However, one sticking point that has been around for a long time has been the requirement for users to notify the Lab via snail mail or … fax.
The option to file via web form was promised as far back as December 2017 (see: SL Project Updates 49/2: Web User Group), with the hope it would be implemented in early 2018. Needless to say, it has, for assorted reasons, taken a little longer to arrive. However, it will hopefully be greeted positively by those who have been requesting it.
On Monday, June 24th, 2019 at the SL16B celebrations, the first of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held at the SL16B Auditorium. It featured the Lab’s senior Director of Product Operations, Patch Linden.
The following is a summary of the session covering the core topics raised, with audio extracts where relevant.
Note that there are three videos of this event that I’m aware of:
Discussion points have been grouped by topic, and not necessarily in the order raised during the session.
I have focused on those topics liable to be of the most interest to readers / generated the most informative answers, so this is not a summary of all comments. etc., but of those up to the 51:00 minute mark, after which the session includes more general feedback / comments from the audience. Please refer to the videos for these.
Topics are give as bullet-point highlights for ease of reference.
Audio extracts are provided.
These have been cleaned-up in places to remove repetition or pauses, etc.
Audio extracts may concatenate comments on specific subjects that may have been made at different points in the discussion, and so do not always match the chronology of the video.
There are some unavoidable instance of audio break-up (notably from Patch’s microphone).
Timestamps to the SL4Live – TV video are provided for those who would prefer to listen to Patch’s comments “in the raw”. This video is also embedded at the end of this article.
Note that the session was interrupted a couple of times by an 18-carat blockhead deciding to shout abuse over the voice channel, and this is reflected in the videos, although I have intentionally not include audio from my own recording where this noise occurs.
Patch started as a Second Life resident, first joining the platform in 2004, and has been a male fashion designer, mentor, and community lead. His efforts with the latter brought him to the attention of the Lab, and in 2007 it was suggested he consider applying to work for the company.
Initially working as a support agent, he spent a brief period as a support liaison before moving to the Concierge team, eventually becoming that team’s manager. He later moved to the role of Operations Support Manager for a year prior to pivoting away from support entirely and joining the Product group, the team responsible for defining the features, etc., found within Second Life.
Here he developed the Land Operations team, which includes the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), which is really his most visible role, from a user perspective, in Second Life, as he tends to be very hands-on with the LPDW projects.
As the Senior Director of Product Operations, his role encompasses the LPDW and all of the Lab’s user support organisation – a total of five teams – and also the Sansar support team, which is managed on a daily basis by one of his line managers, Patch having little day-to-day involvement in that side of things.
As a part of his role in managing / overseeing the support teams, in 2018 Patch established a support centre in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently overseeing an expansion to this centre, which is doubling in size in terms of staff and also about to move to a larger office space as result.
There are a lot of aspects of SL he particularly enjoys, notably the social aspects, interacting with the residents. He’s also attracted to the power SL gives to people across the globe to connect to one another, support one another in multiple ways, to form friendships and relationships, provide broader social interactions (e.g. links to physical world event such as Pride Month), etc.
He regards his biggest challenge as seeing and feeling the pain people so often feel when they feel threatened by the deployment of a new aspect / feature / capability of Second Life. However, he also sees taking the upset and the often negative reactions to such things as learning experience to help inform future projects and work to try to ease the sense of pain / upset as they are announced / deployed.
We like to have ears all over the place. We pay attention to the forums, we pay attention to groups in-world. There’s all sorts of places that we tend to be, and that, I think, gives us a lot of insight. We can’t catch everything, though, so sometimes somebody will come to me and say, ‘Hey! did you know such-and-such a thing was going on?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I had no idea. Tell me about it.’
So as much as I like to say we can try to be everywhere and listen to everything at the same time, there’s a whole lot more of you [residents] out there than there is us, so I try to give everyone as much attention and time as I can to make sure that you know that we hear you.
– Patch Linden on trying to capture user feedback, thought, concerns, etc.
SLB used to be driven by the Lab, but more recently (SL9B through SL14B in particular) have been community-driven, with the Lab staying in the background. LPDW was more involved in SL15B, and SL16B sees the Lab back driving things.
See this as a means to leverage engagement with users.
Recognises and appreciates the work done by residents in organising the SLB festivities over the last few years.
Are again trying to learn from the lesson of those events.
Believes the LL teams involved have had a lot of fun bringing the regions together and working with residents (e.g. exhibitors and performers).
Has received positive feedback from people whilst in the SLB regions.
Again, lessons are being learnt and will be folded back into future large scale events organised and managed by the Lab.
Note the order of these discussion points is not representative of the MTL session with Patch. The subject covered have been re-ordered compared to the video to hopefully provide a more structured presentation of the information given during the session.
Release Cadence: Houseboats and Traditional Houses
Linden Homes Have been and continue to be extremely popular.
Starting on Monday, June 24th, the release process for the available themes of houses will be changing:
It is planned to release one region of homes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This schedule may slip a little as a result of things like holidays, any QA issues that might crop up, etc., but the Lab aim to try to maintain the cadence.
This is why the current development of homes on Bellisseria has been “in the open” and observable by residents.
Developing regions like this offers some transparency to the process and helps demonstrate that regions in Bellisseria are not (as has been claimed in various places) “cookie cutter” region layouts that are simply replicated across the continent. They are all individually laid out to offer variety in road layout, parks, public spaces, land elevation, coastline, etc.
The Campers and Trailers are going to come in a large release initially. We kind-of feel like rolling out that entire area, because it is a bit of a scenery change, a theme change and stuff like that. Thematically it doesn’t quite line up [with the current home types and styles], but it is designed to all blend together so you’ll transition from one area of the continent to another.
But as we go through that process, you’ll see a who bunch of regions get spun up, for those of you who keep an eye on these things … You’ll probably see the building versions of those regions come soon, and we’ll start building those out and then at some point we’ll have a really large release for those as well; and then those will enter that same process of this more frequent release cadence.
As the old, old saying goes, “I have some bad news and some good news.”
The bad news is that if you were hoping to visit Cica Ghost’sLuna Park (see Cica’s Luna Park in Second Life), that build has now gone from Second Life, the result of low visitor figures, possibly as a result of clashing with SL16B.
The good news is that Cica has replaced it with something that is quite dynamically wacky (literally, if you wander across the landscape!), a piece she calls Cubes.
Occupying the same region as Luna Park, Cubes is a curious piece, comprising a barren landscape under a bright sky, occupied by a few bare trees, but which is periodically deluged by downpours of … huge steel reinforced concrete blocks.
These appear a handful of metres above the dry land, hover for a few seconds as if waiting for gravity to notice them and question just what the heck do they think they are playing at, before yanking them down to the ground, where they tumble and roll against one another and build random mounds and towers before silently poofing and starting over.
With the lines of steel bars embedded within them creating checkerboard patterns on their face, these great cubes look like a certain cubic puzzle game, albeit one usually made up of smaller cubes with coloured faces. Hence why, perhaps, Cica gives Cubes a quote from that game’s creator:
The Cube is an imitation of life itself – or even an improvement on life.
And, given these cubes are physical, they can have quite an – impact, shall we say – on life should you happen to wander out and stand when they are falling!
There is something very faintly Petrovsky Flux-ish (for those who remember that installation) about Cubes. The way the Cubes fall is mindful of the destruction of each Flux build – be here, all the pieces are regular, and the fantastical forms they create are entire as a result of their dropping from the sky, rather than the starting point for their collapse. Watching them, like the parts Petrovsky Flux, can be oddly hypnotic.
I’m not sure how long Cubes will be open, but like Luna Park, it’s meant in fun.