SL Web profiles: my.secondlife.com errors

Update July 11th: Those impacted by the errors are reporting that their web profiles and feeds all appear to be displaying the correct pictures / information.

Update 16:35 UTC, July 9th: Some users appear to still be experiencing issues; LL have confirmed that the problem is not related to any compromise to their systems (which was unlikely anyway), but rather to a database issue. Soft Linden has requested that if anyone contacted SL Support about this issue, could they e-mail him with the details

Update 12:15 UTC, July 9th: The Grid Status page reports the “unscheduled maintenance” completed at 02:29 UTC. Again, it is unclear as to whether this work was in any way connected to the web profiles / my.secondlife issues, but my own feed history now appears to be displaying the “correct” information. Others are similarly reporting their own feeds seem to now be OK.

Update 01:47 UTC, July 9th: At 11:46 UTC (16:45 SLT) LL commenced a period of “unscheduled maintenance” on SL. Shortly thereafter people again reported that the my.secondlife.com feed were inaccessible (which had been the case on an intermittent basis alongside of the problems reported below). Whether the maintenance work – which references in-world services – also includes web profiles and my.secondlife.com is unclear. At the time of writing the maintenance work is still ongoing and feeds remain inaccessible. 

Update: People from the US are reporting they are experiencing the issue as well, confirming the problem is more widespread than initial Twitter reports suggested. 

Second Life users are reporting issues with my.secondlife.com. The problems are currently taking a number of forms:

  • The wrong pictures are showing up in people’s my.secondlife.com profiles
  • People’s posts are appearing in the wrong feeds
  • People are seeing posts from those they are not following appearing on their feeds.
Pallina60 Loon reports her Profile image appearing in Tifa Kobichenko’s my.secondlife.com feed

It is not clear how deep the problem runs, but many of those initially affected appear to be users based in Europe and there are concerns about accounts being compromised as a result of the issues. Issues are apparent whether viewing web profiles either via a browser or within the viewer.

There are some security concerns being voiced as well. While it is more likely that the issues are the result of a database error within LL’s servers rather than a deliberate hack or the result of the servers having been compromised, if you are affected and of a nervous disposition, you may want to consider changing your password.

Part of the issue on my feed: I’m receiving information on users I’ve not actually friended or am following

A JIRA has been raised on the issue – WEB-4844 – and you may want to check on your own feed and see if you are affected, particularly if you are in Europe. If you are, please ensure you WATCH the JIRA (votes do not count) and supply any information you can as to how the issue is affecting your web profile / feed in order to help bring it to LL’s attention.

Wait, what? Web Profiles gain a Trending tab?!

I confess I don’t know if this is new, or I’m just blind and a little stupid (don’t answer that!), but my.secondlife.com has gone more Twittery, introducing a TRENDING tab.

The tab is accessed via the HOME tab on your web profile, and like Twitter, pops up anything that is proving popular among those using the Feed function – presumably based on a combination of replies & number of loves received by a message.

I freely admit this may have been around a while and I’ve simply missed it, or it was recently added and I simply missed the news. I’ve been rather absent from active engagement on Twitter lately due to work and things so could have missed the news there; and I do keep forgetting to tend to my own my.secondlife.com feed). As such, I only noticed it today, and did (rather forlornly) ask:

If it *is* new…then it’s an interesting new option that allows greater interaction between SL users (LL, why aren’t you telling us about these things?). If it’s been around a while, feel free to pat me on the head sympathetically before moving on :).

Direct Messaging comes to my.secondlife.com

Linden Lab, again with little or notification, have added a new feature to my.secondlife.com – Direct Messaging.

The new feature allows you to send personal messages to your friends via your and their Web Profiles. These messages do not appear on your own Feed or that of the friend you are messaging.

Here’s how it works.

Sending a Direct Message

Log-in to your Web Profile at my.secondlife.com and click on your Inbox (/mail) tab and click on the MESSAGES tab at the top of your inbox (if necessary) to display your direct messages.

Web Profiles Messages tab

Now click on the NEW MESSAGE button – this will open a page requesting the name of the person(s) to whom you wish to send a direct message (they must be on your Friends list). Enter the name in the format first.last – or simply click on the desired name from the list that is displayed as you type. Finally, enter the message itself in the box provided and click SEND.

Note that you can also use the People tab on your Web Profile and then scroll through your list of friends, select the person you wish to DM then select Send a Message from the “Pen” button on their Web Profile page. However, the above option is somewhat quicker.

