Saturday, February 9, 2008

Group Limits: A Mean Girls' Perspective

Remember when the Group Limit was 10?

A little before my time but it changed not shortly before I joined Second Life. It’s been 25 for a while, but since the Group Limit was raised, there’s been thousands and thousands of new Groups created for everything from establishments (stores, clubs etc) to fan clubs/friends lists for various individuals.

I doubt Linden Labs realized just how much Groups were going to explode when they raised the limit, but now it’s elevated to the point that most people (myself included) have no room left to add any more Groups without sacrificing others.

There’s been a few Notecard petitions going around asking LL to raise the Group limit, two most notably from Kiana Writer and Sirhc Martinek. So far they’ve both gain a few hundred signatures as well as many other folks passing the notecards around. I’ve personally gotten a copy of Kiana’s and it’s actually very well written. Mano Nevadan started the issue on JIRA and it continues to harvest votes from various residents.

But why all the hype?

Well I can speak from personal experience as a DJ on Second Life that MOST venues need at least 2 groups (1 for patrons and 1 for staff) to run efficiently. Sanctuary Rock, by itself, has 7 just to handle all the different aspects of the Sim. Retail stores that do any sort of satellite mall locations often have to join a Vendor Group in order to have certain permissions on the land. On top of that, many have a Group to send out updates on. That knocks out a lot of Group slots right there. I know that there’s the relatively new Subscribe-o-Matic system used by a lot of businesses now, but it can cost as much as L$5990 a month to maintain as opposed to Groups which are still free.

On top of that, most Residential Sims ask that you create (or join) a Group so that more than one person who lives on the land can access/change things on the property. Others often use Groups to keep in touch with friends or promote contests and other special events.

Linden Labs insists that the reason why they haven’t raised Group Limits already is due to the fact that, “...the current infrastructure barely supports the 25 limit (group chat lag, issues with notices, server load)...” Translation: Group Chats and Notices already drive the SL bandwidth almost to capacity even with the 25 group limit. This is why with the introduction of (already out on the Release Candidate Viewer) you’ll have the option to turn off Group Chat (though I think it turns off ALL Chat instead of individual Groups). Will this solve the bandwidth problem? That remains to be seen.

I personally think that even raising the Group Limit to 50 or 100 still won’t be enough. Hundreds of new Groups are started every day, and the L$100 fee doesn’t seem to deter anyone from creating them. There has to be some sort of compromise made so that residents are happy and Linden Labs can cut down on server problems.

Only time will tell...

1 comment:

Jane2 said...

Technically, Linden Lab has a valid point.

Can't some of that be managed outside of SL, ie by Google groups or Subscribe-o-Matic? It's gotten to the point that friends want to create a group for their partnerings...I have no room for that, but look rude if I say no.

I love subscribe-o-matic...I belong to about 25 retail groups through it, and as a consumer, it works great.