Some Residents have told me they worry the Linden Lab Blog is quieter than usual, and that this may reflect a decreased commitment by us to communication. In fact, the opposite is true. We’re making changes to enhance dialogue with you through adding better tools and organization along with fewer constraints.
Limitations of the Current Blog and Forums
The current blog has become unwieldy and messy because there is no way to categorize posts. Tag clouds, categories and search are inadequate tools for finding what you’re looking for. And we often hear that it can be frustrating to try and have meaningful exchanges about the original post because of the 150 message cut-off and the difficulty highlighting key comments among all the messages.
Similarly the current forum software is outdated, barely functioning and lacks important features that would enhance conversation between posters.
So we have embarked on a significant project to improve the web-based communication tools. In addition to updated software, we will be changing the blog’s organization, integrating the blog and forums for extended conversations, adding content to the log-in page to make it more useful, and integrating tools to highlight communications.
The new blog will have multiple categories to allow topic experts to talk about their areas of expertise and to promote discussion and Resident feedback and ideas. Large topics will integrate with the forums, as we’ve done recently, to allow for richer and more involved conversation with Linden Lab and Residents than is possible in blog comments.
Forum changes include feedback tools to allow Residents to elevate the most useful posts to the top of the thread. You’ll be able to vote on and rate comments so that the ones judged most useful will be highlighted. These helpful answers will be transferred to the Knowledge Base in the Second Life Support Portal.
Forum moderation will also be expanded to ensure focused and reliable exchanges of information, opinions and suggestions. We are contracting with a group to help us keep forum posts on topic and to handle abuse reports. They’ll also skim blog comments for off-topic posts and spam. It’s important to keep in mind that the moderators will not be answering blog or forum questions. This group will not be taking the place of Linden Lab employees, but rather will be freeing us up to communicate with forum and blog participants about substantive issues. These moderators, whose experience includes moderation assistance with EBay, are multi-lingual and will also be moderating our German, French, Korean and Japanese forums.
Timing and Transition
We will be introducing the new blog and forum enhancements in October. Until then, the blog will continue to be utilized for announcements, policy updates and introduction of new features. Other information is also being made available in other parts of the website such as the Grid Status page, blog margins and Showcase. We’ll help you find this information via the log-in message of the day.
In the meantime, we’ve created a forum thread where we can talk about our blog plans. I’ll be out for a short time this evening but will visit the forums in the next few hours to respond to your comments and questions.