“Linden Lab Encourages Resident Self-Organisation”
After a few weeks of being regularly online at Second Life after joining, you will get Linden Lab’s message coming to your ears from all directions: “Your World. Your Imagination”. Very likely, on your very first day in SL, a helpful Mentor will tell you something like “99.9% of everything you see has been created by the users, not Linden Lab”. And as time goes by, this seems to be validated from all sides ? residents create content, residents offer services, they develop things with SL that weren’t ever possible, and all this meets with the overall approval of other residents, and, of course, of Linden Lab themselves.
Or does it?
It’s unquestionable that Linden Lab has been on the Great Quest for Self-Organisation. Apparently it’s part of their internal policies, or even their mission statement: “Linden Lab Encourages Resident Self-Organisation”. This is not just idle talk; a 100-person start-up barely manages to keep afloat in the sea of 220,000 or so very creative active users. Try running a whole city with just a hundred people and you’ll soon see that it’s next to impossible.
So, it’s our world, and we should accept some responsibilities as well. One of them is the responsibility towards the community; it’s “our” community, not Linden Lab’s, and the community needs organisation ? for us to provide. All this should be obvious; all this should also explain why Linden Lab has a full-time staff of several people just to create the necessary interfaces between the residents and the company ? and I’m not talking about technical support, but the employees of LL that are supposed to empower residents in their acts of self-organisation. They allegedly encourage them, provide the required tools, meet with them, request feedback, provide guidelines and a super-structure, and get back to the Board of LL for re-arranging priorities. All this is in place for several years; and this internal structure has increased in size over time, as more and more residents manage to organise themselves.
So far, I’ve described an ideal world. One that many residents believe to be the utopian community they have envisioned. However, there are no utopias, and by definition, they cannot exist at all ? something so many tend to forget quickly. Linden Lab is not “perfect”. It’s a company made of human beings, human beings with their agendas, their thoughts, their personal choices, and their own egos. As human beings go, they are (collectively) very open-minded and they will almost always have an ear for their residents; this does not mean, however, that “having an ear” means they will listen ? they will only hear. The difference should become apparent in the next few paragraphs.
Recently, in the past half year or so, people have started to push the boundaries of these guidelines. For instance, being very open about economic transactions, a group of users (later creating their own company) have set up the first exchange of L$ vs. US$, the Gaming Open Market. At one point, where it was clear to all that an open exchange would show the world how unstable and fluctuating the economy in SL has been, LL was “forced” to intervene. The details will be forever secret, but at the end of the day, LL failed to negotiate with GOM, GOM closed, and shortly thereafter, LL set up their own exchange, LindeX. It worked quite well for a while; now it seems that LL is planning to introduce direct sale of L$. In any case, this was the first public case where LL’s policy of “let the residents rule their own world” started to put in question. The word “gommed”, meaning “don’t cross LL’s policies, or they’ll absorb you” has since then be applied to several similar efforts.
Personally, I have only been directly or indirectly involved in a few; I remember how directly the Blumfield residents, when complaining about their lack of tools to self-plan their community (set up by LL as a marketing programme), presented their views for review by the Community Team, with clear-cut demands. They wanted LL to interfere ? to sanction their own community rules, approved by all their members ? or, failing that, to provide them with a mechanism to enforce their own rules somehow. The result: the programme was closed, people were given a pat in the backs, and told to move on ? while at the same time launching an open discussion in the forums on “new group tools with covenants to enforce the layout of the land” (these tools will be released in the ‘near future’, of course).
On another occasion, a group evolving their own government (and which has been given more than due attention in my blog 🙂 ) also came to the same conclusion. At some point, self-organisation will need enforcement. And enforcement is only possible if the residents have anything to lose ? financially, for instance. If not, there is simply “no jurisdiction”. You have to rely on Linden Lab to administer justice. But if they refuse to intervene in those cases, there is nothing the residents can do about it ? except complain. Which they can, but they’ll be ignored.
And finally, at this very moment, another discussion goes on by another self-organised group. Tired of too little LL support towards the volunteer groups, one resident, working 80-100 hours a week, managed to get a rather large group of people co-ordinating their efforts together, and working towards the same goal: improving new user experience. What was LL’s reaction to that? Let’s throw in some more people into the volunteer group, and stifle that enthusiasm. Diluting the ranks is always a good idea; instead of having half of the volunteers working together, the group grew five-fold, and now there are only 10% of them wishing for better co-ordination. In a year, they will be just 1%, and completely forgotten. Second Life is ruthless when it comes to numbers: the old strategy to wait for problems to disappear is quite true in a world that now grows exponentially.
