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June 13, 2006


Prokofy Neva


I'm disappointed -- actually *shocked* might be a better word -- at your selection. You have everyone from...A to A and a half here, and from the most well-worn A list that already exists! No diversity at all! I won't even begin to analyze it in FIC terms - you once wrote that the FIC is "an interesting myth" -- of course now we see it's an interesting *reality*.

Just look at the kinds of categories of residents represented:

o Lead economics writer for SLOG, the exclusive blog often cited by Hamlet and others in the magic circle, which has a closed membership by invitation only, with no comments enabled (supposedly this group of top designers and scripters can't figure out how to fix the "broken" comments on the blog)

o Partner of most-RL-media-saturated designer and most featured designer on SL website

o IRC Channel regs

o 5 out of the 8 have 2002-2003 birth dates, meaning they are early adapters

o Anshe's top competitors, and no representation from Anshe, though as an owner of more than 150 islands, she has as much heft in the world as the early adapters -- she is an easly adaptor of the island continent concept and the top creator of communities

Perhaps I shouldn't be disappointed or shocked at the message you are sending about who we already know rules our world and already know has your ear -- you're just making it official, so we should become utterly cynical.

I suppose it's symptomatic that you said you're posting 8, but there's only 7 in the list. And that magic "random" person you're selecting is missing. Who are they? Will they not be revealed? Of course...no we can't be sure they aren't an alt of any of the other groupings.

So you've succeeded in installing the regime that is the prototype of resident government-- the old FIC early adapters; the newer scripters/programmers/SLOGists who are following closely under their tutelage, and the non-Anshe land dealers in private islands. Quite the statement!

These are the people who you say will become your *permanent advisors*.

Please don't now tell me that there will be another 8 and a different 8 next time...until there are 40 or 100 (or 16? we never heard how many). The statement is made, and it's clear.

It was only our imagination. That it was our world.


Cybin Monde

it makes sense, LL, to bring in some people who have seen much of the long term development (from the view of the "early days") for this first "Views" roundtable.

i mean, if you're going to pay for the whole sh'bang for these people.. as a company, i would also try to choose people who would want to make the most of this opportunity.

all our voices count, no doubt about that.. but trying to pick only a handful from such a huge community is daunting and i applaud your efforts at trying new and exciting ways to include all of us in the future of this amazing world.


It's an immense disapointment and terrible shame that you couldn't do this in world.

You had an opportunity to eat your own cooking food and clearly you have turned away in disgust, but yet expect us all to go ahead and eat it every day.

An awful day, a very very disappointing day.

A Believer

Wow. The FIC is REAL!

Catherine Omega

"Partner of most-RL-media-saturated designer and most featured designer on SL website"

And then there was that time I ate that really long sandwich. That's also one of my bigger achievements.

Prokofy Neva

There's always your prim counter that I distribute all over, Catherine, that was one of the great all-time contributions to the land-dealing business.


I missed Stella - she's number 8.

To trash a program when it's just getting off the ground seems so counter-productive to me. How about let's wait and see how it goes. We'll make it as transparent as possible, and will add more people as we go.

As for how these Residents were chosen...they have all contributed in meaningful ways to the Second Life community. Of course many others have also, and I hope over time we'll get to spend face to face time with them as well.

Blaze - yes, we will also hold these meetings in SL on occasion, as I mentioned in an earlier post. It's especially important for people who can't travel or prefer not to, and we realize that.

Aimee Weber

Catherine is the "Partner of most-RL-media-saturated designer and most featured designer on SL website"

Well that's a good start...

But my long term goal is for Second Life to be generally referred to as the "Multi Player Platform that Aimee Weber uses." One step at a time I guess. :D

Congrats to all! Blaze does have a bit of a point in that this meeting feels like American Airlines transporting special guests by train. But the guests are outstanding and I suspect that very positive things will come out of this meeting.

FlipperPA Peregrine

Wow! I'm shocked! Prokofy being negative about something before its even really started? That record has been broken for a long time... it keeps skipping and playing the same sound clip over and over.

I'll take the other view: way to go, Linden Lab, I've never seen a MMO company take this step with its residents or players. Cybin brings up some good points; you're paying, you should get some bang for your buck! Some among the list are quite critical of the path Second Life is on as well, but they'll treat the issues fairly. Here's hoping some of Linden Lab's mis-steps are addressed; while I can understand studying stats of how many people get to the sign up page and don't register may make it tempting to remove the credit card requirement, I posit that most of those people not completing the sign up process were teenagers or others Linden Lab typically works hard to keep off the main grid.

