I’ve known Maxwell Graf – incredibly enough – since 2007. We’re not actually in the same social groups within Second Life and rarely hang out, but Max is the kind of person you can instantly feel at home with. We can go without talking for several months, and then an impromptu IM picks things up almost where they were left last time around. I’ve also been honoured that Max has, on occasion passed his written thoughts on subjects related to content creation, Second Life, etc., to me for thoughts and feedback – even though I’m possibly the least qualified to comment on matters of content creation.
It is as a content creator that Max is perhaps best known in Second Life. His Rustica brand is renowned for quality furnishings, building kits and more, particularly for those with a lean towards Medieval or fantasy settings – although his products are applicable to more than just these two genres. In more recent years he’s branched into steampunk and fashion (with his Bitch and Bastard brands of female and male clothing and apparel – including some magnificent facial hair options for the discerning gentleman!). He is also a superb sculptor of land and maker of landscapes – as anyone who has visited the stunning and beautiful Rustica, home of his brand, will agree.
Nor has Max content with offering his creativity to just Second Life. He has one of the first into Blue Mars and also quickly active in Cloud Party. More recently, he’s been working in Sansar, building a five experience “chapters”, including some familiar names – LagNmoor, Rustica, and Neptune’s Revenge – those willing to dip their toes into Linden Lab’s latest venture can visit and enjoy (just follow the clues!).
Throughout all of this, Max has been a friend to many; honest, supportive, outgoing, and true. So when he puts out a plea on Plurk concerning a personal situation, those who know him rally round with re-Plurks, Tweets and blog posts (and my apologies to Max and Lyric for being a little tardy with this blog post, I haven’t been paying attention to social media of late – and my thanks to both Saffia Widdershins and Ciaran Laval for the indirect nudges on the matter).
Max isn’t asking for donations or any kind of direct financial support via the real world. What he is asking is for people to buy something for their in-world enjoyment from his store. It doesn’t matter how big or small, how much or how little; in fact, as he says himself, if there is something you desperately want, but cannot honestly afford it, contact him, and he’ll try to sort something out with you.
As we’re currently re-building and replacing elements of Holly Kai Park to ensure all of the landscaping elements, buildings, accessories, etc., are held by a single account, we took the opportunity to zap to Rustica and pick up a set of Max’s PipeWork Electric Lamps, which are now installed in the snug lounge and around the dance floor at Caitinara Bar to add some lighting ambience with a unique look.
So please, do take the opportunity to help a talented creator and friend. Hop over to Rustica in-world or on the Marketplace and offer support by buying an item or two. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the quality of anything you purchase from Rustica / Max.
The following notes are drawn from a presentation Governance Team manager Tommy Linden and team member Corky Linden are making to various communities within Second Life as part of an initiative to better disseminate information about the Governance Team, and on filing Abuse Reports (ARs). The hope is that the information provided will give users a better understanding of what the Governance Team hope to see provided in an Abuse Report in order to fully investigate it.
Note that official information on Abuse Reports can also be found in the Knowledge Base.
The team is relatively small – under a dozen in size – but handles an average of 400-500 Abuse Reports per day
All Abuse Reports get reviewed as the first stage of an investigation, with priority given to those seen as critical (such as an in-progress griefing attack).
All ARs that can be investigated are investigated. However:
How far the investigation goes largely depends on whether the AR is filed against something Governance is empowered to investigate, and how much meaningful information is supplied in it.
The Governance Team intentionally does not report back on the outcome of their investigations for a number of reasons. Just because the outcome might not be visible to the reporter / match their expectations when filing an AR, does not mean the report was ignored.
One of the biggest issues with incoming Abuse Reports is that they often lack the basic information required in order for an investigation to be properly carried out.
What is an Abuse Report?
The Abuse Report (AR) is for reporting any individual or group of avatars or any in-world object engaged in an activity deemed inappropriate under the Second Life Terms of Service / Community Standards and/or is in contraction to the maturity rating for a region.