So: while the number of people truly believing in LL’s internal goals of promoting “resident self-organisation” grows in absolute numbers, they’re swamped by the huge growth of new users. If at some point in time, 200 people self-organising meant 0.1% of the SL world population, one year after that, even if growing from 200 to 300, the percentage goes down to 0.01%. The lesson residents have to learn: time in SL works against you. Your opinion today may be unique, but tomorrow you’ll be one of many, and in a week, you’ll be totally anonymous in the flood of new users.
Knowing this, LL can afford to ignore any requests. Imagine that a group of land barons collectively demand a lowering of tier fees. They’ll come to LL saying: “we support 25% of your economy. We think you should review your tier fees”. And it would make sense to listen to them. But after a year, those very same people will only represent 2.5% of the economy. And less that 1% in two years. Is it worth listening to them now? The plain and simple answer: no.
So what is LL’s attitude? They go into denial. Having lost their touch with the residents ? and who am I to say that? My own view of SL is necessarily flawed, since while in 2004 I could claim to have met perhaps 5% of the population, now I I’m down to less than 1% (although having met more than five times the people!), even if I struggle to keep in touch… ? their best strategy is to ignore the residents. In a year, they will be irrelevant in absolute terms ? they’ll be totally overshadowed by the flood of new users.
Linden Lab’s Denial
Linden Lab’s attitude is not unlike the newbie’s experience when attaching a box to their heads. Many of you remember when that happened near you. Suddenly someone yells: “OMG! How do I remove this box from my head??” That’s pure panic on that request, and then the resident starts to run around in circles, like a headless chicken ? it happens all the time.
Someone friendly will patiently say: “Right-click on the box and select Detach”. But will the newbie listen? Not at all. Most of them will continue to yell their plea for help. But then something changes: they become angry.
They will say things like: “You’re doing this on purpose to have fun with me!” Patiently, people will try to explain that no, what happened was that they “wore” the box by mistake, instead of opening it. But the newbie doesn’t care. Now, all he knows is that someone is having fun and nobody is helping them. They go into denial. They evade those that are trying to help. They mutter, grumble, or even swear. They blame the older residents for not doing anything about it. And while doing so, they’re passing the following message:
- You’re not helping me when I asked for help!
- You’re doing this on purpose!
- You don’t know how to help me!
- I’m going to get help elsewhere!
- I’m now angry, and will ignore you!!!
At this point, residents give up. People that don’t want to get helped, and are even arrogant to the point they insult the others trying to help, are not worth their attention. There are more things to do in SL besides contributing your time and patience towards someone who is in denial and refuses to listen.
Also notice an important bit about this interchange. The newbie-with-the-box is not only refusing to listen to advice ? he refuses even to admit that the problem might be on his side! All he blames are the “others”. And he’ll run around, yelling at passers-by, that no one is helping him out. The rest of the world are just arrogant bastards, refusing to give aid in his hour of need.
He will then come to a conclusion: it’s better to remove the box by himself instead.
Now this is exactly what Linden Lab is doing. They have boxes on their heads, and when we politely tell them how to remove them, they refuse that offer of help. They “know best” ? after all, “attaching boxes to heads” is something they are supposed to know how to do. Why should residents know better?
Some Lindens are different. Instead of removing the box ? they simply paste some new textures on top of it. So now it’s not a plywood cube anymore! So there ? problem solved. What they fail to realise is that a box on your head is still a box —? plywood or not. And even the obvious choice ? place a transparent texture, and it will look just like no box is attached ? is not an answer. The box will still be there. It just won’t be visible.
Stretching an analogy too far? Perhaps. Imagine how many Lindens run around the world with transparent boxes on top of their heads. Most people will never know if a box is there. And if someone politely tells them that a transparent box is a box nevertheless, their answer will be: “What box?”
This always reminds me of one of Terry Pratchett’s character, the Duck Man. A perfectly normal person, with just a minor detail: there is a duck on top of his head. The running joke along all of Pratchett’s books is having other characters telling him: “there is a duck on your head” and the Duck Man will answer “What duck?”. Pratchett could be describing Linden Lab’s refusal to admit what goes on in-world.
