The argument that you should cease trying to fix Second Life and only work on real life is compelling, but SL is a prototyper and generator of options for the online life we all live in many ways -- it is predictive of many aspects of social media. So it is worth trying to fix it when you can.
That Linden Lab would remove the voting feature just when the world's eyes are watching the struggles of the Egyptian people to remove the tyrant Mubarak -- well, it beats all.
What do you think the people in Tahrir Square would think if Mubarak suggested that they move to a "watch" system about his activities, rather than a yes/no in the elections in September? These people would not find that funny.
The arguments that the freakily named Oz and Yoz Linden make in this thread are truly creepy -- theres' not enough democracy, so let's remove it. But they're known quantities of the geek mentality that loathes voting and representative democracy that undermines their tribal powers and rituals. And that's why I'm not going to waste time arguing with people in the comments that fetch up to say it is gamed, it is pointless, it is messy, it is this or that. I will save my breath and try to write more places about this problem and attract more support for keeping the vote.
I've written a personal letter on Facebok to Rod Humble, because the decision came from him: he's in charge now, it's new, and it's something he may have even innovated, perhaps after picking up from the furry open-source Lindens like Soft that they hate votes because it embarrasses them and shows them things the resident population doesn't like -- while they are rigged to only express "yes" and Orwellian happiness, people essentially do achieve a kind of "no" when they *publicize things that are wrong or propose a dissent against Linden policy, like "don't force people to move to Zindra" or "don't allow RedZone to scrape everybody's IP addresses to out their alts" or whatever.
The first thing that should be done is to oppose this -- in letters, tweets, forum posts and inworld demonstrations. Go ahead!
The second thing to do is to plan for alternatives, including even a collective rental of the JIRA software and the creation of a public alternative. Like alternative sims, this is what you have to do to route around Linden Lab.
The third thing to do is to create inworld alternatives, which I will do in some small way but those with lots of sims and scripting power could think of doing this in an effective matter.
I'm putting up a vote right away at the Pharos Lighthouse first on this issue itself, then I might try to go "save" some of the main feature votes of the JIRA and "continue" them. This has its difficulties, especially because there isn't any "yes/no" voting system in SL that I know of that is effective. There are only "polls with 6 answers" which I use -- meaning you have to make up yes/no/don't know/don't care/ etc.
Is anybody interested in working on this with me?
My letter below the fold.
As this decision had to have come from you, I have to express my profound sadness about the decision to remove voting from Second Life. You are ending an extremely important social experiment online that was unique of its kind. There aren't any other software projects in the universe where ordinary people can participate.
Second Life is a prototype for real life online as much as it is a simulator for real life, and when you commit Orwellian acts like this you are harming the future.
The idea that you have to remove this feature because it "isn't representative" enough is flawed -- not enough democracy is never a reason to remove all of democracy -- ask the people in Egypt on Tahrir Square!
The idea that it is "gamed" just isn't true -- Lindens themselves voted on it (something I opposed as unfair) and Lindens themselves constantly referenced votes as a reason to do things. Alts weren't used that much; flash mobs weren't the norm. Even with those flaws, it was a measure of opinion. Straw polls are straw; but they are still polls.
It doesn't matter if this vote doesn't directly govern your actions (though it really should in an ideal world). But it's an important marker of user sentiment.
Most important, these votes are user-generated content.
In a world prizing UGC, you should never, ever remove it.
Indeed, I have to ask what your plan is for saving a copy/snapshot of the JIRA files with their votes when this is deprecated. Surely you can do that much!
But you really should reverse this decision. You should if anything make it better. If you are unhappy about the discomfort it brings to Linden devs, or the measure of the mismatch between user aspirations and business decisions, then make two separate things -- one a Feature Voting System (there already existed a perfectly good one, that could be fixed up a bit, especially with a "no" vote option and a "merge votes" option, and revived -- it was used for some years before the JIRA) -- and the other a bug tracker without votes (it really is an odd idea to "vote" on a bug, as some bugs, regardless of whether or not they are popular, need fixing -- although I'm for keeping democratic accountability to fix the basic injustice of scrum-type cults.)