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Archive for the ‘group IM’ Category

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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Dear chatters,

Q: If we all love fashion and we all love to chat, why not chat on the Fashion Consolidated “chat group” line? That is the question.

A: Well one reason is because it is forbidden. Strictly forbidden.

Q: Why is it forbidden?

A: Because Fashion Consolidated is a huge group, over 6600 people, many of them busy and they do not all want to hear you chat. It is deeply annoying to many.

Q: What does http://fashcon.com/oops mean? Somebody keeps posting that in the middle of our fash con conversation.

A: That’s code for go to the fashcon website to read the rules on being quiet. Basically it is the official way of saying “hush now!” on Fashion Consolidated.

Q: But I have fashion needs! I need to express them and find the answers to my burning questions and I know people out there can answer them.

A: Don’t do it. Sign up for the Fashion Consolidated Cafe group. It was created Just for this purpose. You will feel right at home there. Everybody yaks and blathers very intelligently about shoes and aos and everything under the sun.

Q: But it’s a chat group! The line is for chatting!

A: When Linden Labs set up the groups system they did not envision all of the ways that groups would be used. They did not separate group notices from group chat, figuring that most groups would need both. Fashion Consolidated is a Notice Service. If we could completely disable the group chat we would.

Q: What if I go ahead and chat anyway?

A: If you are a spammer posting advertising slurls you will be immediately ejected from the group. If you are just chatting there because you saw a neat notice or have a fashion question, one of the Fash Con helpers (if they are online) will privately IM you and tell you to stop. If you don’t stop we can eject you too.

Q: You don’t understand – this is an emergency. I’m a designer and I just sent out a notice and I forgot to include the landmark!

A: Stop. Take a deep breath, and whatever you do Don’t post a slurl. Slurls get you kicked and and while we don’t really intend to kick our own designers not all helpers know the names of every single designer in Fashion Consolidated. Do not post. Landmarks are optional in FashCon; people can find your store in search and through your profile picks. It will be okay.

The answers to most problems lie in the Fashion Consolidated Cafe group.

Yours,

Ivy Norsk

Content Moderator, Fashion Consolidated

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Hello! Some big changes in the mythical FashCon Towers this week, which I’m very pleased to tell you about, as I now have some STAFF. Oh yes – two innocent and unsuspecting SL residents have taken on a couple of roles to help me out running FashCon, and this will hopefully mean (a) I may moan less and (b) you may find response times to queries a bit quicker. Also, new designers and HUD – read below!

Firstly I’d like to thank everyone who took time to apply for these roles (via the Cafe) – I wrote rather stuffy job descriptions and was amazed with the care people took to apply, and it was extremely hard to choose people. Ivy Norsk is now FashCon Content Moderator – she will address issues of notice content, reminding designers of the rules on content and ensuring all you buyers get the notices you signed up for; and PK Emmons is my Kiosk Maintainer, who will deal with queries from designers about joining FashCon and kiosks, and in due course take over the weekend runs of data analysis from the kiosks and updating the HUD.

You’re most likely to speak with Ivy or PK if you’re a designer, but as they get settled in I’ll be automatically forwarding queries about content and kiosks to them both, and you’ll often hear from them, not me. If you do, please don’t think I’m being unfriendly – my support notecard folder has 100-200 notecards per month in it, and I get a whole lot more IM requests (which you shouldn’t do! I strictly only deal with questions on notecards not IM now). Also, when they speak to you, please understand they are formal members of FashCon staff and carry my authority (no sniggering at the back!). In other words, if they ask you do something, it’s me asking, so be nice and obey the law. Drive safely now.

Also I have to say thanks again to those group members who have volunteered to help out calming the storm that is group IMs – they aren’t staff members and do this gratis, and are very helpful, as I’ve never had any staff until today. And in the context, for anyone who missed it, group IM policy has CHANGED, and is explained in my last notice Summary: don’t use group IM at all anymore – instead join the Fashion Consolidated Cafe group.

Secondly, I’ve added another weekly chunk of new designers to the group, who you will see on the FashCon Who page – I’ve also added them to the FashCon HUD.  If you don’t have a HUD it’s freely available in the boxes on the floor outside the FashCon Cafe. If you have the HUD already (and 550 people updated to a new one last week!), just load up your existing FashCon Tour HUD and it’ll send you an update. I hope to organise events like organised tours based around the HUD soon, so get one now! Designers: I often get asked if you can be added to the HUD and website with the full SLurl/blog/SLX/Onrez links you see for new designers there – to get this, just buy a kiosk – see http://fashcon.com/apply – and fill in the notecard and texture inside. Please consider buying one if you don’t have one – FashCon needs people to move over to the new system to make admin easier. Thanks!

Finally, as offline notices are still broken, I’m going to be sending out these newsletter in notices twice, to make sure everyone sees them. Think of it as dejavu.

That’s all folks.
*Wiggle*
Honey Fairweather <3

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Effective immediately, FashCon Group IM policy has changed: group IMs of any type are now NOT ALLOWED in the Fashion Consolidated group IM channel. The only valid place to talk about any aspect of FashCon, a recent notice, anything, is the Fashion Consolidated Cafe group – note the “Cafe” on the end. You must join this second group to talk to other FashCon members. It’s a great group, with a lot of designers, fashionistas and lovely people, and you should join up too.

The ONLY valid response to type in Fashion Consolidated group IM now is to send the URL “http://fashcon.com/oops” to someone who hasn’t read this policy. Spammers will be removed from the group. Anyone shouting “spam” or “shut up” will also likely be removed. Responding to someone who didn’t send “http://fashcon.com/oops” is not allowed. Doing ANYTHING to propagate group IM is likely to put you at risk. I repeat: anyone who sends anything more than this URL is at risk from expulsion.

Why?
Because through my full year of campaigning for better group support from Linden Lab, they’ve not been able to deliver on most of the requests. They are promising big changes soon, but the first incarnation of their proposals was pretty worrying, and I’m not expecting big improvements soon. Group IM in large groups like FashCon just doesn’t function, delays, closes, confuses everyone, and the policy to allow group IMs for recent notice comments isn’t tenable any more. So it’s over, and you need to use the Cafe group to discuss anything now, if you like talking.

This policy will be enforced very strictly.

Webpages to be updated when I can, but this policy is in effect NOW. Please see below (under “Continue Reading”) for how you can help FashCon with this and other things like group IM spam. If FashCon helped you, please help it back now.

On a final note, I hate to whine, but I spent a full 8 hours flat doing FashCon administration today, logged off for three hours and came back to 12 IMs (+2 since I started typing this paragraph) all demanding my action on something, and 9 notecards, some of them pages long, all wanting replies. This isn’t my fulltime or part-time job, and it’s getting ridiculous. Please remember if you’re thinking of contacting me, unless your house is falling down, don’t, because there is a floating population of 6000 others who may be doing the same. I do not answer IMs, and will not answer IMs. I will only respond to issues in kiosk support, to provide as good a service as I can, and to issues that threaten the very fabric of FashCon. Seriously. The End.

Look out for some FashCon staff appointments soon.

Honey

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