disclaimer: i am biased toward James – he did us very well in developing Enclave Harbour. he set up a bullet proof server that only crashed once in over two years and that was due to our scripting. if money was no object, we’d still be with James. there’s been loads going on in OSgrid and i can’t speak directly to it because i’m not there but i also know that the James i have known is a great guy and i can’t see him turning into a dork over night. uncertainty and changes lead many people to react out of fear and perhaps that’s fueling drama. i was glad to get the following comment from James and want to present it here objectively. this is presented as informational to the community and not as a speculative piece – there are plenty of other places to vent and contradict and such . . .
First, the only thing OSgrid is struggling to do is to obtain some balance in the conversation. There are quite literally about 40 or 60 avatars out of thousands (8000ish total, a little less than half that active), making all that racket, and I have a growing pile of notecards that just as vigorously support what we are trying to accomplish.
The Town Hall Meeting was created to give people a chance to communicate their concerns and participate. I always stayed out of it because it was always been the same 30 people complaining, and the same 10 trying to be heard but getting shouted down. We have considered several meeting formats that would bring the same sort of order to our Town Hall Meeting as ones held in the real world but none were practical or technologically feasible at this time.
Here is the real story:
1. We have clarified longstanding policies and begun to enforce them uniformly. While there are plenty of good, wholesome use cases for both children and child avatars employed in VR, it is my opinion that OSgrid is simply not one of them. It’s too mature, too wild west, and we do not have the resources to certify that no children are present in some highly adult contexts. The official policy, however, is that no one under eighteen is allowed on OSgrid at any time. Child avatars are not allowed in the public areas controlled by OSgrid. Child avatars are allowed on private regions and lands. OSgrid staff will not attempt to investigate private regions unless a complaint of abuse has been made.
2. While the Administration Team has been restructured, it hasn’t lost any members. In fact, it regained an old and longstanding one: me :) We stand united on these actions, they are anything but unilateral. Our support staff is also increasing. Numerous volunteers are putting in many hours building, scripting, designing and teaching. Our residents are investing their time in OSgrid’s future.
3. The change in the Town Hall Meeting format, to one of suggestion/comment boxes is designed to provide a more balanced, accessible system of communications which gives every resident a chance to be heard. In the “live” Town Hall Meeting, I was barely able to be heard over then din and interruptions. If I can’t be heard, neither can the quietest person in the room. The people who are unable to attend the meetings will also have a chance to get their questions out under the new system. While some may have found the drama entertaining, it certainly didn’t encourage participation. I am hopeful that this new system will.
4. In spite of all of the talk of an exodus, our numbers are down consistently by about 30 avatars – which about accounts for the number who left in a huff – mind you, they weren’t even asked to leave, much less did they get thrown out; they just refused to accept any change and left. But those numbers are recovering rapidly, by about 30 new users per day, and various shifts in concurrency peaks associated with new accounts.
I’m relatively certain that some of those are the old users who left returning with re-rolled characters. As long as they don’t cause trouble, I don’t have concerns over that.
5. We are currently putting together a plan to nearly double the size of the asset server, adding some significant storage performance improvements in terms of hardware speed and software compression of asset blobs. These changes will put us on the road to the future, and should serve the grid well for years to come.
6. Donations took about an $80US/mo hit from this so called ‘exodus’ – this was rapidly replaced with significant numbers of new donations, and several that were cancelled and restarted at higher rates.
7. The legal status of OSgrid as an organization has been less than settled for literally years. That is about to change however, as we have a new organization specialist on board who has a career in the non-profit sector, and he says that we will be just fine; it just takes time to patch these things back together.
TL;DR: OSgrid is in fine shape; better than ever; and that represents a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.