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A few weeks ago I posted a poll asking how bad Second Life reliability was. Were things getting better or worse? Since the poll requires a LiveJournal login, the pool of respondents was fairly small – only 15 as of this writing – but that was enough to get an intriguing glimpse into the reliability situation. (And by the way, thank you to everyone who responded!)

Before I talk about the results, I should say again how unscientific a poll this was. Instead of being a poll of a wide cross-section of Second Life users, instead I have a poll of people who are probably more interested in Second Life than the norm (because they’re reading and responding to blogs about it), have excellent taste (because they’re reading *my* blog), and have a Second Life Livejournal account (suggesting that they’re fairly literate and like to discuss things). Further, of course even polling Second Life Resis doesn’t give the whole story, because it’s very likely that the people who have the worst reliability problems with Second Life just quit! But then, that might not be true. At one point my computer was crashing a half dozen times a night when I tried to run Second Life, and although to say that was exasperating is a huge understatement, I stuck with it (and eventually got the changes to my computer I needed to make Second Life run well…and recently, to make Second Life run gorgeously. Hello Windlight with a fast graphics card!).

Oh, more non-scientificness: most of the respondents were longtime residents of Second Life, with almost half having accounts for two years or more, and most of the rest having been around for at least a year. That’s surely not a random cross-section! But it means that the people who responded really do have a perspective on how Second Life has been in the past.

So! As you can guess from the title, the general impression was that things are getting better. Of respondents who have been in Second Life for a year or more, 67% felt that reliability was “better” or “much better” than a year ago, while only 25% felt that it had gotten worse.

In regard to lag, inventory problems, and login problems, most respondents felt these were annoyances, but bearable ones. Not that that’s necessarily good: every respondent said they have to deal with lag some of the time, and more than 2/3 of respondents reported inventory or teleportation problems at least a couple of times a month, though under half had login problems more often than “rarely.” Clearly Second Life’s reliability and reponse time are problems regardless of how good a system and Internet connection you have, and while some of us are putting up with it, it doesn’t take a girl with glasses to figure out that there are other people who are trying Second Life and finding the annoyances more than they’re willing to put up with.

So better is good, but is it good enough? Hamlet Au of New World Notes today posted survey suggesting that some Second Life businesses might be slowing down. The recent plateau in membership has gotten wide publicity. Has Linden Lab just saturated the market of people who are interested in virtual worlds and willing to deal with the hassles?

On the other hand, maybe I’m making assumptions about Second Life. Who uses other virtual worlds? What has your experience been in those? Is there lag in World of Warcraft? Do you ever lose your, I don’t know, favorite rock videos in Kaneva? Is There ever Not There? Fill me in! I have time to read your comments right now…I’m waiting for something to rez.

^^^\ Kate /^^^

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