Receiving a Direct Message

Web Profile Inbox notifications

How you receive a DM depends on whether or not you are in-world.

If you are not logged-in to SL at the time a DM is sent, notification is only received by your Web Profile in the form of a numbered icon appearing in the Inbox tab (see right).

Note that this is the same icon that is displayed when receiving other notifications via your Web Profile as well, so it may not always be indicative that you have received a DM.

To view any new DMs you have received, click on the Inbox tab to open it. New DMs will be displayed directly on your Messages Tab with the text in bold (see below). Note that if you have received multiple DMs from a single person, only the last DM they have sent will be displayed on the Messages tab.

Incoming DMs – displayed in bold; click on sender’s name to view

To view and reply to a message, click on the name of the sender. This will open a further page. Note that the DM may be displayed on its own (if it is the first you have received from the sender), or as a part of an ongoing exchange, in which case the entire exchange will be displayed, with the most recent DM at the bottom, together with the option for you to reply (below).

A DM Exchange
  • Tip: If you are exchanging a number of DMs with a friend, click on the page refresh option of your browser each time the Inbox notification appears – this will refresh the message list & display the new incoming message on your screen (clicking the Inbox tab itself will take up back to your Messages tab, requiring you to click on the sender’s name yet again to open the DM exchange and view their most recent comment).

In-world notification

DM in-world pop-up notification

If you are in-world when a DM is sent to you, an additional notification will be displayed in your Viewer (see right).

In-world, notifications appear as a pop-up with a link to the message itself. Clicking on the link will open your Web Profile in either your Viewer’s browser or your default web browser (depending on your Preferences) and display the message and reply option as shown above.

Notes:

  • When viewing a Direct Message from in-world, you may have to additionally log-in to your Web Profile – once you have done so, the message page will automatically be displayed
  • Some V1.x Viewers garble the incoming notification, for example: “xxxx  sends you a messagehttps://my.secondlife.com/inbox/messages/4e948648ab2a18000100d6” – note the lack of any space between “messages” and the url. This causes the link to fail when clicked. If this happens, delete the extraneous “message” in front of the “https” in the browser’s address bar.

The Delete Button

The Direct Message option includes a button to delete exchanges. This is useful for removing old conversations, but should be used with care.

If you delete an ongoing exchange, the other side is not informed of this by default. They will only find out you have left the conversation when they:

  • Either refresh the page, which will display a message that  informing them you have left the conversation
  • Or they return to their Messages tab, where they will see your name now has a strike-through, indicating you have deleted the exchange.

Similarly, if the other side of your exchange deletes it, you will not be informed until you either refresh your page, or return to the Messages tab.

Note that in either case, messages can still be sent by the party who has not deleted the conversation. However, the messages will not be delivered or any notifications given.

Once a conversation has been deleted, the NEW MESSAGE button on the Message Tab must be used to start a new exchange.

Useful Addition

While this feature doesn’t (yet?) allow for direct DM-IM-DM exchanges to take place, it nevertheless adds another layer of communications options to SL users, and could prove especially useful in enabling conversations between friends when one or other cannot easily get in-world while avoiding the lag created by e-mail. It will be interesting to see if further enhancements are added along the way.

Web profiles gain a FOLLOW button

C & TM Linden Lab

Since the launch of the social web Profiles by Linden Lab, one of the most requested features users have asked to see is the inclusion of a Twitter-like FOLLOW capability. At SLCC 2011 Viale Linden hinted that the function might be coming along.

And he wasn’t wrong.

Linden Lab have now launched the ability for people to “follow” others through the web profiles.

To use it, simply go to my.secondlife.com/first.last (where first.last is obviously your own avatar name) and log-in. Then select the profile of the person you wish to follow in the browser url bar (again “my.secondlife.com/first.last” – where first.last is their avatar name). This will display that person’s web profile, thus:

Note the FOLLOW button

Clicking the FOLLOW button will allow you to receive that person’s messages on your Feed page, allowing for any privacy options set – see below.

For those who use the web profiles Feed, this is a powerful new option, potentially delivering notifications of events, activities, and so on from others who pro-actively use web profiles and the Feed option directly to a single point they can review either in-world (if their Viewer supports web profiles) or on a single web page.

For merchants and entertainers, it presents another means of getting word out about events and goings-on by encouraging people to use their own feeds and then using the FOLLOW option.