ARs apply to: griefing, spamming, age play, assault / pushing / disturbing the peace, disclosure of personal information, fraud, harassment, indecency and Skill Gaming violations. In addition, there are Welcome Area Guidelines governing places like Infohubs, which contain restrictions on what should not be done in those areas with any violations also subject to ARs. Report.
There are also certain things that do not apply to ARs. For example, being banned from a particular group or region or parcel, or a dispute over rental payment between residents are not actionable via AR.
ARs can be filed by anyone suffering abuse, or by those directly witnessing an abusive act. However, this does not mean teleporting multiple people into a location and having them file reports as well. Rather than “speeding up” any investigation, it can actually slow down the entire process by forcing Governance to spend time reviewing dozens of additional (and possibly contradictory) reports.
What Is The Governance Team Looking for in a Report?
The Governance Team is looking for clear, concise and consistent information in an Abuse Report, as summaries in the image below and expanded upon in the following sections.
Accessing the Abuse Report Floater
The AR floater can be accessed via:
Menu bar > Help > Report Abuse.
By right-clicking on an avatar or object and locating / selecting Report Abuse from the context menu / pie menu.
Make sure you have the right avatar / object selected when doing this.
Launching the AR floater using either of these two options will auto-complete parts of the form.
The following guidelines are intended to help with filing an AR.
Where possible, try to include a screen shot of the situation you are reporting. It can be the most effective means of illustrating what is going on, and gives the Governance Team clear visual proof / evidence of what has happened. It can also make up for information missed from the rest of the report.
The slide below outlines some of the key points to remember when using the AR floater to capture a snapshot – click to enlarge it in a separate browser tab for ease of reading.
Note that most viewers do not have a refresh button for the snapshot preview, so try to make sure all the information you wish to capture is on your screen. If you are unable to get a screen shot for whatever reason, it is important you provide clear, accurate information in the Summary and Details section of the report (see below).
The Object Picker allows you to identify an abusive object (e.g. a particle / noise spammer, a weapon, etc.), and include its name and owner in the body of your Abuse Report. Instructions on how to use it are included in the AR floater, and this section will be auto-completed if you launch an AR by right-clicking on an abusive object. Remember you can further verify the item by including it in a snapshot with the Edit floater open to show the object name & owner.
The Abuse Report floater includes a pre-defined, drop-down list of categories which should be used when filing a report. Notes on the *valid* categories can be found here. Note that filing under the wrong category doesn’t prevent a report from being investigated, but it can slow things down, particularly if there is insufficient information provided elsewhere in the report.
This allows you to grab the name of someone causing abuse from those around you. If you launch an Abuse Report by right-clicking on an object or avatar, this section will auto-complete (make sure you have selected the right avatar), otherwise click the Choose button and follow the on-screen instructions.
Powered by Invision Power Services, Inc, it had been hoped the platform would go live at the end of February 2017, but some teething problems coupled with the amount of data which needed to be transferred over from the older Lithium-powered slowed things down somewhat.
The new platform brings with it a new page layout, including a dedicated Community home page, and feeds blog posts to users’ dashboards at secondlife.com/ However, there are still some niggles to be sorted. At the time of writing, for example, going to the dashboard and selecting Community > Forums from the top menu can generate an error message. Clicking on blog links, however, will launch the new format blogs successfully.
The new home page, and the pages beneath it, offers all the familiar community elements: forums, blogs, knowledge base and answers, each with their own top-level page. The knowledge base was actually the first part of the new platform to open its doors, on Friday, March 10th, but at that time certain functionality – such as search – had been disabled on the platform, as it was impeding testing and performance.
In announcing the launch of the new platform, Xiola Linden notes a few things which should be kept in mind at present when using it:
One of the things that we were unfortunately unable to transfer to the new platform was background images on profile pics. If you were using a background image for your profile, you will need to upload a new profile pic. The good news is that uploading a profile image on the new platform is much simpler and more intuitive than before. Just select your profile from under your name, and you can upload an image from there.
