Op/Ed: The Missing Lindens

by Pixeleen Mistral on 31/01/07 at 8:03 pm

Linden, oh Linden, wherefore art thou Linden?

by Seola Sassoon

Seola_portraitIn recent months, there has been a serious breakdown in communications between the users of SL and the company that created it – Linden Lab.

Firstly, we saw a lack of response in the Linden Answers forum, then a shutdown altogether. Where do the masses head? The ‘Official’ Linden blog. Of course, they do. When you shut down the main, albeit clogged, avenue for users to directly communicate with people that run the company, they head to the next popular spot.

We’ve also seen some of LL’s biggest critics silenced. Whether you love them or hate them, top posting names that provided a comment, even ones that falls within posting guidelines and rules have been banned from posting in the first place, and now secondly removed from the blog. Because LL is supposedly innovative in the design and concept of Second Life, no one can for sure know what goes on behind the scenes. So while some of the loudest critics aren’t saying much in the way of how to fix things, they shouldn’t be ignored altogether either. Sure it takes some weeding out of the ‘WoW never does it’ crowd, but there’s also some ‘I can take down SL with a simple two mouse clicks’. Isn’t that worth enough to keep the avenues open?

We were further instructed to find Lindens via their piece of land in Second Life, but ironically (or maybe suspiciously) there is never a Linden found. Okay, I digress maybe once or twice in a while, but me personally, teleporting in more than 30 times of the last week, it’s been deserted of Lindens.

Hey, you can give them a call too! Only to be forwarded to ‘voice mail’ and a promise of a return call, which in two cases I checked on, 16 messages since November have been left and another had placed 5 calls about their busted sim, with nary a return call. I, myself, have left 3 messages in January, on an issue that’s quite important.

The next step was LL introducing online status hiding

Do they hide out themselves? The answer is yes! Doing an online search of Lindens usually results in 0-2 Lindens being on. However, yours truly spotted several Lindens online, in all their pixel glory, but missing from the online list. Is it fair to have a company’s way of getting ahold of the employees taken even farther way by the new hidden feature?

Either in an effort to speed up the database and the ‘lag issues’, they’ve streamlined search and you can no longer search by online status. What does this mean for employees who hadn’t quite went invisible yet? Less customer contact, as a search in the database yields all the Lindens who’ve ever worked there, and having to take time to click each name to check online status. Which as we know now, may also be hidden.

In the most recent step of silencing the consumer, blog posts that have comments enabled are disabled after 500 comments (and if you posted a comment that needed to be moderated, your SoL). As we saw in the update today, they posted the update info long enough beforehand that most comments were firstly about the update, leaving only a small amount of posts to use up when they post they ‘something has gone wrong’. (Again)

Now, you are instructed to go through endless amounts of bug reports, and if you can’t repro a serious problem on command, it’s largely ignored anyways. More ways to contact LL? Great! Only problem? They are all email queues.

Some say that with the communication breakdown, comes the game breakdown. As they have removed more avenues to reach them, the game has gotten worse. Others argue that because the game has gotten worse these avenues are increasingly turning hostile so they took them out.

Either way you look at it, it’s a public relations dream!

How many people go and research SL before they play? Not many. They use what’s available to them through the company website. With removal of the critics voice, nothing bad is shown the site directly and subsequently the sometimes rude and crude replies of employees.

I mean, think about it. If you were to go to a site and read their forums and see “Why can’t I get paid? Why can’t I build? Why can’t I script? Why can’t I move? Why is my shoe up my rear end? Why is my hair hanging from my crotch?” etc. you’d probably think the game was quite broken and wouldn’t really give it a go.

I suggest and ask of anyone reading this, name me one other online environment that has zero contact with it’s customers. Every single other online environment I’ve ever seen has at least 2 live ways to talk with a representative.

The Lindens are hiding in status, not showing up on their slice of land on the grid, do not answer forums anymore and have limited blog posting. This means the vocal critics are pushed to 3rd party forums for good, unless you can be one of the elite 500!

Yay! Thanks LL!

10 Responses to “Op/Ed: The Missing Lindens”

  1. Spankubux

    Jan 31st, 2007

    do you guys even post news anymore?

  2. Seola Sassoon

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Find me a legitimate and incorporated paper that doesn’t have an editorial and I’ll answer your question.

  3. Ouchquack

    Feb 1st, 2007

    Look, I’m not going to be an apologist for anyone… but this article is clearly marked OP/ED.

  4. Chokozuna

    Feb 1st, 2007

    I’ve actually been reasonably pleased with live help – even lately! They’ve been relatively quick in their responses and tried their best to help. The fact that they’ve not once been able to help me out with problems that ended up having simple (if not obscure) workarounds is a whole ‘nother matter. And of course another matter still is the fact that you have to actually be able to log in before accessing it. Still – they try! Gotta give em that! Keep up the relatively good work, live helpers!

  5. Hiro Pendragon

    Feb 1st, 2007

    “The next step was LL introducing online status hiding[.]
    Do they hide out themselves? The answer is yes!”

    FYI – Lindens have always had the power to be invisible. That’s one of the reasons why we had been asking for this feature for so long.

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Feb 1st, 2007

    >do you guys even post news anymore?

    Do you ever post with an SL name? or do you just stand on the sidelines and snipe? If you want news on Second Life, set your Google customized page for free to collect news with the keywords “Second Life”. Enjoy!

  7. Rob

    Feb 1st, 2007

    This same situation is happening with the Microsoft Zune right now. Yesterday they fired the VP in charge of the product only 3 months after launch.

  8. Seola Sassoon

    Feb 1st, 2007

    Hiro, we never really had solid proof or reasoning til now.

    Prok – whether I like you or not, that was funny.

    Rob, I tried out Zune… oh god…. TORTURE!

  9. Cat Scratch

    Feb 2nd, 2007

    >>Do you ever post with an SL name?

    @ SL Herald Editors, is posting with a SL name a rule here like it is on Prok’s blog, or is this just bullying tactics by your writer? I know! Prok loves to go stalking SL profiles hoping to find a Second Citizen group (or another “griefer” group)on the list so he can attempt to use that as a counterpoint instead of facts.

  10. Seola Sassoon

    Feb 2nd, 2007

    K, that was funny too.

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