Wow here's something to make me sputter -- the Lindens' plan to muck around with the viewer, like Windlight, includes concepts that could utterly destroy very basic activities in business and socializing in SL.
You wouldn't know about this unless you were a very astute student of the SL-DEV list (the elite one, not the grungy one) and also followed what M was saying, and Jacek "Go Around the People" Antonelli's blog, in response to Dusan's blog. Basically, Jacek discounts M's claim that there is a "new viewer to ease new user experience" -- it's not new, he says. It's just some embellishment on the old viewer that might make it easier to use (the notions for this, if they are in the realm of the existing geeky Lindens and Torley Linden, who has lost touch with reality, will not be "easier" for anybody, new or old).
Jacek is just splitting hairs, and it's not interesting to debate. But what he does say in refuting M Linden is that the Lindens' "Landmarks & Navigation" project may be what they *do* insert into the viewer. Alarm bells went off for me, because I remember seeing something about this on the God-awful wiki some time ago, and thinking "I better to something about this" but it was one of many things. I remember seeing that a group of graduate students were being hired by SL to work on tagging and such; but this seems to be an actual firm now hired by LL as an outsourced viewer-fixer.
I was appalled just reading it, and put in some wiki contributions right away -- I hope others will do the same.
While they claim this is "Food for Thought" only, and would "have to be done carefully," this outside firm -- and their Linden fans and FIC boosters -- are mounting these concepts precisely because *that's how they think*. What their vision involves is "How to make Second Life like the Web". And that's where they go wrong. Second Life doesn't *need* to be like the web! It is not a web page. It is a world. It has people in it; not texts and pictures. It is about interacting, not merely "accessing content" that you consume alone.
So what they want to do, God save us, is 1) remove landmarks from inventory and 2) deprecate, i.e. erase and get rid of, User Picks in favour of 3) putting in a browser-type function with saved bookmarks.
Yes. That's right. Remove User Generated Content. That these Web-mimicking monkeys should consider sacred, but don't.
The usual suspects line up to crow about delicious, as if they ever really look at delicious any more (I wish they'd be honest about this). They love the idea of tagging things like "red shoes" instead of being able to keep a landmark with a brand-name store on it, that you could search under the sim name or store name.
Yes, anything to destroy commerce. That's what this is ALWAYS about.
Here's what I've posted:
This concept of removing landmarks as objects in the inventory -- and in fact removing them as objects in the world -- is all wrong.
Would you *please* stop trying to make this interactive 3-D virtual world "like a web page browser"? It's *not a web page*. It's a *world*.
You will really destroy commerce models already thriving inworld if you remove landmarks as an object that can be put in prims. Every single business in SL uses landmark giver objects onsite or in ads or gives people landmarks as part of their advertising. And that's all good.
The idea that you "can't find or use" the landmarks in inventory is false. Of course you can find them. You use "search inventory" with the name of the store or sim and the landmark is found in the search.
People constantly hand each other landmarks to interesting places precisely because there isn't enough space on the Picks. By putting these "bookmarking" functions into a browser, you remove the sharability. How will I share my landmarks if I can't push them as inventory to other people, individually?!
Again, SL is *not a web page*. It's a 3-D interactive social world that has objects in it that people share and move. Landmarks are one of them. They are sharable sortable objects and inventory access them just fine now.
It's noted in the design description that removing landmarks from the data base will be some kind of "save" for the dbase. Is that what this is all about? It doesn't seem warranted if it kills of interactivity and commerce, exchanging that robustness of socialibility and economic life for a static solo-user's experience of his own bookmarks.
My mind absolutely boggles at the thought that you would want to get rid of User Picks.
This is *resident content*. *You do not get to destroy resident content*.
Deprecate picks? In favour of landmarks that will be shareable somehow? (when you're going to remove them out of the inventory? and have them shareable as...what exactly? how? off a browser? all of them at once?)
Why? People go to enormous trouble to make their Picks. It's the heart of their identity. I know as a landlord in SL that people record all kinds of special moments as well as places they like on their picks. The picks are *not just places*. The picks are a *story*. The picks have things like descriptions of your best friends. Or your business policies. Or information about using your product.
Could you people *look at how these things are actually used inworld* before you set about destroying them?!
There's no objective need to remove a page off the avatar, used to put his best selection of picks/story pages he wants to tell about his Second Life, in favour of some giant grab bug of landmarks, that does not tell that narrative.
Can you grasp that Picks are not just bookmarked spots, but *a story*? Can you please see this narrative on thousands of people and not tamper with it?!
I fail to see why your need to tinker with the viewer involves destroying what is already established *as user-generated content*. Try to remember that's what it is: *user-generated content*. Linden Lab should not be in the business of "deprecating" *user-generated content* under the guise of "new easier-to-use features".
