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18 February 2009


The new SL replacement for everything outside the program itself starts tomorrow, and yes, I'm anxious. I won't believe things will be saved until I see that it has been done. As I recall it was Robin who said the forum contained our history and would be saved, and as Robin is gone all bets are off. Although years of invaluable information is contained in the forums LL has not had a good track record in the valuing-the-forums department, which is evidenced by the missing or corrupted images of older posts.

I can't even express how much crucial information I have found in the forum over the years. As well as being a place to find an answer it's a place to ask a question - and to receive an answer or several, meet people, find friends, and be encouraged to proceed with Second Life. In all ways it promotes that idea of Philip's that if you find a friend in Second Life you are more likely to stay. While a knowledge base or other one-way tool is useful, they in no way substitute for the living, breathing, entity that is a forum.

The argument that the same question is asked billions of times is not convincing to me since for every "Oh my god, I deleted a particle script from a prim and the particles keep coming out!1!1" or "I can't select anything of anyone else's - is it a bug?" questions, there is someone who answers quickly and/or (as I've done) gone inworld to sort the problem out, giving aid to the new person in a personal way that has no substitute. A fairly common post is, "Help! Can someone go inworld and tell my partner my computer blew up?" or something of that order - which would not be helped by a knowledge base. A forum is our chance to help each other - something many of us want to do.

More complex questions may receive a number of responses looking at things from different perspectives and in separate cases. Some people have great expertise in, say, land. Others may have interface knowledge or be able to tell you where a certain skin or hair came from by looking at a picture. Sometimes the person asking the question can't ask it very well - for instance someone new may think they need a script to dance (recent forum question), and responders can set the person straight, point her in the direction of some good animation shops, and relate personal experiences.

Look at it this way: in Second Life we have some but not all of our senses. We lack, for instance, a sense of smell. The forum is like a sense that we have to use for SL but don't have in rl.

The forum has a history of being difficult, but not any more so than any other forum (especially company forum). Sometimes it is obnoxious for no reason; sometimes the posters are upset justifiably. I think that although the percentage of regular forum users is small, those people spread information and help (and probably less positive things of mixed validity) to many. It's not all good - nothing is. But a forum is expected from any company serving the public, so I hope what comes tomorrow is a step up that maintains archived old information and treats it with the respect it is due.

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posted by - 11:31 AM

hear hear!
Put off until next week due to technical problems.

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