November 2022 Web User Group: new “Plus” subscription level

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022.

These meetings:

  • Are held in-world, generally on the first Wednesday of the month – see the SL public calendar.
  • Are usually chaired by Reed Linden, who is the Lab’s Product Manager for the Second Life front-end web properties (Marketplace,, the sign-up pages, the Lab’s corporate pages, etc.).

A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!), and subject timestamps to the relevant points in the video are provided. Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.


Marketplace Search Overhaul

[Video: 1:08-4:30]

  • All of the currently planned updates are complete and are awaiting the opportunity to “turn them all on”. This will likely happen (with an announcement) ahead of US Thanksgiving, 2022.
  • Some of the noted updates include:
    • Merchant and store names will no long be searched in product searches.
    • Searches for exact matches (using quotation marks around search descriptors) has been added.
    • Wildcard (e.g. using *) will be possible.
    • The back-end supports fuzzy matching to better handle typos when inputting searches.
    • There should be a noticeable increase in speed of search results being returned.
  • Once running, these updates will allow LL to add-in the relevance engine AI to the Marketplace search (as a separate API entity to the relevance engine already running on the web search).

Marketplace Styles

[Video: 12:15-14:00]

  • Work will resume on Marketplace Styles (allowing multiple colours, etc., for an item to appear within a single listing rather than each requiring its own listing) as soon as the MP Search updates are officially enabled.
  • It is hoped this capability will be available towards year-end.
  • It will obviously be up to merchants as to whether they use it to group variances in a product within a single listing or continue to list them separately – single listings for multiple versions of an item will not be mandatory.

Land Ownership “Journey”

[Video; 8:14-12:12]

  • A complete re-write of every route by which users can obtain and hold land, from Premium (+Plus) Linden Homes, obtaining Mainland (incl. Abandoned Land), and private island regions, and renting from private estates.
  • The first element of the land work to be user-facing will be the new Land Portal, a central hub from which to get to all aspects of land “ownership”.
  • Overall, this work is not liable to be surfaced much before the end of 2022.
  • When it does, it should be looked upon as a template / proof of concept for overhauling the rest of the Second Life web properties to give them a coherent appearance; make it easier to maintain existing web portals and pages and to add new ones; make SL’s web presence more performant overall and ensure it works on mobile devices as well as desktops / laptops.

New “Plus” Subscription Level

[Video: 4:1-35-8:05]

  • The new subscription option is to be called simply (if possibly confusingly) “Plus”.
  • This is designed to sit between Basic and Premium.
  • Its core intent is to unlock the ability to hold land on the Mainland, although it will have a modest stipend associated with it + a small bump in the number of allowed Groups.
  • Pricing is subject to the formal announcement that Plus is available, which is anticipated as being by the end of November.
  • It is hoped that once available and given time to determine how it performs / users respond to Plus, that further subscription levels – which may possibly include an “a-la carte” option – can be defined and added to the selection.

Premium Plus (and Premium) to be Renamed in the future?

  • It was suggested that the new subscription level would be better named “Basic Plus” – something that was not dismissed by Reed as an informal means of referencing it.
  • However, the Lab is apparently considering single-word names for all current and future subscription offerings, and Reed indicated that if this is the case, then Premium Plus is likely to be renamed at some point in the future, and this renaming might extend to Premium as well.

In Brief

  • It is hoped that a future Marketplace update will allow store owners to have access to search metrics for their items (e.g. which items are being popularly searched / purchased, etc.). However, this is not part of the Search updates described above.
  • The web properties updates will likely include improvements to the web version of the World Map. However, what these changes may be & which they might be implemented is very much still TBD.
  • Web profiles will not be entirely shut down for as long as the profile Feed remains popular with users – this is the one element of Web Profiles that has not been moved back into the viewer (and appears unlikely to do so).
  • It has been noted that if a user has the Profile Feed set to Private, the new Legacy Profile viewer code shows a broken version of their web profile in the Web tab.
  • For all other discussion points,  please refer to the video below.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, December 7th, 2022. Venue and time per top of this summary.

The digital mastery of Milly Sharple in Second Life

Milly Sharple – November 2022

I found it hard to believe that two years have passed since I last visited an exhibition of Milly Sharple’s fabulous digital art; so when I recently happened across a Landmark to her current gallery, I knew I would have to pay a visit.

For those who may not be familiar with Milly and her work, she is a successful artist and photographer in the physical world. Not only is her art sold on a global basis, it has been used for book and CD cover art, in promotional material, posters for theatrical productions, and even on bank cards. In 2020 she was invited to do a collaboration representing the Covid pandemic with Salvador Dali’s protégé, Louis Markoya.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Milly joined Second Life in 2008, and established her first gallery the following year. Not content with simply displaying and selling her work in-world, she also established the Timamoon Arts Community, which in its day, hosted over 40 resident artists and was regarded as one of the most successful and popular art communities on the grid before circumstance forced Milly to retire the region on which it was based.

As one of the pioneers in introducing the world of fractal art to Second Life audiences, and while in recent years her work has diversified as she continues to develop and extend her range of artistic expression, fractals have remained an integral part of her creativity. To produce these pieces, she works with Apophysis, and open-source software package which allows her to create soft, flowing, liquid effects that sets her work apart from other, more rigidly geometric fractal art that can also be found displayed within Second Life. It’s an approach that not only acts a a differentiator between her work and other fractal art, it also gives her work a stunningly organic look and feel, rich in life.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Alongside her fractal pieces, Milly also produces digital portraits that combine her use of organic forms with the human face and body. Flowing with intentionally rich and vivid colour, these pieces have a life that is both connected to, yet utterly separate from, her fractal pieces, containing as they do their own stunning depth of expression. These portraits share the upper floor of the gallery along with pieces that enfold within them elements of abstract expressionism, pure abstractionism and touches of surrealism in a further engaging selection of digital images.

And if this weren’t enough, the gallery offers a rich vein of Milly’s 3D sculptures and pieces. These again fold within them those elements of natural, organic form and multiple artistic genres to offer a rich and engaging select of pieces that work individual and collectively as works suitable for display in one’s own home.

Taken individually or as intentional sets (such as We Didn’t Start the Fire … Or Did We? – a quite marvellous commentary on climate and ecological disasters that can be said to have their roots in our own role in impacting the world’s climate), Milly’s work is always expressive not just visually, but in offering an idea or story.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Offering the full richness of Milly’s art, a visit to her gallery is a must for anyone interested in either her work or in the potential of Second Life presents to physical world artists to display their work to a global audience.

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