Fail, but not an Epic Fail? So where are all the leading Residents?

Seond Life names get a no!
Seond Life names get a no!

In his thread discussing the outcome of the request by denizens to restore Second Names, and the decision by Linden Lab not to, Rodvik said: “Hopefully this one is along the lines of “bummer” or “fail” rather than “epic fail”.”

I think, actually, despite some denizens screaming, “Epic Fail!”, Rodvik’s right and they are wrong.

Epic Fail, as in the case of the Homestead debacle, sees people packing their bags and leaving.  Epic Fail sees the owners of closed garden Open Grids rubbing their hands with delight and laying on extra greeters.

This one is a Fail, because a lot of people are unhappy. But they’re not – in large numbers – announcing that this is the tipping point, this is what will make them leave and never cast an officially Linden-sanctioned shadow on the grid again.

A Fail may well be a contributing point, along with a range of other factors, such the huge cost of land in Second Life compared with other venues (and ones where the evolution of preferred Second Life features is growing all the time), and the inevitable shininess of newer forms of technology. Half a homestead sim in Second Life or iPhone contract?

Where are all the Residents?
One thing that I wonder is … how deeply engaged are the new Residents?  They’ve been here getting on for eighteen months now and yet …

Where are the top content creators who have the surname Resident? I can name twenty top artists whose work I – and may others on the grid – adore, twenty top musicians whose concerts I’ll cheerfully attend because they are great musicians. But none of them are called Resident.  I’ll go further. Where are the cutting edge fashion designers, hair creators, skin makers called Resident? Where are the builders of homes, or furniture, the garden designers, the landscape artists with Resident in their surname? Where are the community leaders who have attracted passionate followings?

Cold Logic - a popular mesh clothing store owned by ColdLogic Resident - but three existing avatars are behind it
Cold Logic – a popular mesh clothing store owned by ColdLogic Resident – but three existing avatars are the real creators

I’m not talking here about people who have established nice businesses. I’m not talking about existing creators who have taken on new avatars to manage businesses or launch new lines. I’m talking about the brand leaders, the stars, the (urgh) SLeberity creators whose names are well known across the grid.  The Residents have had eighteen months to reach that level. Why can’t I think of a single one?

(And I would really love the answer to that to be, “Because you’re an uninformed idiot, Saffia – what about X, Y, and Z Residents?”  Please feel free to put that in the comments. Please tell me about lots of brilliant Residents who are leading the grid but who I’ve overlooked).

The Bullying that gets noticed – and the Bullying that is ignored
In one of their pronouncements this week, the Lab announced that as part of their new policy that TPVs were no longer allowed to show denizens which viewers other denizens were using – not because it reveals the comparative popularity of, say, Phoenix or Exodus against the default Lab browser – oh no, perish the thought! – but for the highly laudable reason that it has led to bullying, with people feeling pressured to use other browser when, really, they would prefer to stay with the Lab’s one.

I fully applaud anything that is a protection against bullying and griefing (so let’s hope that removing “Resident” from all possible places doesn’t break security tools). But why are the Lab so conscious of the bullying surrounding the third party viewers and so blind to the fact that many Residents have felt that they are treated as second class citizens – and have said so, repeatedly, on the Jira requesting the return of second names, and in numerous other fora? Blind to the fact that older denizens have confessed that they are guilty of treating denizens with the surname “Resident” (or single names) as newbies, not entirely to be trusted in matters of business?

Linden Homes - beautifully built, but where's the community?
Linden Homes – beautifully built, but where’s the community?

The Need for Community
In his message, Rod also talked about the importance of community – and he’s spot on, there – it IS community that keeps people in Second Life. What’s the fun of life as an urchin in a grimy steampunk town if you’re the only one there?  What’s the the point in roaming the streets of a magnificent futuristic dystopia if you really are the only inhabitant? How can you show off your latest bling or home or mesh dress or exquisite Queen Anne gateleg table if there is no-one to admire it?  Why scale the mountain alone?

