The SL5B Drama: Crowdsourcing Fiasco Or Devious Plan?

SL5B logoBy now, it’s impossible that you haven’t heard the news from so many sources, including Linden Lab®’s own blog post on the subject. I would like to apologise in advance for not quoting all sources; so many people wrote from so many different viewpoints, and they all have thoroughly argued and discussed of what possibly might have been Linden Lab’s fiasco in dealing with their volunteer crowdsourcing effort on SL5B.

Let’s go back in history a bit. When the Second Life® world was young — with less than 15,000 active users — Linden Lab thought it would be nice to commemorate their first birthday (mostly to pat themselves on their collective backs and say: “hooray, after a year, we’re still around!” which, for a startup with an insane idea, was definitely an achievement). In those days, Linden Lab viewed themselves as the “community managers” — mostly spreading around good ideas, having their employees coordinate community efforts, spending some of their money in resources and (minor) promotion. The idea was “Lindens and Residents working together for the common good”. When you have a few thousand similarly-aligned people, this is easy. Also, when you’re not paranoid about the increased Puritanism in your society — LL was open-minded, true to their Californian spirit — that was also easy to promote. And promote it they did.

History

Linden Lab runs at least three major “festivals” in Second Life. One is the Anniversary in June; the other is Burning Life, usually in September; and finally the Winter Festivals. There might be a few others, but these were the ones attracting most of the attention — both in-world, but also from the media. And for those, at least in 2004/5, Linden Lab followed the model of what their so-called alleged competitors are still doing: the company behind Second Life is the company managing the Big Events™. Badly or not, they were LL-promoted.

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