I talk a lot about Second Life society, but there is also a social structure at Linden Lab. From the viewpoint of a resident the Lindens can be broadly divided into the Omnipotent Gods and the Omniscient Gods. The current flap over a Marketplace “upgrade” as explained by Darrius Gothly http://www.dgp4sl.com/wp/2011/09/14/sl-marketplace-update-goes-sideways/ is a good example of the Omnipotent Linden Gods.
The Omnipotent Lindens typically see them selves as programers working for Linden Lab. Residents are an annoyance and a distant second to their programing responsibilities. Resident input, no matter how expert, is looked down on. They may participate in meetings with residents and say all the right things but only because it is part of their job description, whatever is suggested is put out of mind as soon as the meeting is over. They implement things that are buggy, incomplete, and poorly thought out because it fulfills some deadline or goal in their workplace. Repairs will be made next week, or maybe next month —- whenever —- look at it a job security.
The Omniscient Lindens see themselves as part of the Second Life dream. They see the residents as a valuable part of the process of Second Life development. Mesh development is a pretty good example of this. The mesh team has worked closely with a large team of residents to develop and test mesh. The mesh roll-out is far from perfect, but they are actively working with residents to fix and improve it.
There is a fundamental difference between my two examples. Mesh is basicly a new toy; errors and mistakes can be tolerated as the project moves forward. Marketplace however is about real money; is must be done right or not at all!
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes omnipotence is necessary. The adult rules are a good example. As much as most residents hated the change, it was necessary due to outside forces, both legal and political. The Linden norm, however, should be omniscience and those Lindens who can not truly get on board with that should not be allowed to rise in the company to positions of responsibility.
Update: Darrius reports that the marketplace problems have been mostly fixed, and quite expediently, which simply underscores that if they had listened to resident input in the first place it could have been done right the first time.