We will continue to make improvements, but wanted to get the community platform out as soon as possible, so that the Knowledge Base was back on-line.
Here is a list of known issues, most of which we expect to fix in the coming days/weeks:
Some posts may have missing images. Where possible, we will be fixing and/or updating these.
Some posts may have been slightly reformatted or have a slightly different layout
Previously used emotes may no longer work.
Some old Community URL redirects may be broken.
Some users have lost their account profile images and will need to reset them.
Second Life headers and footers are currently missing from community pages, and we are working to restore those.
The window title needs to be updated.
Clicking on a Help link from the viewer will load the page in mobile layout; this is not optimal, and we are working to correct that.
I’ve not explored the new platform in total, but here is a quick look at two of the more noticeable features.
In the top right corner of each page on the community platform is a set of options, comprising a Create button an Alerts button (warning you of & listing replies to your posts and comments, etc), a Messages button (for accessing direct messages), and your name with a drop-down menu.
The Create button pops-up a means to start a new post a one of the existing forums in the platform via an intermediary Topic item. When you have selected the forum you wish to post to and clicked Continue, you’ll be taken to the Create New Topic page where you can write your post and post it directly to the selected forum.
The drop down displayed when clicking your name presents a series of options specific to you. You can, for example, view your Community Platform profile, where you can edit your profile picture or profile information, and you can toggle between seeing your most recent activity in the forums or viewing a complete history of all your activity via the See My Activity / View Profile button. Note this toggle is publicly displayed on your profile, allowing anyone to review your recent and full history of activity on the forums, just as you can when viewing other people’s profiles.
There are two Settings options found within this drop-down menu. The first doesn’t currently appear to do anything; however, the Account Settings option will display your account settings, allowing you to change your forum signature and change the e-mail address / password associated with your account (so use the latter with care!).
The Account Settings option additionally has links to:
Your Community Platform profile (see above)
Your Community Platform notifications options
Your list of Ignored Users.
Finally, this menu has three further options:
The Manage Followed Content option: allows you to access content within the Community Platform by clicking the Follow button in things like blog posts, forum posts, other users (button on their public profile header)
The Ignored User button: allows you to ignore other users, blocking some or all of their content from showing. Users are not notified that you are ignoring them
Logs you out of the Community Platform (but not from secondlife.com).
Another feature is the Activity option, found in the main menu area. this presents a drop-down menu (shown on the right) offering further means by which you can view content on the Community Platform of particular interest to you.
The options here present multiple means by which you can get to the information you wish to view (for example, you can get to Content I Follow via Activity > Content I Follow and Activity > My Activity Streams > Content I Follow).
Several of the pages accessed through the Activity options – such as Unread Content, Content I Follow and Content I Started – include a series of filter options, allowing you to refine the information they display, making them a flexible means of accessing information you are particularly interested in.
I’ve not dug too deeply into Streams (when and how they are visible, creating a stream, etc. I leave that to you to play with. There are also other abilities to look at, including the marking options, the toggles for switching between condensed and enhanced views, etc. However, most of these should be pretty self-explanatory, and this isn’t intended as an in-depth review.
Keeping in mind I’ve only played with the new capabilities whilst writing this piece and so may have missed some thing, I have to say that overall I like it. When viewed on a PC, the pages are (other than when interrupted by ongoing work!) fast to load and the information cleanly presented. The ability to more tailor how information can be accessed / followed are all to the good, and I like the overall presentation. Viewing the pages on my Nexus HD 2013 revealed the Community Platform to be pretty mobile-friendly.
One aspect that did concern me was the main menu placement (Home, Forums, Knowledge Base, etc). Even this is set against a background banner image, I did find myself wondering if it might cause problems for users with visual impairments; certainly the orange colour for the currently selected menu header can be a little hard to see. Time will tell on this.
In the meantime, again do not that this is early days for the new platform and as Xiola notes, work is still in progress. If you do come across specific bugs or issues which are not listed in Xiola’s official blog post, and which can be clearly demonstrated / reproduced, please file a report through the JIRA system, using the System type Website and the related Community sub-category.
