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On the one hand, and on the other hand

On the one hand:

"Today we're introducing the beta version of a new dashboard on the Second Life website, and we want to know what you think! We fully believe that the immersive nature of Second Life is the way to go, but we're also excited about how the web can help you stay in touch with your Second Life community at times when you can't be inworld." SL Website Dashboard Beta

On the other hand:

Unable to send your message to the chat session with [RECIPIENT].

No. I am sick to the back teeth with this now. No more features. Nothing at all until basic damned functionality is fixed. Functionality which the Laboratory knows is appallingly broken. What on earth am I going to get out of a "dashboard" when I cannot even reply to people?

Perhaps we could have a redesigned Search, too, which enables us to find people with whom we cannot talk far more efficently. Perhaps a highly sophisticated listing of Groups, which lets us find organisations with common interests and then not be able to communicate with them. It could have all sorts of "AJAX" type arrangements and shaded buttons! All of which could tell us that regretfully the service did not work.

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Aki Shichiroji's picture
24 Jun200922:51
Aki Shichiroji (not verified)

As much as I would like to see group chats and IMs be more stable, I have to respectfully disagree. There are many facets to SL that need work done. The website is one of them.

Of course group chat & IM stability is another.

Might one team have folks with skills the other team requires? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Letting specialized employees who do *not* have such transferrable skills just sit around and do nothing productive doesn't help either.

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
24 Jun200922:56
Ordinal Malaprop

Honestly, I have gotten past the point of caring about the demarcation of skills. Are there people being hired to add daft features that nobody cares for? Fire them. Stop it, stop this incessant concentration on "user interface" being the important part as opposed to actual user _functionality_.

Rika Watanabe's picture
24 Jun200923:12
Rika Watanabe (not verified)

My suggestion would be to fire those people who can't fix the broken things first, and hire new ones, though. :)

Aki Shichiroji's picture
24 Jun200923:18
Aki Shichiroji (not verified)

i don't think no one cares for a change to the SL website. i feel it's way overdue, actually, and i'm sure you could find many who would say the same. If they could follow through and update the forums, that would be great too.

There are a lot of things that i do and don't agree with, pertaining to the UI experience (eg: ongoing pie-chart tug-of-war). But bringing together many disparate parts of the existing site in to one portal page is a good thing and a good step towards fixing severely broken search functionality.

As for the group IM stability issue, I agree, being able to communicate on a social platform is important. I have also held the opinion for a very long time that groups need to be more granular in function - IE: folks should be able to choose between either creating a group for social purposes, or land purposes. I DO feel groups overall need a complete overhaul though, far and beyond putting off any other project to accomplish. It is a seperate issue that needs to be addressed, yes, but alongside other important developments to the platform.

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
24 Jun200923:31
Ordinal Malaprop

It is not that nobody cares for an update to the website. Not that many people look at it anyway, but it never hurts to have a proper home page. However, there comes a point where one has to look at the priorities and behaviour. Efforts are being made to improve the appearance of things - the actual _grid_ is not being improved. It is still broken.

At some point one has to say "right, that's it, forget these
UI issues because the lack of grid functionality makes them irrelevant". This is that point as far as I am concerned.

(They will not update the forums by the way, ever. Never. It will not happen. People including myself have been asking about it literallly for years and promises have been repeatedly made and broken. The forums will never be updated; they will be deleted at some point, that is all.)

Cinco Pizzicato's picture
25 Jun200900:57
Cinco Pizzicato (not verified)

The Dashboard does look a little bit neet-o, but note that the announcement does not say it's going through beta in order to check for useability metrics or whatever... It's going through beta in order to test the *load.*

When XStreetSL wasn't a Linden Lab product, it always worked; now about one in four times it gives me a 408 error when I try to search. It's like XStreetSL scaled before, and doesn't scale now. Simply because LL touched it.

Regarding group chat, you probably already know, but: http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-1509

And of course the issue is scalability. It seems the problem with group chat is not the amount of chat text flowing around, but figuring out which of the 8000+ group members are supposed to receive it (or not).

So note that the Dashboard does a bunch of queries about you when you look at it, even if you don't need that information. Now line that up against the computational power required to figure out which of the 8000+ group members are to receive your typed incantation of 'LOL!'. Then ask yourself: Is the server farm that blew up a couple days ago really big enough for this?

