On the one hand, this might seem rather odd given the way that LL largely abdicated responsibility for organising any form of celebration at what amounted to the 11th hour. However, Linden Lab did provide a means by which events across the grid could be promoted through the Destination Guide, and the hand-off approach was something entirely new. As such, setting-up a survey that encourages people to provide feedback on the overall approach to this year’s celebrations and on things like the effectiveness of the Destination Guide channel might seem perfectly reasonable.
The problem is, however, that the survey actually fails to do any such thing. Rather than asking focused questions on the manner in which SL9B events were passed back to the community or on the effectiveness of LL’s promotional support, we get a rather odd 5-part survey which leaves one wondering just what on earth it is all about – and what LL are playing at.
The survey commences with a request to indicate one’s opinion about SL9B through the use of three sliders.
This is followed by three questions:
- Was SL9B a better event overall than last year’s SL8B? (Options: yes, no, same, I did not attend SL8B.)
- Did you invite friends to come to SL9B with you? (Options yes or no.)
- Would you invite your Second Life friends to future SL birthday events? (Options: yes or no.)
Finally, there is the feedback section, which includes the question, “Do you have any suggestions related to the community birthday celebrations? If so, please add them here”, and provides a text box in which feedback can be typed.
In her post, Saffia suggests that the survey is aimed directly at gaining feedback about the central SL9B event held across 20 donated regions this year. I think she has a point. While on the one hand “SL9B” can be used in reference to any and all Second Life birthday celebrations that took place this year, there can be no denying that the term became synonymous with the central event itself. Furthermore, the questions seem singularly aimed at this event: “Was SL9B a better event overall than last year’s SL8B?” Why not, “WERE this year’s SL9B EVENTS better overall than last year’s SL8B”? .
So if the Lab is poking into the organisation and success of this year’s central SL9B celebrations, then one has to ask why?
Are they assessing things with a view towards once again taking over the driving seat for future SLB events? I doubt it; the Lab doesn’t really have a track record of reversing major decisions once made – and withdrawing from full participation in SLB celebrations was a major decision. Given that the organisation of a week-long, multi-region event requires a considerable investment in terms of time and manpower – an investment LL were unwilling to make this year – it seems unlikely that they are looking to reverse their position outright on the basis of one resident-lead series of celebrations.
This leaves us with two possible points to the survey based on the way the questions are worded: either LL are simply curious as to how things turned out overall; or they are looking to perhaps re-engage in SLB activities in a limited capacity.
Neither option can easily be dismissed for somewhat similar reasons.
In terms of simple curiosity, let’s put a little context on things. Over the last few years, SLB events have witnessed declining numbers and have frequently be subject to negative feedback from users. Ergo, it is in some way hardly surprising that LL didn’t think it worth the effort to host a major event this year – and it is probably fair to say the overwhelming demand for there to be centralised celebrations caught them by surprise (hence the hasty, if misguided, negotiations with the LEA over hosting a central event). Not only that, but such was the support for the event that it easily matched LL-organised events of recent years in terms of size, number of exhibitors and scope of entertainment. As such, the survey could simply be an attempt by LL to try to understand why this is so, without any additional ulterior motives being attached.
Pretty much the same observations can be made in relation to LL wanting to re-engage in things to a limited degree. The very fact that the central event was such a success has caused them to reconsider their involvement, and so they are trying to find how they might be able to have limited involvement without being perceived as trying to make a grab for the reins and take over completely. As such, the survey might both be a low-key means by which they can better determine where and how they might seek to engage in future events and a means by which they can get a better feel for the organisation behind this year’s event without having to go the route of direct dialogue (which might be so easily misinterpreted by others).
Of course, it might just be that the survey really is about trying to gain feedback on the Lab’s own strategy and approach to handling SLB celebrations this year. If so, it is hard to see the how the questions, as phrased, will yield anything that is actually meaningful.
Whatever the underpinning reasons for the survey, if you’ve not already completed it, I encourage you to do so – and also to take a few minutes to complete the SL9B feedback form if you attended activities there or give feedback to any SL9B event you did attend across the grid.