Playing the silent harpsichord

I went to Pathfinder’s office hours!

Pathfinder Linden's office hours, 2 Oct 2009

There is me providing entertainment on the harpsichord! Which is completely silent! :) I prolly should have cropped this some (note that the original is really frappin’ large).

That is of course Pathfinder a bit right of center (and right of me), Mo Hax below me an’ to the left, Daniel Voyager on the sofa to the left of there, an’ people that I don’t know scattered about. Pathfinder’s office is quite cool!

I asked him various questions about the Community Partnership Program, which still creeps me out. He reassured me it will be fine, and I should talk to Blondin if I have more questions. Poor Blondin!

To save you the trouble of a forum visit, here is what I wrote:

Heh. I don’t know quite why this curdles my blood so. I mean, I know y’all at the Lab are well-intentioned and all, but…

Isn’t it supposed to be *our* world, and *our* imagination? Is there anything wrong with just keeping the grid running, and letting us Residents decide what to do with it?

Why do you feel the need to offer special privileges and benefits to those groups that apply to you in attractive enough ways, and fit well enough into your own ideas about what the world should be like? Do you not trust us to get it right on our own? I think Philip did, but maybe I’m just idealizing the Old Days.

I mean, it’s well within your rights. But it feels really creepy to me.

I want to live in a virtual world created by its residents, not a virtual world created by a handful of people at Linden Lab, with help from those residents that are approved into “partnership” programs.

See my recent weblog posting on this general issue for more.

I hope it’s not an omen that I just signed up on ReactionGrid yesterday…

And here’s the relevant parts of the OH chat transcript:

[12:19] Pathfinder Linden: so does anyone have any specific questions for today?
[12:20] Dale Innis: Can I say how creepy I find the Community Partnership Program, so you can reassure me it’s all okay?
[12:20] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, creepy? what’s creepy about it?
[12:21] Dale Innis: It seems like the Lindens are playing favorites so much. Blessing certain groups, who will then have an advantage over everyone else.
[12:21] Dale Innis: This worries me somehow.
[12:22] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, well, I honestly don’t see it that way. I see it as a way to help facilitate groups of different Residents who are all trying to improve the Mainland.
[12:22] Dale Innis: But then the people that *don’t* get to be partners with you are less able to improve things, aren’t they?
[12:23] Dale Innis: I’d much rather you did things that helped everyone, than take applications for certain people who will have special access.
[12:23] Dale Innis: I know, I probably worry too much. :)
[12:23] Pathfinder Linden: everyone in SL can improve the Mainland. we’re just looking for specific situations where we think folks could use our help and where we think the net effect will be positive for everyone in SL.
[12:23] Dale Innis: So theh Program is mostly about the mainland?
[12:23] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, i understand why you’re worried
[12:24] Pathfinder Linden: yes, it’s focused on the mainland
[12:25] Dale Innis: I guess I like to think that the mainland is shaped by whatever people who buy land there want to do. It worries me that the Lab will pick certain groups to give extra privileges to.
[12:27] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, I completely agree with you in that the mainland is shaped by the people buying land there. we’re just looking for opportunities where we see folks trying to do something innovative on a large scale that would shape the mainland in a hugely positive way, and help them achieve that.
[12:27] Dale Innis: Okay, Pathfinder, thanks. I guess I am just worried that people will game the system to, for instance, get advantages over their competitors.
[12:28] Dale Innis: I can’t really think of anything besides maybe roads that really require Linden action to accomplish.
[12:28] Dale Innis: But i guess we’ll see. :)
[12:28] Dale Innis: ouch someone closd the harpsichord on my hands! :D
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden: if folks have lots of COmmunity Partnership questions, you should definitely synch up with Blondin. that’s his project.
[12:29] Dale Innis: heh heh, okay :)
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden: he has office hours.
[12:29] Pathfinder Linden: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Blondin_Linden
[12:29] Asterion Coen: poor blondin
[12:29] Dale Innis: He gets all the tough ones. :)
[12:29] Dale Innis: I think he must have droawn a short straw.
[12:29] Asterion Coen: at every linden OH, they all say, “you whould ask to blondin” :)
[12:30] Xaria Mistwallow: blondin just would love you for that one path :p
[12:30] Luisa Bourgoin: didn’t he made stuff like sl6b ?
[12:30] Xaria Mistwallow: he is run over by residents each week and a lot more coming like this :p
[12:30] Dale Innis: not to mention taking forum heat on Adult Exile :)
[12:30] Pathfinder Linden: The biggest opportunities for success are always “tough ones” in my experience.
[12:31] Pathfinder Linden: yes, Blondin also handled the Zindra work.
[12:31] Dale Innis: ( Yep biggerst opp for success are usually also the biggest opp for failure. :) )

