RAC ‘Em Up — Virtual Lobbyists Push On

by Alphaville Herald on 15/09/05 at 9:59 am

by Seldon Metropolitan

Second Life’s new Resident Action Committee met for a second time early Monday morning for a conference between RAC members and Robin and Phillip Linden to discuss the concerns mulled over during last Sunday’s inaugural session. Notably absent from the proceedings was RAC founder Lordfly Didgeridoo, as the unusually early meeting time conflicted with his RL responsibilities. Notably absent, as well, was much substantial progress on the issues the RAC is seeking movement on — but remember, folks, it’s early days in the history of what could become an important new avenue for residents to make their voices heard.

The meeting time proved seemingly prohibitive for many interested parties, as the attendance for this session was tame compared to the impressive numbers posted for the first meeting. Prokofy Neva, attending with the intent of observing the discussion, found himself suddenly in a leading role as the RAC members floundered without a guiding voice. Though much of the early discussion was steered by Prok, eventually the other attendees warmed up to discussion and all were able to speak their mind.

Despite this lack of resident attention, the Lindens discussed the three major concerns raised last week, specifically the 1.) Lack of LL attention to the voting tool; 2.) Possible fixes associated with texture and object permissions and appropriate use; and 3.) The general improvement of communications between the residents and administrators of SL. A fourth topic, ways to introduce new residents to SL and make them feel welcome was added to the agenda and discussed at some length. The answers given by the executives were fairly broad and diffusive, but it was interesting to hear Phillip’s specific lack of inspiration regarding some of the more difficult proposals. With the exception of the discussion of the voting tool, which has already seen a major elevation in the amount of LL attention it receives, “I don’t know, but I’d be open to suggestions” seemed to be the answer of the day.

Herald gossip columnist Pat the Rat has learned that the meeting was scheduled for an early hour in order to give RAC members a rare glimpse of Philip’s “bed-head”

The transcript of the meeting is available on the Second Life Forums, and Prok’s commentary and transcript are available here. There has been no further RAC meeting announced at this time.

2 Responses to “RAC ‘Em Up — Virtual Lobbyists Push On”

  1. TrannyPet Barmy

    Sep 16th, 2005

    should have called themselves NAG – Not Another Group, and lets face it nag is all they will do, all the while LL will do exactly as they please.


    When will you people understand, you need guarenteed unity of action from all your members to give yourselves any bargaining powers with the powers that be. You’re also going to need the backing of the majority of users to make your bargaining power with anything.

    Think about it for a second, just one second will do, what makes you think LL are going to do *anything* you ask them to ? What reason have you given them to do so ? Until you do so, they will always continue to act towards their own self gain.

    TrannyPet Barmy

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Sep 16th, 2005

    Um, when will “you people” like TrannyPet learn that hectoring, know-it-all, condescending instructions like those you are giving will never work in a game environment this diverse and this international.

    I’ve already commented a lot on Lordfly’s meeting and what needs to be done to make different kinds of groups on my own blog at http://secondthoughts.typepad.com

    It’s difficult to know at root how much bargaining power we really have with people who own and operate 1000 servers upon which they have deployed software which they’ve programmed, even granted that perhaps 10-20 of us can muster something like 100 of them we’re paying tier on, i.e. 10 percent. (It would be fun to see if there’s actually more than that, but I doubt it).

    Like the Forum FIC Five Percent, the land-baron 10 percent doesn’t have that bargaining position you or others imagine.

    The content creators have more bargaining position with their unpaid and selfless labour and some of their more cash-cow type of operations like clothing, animations, vehicles, Tringo. But their power is dispersed, too.

    Another illusion is to envision some kind of coherent whole “public” or “user base” or “those who log on” (these are the 5000 out of the 49,000 or the Log-On 10 Percent. These overlap with these other percentages mentioned but they don’t have the power of the purse or the power of the walk-off feet that people might imagine.

    There’s an awful lot of basics and frees in SL — an awful lot. While Anshe’s biting term of “tourist” really sounds condescending and hit a nerve with many of the forum freaks, there may be something to this, given how few people are every logged on any night in prime time, no matter which time zone you pick. It’s 1-5,000 tops ever. Their logathon goal of 4500 ought to tell you that!

    This is a pretty wild cross section of people, even given that most of them are English-speaking possessors of DSL lines, high-end graphics cards and computers, and disposable income. Most people logging on want other busy-body players to stay out of their face so they can enjoy their game, whatever it is. They view it mainly as a game with a TOS in which they do their thing, most often involving socializing, sex, householding, shopping, entertainment. There’s a tiny and vocal percentage of hardcore junior game dev types who make up a certain lobby, and a tiny and determined core of business types who make up a determined lobby, but they can’t speak for the masses with any legitimacy.

    Uh, there, I thought for *just a second* with my poor, tired, benighted brain, and I realized that yes, LL would “do something we ask them*. Why? because I’ve seen them add to the software things that people ask for and move up ahead on their schedule things people found a priority. Example: while we may dislike them and find them confusing, they added considerably to the building toolset at the behest of builders. They appear to be about to get rid of officer recall by anonymous members, and that will be done not only because they themselves recognized it as a weakness preventing group developing but because land-owners with grouped lands and other projects bedevilled by griefing officer recalls made it a priority — and the Lindens listened.

    Many people have expressed frustration with the forums, including the Lindens themselves, and the Lindens have put into motion an impressive array of alternatives to the limitations of the forums: the website enabling upload of pictures; the video streaming; the SLTV; the Community Round Table; more frequent smaller group meetings like the Events Working Group; more cards and notices deployed at Pathfinder’s home and in the Welcome Areas. In fact, I can think of few game companies or even RL companies of any type of business that have made this degree of boost in their communications policies in such a short time.

    Clearly, they were pressed by the growing sense of division and animosity and frustration among the game population, but also by the fact that people just don’t stick, and leave after trials. They seem to be trying to find ways to have people ramp up quicker and have a better time in SL. They seem willing to admit when things don’t work — for example I thought one of the most interesting thing that came out of this last meeting with Phil is

    As you know, I’m a pretty forceful critic of the Lindens — but more forceful of their sycophants, hangers-on, wannabee Lindens, etc. I find those types in fact are more protective of a Linden conservative status-quo even than the actual Lindens, who are actually trying to change and respond often in fairly impressive ways.

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