Unfortunately, though, the ideas that Rod refers to in his post – “something along the lines of a new mainland like region or making mainland better or rethinking the whole way Linden Homes works” all seem to involve asking denizens to spend money.  I can certainly think of ways of making Linden Homes better – and creating communities by having themed districts – so you can live in a bustlling Irish coastal town, or on the French Riveria, or in a Tuscan hilltop town or a community of houseboats in Srinagar or Palafitos from Venezula or Chile, stilt houses from Thailand or Papua New Guinea, or in a futuristic city on Mars, a community of sky pods, or a New York brownstone.  Think how the builders would support this – the gusto with which creators would design furniture to fit!

Linden Mountain Homes - they're great places individually, but where's the community?
Linden Mountain Homes – they’re great places individually, but where’s the community?

However … if there is to be a project that asks people to pay, it has to be something that genuinely excites them and involves different sections of the community.  And at the moment, the community is … sore.  Repeated blows from the Lab have hit it badly: the second names desire has been denied.  Mailing list systems have silently failed thanks to a choke imposed without warning by the Lab. A swathe of content that depended on knowing people’s online status affecting delivery, messaging and a host of other vital tools was threatened by the new Third Party Viewer rules (although there has, fortunately, been some listening there). People are confused as to how the TPVs that they love are going to be affected by the new rules – hell, the developers are confused too!  We’ve learned senior people have left the Lab, that quarterly statistics will no longer be available. The new Received Items concept looms closer (Inara Prey explains it beautifully here).  Oh, and the two month exclusion of AngusGraham Ceawlin from the grid, finally (in part) resolved only after Phoenix developers became involved.

In short, it’s been a pretty terrible ten days or so for eagerly engaged denizens of Second Life.

Inis Caiseal - stormy days for Second Life
Inis Caiseal – where real Dublin weather reflects stormy days for Second Life

Is there a way to turn a Fail into a Win?
There is a way forward though, something suggested as a possibility by Rod himself that could begin to turn this around. In the same post he says: “some of the early ideas (like you get to pick a prefixed last name after you are a resident for say six months) can also be chatted about.”

Wouldn’t that solve a lot of the problems that have made denizens so frantic? Admittedly, Residents would have to wait a period of time, and that might cause a certain disruption in any business they had created (by the time I had been inworld six months, I was already working on Issue 3 of Prim Perfect), but I don’t think it would be impossible to overcome. One would probably need to look into how first names could also be tweaked at such a time – so that you could go from being Joe30056 Resident to Joe Snuffleglum or, indeed, Joe Howarth – but this, to me, does seem to be a way of turning Fail into Win.

It does seem to me that it would offer Residents a reason to stick around. It would give them a point in the future when they join the join the Second Life community as fully fledged members – and become part of a rather special family of namesakes. And the name day party as you take on your fully-fledged and personally chosen identity could be really something special.

25 comments

  1. so long as their bright idea of “prefixed lastnames” isn’t that firstname becoming a hyphonated name crap that i saw thrown into the discussion the other day (thereby further comlicating and p-ing people off because then they would have taken our first names away as well. As for “community”, pfft!! Like LL gives a crap about us anyways, they’re looking to how they can empty our pockets more and offer us nothing in return. I’ll create my own community, thanks…and choose to use a titler if i wanta title… when are they going to pay attention to what we REALLY want and stop wagging the dog??!!

  2. I don’t think that hyphenated names are seen as an attempt to take first names away – it’s a response to some people suggesting that it could be a way of getting round the one name + resident problem where all the decent names are taken. But I think that letting people choose a surname after a period of time might be a better solution.

    I think there is a desire on the Labs part to make sure communities stick here – if people move to other grids or social network, then they’ll lose their revenue. So there does need to be some glue to make us stick here.

  3. Of course they don’t see the hypenated first name idea as them taking our first names away, but that sure is how I would see it.

