Amid a healthy dose of skepticism, Second Life publisher Linden Lab held a town hall meeting Thursday to address some of the concerns raised last week in an open letter complaining about many of the most severe performance issues suffered by users of the popular virtual world.
Among the issues raised in the letter were regular issues with grid stability, inventory loss and build tool problems.
During the town hall meeting, which took place in Second Life, Linden Lab CTO Cory Ondrejka answered questions for more than an hour. Many were unrelated to the specific issues raised in the letter, but many others were spot on.
One resident at the meeting asked Ondrejka, "Where does stability and performance fall in the priorities for (Linden Lab) development. There is a problem literally every other day and it seems like there is very much room for improvement in this regard."
To which Ondrejka answered, "Sixty nine percent of the development staff at Linden Lab are currently on scaling and stability. And the percentage is rising over the next few weeks. It is the highest priority and the focus of the majority of our design, coding and QA work."
Asked later if Second Life users should simply be patient and wait for slow change or if they can expect quick resolutions to the most pressing answers, Ondrejka took the middle road.
"The answer, of course, lies somewhere in between," he said. "We are working to fix bugs and enable incremental improvement. At the same time, we are building the foundations for the next-gen architecture that will radically improve our ability to scale."
For the most part, Linden Lab has been mum on precisely what that next-gen architecture would include, though Ondrejka did say it would include a new search system designed to make it easier to find things in-world and to overcome spam problems.
Despite Ondrejka's attempts to mollify resident dissatisfaction with many of the most pressing problems, there was a high degree of hostility on display during the meeting. Many people shouted out--in text, as the entire meeting was conducted in a text format--that they have severe difficulties getting responses from Linden Lab when there are problems.
Ondrejka and other members of the Linden Lab staff told residents that Second Life offers many ways to submit feedback and get direct responses. But some in attendance were not satisfied.
Ondrejka had also answered some of the issues in a blog entry posted Wednesday.
It's notable in any case that Linden Lab is willing to put senior executives on the firing line for unfettered questions so soon after such a public spanking as it received with the open letter. And while residents left without definitive solutions to some of their problems, they had to be impressed that the company was so quick to respond at all.