Hey folks, sorry for last week’s hiatus! You know how RL gets in the way of things, so I won’t bore you with any tedious details.
So let’s begin, huh?
Today I kind of wanted to vent (and discuss) an issue that myself, and many in the newer and free-resident community, are starting to take notice of.
SL has gone under numerous changes since its inception, most of these have provided much needed updates to SL’s central functionality. It is with the most recent planned update, however, that I personally do not see any overall benefit.
I tend to lurk in the forums, watching the discussion about the update fluctuate between unhappy residents and those more blasé . There is a portion of that lattermost personage; with its land-barons and bookkeepers; that seem completely indifferent and unopposed to the potential limitations this update imposes on free-residents. Any threads that posit even the most modest of suggestions for a turnabout that doesn’t impact free-residents so significantly are, almost immediately, getting dogged on by older community members. The white-knighting buckles down with references to“private business”; stating that LL needn’t continue catering to “lesser audiences” who can’t afford the luxuries of premium or in-world marketing/business.
There’s a further refusal to acknowledge the idea of updating many features in SL to match that available on other modern platforms. This of course includes patronizing and aggressively-worded messages to those complaining — all summing up to “shut up and enjoy what you got”.
What’s going on?
We know that SL hosts a very large community of older-generation (boomer & retirees) people who do not necessarily have the same outlook or experience with the limited wages people within the new and free-resident community face. A less affordable SL is protection for senior businesses against any fledgling competition — these financial barriers are good for them, realistically — and those who affirm the update are not necessarily concerned with factors of enjoyment or success beyond that of their own.
What’s wrong with accessibility?
It just leaves me to wonder why any discussion of change that makes the platform more accessible to free-residents and new creators is such a taboo subject? Why can’t we have a more modern UI and UX? Why can’t developers, in-world or Linden, provide practicably afforded avatar materials? Why can’t we downsize unused continents or provide cheaper sim/personal servers like what’s available on other platforms? Why can’t we separate content by ratings, or even land by commercial and non-commercial usage?
Players, users, residents, or whatever you may call them, deserve a more intuitive SL experience. There is no reason SL couldn’t provide things like pricing options for membership, land, and avatar customization that cater realistically to one’s respective budget. There is no harm in suggesting that land be separated and priced to serve between residential or consumer projects. No one is at fault for wanting preferences that separate adult and moderate content and their respective users. And, last time I checked, one of the biggest hopes (from newbie residents in particular) is a user-interface and customization options that are simple and easy-to-use.
Development obviously takes a great amount of time, labour, and resources, and thus it would be outrageous to demand free and immediate change — however, the request for change is neither illegal nor obscene. These are things people want, and they should be allowed to voice their desires for them.
The community could be kinder…
The constant derogation towards questions and suggestions that come from a place of wanting a more modern and intuitive platform is, flat-out, elitism, and does not bolster healthy community discussion. I am surprised by the “git gud or get out” mentality as it is more typical of communities surrounding MTX games. This form of discourse is uncalled for — questions about SL and its market direction deserve kind, moderated, and lay-men responses if we are to educate newcomers and maintain better conversation.
I have never regretted the investments I’ve personally made in SL, but I can fully understand how rising costs and limited interfaces erect a financial and social barrier that impede working-wage users from even basic enjoyment of SL.
There is always going to be users who abandon the Grid, and those who want to stay in SL will, of course… but I cannot fathom why putting off potential free-resident growth would at all be desired. SL provides a service and experience that can’t easily be replaced, and it’s sad to think that the community would promote long-term decline for short-term profits.