    Let’s face it, their excuses mean nothing.. the system and the code is still in place to allow for us to have last names,as evidenced by the members that have managed to find registration portals that are still working…so there is nothing they can say to us that will appease us or brush this under the table in the hopes we will all forget about it.

    LL’s problem with everything is because they do not listen to the members that actually spend time in sl, and viewer changes, titles,etc will do nothing to keep people coming back…they could have asked any of us regulars and we could have told them that! They need to loosen up the purse strings and hire people that actually spend time in sl to help the newbies out. What makes the difference in people staying, or in investing in their “second life” or causes oldies to log in daily rather than a few times a year is just 2 – 3 hours of mentoring to those that are interested. One on one, teaching them the ins and out. Showing them how to shop and what to buy and how to get freebies that actually look great instead of blinged-out-sex-braceleted-biker haired-stick-up-their-bums-with-no-aos that totter around looking like idiots. Just like in RL, in SL, appearance is everything and can make the difference between you being ignored or shoved aside and ignored, or people being open and welcoming towards you.. Shallow? Perhaps, but it is a fact of life, in any medium. Everyone that I have spent a little time with helping out has found it totally changed their sl experience. Those that had been members for years but barely even logged on, suddenly started logging on every day, rented or bought land, started meeting more people and making more friends and actually had a vested interest in sl. Just 2-3 hours of mentoring, proper mentoring, not let’s-pretend-to-haveaq-class-to-educate-them-on-doing-their-avis-with-blinged-out-ugly-freebies-from-2005

  4. Yes, it’s why communities such as Caledon, Virtual Ability and London have been successful; they (and others) have the remains of a community gateway where newcomers get the help they need. That is clearly vital for retention and if the Lab can’t do it themselves, they ought to revive the idea of doing it in partnership with denizens.

    One problem for the Lab though (and they have my full sympathy here) is that it is hard for them to know WHO to listen too. Look at the Jira on the Second Names issue, or the responses to Rod’s thread. People respond vehemently – but there’s a LOT of different ideas suggested. You say they ‘they could have asked any of us regulars’ – but actually, if they do ask half a dozen of us, they could get half a dozen answers … and still be none the wiser.

    Linden Lab and the denizens desperately need to talk to each other – the question (for me, at any rate) is how, when so many channels are perceived (often by both sides) as having failed.

  5. The engaged, involved, creative and community building people you are seeking threw in the towel by and large some time ago and went off to do other things. Those who remain have largely given up trying to get anyone at the Lab to listen to them, much less address any of their issues or concerns.
    Unfortunately, Rod has inherited the results of the years spent treating their customers very poorly while reaping the benefits of those same customers creative efforts.
    The newer residents have much lower expectations, less engagement, and as a result are less invested in SL – which is much more realistic with how SL functions today.
    Of course I generalize horribly, but I think looking at SL overall you see a trend. As you pointed out, the Linden Homes do not encourage an investment in SL or in the community. You are living in a giant apartment complex that looks like the worst sort of suburban sprawl tract housing.
    It really is too bad, but is the inevitable result of the policies and changes that LL put in place themselves.

    1. It’s one reason why I think it’s important to talk about Linden Homes and how they could be improved (although I think the Lindens who set up the projects did awesome work). There are issues like allowing parcel music, organising round themes, involving the creative community with events and competitions … etc. Prim Perfect has done our bit, I think, by having features on Linden Home (aka low prim building) in every issue.

      On the wider point … some of the engaged, involved, creative and community building people have gone off – more than might have been expected through natural churn, I think (although with a new and evolving technology like this, there really are no norms). But others have stayed – there’s still a lot of creativity on the grid – this year, for example, the Home and Garden Expo is filling up earlier than ever before – and that’s on a larger platform. There’s some really exciting community projects going on – we’ll be looking at one on Alchemy and Immortalis in our next issue.

      I think we’ve lost a huge amount, and that loss breaks my heart. But I do believe it is worth trying to bring back a sense of community, and what Rod spoke of as the pioneering spirit. Can it be done? Certainly not while the default positions for both sides are so polarised and, sadly, poisonous.

