The trouble with mainland is quite simple, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I popped along to the sims around Shermerville, places such as Shermerville Central, Shermerville NW, West Haven, Blumfield etc. and they feel quite a lot different to sims such as Bedos, Molay, Croix etc and the reason they feel different is because they are different. The former sims have a nice road network, they feel like a small town and the way they are designed seems to encourage good neighbourly practices, although there is drama. The latter, they have a lot of grass, far less of a road network and they don’t feel like community sims, they feel more as if each parcel or a set of owned parcels is its own kingdom.
I can recall when I was a lad in Second Life asking Jack Linden why there weren’t more sims such as Shermerville and he told me something along the lines of they were an experiment and weren’t that popular. Now if you’ve never been out that way, I suggest you do. When you come out of the straits of Shermerville across the suspension bridge, you feel like you’re entering a new town. The way these sims are designed encourages that feeling of being one community, although as I said, that doesn’t mean all the neighbours get on with each other.
The forum archives give us some clues as to what happened here, in a thread about Linden Homes one post says:
“anybody remember blumfield? free houses for new premium accounts, ante-Shermerville. We who lived there hated that there was poor community planning and no zoning. And it was a megaflop in some ways and left us quite disappointed, despite our community meetings.
The linden who managed it and apparently promoted the idea vanished into the ether. most of us thought she was fired. and they think this will work again?”
“I just noticed these sims. What is the deal with them? I got there after dark and it was like some horror flick, endless streets of US suburban houses, most with For Sale/Sold signs on them, and no one there except one away AV looking like a floating corpse.”
However it does seem that when these sims arrived, they had more of a community feeling going on, exemplified in this post:
“Shermervillagers have just what we in Blumie and WH need, a community meeting place, a playground and a community pool. The pool, however, is too deep and not as much fun as the Blumfield Community Pool, if I do say so myself. If there’s a way, I would be happy to leave a swim machine for community use. Can a Linden contact me about that?
SVers still need a marketplace, or they may find their little neighborhood full of strip malls and strange shops like we in Blumie and WH have.”
However, the other side of the coin is that a lot of people do not want to be part of a wider community and they want to build their own little place and I would hazard a guess that that is what Jack was talking about when he said the concept behind those sims wasn’t that popular. Since Blondin left there hasn’t really been a community Linden and that’s a shame, but if people aren’t happy to be part of the communities, then it’s a thankless task trying to foster relations.
Then comes another point, that mess in parts of mainland, those floating prims, the fact that your neighbour can arrive and build something you find painful, I’ve met people in Second Life and the forums who absolutely adore that mainland can be like that, they absolutely love the wild west feel, the fact that you can build pretty much what you want, where you want (within maturity guidelines), to some people that is what makes Second Life special, so it’s not difficult to see why Linden Lab have found mainland difficult to manage.
This doesn’t mean that some managing can’t be done, the later Linden Home sims strike me as a compromise between the two camps, they don’t have the community feel of the Shermerville areas, but their very design leads to them looking neater than other areas of mainland.
I can’t see how Linden Lab can ever fix mainland, largely because one man’s meat is another man’s poison, mainland is what it is, warts and all, but I would like to see more sims like Shermerville around, but that’s my preference, your mileage may vary.