Help Island for Volunteers
1.12 - Updated freebie donation procedure.
What is Help Island
Help Island is an intermediate place between the hustle of the main grid and the scripted orientation of orientation island. Newbies can come down from the Orientation Islands and find live volunteers willing to help them learn anything they want to know about SL.
Help island does not rely on scripted educational systems beyond a few straightforward info cards and building and scripting tutorials.
The core facilities of Help Island are built and owned by Jeska Linden and Brian Linden, and Jeska would like suggestions and feedback by email. The rest is a team effort of volunteers.
Newbies and Orientation Islands
Four OIs (orientation islands) open onto Help Island via landbridge. OI11 joins to the north. OI10 is to the west and connects to the southwest of HI.
OI14 is to the east. OI12 is to the south. Neither OI14 or OI12 are land-connected to HI.
There are several OI's in the ocean west of Ahern.
HI is relatively peaceful. There is a sandbox in the northeast corner, a freebie store in the southeast corner, a demo house in the northwest, a building tutorial area in the west and the In-World Greeter Selection System in the center hub (the large white structure). All land on help island has been set to the Mentor group and autoreturn is enabled with various time limits depending on location. Please be sure to clean up any prims you rez. A lesson area has been constructed 80 metres above the sandbox.
As mentioned, autoreturn will only catch items not belonging to the Mentor group. Please clean up after yourself, and make sure your objects do not obstruct the middle of the sanbox area. Builds intended to be long term should be kept near the edges. Do NOT place gift items out here.
Boxed freebies and free-to-copy items are not to be left in the sandbox. Freebies and free-to-copy items for Help Island are to be given to LIBBY LINDEN with an explanatory notecard. Object must be copy+modify+transfer and you must have the creator's permission for them to be distributed on Help Island.
Freebie boxes and free-to-copy items in the sandbox will be removed. You may still give free items to newbies at your own discretion. Do not leave them out in the sandbox.
OIs are teleport blocked to all but Lindens. You cannot TP or be TPed to one. They do not appear on your main map; Only on your minimap when they are within draw distance.
Newbies cannot be TPed to an OI, and cannot be TP'ed to locations on HI - even if they are already there. Once a newbie has teleported to the mainland, only a Linden Summon can bring them back. This may be possible, if they have picked up no mainland content, but don't knock yourself out trying. The liaisons are plenty busy.
Newbies can now teleport from an OI to HI via a landmark. New arrivals appear in the center of the greeter hub.
Any person teleporting FROM Help Island or an Orientation Island will have their home location reset to whatever point they land at
If you want to avoid this, teleport HOME first, then to whatever other destination you wish.
Spending time on HI is not a requirement. There is always plenty of need for volunteers out on the main grid. If, however, you are short-handed on HI, or are the last to leave, ask for reinforcements on the Mentor IM group channel, or through a liaison. Keep the request short, letting the group know how many volunteers remain and possibly the number of new people in the area. There is no need to wait for a reply and you should under no circumstances harrass the group in the rare cases no one else is able to show up. There is rarely a shortage of volunteers willing to come by at any time, at only a few minutes notice, but this is a Volunteer group.
There is a communicator available for volunteers working Help Island. If you are in the mentor group, you can get one from the ? in Tenera sim at 197,100,70. Other volunteer group members will need to IM Tateru Nino in order to get one. It allows volunteers a group discussion channel anywhere on the island, and also works on the mainland as long as the wearers are within 100m of each other. Useful for script enabled Welcome Areas like waterhead or at Instructor events.
Ideally we should have no more than 6 or 7 volunteers on the island at once, especially when it gets busy.
When newbies arrive, they are announced on the communications network. When they click on one of the volunteer call boxes, announcements are sent on the communications network. If you don't have your communicator on, you will not hear calls from the call boxes, and newbies may think you are ignoring them and become frustrated.
The communicator functions as a relatively low-traffic device under normal circumstances. If you cannot answer a question, or you need assistance, do not hesitate to use it to call other volunteers on the island. See the reference card provided with it for additional functions.
