April 30, 2007

Project Open Letter

Posted in Catt's Ramblings at 12:41 pm by Catt

There are probably very few blogs today that are not talking about Project Open Letter.  This is a very thoughtful and intelligent letter put together by Cristiano Midnight to Linden Labs.  There is no chest thumping, threats, or other histrionics in this letter and it is one of the reasons I decided to add my own voice.

I leave it to you to take the time to read the letter, read the about section, and decide for yourself if this is something you wish to add your own name too. 

I am on the fence as to whether or not Linden Labs will acknowledge its existence. I am one of the people who believe that LL is actively trying to fix some of the issues we have.  They would be foolish not to. 

Part of the reason for Project Open Letter is the lack of communication between the community and LL. And yes that is definitely an issue, especially considering how much communication there was. You have to realise though that level of communication is unsual in the industry.  Also look at it this way, how can you get any kind of intelligent discourse going with your user base when they spend 50% of the time yelling at you for not fixing the bugs and the other 50% of the time yelling at you for regular updates and Wednesday downtime.

A larger part of the reason behind the open letter is, of course, the issues themselves.

I am not trying to downplay the issues we are all experiencing in some form or another.

ok now I have that out of the way 🙂 Many, if not all, of the issues mentioned in this letter we have had for as long as I have been in SL, and my husband before me.  He started 2004, I started 2005.  The problems have of course increased exponentially with the increased number of residents.  Its a scalability issue.

Now here’s the crunch, SL is an incredibly complex beast, but it just might not have the functional base required for the size it has become.  It may not be possible to fix the scalability problems without a complete rewrite

I can just see it now… “this Wednesday we will be bringing SL down for an update.  It will be available again in 12-18 months. Thank you for your patience”

Well ok maybe not 😀

But you know, regardless of the problems we can lay at Linden Labs feet we, the residents of SL, are not entirely blameless.  As I said above SL is a complex beast, there is no way that a coder can be 100% sure about all of the systems touched by that tiny piece of code he/she just changed.  Thats what QA/testing is for.  But again SL is a very complex beast.  A QA specialist, no matter how well they know the system, cannot put it under the same level of stress as the residents do.  And that’s what the beta grid is for.  And how many of us actually use the beta grid, hmmm?  And of those how many would actually log bug reports?  Or give LL any kind of feedback?

I could follow those statements with my own thoughts on it, but in general the SL population is fairly intelligent, I think you can work it out for yourself 🙂

We all want SL to succeed.  Lets do our little bit as well.  Hey it doesnt have to be all work

– organise some beta grid parties

– have beta grid fashion shows (in fact that’d be perfect, after all a lot less lag 🙂 )

– run beta grid competitions (first person to identify all the changes in this test release)

Just to name a few ideas, and then bug report our little hearts out.  Believe it or not, LL does want to know.

Well for what was going to be a super quick blog about Project Open Letter ran on for a bit ::blushes:: I guess I got carried away.  But I want SL to succeed as much as everyone else, you know?

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