 3D standard since years, mySQL is a widespread low end and midrange standard for networked database management and so on. Maybe the coding of the client/server software is kinda “special”, but even this does not cause too much headaches for an experienced programmer.

    The hardware battle is only a matter of quantity, anyway. Technologies used are widespread and standard, too. It only depends on the backbone and server capacity in the end.

    What makes SL special is NOT the technical, but the philosophical side, And this is what keeps it really running and attracts people and makes it a unique experience. The most complains here do not target the philosophy at all, but the technical flaws, which are only too obvious and are not even denied by LL. And people who pay for a tech service have all the right to complain as soon as this service fails.

  111. Vivienne says:

    “Announcing Linden Labโ€™s A/B Testing Program”

    Hooray! Overdue, but finally LL shows mercy.

  112. Deeso Saeed says:

    Well, SL is unique in some ways. Since almost all content is resident created theres a lot of data redundancy and lack of optimization. Just think of it. You create a snapshot as atexture of 1024*1024 and pass a copy to 10 of your friends… Most of em will archive it and never will use it anymore neither delete it. Is easy to understand how hard is to mantain a database that scales that insanely.

  113. Davina Glitter says:

    Would it be possible to volunteer to be a tester? I suppose I will ask you at your office also.

    I hope this will be treated in a way that will benifit all. Would it be an option to also provide those using the unreleased client some information regarding what they are getting into, a small warning to inform them what is happening?

    Well I guess I will see you at your office if I can make it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Huggies all!

  114. Argent Stonecutter says:

    This sounds like something that will produce features that are designed to make new users feel at home, at the expense of long-term residents. Reminds me of Apple’s one-button-mouse studies.

  115. Brenda Maculate says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the people who complain about *everything*.

    If Linden Labs is going to use Residents to do testing, I’d rather it be Residents who (theoretically, at least) know what they’re doing, instead of some group of people who don’t have the slightest idea what’s going on. At least this way, LL will get an opinion from people that actually spend time in SL.

    Besides… If Residents are doing the testing, you know it’s getting done, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

  116. Second Life was never “smooth and reliable” in the past. ๐Ÿ™‚ It always fluctuated between states of “running so-so” and “complete failures all the time”.

    But human beings do have a notoriously short memory for bad events in the past. Actually, it’s wired into our brains: we shut off the bad memories and just remember the good ones ๐Ÿ™‚

  117. Vivienne says:

    @21

    “my computer only cost me 1300$ max and it runs sl at a decent 30 fps average. so ether you need to choose a better company or turn down your settings.”

    1.300? oh, thatยดs a lot of money fot a game, isnยดt it? Appr. 110 a month, plus premium fee, plus land tier and your avatar is still naked.

    Hmmm…you must be exremely wealthy to sacrifice such a lot of money on something nice but unnecessary. Ah, and by the end of this year you must buy a new computer, anyway, cause LL will introduce windlight II.

    Well, you can chose better company or turn down your settings then, right?

  118. defrag Babii says:

    live testing has always been better then any other way of doing testing ..

    cause then its more true .. also a few comments i have seen as of late bug me heh .. we grump when linden labs dont tell us everything then we grump when they do .. hold the train here ..
    I personaly like them telling us everything ..

    id rather know whats going on then not know whats going on !

  119. drdahlgren says:

    I think this is a great idea. Those of us who have been here awhile are not always the best to comment on things new users see. I understand how it works, so would I be the best to determine if the Orientation Island or Help Island experience is a good one? While I can certainly point out what doesn’t work at all, I would not be a good source of Noob info. On top of that, most residents don’t get the chance, nor have any desire, to go through the Noob experience again.

    However, in most cases I do think people should have the opportunity to op out of any such tests. That to me is only fair.

    As to Beta Testing – yeah – in a way, this whole thing is a beta test. As to the Beta Grid – If LL wants to see it used more, I think going back to allowing people to maintane a presence there by selling land would be a good way to start. I do however recommend that option only be open to people with some time in SL, and maybe a history of contributing to the Jira.

    See Lindens – Sometimes we agree – sorta. ๐Ÿ™‚

    DRD

  120. drdahlgren says:

    @93 and a few last thoughts –

    I keep reading comments on “The Good Ol’ Days”. When were those exactly? Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be negative here at all, just realistic. When were those good ol’ days?

    Was it 4th quarter 2006, when 15,000 concurent users would basically make the gird useless? Also forced Viewer upgrades were often only days apart, and the grid was down for update once almost every week.

    Was it 1st quarter 2007, when exponentially increasing user accounts far out stripped scaling and SL wide lag was common?