  6. Dear Primperfect,

    I would like to start by saying how right you are about the lack of NOTABLE Residents in our creator community. However, I think that has a different root cause than the issues surrounding names. One based in things such as Linden Labs suspending the volunteer mentor program, the introduction of the V2 interface, the difficulty in starting up as a brand new avatar now days in even making it out of the starting point with the current starting setup process, and the mass exodus of Universities world and Real World wide after Linden Labs took a less inviting approach to housing educational institutions (there are still a few, but not in the numbers or the type of presence their used to be).

    I also understand your sincere wish to find something positive in this outcome (and I applaud your positivity) and not see it for the epic fail it truly is, but I think that optimistic wish is overshadowing the actuality of the situation. Let’s break things down.

    First issue, Denizens or residents of SL, which ever you choose to call them, were repeatedly asking LLs for the ability to change their last name (as people do in their first lives, often heralding significant life changes like marriages, divorces, and adoptions, but not limited to such.). Whether these residents wanted this ability because they got married or they changed to a different Role Play and wanted to have a more fitting name without creating a new character… who can say and it doesn’t really matter the reason why. The requests were there and constant for the ability for a resident to change their name (particularly but not limited to their last name), a process we know Linden Labs had the capability to implement but no one is really sure about the fiscal and resource related feasibility of this request. Evidence that it was possible is found with Lindens who have either left or joined the LL team and had their accounts shifted rather than giving up everything on their account (friends lists, inventory, personal identity, etc.) and with the ability of companies to buy a last name for the use of their staff members (like Reuters) to represent the company in world.

    Separately, Linden Labs noticed a high number of hits to the sign up page that did not equate to what they considered an acceptable number of completed avatars. Assumptions were made by Linden Labs that the cause of these abandonments was an inability to find a name or confusion by new comers to how the process was supposed to work.

    Faced with two separate unrelated issues Linden Labs took two potential solutions (one for each issue) and combined them into one that was counter intuitive to truly resolving either issue. Why did this happen, how could this happen? Because, highlighting the biggest problem at the core of this issue, most of the members of Linden Labs are not true active members of the community, who not only listen to their customer base (the Denizens/residents of SL and by the fact that they are willing to consider name changes after a designated 6 month hazing period, oops i mean a 6 month waiting period, for any one who survives that long) but also hear and understand the concerns being voiced and then address those concerns fully and appropriately showing clear signs that they actually understood the concern and gave a serious effort to reach a reasonable solution to the concern.

    Quite honestly, I doubt anyone in SL would have balked if Linden Labs had come back to the first request and said “residents/Denizens of SL, we hear your requests for name changes and though the capability is there to do this on a limited scale, it is cost prohibitive in most cases. So because we understand your concerns we have come up with a way that you can “display” a name different from your own, but we will not change your core name permanently and we will still allow other residents who choose to still see that name. What the display name will do is allow you to show your name in another language if you wish to do so. Yay for those of you who spend time in areas that are not using a Latin alphabet. There will be both a fee (like there is with partnering) and a time restriction on name changes (to prevent confusion by residents changing names daily or even more often), but this will be an option. For residents who cannot afford or do not wish to spend money on a display name, we encourage you to avail yourselves of in world devices such as titlers, which will allow you to display above your head a name of your choosing.” Such a response would have provided a solution, generated a revenue source for Linden Labs, educated the public about existing free alternatives, and established good will.

    As for their sign up debacle, there were many options to clarify this issue, including a simple understanding that the majority of their abandonments weren’t true abandonments but merely people attempting to get a last name option they were enthusiastic about or seriously considering their name choice. I mean after all, remember, at one time it was clear the significance of a name chosen at sign up. That it would be a name you were identified with through out the community for as long as you were part of it. One option could have been to add a last name refresh button. Linden Labs sites this graph as proof that the process got easier (https://jira.secondlife.com/secure/thumbnail/53294/_thumb_53294.png) without even considering that their numbers are skewed because following the name changes existing residents in droves picked up alts for the purpose of securing names related to their current in world name and business names or in some cases names that they had always wanted but been unable to get. Would love to see those statistics but from what I understand Linden Labs is no longer releasing such stats. Yet another example of hiding stats that don’t support arguments they are making.