There are a couple of points to note:

  • If the person has their Feed privacy set to FRIENDS/NOBODY, you will not receive any Feed messages from them regardless as to whether you follow them (unless they accept you as a Friend where FRIENDS is concerned)
  • The same applies to your own Feed – if you set your Feed privacy to FRIENDS/NOBODY, people will be restricted in their ability to receive your feed messages.

The system may yet be refined further; I’ve already suggested to Linden Lab it might be an idea to add something along the lines of a “Friends and Followers” privacy option. As it stands, it is a useful addition to web profiles, and one that is sure to be welcomed.

“Social” web profiles live today

At the start of July, I reported on the development of the new “social” web profiles. Linden Lab have confirmed that the new profiles will be officially live from later today.

In typical LL form, the news was not broken via the LL website – although we may yet get an update there at soe point – but rather via the LL Twitter feed, @my_secondlife:

The new web profiles bring a number of interesting features to your profile pages at http://my.secondlife.com, including a Feed capability that allows you (and those to whom you allow) to make comments on your “Feed” page & the home page of your profile.

This system is interesting, but not without its limitations at present. One of these is that in order to see someone else’s comments made to their own profile, you need to Friend them first. This means that any content creators using their Feed to make product announcements, etc., are going to be getting a lot of Friendship offers – which could be irritating in the first pass, and lessen the overall impact of the service. That said, Fredrik Bjork (Fredrik Linden) has indicated that features that will allow “non-user profiles” for stores, etc., will be added in time.

One thing that has been added since I first looked at these features is Twitter integration: if you have a Twitter account, you can make a comment on your Profile feed and have it appear on Twitter. Similar integration with Plurk has been promised.

I’m still not totally convinced as to how these new features will be received by users; I rather suspect that those of us already using the likes of Twitter are probably not going to be greatly influenced by the initial offerings – and may not even be tempted away at all, for reasons Tateru Nino explains very succinctly.

Nevertheless, keep an eye on your web profile and see what you think when the new options are live.

ADDENDUM – 26th July

  1. For those wishing to opt-out of the new FEED option of web profiles, you can now set your FEED privacy to NOBODY – meaning no-one can see your feed or comment on it. Go to http://my.secondlife.com/first.last  – log-in if required, then select SETTINGS on the left of the window, then click the PRIVACY tab and set FEED to NOBODY in the drop-down list of options.
  2. Plurk integration is now available.

LL start recommending “connections”

The new web profiles with their social hooks are heading our way and are likely to be here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, LL appear to be upping the Social Game with their latest e-mail to residents. 

If you’ve filled out the INTERESTS section of your web profile, the chances are you’ve received (or will shortly be receiving) an e-mail from LL inviting you to make new friends, and offering you a few suggestions for people you’d like to connect with, like the one shown below.

Clicking on any of the images / names supplied in the advert will take you to the individual’s web profile, where you can look them over and even send them a friendship request.

I’m not sure how well-received this approach to making “connections” is going to be received. Leaving aside the fact that a “connection” and a “friend” are somewhat different concepts, this approach is fraught with basic problems.

On the one hand, those who have been in SL any length of time are going to be loathe to start sending out unsolicited friendship requests without any initial contact (although, of course, this approach doesn’t do anything to prevent a more “traditional” approach to contacting people listed in the e-mail prior to making friendship offers). Thus, there is every possibility such e-mails will be either ignored, or give rise to more people removing themselves from LL’s mailing list.

On the other hand, where this new service is used to start firing-off friendship offers without any prior contact, then it is liable to result in the vast majority of such offers being ignored by the recipients coupled with a rise in their annoyance at receiving such unsolicited requests. Hardly what LL are aiming for.

Thus, as well-meaning as it is, I can’t help feeling this initiative isn’t going to be as successful as LL hope (assuming it is going to being a regular thing). In fact, if LL want people to create networks of contacts using the new social media tools coming to web profiles, there are potentially much better ways of going about it.

One, for example, would be to give people the option to simply follow others in much the same way as Twitter. The would add considerable value to the Feed tool in the new web profiles – particularly if an individual’s Feed tab became a central point from which they could review comments and thoughts not just from Friends or those leaving comments on their profiles, but also from those they have elected to passively follow, without impinging on their virtual lives by repeated offers of Friendship.

It’s going to be interesting to see how these e-mails are received, and indeed, how long they last.