So, you have some Lindens with boxes on their heads, but they refuse to listen to residents with tips for removing them. Others know fully well that they have the boxes on, but will simply change the textures to make it look “nicer”. Quite a big number have actually been handed out transparent boxes and refuse to admit they have boxes at all. And, of course, some very few will, in fact, have listened to the instructions and removed their boxes. Sadly, most of those won’t be in a position of power inside LL to effect any change. The best they have to offer is helping other Lindens to remove their boxes; naturally, most will refuse to do so.
Company culture, gamer culture
Let’s tackle the reasons why this is so. Why do LL employees refuse to listen to residents, and enter into denial about the issues in-world? Aren’t we their customers? “The customer is always right” used to be a key motto of the American Way in 1950s. Did LL lose that vision? (In true honesty, I’m not one to blame them on that; the customer seldom knows when he’s right or not 🙂 But that’s besides the point).
One would think that LL would not limit themselves to listening to their customers, but, true to their internal policies, actually feel encouraged by residents offering not only advice, but solutions, while at the same time volunteering to improve things. Imagine that Microsoft would have its users actually applying patches to Windows, and offering it back to Bill Gates, bug-free and virus-proof. What would Bill do? Very likely, offer them a job 🙂 Or at least give them a big thanks and encourage them to keep up the good work. After all, through the work done by a few, all customers will benefit ? at no extra cost to Microsoft. Bill is smart enough to know how to profit from that!
When the same happens in Second Life, however, Linden Lab becomes shy and embarrassed, shuffles their feet, and seek refuge inside their homes and close the door, refusing to accept help, and then throwing the key into the toilet. Why?
The difference between Microsoft and Linden Lab (well, besides the obvious one: size 🙂 ) is that Microsoft has a “corporate culture”. Linden Lab is still too tied to the “gamer culture”. And this is starting to show.
We can discuss for ages and then some if Second Life is or not a game. What we can’t shake loose is the idea that a huge proportion of people, both residents and Linden employees, come from a “gamer culture”. I don’t, so that’s why it sounds so alien to me. It also gives me a detached view to analyse what goes on, and why LL reacts the way it reacts.
A corporate culture will focus on customers. When customers complain, you have several options to deal with them, but one option you don’t have is to ignore them. You can encourage customers to create User Groups, and address complains (and solutions!) in a structured, organised way. This tackles the issue very nicely. Users get “empowered” ? they feel that their whining and grumbling and muttering can be tapped, their energy and focus directed towards creating a strong User Group, and in turn, this will give them much more strength when dealing with the corporation. On the other side, the next time someone complains to the company, they can redirect the customer to the User Group.
All companies work like that. When I need to get resources or information about Apple’s Macintosh products, I don’t bother to check the official site. I go to things like the User Forums, or the Developer’s Network. They assemble all required information using several tools and disseminate them among all who need them. Very often they have Apple employees participating on those online sites as well; and it’s in Apple’s interest to provide technology (web sites, forum tools) for the users to discuss among themselves, and help each other. I imagine that the same happens inside the Microsoft User Groups; actually, I’ve been among many many software user groups, and all work similarly. No matter how “closed” a piece of software is, there will be a large community of users gathering spontaneously just to provide help among each other. And they have an ear from the company.
Why doesn’t this happen in SL? There was once a “Second Life User Group” ? what happen to them?
The answer: gamer culture.
Under “gamer culture” (as opposed to corporate culture), users have to be treated the same way. There is a dreaded word: “favouritism”. It applies to everything that is said and done inside the company. If someone gives feedback to a Linden ? favouritism. If someone creates a wonderful tool and a Linden uses it ? favouritism. If someone writes a blog and a Linden comments upon it ? favouritism. If someone sets up a meeting to discuss ideas with Linden Lab ? favouritism. We’ve got the FIC, the Content Barons, the Land Barons ? favouritism, favouritism, favouritism. Ask to yourself: when Anshe Chung sits down with Philip to discuss the land auctions, is that favouritism?
Of course it is. Even if you remember that Anshe provides about 10% of all revenues of Linden Lab? And accounts for the same share of attention from the media that talks about SL?
When the US Government, who represents perhaps 10% of the revenues of Microsoft, sits with Linden Lab ? do the half-billion customers of Microsoft yell “favouritism”?
Of course they don’t!.
