I'm in on the island this evening doing some maintenance, and I get this message sent to me via a general broadcast from Linden Labs:
"There is a hardware issue which is affecting some resident’s ability to log in. Some residents inworld may not appear in search, or may appear to be offline. Affected residents may also experience problems rezzing items or making transactions. To be safe, we reccomentd all residents refrain from rezzing no copy items or making transactions until the all clear is given. Some groups may also experience issues related to group abilites. Ops is at work correcting the problem. Please monitor the Second Life grid Status Report, http://tinyurl.com/5e20pk, for further information."
The thing that immediately strikes me- I am sure that this message will go to everyone logging into the system, and it could set people who are new to this environment on edge. It makes me as a seasoned user nervous to do anything in Second Life at the moment- considering if I do something irreversible, I may not be able to get help fixing it. I am not a SL rock star by any means.. so I am not likely to get immediate service, and I can't afford down time.
This is one of the things that piques my interest about the open source platform of Wunderland. When SL has problems, they only have so many people trained to respond. Were we as an academic community to embrace an open source virtual world standard, we could be our own response team. Our only limit then is time, and impetus- and I know MANY passionate folk in education around virtual spaces.
I post this in presenting the thought to our group- what will "support" mean for users of our environment? Can we expect to hold course learning experiences where students pay for a high quality interaction, when our avatars live through such great challenges trying to guarantee a safe and stable place to learn in the metaverse?
I believe it's possible, but then.. you all know, I am a dreamer. ;)