The SL5B Drama: Crowdsourcing Fiasco Or Devious Plan?

SL5B and how it was organised

SL5B was slightly different from the start. One week after SL4B was finished, the first new batch of volunteers for SL5B met and started immediately to work on the forthcoming event in 2008. The team was solidly working throughout the whole year to do the planning and meeting with the communities. For the first time perhaps, the “Anniversary Festival” was not something temporally committed to a day, but rather done professionally — gathering momentum for a whole year, involving people from all backgrounds, creating a huge network of connections that made sure that “everybody would be around” for SL5B — without even needing advertising. It was practically impossible not to be aware of the planning. Unlike LL’s own festivals — Burning Life, Winter Holidays — who get perhaps one or two blog posts on the Official Blog calling for exhibits, SL5B was massively promoted on a word-by-mouth basis, which flooded blogs, forums, and other sites with fresh news — around the whole year. It was an incredible build-up of anticipation.

Many of my friends who were part of the organisation since the very beginning were perhaps surprised why I didn’t help them, except for marginal comments here and there. It was very tough being away and silent. I’ve been part of several “crowdsourcing” efforts where ultimately Linden Lab crushed my will completely — and saw that happening to the former organisers of the previous Birthday Festivals as well. This put me in the awkward position of mostly keeping my mouth shut but definitely not discouraging the happy volunteers to organise another mega-event (which is definitely Ad Maiorem Multiversum Gloria) but not provide any reasonable excuse for not participating (beyond “I don’t have time”, which, well, it’s also true). But I really did not wish to be burned by LL — again. I know it’s selfish, but as time goes by, I find it increasingly harder to engage in anything where LL is “organising” things. And, honestly, it’s quite a lack of politeness to let people do all the work for you for a year and throw them out of the organisation by imposing impossible demands and force them to quit — and never even acknowledge their hard, patient, and most importantly, volunteer work.

Just take a look at what the official blog says:

Before we kick off the event though, we want to spend a little time clarifying in order to clear up some of the confusion around the submission process and policy. — Everett Linden

There is no “we” — it’s the SL5B organisation which kicked off the event; it’s them who clarified the submission process (yes, they have created a website for the submission forms and all); and it’s Linden Lab who did the “confusion”. As Solomon Devoix commented on that blog post:

Either you are (a) extraordinarily poor at communicating what you’re trying to say (ironic for the Communication Linden) or (b) you think we’re all a bunch of morons and don’t remember, or have access to, the original statements referenced above. Neither one of these shows ANY respect whatsoever for your residents.

One way to deal with the dilemma was with humour, which was what Vint Falken did. The other way, of course, was just dropping out of the organisation, like SignpostMarv Martin, Pyrii Akula, Shoshana Epsilon, and Will Webb did.

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