Difference between revisions of "Talk:SL Certification"

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That's actually a good point, and the pages have been removed from the User Pages area.
 
That's actually a good point, and the pages have been removed from the User Pages area.
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[[User:Orange Planer|O]] 00:01, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
  
 
== Issues to Resolve ==
 
== Issues to Resolve ==

Revision as of 17:01, 29 November 2009

Naming of Certification Lists

Just a small issue; I was wondering why the current certification pages have the moderator's names in the title? Not just the link but the actual page. It gives them the flavour of sponsorship or something (e.g. The Louise Rumpler Certificate of Basic Scripting), and it's not unheard of for moderators to change. Can we give the pages generic titles with "Moderated by.." on the pages themselves? --Lucius Nesterov 13:10, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

That's actually a good point, and the pages have been removed from the User Pages area. O 00:01, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Issues to Resolve

It seems the debate is losing some focus. I'm proposing a list of the main issues to sit at the top so we can try to resolve each one systematically. The order of the issues should represent their importance. Please add to the list, re-shuffle etc, but lets try to keep it clear; with the discussion below. --Lucius Nesterov 03:44, 30 April 2007 (PDT)

  1. Beneficiaries Under Discussion
    Identify who is intended to benefit, so that the certification can be designed to meet their needs.
  2. Certification Categories Under Discussion (in modelling talk page; scripting talk page)
    Scripting and building have been identified as the first certification topics, but will there be one certificate for each, different categories, different levels etc?
  3. Versioning Nearly resolved?
    Differentiating certification gained at different times.
  4. Course Content Under Discussion (in modelling talk page; scripting talk page)
    What will the courses actually cover?
  5. Examination Process Under Discussion
    • Where will the examination take place (test centre, online, test grid etc)?
    • Who will handle testing?
    • What form of testing is appropriate (MCQ, practical demonstration etc)?
  6. Dissemination Under Discussion
    How will the information be made available?
  7. Educational Seal of LL Approval Under Discussion
    Determine whether Linden Lab or an educational group should provide a seal to educators operating in complicance with TOS standards for all images, video, audio, and written sources.

"Examination"

Be aware that the process for testing has not yet been established. It is likely that for at least the theory testing this will be done via a third party to ensure it's properly controlled and eliminate the threat of accusations of biasing. (Hunter)

I notice on the Cert Process Document page that a standard Basic, Intermediate and Advanced format was decided on. A basic certification in an aspect of using SL will carry very little weight, and isn't worth going to a third party for. I'd recommend that the schools themselves be allowed to issue basic level certificates to students who attend a certain cluster of classes. --Lucius Nesterov 22:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm suggesting that any examinations for building or scripting disallow the use of prefabricated content; Any building work should be done in front of an examiner in-world, and if possible scripting should be done via VNC so peeps can't copy & paste.

SignpostMarv Martin 12:19, 23 April 2007 (PDT)

Yes, that's a great idea.
And I'd love to join/test. :)
Elle74
Not being able to copy and paste can be a bit rough. For more complicated scripting tests, the user should be provided with a library of prefabricated functions to use; this will reduce the amount of time required to both take and score the test, not to mention encourage code reuse (these functions would be available before hand and would be included in study material). Requiring the use of VNC is a bit rough (there should be standard cross platform instructions on how to set it up). Strife Onizuka 06:12, 24 April 2007 (PDT)
Speaking (er ... writing!) as someone who has been hacking code for over 33 years (eep!) I think I can say that most (if not all) coders keep their own 'libraries' of code segments available for re-use, mostly as a time-saving device. Copy/paste is a standard way of working and, I'd suggest, if one is testing someone on their memory for functions then any 'test' will take a whole lot longer if they are limited in this way. --Alison Wheels 09:16, 24 April 2007 (PDT)
Copy & Paste in this context refers to people ripping off other people's code.
SignpostMarv Martin 18:04, 24 April 2007 (PDT)
A 'show me what you can do' test in this situation is flawed because you have no knowledge of what's happening at the testee's end. Even if you can see what's happening on their computer, who's to say they aren't copying from print-outs, or even that it's the person you think it is? Asking people to explain their code or correct flawed scripts supplied to them may be a better solution. Some will cheat, but they gain little benefit if they can't actually do the work. --Lucius Nesterov 03:20, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
As a professional RL developer of 25 years I'd have to totally agree with Alison Wheels on this one. Like all developers I know I don't code on a blank canvas except in very unusual circumstances. Instead I usually work from an existing script, cutting and pasting from other scripts and online examples like the Wiki or Forums. Neiher do I memorize list of functions, events, parameters and like - I look things up as need. If this certification is aimed at the equivalent of 'can you code a vehicle script from scratch' or the like then it really doesn't add anything of use. --Hiro Market 08:00, 27 April 2007 (GMT)
How would the actual identity of someone taking the exam be verified online? Anyone could be driving the avatar.
--Kim Anubis 13:55, 27 April 2007 (PDT)

Can I suggest looking at the issue of examination in a different, more scholastic way? Lets consider developing a standardised test database that contains a huge cross section of questions (multi-choice preferably) that can evaluate a person on a wide range of skills. The testing system we select (and there are many freely available) should allow random permutation of questions, timed input for each question and of course uniqueness of the user and test. I think that this in combination with a practical examination of in-world work would make for a fair evaluation system. Comments?