I should probably do a whole posting on the Community Partnership stuff. For once I mostly agree with Second Thoughts on the subject (although I don’t know about all of the hub-related stuff he refers to there). This seems like another rather strong action by those in the Lab who are on the “Linden Lab as privileged content creators and partnership-makers” side of the whole issue. And while it’s certainly nice that Pathfinder says he understands my concerns, it’s not clear that he actually shares them to any extent. :)

But at least now I’ve expressed them to a Linden; maybe that will help…

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11 Responses

  1. Hi Dale!

    I’m really sorry that this doesn’t sit well with you. Let me see if I can help answer some of your questions and address some of your concerns. I’m copy/pasting your chat log from above:

    *[12:21] Dale Innis: It seems like the Lindens are playing favorites so much. Blessing certain groups, who will then have an advantage over everyone else.
    Blondin Answer: I can understand why this would be setting. But I assure you, all those who apply will be on an equal footing with each other. I’m not trying to play favorites or give a competitive edge to any particular group or cause. I tried to outline the program to be as open and inclusive as possible so that EVERYONE who wants to apply would have the opportunity.

    [12:22] Dale Innis: But then the people that *don’t* get to be partners with you are less able to improve things, aren’t they?
    Blondin Answer: I know it may seem like that, but every single person has the ability to improve the mainland each and everyday. By being friendly and courteous to neighbors, helping new users etc. These are things that everyone can do on an individual and daily basis. My hope is that this program will benefit people on a much larger scale.

    [12:23] Dale Innis: I’d much rather you did things that helped everyone, than take applications for certain people who will have special access.
    Blondin Answer: I totally agree. I want to accomplish things that help everyone! And no one has any special access to the applications. It’s there in the Support Tickets for everyone to see.

    [12:23] Dale Innis: So the Program is mostly about the mainland?
    Blondin Answer: The applications are open for everyone. But I am specifically interested in proposals that offer some type of benefit for the mainland.

    [12:25] Dale Innis: I guess I like to think that the mainland is shaped by whatever people who buy land there want to do. It worries me that the Lab will pick certain groups to give extra privileges to.
    Blondin Answer: You’re not the only one who feels this way and we’ll be sure to be sensitive to these feelings.

    [12:27] Pathfinder Linden: Dale, I completely agree with you in that the mainland is shaped by the people buying land there. we’re just looking for opportunities where we see folks trying to do something innovative on a large scale that would shape the mainland in a hugely positive way, and help them achieve that.
    Blondin Answer: Pathfinder has a great way of wording things. I agree with his comments.

    [12:29] Pathfinder Linden: he has office hours.
    Blondin Answer: Every Wednesday at 3:30pst. You can check out my profile in-world for a Slurl.

    [12:31] Pathfinder Linden: yes, Blondin also handled the Zindra work.
    Blondin Answer: I encourage Adult Content groups to apply as well. They are not excluded. Check out the FAQ page (linked from the Blog) Zindra may have a maturity rating of ADULT, but it’s still a mainland.

    Dale,
    I hope these comments helped easy your mind. Do you have any suggestions on how I can or should improve the program?

    Thanks,
    Blondin

  2. Thanks much for the reply, Blondin!

    The reassurances that anyone and everyone can apply are good, but they don’t really get to the heart of the matter. Even though everyone can apply, you will still be looking at the applications, judging them based on some set of criteria or other, and then privileging the winners with more access to, and resources and advertising from, the Lindens, than anyone else has. It’s great if you’re going to be fair about choosing who to specially favor, but I’d rather you just favored everyone equally all along!

    I’ll have to think about your final question; what, other than not doing it :), would make me feel better about the program. Can you give an example of something, besides roads, where it makes more sense to have the Lindens bless a particular group to do it, rather than just leaving it up to the various Resi groups to work out for themselves?