I’m now seeing the reader of this article scratching their heads and saying: “uh… but well… Microsoft is Microsoft, they do Windows, which is a software product, so things are different… while Second Life, well…”
… is “just a game”, right? 😉
Let’s tackle another issue. Corporate culture not only establishes User Groups (with their Special Interest Groups ? not all users have the same needs), but it is very keen on establishing partner programs. A partner is loosely defined as a non-affiliated company that targets the same customer base, using your product, and both work together towards the same goal: increasing revenue for both the partner and the company, by using the company’s tools and services.
Why are partners important? They might address niche markets that the company is unable to address. They might be on different countries or continents. Or the company might not even have a sales force ? doing it only through partners (Microsoft and Oracle work like that, for example ? they don’t sell directly to their customers). In any case, there are all sorts of possible arrangements, but normally, a partner is “someone who works together with the company for the same goal”. They tend to be better informed. They tend to have access to special tools, services, and information. They work with the company’s employees (marketeers, sales force, engineers, consultants…) to go to customers together; the company supports their partners placing a hand on their shoulder and saying: “This is our most trusted partner. Deal with them, we’ll stand by his side and provide you, the customer, with our full support”.
Has anyone seen anything else in the corporate world? Well, not I. Still, I just have 15 or so years of professional experience, so I might have missed one or two companies that work differently.
Enter Linden Lab. Is there a “partner program”? Well, yes, it means placing a link on your web page to get new users. That’s about it. Why? Because if someone “partners” with Linden Lab to address their target, 220,000 “gamers” will yell: “FIC!” So Linden Lab has to be very hush-hush about it. They meet in secret with people like the Bedazzle Group or the Electric Sheep Company to go to a customer wanting to place content in Second Life. More often than not, things get announced, and you won’t even know who has worked “with Linden Lab” to create content. Most users would be surprised to know that things like Stagecoach Island or the Harvard setup were done through “partners” of LL ? and they are definitely not the only examples, but a few among hundreds of others.
There is no “partner web page”. There is indeed a “developer listing” somewhere, but nobody really knows what purpose it serves. There is no “partner mailing list” ? just a website called “SL Developers”, but this was not set up by Linden Lab…. but by the “developers” (a fancy name for “partners”) themselves! Linden Lab is afraid to sponsor even that. They would be accused for promoting FICness and attacked in the forums!
You see, there is no way to get Linden Lab to bring this simple message across the gamer culture: “we are a company, we have to work within corporate culture”. Tens of thousands would immediately brand Linden Lab for their favouritism. Because gamer culture will not allow the company to talk to its users.
Clearly, gamer culture works against corporate culture. And this is incredible hard for the users of Second Life to accept ? and thus Linden Lab will not go for it. Instead of understanding that silly labels like “favouritism” or “FICness” do not apply in the corporate world ? where users get together to have their views represented in an organised fashion, and are usually one good source of official information; and where corporate companies set up partner programs and distribute privileged material to their partners first, because they are the ones whose business is constantly attached to the company’s own business ? Linden Lab shyly withdraws from becoming a corporate entity, and still deals with issues like these under “gamer culture”.
This has worked so far while the user base was small, while it was pretty much unorganised, and while there were few exceptions working as “partners” of Linden Lab. But nowadays this is much harder to “hide”. Companies, potential customers, now get in touch with Linden Lab on a daily basis, and they ask them for services. Linden Lab shyly presents them with their “partner list” and tells the customer “we don’t provide content, but we know a few companies that do… uh… they’ve worked with/for us in the past with some success” The prospective customer thus asks:”Are these your partners?” And LL answers: “Uh… not exactly… they just happened to work for our other customers as well”. Hardly the corporate way to deal with a customer 🙂
Far from me to tell Linden Lab how they should start to address a “corporate structure”. The only thing that they really have to do now, before it’s too late, is to drop the gamer culture. Fast.
And this should start very clearly with an announcement on policy changes. Make it a Town Hall meeting. Have Philip stating, loud and clear, “From this day on, the word ‘favouritism’ is being stricken out of LL’s vocabulary. Starting today, people willing to work with us will not be FIC. They will be part of the User Group; or part of our Partner Program if they’re companies.” And that will be the end of the gamer culture inside LL. Sure, a few thousand people would cry and gnash their teeth ? but who will care? Let them join World of Warcraft instead and deal with their frustrations shooting Orcs, or whatever one does there.