--Lexx Greatrex 17:54PM, 2 May 2007 (PDT)
An issue would be who prepares the questions? The database would also need to be continually updated as answers are circulated, things change etc. Although I do agree that this could potentially be the best system: question database + practical demonstrations in-world evaluated by experts. Scripting certification could also automated checking proposed by Strife Onizuka, while I guess Modellling would need a higher percentage of practical demonstration. However, the question remains as to who will do the testing? Even a third party certification company will need to hire SL residents to prepare questions and assess some of the work.
--Lucius Nesterov 05:25, 3 May 2007 (PDT)


Testing Grid

Just some 'thinking outside the box' ideas for the examination. With an environment as original as SL, it would be nice if the examinations were a bit more unique. Please add some more.

  1. Testing Grid: There's been mention of the need for practical demonstrations of skills, so perhaps a dedicated testing grid (small - perhaps just one sim) could be used; seperate from the main grid in the same way the Beta grid is. Removing access to personal inventories and friend lists would create a more controlled environment.
  2. Group Testing: Building on the idea of a test grid, several testees could be working away at the same time. Examiners could wander amongst them, asking random questions and checking progress. There could also be some sort of sporadic IM test questions being fired at them just to put the pressure on.
  3. Showcase: For the highest levels of certification it could be enough for a resident to produce something original, which demonstrates certain features. These could be made open to viewing, both to represent the creative talent in SL and to allow challenges to the originality (e.g. "That's my statue in his foyer").

--Lucius Nesterov 02:44, 27 April 2007 (PDT)

A testing grid would require at least 4, probabaly in the following pattern:
1   
23 4
The number of sims, and the layout is for the following reasons:
  1. CHANGED_REGION
  2. Inter-sim communications
  3. llRequestSimulatorData
    1. Plotting a course around the sims using llEdgeOfWorld and llGetParcelFlags
    2. Indicating whether llMapDestination/llTeleportAgent should be used to reach a region.
    • I could go into greater detail for how to design a course to demonstrate effective usage of the LSL functions that are capable of moving primitives, but that would fill up too much space :-D
  4. A Class 5 server can run 4 regions.
I'm sure people can think of other reasons why this setup would be useful, as well as bring up any downsides to it :-)
SignpostMarv Martin 18:15, 27 April 2007 (PDT)

Certification

Why are we looking at Modeling and Scripting as the first SL Certifications? Wouldn’t it be better to start with basic skills needed to operate within the SL environment and UI? As a Mentor/Greeter & Instructor for well over a year, I have had very few questions from new residents on modeling and scripting. However, I get many questions that start, “How do I...”

As a teacher in RL, I was taught that you start with basics then move into more advanced areas. We have mentors admitting at just about every meeting that they would benefit from basic skills training. One only has to listen to the Mentor group channel for a short while to hear mentors asking for answers to very basic questions. This indicates to me that we need to certify the volunteers on the basics before we teach modeling and scripting. I would be interested in understanding the reasoning behind modeling and scripting as initial certifications.

Jennifer McLuhan

Because no one hires mentors. Certifications are for telling if the person you are hiring is qualified or not. Gigs Taggart 17:57, 23 April 2007 (PDT)
So Gigs you are telling me this has nothing to do with the mentor certification program?
Jen
Apparently not. Gigs Taggart 20:35, 23 April 2007 (PDT)\
Perhaps it has more to do with entrepreneurs moving into SL, with little or no knowledge of it, and needing to find reputable people to produce work for them. Surely experts in the community have reputations already established by word of mouth. This seems mainly to reduce the risk to new residents. --Lucius Nesterov 03:28, 25 April 2007 (PDT)

Certification should not be conducted in normal inside-Second-Life for reasons outlined very clearly here and on the main page - if the person is really sitting at home, you don't know what resources they have outside their computer. All the professional certifications I've ever obtained, for example at Sylvan, have been conducted at their premises on their computers. So to take the certification, the prospective certified person should be required to go to a certification center in person and sign in to a special Certification Center account so that the resources available to them are the same for all taking the test. Then they take it in an in person supervised location minimizing the ability to use IMs, paper notes, etc. Carlisse Midnight 09:56, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

  1. Second Life only exists inside Second Life
  2. Internationalisation will be a bitch (can you guarantee that everyone with a Second Life account will be able to reach an accreditation center ?)
SignpostMarv Martin 23:49, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

Good topics, bad topics

I think we should focus on certifying skills, not topics. For instance, 3-D modeling techniques and how to use the tools is a good area to certify. "Weapons and vehicles" is not. "LSL communication protocol" is a good scripting topic, "attachments" is not. Keep in mind many of the things we're trying to certify are already covered in traditional game-design and 3-D Design collegiate curriculum, and we should look to that as a base model to start from. Hiro Pendragon

I agree on focusing on skills. It also prevents artistic arguments and claims of bias. --Storm Thunders 09:30, 26 April 2007 (PDT)

I do agree and disagree with Hiro (sorry :P). On one part, looking at the construction of a piece of work, eg. is its angles, alignments, use of shapes, unique shapes and so on, is the basis of what we're looking into for the certification, we have to consider proportion, scale and replica too. A Pistol for example, the use of primitives to combine and shape it together is one thing, but is it to scale? has it the correct dimensions? these could also play an important part into how the grading system is played upon.

