There are residents in Second Life who take great pleasure in helping newcomers. Whether you call them mentors or greeters or unpaid support doesn’t matter, they enjoy putting in the time and effort to try and smooth the path for new arrivals. These dedicated volunteers provide the necessary basic training, tips and landmarks that assist those faced with the bewildering learning curve that is associated with the viewer and the grid.
Some work on private land such as White Tiger Mentors↑ or NCI↑, other experienced and knowledgeable individuals spend their time on the Linden owned orientation sims such as Help Island Public↑. Although they all provide an essential service, the volunteers on private land have tools that aren’t available to those working on the initial landing spots for new residents. The latter are missing some basic powers.
For example, the other night mentors were working with fresh-faced arrivals on Help Island and an asshat arrived and proceeded to voice-rant with foul, disturbing, obscene and offensive language. The other newbies were (understandably) upset and, since voice is on by default when you arrive, they couldn’t avoid hearing the jerk because they hadn’t learned yet to mute. They kept asking why nobody did anything about him.
If this occurs at say White Tiger, the people with land admin rights can take care of it. Volunteers at Help Island don’t have that ability. What they can do is a/r the person and then wait for assistance. You and I both know what happens. Nothing.
At one time there was (what seemed like) an army of Lindens who could appear to deal with griefers and trolls and pedophiles and underage avatars. Certain a/r classifications triggered almost immediate action. That army is long gone, this type of support has been contracted out. In the real world outsourcing often means contracting with people in other countries. In the metaverse it involves something similar.
I don’t think outsourcing itself is the issue. The problem, I believe, is that the Lab has contracted with people who spend their time in other worlds and mmorpgs. These are active players who concentrate on battling Orcs or street racing or destroying enemy space flotillas. They understand how to deal with the issues they’ve been hired to address but they’re also a little preoccupied.
The method used to transmit an urgent a/r to them is a mystery to me. Maybe it’s via email. However, if somebody is screaming a totally menacing “Lok’tar Ogar” and racing into battle, or about to engage mano-a-mano with the biggest baddest sleazeball in their universe, they aren’t going to care about our pissant little problems. At least not immediately. They’ll get around to it – just as soon as they’re crowned King of I’mAnOrcDon’tMessWithMe and have some spare time.
One solution might be to give volunteers some powers on Linden orientation sims. However, there are rogue mentors and that wouldn’t be good. Another would be to have new arrivals automatically sent to places like White Tiger. That would only work if the Lab subsidized their tier and we know that won’t happen. So, we need to incent the people who are actually being paid to provide this support. I have a solution.
We have a President with contacts in the netherworld of mmorpgs. It is to be hoped that he has good relationships with the owners/developers of these games that are the true homebase of our support personnel. I say we send him out to negotiate some interworld equivalencies.
In exchange for actually doing their job in Second Life, our contractors would receive points in their preferred environments. Kill/kick/torture/remove a troll or griefer in Second Life and they could level up at home. Think of it – we would get timely, responsive, support and they could get new weapons and magical powers.
Gamification of support seems like an idea whose time has come. In addition, wouldn’t it be cool to have some really scary badass support personnel around? The metaverse would benefit, we’d get some peace and quiet and the Orcs would thrive.
Works for me.