We are not intellectually challenged!
… or, to put it more bluntly, we’re not stupid! Linden Lab tends to love the highly creative aspects of SL residents and be fascinated by what they do. What they fail to realise is that behind the lovely avatars lurk RL experts in several areas, some of which have come from fields of expertise very close to Linden Lab’s founders.
You might have heard about Second Life being referred as to the “dot-com burnout club”, where highly talented visionaries around the world, with higher education and learning, with years and years of experience in the field, have found SL the place to hang around. I’m quite sure the demographics are interesting to watch (apparently SL has two “spikes”, one on the expected 18-25 group, but other on the 35-55 group), but more interesting would be to look at all the professional backgrounds of all those people. They’re anonymous avatars, rarely talking about their past, and it’s not easy to find out who is who. But a large group is around Philip’s age, and have gone through similar experiences. They have built and created Internet companies in the late 1990s, developed state-of-the-art software, or created their own ISPs and managed their data centres, targeting tens of thousands of users ? or sometimes millions. They have been heads of technical support teams. They would be able to write the source code of SL’s server and client software given enough incentive in a few weeks; they have done it regularly for their own companies in the past. And if they’re academics, they’re PhDs, sometimes multiple-PhDs, who these days gather a few L$ DJing at clubs in SL 🙂 You wouldn’t believe half the stories I could tell ? like the biochemistry PhD that lurks at a popular vampire club, DJing for an audience of 20-year-olds. Or the person tuning servers running distributed applications for 2 million users who now patiently explains newbies how to detach boxes from their heads. Or professors of law that were at the US Supreme Court who now enjoy watching the sunset like any other avatar. Or double-PhDs who write scripts for the BDSM community; or that engage in regular shooting at Jessie and elsewhere 🙂 The list is way too long for me to write here, but all these people have something in common: first, they are a huge group in SL, not a “minority”; they all spend a lot of time inside SL (instead of hopping around MMORPGs like the late teenagers); and they are usually very hush-hush about their backgrounds. They’re here to have fun, not to flaunt their higher education or professional background. Most of the residents wouldn’t believe them, anyway!
Naturally enough, most of these people frown upon Linden Lab’s attitudes. They have actually run or created companies not unlike LL’s in the past. They have worked with dozens of people, or headed whole departments that were bigger than LL. They have dealt with customer issues, on vastly larger companies than LL. And naturally enough, they’re keeping very silent about their background. But here and there, they meet with LL’s employees, and give them some advice.
Now remember that I come from an European culture. Around here, the notion that your opinion has to be heard is not so wildly defended ? one thing is having the freedom of emitting an opinion (no difference in Europe 🙂 ), the other is the right to claim that your opinion counts. Actually, we Europeans are a bit distrustful of other people’s opinions ? what counts is a fundamented opinion, not any opinion. And this fundament comes from several sources. It’s not just pretty rhetoric. It’s not just manipulative argumentation. These are available to everybody. Instead, an opinion is valid if it comes from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.
In SL, since nobody has “credentials”, so to speak, your acts in-world decide if people listen to you or not. It’s a more egalitarian society, in the sense that the young student of Armenian languages voices his opinion on how the grid servers should be configured ? and his opinion is “as valid” as the 40-year-old system administrator that has fine-tuned Google’s servers to reply to hundreds of millions of queries per day. On a forum or on a blog, both “opinions” are valid. Who knows who is behind the avatar? When these issues come to Linden Lab, they will weight each suggestion equally ? there is no discrimination in listening to those two opinions:
Young student of Armenian languages: “We should have unlimited prims per sim. Linden Lab, let’s have it, and have it fast!”
System administrator with 20 years of experience: “Decentralise the asset server. Let each sim deal locally with assets independently. Make that your priority, and the grid will scale well.”
When both come to a Town Hall meeting, which Philip will use to evaluate his priorities, both opinions will have equal value. But the truth is that they don’t. The first is plainly irresponsible ? due to lack of experience, nothing else. The second might not be technically feasible (or even incomplete/wrong), but it’s an expert’s opinion. Still, both opinions will have the same weight.