Say you are grading a pistol and a sword, both of which are very well built, no noticable prim flicker, good use of texture and overall the skills of both builders are accurate to a point. Now say that the guns chamber is too big (if the gun is an obvious replica) or the sword is guard is too high up. This also goes for vehicles too, as they whole thing may look nice and pretty, but theres eye-catching 'put-offs' that draw your attention away.

  • I do think some artistic temprement should come into it, as it would show the onlooker if they can build from a photograph, or build with their imagination. This all depends on how willing the Judge is and the depth of the requirements for the grade. *

Then again, should texture and building be separately graded? To model and object is one thing, but to create unique 'artistic' textures to go with it is a different matter. As I explained on another wiki page, you can texture singularly or as a texture-map/texture-zone. Not many people do this in SL, and to do it manually is a complicated task in itself. More people using this technique could drematically bring down bandwidth usage, so should be encouraged.

But this is all medium to advanced modeling on the higher user end.

On the lower end, we should think about grading the users basic functions, prim minipulation, prim conservation, joining prim, texture usage and file resolution, then leading on to further skills. But this is only for example. Detect Surface

I think it can be approached as art is judged: what are the problems this work presents and how did the builder solve them? And that would include technique and appearance. Of course there would be disagreement on some ways of solving problems but that is how the process evolves. So a task could be presented such as build a gun that an avatar can hold. Dnali Anabuki

Who is the beneficiary?

Is the title appropriate for this section? It seems to be more general questions and answers. Maybe it should be divided into different sections. Lucius Nesterov

Is this only for the benefit of residents looking to hire a builder/scripter? If so, I'm not interested as I'm not for hire. I certainly won't object to work-for-hire people getting certified, though.

Will it be used, directly or indirectly, to the detriment of un-certified sellers of *pre-made* (not-for-hire) items? If so, and particularly if it costs money, it's yet another way for those who have connections to extract money and privilege from those who don't.

  1. Who is the beneficiary of this plan?
  2. What consequences are there for non-certification?
  3. Will it cost money?
Anna Gulaev

Good questions to which I will add my own (and number yours)

  1. Who will be providing the certification service?
  2. Will a business providing certification services need to be certified?
  3. How will this program scale as SL grows?
Strife Onizuka 06:45, 24 April 2007 (PDT)
  1. What will be the responsibilities (if any) of a Certified person?
    Are certified persons expected to serve as "on call" mentors? Do these certified people take the place of a "live help" pool on a given topic?
  2. How will certification be verified?
    Right now, I can call myself "Expert Scripter" and no one can challenge me on that. (though I wouldn't)... What process will be available to verify that a certification does indeed exist for this person?
  3. Will certifications expire?
    back in July, SL was a different place, and LSL was a different animal. (I pick on LSL because I can't imagine how would could be tested for ability to BUILD). In just 9 short months, LSL has changed quite a bit. Not radically, most of what was good then is still good now.. but LSL is an ever changing language, with little-to-no official documentation from the group developing the actual language (unlike HTML/XHTML for example). Someone who was an expert in 2004 could be quite out of their depths now. I also wonder how many Lindens could pass LSL certification.
Winter Ventura 5:42pm (PDT), April 24, 2007

Answers to the above...

  1. The corporate entities entering into SL who are completely clueless as to how it functions and can't afford to hire the ESC.
  2. You're less likely to get hired by someone who prefers paper over portfolio.
  3. Don't know. Makes sense that it would- I'm wondering if they'll accept payment in L$ :-P
  4. A third party company/organisation who specialises in providing such certification (it was mentioned at the meeting, but I think I forgot to mention it in the notes I posted).
  5. Businesses don't perform work, the employees do.
  6. Refer to MySQL/PHP/MCSE certification processes for when the software in question gets upgraded.
  7. No.
  8. Probably as an extra field in the in-world profile, and a matching param for llRequestAgentData.
I think this is actually a really bad idea. If the point of this process is to act as a representation of technical proficiency for people hiring scripters or builders, it doesn't need to be programmatically accessible. Employers can just check a website that manages the "official" list of certified avatars. If we make it too easy for certification to be programmatically read by scripts, it could get turned into the program that Prokofy fears it is with certification acting as membership card in some club. Zetetic Aubret
  1. See point 6.
SignpostMarv Martin 18:34, 24 April 2007 (PDT)

I feel I would benefit as a student and teacher in SL. I would have standards to measure my own progress against and a sense that important skills were not left out of my training. I would enjoy a sense of accomplishment and an expanded possibility of contributing to SL. When I teach, I see students all the time that would love to have some recognition of their skill sets and a direction as to what else they could learn. I suspect very few would want to be hired so much as they would like to feel part of SL. Dnali Anabuki

llRequestAgentData

Probably as an extra field in the in-world profile, and a matching param for llRequestAgentData. SignpostMarv Martin 18:34, 24 April 2007 (PDT)

I think this is actually a really bad idea. If the point of this process is to act as a representation of technical proficiency for people hiring scripters or builders, it doesn't need to be programmatically accessible. Employers can just check a website that manages the "official" list of certified avatars. If we make it too easy for certification to be programmatically read by scripts, it could get turned into the program that Prokofy fears it is with certification acting as membership card in some club. Zetetic Aubret

If the certification status is displayed via the in-world profile, then it should be available via llRequestAgentData.
However, if the status isn't displayed via the in-world profile, then there is no need for a param for it.
SignpostMarv Martin 10:15, 25 April 2007 (PDT)

Voices Against

This system is the final institution of the FIC. It's not a positive development, as the free market and free media should establish value for skills. A free market and free media also enable anyone new to be able to access that market and media without having to clear unnecessary hurdles and bastions of establishment thinking and procedure.

