Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Quest For Perfection

Vint 'lost' one of her notecards the other day. It was a configuration notecard for her AO. When she clicked on it, the dreaded "cannot find in database" error came up. She lost it and its not recoverable. I recently lost a very important item to me, something worth a bunch of money, time, and sentimental value.

Guess what? I don't expect to ever get it back. Am I annoyed? Yes. Do I expect it to happen again? Yes. Do I think LL can prevent it? No.

I don't want to go into Apologetics, but I will a little to explain my reasoning. Linden Labs cannot prevent it, they can minimize it, but they cannot prevent it. Loss of data and things breaking is a fact of life. Just because it is inside a computer does not mean the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not apply.

When your plumbing breaks in your house, do you expect the plumber to fix it so that it *can't* happen again? No. When you buy a new car, do you expect it to *never* break? No.

Why do we hold Linden Labs to a higher standard than everyone else around us? Because they deal with money? Because we spent $5 on a nifty widget?

Banks and brokerages have the same problem. Money goes missing, accounts lose transactions, and financial records are lost. They do two things LL needs to work to achieve, one, they work to make their systems as 'accident proof' as possible, something that LL is actually good at considering the huge number of assets created and destroyed all the time, and two, they have good customer service to resolve 'claims'. This is an area that Linden Labs needs to become far better at. There needs to be a better customer service 'claims' system

So, I miss my stuff. I really wish I had it back. Do I expect to see it again? No. I've begun the process of rebuying better versions of what I had before. I'm taking this opportunity to do it better. So, I'm trading my old car in for a newer model, as it were.

I can sit around with a sour puss on my face because of the lemon I've been dealt complaining to LL to take the lemon away, or I can make lemonade. Right now, I'm enjoying a nice glass of Lemonade wondering why I didn't do this before.


vint falken said...

No, not because we think they are plumbers, but because we trusted them. They used the word 'own' the whole time... own land, own virtual stuff, own a car, own a house...

Some of us pay them, some of us don't but the basic is that we trust them with our house, car, collar, land, AO notecard, ears, eyes and tail.

When I trust something to someone, but he clearly states that the object is still mine and that person looses it: I'm mad.

When you pay 50 cent somewhere to guard/keep safe your coat (even when that is obliged) those people are obliged to hand you back your coat. If it's damaged or lost, they need to replace or at least refund it's value.

Hosting services - LL says it's a hosting service now, not that we own anything any more - have often agreements that state that they are not liable for damages due to data loss and such? no? Yet, they have back ups. If I loose something - be it my our there error - they can most of the time - after a simple email from me - reinstate the database the the previous state (normally not even 12 hours old). We except the same from LL, and is that such a bad thing?

Anyway, I would gladly pay LL the amount I pay my hosting service, as for that money, I can ask that my inventory can be 'rolled back'. That what was there 12 hours ago will be there again. *still searches for her throne*

Just my 0.02L$. ;)

Tiessa said...

I agree with you that LL should have the ability to rollback, retrieve, or reimburse us for losses. I think my original point that we should expect losses is still true.

We should expect the incidence rate of the losses to reduce over time and we should expect the responsiveness to customer complaints and issues to increase.

I am annoyed that they cannot, or will not, handle issues like this at the moment. That has to be fixed.

vint falken said...

Hmmm. No.

We must expect no losses as a starting point. But we must do realise that flaws and errors may happen, so if taken care with the customer support and stuff, we could forgive them.

Sadly enough, atm, there are losses, and no customer support concerning that?

Tiessa said...

I guess we will have to disagree on this because what we should *expect* is losses and we should *expect* a robust method of resolving losses. What we *want* is that losses never happen.

But confusing what we want for what we expect is why Linden Labs is acting like this. They *expect* there to be no losses, therefore they don't have a good process for resolving them. They should *expect* losses and provide for them not just hope that they don't happen.

When designing systems, always expect losses - that is the reason the space shuttle has five redundant computer systems. The designers expected problems. Linden Labs should expect problems and be ready with a great way to solve them.

They should *not* be sticking their head in the sand saying "acceptable losses" or "this really isn't happening, it's a fluke, our system is *perfect*."