Erbo Evans's picture
25 Jun200903:54
Erbo Evans (not verified)

Madam, you may count me firmly in your corner on this particular issue. I have devoted no small amount of Aethernet space to various tirades on the subject, such as this example. The situation has, alas, failed to improve over time--you will note the above-linked missive dates from this January past--and, in fact, has gotten precipitously worse.

It has gotten to the point where I find dealing with the helming of various Aethernetic sky-ships a more fulfilling pastime than the Laboratory's environment. The proprietors of this other environment--a group of roguish Vikings from Iceland, I believe--are at least somewhat more responsive to pending issues in their world.

Riven Homewood's picture
25 Jun200906:05
Riven Homewood (not verified)

My group chat has not worked reliably for almost a week now. About one message gets through for every 3 or 4 that I send. Teleports frequently aren't working. Lag is much worse than usual.

I don't care about a dashboard for the website. I have never cared whether sl had voice mail or not - but if we must have it, I'd certainly like it to be reliable. And I have no faith that it will be.

Yes, I understand that different teams are charged with different things. I'd like to see LL put fewer of them on glitzy features and more on really improving the user experience.

Maggie Darwin's picture
25 Jun200913:08
Maggie Darwin (not verified)

A significant force at work here is: M has many cronies from his previous endeavors, now out-of-work in the current economic difficulties.

He has a vast array of PR and MarCom people, (some of whom have subcronies in website design, hence the Blog +cringe+ and Dashboard), and of course the now famous (though anonymous) Zindraian "experts who have extensive experience creating content-access policies for large Internet services".

Evidently he does not owe favors to any C++ designers, coders, spelunkers and archeologists which are the skills needed to Fix the Broken.

One supposes he never hung out with "those kind of people".

Opensource Obscure's picture
25 Jun200913:31
Opensource Obscure (not verified)

I'm a bit surprised by your reaction, madamigella Malaprop - for the same reasons explained by Aki Shichiroji in the first reply.

I think that the "No more features, fix the bugs!" approach never made sense in the past for Second Life and it doesn't make sense now.

Ordinal Malaprop's picture
25 Jun200914:34
Ordinal Malaprop

I have in the past been known to say things such as "well, one can have both features and bug fixes, different people have different skills" and similar. I certainly did so regarding windlight, sculpted prims and such and I believe that I was quite right to. These are solid features which have improved the platform as a whole. I would certainly argue that work on the forthcoming HTTP server scripting is worthwhile, even if by some chance it did affect the speed of bugfixing (which I doubt in any case).

Unfortunately I have now come to the conclusion that priorities are not only a little askew but becoming increasingly so, and that this instance - and the recent context in which it arises, let us not forget that - reflect said skew. There is a degree to which concentration on certain areas affects others on an organisational basis; not because people creating web portals could be recoding messaging architecture instead, that is very unlikely, but because the decision has been made to concentrate resources on areas that I consider quite frankly flim-flam.

My outburst is thus really one of extreme irritation at this process as a whole, and a rejection of the skew. I get the distinct impression that despite the excellent work and undoubted dedication of Lindens, the overall direction of the Laboratory at this time is not what I consider it should be.

Dale Innis's picture
25 Jun200918:30
Dale Innis (not verified)

I am very much with the Proprietress here; I have long been in the other camp from the placard-wielding "No more new features! Fix the bugs!" marchers, but now I find myself somehow catapulted across the divide. I still believe that as long as bug fixes are rationally prioritized, we can have both nice new features and existing not-yet-fixed bugs. But in this case the priority given to the bugs seems to be very low compared to their severity. And the addition of new features that cannot have been near the top of anyone's "must have" list suggests that there are excess resources of some kind around.

Maggie's speculation makes all too much sense. I think I shall go lie down...

Uccello's picture
27 Jun200917:02
Uccello (not verified)

The proliferation of other virtual worlds and Second Life® (SL) wannabes is proof of core-level dysfunctions for they certainly are not organizing for profit. Each has been created to address some perceived shortcoming of SL be it game style, permissions, user costs, freedoms, or any of a myriad other aspect. Miss Malaprop has quite correctly identified the main problem: The Lab is trying to grow the service through dazzle, not through reliability of use. The Chrysler Corporation is an example of the innovate or perish concept, but The Lab is trying too hard to innovate; trying to hard to be a little something for everyone.

I do not need SL to be Facebook, Skype, Plurk, or iGoogle. I do need a service that lets me use the existing tools without worrying if they will be functional. I do need a low-maintenance service that does not need constantly adjusting settings, clearing cache so the application can "forget" a problem, or regularly upgrading hardware because "upgrades" that aren't requested.