    As for the treatment of Residents as Second Class Denizens/Residents/Citizens, I propose that residents with the last name Resident are not treated differently (longer than was normal when people did so based on an actual noob status based on age) because of their last name in most cases, but because of the horrific FIRST names that have resulted from someone not being able to find a suitable first name that has not already been used by another person. Resident as the ONLY last name limits the number of Aislings to just one. Where as multiple last name options allows there to be hundreds or even thousands if that many choose it. If that is not a choice and someone wants something related to that name they end up with XxXxAislingYYYY1984CrazyName (that is if they even think of using capitals to somewhat distinguish sections of their name.) and when people see names like that it sets up a bias. Either the person was to stupid to pick a normal pronounceable name or they are a griefer or blah blah blah reason. Point being that such a horrible name isn’t relate-able and distances the person from those around them … no mater what they have for a last name be it Resident or Linden or Kennedy. We all know that people with the last name Resident (or no last name at all if Linden Labs removes it from being viewed) aren’t necessarily new comers; there is a visible age right on their profile which shows us that. But the FIRST names that have resulted from only one or no last name at all, depending on how you perceive “Resident”, have in so many cases resulted in the hazing effect that goes on. What Linden Labs has done has resulted in an everlasting false appearance of Inexperience for all those saddled with the last name Resident or no last name at all (because Linden Labs is committed to making Resident no longer visible).

    Linden Labs can’t make everyone happy with one big broad brush stroke it is going to take a lot of baby steps to fix things.

    Things that have to happen immediately:

    First, Reinstate the two name format. Be it a system chosen last name, a list of choices, or a blank box for users to type something, the first step is to stop the flow of new residents with the actual last name “Resident”.

    Second, and this has to be done at the same time as they do the first, Put serious work into revamping the sign up page to clarify the impact of choices people make about their user name. Things that might help are wordings such as those suggested by countless SL Residents on the jira or possibly a small video with a SLebrity discussing the culture of names. Whatever option or combination of options are chosen it needs to be much clearer than now and before and it needs to happen IMMEDIATELY (notice I didn’t say as soon as possible).

    These first two things take little to no time to implement as the tech to complete the first is already in place and the latter is a somewhat small task that can be continually improved upon.

    Things that can be done over time to attempt to recover from this unpopular decision (This is my proposition but I am sure it is not the only one.):

    Third, Contact all existing residents with the last name “Resident” and find out how many would like a name change. Assemble an accurate list of how many residents would want a last name change or a first name and last name change.

    Fourth, once the scope of needed changes to names is known, Evaluate the feasibility of undertaking name changes for existing users with the last name “Resident” who want a change. If it isn’t something Linden Labs feels they can undertake because of other demands the process stops here, but a clear communication about the decision making process and the other projects that would have been affected had they chosen differently is a must if they go this route. High-handed, because we said so or Lindens know best answers are unacceptable and unproductive. If this is decided to be feasible they would move on to the Fifth step.

    Fifth, Decide if the option can be done free of charge or if there will need to be a fee instated if a resident wants to change names and if there is a fee if it will be the same for a last name change or a first and last name change.

    Sixth, if name changes are possible, Assemble a list of names that will ACTUALLY be changing (meaning if there is a fee, users who have indicated a willingness to pay the fee, as well as, people who want to let their friends know about the changes to their name or folks who are not already strongly established identities and would therefore choose not to abandon their existing name) and prioritizing that list, breaking it up into chunks and providing an expected time frame in which the “Residents” will see their name change take affect. Last name only changes will need to be handled first. All name changes will have to be a one time offer and that will clearly need to be designated.

