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Second Life’s most prolific output would have to be conflicting advice.

For every person who tells you one thing, there’s dozens more who’ll tell you the opposite thing, or any of a thousand conflicting variations. Conflicting opinions are pretty much the gross domestic product of Second Life.

Should Linden Lab focus on fixing bugs at the expense of new features? Many of us would say yes. Just as many would say no, that Second Life is looking outdated and needs some nice shiny features to keep it going and that the bugs can wait. Still others counsel that there needs to be a balance between the two and that priority should be given to a subset of fixes and features. Not many of them can agree on just which fixes and features should have that priority.

Here, Linden Lab has my sympathy. Almost every single active user is standing by to tell the Lab something different, that some thing is more or less important than another thing, that they should be doing something in a specific way, and so on.

How is the Lab to know who to listen to? After all, what makes my advice any better or any worse than yours? If one of us is giving better advice, how would the Lab even figure that out among the thousands of raised voices?

I recall one politician, whose name escapes me, that swore by the idea of a Community Council. A bunch of concerned representatives to gather and focus feedback.

The idea was great, because he said, “You don’t have to listen to any of it.”

Instead of focusing on the issues, everyone basically wound up playing community politics, and trying to discredit individual council members for whatever reason. Send a lackey to sleep through a council presentation, and “try to avoid getting any of it on your hands.”

When the Lab starts talking about improved feedback, I’ve got to wonder exactly how it thinks it is going to get it. Is there actually any way to get useful feedback from such a disparate body of people? Our governments and political systems don’t seem to have figured out how yet – that’s why we’re generally so unhappy with them, as a rule.

I can see a situation where the Lab implements some new feedback mechanism, and gets no more useful feedback than it is getting now. What do you think?

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