25% of newbies arrive on OI, access the skip orientation sign, and go straight to the WA in a matter of seconds. About 25% more are too impatient to see the sign, and bolt across the island, stopping only to access the station about flying, because the ravine stumps them, get to the final station and go straight to the WA. The last half are the ones we are interested in. They've done one or more of the OI stations, and they may wander down to HI if it looks busy enough. If they don't see many dots on the minimap they are less likely to come to HI and will go to the WA instead.
Talking to Them
Frankly, many of them think we are NPCs (or bots, if you prefer the term). They ignore us. I prefer not to bother people on the OIs unless they are obviously stuck, or moving highly erratically.
On HI, by all means say hello. Ask how they are doing (more likely to get a response). Some folks just won't talk to you. Give them a card with some FAQs and landmarks if nothing else. If they don't want to communicate, there's not much that you can do for them other than hope that they are listening when you are answering somone else's questions.
Length of stay
Newbies tend to stay between 5 minutes and a couple weeks, with an average length of stay of 30 minutes. The longer they stay, the better adjusted they are. Some will spend time passing what they know on to other newbies. This is generally a good thing.
When a newbie leaves, as mentioned earlier, they cannot return. If they log off on HI, they will log back in there. The kiosk used to send newbies to the mainland have been updated to inform them that it is a one-way trip prior to the kiosk giving them a landmark to one of the WAs.
Anyone breaks the rules (you think intentionally) AR them. Newbie, Mentor, Greeter, Live Helper. If it's ongoing, call a Linden. Other people in SL do not exist for our personal amusement. Make at least some effort to see if their behaviour is accidental due to ignorance. Sometimes a friendly suggestion of the proper way to do something can get the point across. Feel free to explain the differences between PG and Mature sims and how to identify which you are in by looking at the label in the menubar.
Mentors and Greeters
When newbies are ready to go to the mainland, encourage them to go with a Greeter. Despite our best preparations, they tend to get a bit surprised when they get there. The central island structure (called the Greeter Hub) is outfitted with a greeter selection system to make calling one easy. Do your best to encourage your new friends to have a greeter take them to the mainland. Not everyone will want one, of course, and we should not pressure them.
The mainland's a confusing place, and greeters can help people get over the initial confusion when they arrive.
Guns and Mature Content
There are no combat-enabled zones on HI. We are permitted to use guns there for demonstration purposes. Do not hand out guns, push-weapons or shields - we have had persistent trouble with these on quite a few occasions.
HI is PG. There's plenty mature content out on the grid if they want it, and little opportunity for them to use mature content on HI in a non-infringing way. Don't give out mature items of any kind whether clothing or object. Its a safe assumption that anything you hand them they will try to use or wear. Make sure handouts are appropriate.
DO and DO NOT
- DO wear your communicator as a courtesy to others. Even if you've got it muted, at least the other volunteers know who is on the island, and what resources are available. If you do not wear it, you will not hear when newbies call for a volunteer.
- DO call for a replacement if you're the last one out. If the only other volunteers are Live-Help, check with them before leaving. They may not notice you go, or newbies arrive if they are busy. If they don't respond to you, call a Mentor to take over.
- DO NOT rez vehicles on the island. The test track has examples for use.
- DO clean up after yourself.
- DO be civil. We're all adults. No fighting in front of the new residents.
- DO NOT argue with other mentors over public chat. Take it to IMs or use the communicator to discuss differences. We dont wish to show a sense of disorganization to new people expecting us to be more organized.
- DO NOT leave freebies, freebie boxes and free-to-copy items in the sandbox.
- DO NOT give out guns, mature content, push weapons or shields.
- DO NOT bunch up, and try to avoid approaching people at the greeter hub right after they have arrived. Spread out around the island. People become much more talkative if they're not pounced at the greeter hub when they arrive.
- DO NOT mess up the Island, or scare the newbies.