    Decisions with negative impacts on the level of this one are not remedied overnight despite the implementation of them being done in an instant. Rebuilding community is going to take a very long time and the band-aids offered up by Rodvik, just don’t seem reasonable or germane. They don’t show a clear understanding of the real issues or even worse if the real issue is understood, it shows a callous disregard of the cares, concerns and interests of Linden Labs Client Base, US, the Second Life Residents / Denizens / Citizens, what ever you want to call us, the people who dedicate our time, our money, our creativity, and our resources to be an active part of this community. The approach taken by Rodvik and his team and their continued PR screw ups such as closing down the discussion stream, etc. are like a slap in the face, and not the good kind if you are into that.

    Linden Labs handling of this issue has been and continues to be and EPIC FAIL of Epic Proportions. I just wonder if they are ever going to realize that and fix it. I hope so. I enjoy my time in second life and am fortunate enough to have a REAL last name. But actions and reactions such as the ones they have taken and continue to take, make it easier and easier to walk away. They definitely could learn a few things from the Phoenix / Firestorm team, whom I find myself grateful for almost every day.

    Thank you for taking time to right this article and publicize the issue. While we don’t agree on the severity of the actions we both see it as an important topic for discussion and I applaud your efforts to advance that discussion.

    Sincerely,

    Aisling MacMoragh

  7. “I think we’ve lost a huge amount, and that loss breaks my heart. But I do believe it is worth trying to bring back a sense of community, and what Rod spoke of as the pioneering spirit. Can it be done?”

    Rod has been clueless since the start, what the hell does he know about community. He will call it what ever you like as long as you keep sending in the greenbacks. Get a clue.

    1. So if it comes down to greenbacks, then he has a vested interest in keeping people from walking, while bringing more people in.

      You know, there are times when it’s a lot easier to deal with people whose bottom line is profit. It makes their motivation clearer, When they see something will maximise their profit, they’ll do it.

      Problems start when people have made an emotional investment. And of course, they have on all sides of Second Life.

    2. He *seems* to be trying to understand. Which from my impression is a hell of a lot more than anything M ever did.

      1. Well, I think M became more immersed than many people realised – I posted once about Earth Week and included a link to some information kiosks outside the Prim Perfect offices – and I met M coming to get the info on a Saturday morning. Which meant that a) he was keeping up with the blogs and b) he was logging into Second Life and doing fun things on his weekends. So it may be that he was more involved than is often thought.

        I think a lot of the problem was that he was brought in to push a solution that just wouldn’t fly – the whole business angle. Rodvik has been brought in on a different agenda which is actually closer to what a lot of the current residents of Second Life want to see, which certainly gives us the perception that he gets what this is all about.

        Is that perception correct? I certainly hope so – and in my more optimistic moments, I think it is.

  8. The stated reason that they did away with viewers being identified, that it was because people were being harassed and bullied about their choice of viewer, particularly at the welcome centers, strikes me as a bandaid on a boil: the reason they have people harassing people is because harassers can get away with it. If they had not gotten rid of the mentors program months back, this would never have become a problem in the first place. Anyone that showed up at the welcome center to cause problems would, presumably, have been ejected. If the trouble maker kept returning to harass, he or she could have been banned form the sim. The fact that they have lots of people on the welcome centers harassing and bullying people tells me that LL have let things there get out of control. Eliminate the viewer tags, and the harassers will just find some other bullhockey thing to bully people over — someone’s choice of avatar, say — because that’s what harassers DO.

    1. Exactly, Nathan! That kind of bullying will happen all the time – with the bullies who like to bully – and without mentors or guides (as at the old communities gateways) to protect them, I’m sure many Residents find their first experience of Second Life deeply unpleasant. Which means that it may also be their last experience too.

  9. How many Fails does it take to make an Epic Fail?
    From the thinly veiled actions to counter the popularity of the 3rd party viewers to the blatant slap in the face over names, I have to say that this camel’s back is getting weaker by the moment.

