As the virtual world Second Life has grown and grown, with its total number of users heading into the several hundreds of thousands and concurrent users nearing 40,000, it has been going through some very visible growing pains.
Now many of the most visible members of the Second Life community, including land baroness Anshe Chung, as well as many others, are circulating an open letter to the virtual world's publisher, Linden Lab, spelling out their concerns and clamoring for positive action.
Among the problems identified are regular issues with grid stability--that is, that the virtual world's performance is suffering in many ways; inventory loss--that through successive new versions of the Second Life software people are losing items they've bought and can't get them back; build tool problems--that the basic design elements break too often; and more.
"In the past eighteen months, Second Life has expanded, growing from a small community of early adopters to a platform supporting millions of users," the letter begins. "There are some consistent, ongoing problems that are getting worse under heavy load, not better, and are not simply irritants but problems that are causing financial loss in some cases, which is unacceptable."
According to the organizer of the letter campaign, Cristiano Diaz, who is known in Second Life as Cristiano Midnight, the letter will be run on many Web sites and blogs related to the virtual world, and that there are already several hundred signatories.
For anyone who has been around Second Life for a while, many of these problems are quite familiar, and Diaz and the signatories clearly hope that by bringing more public awareness to the ongoing issues, Linden Lab may take it upon itself to do more to address them.
"It is not an effort to embarrass or anger Linden Lab, who we do have a great amount of respect for," Diaz wrote, explaining the letter. "It is simply using the tools we have available to express ourselves collectively, since other outlets have been removed."
It will be very interesting to see how Linden Lab responds or reacts, if at all.