One question I often get asked when discussing Second Life from the business perspective is a tricky one: why do companies in Second Life put up with an environment where the infrastructure is continuously flaky?
By ‘flaky,’ the meaning is generally related to things like slow connections to the Second Life grid, unexpected problems with the software running on your PC, a poor user experience for many, and of course, the weekly grid downtime every Wednesday for half a day or longer.
My usual response is to talk about the growing number of companies entering Second Life who, in spite of such perceived or actual issues, invest significant amounts of time and energy (and money in some cases) in developing a presence in this virtual world as part of their desire to experiment and, basically, figure out how a virtual world works.
Many long-time Second Life residents have taken a far stronger and critical approach to such issues, focusing on specific and more potentially damaging issues, such as loss of Second Life inventory content and recurring difficulties with payment transactions.
Now, a strong community initiative has emerged through Project Open Letter with a clear call to action to Second Life’s developer, Linden Lab, to address specific issues:
[…] We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, but our confidence is steadily being eroded due to a general lack of communication and the apparent failure to successfully address the many issues detailed above. What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. We accept that this will not happen overnight but it also cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely either.
The brainchild of Cristiano Diaz (Cristiano Midnight in Second Life), the open letter has so far attracted the signatures of support from more than 1,600 Second Life community members. I added mine (Jangles Junot) yesterday.
For their part, Linden Lab has acknowledged the letter and say they will respond later this week.
This is a tremendous initiative, well thought out, credible and handled with respect. I hope it leads to better mutual understanding. Plus, of course, some clear answers to the specific issues raised.
If you support this, you can add your signature.
[…] business editorsâ€™ agendaLoving LinksLoving LinksOn the road to recoveryIt is heating up Loving Links Tuesday May 01st 2007, 12:45 pm Filed under: Links 1. Neville Hobson – Second Life community callsLinden Lab to action. Sort out the glitches […]
IMHO, a true sign of an “online community” as opposed to “a place online where people just sort of congregate and kick the tires.”