SL Project Updates 45/3: Web User Group, SL viewer

Grumpity and Alex Linden host the Web User Group meetings on alternate Fridays at Alexa’s barn

The majority of these notes are taken from the Web User Group meeting held on Friday, November 10th, generally held on alternate Fridays, and chaired by Alexa and Grumpity Linden at Alexa’s barn. The focus of this user group is the Lab’s web properties, which include the Second Life website (including the forums, blogs, Destination Guide, Maps, Search, the Knowledge base, etc.), Place Pages, Landing Pages (and join flow for sign-ups), the Marketplace, and so on and the Lab’s own website at lindenlab.com.

Not all of these topics will be discussed at every meeting, however, the intention within the group is to gain feedback on the web properties, pain points, etc., and as such is very much led by comments and input from those attending. Along with this are two points of note:

  • Specific bugs within any web property  – be it Marketplace, forums, Place Pages or anything else), or any specific feature request for a web property should be made via the Second Life JIRA.
  • Alex Linden provides routine updates on the Lab’s SL-facing web properties as and when appropriate, which can be found in the Second Life Web thread.

Marketplace Related

Marketplace Search

  • Search can be too broad (even with the boolean functions). for example, attempting to search by store name can bring up avatar names, many of whom do not have an active store. Addition of more refined filtering mechanisms (check boxes?) could help eliminate some of these problems. This was noted at “useful feedback”.
  • Boolean search, whilst useful, can also be limited in impact when trying to eliminate things like demos from results, although this seems to be down to the creative use of demo item descriptions to foil the use of booleans like “XXX NOT demo”, and is thus harder to overcome.

Marketplace Listings

  • Default order for listings on the Manage Listing page is date ascending (oldest to newest).  It would make more sense – particularly when creating new listings – to have the default as date descending (newest to oldest), so that the newest listings – and the ones most likely to need editing – appear at the top  / on the first page of a listing – or have the merchants preferred listing order saved. This has been a JIRA issue since 2014 – see BUG-4705. It’s now regarded as something that “should be” fixable, and has been added to internal tracking by Alexa.
  • Grouping Colour variants for items has often been requested – for example, see BUG-6424 and feature request BUG-10853. This is seen as a much harder capability to add to the MP.

Marketplace Gifting

  • Some people apparently get confused over the gifting work flow: this should be: find the item > click Add to Cart as a Gift > enter recipient’s name & a message > click Finished > go to the shopping cart icon (top right of the window) to purchase / send. However, after entering the recipient’s information, some people at clicking on the Buy Now button in error, thus purchasing the item for themselves. See also WEB-3020 and feature request WEB-3531.
  • Gifting requires recipient’s full user account name not Display Name – as the latter can default to sending a gifted item to a recipient with an account name matching the display name. Note that “Resident” should be automatically appended to any single name account entered.

Marketplace Clean-up

Another long-standing request in for some form of Marketplace clean-up. For example, there are good for say that may contravene more recent SL policy changes; there are goods for sale and unsupported because the creators have long since left Second Life; there are goods listed on the marketplace that have not sold in years, and the creators (if still active have not removed), and so on.

The problem here is how should any removal be policed? Even if a creator has departed SL, it doesn’t mean their goods are no longer being purchased? How should a time limit for force removal of non-selling goods be enforced? One year without a sale? Two? Three? More?

Clean-up is something the Lab has been struggling with and considering different approaches. There may also be possible alternatives to removal – such as more refined weightings on search capabilities, or the ability to see when an item was last updated. At the moment, Alexa and Grumpity are on a feedback mission concerning this issue, so except this subject to droll forward in future meetings.

Listing fees: once suggestion for handling the proliferation of various listing types was for listing fees to be added, potentially tied to a benefit for Premium members. This understandably caused heated debate (particularly given the January 3rd 2018 increase in fees for processing credit transactions) – with creators at the meeting divided on the matter. However, it’s important to note this was just a suggestion; it is not something the Lab is planning on introducing.

Second Life Maps

Two specific requests were made:

  • Update the map generation to properly display mesh in map tiles.
  • Fix region surrounds causing a region’s map tile to be displayed as a blank green tile.

Commenting collectively on these, Grumpity Linden said:

Maps… yeah, we’d like to do that and have several ideas for how, but none of them are easy fixes. Map tile generation is different from displaying them… and none of the ideas for fixing the generation are easy or fast.

A Note on JIRA Acceptance

This routinely comes up at Content Creation meetings and came up at the Web meeting, so is worth repeating.

Following initial triage by Linden Lab (roughly daily for bug reports, usually weekly for feature requests), the status of a JIRA may be updated to “Accepted”. However, this does not mean it will be actioned in the near future.

Depending on the nature of the JIRA, “Accepted” may result in it being prioritised and actioned in the short-term; however it may also mean it has been imported and tracked by the Lab, but held for action pending the clearance of more urgent items / ideas that necessarily need to be actioned ahead of it or it may be tracked until such time as it (or something like it) fits into a tranche of work / updates the Lab is planning to implement.

SL Viewer Updates

The SL viewer is not specifically discussed at the Web User Group, however, in keeping with my summary of recent viewer updates which generally forms a part of my SL project updates, here’s an end-of-week summary of changes.

  • The current Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.0.9.329795 on Wednesday, November 8th.
  • The Animesh project viewer updated to version 5.0.9.329815 on Thursday, November 9th – see here for more.

Otherwise, the SL viewer release pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version 5.0.8.329115, dated September 22, promoted October 13 – formerly the “Moonshine” Maintenance RC.
  • Release channel cohort:
    • Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer, version 5.1.0.510354, November 2 (still dated Sept 5 on the wiki page).
    • Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.8.328552, October 20 (still dated Sept 1 on the wiki page).
  • Project viewers:
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.
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