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Archive for August, 2008

Hello FashCon! This may be a little boring.

For what seems like an age, I’ve been trying to help with getting some bug fixes and improved functionality for SL groups to make group life more livable, by logging JIRAs (SL bug reports and enhancement requests) at http://jira.secondlife.com. This is the project area where Linden Labs listen to users bug reports or wishes for software, and supposedly judge and respond to member needs. As group functionality is at the very core of what FashCon is, I’ve always felt that encouraging/coercing/bullying LL to fix our in-built group facilities is by far preferable to having to add on group/conference functionality from third parties, who with all the will in the world may close business or change functionality later. This isn’t to denigrate those third parties who have created products to replace part of or enhance parts of SL’s group system – some have fantastic features – but after testing, I haven’t yet found one with which I can replace all the functionality that FashCon relies on.

So way back in March 2007 I rained a plague of JIRAs on LL, both reporting bugs (group notice delivery failures: SVC-1507) and sending in a ton of group enhancements (summarised at SVC-2818, see links at top to separate JIRAs) including specifics like “allow Group IMs to be muted” (SVC-2820), banning spammers (SVC-2825) etc. I was thrilled/horrified when I realised that two of my JIRAs by votes were respectively 2nd most wanted feature (mute group IMs) and 3rd most hated bug (notices failing) according to SLJiraStats. Woo! wait… eep.

17 months on, and today kind people have nudged me to indicate that two of the most important bugs are claimed to have been fixed in the newest release candidate viewer (1.21 RC0). You can see notes on this release and try out the release candidate viewer at the download page - see “Test Viewers”. Do keep in mind that RC releases aren’t guaranteed to be bug-free – see comments on that page.

Firstly, there’s a claim fix in this viewer for JIRA SVC-2819 which I sent in back in March 2007, not with the primary function of stopping spam, but instead to allow group admins to allow some but not all group members to use group IM (see SVC-2820 for the real proposed fix, which allows members, not just admins, to choose which group IMs they send and receive – not implemented yet). In the intervening 17 months however, just like when the Internet grew up in the 90s, spam has boomed and is expected to keep doing so, and this even partial fix if implemented will allow groups who are plagued by spam to become effectively spam-free – if those groups are happy to stop all general group IM. Clearly some groups are set up specificaly for chat (like Fashion Consolidated Cafe), but those that are mainly information distribution groups via notices (like Fashion Consolidated) could close down group IM entirely and survive.

I heard about this today and ran!, not walked, to the download page to try it out. It seems to kind of work, but not completely under some testing, but this may be due to the current rolling restart (group traffic is sent via regions! really!) or maybe there are holes in the current viewer that allow people through sometimes – or maybe it’s not fixed properly. But I’ve now switched off group IMs for all normal members and designers in main FashCon chat in accordance with age-old group policy, leaving the ability to IM only for the owner (me) and FashCon staff – which I don’t intend to use right now, because I would prefer to stay alive. Reminder as always that if you want to chat to FashCon members, join the group Fashion Consolidated Cafe and chat away! That’s what it’s there for.

My JIRA actually suggested that what group admins should have is the ability to decide who can send IMs to the group, not view them, but on first testing it looks like it may stop you viewing them completely, which kind of defeats the point of leaving a way open for admins to send occasional emergency IMs. But after such a long wait, even a partial botched way of reducing or removing spam is a Good Thing.

Under testing, it looks as if what they’ve done isn’t water-tight. Sometimes when you try to open Fashion Consolidated chat, you get the expect “no ability” pop-up – this is a good thing. Some people are reporting to me that instead they get the old “error sending” error, which is another group bug crashing into this one. And a couple of times, members during testing have managed to open a chat window regardles of this fix and one managed to send an IM. I’ve added all this information to the JIRA, hoping for a response. What I think I can say is that what I’ve switch on will reduce spam by 90-99.9999999% – we’ll see! Welcome to what I hope is SL’s first heavy-duty no-spam group. You might never see an “oops” IM again…

Please go and vote for this and other JIRAs if you care about them, and add comments if you usefully can supply more information. You just login via the link top right with your normal SL username and password and then you can see “Vote” and “Comment” options on the right.

Secondly, the same release candidate viewer claims to have fixed SVC-1507 which is my age-old bug report on notices not sending – and has been expanded to cover people not receiving group IMs, offline IMs being broken, etc – generally “what a mess notices are”. Back in the day notices were *really* broken, and a major fix fixed that problem largely, but no matter if you’re sending/receiving group notices ok (or think you are!) that there are many poor people who seem to be arbitrarily picked on and receive not notices, or get everything via offline emails, regardless of if they are logged in or not. This isn’t good! My notices generally work, so I would encourage anyone with problems with notices to vote on the bug above (please!) and leave useful comments (not screams) on what they see, what’s broken, and any patterns they see. If you care about these problems, this is the only useful way to tell LL!

I’m SO dull, I swear today. I’m so sorry. Even my kitty is bored :(

Honey xxx

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First of all I would like to apologize to all the designers that have sent me IMs/notecards that I was not able to respond to. For some unknown reasons I wasn’t able to log in to SL. Luckily this has been resolved and all support has been replied to.
Furthermore, I might be unavailable from September the 3rd till the 13th as I will be on holiday. I do not know if I will have internet access or not. In the worst case scenario, I will not be able to answer to support issues nor any new designers will be added to FashCon during that time. The new designers will be added latest by the 14th of September.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

PK Emmons, your kiosk maintainer

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