    Was it during the horrible period when your inventory became randome volital memory instead of something you could count on?

    There has never, in the two years I have been on, been a period were SL was truly stable, with no major issues. But that is the nature of SL. It is a Beta, a work in progress, and was, I believe, never expected by LL to become what it has. Because of that, some of the choices made in the beginning, such as using mySQL are making things difficult now. So “fixing” it will always be a bit of working around problems with the structure itself. Sort of like building in SL, if you want to build something different, you have to figure out how to get around known limitations. Difficult, yes, and sometimes frustrating, but useually doable.

    My complaint is not with the issues that occour in SL, but more the reasons behind them. It is not that I believe there is no effort to improve and stabilize SL. Quite the contray, it makes no sense that LL would not be trying to do exactly that.

    No, my issues are with the priorites used when assigning bugs, when deciding what to add now or later, and more often than not, the apperance that some of the most basic disiplines of coding do not seem to be followed. Internal version and patch version being one that comes immediately to mind. And my big issue – my number one – LL’s seeming, in most cases, to have ZERO interest in what the content creators and users of SL truly think is important. Just to clarify this last one, a short Example:

    LL blogs – we need to break Voice or Edit for a week to do a patch. (yeah silly but bare with me). The blog would have tons of creators saying PLEASE dont break Edit, I can still type. These are the people who create what you see. But I would bet you L$ to monkeys on a stick, that LL would break Edit, not voice.

    So, I won’t snivel or whine over the daily ups and down of SL, I accept it as part of the whole package, but I will continue to shout and blog if it was a boneheaded decision that caused it.

    DRD

  121. Anji Mars says:

    Second Life is now getting as hard as First Life….it used to be fun, people used to be happy, now we log-in and wonder what glitches are going to occur today. It kills our creativity. Please LL, seriously, repair what is broken and stabilise, we don’t need anymore bells and whistles.

  122. FireFox Bancroft says:

    They do have an opportunity to opt out, they can still use their shiny new account with the current production viewer, they have to download another version of SL. I’m sure the page will let users select which viewer they want to download and in big black bold letters highlighted by a red border will inform them that the software is beta software and if they do not wish to beta test they can click the production viewer link and download the current version instead.

    I say we wait and see what LL has planned before we jump on the assumption train.

  123. FireFox Bancroft says:

    @ 117

    I’m sure he\she uses that computer to do more than just run SL so get off your self-righteous high horse.

  124. defrag Babii says:

    Thanks Lindens for testing this and good luck .. now you all know that if there was no updates , we would all be in a fit because it was boring heheh .. come on now you know im right o.0

  125. hugsalot says:

    If this testing is to improve NEW USER experience, than the rest of us need to STFU. This A/B testing says nothing about improving grid performance, or core database performance, or all that crap that “WE” long term residents care about.

    So if they can improve new users experiences, and help them LEARN how to play in SL, rather than being complete noobtards asking “Wot sex?” in a PG sim, them I’m all for this project.

    Thing is noobs won’t be aware they are in some sort of test, because after all, they are NOOBS! Duh.

  126. Tegg B says:

    Marcel Flatley Says: @97: “Tegg, are there moments in your life that you do not think of bots? ”

    Hmm that would be the times when they’re not hammering the system to cheat ๐Ÿ™‚

  127. Piri says:

    Here’s something web-related available for fixing. It’s been about a month since it last worked properly, far as I can tell.

    The sorting capability of the events calendar on the web site.

    Previously, one was able to click the drop down box, choose “Education” and see just the events in the Education category or whichever category you chose. Currently this feature does not work. It makes it difficult for any user, new or long-time resident, to find an event that may be of interest.

  128. Piri says:

    sorry, “sorting capability” should be “filtering capability”

  129. Great idea…so if we feel better with the placebo, then we can save money on our perscriptions ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is a good idea, really as I understand it ๐Ÿ™‚

  130. Cocoanut Koala says:

    “So far Cherry seems to be about the only one opening her mouth to day actually some sensible things.”

    And Cherry has opened her mouth SIX TIMES, in six posts on this blog entry. And that’s five more than her share.

    To say, among other things, that blog commentary should be closed and people required to write to an E-mail address, so that they won’t miss “HUNDREDS of useful bits of info you miss cos the professional whiners got here first.”

    So I’m going to take one more than my share of comments to object to people hogging the comment slots because, ironically, they have such an inflated opinion of their own “bits of info.”

    coco

  131. Tasrill Sieyes says:

    Well as an ‘old’ user of sl I have to say this is a rather good idea. We all know that sl has the most insane learning curve of almost any mmo. Every old timer has said that it needs to be easier for the new users after having to explain how to adjust prim hair for the 341 time. So if this is used to improve UI and other such things then I can’t really complain.