Regardless, this is definitely a positive step and I applaud LL, as always, for taking the time to listen to us. I've never seen any company this receptive - it would be nice to see that acknowledged by some, especially when they have a background in the total opposite, places like TSO.

Prokofy Neva

>To trash a program when it's just getting off the ground seems so counter-productive to me.

Counter-productive for you, perhaps, Robin, as the leader of the effort to reinforce the FIC's hold over SL (something I wouldn't have expected of you in quite this obvious fashion), but certainly not counter-productive for the rest of us who wish to have a more open-ended, free, and creative world in which we really participate.

In fact, far from being "counter-productive," I find it actually a matter of some urgency to critique a resident-governance-plan-in-the-making *at its birth*. It's vital to prevent more tweaking and FICing of the platform to serve various special interests -- everything from sequencing of changes, to privileging of islands over the mainland, to intimidation of yard sales. Absolutely vital!

If it were just about seeking partners to discuss the platform with, well, what can you do, it's your company, you'll do what you want, you long ago picked your special friends.

But you're making a special *permanent* advisory group. That group will have special powers that we ordinary avatar mortals don't have -- and special influence -- to keep depending the direction of the world they'd like (and you wish to find a chorus of approval for) -- elimination of a free and democratic economy (represented by things like yardsales and events and clubs), privileging of private islands and their exclusivity and filtration functions, and privileging of content-creators and scripters over others.

It's interesting to me that despite the extraordinarily influential debate I've started --indelibly -- about the whole concept of the FIC, despite the obvious signals from other elements of the community about just how onerous this FIC is, when it comes to displaying your perfect 8 to start out the "views" with, you go FIC all the way. Very interesting! It shows how tenacious you are with this concept, and how stubborn!

Adding more people, after you've already sent as thunderously loud a message as this, will be a mere footnote.

Prokofy Neva

>Wow! I'm shocked! Prokofy being negative about something before its even really started? That record has been broken for a long time... it keeps skipping and playing the same sound clip over and over.

Wow, FlipperPA applauding a decision that benefits his company, his friends, his class of people, and his viewpoints? I'm shocked, shocked!

What's to start, Flipper? It was started long ago. This is just a logical outcome, a visible manifestation of what has always been hidden.

They couldn't just keep flying *you* out there all the time. They had to diversify it out to at least A and A-and-a-half, as I said.

Criticism? Hello?!

Lewis Nerd

So... we have 'the metaverse' where people can meet from all over the world and interact in ways never possible before... and you choose to pick reality to have a meeting to shape it? Do you really have that little faith in your product?

This is so wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. I pay my monthly fees to LL to support the resources used in my gameplay (land, bandwidth etc) and I am somewhat irritated to think that I am subsidising someone else being wined and dined for basically doing nothing.

There are thousands of more useful people you could have called on - just because someone has been here a while and seen many changes doesn't mean they have the best ideas. You're tapping into the wrong market - SL's past, not SL's future - and unless you start looking at different things that newer people like me can suggest, SL will stagnate and die.

I demand that you dissolve this stupid idea immediately. Or at least invite me, so you can actually learn how SL can grow properly instead. For the few 'big names' there are about, there are thousands of struggling individuals who are thwarted at every turn by bad decisions made by LL that don't help them in any way.


Timeless Prototype

All criticism of the people selected here is based on your own uninformed opinions.

I for one am especially pleased that Oz Spade has been selected. Oz Spade is probably in a prime position for stats collecting within SL because of ibMapper. Just because you don't know about ibMapper in its current and planned states doesn't mean the old people have stagnated.

In fact, because Oz is thinking about all kinds of stats it probably also means that Oz has a more informed opinion of SL than you'd imagine.

This is just taking one example that I'm closer to.

No, the sky isn't falling on our heads (again and again and again).

kaia Ennui

i am equally perplexed that these meetings aren't being held in-world. what is the reasoning that a face to face is necessary and what is that saying about using SL as a platform for RL meetings of the minds and the like? Then again, i suppose an RL meeting certainly has advantages. SL is great but communication is definitely more fluid in the really realy world and maybe that is their motivation. *shrugs*

as for the concept of getting resident feedback in a discussion group, cool. have a great trip, chosen few. :D it sounds like everyone picked for the inaugral meeting has contributed to SL in one way or another and has been around for a while. that seems a good place to begin.

bon voyage :)

*giggles at how lewis is so opposed but manages to slip in an "invite me"


Lewis Nerd: "I demand that you dissolve this stupid idea immediately. Or at least invite me, so you can actually learn how SL can grow properly instead." .... lmfao. What incredibly assanine thing to say. U R teh funneh without even trying.

