Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Groups, Groups everywhere and not the Space to Think
Clover has an interesting post about her manner of doing group invitations, and the differences between Groups (of which we have 42 in Second Life now, up from twenty) and Subscribos (of which there are a couple - Hippo being my favorite for reasons I'll outline below). I'd comment there, but I have neither of the accounts required to comment, so I started a reply here and it rather spiraled out of control. You see, I am in a constant fight with managing my groups and balancing what is difficult to rejoin versus how I want to spend my time.
I roleplay, which often has a number of extemporaneous groups (usually an IC, an OOC, and then race or class groups; staff groups if you're on staff). I also have become a Fashion Blogger of sorts, and stores usually have official groups for releasing items (I'm in four or five of them, I believe, and I've dropped the main groups for all of the stores I blog for where I had been in their main group due to needing to free up spaces). I also started taking part on the Fantasy Faire and SL9, both of which have groups; the former I'm hanging onto but it may be dropped soon to free up space. In addition I have easily a half dozen groups where I had to do something extra or pay linden to join them - store groups all which give good group gifts or which I enjoy the chat of. And I'm in one midnight mania/lucky chair group aimed at goths. Finally, I have a land and friends group I'm in, which I need to rez things at my home.
Groups have a number of capabilities: 1) easy communication through group chat; 2) sharing of objects and notecards through notices, 3) sharing of cost and money for land, 4) voting on proposals, and 5) controlling who is in the group with stipulations on group membership. Purposes for groups are more variable, and often don't require the full capabilities of groups. The following is a list of how groups are often used, in my experience:
Land/Event Groups - for rental properties, events with land, and sharing with friends; needs the ability to share tier and cost of land, proposals might be useful depending on how the land is governed; easy communication and sharing of objects could be useful but may often be neglected. Group addition may be open or need to be controlled. This kind of group may also be used to set up land moderators and widen who can, for example, return things left by people on shared land under the authority of the land owner.
Roleplaying Groups - for roleplaying sims, used to build community, allow building on the roleplaying sims, share information and objects. Some roleplaying groups may also share teir, making some roleplaying groups also one of the few groups which utilize the full capabilities of Second Life Groups. Often there are multiple different chats and threads of information sharing needed, though, for sub-groups within the roleplay, leading to anywhere form 2-10 group slots - only one of which allows for building access.
Store/Club Groups - for communication and sharing of gifts, and sometimes custom titles. Do not need the ability to share tier and cost of land, and sometimes those abilities cause problems when a group owner sets them wrongly. Needs a reliable way of sharing objects and notecards through notices. Some allow group chat, but that can become a beacon for drama depending on the people in the chat, which means appointing moderators (which can be its own source of drama). Group addition is often a free-for all and/or has an associated cost to help the owner keep people in his or her group (I've seen costs range from 10$L to 500$L). May also be used to restrict access to things like Midnight Manias, Lucky Chairs, and Costume Contests to serve as perks for group members.
Advertizing Groups - Much like store groups, but a much more limited number of people and usually no associated cost; group addition needs to be controlled by the advertiser. No need for ability to share tier and cost, and group chat is usually of limited use.
The bulk of group abilities are things which often aren't used, though - the land and property management abilities. I have maybe a handful of groups I'm in which afford anything of the sort and yet all 42 contain all the code and requirements of the rest. Most of the groups I'm in are centered on the sharing of objects and notecards - contrary to Clover, I love notecards because they let me manage notices of things when I want to, rather than whenever they come in; I'm often busy, be it with roleplaying, photographing, or just chatting with friends. These uses became so central to communication in Second Life that subscribos popped up; free for small groups, they begin to cost the owner at certain levels (usually around 500 people), and so can be unpopular on the owner side. The subscribo I like the most, Hippo, allows for management of your subscriptions through a website, which means it becomes easy to resend items to yourself and leave groups. Other systems work through in-store centers, which also are reasonably easy to manage unless you're banned from the sim in question.Subscribos are only a delivery service, and since one can be added to them manually, there are some instances of people building up spam directories - I personally haven't dealt with that much, though. I am part of a couple dozen subscribos, though, some of which I may be removing as time goes on.
The second most often used thing is Group Chat - but many people become annoyed with them. I'm part of one group which chats frequently, and we would easily get one or two people a week complaining when it was really busy. I tend to keep my groups with active chat to around two or three; more can become very spammish and difficult to follow. Some of my groups mention free items, which can be useful if I'm free to pop around hitting midnight manias and catching lucky chairs. There is no substitute for group chat that I'm aware of, which I think is a shame - if things were more piecemeal, then the complains might be cut down on since people would have to opt in for chat, rather than having it set automatically and often unnoted.
I've long thought Second Life might be better served by a reorganization of groups around how they are currently used in Second Life, but I'm not quite sure how that would come about. Perhaps making the group settings more modular might work - store owners could pick what purposes they wanted for the group, and group limits could be reset accordingly to allow for store owners to have simple subscribo-like groups - but maintain the requirement that residents agree to be opted in, to correct for some of the subscribo abuse. My guess is they're moving toward trying to make item delivery more fool-proof; the delivery section of the inventory seems to solidly point that way - if there were some sort of mailbox available even when an account was logged out to stockpile what was given, that would go a long way to solving some of the problems with communication in Second Life. I know Direct Delivery ended up being a nightmare for the marketplace, but I have hopes that one it's bug-free it might solve more problems than it causes.
Quick note about the clothing - The Sweater Dress (with leggings, rigged mesh) and the Anais Boots are both on sale at Aleida (a new to me store), which is sadly closing and has her considerable and well-made inventory on sale; I've spent a mint there. The green sweater dress is currently mis-set to sell the blue, but I anticipate that to change very soon; the store creator was simply lovely in IMs but very busy. The Rainbow Hat (unrigged mesh) is a group gift from De La Soul and is anticipating a broader release in less rainbowtastic hues; join now and find it in the past notices. The glasses are a new release from Eclectica, and the hair is a new release from Wasabi Pills.
( More pictures here. )
Skin: De La Soul, Aestali - Cream Rose (promotional item)
Eyes: De La Soul, Rainbow MESH (promotional item)
Ears: Illusion, Seelie Ears
Eyelashes: *X*plosion, PrimLashes
Lipstick: Mock, Micare LipGlimmer - Beautiful Froly
Glasses: Eclectica, 50's Glasses - Scrolls and Pearls
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Mesh Cookie Hair - tinted to match shoes (promotional item)
Hat: De La Soul, Witchy Hat - Rainbow Draong (Group Gift)
Wings: Illusions, Chibi Angel Wing
Jewelry: Eclectica, Pearl Mixables - Deco
Dress: Aleida, Johanne Long Pullover - ocean (Heavily Discounted - Closing Sale)
Shoes: Aleida, Anais boots - plum (Heavily Discounted - Closing Sale)
Location: Alchemy Immortalis
Light Settings: TOR, FOGGY Das Fog
Water Settings: Glassy
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only