The Problem with Outsourcing in Second Life

Slaughterhouse (moderate)

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.

Slaughterhouse (moderate)

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.

Slaughterhouse (moderate)

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.

Slaughterhouse (moderate)

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.

Slaughterhouse (moderate)
Leave a comment


  1. Lane

     /  October 21, 2012

    An immediate thought I have is that alts would be created to cause the griefing problem in order to gain a new level or power.

  2. You hit a lot of buttons, Honour, and all of them true as far as I’m concerned. The way you discribed the hopelessness of handling griefers at Help Island really hit home. The Lab has more important things to do with it’s money though, doesn’t it? Btw, do newbies still find their way to Help Island?

    • They do, there was a group of them there during this incident. I doubt they were encouraged to stick around, though, by the experience.

  3. Yes, this was suggested a long while back, without powers to evict ban or mute the griefers have the upper hand… totally agree

    • A mentor I respect, and who is one of the scariest people I know when confronted with assholes, said there are just too many “rogue” helpers to start giving power to volunteers. The process of deciding who deserved and could handle the powers would require some effort on the Lab side and, I suspect, would not be seen as time well spent. I don’t think it will happen.
      What should happen is that “staff” would be available 24/7 to provide the backup these people deserve. If they call then somebody should come running.

  1. The Problem with Outsourcing in Second Life | Second Life and Virtual Worlds |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: