December 3, 2009

The "Merchants roundtable" in Second Life

In case you don't know, the "Merchants roundtable" in Second Life is a special non-public section of the official Linden Lab blogs where residents who sell things on XStreet SL supposedly discuss things related to XStreet SL. This is a short detailing of my experiences there.

First, a pet peeve of mine: failure to use the possessive form of a noun. It should be Merchants' Roundtable and, if you're following the naming conventions used elsewhere on the LL blogs, Roundtable should be capitalized. Oh well.

Second peeve, the LL blogs suck. They are extremely slow to load. The editor is buggy and the insert cursor is hopelessly jumpy. Threaded view doesn't page forcing you to look at thousands of posts in one long screen. Navigation is obtuse and, unlike the regular SL forums, there is no easy-simple-normal way to see all the sections for posting at once.

OK, 'nuff said about that.

My adventures into the Roundtable started when Colossus Linden dropped his bombshell "Roadmap for Managing Freebies on XStreet SL" into the PUBLIC section of the Commerce Forums blog. A friend pointed me to the post and after reading it, all I could see was red. As if the issues over Openspace SIMs, adult content and third-party viewers weren't enough, here was Linden Lab once again springing more half-baked ideas on the Second Life Community using what can only be described as the most arrogant, condescending, confusing and poorly-worded corporate double-speak I've ever read coming from a Linden.

I'll leave the furor and fallout over the post itself aside. Enough's been written on the official blogs and elsewhere about the consequences and merchant reactions to fill several novels. What really ticked me off was the Colussus announcing the Roadmap as though it was something most merchants wanted and that the whole idea was based on resident feedback!! Ackk!!! No one asked me for feedback. I hadn't heard of a single merchant saying, "Hey, LL, give us listing fees so we have to increase our prices."

Then, reading through the huge volume of (overwhelmingly negative) replies to Colossus, I saw another seller mention the "Merchant roundtable" forum. Huh?? I've been selling on XStreet SL since it was SLX and I'd never heard of that section. Nothing ever showed up in my Merchant control panel on XStreet about it. I follow the blogs & official SL Forums pretty regularly and this was news to me.

OK, so how do you get in? Hmm. Searching the SL website is no help. No answers there. So, another person in a similar situation asks the question -- how DO you get in? Answer? You have to file a support ticket! Then Pink Linden will give you the magic key. Yeah that's obvious.

I dutifully filed my ticket (and it's not really obvious which category the ticket is under) and, to LL's credit, I had access about 24 hours later. However, I've heard several stories about people who've applied and actually had their SL profile accounts messed up. Instead of getting access to the Roundtable, they've been shut out of the blogs entirely (bugs).

Now, once I'm in, here's what I found (and that's really the whole point of this long-winded diatribe):
  • A small but highly vocal "clique" of LL fan-bois & fan-grrls who possess the critical thinking and communication skills of a crayon. As a relatively newbie looking at how they post, I get the impression that they are more interested in currying favor and privileges with the Lab than actually paying attention to what the long-term ramifications of these new policies might be.
  • A small but highly vocal "clique" of anti-LL residents who possess the critical thinking and communication skills of a crayon. Many of these people will see evil in everything the Lab does.
  • Thoughtful discussions easily derailed by both cliques.
  • Almost ZERO participation by LL employees. They start threads, comment maybe once, then disappear.
  • A huge volume of rather spammy posts by two LL fans in particular who seem to have more interest in getting their advertising sigs repeated as often as possible versus actually contributing. No, I really don't need to know how great a creator you think you are and I don't need or want your fake food for my non-existent dining room or kitchen!! These two also manage to give new meaning to the word condescending.
  • Lots of "atta boy" and "I agree with this" posts.
  • Lots of extremely rude posts with foul language. I'm sorry but putting s*** into a sentence doesn't help your argument one bit.
My impression is that the Roundtable is like a grade school class where the teacher has left it unattended -- spitwad fights, hair pulling, yelling & screaming. It certainly isn't the professional, well-mannered island of logic I had imagined when I first requested access.

Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. But wait... now you're shpethal because you're in a private, cliquie uber-secret 'club'.

    SLUniverse, ShoppingCartDisco, even the "Official" Second Life blogs are all cesspools for shrill crybaby whiny diatribists and drama-queens galore.

    But you knew that already.


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