For those who have been following Inara Pey’s blog the news that Linden Lab have officially relaunched Community Gateways will come as no surprise,. Inara has been blogging about their potential return since September 2015 and has an excellent post about the latest news.
Now if you haven’t been following Inara’s posts on the subject and are wondering what Community Gateways are, Linden Lab have blogged on the subject, Open the Gate! The Community Gateway Program, That Is! :
We are thrilled to re-introduce the Community Gateway Program! Previously, the Community Gateway program helped bring new users to Second Life, by enabling Second Life communities to attract, register, an on-board new Residents. The program was shelved in 2010 as resources were reprioritized, and now we’re excited to reintroduce the Community Gateway program along with some improvements that will make it even more valuable to Second Life. We recognize the benefit of having Resident supported tutorial areas and have been working with several communities while fine tuning the new program over the last year.
Community Gateways are basically areas whereby communities can direct new users to be oriented in Second Life and join their community. There’s a lot more to it than this, but that’s the basic premise.
One example of a location that uses a Community Gateway is London City and if you visit their website you will see a feature that comes with being an approved Community Gateway site, if you look at the tabs you will see a “Create Account” option, which allows people to create a Second Life account via the London City website and also automatically add them to a London City group.
Another example of a Community Gateway can be found on the website of the Firestorm Viewer, there, if you look at the menu options you will see one that allows someone to “Join Second Life”.
So hopefully you get the basic idea here, people may get interested in your community via your website, join Second Life and join your community inworld, but there’s much more to it than that, but the Linden Lab blog post points out some of the key features :
This program allows Second Life Communities to:
- Create a new user experience and attract Residents to your specific community
- Assist those new Residents in beginning their journey into Second Life
- Lend a guiding hand in the creation of their new avatar personas
- Assist with increasing new user retention.
This powerful new tool will allow you to register new users right from your own community website and add them automatically to your group, thus helping your community to grow!
Further details (including how to apply) can be found here. I would advise anyone interested in setting up a Community Gateway to read the information at that link because there’s a fair bit of work required to be an approved Community Gateway.
Community Gateways provide the new user experience and to be an approved Community Gateway you will need to be able to provide one full main region (not an Openspace or Homestead) where you can provide a Welcome Area with tutorials and help. This region cannot have any tenant rentals, parcel rentals or leases on it, that’s a rule for the whole region.
Additionally you will need to create a land access group for volunteers or assistants, a resident help group that allows users to return to the welcome area and get help via the group and a maintain a website which allows for new user registration via the Linden Lab API.
As I said, there’s a fair bit of work required to get approved and obviously, a fair bit of land needed too.
Now if you want to visit one of these Community Gateways, the chances are you will be largely out of luck if you’re an established Second Life user because these areas are for new users, you won’t be able to teleport to these areas because you’re already flagged as having left a new user experience location.
Community Gateways are a good idea for strong communities and they are also a way of bring Second Life to the eyes of people whom may have forgotten about Second Life via a website. There has always been a lot of potential for Community Gateways, but there has also been a lot of work, that goes for those running the communities and Linden Lab’s support.
I would imagine that the premise of Community Gateways will also be one that is very much at the heart of Linden Lab’s Sansar, indeed I would imagine that the idea behind Community Gateways will be more important to Sansar than it is to Second Life.
Community Gateways making an official return to Second Life is a good move and I hope communities who are able to support them prosper from this news.