Three cheers fro Miss Malaprop!

Elspeth Woolley's picture
28 Jun200920:45
Elspeth Woolley (not verified)

The manner in which SL bugs are fixed seems to either create new bugs or exacerbate the old ones. I have gone so far down the road of frustation that I now beg them to stop fixing things (in my mind, of course ... I'm sure they don't want my opinion). I dread viewer updates and have for some time. Better the bugs I know than the bugs I don't know, I've come to think.

I have several groups with which I need to communicate for purposes of planning events on my land and to let people know that the events are imminent, among other reasons. IM is by far easiest for this. I have lately been reduced to sending notices for everything ... and even those often miss their targets. Notices are not as personal, not as spontaneous and not interactive but they are the acceptable alternative to IM chat. The issue of unreliable chat coupled with unreliable notices creates great communication difficulties.

Website? Imagine a billboard advertisement for a beautiful dress of sumptuous fabric, flattering design and touted as handsewn. Let's say one purchases this dream of a dress and the zip breaks the first time its worn, the fabric snags on everything, and it loses its shape with the first cleaning. It's not exactly false advertising, but it's not at all what one expected to get. Similarly, a wonderful website does nothing to ensure a good in-world experience when one can't even carry on a conversation in group or IM chat.

Pavig Lok's picture
02 Jul200902:33
Pavig Lok (not verified)

You'll be happy to note that Mis Tateru Nino has discoved some movement on the issue in question. You can read what little is to be read at:
http://www.massively.com/2009/07/01/linden-lab-addresses-second-life-gro...

Allen Kerensky's picture
16 Jul200921:34
Allen Kerensky (not verified)

Amen Ordinal.

Why have more of a webpage for SecondLife than "How to Download and Connect" ?

Is SecondLife not supposed to be a *platform*... are Lindens not trying to position this "world" as a great "business and education tool?"

If Lindens actually tried eating their own dog food and running their business in-world themselves, rather than through the ever-growing plethora of offworld websites, things might get fixed faster.

When I signed up, I shrugged when group chat was broken more often than not. As my 5th rezday approaches, am even too tired to shrug anymore.

Group chats pop up an annoying [RECIPIENT] notices when they fail... or out the blue at random when some other group chatter starts a new session. Nothing else has changed with group chat in all the time here, and the popup is MORE annoying than just knowing it will fail. Now I have to click OK too, at random intervals, like a combat meter camping test.

Regarding the dashboard? Dear Lindens, whoop-de-doo more webpage. Does absolutely ZERO to improve my IN-WORLD experience. I don't want to be dragged out of 3D land, back to the Flatland, every time I need to do something. How about a dashboard UI floater instead of more useless webpage?

Most useful UI improvement to SL Viewer in 2009:
Ordinal Malaprop's TwitterBox allowing me to sit in-world and tell people offworld about all the stuff they are missing out there in flatland. (yes, I am shameless... but darnitall, Twitterbox is *useful*, *complete* and *just works*. In fact, here's a tweet I made with Twitterbox: After 5 years in SecondLife, why don't I believe this? RT: @SLGridStatus: [RESOLVED] Group Chat Issues - All group chat issues resolved.7:51 PM Jul 8th from API

Previous experience improvement: WindLight - which still isn't finished or even remotely usable since it resets every login and is more trouble than its worth to simply change the default daycycle. Here's your new great feature with a healthy side-order of FAIL coming right up!

Jack Abraham's picture
21 Jul200921:42
Jack Abraham (not verified)

I have to agree with our hostess. I haven't hit my second rezday yet, and I can see the slide -- the more scripting I learn, the more I find functions that frustratingly don't work as described. The more I try to explore, the more frustrated I get at poorly-communicating sims. And the more new features the Lindens throw at us, the more I become convinced they have no idea what I want out of Second Life.

I don't want voice. I don't want Twitter or Facebook or out-world IM. I don't want to drag Real Life into my Second Life in any form. I want a separate, distinct, second life. And I want it as bug- and lag-free as my fully-realized, if analog, first life.

Website bah. Give me a server and viewer that work.

Starry Questi's picture
10 Sep200913:12
Starry Questi (not verified)

Curious, has anyone else noticed that every time they are about to put out a new viewer, for about a week before everything goes terribly wrong on SL, crashing is constant, lag is even worse, etc. ? Those I have talked to agree. Is this the way LL tells us to upgrade our viewer? At first I thought this must be co incidence, but have been on SL for 2 years now and have to say it seems more than co incidence to us.