Early this year, my good friend Hiro Pendragon pointed out that I’m no good at predictions any longer, because I happen to be so disconnected from Second Life® these days that I “lost touch” with it. At the time he wrote that, I was actually shocked. I have one job which is about development content and applications for Second Life exclusively, and, unlike many Metaverse Development Companies (who have dropped that moniker), ours is still 99% focused on Second Life — well, and OpenSim too, since it’s pretty much the same kind of development (although we have far more projects for SL than OpenSim). We don’t do Facebook apps, Flash applets, websites, iPhone/Android apps, or other types of development. We just do Second Life. Sure, the odd webserver has to be developed too — because these days most projects have a web-based backend of some sort, so we naturally know about web-based programming (that’s the remaining 1%). We have plenty of projects to keep us going; no, we’re not millionaires, but we certainly haven’t stopped developing for SL! The market changed? Sure — nowadays, we get little requests for “media splash”, and it’s all about education, training, and simulation, but most of our customers are corporations, not necessarily just academics. Read More
Barack Obama’s change.org website is accepting requests for ideas and projects to be implemented during his term. Knowing that he’s all for technological innovation, and that several successful experiments with e-democracy were done inside Second Life®, let’s try to push for even more. Andabata Mandelbrot is proposing that we vote to create an international metaverse – the Internet equivalent of virtual worlds.
To get this implemented, we need 400 votes! And the deadline is… today at midnight, so we need to hurry…
Voting is simple, you just need to create an account on the change.org account and vote (you can even log in with your Facebook or MySpace account) by clicking on the icon. If you’re willing to promote this idea, you can, of course, do more — add widgets, push it to your social network, and so on. With a surprisingly open-minded approach, voting is not limited to US residents, but it’s totally open to international voters too. The change is for America, but its impact will be global. A nice touch!
Why should President-Elect Obama listen to this proposal? Well, we know that he has appointed two Second Life Innovators to his “Innovation Agenda” group. And his virtual presence in SL was serious, well-planned, and part of his campaign. He’s no stranger to using virtual worlds as a political — but also democratic — platform. So he might very well take notice of this proposal, specially if he can see the support it gathers.
It’s up to us to put democracy in practice — with the vote 🙂
Vote now and get your friends in SL to do the same!
[UPDATE: Prokofy Neva correctly points out that this site is not affiliated with Barack Obama’s office or future administration at all, but it’s just something from an independent company operating out of California. The President-Elect’s Official Site is at change.gov, not change.org.
In any case, the proposal failed to attract enough votes, and the timeline has gone anyway, so it’s pointless to discuss it any further, except as a good example on how simple proposals can become such a source of political dissention 😉 ]
When answering to Tateru Nino’s post on Massively about Linden Lab’s new choice of webpage, there was a short talk on the comments section about how little Linden Lab really listens to comments from their users.
But at least they open these kinds of things for discussion. Some Lindens even participate actively in those discussions. This is not “new”, they always did it for years: involving their customer base in the discussion — via forums, Town Hall meetings, blog comments, the Public JIRA, Office Hours, and the “SL Views” programme (where residents are invited by LL to attend a meeting “in the flesh” with them to hear their opinions).
We’re used to it, since it goes back to the days when SL entered beta testing. We’re also used to being little heard — although encouraged to do so. There is plenty of information about what Linden Lab plans to do — even if most announcements are “after the fact” published decisions. Not all, though; in some cases, we are invited to comment on policy decisions before they are officially presented.
All this is “somewhat reminiscent of democratic participation”. I put it deliberately between quotation marks — but the truth is, Linden Lab was awarded a prize for being one of the 25 most democratic workplaces in the world by WorldBlu.
This puzzled me.
Linden Lab announced a bold move, “back to the mainland” — finally recognising officially that they have been doing a rather poor job of maintaining it. On Linden Lab’s official blog, Jack Linden underlines some of the key issues that Linden Lab will tackle again: more control, more attention to urban planning, more enforcement (specially on the nasty ad farms that cover the nice views!), and zoning. Their recent experiments with Bay City — Linden Lab actively promoting a mainland-based rental community, competing with residents providing rental services — might have encouraged them to preserve one of the most valuable assets of the Second Life® environment: in SL, communities are created around buildings.
Interesting for me, the connection between both has not always been clear to me. But the revelation struck me when all of a sudden a lot of different kinds of communities started to pop up here and there.