All that's happening here is that Linden Lab is dispensing licenses to create, completely overriding their concept of "your world/your imagination". That is, sure, anybody can go on rezzing a cube, but Lindens are now deciding, in Central Committee fashion, who does this *well enough* to be able to qualify to exist in their certified community. It runs entirely contrary to the notions of openness and creativity which they originally promoted. I personally will not seek to become certified in such a system prone to cronyism and corruption. It cannot help unsightly builds on the grid, unless you also anticipate having quality-control committees added on to vet content manditorily along with certification -- oh, is that coming next? The comparison to software and IT companies having developers' certifications is patently fraudulent: Linden Lab's role in shaping the Metaverse is not analogous to merely some software company; they are world-builders, and need to stop funnelling and bottle-necking with concepts like this.

Analogies to software companies that certify are false, because such RL companies are often publicly-traded with a great deal more reputation and transparency than Linden Lab has. Has anybody thought about how they will limit liability or resolve disputes and have fiscal responsibility for certified person who engage in fraud or shoddy workmanship?

Heretic Linden has now made a closed group, not visible in the Groups list, by invitation only, which ultimately institutionalizes the FIC as an actual discrete group of people, and among them are many with no obvious skills or reputation or capacity to objectively develop an impartial and professional system for certification, but only jumping on the bandwagon to get a seal of approval from LL. Prokofy Neva

I agree with Prokofy to a certain point. The SL Certification system should be done by parties who are either 1) Employed by Linden Labs or 2) They do not financially gain from Second Life. Competition who hold grudges against people like Prokofy or myself will seek to not even consider us for certification in our respected fields. That would be unfair and violate LL's stance of not getting involved in citizen disputes. If they want citizens to run this then remove it from the official LL milestones and let a citizen group run it. Wrestling Hulka

I'd been reading this 'certification' in a similar way to the many other software and hardware certifications in the IT industry out there. Nice to have the piece of paper, and it may show you know something (though not neccessarily that you can put it into 'real life' practice, and not something that you must have in order to be engaged to do the job. I'd agree that should Linden Labs suddenly demand that everyone building anything in SL be certified (a highly improbable idea in itself) it would be unworkable in practice (though would save us seeing some of the 'sights' we currently suffer on the grid!) --Alison Wheels 09:16, 24 April 2007 (PDT)

Quite - I was rather surprised to see certifications in IT being raised as examples of this in RL, as they are really only a way of proving that somebody isn't simply making up the fact that they have skill X (unless, of course, they are lying about their certification!) and their actual skill and professionalism is something that is only judgeable by careful individual interviewing by a skilled practitioner, examples of previous work and, mostly, how they actually perform once they are hired. A checklist of revision topics really doesn't help. A manager or customer who hires someone purely because of an MCSE or a good degree will be disappointed in short measure. The subject of how to properly judge someone's skills is a very complex one and in practice, managers and customers go on portfolios and performance. --Ordinal Malaprop 13:58, 24 April 2007 (PDT)

What, exactly, is the "problem" that certification "solves?" Normally if you want to get hired as a content creator, you create a portfolio of work for potentional employers to look at. I think the conspiracy theory here is that land owners will be able to ban non-certified creations. This would allow some more timid brands to control the "flying pink objects" problem in their space. Please, correct me if I'm wrong! :) OneBigRiver Stork

Certification is mainly for big business and to give SL the illusion of being mature. For example when I first stated in computers (shortly after the Abacus) noone have any experience of classes. Now big companies are asking for 4 years degree to use a 4 function calulator. Destiny Niles

I would agree to a very large extent with Prokofy on this. I'm a professional RL coder of over 25+ years and frankly I don't see what there is in LSL to really certify. Whilst certainly beyond toy level we're hardly looking at something of the complexity of C++, Oracle or the like, and the language itself is so broken in many places (shakes head at lists, no arrays, no objects, no.....) that really that should be fixed before anyone can be held to account for good coding practices. One does rather suspect that LL is just taking the idea of certification because it's the 'done' thing in the industry and shoehorning it into SL to make SL look like a professional environment. Once LL has got it's finger out and implemented Mono with a decent coding language or two on top then there may indeed be a place for this, but at the moment one is deeply skeptical. Hiro Market

Certifications never seem to work how they should. Companies providing certs have incentive to mint certifications since the people seeking the certifications are paying the bills, and certifying as many people as possible means more revenue.

Really seems like you should be able to do something better in this medium. Something more akin to customer product/service feedback. Even better would be some sort of contract system (provided by a third party) that can measure success in terms of agreed upon milestones, scope, and budget and provide feedback not only to future customers, but also to contractors on the ease or difficulty of working with a particular customer.