Pham Neutra


as one of "the chosen" I will refrain from any comments on the selection process. In my case I'll simply assume, that I am the one who was chosen randomly, as my FICness certainly can't be grounded in the few articles I put up on the SLOG. Another issue that cropped up in the first comments is interesting besides any drama, IMHO. Why do the Lindens arrange for an F2F meeting in First Life?

This is especially interesting to me, because I initally came into SL to tap its potential for collaboration and virtual meetings. After a number of experiments in this direction I have to say, that - while SL certainly has a huge potential in this area - this potential hasn't beeen tapped fully yet.

Especially for someone like me, who can not type with a tenth of Prokofy's speed, the opportunity of holding a meeting, where I can simply *talk* to others, seems rather attractive. :) And please let us not forget the importance of facial and bodily expressions. SL is not *bad* for meetings and conferences, but is a long way from being the perfect solution.

I think the Lindens should be *applauded* for realizing and admitting this and not be condemned for it. :)

Last, I cannot refrain from making one tiny little exception from my initial resolution not to comment any comments on the selection process:

Lewis Nerd:
"I demand that you dissolve this stupid idea immediately. Or at least invite me, so you can actually learn how SL can grow *properly* instead."
This is truely great comedy which can't be emphasized enough. Keep on rocking, Lewis!

forseti svarog

I'm a big believer in how virtual worlds bring people together, but as a communication and relationship building tool SL sits between the disembodied (phone, IM, email) and in-person interactions in terms of effectiveness (better than the former, but definitely worse than the latter). Linden Lab team members are in-world all the time. I do not see why they should handcuff themselves and say that in-world is the *only* way they should interact with others.

This gang should make for a very interesting discussion. They've all proven their interest in SL and their capabilities as active residents. If this was the only of such meetings, then yes, you might say that the lack of newer residents is lamentable, but my understanding is that is isn't intended to be the only meeting.

Have fun and get in some good arguments!

Lewis Nerd

Laugh as much as you like, but I'm one of the few people who really understands SL because I know it's a computer game, not some fancy waffly explanation.

It's a pity that LL are so narrow minded that all they think SL is good for is making money. They're selling short the potential of their product. Stupid things like this do not help.



SL, like Amazon.com, is a really neat idea that's going to take time to be properly in 'the black.' Until that time comes, money is going to be in the forefront - in particular when you have a business model as unusual as this one.

I speak from firsthand experience; Company I work for has gone through this period and has survived and thrived. Though not a particularly smooth road, its had its fun moments too. :)

Robin, you may want to consider some of us 'semi-retired' folk later on - in general we'll have more perspective in regards to why SL is not first on the list anymore.

I have no time to visit, but would probably ask for an NDA paper and spend the time doing a free assesment of your backend environment anyway, rather than talking about SL itself. SysAdmin, first and foremost. :)


Ordinal Malaprop

I appreciate the fact that the names are being announced, and while I have only limited knowledge of the people involved, from all that I do know they are intelligent, thoughtful people who will do their best to promote the interests of all residents.

That's not the point though. No matter how hard you try to pick a group of people that is representative, articulate, challenging to one's own views and so on, *it can never be proper resident feedback*. The procedure inherently produces a biased sample. It's not a question of Lindens picking yes-men - I'm quite sure that they wouldn't want that at all, and I'm sure there will be plenty of criticism levelled during the session - but there will always be bias, a certain commonality, it's just unavoidable, and I think the point about the relative resident ages rather proves this. And, well, eight people, that could never be a meaningful sample size at all.

It's quite surprising to me, and a great shame, that LL seem to be using this old model of taking a large amount of feedback from a small number of people, rather than the other way around. If there is one thing that net technologies excel at it's making it easy for a mass of people from all over the world to contribute to a project, even if it's passively.

Prokofy Neva

Ordinal's right -- given the extraordinary capacity for freedback contained within SL itself, the fact that these progressive, forward-thinking idealistic California software and social engineers have to pick up on...facial expressions and body language (!)...is a terrible indictment.

Good for Lewis Nerd. It's very hard to stand up to group-think. He does it, handily.

I'm finding it particularly humorous to see how this group is portrayed as having very sharp critics in it, people who are hugely critical of LL or its product. Of course, they do this in secret or in the back waters of the IRC channel and never in any visible way. Never with any accountability, enabling them to dine out on this reputation illegitimately.

