Pathfinder Linden Levels Up?

by prokofy on 14/03/07 at 11:09 pm

By Prokofy Neva, Kremlindenologist


Photo swiped from Pathfinder’s site.

Some odd news today: Pathfinder is moved out of Linden Lab’s Community Team and is slated to open up LL’s new Boston office, where he will continue to serve as “evangelist and general resource” to the educator community, reports Blue Linden. We’ll leave for another day a discussion about what it means when a virtual world manufacturer that is supposed to transcend space and time and save on airfare bills has to get involved in setting up carbon-based offices in Real Life…and focus on whether this is a lateral or an upward move for John Lester, PF’s RL typist.

First, the wierdness of why Blue, and not Pathfinder himself makes this announcement? Yes, the Herald has already been out booming the waters of Omidyar and has asked Blue where he hid the body, but it seems that indeed the mysterious Pathfinder simply preferred to have others speak of his move than to comment himself. Of course, this might be a completely jolly, happy story that covers up some horrible falling out, with shouting matches reverberating through the no-walls Lab office, followed by banishment to open up the Boston mission like some diplomats in Belarus are sent to Guinea-Bisseau instead of being jailed for dissent. Somehow, I think this time the story is just as it says: Pathfinder leveled up, and is too cool even to explain that he leveled up, like all the truly leveled-up do. After all, general community work is for girls like Tigger and Torley, and nobody wants to be stuck on *that* assignment for long — it’s a career-killer.


The Herald has, of course, long followed Pathfinder’s career, catching him partaking in the merriment in the early days of debauchery when Philip used to kiss Uri, through his first months as a liaison and trainee game-god, crossing from the resident side to the Lab, and getting “all on the same page” in the IRC channel conspiracy against your faithful correspondent.

After Lindenizing (TM) him from Lindesident status, LL had him on forums duty (*shudder*), then on the fun game called “Linden v. Sandbox Shooter” for awhile, and then let him set up an office in Ambleside which he stuffed with all kinds of neat exotic stuff, including a glass case with skulls in it titled “Griefer Skull Trophies”.

Pathfinder used to be very visible at his office all the time, but then began to disappear more and more into the esoteric EduGrid, where there are hundreds of RL colleges and universities running programs in RL. Did you know that any educator who has SL as part of their course can get a free 4096 m2 for the semester, just by calling Pathfinder? Ultimately, as Jeska, Torley, and their resident cheerleaders Tateru Nino and co. were eased off the Orientation Island account, Pathfinder, as Educating Avenging Avatar, was put in charge to revamp both the new user tutorials and run the hugely cumbersome and unaccountable Mentors, Helpers, Greeters, and Instructors system.

The new orientation hubs took on more coherent builds and explanations, although they weren’t without their criticism, and finally a Linden figured out that in this game where they sell land to make payroll, they need to put out a land explanation thinger to help people wrap their minds around the esoteric concepts of “tier” and “prims”. Just when that concept took off, whoops, they ended the first-land system.


There’s only one way to judge how successful Pathfinder’s revamp of the orientation and volunteers’ system was: user retention rates. User retention doesn’t lie, and Second Life is a brutal taskmaster in this regard. We don’t know what metrics, if any where applied, and it’s hard for outsiders to understand whether these new revamped orientation stations and infohubs are doing the job. (Here I will try turning blue and holding my breath once again to get the Lindens to realize that they need to remove the idiot *randomizing* script in the Orientation and Help Islands currently that dump newbies randomly at infohubs, and thus doesn’t distribute the load equally, and urge them to overcome their tekkie-wiki overcomplexification tendency, and put in a simple *sequencing* script to dump the newbies uniformly over the system).

Now…Pathfinder is in Real Life, back in Boston where he began, of course, working for Johns Hopkins (he has his life’s story on his site). So is leveling up finally full circle back to Real Life, even better than becoming a Palinden like Ben or Reuben (though it may not pay as well)?

Proximity to MIT, Harvard, and other Boston area bastions of academe might mean LL has even more influence on educators — something they care more about than blingtards — and on the East Coast, they won’t have to red-eye it to Washington or New York. It seems an odd choice for a satellite office, unless you remember that the Lindens don’t think linearily from A to B to L, they think in a kind of tag cloud of associations and chance connections, a kind of soup, grokking through the the Better World and the transcendent experience of being “all on the same page” and One With the Oneness.

My bet is that Pathfinder Linden, a loyal son of the House of Linden and an avid acolyte of its cult, has now leveled up to Deacon if not High Priest and is going for the Influence of the Coming Generation, now that he and others in Strategic SL have achieved Total Media Saturation.

While it may appear that he has bought the expansion pack mania and devalued some of his old inventory objects, scorning the Palinden path blazed by Haney, Ben, Hamlet, Reuben, and Cube, he may be following a Higher Calling and Destined for Greater Things. I’ll never forget at SLCC I in New York when a stranger stopped on the street to get directions and Pathfinder gave him one of those freaky hand-eye logo calling cards and said mysteriously, “ You won’t have heard of it now, but soon everyone in the world will know about it” — he is that much of a Kool-aid drinker — and was right of course (and I agreed with him then).