For anyone interested, we created an "Advanced Scripters of Secondlife" group a while back that people can pay $L100 to join. People that contribute to the group by sharing novel questions and answers are given the title "Certified Scripter". The $L100 join fees are distributed back to the people who make valued contributions to the group. This is not a money making endeavor, rather providing a forum for sufficiently advanced scripters to share and collaboratively solve problems SL presents, the join fee is more to discourage people who would diminish the value of the group. Non-scripters and less advanced scripters are welcome to join and listen in. Heather Goodliffe

A "certified" builder can fail to perform just as well as a non-certified builder, and since LL is not interested in certification nor enforcement of in-game contracts, who would actually benefit the most? My guess is someone using certification to defraud potential customers. (No, I don't think that people are basically bad, just that such a program would attract those so inclined) Malachi Petunia

Plus Points

  • Should be available to everyone.
  • If a charge is applicable, then it should not be thousands of L$ masking out an area of people.
  • If Free, then people should have a 'Cooling-Down' period so that they're not constantly reapplying.
  • This should encourage people (new and old) who want to learn, regardless if they want to use it as an employment marker or not.
  • Just like in Real Life, people deserve the right to be able to progress in their own learning and have something to show and aim for, 'encourage-evolution'. <If they wish to>.
  • Usually, Certification developes pride in the person undergoing it, you work hard, you put the hours in to understand and for those people who WANT to be tested and put through the elements of the process, then so be it. Its only as much as what RL is about, and we can all agree that Second Life is becoming more a platform for it.
  • People can see what is entailed in the area they want to be certified in. This again would encourage growth in knowledge.
  • Should not be run like a whos who for RL companies to come in and work the fields - Give it more depth and it will involve more people.

Detect Surface

Thousands of lindens is only $6. I seriously doubt it would be less than say $50 per test to hire any certification organization. The cheapest certifications out there go for about $200 each. Gigs Taggart 00:43, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

Even so, this is hardly going to be certification either professionally recognised or any degree of professional training involved, I know how much college certifications go for and 3rd company involvement, but this is hardly going to be something you put on your next CV/Resume for further employment. There is only self accomplishment in SL, scripting may have some background as well as texture artists having a professional education. But we're talking about SL here, not a global known university in which everyone has go to pay into something that you know you can or cant do. Again, people will still approach individuals from examples of work, so why dim out some people that come here to 'Play' because thats what its all about, this shouldnt be a money making scheme. But then again, if people want to pay $50 for something thats only recognised in-world, then so be it. I see alot of people not even bothering if this is the case, and I can certainly say, I wont be wasting my time or money on something that I'm already well known for. I am only here to hope that everyone is given the chance to get in on this.... but yet, it seems people are more self concerned in keeping 'the rich, rich and the poor, poor' Detect Surface

  • Education Issues concerning an Academic Seal of Excellence: Pros and Cons
    On SLed, educators have been debating the worth of a seal that would indicate that recipients compy with LL TOS and TOS standards of programs used to create inworld content; further, discussion about requiring citations in SL (or links out to citation) and adhering to student privacy laws was explored. A few people (at present, 7) spoke up against a community-driven seal; of these, 4 advocated for scrapping the idea entirely and 3 advocated for a thrid party vendor). 14 people replied in support of such a seal; of these, none indicated a preference for a community created SLed seal or a LL seal. An in-world group will be formed, and discussions will begin to take place concerning the possibility of a Seal being part of the SL certification process.
  • What is the problem that this "solution" is intended to solve?

    1. Quality control on the grid? But how does it differ than a content-vetting committee?
    2. Frequent complains of fraud? But credentialled scripters or builders are just as capable of fraud and incompetence as anyone else, and without also adding a disputes resolution system to handle complaints of the "credentialed" building shoddy structures or not performing on contracts, it is meaningless.
    3. If the problem universally claimed for Second Life is the steep learning curve and the lack of an intuitive user interface, how does making the knowledge more unreachable and more subject to controls help those chronic issues?
    4. Who needs a set of credentialed builders and scripters? 1) those builders and scripters -- suggesting it is not enough of a reason, as it is self-referential 2) Linden Lab -- for reasons it has failed to make explicit in its recursive "general purpose" intro to this wiki.
    5. What happened to "your world/your imagination" with this concept, that seeks to reward a tiny percentage of those a) willing and b) able to pass a credentialling process?
    Prokofy Neva

    Answers to Prok's questions:

      • Portfolio is better than Paper.
      • Competent scripters are known amongst the scripting community, Competent builders are known amongs the building community etc.
      • Paper will only be useful to those who don't have the resources to check the skill and portfolio of a Resident, or are too paranoid to trust their reputation.
    1. Agreed. This is where portfolio and reputation trumps paper.
    2. I believe the phrase is "ZOMG l337NESS". The certification program is seperate to lowering the barriers of entry. It's more a case of saying "these people definately know their shit, these people probably do, but we don't know".
    3. See point 1 in the above list.
    4. Just as you have people coding for fun, making websites for fun, some people use SL as a source of income. Attaining MCSE status would likely make a bank more likely to give a business loan. Attaining LLCP, LLCM (Linden Lab Certified Programmer and Builder respectively :-P) status would make a bank more likely to shell out for a business loan.
    SignpostMarv Martin 18:34, 24 April 2007 (PDT)

    I did a little cleanup on the formatting.. it was getting confusing.

    Winter Ventura 8:46pm (PDT) April 24, 2007

    My Input, i.e. how not to do it.

