Bots, Communication Limits And Why Web Based Group Pages In Second Life Still Have Potential

Communications in Second Life have long been problematic, this is largely because there’s so much communication going on, this is a good thing by the way. Some people consider Second Life group chat to be broken, indeed there’s a webpage that asks Is Second Life Group Chat Still Broken? Other people login to a load of group messages and basically ignore them because they can be annoying.

In a thread over at SLUniverse, Darien Caldwell has brought to people’s attention the fact that Linden Lab have changed the bot policy, largely in terms of communications via bots. There is a temptation to raise the issue that there has been a lack of communication regarding a communication policy but I won’t go there!

The policy appears to have changed on December 11th and the new policy can be read here: . The page states that bots can add to the Second Life experience but that as each IM, chat message, inventory offer and group invitation creates load on the servers there comes a point where excessive use can cause problems for other users.

This all sounds quite reasonable, that is until you see that the limit where a bot’s communication is excessive appears to be at a much lower limit than would be applied to an object or regular avatar.

Bots are now supposed to send below 5,000 messages a day. Now at first glance that may sound like a lot, that is until you see that Linden Lab consider a message sent to a group as one message per recipient. This suggests that if a group has say 10,000 members then a bot could potentially be considered to be abusing resources if it sends one message to that group as that could potentially be 10,000 individual messages sent, which would be double the policy limit.

Now this is where things don’t quite add up. If it’s considered bad for a bot to be sending 5,000 messages a day then really it should be bad for anything to be sending 5,000 messages a day. I suspect that bots are being used to abuse the messaging system and Linden Lab are trying to discourage their use in communications. This policy certainly does that.

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Merchants Need A User Group Meeting

A cursory glance at the Second Life user groups page is extremely disappointing these days.

  • Adult Content
  • Content Creation/Mesh Import
  • Server/Sim/Scripting
  • Open Development
  • Pathfinding
  • Server Beta

Of these adult content is listed as no longer running due to lack of interest, which is fair enough but still disappointing. Then there’s Server Beta which I’m pretty sure has been merged with another meeting. Oskar ran server beta but he has left the lab.

In years gone by there used to be meetings for land owners with Jack, general community issues with the likes of Lexie, Amanda, Robin and Blondin, governance with Michael, marketplace with Pink, yadda yadda yadda. There were numerous meetings, they’ve quietly been removed in the wake of a rather appalling attitude to communications with the general community from Linden Lab.

Now there have always been gaps, even when there were numerous meetings, merchants who wanted to complain about content theft had little options, but they’d be squeezed in somewhere. These days, they don’t really have anywhere to go and now they appear to be hijacking other meetings, which in turn is causing a strain in tensions with other residents who are getting frustrated that their meetings are being taken off track.

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Ok What Have They Done To The Graphics?

Yesterday, I loaded up Second Life using the beta viewer, which is not at all unusual. However there was a required update, which downloaded and installed. When the client started again, up popped a message along the lines of; improvements to the graphics subsystem have introduced a change to your graphics preferences.

Hmmm thought I, what’s this all about? So I took a look at my preferences and found that my graphics preferences have been changed from hight to ultra … wait a minute? What’s this all about? I don’t want to overwork my graphics card, so I went back to the standard release of the viewer, fired it up and found my graphics were set to high, which is what I expected. Pressing reset in my graphics preferences, which sets your settings back to the reccomended position depending upon your detected hardware, kept my settings at high.

So now I’m confused, I uninstall the beta viewer completely, download it again and hit install. This time I just get a message informing me that if I’m new, I need to create an account. I continue and start, no message about changing my graphics preferences, which it seems was due to it being a new install and therefore not being required to inform me of a change in my preferences, as there were no old preferences to change in the beta viewer. However my graphics preferences were ultra, I pressed reset, my graphics preferences remained ultra.

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Oskar Wild

Well I’ve been talking about books, and I’ve been talking about Oskar’s departure and … well I just couldn’t resist! The news of Oskar’s departure has spread, a forum post or two on the official forums. The thread over at SLUniverse is still active, with Oskar receiving a whopping 113 hugs from well wishers so far.  Daniel Voyager was one of the first, probably the first, to blog about Oskar’s departure. There has been another post from Prok, who was one of the first to blog about the departure rumours.

Also amongst the first to blog on the rumours was Inara Pey, who had the rumblings on page 2 of her week 44/4 Server and viewer news. Inara has blogged again on the subject, whereas JeuxOnline has an article entitled Linden Lab se sépare d’Oskar Linden. People are a bit miffed, although I wouldn’t imagine, anywhere near as miffed as Oskar. The thing is with Oskar, is that despite his faults (and he’s only human, he has faults), he communicated in an excellent fashion, whether you liked what he said was a different issue, but he spoke to people and people like that. People feel engaged when there’s communication, which is why Linden Lab’s lack of communication is so frustrating, but I’ll come to that later.

Oskar isn’t the first popular Linden to leave the lab and unfortunately, he won’t be the last. Prospero Linden used to be the server rollout guy, he was popular although of course being the server guy, you will have critics, he also communicated very well, I hope there isn’t a theme here! There have been many other Lindens who have gone whom many of us miss for differing reasons, new ones will arrive and be well liked …. I hope! Whereas others have come and gone, or are still working for Linden Lab, who never get the credit they deserve.

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Linden Lab Go Blog Crazy And Communicate About Improving Communications!

Seriously, this is like the age old adage of waiting ages for a bus and then three come along at the same time! Linden Lab have blogged again, this time about a new project viewer with a new communications hub. This post is not statto geeky like the last one and has some very interesting features in it.

So earlier in the evening, I was talking about communications, mostly email and how we can become overwhelmed with messages. However I also questioned whether we needed to receive im’s to email for sales or when someone touches our welcome boards. There’s nothing in the Communications User Hub Interface (AKA CHUI) blog post that suggests we will be able to choose to select which messages get sent to email, but it does say:

We are still working on making notifications more consistent and user-controllable. Depending on the type of incoming communication, you will be able to choose a notification style, such as a flashing button, a sound, or no notification at all. You’ll also be able to choose distinct notification types for friends and non-friends, as well as for those times when you’re busy and you’d prefer to be interrupted only by friends.

Which does sound like it has potential. There are also other goodies mentioned in the blog post.

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