    Us old timers AREN’T the ones to ask about how to improve the newbie experience. And we are experienced enough to know how to complain WHEN they make a mistake. Cause they will make stupid mistakes but at least now they are actually trying to improve things with testing and not just on ‘well i think this will make things easier. Lets put it in the client’.

    Now for new features a/b testing is not a good idea. Newbies can have a part but it is the experienced users that need to vet the new features. After all Maya wouldn’t add something new without checking how the existing users like it and neither should sl. AND there is the face we are and should stay strictly in fix mode for a while. We had our new feature cycle and now it is time to optimize and debug the new features. Get sl back to its ‘bugged but usable’ state we all know and love and out of this ‘oh god i can’t log on’ state. We all remember bad updates and we remember LL working and pushing out patches and viewers to fix things like the missing image or other such thing that used to be much much mmmmuuuccchhh worse.

  132. Mm Alder says:

    Ok, so you run your A/B test and “prove” that new improved A is better than old B. Then what? Gloat while you read all of the complaints?

    Mike

  133. BM Daily, Esq says:

    Obviously, you have not all been drinking the water! You must drink the water!

  134. Crazy Chick says:

    This sounds like a dumb idea on the surface, but then again since LL don’t listen to anyone, does it really matter.
    If there is a way to determine which version someone is using then I would enocourage vendor scripts to check this and refuse to sell to these alternative clients. That way you will not have to support the ‘test’ software with your products.
    Alternatively.. just check it and then orbit them.

  135. Crazy Chick says:

    Ohhh before anyone goes ballistic… the last line of my comment was meant as joke….

  136. Blinders Off says:

    Comment regarding bragging about “65,000 online”.

    Folks, if Second Life had been written correctly, with foresight, according to existing structural concepts and decades of computer methodology, it wouldn’t matter whether SL had 6,000… 65,000… or 650,000 people online concurrently, because the architechture would have been designed on a per-x-amount-of-users basis and would have automatically grown with the population.

    Really, being impressed that SL has 65,000 online without crashing is like being impressed that your car holds 4 people as well as 3. To those in the industry, this is kind of a given for any networked interactive system. It really shouldn’t matter at all how many people are concurrently online. If it does… Second Life is in trouble.

    You want to brag… brag when we’re able to get 100 avatars on a sim without lagging it to syrup. That’s when I’ll be impressed.

  137. Blinders Off says:

    ‘Scuse the double post, but i response to a few of the posts above:

    For all those above who are calling other people ignorant– maybe your social graces need improved and your arrogant egos need dropped down a few notches.

    For all those defending Linden Lab and saying “these things take time”: Linden Lab has had 8 years of time to solidify their platform. Instead, they have spent thousands of man hours on eye-candy such as Windlight and Dazzle. As one user validly pointed out: there are other 3-D VR networked platforms out there that work just fine, without lagging, crashing and losing data on an hourly basis.

    The current hoarde of complaints we are hearing has a simple explanation: consequences for decisions. People are tired of paying absurdist prices for poor company management. Linden Lab has a history of being operated like an immature dot.com company that is buying pinball machines and jaccuzi’s on investor money. You have every right to defend Linden Lab if you so choose, but you’re defending people who have been playing games with your money (by developing toys) instead of getting to work and fixing the platform. For the most part, those who are calling Philip and Linden Lab to task are right on the money… and they have every right to do so.

  138. @25
    Considering the averge computer is bought right off the shelf at a average cost of less then 750$ and about 85% of those never makes even one upgrade to it. Then yes, 90% of NEW computer users ARE NOT able to run SL. And considering places like wal-mart sells over a millon of those types of computers a day, well you add it up.
    Keep adding new features and you lessen your potential new users everytime.
    Adding NEW features that break existing, long time running features, scripts, vendors and 1000’s of others things that long time SL users have worked very hard on and depend on for their income IS NOT Progress.
    Keep doing things like that and you are now killing off long time users, which will never return because you screwed them over.

  139. Vivienne says:

    @ 117

    “Iโ€™m sure he\she uses that computer to do more than just run SL so get off your self-righteous high horse.”

    It does not need 1,300 dollars each other 12 months, premium fee, land tier and all to run Office, any production tool – or even WoW. And an 12 fps average performance BEFORE the hardware killing Windlight Viewer was thrown on us do not prove that the vast majority is wiling to throw their money on LL and new hardware when the boys in SF tell them to do sp.

  140. Happi Homewood says:

    How pathetic to read all these silly complaints about nothing. How do you expect to be taken serious when all you do is whine whine whine me me me bu hu hu.