User Picks are a more expert folksonomy than "traffic" (due to the gaming of some aspects of traffic) because people put something in their picks because they tend to really like it. Of course, Picks are gamed, too, as some stores will pay you or give you freebies to put them in your picks, as Picks are now part of search (so aside from everything else, these outsourcerers would destroy the search ranking you achieved by having people genuinely put you in picks -- thanks!).
But clearly they never really studied what Picks *are* to people, as I've complained:
THEY ARE BOOKS, NOT BOOK MARKS!
People write whole stories, sagas, ideas, concepts, descriptions of friends, how-tos, business policies, rules for sims, etc. on these pages. Deprecating all that is just -- unthinkable.
How can we deal with this kind of high-handed monkeying with what we should rightfully feel is *our viewer* that access *our user content*.
Well, you can go the route of sitting in those interminable sycophantic Linden office hours, where you will have to deal with 20-something alternately goofy or insolent Lindens, or worse, Torley's own aggressive idiosyncratic barrage, where he will insist that we must "embrace change" with something like the removal of landmarks in order to have this new viewer which will be "better".
Even if there was a way to share this viewer, something like "Google reader share" with shared RSS feeds, I can't imagine it will work *well*. It's more complicated, buggier, and laggier. Browsers inworld just don't work. I can't get SLURLs to work at all -- they simply lag out and never pull up. Other people can't see Showcase or other content that is in that "browser" box inworld now with search -- it just never displays. Imagine, crippling the world even further than it was crippled with Windlight.
No, I really think it's high time for a business lobbying group to get formed that makes its voice heard over the dulcet tones of the smarmy Linden office hours and exclusive privileged SL Dev list and the Solution Providers' Council and all the other "specials". This should be made of tier-paying managers who pay a lot to keep their businesses on the grid, who serve a lot of people inworld, and who are tired of being the last to find out about every major decision like this yet the first to suffer under them.
I don't have illusions that it will be easy to form such a lobbying group, because people don't like each other or trust each other, and each secretly harbours they will cut their own deal with the Lab, or get on the specials' list themselves, some day. But people really do need to get together to get some basic concepts across to the Lindens -- because they just don't live here.
Again, these basics would include:
1. Interoperability, and now even work on not just teleporting, but creating groups that can push objects across worlds (as groups now do within SL), has to include a robust permissions system -- non negotiable. The Lab's plan for really ensuring and implementing and *engineering* this needs to be heard and it can't be just vague assurances.
2. Non-Destruction of User Generated Content. There should never be such arrogant and casual idea like "let's get rid of the guide rail on the RR" "just because" when there is nothing whatsoever in its place, and when hundreds of people have made content around it. There is no justification for it. Nor should there EVER be ANY notion of destroying the tens of thousands of STORIES OF RESIDENTS on their Picks under some short-sighted and half-assed notion of "making SL like the web" as if Picks are just "not enough room to put bookmarks".
3. An end to theoretical geeky "use cases" and an actual study of what people really do, not by having office hours and the special privileged SL Dev list, but by having more notification of these plans further in advance (there has been no notification of the Landmarks program, for example, except in the exclusive SL Dev group, and you'd have to "just know" to go on the wonky wiki).
4. Ad farms will be judged not by rules, not by discussions, not by promises, but by delivery of junk-free land back to the public. The policy will be judged by the extent to which it can get the edgecasing fisking and manipulative nasties ROBO Marx, Cytherea Eagle, Austin Hallard, Ancient Shriner, Chrischun Fassbinder and many other notorious ad farmers, viewblockers, and parasites *off the grid*. This policy will be judged, again, by *what is removed from the grid*, not by fancy rule sets.
5. Orientation/Newbies Experience -- here, we need to understand what is happening to the sign-up stream, who has gotten a piece of it by the favour bank or outright payments, where it is going, how it can be accessed by groups wishing to help, or who have services to sell *and yes, that's fine*. Time for Linden Lab to come clean on the newbie stream -- one of the reasons they fail on retention is that they refuse to be transparent on how this is apportioned, and what can be done to access it. This means expanding advertising opportunities in welcome areas, infohubs, etc. -- fixing all the broken Linden ad banks and putting in better ones.
6. Assignment of a Linden to full-time duty to interact with inworld businesses. There is every conceivable kind of Linden. Lindens assigned to hand-hold outworld corporations. Lindens for educators. Lindens for scripters. Lindens for those wishing to "interoperate" and make "open architecture". Lindens for Burning Life. Lindens for Solutions Providers. Lindens for Lindens. But there are no Lindens for inworld business that still pays a very big chunk of the tier. That is really disgraceful, and should be ended.
In a way, the concierge, and Jack Linden, is the way in which inworld business attempts to interact on these issues. But...that's not business. Jack Linden is a government official in charge of public works, not the small business administration. They are different functions.
Is anyone willing to work on creating such a lobby, and moving these simple 6 points, or others similar to them, along? Or will they just go on kvetching in Concierge, blogging, and making up stories like "OMG they are going to ban rentomatics along with ad farms".