    1. Don't require classes. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing that some certification requires a certain class. If you have the skills, you should be able to take the test to prove it, without paying for and sitting through classes about stuff you already know. If you have to take a class, I'd venture to say you probably don't deserve the certification anyway.
    2. Don't make it some silly "paper test". Skills need to be shown with actual real world scenarios, not some multiple choice question. Look at the Red Hat certification tests for some guidance here.
    3. Don't make it expire at arbitrary intervals, or even at all. This is a blatant scam that some companies do to ensure ongoing income from certifications. I'm in favor of certifications that don't expire, like CompTIA. If you were good enough to get the certification once, then you probably have kept up with the changes since then, or can easily get up to speed. My A+ test I took in the 90s included information on how to calibrate 360k floppy disks. Am I still qualified to build and repair PCs? You bet.
    4. Don't avoid improving your product to shore up certification income. I fully believe Oracle and Cisco keep their products difficult to use to support their network of certified professionals. This is similar to Dell using nonstandard parts so that only Dell repair centers can do repairs. It happens. Don't let it happen here.

    Gigs Taggart 02:21, 25 April 2007 (PDT)

    Yeah, I do agree with Gigs, if LL is thinking about putting a charge on this, then the certificates should not have an expiry date. If my college certs had them, I'd be spending a fortune every few years, going back and taking the same thing over and over. I dont see the point in that at all. If you've proven you can do the work under a strict test environment, then you should have the privilege to have that under your belt for the remainder. Knowledge is like riding a bike, you never forget.

    Please, please, please, dont turn this into a money maker.

    On another note, god knows how you're going to grade and test scripters, people can just copy and paste, or have a friend in IM answering questions. Even if LL devised a 'Live Script Screen', you'll never know whats happening on the user side. <--- I think someone mentioned this somewhere lol sorry for the repeat. Detect Surface

    I don't think classes should be required but that they should be available to all and be in accord with the certification standards (not all classes..some can be for fun and socializing). I also think that there should be levels of certification such as apprentice, intern, journeyman and master..like a guild. Dnali Anabuik

    Versioning and Pricing

    1. The cost of updating an old certification should be a percentage of the full cost equal to the percentage of change in LSL plus some small fixed rate no greater then 10$US or 5% of the cost of a full certification (which ever is less).
    2. The major version number of the certification being offered shouldn't change until some threshold percentage of change has been made to LSL. So the SC2007 may be offered until 2010; this is to reduce the frequency of market forces pushing for certification updates.
    3. Upgraded certifications will still bare their original major version with an appended hyphenated new major version or can be represent with the new certification handle.
      • So the 2010 upgrade of the 2007 certification would be SC2007-2010 or SC2010.
      • The 2015 upgrade to that certification would be SC2007-2015 or SC2015.
      • This will make users with older but upgraded certifications more attractive then newly certified users (suggests years of experience).

    Old certifications shouldn't expire, just become less applicable and the upgrade path should be very affordable. Considering how little changes in languages, I would expect the major version certifications to last for about 3 years at least. Strife Onizuka 03:50, 25 April 2007 (PDT)

    It's my goal with pricing to have it be as cheep as possible. For the scripting certification, I imagine that it could be fully automated. -- Strife Onizuka 15:18, 26 April 2007 (PDT)

    "Corporate Friendly Stamp" or "Structured Education"

    The need for 'certification' is vague, and has caused people to question whether there is a hidden objective. In addition it is completely at odds with the essence of current web 2.0 systems of community reputation. More honesty about what the purpose of the certification is may help.

    Corporate Friendly Stamp

    edited based on comments

    If the main purpose of certification is to assist employers in finding suitable residents to hire, then it may be useful, but can only achieve part of this aim. The term 'Corporate Friendly' is not used to mean 'freindly towards corporations', but more 'low risk'.

    A positive aspect of certification is that, particularly if there is a cost involved in obtaining them, they show that a resident is commited to working in SL.

    In contrast though it cannot demonstrate that an individual is creative (as mentioned above), is reliable, works to deadlines, considers the need of the client etc. In general the things that references and portfolio cover in the real-world. Plus a portfolio is far easier to supply in SL than RL since any object can be rezzed for the client to view, or instantly teleported to observe.

