Ciaran Laval brings word that Linden Lab may well be making moves to “hide” the server Release Candidate (RC) channels away from casual viewing.
I’ve written in the past about RC channels and how they work, commenting on the three most widely recognised channels of BlueSteel, Magnum and Le Tigre (while there are others on a smaller scale that may come and go according to needs). Currently, one can find out if the region one is on or visiting is running on an RC channel in a couple of easy ways:
- A pop-up will announce the fact that you are running on an RC channel (or, for that matter, the primary release channel) whenever you teleport to a region running on a different version of the simulator software
- You can open HELP and the ABOUT option for your Viewer and see what version of the server software the region you’re in is running
Now that is apparently about to change, and the information removed, hidden, tippex’d out or fudged over in some manner because, apparently, Oskar and others at the Lab feel the information is too easy to find, and people then start complaining about issues they are having and blaming it on the fact that they’re on an RC channel; something which may well have absolutely no bearing on the issues they are experiencing.
Well, I’d like to say I’m sympathetic to Oskar’s plight – but actually I’m not.The solution to the issue isn’t to simply hide information about the RC channels because it is “too easy” to find. The correct solution is to engage with your users, explain the situation to them and tell them why the RC channel they may be on probably isn’t to blame for their woes. Hiding the information or fudging it, or whatever solution Oskar and the team comes up with doesn’t remove the problem – it simply obfuscates matters. There is a forum for server releases. There is a bloody technology section to the Linden Lab’s own blog. So why aren’t the Lab using them? If there is an issue with people understanding the purpose of the RC channels and how they work and so making incorrect assumptions, then is it really that hard to blog / post a couple of educational items on the subject to help enlighten people? OK, so – as Ciaran points out – doing so might not stop all those complaints about RC channels “causing” people issues – but it’s fair to say it’ll go a long way towards stemming the flow – and it will put information out into the public domain that users themselves can point to and help others understand the nuances of the release process and why problems may well be unrelated (or not) to the server version someone is sitting on. Rodvik – I’ve asked before, and I’ll ask again – just what have you people at the Lab got against constructive, on-going engagement, using all the tools at your disposal, with your user community as a whole? Precisely when will we see the uptake in improved communications from the Lab you yourself promised us back in May of this year?