Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm Not Dead, but Community Awareness at LL IS

by Cummere Mayo

So I've been gone a while from this blog, and many have noticed I maybe show up to snowstorm about once every couple of months now.
I've pretty much given up on Snowstorm, and for that matter, the "user groups" in general.
Between being invited to do for firestorm what I did for snowstorm, time constraints, and the behavior of certain people at LL, I have put my limited time to use at a place that listens.
Does that mean firestorm takes every idea or feedback I offer and put it to use? Hell no, but they at least listen and discuss.
As a result, in a few short months I've seen many major bugs that only affected a handful of users get fixed, several options that went into firestorm that would NEVER have made it into Snowstorm, and a level of intuitiveness and reliability on firestorm that is, for the most part, unmatched by snowstorm.
Please understand I am not bashing Snowstorm here. Snowstorm has done allot for a team that is so small, constantly turning over members, and whose leadership doesn't use SL in the same ways various parts of the SL community does. Honestly, I think Snowstorm was one of the best things to happen at LL.
However some of the design decisions just fly against common sense. As do many of the non-viewer features.
Social media is a dying trend, and overwhelming numbers of SL residents have shown that they don't want web profiles, twitter-like feeds, etc, and yet LL is forcing them down our throats, and has resorted to yanking the jira and forum accounts of many of those protesting.
Mean time concurrency still hasn't grown. In fact, it is shrinking again. Even within Snowstorm, many of the most requested changes have been dumped or put on hold in favor of being able to integrate changes that aren't wanted or respected by the community. These kinds of decisions are a large part of why LL cannot retain users.

As I said, Snowstorm is one of the best things to happen to LL. However, when it comes down to it, the larger Firestorm team, and the connectivity of the firestorm team to the community has simply meant Firestorm is better prepared to do the job Snowstorm set out to do.
Unlike Snowstorm, Firestorm will use groups, forums, and the jira to solicit feedback, and will sit out and discuss, debate the merits of designs and features, and whatever else. As a result their viewer is growing increasingly distant from LL's despite the fact several firestorm devs and testers are very connected to Snowstorm.

I want to share my personal comparison between the two viewers. I'm going to break it down to a series of simple number scores between the two.

Because it is hard to do a proper table, the first score will be snowstorm and the second will be firestorm. Each score is based on 0 being worst and 10 being best.

intuitiveness: 5 8

customization: 4 8

stability: 7 8

privacy/safety: 4 6

building tools: 5 7

Clothing design: 3 5

Radar: 7 7

Friends perms: 2 7

basic mode: 5 N/A

up-to-dateness: 9 7

profiles: 4 7

bottom bar: 4 10

Sidebar: 4 9

custom menus: n/a 4

retro ui: n/a 5

media filter: 5 8

overall: 5 8

These are just some of my own opinions when comparing the two. I challenge you all to try both and make up your own minds.

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