Linden Lab recently announced that it would be ceasing the instructor subsidy program effective December 9—after that date, Linden Lab will no longer pay L$500 per class an Instructor teaches.
Apparently, this both upset and surprised a number of instructors! To them, this is the latest in a series of moves by Linden Lab to destroy everything we used to love about Second Life.
Me? I don’t really care. I have never requested any subsidy payments for my teaching. I don’t want hand-outs, and I’m not teaching as a favor to Linden Lab, so they can keep their money.
I take tips from students. At the end of (almost) every class, I mention that I do take tips, and that a contribution of any size is a good way to tell me that you appreciated the class—but that the class is free, and tips are entirely optional. I get paid iff my students think what I have taught them is worth paying me for.
On only one occasion have I received more in tips than I would have received as a subsidy payment; usually I receive about half. But I know I earned it.
There are two factors which, one might argue, make my situation unusual among instructors (and thus render my opinion on this matter entirely invalid).
- I do not teach in SL as my means of survival. (I teach because I enjoy it, and to make a bit of spending money.)
- The material I teach is not geared towards newbies, but instead Residents who have been in-world for a while and wish to improve their skills for personal or commercial benefit. (Oldbies and professional builders are apparently more likely to have money on hand with which to tip someone who teaches them techniques to improve their building efficiency.)
“Of course you don’t mind,” writes an imaginary instructor. “You don’t need the money, and besides, the way you teach is more profitable! I, on the other hand, have to teach a hundred newbies to put on their own pants just to make enough money to buy a pre-owned can of chicken broth!”
Yes, it’s true: instructors who have been surviving on hand-outs from Linden Lab in return for teaching newbies the utter basics are getting the shaft. Tough break for you? My only advice is to adapt your business model. Find a business to sponsor your class. Start charging for admission. Teach something that people with money will pay you to teach.
Linden Lab is, in some ways, giving themselves and every Resident on the Grid the long-term shaft, too. Hordes of the unwashed masses are already trampling everything; now they will be unwashed, uneducated masses! Terrible, disgusting plebians whose purest motive in SL is to figure out how to attach a giant penis to their own forehead and find the nearest free sex community.
Boy, the Grid is going to /dev/null in a handbasket, I tell ya. It’s enough to make me yearn for ye dayes of olde when a prim was a just a prim, grass textures were greener and never had to rez, and every Resident descended onto Help Island from the immaculate Skybox of knowledge and dedication.
Those were the days.