Tag Archives: Mainland

Welcome Ebbe Linden , an open letter to the CEO

We are glad to have you aboard! It is encouraging to see that you have a little experience in our world. If you would allow me to presume to make some suggestions:

1- Take a long walk on the Mainland, a good place to start is in Emmelia. To your west is Route 2, the long way around the outside edge of Heterocera (lots of interesting seaside builds, but a long walk). To the north is Route 3, a shorter walk around the outer edge of the mountains. I suggest the Mainland because you will get a truer impression of SL from a resident perspective. Some of what you see will look crude, much will be assembled from purchased parts, but in all cases this is an expression of someone’s second life. Also worth noting, on the Mainland we are mostly tier-paying premium accounts, we typically do not pay rent to a middleman. Consider as you walk why we are here; one way of looking at it is wish fulfillment, the person in a cramped apartment owns a castle, the person who works in a cubicle farm fulfilling someone else’s wishes creates content with their own vision, the frustrated but talented businessperson operates a store, etc. At the end of your walk, no matter which route you choose you will find the SL Railroad, which is an adventure of another color 🙂

2- Consider please that the very name Ebbe Linden extends to you a huge privilege. Newbies today do not get the opportunity to have a last name. As a result we see the kind of strained names seen in gaming environments instead of the more community friendly first/last name those of us “of a certain age” consider normal. As anticipated when this policy first rolled out, there is still an us-and-them division that sometimes shows itself. SLers are very tolerant, we learn to be quickly, but who wants to be “tolerated” because of the accident of when they were born.

3- Communication — you are probably tired of hearing this by now, but it needs attention and only you can force the issue. In my previous post I suggested email be better used. This would best be accomplished if it was an attractive headline and a picture type thing that lead to a monthly LL magazine. If professionally done this would be just the thing to project a positive image both to those active now and to those who are inactive. Google would also direct the curious to current and well presented information.

3a- Social media — all well and good for discussion, chat and rumor but please keep the post at the official blog ahead of the gossip. Get that message out to the whole team too (although it has not been an issue lately).

4- Technology; the last round of improvements was quite ambitious, it will probably take 1 ½ to 2 years to fully complete so pace things a bit. There is no rush to start something new just for the sake of it. We, the customers, have always said we would rather have things working well than the confusion of too many new features at once.

We are on your side Ebbe, don’t forget to tap into our skills and experience, there are some things we are just better at than LL.

Illegitimi non carborundum

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Filed under Linden Lab, Second Life Community, Second Life Development, SL History

This is a very thoughtful analysis of Mainland vs. Private Estates from the Linden Lab business perspective. The conclusion is very surprising, but hard to argue with.

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Recycling @ Linden Lab

I have said only half jokingly that Linden Lab recycles bugs. It has been going on for so long it is impossible to believe it is not, at least in part, deliberate.

Tateru recently posted about this and started me scratching the itch.

I recently had a billing issue, even though I has successfully bought linden$ with my new credit card, it suddenly stopped working when they went to bill my tier. To summarize a long story; 4 calls to LL billing support (including being hung up on once); 2 calls to my bank. Literally hours on the phone for them to reset my cc data and me reenter it. An interesting side observation, what you see at your account screen may disagree with what billing sees on their servers.

During this billing adventure I tried, at LL’s request, to submit a ticket. I could not even access the ticket system (I have a premium account w/ ¼ sim of tier). An alt was able to access the system but the second drop menu was blank so she could go no farther. Another vital support system that is frequently broken.

Region crossings are and have always been problematic. It has been much worse in the past, but it has never really been FIXED! I know, there is a very complicated set of server interactions involved. When something just will not stay fixed with band-aids and patches it is time to look deep under the hood and find a new way of doing it (throw out the carburetor and go with fuel injection).

Inventory loss is just database stuff, it should not be as difficult as they make it seem. The technology is proven. We should never have items missing from inventory and if for some reason we do (maybe a viewer issue) it should be easy to recover.

Chat lag is much improved but still with us, just enough to be annoying.

Mainland support — forget-about-it — the usual response is “we don’t do that” followed closely by “put in a ticket” which is responded to by “we don’t do that”. I have experienced some truly wonderful exceptions to this but it would not hurt them to (re)move linden plants along the road when they conflict with your build; or to smooth the roadside land to your build. My impression is that unless you get the right person in the right mood, support is minimal, service is nonexistent.

Second Life has, on the whole, improved over the years. There are deep seated issues both in code and with personnel that need to be addressed in a more fundamental way. Hopefully someone is looking at them instead of the latest game or outside project.


Filed under Linden Lab

It is time to do something about the Mainland!