Re: "Oz Spade is probably in a prime position for stats collecting within SL because of ibMapper. Just because you don't know about ibMapper in its current and planned states doesn't mean the old people have stagnated."

So? Why is it that having technically specific, arcane, and even secretitive knowledge should get to put you in a privileged position? It shouldn't. Perhaps Oz Spade is doing marvelous technically brilliant things. But where are the laymen and civilians who will criticize the implications, perhaps, of, say, Oz Spade scraping all that data? I see constant casual -- even mindlessly malicious -- calls to grab all the proprietary data from the SL machine all the time (like Jiggly Puff's call to turn over all the land parcel and group information to him and his programming -- you can see on "SL Answers" now). Does the community in any shape or fashion have a say in this? No, it's an outrage. Instead, these few in the know characterize the rest of us as wearing tinfoil hats, though we are asking the legitimate questions that RL society and government asks about this class of technicians who overrate their ability to control their own inventions.

SL's proprietary information also happens to contain mine, too, along with many other businesses. Why does a programmer get to scrape this for free and publicize it or resell it or manipulate it?

Gosh, if these are critics, I'd hate to see what the fans look like!

I'd much rather hear from people who have the courage to publicly criticize LL for breaking their popular gadgets, Timeless, with heedless implementation of their latest scripts with their non-essential bells and whistles, and see critics who have the courage and capacity to make a significant lobby to get this company to stop harming people like that, than I'd like to hear one more chorus from the co-opted "loyal opposition."


You all are to be applauded for your foresightedness in talking to your residents / customers in various ways about the future of SL (i.e. the town hall, the feature poll, and now these "views" meetings.) Taking a broader view of who your shareholders are and including us in the conversation can only be good for business and good for the community.

These kinds of focus group or customer survey activities are not uncommon for companies. What IS uncommon is LL's transparency about who is being selected and talked to. Companies don't typically reveal that, and they shouldn't have to. The fact that LL did is yet another example about how they are a company of a different sort.

As for F2F vs SL: however the robustness of the interactions that take place over SL, they still can not match the sheer volume of information and emotion and subtlety that can be conveyed by F2F meetings. There is no substitute for humans in the same room talking to each other (Yet?).

I salute your efforts and look forward to hearing about the progress and recommendations. The eight seems like at the very least *a good start.* I presume you will be looking to build out from there to get at the various "slices" of SL life and activities. But you could do worse than this eight, it seems.

-- RL: Rik Panganiban / SL: Rik Riel

Timeless Prototype

Prokofy Neva: "I'd much rather hear from people who have the courage to publicly criticize LL for breaking their popular gadgets, Timeless..."

Are you suggesting I should have gone? I have publicly criticized LL for breaking gadgets...

(Note, the Multi Gadget is now back in stock, the protest has served its purpose)

Prokofy Neva

1) You took the item off sale, declared it out of stock, and made "no comment" according to Pixel Press.

2) You did this not on the forums, where it counts more, but on a third-party site. You were characterized as having *no comment* by a paper that went out of its way to cover this story, not reported as making a criticism or condemnation over the matter.

3) If the message is, "I'm going to work in mysterious ways, making subtle pointed "no comment statements" to relatively obscure third-party sites (not the Herald or m2) and saying, essentially, "Look how my more subtle method gets the Lindens to stop everything they're doing and fix my broken script, this works, whereas your frontal attacks don't work" -- I can only shrug. It's one method of running a world, to 'criticize' in this fashion. It's not a method for running a *free and viable* world, however.

It's really unfair that Philip Linden cries that he is making a country, not a game, and gets to be cited in the media and the blogs for that, and yet he keeps letting people run it like a game company with "focus groups" -- then turning his back on the country, then getting credit suddenly again for being a more enlightened game company and making a more enlightened game, when the social demand is for LL to be an enlightened government that enables real democratic participation in their world. It's a neat trick.

Timeless Prototype

Always true to your non sequitur style, Prokofy.

Because the press release was to another online newspaper doesn't make it a non-press release, nor does it make it any less valid.


The statement also said "... at this time". This implies possible comment at a future time.

Back on topic though, and following some more wikipedia knowledge about logical fallacies, the popular theories are not always correct:

In such cases it really does pay off in the long run to carefully select individuals to get a view of a situation.

We've seen global voting so far (see SL votes page). We've seen focus groups form and give feedback.

Now we are seeing the next style of getting feedback, and that is from select individuals in a controlled environment.

All are ongoing. Combined, these techniques seek to dispell logical fallacies and in the end, being executed well, should arrive at knowing the problems so well that the solutions will present themselves.

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