While we’re all awaiting the arrival of the new Second Life Community Platform, Linden Lab took the opportunity to deploy an updated Second Life home page at secondlife.com.
Now, if you’re generally logged-in to your Second Life dashboard, you’ve probably not noticed. While I did notice while twiddling around waiting for the Community Platform, it didn’t exactly register with me for various reasons – so my thanks to Whirly Fizzle for the extra nudge, and to Pete Linden for confirming I wasn’t going entirely bonkers.
To see the new layout if you are normally logged-in to your dashboard (at secondlife.com), you’ll have to log out. If you don’t tend to log-in to your dashboard, you should see the updated layout by simply going to secondlife.com.
At the top is a set of banner images, which periodically change. These include the sign-up, log-in and language options in the top right corner, together with the SL logo and old strapline “Your World, Your Imagination” on the left. Beneath this, and changing with the images, is descriptive text together with a LEARN MORE button.
Depending on the banner image displayed, clicking LEARN MORE will either take you to the business or creators Community Landing Pages, or display the Destination Guide. Each banner also include a JOIN button which will launch the sign-up button.
Below this is a further section providing more insight into Second Life in the form of a set of tiled images – Creativity, Entertainment, Social, Real Estate, Education and Business. Four of these – Creativity, Social, Education and Business – again link to their respective Community Landing Page. Of the remaining two, Real Estate provides an overview of land “ownership” in Second Life, while hovering the mouse over the Entertainment tile will display a series of five category buttons. With the exception of the GAMES button, which goes to the Games section of the Destination Guide, these also all go to their associated Community Landing Page.
Below this there is a further section linking to the Destination Guide, before a section displaying one of the Drax Files World Makers series, together with a link to YouTube channel for the series.
The entire design is fresh and clean and, as noted, has much in common with the Community Landing pages and the Places pages, helping to present something of a unified front end to the Second Life web spaces (although the Places pages do stand slightly apart, as they are designed to be customised by users).
While they have yet to be seen in the flesh, it would appear the new Community Platform pages may have something of a similar approach as well, although we will, at the time of writing, have to wait a while longer to see those.
Update, March 6th: Data is still being ported to the new platform and the launch remains delayed, with no further ETA.
Update February 24th: The new community platform is now expected to launch on Tuesday, February 28th., 2017.
On February 17th, Linden Lab announced the Second Life Community Platform will be undergoing update to a “fresh look and feel”, with the new layout scheduled to open its doors on Monday, February 27th, 2017.
However, ahead of the launch, there will be some important points to note. All of the data held within the existing platform – blog posts, images, forum posts, and so on must be migrated across to the new platform in order to ensure continuity.
This means that from Tuesday, February 21st, all of the existing forums will be switched to READ ONLY. During this period, the forums will be open to browsing / reading, but it will not be possible to create new threads, reply to posts, etc.
Providing all goes according to plan, the new-look community pages will launch on Monday, February 27th, and full forum posting capabilities will be restored.
The Lab will provide updates on the migration / launch of the community pages through the blogs during the transitional period.
The change marks the first major overhaul to the Community Platform since 2011, when the current Lithium-powered platform was launched. An example of the new look for the platform is included in the blog post to give an idea of the layout (the actual content is entirely mocked-up and not related to any real information), and I’ve reproduced it below.
In overall look, the new layout broadly follows that seen with the Community Landing pages, the website log-in page, etc., offering a consistent look-and-feel when compared to many of the Lab’s other Second Life web properties. Usability can obviously only be judged once the new set-up is live, of course, and I’ll have an update once the new service is live.
In the meantime, keep an eye on the official blogs for updates on overall progress with the migration.
On Tuesday, November 15th 2016, the Lab launched the Premium members’ Horizons community, a “retro-futuristic” mainland environment featuring 36 residential regions each with 24 parcels available for auction to Premium members, with auctions commencing on Friday, November 18th 2016, with parcels being auctioned in batches of (generally) 10.