I am a Mainland person, always have been! Private islands are just too expensive, and paying rent to a land baron only makes sense if you have significant disposable L$. The most recent mainland statistics I can find show that 40.9% of the mainland is owned directly by Linden accounts; that amounts to 2618 regions! Unlike private islands those can not be shut down, even if totally unoccupied! I know, some of that is in roads, Linden builds, etc. but no where near 2618 regions worth.

The resolution I propose is to increase the land allotment for premium accounts to 1024sqM from it’s present 512sqM. This would be a big enticement for mainland ownership.

  • Much like RL, occupied land attracts more occupation, especially if it is reasonably attractively developed.
  • This would make moving from an initial Linden Home to a regular mainland plot a logical “next step” (which logically leads to even more land for more prims and space).
  • LL could gradually transition to fewer Linden Homes continents if necessary by simply not making new homes available on one of them; thereby allowing those servers to be used elsewhere.
  • This would be at least a partial response to those calling for lower land tier fees and could resolve the issue completely (although not to everyone’s satisfaction obviously).
  • There is an opportunity here to do something with Marketplace to encourage in-world stores and shops. These used to be a significant part of mainland occupancy but since marketplace was implemented many of them are gone.
  • At least in the short term there is no impact on the LL bottom line, unused space will simply be put to use. In the long run, if successful, this could result in continued mainland expansion.
  • Lastly, and far from least from my viewpoint, this could result in the revitalization of Second Life community. It is only on the mainland (and to some extent on private subcontinents) that people have the opportunity to wander, explore, meet people and find products without expectations, and generally be part of something larger than their circle of friends.

If this seems like an idea worth farther exploration to you please add a comment & pass the link around that is the best way to get a discussion started 🙂


Filed under Linden Lab, Second Life Community

A bedtime story – part 2

here were we dear reader?

Ah, yes, the time after private islands and direct teleport.

While things seemed quiet enough in the world, there were a few very enterprising Wizards deep in the far reaches of the quite wood who had invented a “magic box”. With this box the shopkeepers of the world could sell their wares directly to customers without the bother of them having to come to their shops. The wizards gave the magic boxes away freely, but levied a very modest tax for the service they provided. This seemed like wonderful new invention and everyone was very happy. More and more shopkeepers got magic boxes and the wizards were well on their way to becoming very rich.

Then the gods took notice and they were envious. They coveted the magic boxes for themselves so, being gods they met with the wizards and made them an offer they could not refuse. The gods defended their actions saying they could do a better and safer job of managing the magic boxes from their towers and castles; and they did in fact do a very proficient job of managing the magic boxes. So good in fact that many shop owners closed their shops and just sold their wares through the magic boxes, or they closed their branch stores since no one was traveling the mainland roads any more. People either shopped by teleporting directly to their main store or through the magic boxes. More and more of the mainland became vacant. The roads were untraveled. People did not meet even their neighbors, they stayed on their tropical islands and skyboxes, only to teleport to those places they and their friends knew of already.

Then the gods did something completely unexpected. They looked at the mainland and saw the vast swaths of vacant land and said to themselves “there are new people coming into the world all the time and they will need a place to live”. So they created 2 new continents with cookie cutter houses for the new people and anyone else too lazy or unmotivated to buy land on the mainland and set up their own home. More of the mainland became vacant.

I wish I could say my story has a happy ending, but the end has not yet been written. Will the gods find a way to encourage people to refill the mainland? Will people get out of their homes and spend time meeting their neighbors and reforming a community? Will shopkeepers find a way to encourage people to come to their shops and see their full range of wares instead of just ordering what they see from the magic boxes? We will just have to see.


As you might have guessed I have some suggestions.

1- As a part of the current “increased premium benefits” program, increase the land allotment. This will make mainland ownership a natural progression from an initial Linden Village residence. This will not increase LL’s tier income from mainland, but occupied land is better than vacant and I suspect people will increase their tier commitment as they develop their own homesteads.

2- Create a team of mainland Assistants empowered to terriform Linden land and move/plant/remove Linden plantings, especially along the roadsides. The present system of “put in a ticket” and “you just have to live with what we have made” hardly qualifies as support and is surely not assistance. These same assistants could conduct classes on the basics of land management for the new and inexperienced.

3- Since many people shop marketplace from work or the coffeeshop, where they are unable to log in world, provide a prominent button on a product’s marketplace page that will put a Landmark directly into a resident’s inventory. There really is no need to cue it with an acceptance popup if you are logged into marketplace. Marketplace is the best product index yet, way better than search, but it needs to be linked in a much better way to an in world store.

4- We, the residents need to get out more, meet your neighbors, take a bicycle ride on the mainland, ride a train, look around and meet people.

5- Take the time to find your way from Marketplace to an in world store. If someone is making one product you find interesting, chances are they have others.

What ideas do you have to recover a sense of Second Life Community?

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