February 2023 SL WUG meeting: Land Portal + Marketplace

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023.

WUG meetings:

  • Are held in-world, generally on the first Wednesday of the month – see the SL public calendar.
  • Cover Second Life front-end web properties (Marketplace, secondlife.com, the sign-up pages, the Lab’s corporate pages, etc.).
  • They are not intended for the discussion of Governance issues, land fees / issues, content creation & tools, viewer or simulator development / projects. Please refer to the SL calendar for information on available meetings for these topics.

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.

Updates for January 2023

Land Portal Release

  • [Video: 06:00-08:00] The new Land Portal has been launched. This is intended to be a central hub from which to get to all aspects of land “ownership” – purchasing regions, renting land from a private estate, renting or purchasing Mainland; obtaining a Linden Home.
  • [Video: 10:33-10:49] There are currently no actual functionality changes to the pages behind the portal – these will come in time.
    • [Video: 8:51-9:22] The first of the Land pages to undergo update and improvement will be the Linden Homes page. This will make it easier to see and select available Linden Home styles – but this update “will be a while” before it is surfaced.
  • Translations for the Portal and the Land pages will come in due course.
  • The Portal has been used as something of a prototype, bringing together tools and technologies the Lab intend to use to build-out updated versions of their websites and portals, and ensure they are mobile-friendly.
A portion of the new land portal front-end – click to visit
  • A technical blog post on what the web tools and ongoing website redesign means will be published be the Lab in the near future.

Marketplace Updates

  • [[Video: 08:04-8:43] Search:
    • The deployment of the Marketplace Search updates has been further delayed, as indexing all searched to date is taking longer than anticipated to complete.
    • All other work is completed – the code is in place and ready to go – but LL want to ensure that search and order histories all remain in place when the switch is thrown.
    • once fully deployed, the new MP Search will have a close parity with the updated web search deployed in 2023, including its own relevance engine.
  • [Video: 17:29-20:26] “Marketplace 2.0” – the Refresh / Rebuild:
    • Still being discussed / developed.
    • Will likely included further Search capabilities: fuzzy searching; negative tags / Boolean search options; the potential for improved filtering.

Marketplace Discussion Summary

Marketplace “Gold Star” Mechanism

[Video: 31:49-35:30]

One idea being floated internally at LL is the idea of awarding worn / attached items a “gold star” to items with a “low Land Impact”.

  • The suggested approach would be to have some form of automated “side bake” mechanism which takes avatar attachments and assesses their LI, and then awards them a “gold star” on the basis of whether or not they remain within some defined “LI threshold”.  “Gold star wearables” would then be searchable as a category / categories within the MP.
  • The core aims of this would be to:
    • Encourage wearable items creators to ensure their clothing and avatar attachment are more render performant/efficient (avatars currently have perhaps the highest performance impact, as no real constraints are currently placed on the complexity of worn items, so there is no incentive to model them as efficiently as possible).
    • Encourage consumers to consider what they are purchasing and its impact (“the gold star means it is better for you and SL”).
  • This does raise concerns of further gaming of LOD (level of detail) in order to bring items in under the threshold, with the result that while they gain the “gold star” they nevertheless immediate collapse into one (or a small group) or triangles when seen from even a minimal distance – with creators who do so then “recommending” users set their viewer’s LOD rendering unnaturally high – and in the process further negatively impacting viewer performance.
  • Alternatives offered at the meeting:
    • Utilise the revised avatar complexity calculations which form a part of the ARCTan project by which to measure the complexity of worn items (the problem here being the ARCTan project stalled some 2+ years ago and has yet to be re-started).
    • Utilise the “good LOD” calculations used for Animesh to encourage creators to model their clothing / attachments responsibly.

General Marketplace Discussion / Exchange of Ideas

[Video 20:42-31:45 + local chat]

  • Variants (officially “Styles” – e.g. having multiple colour options for an item in a single listing) was again raised. No further direct feedback on this was given; however, at the January meeting it was indicated the work (which has apparently largely been done) is being “re-prioritised” in the face of the delays in deploying the updated MP Search.
  • “One click demos” were suggested for the MP – being able to click on an attachment offing in the Marketplace and the item is temporarily worn in-world. This is something Garfield Linden indicated was of interest to him, and requested a Feature Request Jira on the idea.
  • Search:
    • Phonetic searching was requested (particularly handy for those not well-versed in the currently-supported languages / dyslexia, where fuzzy search might over-compensate with results).  Sntax [sic] Linden acknowledged the “appeal” of phonetic searching.
    • Filtering clothing / attachments by body type: this is something the Marketplace Team are already looking at in terms of the “most popular” bodies – although how representative this might be of SL’s diversity is hard to determine.
  • Pay what you want – suggested as a possible option to allow merchants to offer items for free, but with the option for buyers to offer a “tip” in payment.
    • The functionality for this may be overly complicated to implement.
    • However, in considering Marketplace updates / a rebuild, LL have looked at options for offering coupons, sales, and “price changey” options, so this idea will be added to the list for further internal discussion.
  • It was acknowledged that Marketplace load times in the viewer’s browser (and the load times of other SL web properties a user may already be logged-in to) are “to darn high”, and that there are “performance skirmishes” to be had in this area.
  • A suggestion was made for the Marketplace to support “related items” between stores. This would require engagement by Merchants, but the idea would be if Merchant A produced items intended for use with something Merchant B produces, they could mutually list one another’s products as being related. It could also be technically complex to implement.
  • Marketplace and CasperVend integration: this is something LL would like to do following the purchase of CasperTech, and have had discussions about, but there are no firm plans as to have it might be tackled as yet.

Misc Items

Smart Landmarks

[Video 47:30-48:10]

World API Update

[Video 48:40-49:25]

  • It has been notes that following a recent update, the World API reports banned agents as a part of the Group member count.
  • It is not clear if the update caused this, but if so, it was not the intent. The matter has been noted for investigation.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, March 1st, 2023. Venue and time per top of this summary.