    If you only complained when there really was something to complain about, then LL would probably be listening to you.

    and @136 please take your Blinders Off, thank you very much ๐Ÿ˜‰

  141. Phil Priestman says:

    This is probably a good idea but why is it limited to newbies who are still oooing and ahhing over everything they see and hear but don’t understand whats really going on behind all the flashy colors and sounds.

    This sounds more like yet another attempt for the Lindens to look good in front of their investors and ignore all the problems yet again that the regular/veteran users experience each day.

  142. JB Kraft says:

    A. 5 FPS + environmental bling
    B. 25 FPS + stability

    Please choose: _

    FWIW, I think you should take your SoC kids and teach them how to refactor and build unit tests. An excellent skill and one that could seriously be applied to the viewer code. It would pay you back 1000 times over and maybe get you to…

    C. 25 fps + stability + environmental bling

    just my $L2.

  143. Crazy Chick says:

    Anyone else think @139 Happi Homewood is noob A-hole?

  144. Phil Priestman says:

    Newb or totally clueless.

  145. Kathrin Dassin says:

    As a freebie user (because i honestly cannot afford to purchase an account with LL and maybe if i got better customer service from LL even as a freebie user i might actually consider upgrading my account. but how can i be sure if what i get is what i pay for?)

    I can see a lot of potential in this and a lot of disaster in this. Yes having fresh eyes of newbies looking at things that we see daily could in turn be good and bad, Such as the dazzle viewer, I like it to be honest, i don’t mind the brightness of it, and the fact that it is giving people the ability to create custom UI skins is absolutely wonderful. I love that.
    Now as far as this testing, my main concern is, will LL be listing more to the new players vs the seasoned players? Will this A/B beta viewer be sent out in future viewer updates? I run the Release candidate client with little to no problem minus the system skirts still vanishing and taking several tries in appearances/re-bakes to show up that still don’t work properly. And the way the camera moves now. What exactly will these beta clients that are given out to the a/b test users include, will features that we as the SL community requested be fixed or will they continued to be ignored?

  146. Ellla says:

    There are some very valid comments here, about problems store owners and mentors MIGHT have when they don’t know how a new viewer might work. Unfortunately these valid comments aren’t being addressed by LL because they are lost when all some people seem to want to do is vent.

    I am trying to understand why people stay in SL if it causes them so much stress. Is it really necessary to be so angry about something that you have a choice whether to join?

    For those that have problems with the official viewer have you checked the support page, posted a ticket, posted or voted on JIRA, asked on the forums?

    If you have and are still not happy, I would love to be able to help you. If you can find me in-world, please IM me; maybe one day I will be brave enough to put my full name here ๐Ÿ™‚

    And 142 & 143 I agree with Happi and I am far from a noob, although last time I looked, I do have an A-hole !!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  147. Vivienne says:

    “I am trying to understand why people stay in SL if it causes them so much stress.”

    Because a lot of us invested a LOT of money and work in here which would be lost if LL fails or by leaving. And the recent price cut on land does not really allow some people to sell out and just leave without a huge loss. I think as long as you neither create, invest nor do anything else in SL but consuming and socialising you can get along with the annoying flaws.

  148. Tracey Humphreys says:

    You should complain! I bought these shoes two weeks ago, and look at them! (Monty Python)

    Thank you, Happi Homewood. What’s up with these people?

    I am getting 15 fps, using a GeForce 7600 GS video card, cheapest recommended vid card. No lag problems. I think all the moaners are moaning because they don’t have a recommended video card, just the crap minimum one that their cheapskate computer vendor gave them.

    The Lindens ARE improving things all the time, the new viewer is magic.

  149. Ric Mollor says:

    Is there any program or service that is as dysfunctional as Second Life? No, pointing at “Windows” isn’t allowed as that’s a complete operating system.

    I certainly can’t think of one. Perhaps someone else can?

  150. Nulflux Negulesco says:

    15 fps isn’t exactly running smoothly. I run an ATI x1600 and I get at least 22fps. Your card is undeniably more powerful than mine, why the low framerate?

  151. Taff Nouvelle says:

    I hope this post will be allowed, if you are unhappy with the way things are going in SL, there is a new group which has been started in the last few days that already has 200 members, a number of those are major island owners. We are trying to get someone from LL to talk to us regularly and to listen AND TAKE NOTE of members concerns. Please check out the group in world. Paste this link into chat and click it to open the group profile. The group is open invite with NO COST. Please check this out, we are trying to help SL and are not open to troublemakers.

    secondlife:///app/group/cf58c8f1-f875-3488-b990-165c6cad32e3/about

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