    Some comments may appear out of context based on the above changes

    Whether or not a person is corporate friendly or what their track record is, it is beyond the scope of certification (and thus this discussion). -- Strife Onizuka 04:35, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    It is relavent to the discussion if the main purpose of certification is to help corporations identify individuals to employ. If this is the case then general certification might harm the community at large and still not meet its main objective of protecting corporate interests. --Lucius Nesterov 04:54, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    No, it's not. People aren't hired if they aren't advertising and don't contact any prospective clients. Gigs Taggart 05:17, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    In general yes, but it depends on how the information is made available. Being so closely linked to SL there is the potential for a list (or league table) of residents to be produced, either by searching profiles, the use of a bot, details being released by a third party etc. An individual might be approached because of their placing on this list (e.g. "we need the best vehicle scripter, s/he is X"). With your alternatives, how do you approach a client if you have no idea which companies are considering entering SL, how much SL advertising is in places those not in SL would be exposed to? It's all speculation, but this is what I had in mind when I posted the reply.
    --Lucius Nesterov 15:40, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    How do you determine if someone is "Corporate Friendly"? To complicate things there are different corporate models that people may or may not be compatible with. Sure it would be nice to know who if a person is a total sellout but how do you quantize it? How do you test for it? "Corporate Friendly" Certifications sounds like a system that will punish those not certified and be abused by those who are (once you were certified it would be difficult to loose the certification). The flaws outweigh the benefits. -- Strife Onizuka 05:27, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    That's a fair point, but it could be argued that any certification will punish those not certified. That's its purpose; it is proof of competency, while non-certified people must be considered to lack the competency unless they prove otherwise.
    --Lucius Nesterov 15:40, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    Good point, I should have limited that argument to only the abuse. -- Strife Onizuka 17:04, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    Hi, Lucius. Can you please limit your very valuable criticism to the discussion page? Thanks. 1) "Read as: Yes it will cost money, if the 'third party' is anything other than community-based volunteers. As in the real-world the cost will depend on the duration, presitge and popularity of the courses" 2) "Of course anyone can always select an object and use the 'edit' tool to determine who created it - is that so very hard?"
    Heretic Linden 18:01, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    Apologies. Of course you never actually answered the question of whether it would cost ("don't know" is a valid answer) or whether LL would profit ("would like to" is also a valid answer). Also the second point above wasn't me.
    --Lucius Nesterov 14:27, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    I'm puzzled, Heretic. If this exercise is really supposed to be about creating a corps or group of cadres of competent persons who really are skilled at what they claim to be skilled at for the use of corporations doing business in Second Life, why is the group they must join by your or other Linden invitation only hidden in the groups list, and hidden on their profile? Doesn't that run counter to the entire premise here? Is this perhaps merely an oversight (check off "show in groups list" on the menu). It's also important to see the list of those who are claiming expertise in being able to have the impartiality and ability to devise a certification system. So far, one can find in the list quite a few who are looking for a seal of approval but don't understand what is involved in impartial and publicly-credible institution-building. There's also some concern about anything that is "volunteer and community-based". That can be a very misleading concept, which merely means hand-picked friends of Lindens, in our setting -- there's no "community" in any wider, public and transparent sense (especially with a closed, invitation-only group). If this system must go forward (and I oppose it as unnecessary and inhibitive privileging and credentialing that has no place in an open-ended creative world), then it should be done by a professional third-party outsider that is not rooted and embedded in the Linden Lab/resident axis of favouritism. If you set up the usual favour bank, Heretic, it simply will not have any credibility in the corporate world which you intend to woo with this concept. The idea that such profit-making companies would somehow be suspect merely for making a profit would be false, as people tend to screen employees, work to a standard, and have credibility when their company has to face a bottom line. The usual group of volunteers cannot carry it or have crediblity.
    --Prokofy Neva 14:27, 25 April 2007 (PDT)
    This quote from the edited artice really rubs me the wrong way, Heretic. "A positive aspect of certification is that, particularly if there is a cost involved in obtaining them, they show that a resident is commited to working in SL." Excuse me, Heretic? I am logged into SL EVERY DAY for at least 1-2 hours, often as much as 6 or more hours. I build, I run two stores, I just completed a build project for a new sim in the Caledon group, I am part of the COMMUNITY of Caledon...AND I am at the limits of the discretionary spending I can earmark to SL just to maintain my tier. Sooo, I will not be able to afford 'for pay' certification without scaling back other things (land, stores, etc.)...but according to YOU, not having the certification means I am somehow NOT COMMITTED to working in SL? Your concept of 'committed to working in SL disgusts me! Seem like there is no room in SL anymore for the non-money mindset...and it is clear that Prokofy is correct, this is nothing but another 'gift to the inner circle' who are making money from SL at the expense of folks like me doing this for community and not the almighty $L or $US. Great way to lock the little guy out of things.
    --Maklin Deckard
    If you consider SL a "discretionary expense", i.e. a hobby, then no, you have no business being certified. I am sick of trying to hire people, only to have them quit saying "it was too much like work". Well no shit! I was paying you with real money, didn't you expect it to be real work? If someone is serious about working in SL, then yes, they can shell out a few bucks to be certified. Gigs Taggart 13:09, 26 April 2007 (PDT)

    So, Gigs, we're to morph the entire platform around your need not to get burned when you hire a builder? Why would you depend on a synthetic and fictional certification device of anonymous avatars at skills that we can't even transparently and democratically participate in ruling on here? If you are spending real money, you owe it to yourself to go outside the constraints of SL and get a real resume on a real email and get a real portfolio of works you can visit in SL, with real recommendations. There's no need to create a lousy certification service because you're unwilling to go to real life when you need to, and use common-sense procedures to verify a hire. -- Prokofy Neva

    I don't see why one's pocketbook should affect whether they become certified in technical competency at all, besides pure economic necessity, regardless of your past recruitment failures. And that is the whole point of this section. Some people seem to believe that the purpose of this is to provide a service to recruiters. Others are more of the opinion that it is to provide an educational curriculum and provide a badge for having completed that. I imagine that the two can be reconciled, but I can certainly say that I am firmly in the latter camp myself. --Ordinal Malaprop 12:12, 29 April 2007 (PDT)
    Maklin, it's actually me, not Heretic, that you should be directing your anger against, since I wrote that comment. I assure you though that I wasn't trying to question the dedication of people who didn't want to (or couldn't) take the certification; I was just trying to see a positive reason for it. No doubt your hard work has won the respect of the people who know you directly, and possibly spread further by reputation, but that is still a relatively small group. If someone prepares for the certification, spends money to take the test, and then passes, that too sends a strong message of dedication. Not as strong as turning up everyday and putting hours into building a community, but still a clear message and one that's going to reach a wider audience. Feel free to edit the text above to something you're comfortable with. --Lucius Nesterov 01:51, 27 April 2007 (PDT)

    Structured Education

    If instead the purpose is to create a system of structured education, in the form of 'person X has completed class-A level-2 so they can now take class-A level-3', then there is a debate as to whether it is necessary. Is a more 'academic' system better than the current practical, you could say vocational, tutorial system. Is teaching principles better than teaching projects? This is a debate for educators and residents.