    What keeps me here? My friends, the very community of which Rodvik speaks. But where is this community? Is it found in the faceless suburban sprawl of the Linden Homes? Nope, it is found out in the themed sims. I have long maintained by view that Linden homes undermined the rental market when they should have boosted it. Instead of getting a Linden home why does the lab not provide a transferable credit note, that could be accepted by landlords across the grid. It would pay for a basic (117 prim) standard plot for a starter home. This would leave the communities to provide and innovate on the designs themselves.

    There were no Linden Homes when I arrived in 2007, I stumbled across New Babbage and made a few friends. I rented a small victorian row house, I think it allowed me to rez 100 prims, possibly less, it mattered not, it gave me roots. It was that which was important, I had somewhere to login and logout, and most of all, somewhere that I wanted to be, somewhere that my friends wanted to be. It kept me in New Babbage and made me part of the community, not just a visitor. Within a month or so I had bought my first real property there, and I have never left.

    Fast forward to today, where we see many sim owners withdrawing, communities dwindling, as the “stickiness” of Second Life users drops away. On Prim Perfect and Designing Worlds we have witnessed many of the places we have featured, closing shop and moving on. Communities are closing, once you lose the social presence created by peole who “care”, you lose the nucleus of the community and it withers.

    Come on LL, work with us. See how well this could work if managed properly. We have all the ingredients, we already send interested people to place sof interest via the desitnation guide. It only takes some creativity and support to allow those tourists to be converted to settlers.

    The screen cross fades to a smoggy town square, in New Babbage. A large steamship has arrived from the mainland. Two queues have formed at the immigration booths, the familiar line of visitors, passing through on the latest grid-wide hunt and another line, a more recent phenomenon, a long line of new Second Lifers queuing for settler’s housing. Each man, woman and urchin in the queue, clutching their Settlment papers, countersigned by the Lab, in their hands as they gaze in wonderment at the airships that slide across the sky above.

    The clockwinder steps back from the telescope, through which he has been watchng the arrivals, and returns to his desk. He carefully studies the city map, he will soon have a problem finding places for the newcomers, but its a nice problem to have. He picks up the large brown folio from his bureau, labelled “City expansion plans” and starts to scribble notes.

    1. Ah, the Clockwinder! But where is Biggins? Presumably digging tunnels under the new extension and devoutly hoping that his labours won’t be disturbed by those pesky journalists …

  10. Has anyone done a formal survey of SL Residents to find out how long it takes them to learn enough to successfully enter the economy? I know that I have been in SL for more than 2 years now, and I am only JUST starting to feel comfortable with BASIC scripting, primming, etc. etc. (and as everyone on the Builder’s Brewery list knows, I make myself obnoxiously visible when I need help, pushing casual chatters over to the Speakeasy list so I can keep the group window open and learn more the whole time I’m online).

    I think most ppl join SL not to make money, but to escape or to learn or to play or because they have to for work or school. Once they get here, they begin to understand that EVERYTHING around them is something that they could make for themselves.

    That is a mind-blowing and ground-breaking concept, and it’s one that like, the first time you really understand that you can look up any freaking recipe you want on the Internet and that you’ll never HAVE to buy a cookbook again, –, — Like the first time you switch your viewer to wireframe. Well, that’s (S)Life-changing.

    But when does that creator-potential awareness happen for most people? I think it happened for me about 4 months after I was in. But I was using SL for school and for work and to maintain a long-distance relationship::: who has time to build or take extra classes?

    So I think the question has to be asked in the context of time as well as name. This would be a fascinating issue to watch on Marketplace, IF the data generated could be read as meaningful, but it will take significant time until the last name of Resident replaces all of our previous ones. Our generation will have to die out before the younger ones take its place.

    Maybe some day, the Lindens will provide a way to transfer accounts, and the creators will be able to sell their whole deal, lock, stock, and barrel, to the newer Residents to continue their line.
    But do we really want newer Arcadia Asylum? Do we really want Mesh Eric Linden trees?

