On the 7th November, the Commerce Team gave their latest update on activities. The post reads in full:
Thank you for your continued feedback. Following is an update regarding your latest questions and requests:
- Direct Delivery email notifying merchants receipt of item by customer: We understand your request and are looking into this.
- Marketplace category changes: We’re working on some proposed updates to these categories and will give you the opportunity to provide input. Stay tuned for more details – including a survey.
- JIRA changes: We are working to adjust our communications practices to make sure all Merchants are kept up-to-date on bug fixes.
- Marketplace weekly user group: We will not be adding a user group at this time.
- Publish Marketplace six-month backlog: There are no plans to provide this data.
In addition, we are evaluating ways to improve communications practices with Merchants that will allow us to address technical and support issues more effectively. This includes direct email correspondence, such as the direct email that was sent November 6, 2012 to let all Merchants know about the benefits of Direct Delivery.
We appreciate your patience while we continue to improve marketplace functionality and merchant communications.
The Commerce Team
Of particular interest here are two statements – that the Commerce Team are “evaluating ways to improve communications practices with Merchants”, while simultaneously refusing to agree to in-world user group meetings.
On the subject of the former, the Commerce Team point to their recent e-mail to merchants extolling the virtues of Direct Delivery; virtues which are, as I commented at the time, actually non-existent for many in receipt of the e-mail because Direct Delivery is for them proving to be at least as unreliable as Magic Boxes (and the Marketplace in general). As such, I’m actually unclear on exactly how such an e-mail is actually “improving” communications practices given the frustration it might generate, much less addressing technical and support issues “effectively” – but, c’est la vie.
The refusal to hold in-world meetings, although hardly unexpected, is regrettable. While it is true that in this day and age, face-to-face meetings are not always required in order to resolve technical issues and problems, the fact remains tat face-to-face meetings – even in the digital domain – do serve a valuable purpose. They help promote a more positive attitude between people and they encourage greater mutual support and respect for one another (and I’m deliberately not mentioning the very practical results which can come out of such meetings by way of ideas and suggestions for dealing with issues and problems or providing LL with information on issues of which they may have no prior knowledge).
Anyone who has ever been to other SL user group meetings cannot fail to note the appreciation and understanding they generate towards LL. sure, there may be occasional bursts of frustration when things are going wonky somewhere on the grid – but by and large both sides of the equation – Lab and users – benefit from the interaction and exchange.
It’s therefore regretful that the Commerce Team continue to step back from in-world interactions with merchants. While the initial meeting may well be a little rough on them – I would venture to suggest that the vast majority of merchants would actually welcome the opportunity to have such face-to-face meetings and would be only to willing to engage with the Commerce Team fairly, rationally and respectfully.
Of course, there is the little caveat to the Commerce Team’s rejection on the idea of in-world meetings, the “At this time.” This suggests that at some point in the future they may well reconsider their position. I hope they do – and that they do so sooner rather than later – because doing so really would be to be to their credit and do far more to help to “improve communications practices with Merchants that will allow us to address technical and support issues more effectively” far more than any number of bland e-mails or forum posts is ever likely to achieve.