    The part that involved Linden Labs is whether this information (the level of someone's achievements) should be made public record. Which again is debateable.

    --Lucius Nesterov 04:08, 25 April 2007 (PDT) I do think that classes should be informed and shaped by the Cert Standards but if you can do it and take the test and pass, that should be just fine. Dnali Anabuki

    In-world Group

    I understand that a closed group has been formed in SL to which certain people who have put their names down here - but not all - have been invited. Can the method of getting membership in this, and its purpose, be clarified please? I can't find reference to it here on the wiki. --Ordinal Malaprop 05:27, 26 April 2007 (PDT)

    Hiya, Ordinal! Hmmm, I set up the group yesterday. Everyone who put their name down to participate should have gotten an invite. I did receive a few IMs yesterday from Residents who mentioned getting an offline invite, but when they logged in, nothing. If you would like to participate in the development of SL Certification, and you did not receive an invite, IM me. Thanks! --Heretic Linden 10:38, 26 April 2007 (SLT)

    Just as a note for anyone reading this - I'm now in the group after IMing, so I would suggest anyone who is on the list but hasn't gotten an invite does the same. It _was_ an update day yesterday after all :) --Ordinal Malaprop 15:07, 26 April 2007 (PDT)

    Categories

    Is the intent that someone wanting to be certified in Modeling would need to know all of

    Architecture
    Furnishings/Interior Design
    Objects
    Weapons and Vehicles

    or would certification indicate which of these things the builder was proficient with?

    Same question for scripting, of course. --Anna Gulaev 09:00, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

    We are wrestling with the same queston with regards to Scripting Certification. You should probably take this question to the Modeling Certification talk page. It all hinges on what the goal of certification is, Is it to mark people as Gurus or something less? -- Strife Onizuka 06:24, 26 April 2007 (PDT)
    Wow, thanks for setting up those pages, folks! Strife, the Guru tag was just something fun. We can change it if you like. We don't have answers to a lot of these questions. We're hoping all of you will help us determine the best course of action. Heretic Linden 10:53, 26 April 2007 (SLT)
    I'm fine with the title that goes with group membership, I was more referring to the level of knowledge the certificants. I thought the title was flattering ^_^ -- Strife Onizuka 12:25, 26 April 2007 (PDT)
    Do we have to use a Wiki? They're not "user friendly" like forums are. I'm really struggling to follow how this damn thing works, and I shouldn't have to waste time trying to learn something I am never likely to use simply to make sure I don't get left out. It's bad enough having the scheme in the first place - which is going to be essential as a Developement Directory member, however much LL try to play it down - so let's not make it harder than it needs to be, eh? Lewis Nerd
    Lewis what you say can be said about any method. "Do we have to use ...<insert beef here>?... I like the wiki because you can just read the article and get the information you want. For discussions it's not the best but for solid information it far better than any forums.--Destiny Niles 15:03, 16 May 2007 (PDT)


    I'm not comfortable with either list on the wiki. They divide things into end-results, not by skill-sets. They are also far too long lists. Certification should have more general areas because it's kind of worthless to have a certification in just one tiny slice of SL. I have edited the Scripting section with an alternative setup, which everything in the original easily can be sorted into. Hiro Pendragon Oct 28, 2008

    Have you looked at the dedicated page for the Scripting Certification yet? It divides things up by LSL topic and not end result. The list on this page hasn't been updated recently... the entire certification project lost momentum last year. -- Strife (talk|contribs) 21:55, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

    Certify this.

    If there's to be certification of Architecture and Weapons building skills, shouldn't Genitalia should be added to the list? SuezanneC Baskerville

    I don't see why it couldn't be a secondary building certification. Though i would suggestion not limiting it just to genitalia but make it a certification for bodyparts. -- Strife Onizuka 11:13, 29 April 2007 (PDT)
    Anatomy would probably be the correct term for that. Or some other way to refer to organic models that isn't just limited to specifically humans but can also involve fantasy-like beasts and creatures such as the popular Furry genre. Either Anatomy or Organic would fit that. Otherwise if there were Genitalia there would be a contest for other bits and bobs such as Muscles or particular structures of muscles, bones, skin tissue and so on. --Nexii Malthus 10:05, 15 August 2008 (PDT)

    Who is certifiable?

    Does the certification goes to the Avatar or the human and all his/her avatars and alts? The reason I asked is related to how certification is verified. Are certifications revocable? and what would the grounds for revocation be? grieving? excessive complaints? --Destiny Niles 10:02, 1 May 2007 (PDT)

    Given the difficulties of validating the person taking the test, I definitely think that there should be a procedure for them to be revoked. The only valid reason I can see for revocation though would be complaints from employers of sub-standard work. However, this would require an independent complaints committee or equivalent.
    --Lucius Nesterov 05:33, 3 May 2007 (PDT)

    I agree that certification should have a revoke clause if complaints of substandard work are received. This might be the best use of a guild system. I envision this system as empowered by the master builders and scriptors with a certain time in SL (frankly I hold the oldies in awe) but that is for another time. Dnali Anabuki