Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mad as Hell about SL

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad..." ~ monologue from "Network"

I have had two very uncomfortable encounters yesterday with users in SL. One was with a "land owner" who owns 100s of sims apparently, unhappy about how LL has restructured their customer service.

Second was with a friend who had left a comment on the Second Life blogs, showing clear irritation about receiving a report from the moles, saying that LL was not putting its money to the right resources when Qarl has been let go.

People are mad about SL and it's running over into conversations, relationships, group chat, everywhere. All this anger and frustation is not what I log into SL for. Bleah.

People are pissed about search, the changes in XStreet, the 2.0 and 2.1 viewers (including Chris Pirillo, and honestly, what a fail that was because he got saddled with 2.1), the Lindex, and God knows what else. They are even pissed Philip won't be showing up at SLCC to address the angry mobs (though if he did, tons others would be pissed he spent the money to go). A lot of it is hyperbole, half-informed garbage, and general crankiness.

However, it's reached a fever pitch. Linden Lab needs to do something--it's clear. Linden Lab, your user base is mad and soon they won't take it anymore.

That being said, I want to point out that the user base is not the Board of Linden Lab. As I have *always* argued, Linden Lab is a private enterprise. They have a right to make the decisions they make, to review their financial reports and personnel, to allocate their resources as they choose. They don't have to answer to us as anything but the consumers we are.

Nevertheless, this is the thing, LL. We are the consumers.

And when WoW becomes more interesting to me than fighting with the myriad interface weirdnesses of 2.0, and watching movies on YouTube becomes more compelling to me than spending my Linden on prim toes, and Twitter becomes more effective for me to spread my message, and Facebook becomes more fun for me to diddle away my time on, and Skype gives me better voice, and my iPad has better graphics, chances are I will put my money and time towards those things. It's happening already ;)

Because all this anger is a real buzzkill.

When new users log into SL and hear current users complaining about SL or read the blogs or try to get help and get the excuse, "Well, it's SL," you really have to wonder how long they will stay.

There's a better way to wrap your heads around all this impatience and anger, Linden Lab. The people above, the people complaining, the big whiners (and God, they *are* whiners sometimes--I agree)--a lot of them are as good as shareholders. They have plowed a lot of time and personal skills and resources into this platform to aid in its development and to sell it others. This isn't like WoW where we pay a subscription and get what we pay for and no more and no less. Or like Twitter where we get what we pay (nothing) and get 140 characters. Or YouTube where we can no longer fulfill our need for pirated works. No, this is the world we make ourselves.

So, Philip, when you address those mobs at SLCC using SL (and man, better make sure that connection is rock solid before you start talking), you had better start addressing some questions like, what happened to customer service? And what are you going to do about meshes? And when will search be usable? And why do you persist in pursuing 2.0 when it's clearly a fail? And why is so damn hard to purchase Linden? And why did you let go of so many personnel so quickly when clearly so many loose ends have to be tied up? And when are we going to stop being the laughing stock of the rest of the web (or even worse, completely missing)?

I realize it's not easy to address a shareholder meeting where the shareholders are angry. But many before you have done it. Give us honest answers, explain what is going on with the Lab so people can make reasonable choices about their businesses, their investments, and their time. Tell us where you think you made the wrong turn and where we're going from here. Face it--it's not going to be Fast, Easy, or Fun. But it is what it is.

I don't have a solution for you, Philip, for the above problems. That's your job.

All I know is, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"