    And I do appreciate the time you’ve spent reading and responding to this. Especially on a Friday night! Take an hour or two off. :)

  3. hey Dale, it dos not sit right with me because of course anything that associates private regions with free space and mainland greatly benefits the private estate

    i would be a good fit, since it seems they want some social networking skills (3700 twitter followers, 1900 facebook friends) and you need to own some sims (12)

    BUT . . . i am with you in that i bought in (literally to the tune of an intial $14K and a monthly $3k) to the idea of a user created world (their mantra) and to me that is very important. i have several free places, that cost me real money that are open to anyone so the thought of some openspace sims to take the place of the 9 openspace i converted would be nice for my residents as well as all the other residents of the grid that use my existing spaces

    so “creepy” is not the word i would use, but i understand your feeling and thank you for this blog post

    ps – how is pathfinder in person? he never answers me, even though we made an sl video that was used as an intro to his closing keynote at a conference in Texas, or other emails dropped to him

    pps – Mo Hax is a distant cousin of me and Subqark Hax (who also does sl elearning video tuts) =)

  4. Thanks for the comment, Ener! It occurs to me that another reason I react negatively to the idea is that I know that I’m not organized and motivated and stuff enough to form a group and submit an application and all like that; and I feel like that puts me at a huge disadvantage compared to people who love that stuff. One of the great things about SL is that, unlike parts of RL, it doesn’t give a big advantage to people who are just able to market themselves well to potential patrons. And this program undoes some of that. Why should some group get control over parts of the mainland that they didn’t buy just because the founder is good at pitching ideas to Lindens?

    Pathfinder, like every other Linden I’ve interacted with, is very nice in person. He has a bit more clue than say poor overworked Blondin (who as far as I know *still* thinks that it’s perfectly normal for roads to be no-script). And he has a great AV. :) But he also sees things very much from the Lab’s “we are from the Lab and we’re here to help” attitude; while he says that he understands my concerns, I don’t see any sign that he shares them. To people in that part of the Lab, it seems like the issue is how to get people like me to stop worrying about Linden overreaching on the Grid, rather than how to minimize the overreaching itself. Because they don’t see it as overreaching, of course…

  5. Like you Dale I’m not organised or motivated enough to form a group and submit an application and that doesn’t bother me because those who are organised enough are working hard at improving mainland.

    Where I am concerned however is that those who are organised and motivated enough are already improving mainland, so why do they need more help? Mainland needs help in the parts that aren’t organised and motivated, the land that is left with build on for everyone and people dump litter there.

    I’ve been at enough office hours where people have offered help with roads and railways, they’ve been given short shrift, why shoud anyone need to own a full region to help with roads and railways?

    Something doesn’t feel right about this proposal and I own enough mainland to see the good and bad side of it. This proposal doesn’t have a mainland vibe at all, it feels more like a way of private region owners being able to leverage financial advantage.

  6. Oh how I love silent harpsichord music…

  7. thanks Dale for your answer. as a private estate person, i spend enough time with day to day chores, the addition of working with Linden in a partnership sounds like additional work that would have some benefit, but how much work that entails is not clear

    yes Ciaran, this certainly helps private estates a lot! the addition of openspaces for my residents would be a value add and if those were then adjacent to mainland, i would have more visibility and do more land sales. knowing that they would never pick me or 99% of private estate owners, it does seem unfair

    i don’t have any mainland experience, but would certainly trust your perspective and insight on that

  8. Nice that someone noticed the musical aspect. :)

    Yeah, Ciaran, we have somewhat different reasons to be worrying about this, but I think both are legitimate. I have no objection at all to mainland areas with rez on and lots of litter; if that’s how the land-owner has left it (intentionally or not), then that’s how it should be. I like areas of chaos. :) But I agree very much with the sentiment that people can do great things to improve the mainland without the Lab having to pick particular groups to bless to do it (and therefore, as Ener says, *not* picking lots and lots of other groups).

    We should figure out some things that Blondin could do that would benefit everyone equally, to distract him from this picking-winners activity!

  9. The vast majority of all will not be part of any chosen select group thus the loudest body of all with the most power.

    Besides, you will always be special to me Dale.

    Having said that, someone coming on the promised 1536m mainland paradise of Adricville getting up in mine is equal someone coming into my home which I have to say is most unfortunate in that it makes me very very sad and sad is a weird place to be.

  10. […] Cheer If Dale isn’t scared, it’s not a […]

  11. awwww, huggles! :)

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