Saturday, March 31, 2012

you ruin everything, oh, you better go home

So today, roughly two and a half hours ago from the writing of this post, CommerceTeam Linden sent out an official response to the Marketplace snafu (what I've been calling in my head "the final nail in SL's coffin"). Some of the highlights:
  • according to the Lindens, only a limited number of users are affected
  • most of the problem is due to delivery issues, and they're forcing those deliveries, so really, that's not a problem
  • if you're using a third party viewer, that seems to be your problem
  • they've come up with an involved, and mostly uselessly unworkable, "solution" for people using Mac and Linux computers to get Direct Delivery to work
  • once you delete something, it's gone from your Marketplace inventory, so yay, no problems there [pfffff]
  • if you delete remapped product listings one by one, and don't bulk delete listings, you'll have no more problems [PFFFF]
  • no one has to migrate their Magic Boxes to Direct Delivery until the first of June (which gives people two more whole weeks to get with the program
Or, in the words of a friend:

[7:07:29 PM] Hxxx Rxxxxx: Translation: "We've screwed this pooch, pretty damn badly, so uh, whups. We're going to need a couple of months to make it sturdy enough to not piss off more than 50% of our user base."
[7:09:46 PM] Emilly Orr: Yeah.

I've figured out why this entire thing is bugging me so badly. It's sort of a fifty-fifty issue; one side is clearly "last straw" oriented--there have been so many failures and so much outright bungling on the part of the Lindens to be effective at all--in a virtual world they own--that there's simply nothing left in me that wants to extend the benefit of the doubt.

But the other half is pure, undiluted outrage of the "How dare they?!?" variety. And that comes from personal experience. I know so many people in SL who are disabled, for whom Second Life is their income, because they literally can't do anything else. And it's akin to swallowing acid when I learn about anything that could potentially destroy the chances for survival of a sector of humanity that may already be living on that thin narrow edge as it is.

Because let's face it--if someone's disabled, and receiving roughly half of the average minimum wage fee anyway (and that's monthly, not weekly to start with), and they've actually discovered an ability they can turn into supplemental income...anything that mucks with that (the arrival of Zindra, the changes in official policy, the Marketplace...EVERYTHING) means sending them one more step towards serious consequences. For some of these people, it's not just "Damn, I can't afford that new Xbox" but "Oh hell, I can't pay my rent! Where am I going to live now?"

What they make on SL could be the difference between eating fresh produce and good protein, or eating Ramen noodles. Or it could mean the difference between eating, and not being able to afford food to eat.

What they make on SL could be the difference between getting that monthly bus pass, or being unable to leave the house for a month.

What they make in SL could be the difference between keeping a roof over their heads, and being homeless.

And right now, right now, that growing by leaps and bounds "limited number of users" is realizing that the months of erratic Marketplace behavior, the listings disappearing, the listings being unable to be changed, the listings being unable to be tracked in any meaningful has pretty much imploded into nuclear-level uselessness. Loss of sales, complaints, delivery errors, the wrong makers being paid, the wrong customers being given the products, the products being delivered in multiple batches instead of one client/one product delivery...all the way down to the Lindens being deliberately vague on when things are going to be fixed, after a year of being vague about when things are going to be fixed...

...And some of these people are realizing there's no more that they can cut back and still make ends meet. Some of these people are scrambling to find the next thing to do that will allow them to pay rent, pay utilities, pay for medical insurance, pay for groceries. Because Second Life clearly is no longer that option.

I've ranted a great deal on this blog, about a great many things. In some sense, this is because this is venting space in my mind--though I have readers, I'm still primarily writing about what I want to write about, venting emotionally where I wish, without much regard for hurt feelings along the way.

But this. This strikes a deep, emotional chord in me. I'm finding I'm writing one of these entries, then literally going off to play Minecraft and kill monsters because I am so livid about what's going on. If I were physically standing in front of a Linden--any Linden--the first thing that would come to mind would be to slap them until my arms get tired.

Because this is amateur hour behavior. No big business that wants to remain a big business pulls this crap. There's a fair bit of "Just who do the Lindens think they are, anyway?" fuming, too, because my gods, have they learned nothing over the past two years?

Apparently not. And I still come back to the fact that even the rise of Zindra didn't piss me off to this degree. I keep having to pause to literally calm down because I want to scream and throw things. It's unconscionable to me that this is going on, at all, for any reason.

And I'm absolutely convinced we're not going to see a solution until well after June. (But oh, how I wish I'm wrong on that.)

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