Wednesday, February 1, 2012

in the end, in the end, it's time for us to lose our weary minds

More activity on the JIRA I mentioned yesterday. First of all, SL Universe has noticed the inventory throttling. One user there recommended a work-around--following folks who have profiles online (like Ash Soyinka), because their follow stream will announce new products just as easily.

For me, at least, there are problems with this solution. Namely:
  • I try not to use any more than I have to. I think it's invasive and I prefer in-world profiles, not that we're ever going to get them back.
  • Between updating Tumblr, this blog, Twitter, having an online life, and having an off-line life, I just don't have the time to hit "follow" on every potential merchant I might be on a subscribe-o-matic for.
  • Plus, I'll still run into the problem of when I'm accessing the followed feeds--assuming I have time, and assuming I care to even check, then I'm still having to remember to check on at least a daily basis, if not several times a day, to ensure I don't miss any potential release. Who wants to do that?
But some more quotes for a bit:
Messaging systems are an essential way of communicating with customers, who want to be informed of what a business is doing. We use a messaging system like this so that those who don't want to be part of a group, or haven't the inworld group room can be kept informed. This is not unwanted spam, they choose to subscribe, and can opt out anytime.

It would be helpful to know what the cap will be (or is) in terms of rate of sending or number of inventory items, so we can devise some kind of plan of action.

I've 3000 subscribers, who I don't want to loose or abandon because I cannot communicate with them effectively.
~Chrissy Ambrose, maker of jewelry, pumps and boots, and prim nails.
Kelly Linden responded:
With 3k subscribers you will want to send slow enough that it takes ~45 minutes to send 1 item to each subscriber.

A general safe way would be to send ~2k as fast as you can, then wait 31 minutes and send another 2k.
Kelly still doesn't seem to realize--or care about--the basic problem.

Let's take the examples quoted above. Small store, "small" group (I don't consider 3000 to be a small group, but hey), 3000 names on the list. Send 2000 of the names first, then the last 1000 half an hour later.

Right there, before we get into larger stores, there's a problem. First, most subscription systems send all at once, or try to--I mean, the scripting will delay so that a notecard goes to Ally Alucard first, then Bessinda Balustrade, then Connor Cincture, and so on. But most subscription kiosks out there, from any maker, can't specify "only send to the first 600 names on the list", say. They're just not rigged for it.

But let's accept that figure: forty-five minutes to send one notecard to 3000 users. Okay. Fine. That's a pain, but fine.

What happens when you have 20,000 users? What happens when you have 80,000 users? Assuming the throttle rate of five thousand per hour (quoted by Kelly earlier, though even he doubts that this is the actual rate), you're sending each name on that list one inventory item every 1.8 seconds, aren't you? If that figure's even accurate.

Except you can't do that, can you? Because of the total burst throttle, which kicks in when the hour changes over.

Which means the entire process would be easier to simply convert to sending notecards, gifts, IMs, individually--because it's just about as much hassle to do it using a subscription service.

(Also, Garmin Kawaguichi adds this:
21.000 / 0.75 = around 4.5 hours
(Huh. Okay, then. That seems like a long time to me.)
I have 21,000 subscribers Kelly, what do you suggest I do?
~Ivey Deschanel, owner of SN@TCH and the sims that SN@TCH and many other stores rely on; she makes clothing, lingerie, eyes, skins, jewelry, skyboxen, pumps and boots, glasses, wings, hats, gloves, belts, hair accessories, scarves, eyes, tattoos, shapes, and makeup layers, in addition to owning several sims, one of them hosting the Pulse "haunted house" every October, featuring dozens of items from several designers each year.
And an additional from Ms. Deschanel:
Maybe they'll be concerned when most of the major stores and venues can't afford to pay tier on all their sims because they can't make announcements on new releases, sales and events. But probably not. I swear sometimes I feel that they are trying to drive us all away from SL.
Frankly, Ivey? I really don't think the Lindens care. And as I've said before, I think the Lindens are trying to drive everyone off their systems. I still don't have any idea why, though.
Basically don't use a vendor system, and a subscriber at the same time and you'll be ok. After all, why would a store send a notice and then expect vendors to actually deliver items using llGiveInventory. After all, merchants with stores just send out notices saying hi, they don't really expect customers to go shopping after a new release.
~Cara Ametza, part of Treasured Cove Sculpts, selling sculpt maps, textures, scripts, and tutorials--essentially, supplying businesses with items to make to sell in their own businesses, which makes their subscription notices just as, if not more, vital to get out to customers.
I'm also not going to link Alchemy Cyannis' response here, but I do enthusiastically recommend everyone go read it themselves, because it's well worth your time.

And--something I missed the first time out--this comment:
This is extremely concerning for me.

I operate the 7Seas Fishing Game. Every time someone catches a fish, it hits my item server to deliver that fish. At any given point there could be hundreds of fishers active across SL, all hitting my region, all hitting my scripts, all hitting llGiveInventory.

This is not griefing, this is a legitimate use of SL scripting which is being impacted. I don't know yet if our output will hit the throttle, but if it negatively affects my business, I'm not sure what I can do. Load distribution across multiple regions just to avoid the throttle is not easily implemented on this short notice.
~Seven Shikami, creator of several vintage video games playable in SL, and the still wildly popular 7Seas fishing game, which--as of this update--is completely broken by the inventory throttling.
This is a great example of a business which is going to utterly fail if a solution--or even a workaround--isn't discovered, and soon. Because Seven has no idea how many people are fishing off their own servers, or participating in impromptu tournaments, or just standing in some store catching fish because they want to.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stores who run 7Seas servers; there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who've bought individual servers for their homes as a hobby. There are sim owners who've bought multiple servers to put out on their sims, as a general 'gathering hole' for conversation and fish collecting. It's not a small game on the grid.

But this particular inventory throttling will essentially cap when 5000 requests are sent to Seven, and 5000 fish are sent out; up to one hour later, that throttling will ease, and then if 5000 more requests are sent, and 5000 more fish sent out, the throttling chokes the feed again.

How many people will continue to fish if they don't get fish in return? How many people will pause for even three seconds and consider it might not be Seven's fault? Of course they won't--they'll immediately send an IM or a notecard to Seven, complaining. Which is just going to add stress to this whole situation that's absolutely unnecessary.


Winter Ventura said...

Because this includes all obect givers in a sim owned by the same person, this means that a notecard giver can effectively shut down your vendors, and SLMarketplace magic box.

To work around this problem, I will probably move my newsletter box to my least used land.

But I was already considering returning to the "Store Group" concept and using group announcements.. so this may be another point in favor of doing that.

Emilly Orr said...

Basically, the simple "fix" for this--for now--seems to be moving Marketplace boxes to another sim, if the merchant has one, or re-listing everything on Marketplace under an alt's name, which is painfully cumbersome for large stores.

This does seem to be another case where the Lindens realized there was a mosquito problem, so nuked the town from orbit rather than just lighting a citronella candle on the porch. So very, very heavy on the overkill side, and creating more problems than it cleared up.