Obviously with 864 parcels to auction, it would take some time to get through things, but Whirly Fizzle and I decided to monitor things to see how they progressed, and I gave a brief snapshot at the end of the first week of auctions, and another when the auctions reached a half-way point. The final lots of parcels was auctioned on the 12th-14th February, and given this, I’d thought I’d round-out the updates with an overall look at things.
All L$ / USD figures are approximate and based on available data. Some approximations have been made using the average parcel price for a region if the actual bid price was missed in collating data (applies to a total of 8 parcels across 864). The US dollar figure is based on a rate of L$260 to the US dollar.
SUMMARY OF AUCTION BATCHES AND TOTALS
Note: a total of 4 regions have been re-auctioned; however, two may have been re-auctioned as a result of original bidder defaulting on payment, as the parcels were apparently re-auctioned without being claimed. If the original payments were made, then a further L$59,131 / approx US $227.42 should be added to the appropriate totals.
Unsurprisingly, this batch of auctions drew the highest bid prices, due in part to the fact that two of the region – Horizons Apollo and Horizons Pandora – have genuine access to sailable open water – the open water to the west, north and east of the Horizons regions currently represent the grid edge, and is not accessible.
Both Batch 1 and Batch 2 were part of my half-way report, and since then, there has been some juggling between those parcels initially put up for sale, those initially offered for rent, and those offered for either rent for purchase.
For those interested in a more granular breakdown of auctions by batch / region, a complete set of tables is available here. The following tables provide a breakdown of parcel usage, based on original bidder’s actions with the parcels they obtained.
GENERAL STATUS OF PARCELS – ALL REGIONS, 864 PARCELS
Parcels Obtained For
Comm = obtained for commercial use
Private = obtained for residential or group use
Unkn = those most likely obtained for sale / rent but which either have not (as yet) been offered for either / do not appear to have been made available (parcel holders did not respond to enquiries)
The re-auctioned parcels are limited to those were a second payment for the re-auction amount can be confirmed. As noted above, two other regions re-auctioned may not have been paid for by the original bidder prior to being put back up for auction. These are currently available for rent, and have been classified in the Batch 2 rental figures.
SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR SALE BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total for Sale
Offered for re-sale / rent
Withdrawn from sale
“Offered for re-sale / rent” indicates parcels purchased from original bidder and offered for sale / rent by purchaser
“Withdrawn from sale” indicates parcels initially offered for sale by bidder, but then set to “not for sale” & with no indication they are available for rent.
SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR RENT BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total Offered for Rent
Available for Rent
SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR SALE OR RENT BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total Offer for Sale / Rent
10 (5 on resale)
Of the 10 sold, the 5 not up for re-sale have been sold for commercial / private use
The 17 rented parcels represent a mix of commercial and private use
General interest in Horizons appears low – however, this many change now the auctions have finished. Currently, most of the land sales which have occurred post-auction have been between those land resellers / renters originally bidding on the parcels, rather than onward selling to those interested in using Horizons as either a home or a business location.
Sale prices across the regions appear to be settling into the mid-20K through mid-40K range, although some – notably those with direct open-water access (as opposed to river / canal access) or perceived water access can carry a premium. Rentals appear to remain at low ebb. As noted previously, this could be down to a lack of direct promotion by those offering them for rent.
Of the 189 listed as “unkn”, almost all are held by those selling and / or renting parcels, so it is not unreasonable to anticipate these being made available for sale / rent if / when current offerings are sold / rented. One of those holding such parcels did confirm they would be offered for rent, but declined to indicate when.
Those interested in Horizons parcels – whether to purchase (Premium) or rent (anyone), should tour the regions with care. A number of parcels are offered for rent / sale offering boat docking where this is not strictly accurate (e.g. the parcel doesn’t directly join water, or the water it faces is actually off-sim). The regions are also unzoned, so judging how well they may keep to the desired theme is hard to quantify. There are a number of decidedly “non-sci fi retro” buildings across the regions, but many of these are place holders, and should be seen as indicative of the overall region styling.