Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't Make Excuses

One thing I find distressing about how commentary on SL goes, is that there are people who are hyper-critical, and people who make far too many excuses. It needlessly polarizes discussion. I've been reading excuses from several very silly quarters (note to self, never trust a blog that makes a big deal about being "common sense," because people who have common sense don't need to advertise that fact. That's just common sense.) about how LL's employees are hyper-specialized like ants, and that every single aspect of LL's product is a completely stove pipe operation. Let me be direct. That's ... well you'll get it in a moment.

When Katt Linden made her blog announcement, she said she had two objectives, to facelift the forums, and to listen. Now, Katt's time is not unlimited, and her attention is not best used divided. Yet I read excuses saying that the facelift does not interfere with other tasks. This is nonsense, it directly contradicts the statement from the individual in question about time allocation. Directly.

Then there is the issue of Frazzled™, the "new" interface, read "skin," for the viewer. This too interferes in changes to the viewer, in that bugs that it creates must be tested and fixed. More over, maybe LL's employees are so specialized that all they can do is change buttons, but out here in the real world, someone who can change buttons on an interface, can also do things like say, fix XML files. For example, the one that truncates teleport at 768M. They can also do things like call the 2D Media Browser... the 2D Media browser, rather than "official Linden blog." They can do things like put the Debug option that has the search URL and format in the Preferences menu, rather than hiding it in the recesses of debug. They can add resize to search, so that we can see things clearly. They can fix a host of size bugs. In short, either the people making excuses are saying that Linden Labs hires people who are unqualified, incompetent, and unable to be redirected to the simplest of tasks, such as testing UI properly rather than changing UI (and do you really want people changing UI that can't test?) ... or they are saying that LL has management problems so severe that it would preclude any sane person from buying their stock at IPO. There is no third alternative.

Next there is the long standing problem of LL and money. LL's model is to have resellers and partners package their service and add value. LL sells raw server space, and let's resellers break it up into pieces, add financing, or build on it. LL, itself sells server space in relatively large expensive chunks. A server costs about as much as a car. It has pretended that it is selling a rental investment. However, this is not the case, it is selling the ability to resell. Sim "owners," are not. Instead, we are resellers and partners, and we should be communicated with in the same way that resellers are communicated with, so that we can make reasonable decisions about how to recoup start up costs, add value, and maintain consistency of product.

These things should be obvious: pixel pushing is not so specialized a skill as to preclude genuine improvements in interface, nor is it without collateral effects on more pressing needs in the client; Katt's time isn't unlimited and community relations, not pixel pushing, should be the priority; and LL and it's resellers need to have a better relationship going forward.

(For evidence that people at LL should, and could, be focused more on how to bring more stability to the Grid, read about management procedures at LL.)


  1. LL a democracy? Doesn't read like it. Is the new CEO a people person? And will he prioritize "the less glamorous things like fixing the stability of the Second Life client, the stability of the asset server database, the stability of in-world transactions that are the lifeblood of the Second Life economy." Not to mention customer relations.

  2. My impression is that he is a money person.

  3. Oh yes, the forums were supposed to have had a facelift, weren't they?

    *looks around*

    Honestly, I would not pay that plastic surgeon a penny.