    ANYway. So look soon for my new tshirt shop on Marketplace. 🙂 I actually have a few ideas. But I had to see what was here first in order to make a good business idea for here. And I had to be in-world a couple of years for that to happen.

    So do we have any stats on this?
    Thanks as always to you for such a wonderful article.

    1. I think it’s definitely “How long is a piece of string?” territory here 🙂

      People do take different amounts of time to pursue creative dreams in Second Life. For some there will be a time using Second Life for social purposes first – and then something will trigger them to start creating. Others will start creating almost from the get-go – I remember Zaza Rossini who seemed to created awesome furniture from a very few weeks in.

      Of course, to some extent, it depends on what you’ve done in your real life – although it’s fair to say that Second Life has given many, many people chance to develop creative talents that they never knew they had …

      Some people will develop slowly, and their names only become gradually known. But there are other Second Life businesses or rather occupations that don’t depend so much on inherently Second Life skills. I’m really glad that James (see below) is able to give a list of “Resident” musicians – but it would be good to to see “Resident” writers, bloggers, photographers, tv presenters and machinima makers. What about models, actors?

      Watching the Marketplace might be a good place to start for creators – but will their Resident name show there, or will they have a single name or a display name? Can someone enlighten me about this?

      And thank you for a great comment about the developmental of creativity here 🙂

  11. I’m one of those people who thinks it was an epic fail but now that I think about it, the real epic fail was the original decision to scrap last names altogether. Things are more or less as they were last year, not considerably worse.

    I’ve had my Resident username for 14 months and while I sometimes feel like an outsider or someone who hasn’t been around for longer, I can easily live with it. My desire to get a last name was raised in the last few months by all the false promises that Rod made leading up to the slap in the face in its conclusion. If his only piece of development on usernames was “Good news! New resident sign-ups can now add a dash to their username allowing you to get the name you always wanted”, those not following the last name issues would probably be happy with that development. What makes the fail in all of this was, as many people put it, the way he built up the hopes of everyone and making it look like it was a big deal for him, before turning his back on it all.

    I’m kind of kicking myself that I wasn’t reading your blog earlier when you were able to create Saffia Ashland last summer using a portal. The first four or five months of my time on SL I was bemoaning the fact that I should have signed up a month or two earlier. However, by August time more and more people like me were appearing as active users on the grid and I had passed this hump of being the standout noob. Now it appears the NMC has locked down registration to only those with an .edu email address. Kind of reminds me of Facebook in 2005 time when you could only get an account if you had the right kind of email address.

    I came to Second Life to play live music. There are quite a few one-word username musicians that you probably might not realise are ‘Residents’. The better venues will not list them under events as ‘Resident’ and this is more the case with the growing number of avatars. Off the top of my head the active ‘Resident’ musicians on the grid are:

    steveeolio
    davidperdu
    adamhoek
    quanahmusic
    alexmays
    bat8997 (‘Bat Masters’)
    dennymac
    bronze8020
    gweeb
    qkiser
    edbarberhq
    and of course myself jamescorachea

    Come check us out 🙂

    I’ve never seen Bat Masters referred to by his username by anyone. There are also older avatars with last names who prefer to be called by their band or artist name instead. Joel Eilde likes to be known as the one-man band ‘Dragonfly’ when performing live.

    Interestingly I first signed-up to SL in November 2006 as I was hearing so much about it in the mainstream news, but I didn’t stay longer than a week. I was able to get that old avatar’s deleted account back for free, but I thought that two-word name didn’t represent me as a musician at all. I’d much rather be known as JamesCorachea than that rather humourous username I signed up in 2006 with.

    1. Thank you for broadening my knowledge of the music scene – I certainly will check you out!

      Where is the best place to find out about Resident musicians?

      Maybe we should be doing more to share knowledge of Residents and encourage them .. a Resident of the Month in Prim Perfect, perhaps.

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