Push Back The Group Horizons!

Pretty much everybody in SL knows about groups; you’ve joined quite a few, maybe you’ve even created some.  But there’s one catch: You can only be a member of 25 different groups…and for more and more people, that’s just not enough.  How many times have you heard “Sorry, I’ve hit the limit” when adding someone to one of your groups?  How many times have you said that when someone wants to add you to a group?

There’s a proposal currently up on the JIRA Issue Tracker for Second Life that asks for this limitation to be raised, or (dare we hope?) removed.  It’s Issue MISC-208, “More than 25 groups!”, and it’s currently one of the most popular issues in the bug-tracking system.  I encourage all of my readers to go there and vote this issue up.

Now, I admit I don’t know the technical reasons why there’s a limitation of 25 groups.  I’m personally in favor of the “Zero-One-Infinity” approach to software design, which states that, if you have some resource to deal with in a software system, your system should either allow none of that resource, exactly one of that resource, or an unlimited number of that resource. (Examples from Venice, the software that runs Electric Minds: communities on a server, conferences per community, topics per conference, posts per topic.  All of those are not limited in number.)  But, if making group membership unlimited is not feasible, why couldn’t it be expanded to, say, 50 or 100 groups per user?

Certainly, as a club owner and member of that whole scene, I deal with group memberships all the time.  Club groups, club staff groups, DJ fan club groups, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Not to mention the various groups that get set up for people’s weddings and the like.  I’d like, for instance, to be able to join one or more of the amateur radio groups in Second Life, but I just have way too many demands on those group slots.  The only solution, I guess, is to stand there like Oliver Twist, asking Linden Labs, “Please, sir, I want some more.”  If that’s what we have to do, it would behoove us to have as many Residents possible standing there and asking.  So go sign onto this JIRA issue today!

Other SL bloggers who are asking for the same thing:

And I’m sure there are plenty of others.

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4 Comments

Filed under Technical

4 responses to “Push Back The Group Horizons!

  1. Thanks for the link. I don’t know why they only expanded groups from 15 to 25. I believe that it does have to do with resources as you mention. At the moment, the best groups are 3rd party sites outside of second life. How many people have referred you to google groups to keep up to date? I think Second Life should start looking at its social aspects and increase the flow of relationships.

  2. You know, Dedric, nobody has referred me to Google Groups, or Yahoo! Groups for that matter, for SL-related stuff. On the other hand, when Danielle and I ran the Cutlass Club, and later the Gin Rummy, we had an “employee intranet” site set up (using Joomla on an external server) to keep track of availability, assignments, and events. The Insurrection Alley isn’t big enough to need something like that at this point, though.

  3. The calls on the data base that would have to be made — we are told by the Lindens — are too great a strain. Apparently each group involves lots of permissions and toggles and queries. Like whether the person can do this or that. Reforming the group tools to make them more granulated

    I am not an advocate of having more groups. It’s truly not important. I run 5 avatars or more to keep all my group options. Outside my business, there aren’t 100s of groups that I need to join because I won’t keep up with them. In Facebook, people join — and leave — groups constantly. You have to do that in SL as well. I’m a big believer in having groups open for that purpose.

    Since I use group to hold land and thousands of people, I’m far, far FAR more interested in making group tools WORK and debugging them than I am in adding more flawed and buggy groups.

    There are currently numerous problems wrong with groups, especially large groups, that don’t even open up to show you land and people half the time.

    The main annoyance is that when there is a group IM, you cannot silence it if you wish, while still remaining in the group. There’s no “mute group”. Most people would like to be able to have a group remain on their avatar, and even get its chat transcripts, but they don’t want the constant chatter interrupting them.

    There is one plot afoot to try to make owners of groups have the right to silence people in the group, while retaining them in the group with only certain permissions. I also find that excessive, and don’t wish to back it.

    I think the focus has to be making the groups work right, then you can worry about the load of making even more, with all their gadzillion dbase calls.

  4. Not knowing just how groups are represented and manipulated inside the SL code, Prok, I’m not sure whether the “more groups would cause too much database load” statement is just a symptom of bad design of the group features internally. In such a case, it probably ought to be fixed anyway, just on general principle…which would apply to your other “group bug” comments as well. Of course, as both you and I have lamented in the past, LL often seems more inclined to develop the shiny new features than go back and look at bugs, even serious ones.

    Using alts as “group mules” works around the issue for some applications of groups, but not others. It wouldn’t help me with managing group memberships for the clubs I DJ at, for instance; I kind of HAVE to be “Erbo Evans” for those, since that’s the avatar that’s going to show up and spin the tunes. Likewise, when I get invited to weddings, people are going to invite “Erbo Evans,” not one of my alts.

    I agree with you on the group IM thing; at least one of the groups I’m in, the Fantasyland one, seems to attract idiots who spam announcements of land for sale all the friggin’ time. Yet I can’t drop that group, because that’s the official channel for announcements from the owners of the island group where I built the Compound. Sigh…

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