17 Responses to “Pathfinder Linden Levels Up?”

  1. Petey

    Mar 15th, 2007

    “he is that much of a Kool-aid drinker”

    So I hear.

    I think I may need to stop by…

  2. Nacon

    Mar 15th, 2007

    Blue Linden posted it… because he’s excited to take over his spot. (Durhhh!)

  3. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Mar 15th, 2007

    Apparently the Herald missed the whole bit of having “comm-monkeys” as they were called. The Linden posting topical news items to the blog rotates every week (or so) between members of the community team. It is currently Blue’s shift as comm-monkey. Personally, I think Jeska does the best job.

    REALLY slow news day, heh.

  4. Urizenus

    Mar 15th, 2007

    I think the real story here is the fact that Pathfinder and the Lindens *just happened* to skip Ann Arbor in their Pathfinder-led anschluss. Straight to Boston/Cambridge eh? Too good for Ann Arbor?

    The hubris. The hubris.

  5. Aki Kauristaki

    Mar 15th, 2007

    Ann Arbor? With his credentials he had to start from East Lansing first!

  6. Urizenus

    Mar 15th, 2007

    oooh, that’s low!

  7. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Mar 15th, 2007

    I’m waiting for the Compton office. “Straight outta Compton!” Jennyfur was listening to that a few months ago. I found it adorable.

  8. Cocoanut Koala

    Mar 15th, 2007

    Very low!

    Well, at least he’ll be out of our hair now. No longer stifling our speech and banning people right and left from this and that.

    I think it’s interesting that all us blingtards and regular saps are the ones who work hard to pay for the free land these university people get to feel superior on.


  9. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 15th, 2007

    East Lansing? No, go Owasso.


    I’m here to tell you that Blue is as perfectly capable of Pathfinder of arbitrarily blocking posts on the Blob and banning people and making ideological decisions. He’s less prickly and more of an easy-going sort of guy so the bar might be a bit higher, but yesterday, when this asstard publicly accused me of some fake thing during the office hours with Blue, and I said, “that’s assassine” to the guy, Blue said, “Don’t use the word “assassine” in my office.” It’s in M, by the way. Oh well.

    Flipper, you are such an ASS. The comm-monkey thing was something that Torley pumped when *she* was on it to feel like it was important. But it’s scut-work, coming out and talking to the masses and filling up the Blob with cheery posts.

    For something as big as the Move-On by Pathfinder, like Ben, he should have made the announcement himself. It’s odd that he didn’t, and invites speculation. I don’t care WHOSE turn it is to play “comm-monkey” for something like opening up the first satellite office in the US, they could explain it more.

  10. Cocoanut Koala

    Mar 15th, 2007

    Asinine is a legitimate word. Not an M word.


  11. Carlisse Midnight

    Mar 16th, 2007

    Regular words that both are insulting in meaning, and sound like words that would be banned (especially at the beginning) are collateral damage. Ask ‘niggardly’ about it.

  12. Nacon

    Mar 16th, 2007

    “Ann Arbor? With his credentials he had to start from East Lansing first!”

    heheheh, give that person a gold medal.

  13. Brace

    Mar 16th, 2007

    “he will continue to serve as “evangelist and general resource” to the educator community”

    Why don’t they shut him up for once and for all. path has been a bane to the existence of anyone, any groups and pretty much any damn thing having to do with Education.

    Him and jesse lindie too.

    back smack em to the back 40 and muzzle em up. Thats what I say.

  14. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 16th, 2007

    >Why don’t they shut him up for once and for all. path has been a bane to the existence of anyone, any groups and pretty much any damn thing having to do with Education.

    >Him and jesse lindie too.

    >back smack em to the back 40 and muzzle em up. Thats what I say.

    You know, this isn’t really what I hear. What I hear is that there is a powerful fan base for Pathfinder — but that’s possibly because people just naturally suck up to those in power, I don’t know. There are a few who are disgruntled because PF hasn’t gotten back to them with requests or hasn’t favoured him, but he must be very much in demand.

    You know, the Lindens are the worst form of government…except for all the others. I guess I still live in hope they might become more accountable some day.

  15. Kerian Bunin

    Mar 18th, 2007

    Pathfinder is a really nice guy, who is probably one of the more interesting people I’ve talked to. I’m glad he got a promotion. Blue is pretty sweet too, I think the community as a whole benefits from this.

  16. Cocoanut Koala

    Mar 18th, 2007

    Yes, Carlisse, regular words can be insulting and demeaning. I just think it is kind of preemptively ridiculous to stand there and pick out words not to be used on one’s land, based doubtless on the individual who used them. Because then, where does that end?

    A small point, nonetheless. I like Blue. I just hope he doesn’t fall into the same trap so many other Lindens do (when egged on, often, by their resident friends) of trying to “manage” people – particularly those others may not like.

    There should be a basic amount of freedom to allow people to be who they are. Life is much nicer that way. It just doesn’t work to try to decide which words other people are allowed to use, outside of the obvious M-rated language.


  17. Ivor Handle

    Apr 30th, 2007

    Dang, I thought Prokofy was one of Pathfinder’s alts, at least that’s what whatshisname Linden told me. Whoops.

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