Now replace “Linden Lab” by “Google” and imagine the same thing being addressed to a Google board member. Who do you think they would listen to? 🙂
But you don’t need to stick to technological issues, of course. Over a year ago, a group of marketeers and salespeople came over to Linden Lab and offered them their services in developing, free of charge, a completely new web site ? one that would appeal to the corporate customers of LL. So, SL would have two “official” websites, one for the “gamers” who want to have some fun in SL (no harm in that!), and one showing off SL as a 3D platform, for the corporate customers. Those marketeers and salespeople were afraid not to be taken seriously by their customers if LL persisted in addressing the gamer population. What was LL’s decision back then? Well, one avatar’s opinion is like any other avatar’s opinion. Having a group of residents develop an “official site” for SL? free of charge! ? would be the ultimate level in favouritism. So this offer was declined, since no resident should have an “advantage” over others (imagine someone putting on their in-world ads “I did SL’s corporate website!”), and LL still has a single site, although it has stripped it off many of the “gaming” buzzwords of SL.
As an exercise to the reader, view one of SL’s competitor site, Multiverse. See how differently they’re positioning their platform. While the concepts are totally different ? Multiverse develops the software for others to create MMORPGs (and not only those!) but also does some hosting, Linden Lab also develops the software but prefers to position itself as a 3D content hosting company ? their audience is the same: people who want to create 3D virtual worlds. But Multiverse’s approach is totally corporate; Linden Lab’s targets the gamers… shyly mentioning here and there that if you’re a corporate customer, you can also buy a few islands for your own projects.
Clearly, Linden Lab is “out of phase” with its resident population. They expect it to grow so fast that the voices of the few professionals that are gladly offering advice and actual help (even unpaid work!) will diminish over the time. But this might not be the truth. Actually, the way SL attracts people, it might totally backfire. The “new” users do not come all from the 18-25 “gamer” culture (I’d like to dare LL to provide public statistics on that); quite a large group is now coming from the professional and academic backgrounds. These are the ones that will expect LL to behave like a corporation and implement a corporate culture ? one that favours professionalism, respecting people’s backgrounds and not necessarily “everybody’s opinion”, that supports user groups, that establishes partnerships, and that doesn’t simply dismiss good, fundamented suggestions from experts just because of “favouritism issues”.
The New Second Life
I’ve often talked about the way I think 2006 will be a fascinating year to watch LL’s and SL’s growth. In a sense, I was optimistically hoping that the whole platform and community grew to become more mature ? and I don’t mean it in the SL sense of “mature” 🙂 . My reasoning behind it was that the not-so-early adopters have a totally different mindset than the early beta testers, and these will be the driving force of the “new” Second Life. As SL grows, you’ll get more and more different people ? and the group affiliated with the gamer culture will diminish, just because SL’s appeal will diminish over time. After all, no major MMORPGs have been developed in SL; if all your fun is griefing through joining a Mafia and buy that latest push gun, after a few suspensions, people will go back to World of Warcraft ? SL is a pointless experience to them.
The largest-growing group will now be the ones looking for entertainment. Not necessarily “games”, but a 3D chat, a social environment. People are slowly giving up their “usual” 3D chatrooms and trying SL instead. Even the appeal to being able to program in those other 3D chats quickly fades away when the amount of knowledge necessary to do something is way too high. In SL, simple things are done simply ? and the complex ones can be bought for a few hundreds of L$. This is quite appealing to the ones just wishing entertainment. And entertainment is something SL provides quite well!
Another group will have no roots with the gamer community at all. They’ll have totally different backgrounds. They will be journalists, marketeers, professors at college, historicists, architects, artists, and all sorts of “unlikely” fans of virtual worlds. They’ll come interested in using SL as a tool ? either a learning tool, or a machinima platform, or something else ? but always something that SL was not “meant” to be. They will not understand the concept of “griefing”. They will not understand what “favouritism” means ? they’ll be used to talk to the company’s employees as customers demanding service. When they get an answer like “sorry, we can’t do that for you, or the other residents will kill us for favouritism” they’ll go “huh?”. Dealing with this new group will be quite a formidable task for LL, if they don’t want to embrace a corporate culture.
The good news is that the required people to help them out to complete the move from the gamer culture into a corporate culture are already in SL. They have solutions to all those problems; they have been dealing with those professionally for years and years, on much larger scales, or with much harder customers.
All it takes for LL is to listen to the advice on how to remove the box on their heads. And yes, it’s as simple as “Right-click, select Detach”. Hopefully we can make them listen to us.
The above images have used an actor with a plywood cube on their head. No Lindens or newbies were harmed when producing this blog article. 😉