Sane advice for Linden Lab

If you haven’t read Dusan Writer’s post with advice to Linden Lab’s incoming CEO, you should. I hope that someone at the Lab is paying attention.

We have incredible content and we have a stable platform on which to ‘perform’ that content, and yet we’re working with a platform provider who seemingly has no interest in making it easy for us to build and maintain a community – and, shockingly, this is true within Second Life as much as in our ability to reach out to wider markets.

Groups don’t work, advertising doesn’t work, search is ineffective, there are no e-mail channels, few Web channels, few ways to reach out to current users let alone reach out to the crowds on Facebook except by our own effort.

Viewer failure

I’ve been having login failures off and on over the last week. After I use the Imprudence viewer to log in to InWorlds or OSgrid, I sometimes then get login failures in all the Second Life viewers, for all accounts. The login progress bar starts, and then this error message pops up:

Login failed.
Sorry! We couldn’t log you in.
Please check to make sure you entered the right
*Account name
Also, please make sure your Caps Lock key is off.

I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled both the Imprudence and Second Life viewers multiple times, being sure to eliminate the logs, the caches, and the “application support” files. (I’m on a Mac.) I have been able to get SL running again by using a backup copy of user settings, but I don’t know what it is I did correctly when I did so, because I’m currently not able to access SL even after redoing the entire reinstall again. I can’t even log in to SL with Imprudence (which I could one of the prior times.) I’m really stumped.

User interface complexity

Great post by Tateru Nino on the death of Lively and some lessons about complexity.

In interacting with the atomic world, you have available one of the most sophisticated interaction interfaces available. It has between 60 trillion and 100 trillion basic components, and over a quadrillion discrete mechanical parts. It’s called the human body. It allows you to make coffee, paint a picture, have sex, walk, run, sit, read, write, communicate by voice, dance, sing, fill out insurance forms, build or repair machines or buildings, and more — though not every one of these options is available in every single model.

Imagine trying to perform some of the same tasks if your interaction interface was limited to a two-button mouse. Or just imagine being Stephen Hawking trying to build a shed or brew a cup of coffee, if that helps. The number of steps he has to perform even to ask someone else to do it for him is enormous, because his interaction interface is so limited.

So, ideally the interaction interface needs to be of an order of complexity that is coupled to the order of complexity of the number and type of possible tasks. If it rises above that or falls below that, performing tasks becomes harder.

Building community online

A fascinating article about community management at Flickr, but many of the points made in Nasty as they wanna be? Policing could as well be applied to virtual worlds as well.

The essence of Champ’s job, she says, boils down to defending this imprecise but holy “spirit of Flickr.” Indeed, imprecision is an art here. The list of community guidelines is an assortment of lawyer-vexing instructions like “Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don’t be that guy,” and “Don’t forget the children.” If you’ve spent any time online, you instantly recognize these to be meaningful and clear edicts. Champ is only half joking when she says her is responsibility is to keep things from “encroaching on Flickr’s serenity.”

Trying out Twinity

I’ve been trying out Twinity, and they have a contest that will start on Thursday. Voting will last for a week on locations that have been decorated over the last two weeks for the contest.