Sunday, November 27, 2005

In which Ordinal expresses Frustrations regarding Modes of Transport, and hopes for a Bright Future

If there is one thing which has annoyed me more even than people rezzing enormous noisy waterfalls next to my home land before I worked out how to restrict spatialised sound, it has been the telehub experience. It's a nice idea in theory; telehubs suck create a de facto community area by making people who want to visit an area teleport to a central location first then make their way to their destination, which should not be more than a few hundred metres away.

In practice what this means is that land around telehubs becomes much more valuable commercially because it's the first thing that people encounter, having no choice in the matter, and tactics for getting your attention become extreme. It's not just a question of immense gaudy adverts everywhere, but also of you actually being constrained in where you can go. It's made worse by the fact that all the data has to be downloaded before you can avoid it, so, in practice, you take off from the telehub, fly for a bit as grey objects slowly appear around you, and then inevitably stop with a thump as you hit something that hasn't fully appeared.

Now comes the fascinating game of "find your way out of a building which you can't see". Let's try going above it... no, I've hit the ceiling. Maybe if I go a bit to the left... no, I'm still bashing my head against the virtual glass like a deranged fly. Often the only way to escape is to wait until the sex motel or shoe mall that you're trapped in has completely come into existence, and then see if you can find your way out. There is no C4 in Second Life. Unfortunately.

I really can't see how this works commercially. I'm not inclined to buy things in places that harass me. All I can think of is that this is land spam - if you throw it in enough people's faces, someone somewhere will buy something and make the effort worthwhile. It also appears to serve the commercial interests of land speculators, whether the tactic works or not, many of whom seem now to be complaining and demanding to be compensated for purchases that they have made which turn out now to be much less valuable - because now, in case you missed the announcements, point to point (P2P) teleportation is being introduced, the details being fairly sketchy details at the moment, but clearly it will mean that visiting telehubs becomes optional. And who would want to visit most of the ones that exist at the moment by choice?

I suppose there might be some ethical point if they have bought land direct from the Lindens at inflated prices when the Lindens knew that they were going to abolish telehubs in the near future, but if they've acquired them on the open market? Tough.

The effect of this on SL commerce isn't actually a point that concerns me in any case (and certainly not the effect on the property market). I'm looking forward to a situation where I can go where I want to go without being funnelled through a laggy sales zone. If that means that the structure of how stuff is sold has to change to one less based on annoying people, that's just an extra bonus.


Blogger Prokofy Neva said...

Your notion of telehubs is very skewed because you've had the experience of being in an avatar trap in a laggy, slow-rezzing sim a few times and decided that's the norm. It isn't.

o None of the telehubs in the new and newest continents up north have telehubs like this. None. They either have NO buildings around them or just a Linden building. For 2560 m2 or more, there is clear space, often with trees. Those building in the area are forced to put off their possible traps quite a distance and you can easily skirt them.

o Most of the telehubs in the south and southeast, i.e. built in the last year, also have plenty of space next to them, and many are nothing like what you describe.

o Newbies constantly use telehubs. Despite whatever Babbage Linden thinks is hard for newbies, all you have to do is watch them to see hundreds using them. How can they know where to teleport to in a p2p system? They have to start somewhere.

Could your hatred of telehubs be linked to your hatred of capitalism? For you, the open market is the problem, not this transportation system. Telehubs facilitate equal access to the market -- and a free market. God bless 'em. SL will be a little totalitarian incubator when they are gone.

11/29/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ordinal Malaprop said...

The fact that newer telehub areas have not had the time to be surrounded with crap does not mean that they won't be - or wouldn't be - and it doesn't mean anything for the vast numbers of existing traps, which for some reason I seem to keep running into. Perhaps I'm cursed. The only areas that are consistently free of them seem to be specifically or necessarily non-commercial ones: combat zones, sandboxes, dedicated land, the coast etc.

It's no easier to find a telehub to start from than it is to find a P2P destination to start from. Nobody thinks of a telehub as a destination. They think of buildings, areas, attractions. Then they use telehubs to get to them. If newbies are so keen on using telehub areas they'll be able to do *precisely* the same thing with P2P in any case - the areas aren't going to suddenly vanish.

And I'm sorry, but the idea that telehubs "facilitate equal access to the market" just does not make sense. They absolutely do not. They make it less convenient for consumers to visit suppliers the further away they are from the telehub. Being close to a telehub requires a large capital investment, restricting small businesses and entrepeneurship. That is not equal access. I would have thought a good free-marketeer would have championed them, but scratch a business success and you find a monopolist perhaps....

P.S. It's freedom I hate, not capitalism.

11/29/2005 10:29:00 AM  

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