In September 2015, I reported on the re-introduction, at least on a “beta” level of the Community Gateways, a programme which had been discontinued in August 2010, with Linden Lab citing several reasons for doing so, including issues around scalability and management oversight, together with question marks around the overall effectiveness of the programme.
Indications that the Lab were reconsidering the programme first surfaced at the “Meet the Lindens” events at SL12B, and following the hints, I was able to discuss the beta programme with Patch Linden in July 2015 while preparing that original piece.
Since that time, the beta Gateway Programme has been moving forward, and I’ve been able to visit a number – the London Gateway, Ayuda Virtual, catering to Spanish-speaking users, the Firestorm Gateway (touched upon in the article linked-to above, and Helping Haven, which formed the focus of its own report.
Somewhere in the region of 18 communities were involved in the beta Community Programme. However, the programme did have its share of hiccups along the way – such as with sorting through a registration process with would address both the Lab’s one legal requirements for data integrity and the needs of the Gateway operators themselves, some of which I documented in 2016.
All of the major hiccups have been addressed over the ensuing months, and the results of the beta programme appear to have been positive. I say this because on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, Linden Lab announced that the new Community Gateway Programme is now officially open, with around 6-10 community-led gateways now operating in Second Life.
In explaining the programme, the blog post offers an easy-to-grasp bullet point list of the what it is, and what it seeks to achieve:
This programme allows Second Life Communities to:
- Create a new user experience and attract Residents to your specific community.
- Assist those new Residents in beginning their journey into Second Life.
- Lend a guiding hand in the creation of their new avatar personas.
- Assist with increasing new user retention.
This powerful new tool will allow you to register new users right from your own community website and add them automatically to your group, thus helping your community to grow!
Communities within Second Life wishing to establish a Gateway of their own should refer to the new Community Gateway guidelines on the SL wiki. Requests to join the programme should then be made by filing a Support Case ticket under the Case Type Land & Region > Community Gateway Application.
Call To Gateway Operators
If you are a part of a group running a Community gateway, and would be interested in perhaps seeing it covered in this blog, please get in contact with me. You can do so via IM or (preferably) note card in-world, or via the Contact Form on this blog. Just include a brief outline of the gateway, its name and location and details of some of the coordinators behind it (if you’re not one yourself), together with preferred contact details, and I will get back to you. please refer to the Helping Haven article as a example of how such an article might look / read.