Personal media in Second Life

April 30, 2007

I disagree with “Project Open Letter”

Filed under: Politics — Signore Iredell @ 8:52 pm

I won’t sign the “Open Letter” and I want to say it. Many people won’t sign it and won’t even talk about it.

The “Open Letter” is strongly biased against “unverified accounts”. I think this is not acceptable. Paying and not-paying residents have the same dignity and must have the same rights.

This won’t obviously make the headlines, but in these same hours many other residents are explaining why they believe “Project Open Letter” is wrong or where they think it fails.

Here are some examples. I’m going to expand this list as I will find new references.

  • THE GRID IS FALLING! (not) – this article by Kami Harbinger makes many good points against the “Open Letter”
  • I think Baba Yamamoto is insightful when he says that the issues described in the “Open Letter” will be taken care of as the normal course of development and then the signers can claim they “forced linden lab” to take note of the community
  • Nobody Fugazi describes his experience – basically, many SL problems could be avoided by the user, and it looks like this is working for him
  • The Metaversed Podcast / Sunday 29th April, where Nick Wilson dismisses “Project Open Letter” (disclaimer: I didn’t listen to it – spoken english is hard to me)
  • I’m totally with trinity_dejavu when s/he says that EVERY new user to SL makes SL a better and richer place for all of us. Don’t assume for one second that the “Project Open Letter” position on unverified accounts in any way represents the majority position
  • excerpts from AWM Mars comments [ 12 ] in the Linden Lab blog:
    [the Open Letter] unfortunately includes statements/proviso’s that certain types of account would not be welcome to use the community and be excluded, and their abilities be subject to restrictions, when times get tough, I will not be a party to that discrimination in any shape or form; the correct approach for any community, should be to suggest scaling up the ability for ALL to be able to login. That is acheiveable!
  • tx Oh underlines how many people using free accounts actually add value to the Second Life community reporting bugs, helping people in-world and creating freebies
  • not related to the “Project Open Letter”, but even Amazon is prepared to accept a certain amount of instability as price for being at the leading edge of the 3D frontier
  • The Success of Project Open Letter – And, Perhaps, The Failure by Nobody Fugazi
  • Laetizia Coronet didn’t sign the letter, but she found her name on it. She also points out that whenever performance issues are discussed, ‘unverifieds’ are discussed as well, and usually the idea is that limiting their capabilities is the cure for all ills

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Troll comments are welcome. Be funny please!



  1. I concur about the unverified account hijinx, and frankly I’m disappointed to see who has signed this thing.

    Draw. Quarter. Shoot.

    Comment by Nobody Fugazi (Taran Rampersad) — April 30, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

  2. Paying residents should be given priority over non-paying residents because — surprise — they give money to LL. SEcond Life is a business, not a utopian society. It has to make money.

    Just my two cents, I’m sure I’ll be bombed out of the comments section for it.

    Comment by digeridoodesigns — April 30, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

  3. Too bad the Kami Harbinger site isn’t brave enough to accept public comments. Tsk tsk.

    I’ll neglect for the moment that business customers that transact more in Second Life than Harbinger does have signed the letter (like Anshe Chung, etc), and who by extension have greater opportunity to observe quality of service. Still, I’ll make a few quick observations: Kami Harbinger apparently misses the entire point of the open letter, which is asking for a focus on better quality of service *before* addition of new features. This is evident when Harbinger attempts to hail sculpty prims in response to buggy prim drift, for example. But the saddest part of the commentary is that Harbinger uses a “if I don’t personally experience it, it must not be a problem” sort of logic that some of the same people Harbinger is denouncing use to complain on the other side. This is neither helpful, nor constructive. Finally, Harbinger says transaction problems “sounds like a scam to [Harbinger]” and well, Harbinger’s entire commentary sounds like a scam to me.

    Now having said that, there is a sort of mentality among some that people who pay should receive better service. While I agree in principle from a consumer perspective, I do so in the event that it is understood ahead of time that paying customers will receive better quality than nonpaying customers, or in the event that the paying customer is providing tangibly more to the company providing the service such that the relationship between the customer and the company is not mutually beneficial, but rather, one-sided. Since I don’t think it’s disputed that in this case, the service provider has not agreed to provide better service if you pay versus if you do not, I will focus instead on the relationship.

    A person who pays to enter Second Life receives services, which presumably is valued enough that said person continues to want to pay for that value. The company receiving payment receives monetary value, and in this case, also receives value of content that such person may introduce into the service. However, in this case, both the general Second Life experience and the experience of the individual customer benefit from any content introduced. If such content is used for financial gain for this customer (such as part of the customers’ business), then that customer benefits still more from the service. If the relationship were to be severed, the service would lose content and monetary income, but the customer would also lose a valued service and -potentially for some- also monetary income. So as I see it, the customer/provider relationship is on relatively equal footing (in this SPECIFIC context, mind you) and as such, each party to said relationship is in a relatively equal bargaining position to affect change in the service.

    As far as this relates to this particular open letter, I see this as a consumer’s (or in this case a group of consumers) bargaining tool, but since such changes as proposed in it would benefit not only the consumers, but also the service itself, I see no overarching “obligation,” as it were, for the service provider to provide these changes, as if said consumers suffer at the hands of or mercy to the provider who benefits from their suffering.

    Now, whether or not it is in the provider’s business interest to listen to these customers is a separate question, altogether. Yet since the relationship here is mutually beneficial, I would not immediately predict a move by these paying customers to stop paying until the service is better.

    For comment #2:
    Your entire suggestion is really business advice for the service provider, yet because you are a financial beneficiary and consumer, I do not immediately perceive such suggestion as entirely ingenuous (for the appearance of more concern for Linden Lab’s monetary income than your own experience), unless it is shown that Linden Lab’s income directly affects your consumer experience. If rather, as an undersigned to this project, you are merely more concerned that Linden Lab’s lost income opportunities and/or outright financial losses directly affects your ability to benefit financially, that is a concern you are entitled to have, but such a concern is neither ingenuously reflected in Comment #2 nor in Project Open Letter. As it pertains to this project, for example, except for an allusive statement in the subsection on “Transaction problems,” the entire letter gives the appearance of concern for user experience and no mention of concern for consumers’ monetary benefit.

    As far as the view expressed in Nobody Fugazi’s comments, I’ll simply generally say that obviously consumer actions can alleviate some pains of the software and service, but not all can be, nor in my view should be. One quick example is inventory, which in my view should not have to be sacrificed for any reason. One can have each item meticulously categorized, yet still have an unpleasant experience trying to locate, use, and put away items.

    Of course, ultimately, it is up to Linden Lab to decide which part of the trade-off is worth taking between placing the burden on the users and whatever negative side effects such placement brings to the company.

    Comment by apointystick — May 1, 2007 @ 3:49 am

  4. I am in the middle on this one, as you are well aware after reading my blog. I can see why paying customers should prevail over non-paying ones, but I loathe the automatic response to problems with some story about unverifieds.
    This is a creative community – let’s have some creative solutions.

    Comment by Laetizia Coronet — May 3, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

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