• 16Aug

    Yesterday evening before logging off, I was invited to the Instructors group. Today, I encountered my first example of chatter in the Instructor group IM channel. Someone couldn’t figure out a scripting-related issue for his own project, and so they decided to ask in the Instructors channel.

    Do not do this. This is wrong.

    The Instructors channel is for Instructors to discuss issues related to teaching in Second Life. It is not a scripting helpline, nor a basic building workshop, nor a gossip hub. There are other groups for all those things. Use them.

    When I applied for the Instructors program, I was fully aware that there would be stupid chatter. I had heard my Instructor friends complaining about it, and seen forum threads like the one linked above. I knew exactly what I was getting into.

    And I am going to fight it.

    Our script-nescient friend got a few replies from other instructors. If it had ended there, or perhaps moved to a private IM session with someone who was willing to help him, I would have let it go. After a minute or so of back-and-forth petty chatter between two instructors, I (politely) suggested that they continue the conversation in private IM or another, more on-topic channel. They responded that I could just close the IM window if I didn’t want to hear it. One even drew me a helpful ASCII diagram with an arrow pointing towards the Close button.

    Charming, but they missed the point.

    If you were to come to a Real-Life meeting of baked goods enthusiasts and start blathering about how much you love kittens, you would be asked to leave. Even if some of the people at the meeting also liked kittens, it is not the proper channel for discussion of the merits of our furry friends. The people there came to talk about baked goods. If they wanted to talk about kittens, they would have gone to a meeting of kittens enthusiasts. You would be wasting everybody’s time, and hindering their ability to do what they came there to do.

    There are a lot of helpful and knowledgeable people in the Instructors group. Indeed, Instructors, by their nature, tend to be helpful and knowledgeable people. If you have a question, chances are one of the many Instructors will be able and willing to answer it. But if you ask the Instructors group a question that is unrelated to the topic of teaching in Second Life, you are spitting on the proper purpose of the channel, and wasting the time of everyone who upholds that proper purpose.

    But this blog isn’t called I Like to Whine Without Offering Solutions, it’s called If I Ruled The Grid! Time for some proposed action.

    1. Linden Labs should decouple the Instructors group from the Instructor benefits. Some people want to teach without being constantly exposed to useless chatter.
    2. Linden Labs should clearly state the purpose of the Instructors group in the group charter, and deal with abuses of the group channel. Chatter is a serious drain of resources, and should result in a warning on the first offense, and removal from the group on the second offense.
    3. Instructors should refuse to answer off-topic questions asked in the group.
    4. If you do feel compelled to answer it, answer it in private IM with the invidual, then tell him not to ask in the group again. For the purposes of signalling to other Instructors that you are handling the question, it is acceptable to make a brief reply to the group first.

    I can’t say I expect either #1 or #2 to happen. Linden Labs has demonstrated that it is not concerned whether it alienates the dedicated individuals who shape the Grid and make our Second Lives enjoyable.

    [Edit: Just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "S" in Linden Lab. Many thanks to Mera for pointing this out. -J 08/17/06]

    Posted by Jacek Antonelli @ 1:38 am

One Response

  • Mera Says:

    Wow. Come out of the corner swinging, why donít you. :) Instructors used to be, are at times are, the most quiet of the volunteer groups. Itís been getting gradually worse lately.

    And to be nit-picky, itís Linden Lab. :)

    Congrats on the siteÖand thanks for the linkage, however incestual it may be.