Voice Test Team Week 1 Diary

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Voice Test Team: Diary Submissions from First Week

July 18, 2007 (Phree2Be Foxley): I guess I'm the ginnie pig. Clocked in from 4pm to about 1130pm. OI was really quiet. I only really helped one person, but the experience of helping with voice was worth it. It was really odd at first speaking instead of typing. Usually we get to think about what we say as we type and try to get just primary information out there to get new residents going. I had a 20 minute conversation with this guy that would have taken me hours to type. No more click here...did you get that...click there...did you get that...what....no...ok one more time...etc, you know the drill. Now it is practically instantaneous. Once you get voice enabled. Most of the folks at my time were spanish speaking and either did not understand me (or my babbler), or did not need the help. Anyway that's it until tomorrow. Good night.

19 JUL 2007 (Savannah Glimmer)5:30 AM - Noon: I gave each person who landed an initial "Welcome to SL", then offered assistance enabling voice. Most of them went right to work on the tutorials and a few of them came back later for help. People who spoke English were more apt to get voice enabled (since they were being asked to do so in English). Others resorted to text chat. I realize the importance of having bilingual mentors using voice, however it would be difficult to cover every language around the clock. Still, with use of translators, and text chat, having mentors available still seemed to make a difference. The most frequently asked question involved earning L's or seeking employment. For those who did use voice, I agree with Phree, that helping them was very easy. Assisting them involved conversation vs. instruction and we covered many topics, whereas they normally would ask one question then be on their way. Some people arrived without the right equipment (no headset), or did not download the voice client. More tomorrow.


July 19, 2007 (ScubaChris Wollongong) noon- to 3:30: My experience has been similar. Several of the citizens I worked with had signed up a while ago and not been in until today. They did not know about the Voice but were interested. It might be useful to add something to the sign about needing the First Look client and where to go to get it as two folks were interested. I IM'd them the URL but it would have been easier to point to the sign. The one person who did have voice who needed help thought that the voice was pretty cool. We talked quite more about Second Life in general and what you can do than I've been able to in the past. For example, it was much easier to help them with Search. Instead of typing in chat "Open search->Places->and then type something like clubs or dancing" I was able to ask them what they were interested in and then we did some searches together (Some librarian is going to have a field day with search strategies in SL). The other thing that helped is I created gesture made up of chats that did an introductory "Welcome to the Voice enabled Orientation Island. You first need to enable chat..." that saves me having to type that for every new person. If anyone would like the gesture, IM me and I'll send it to you. I'm going to do one that goes through the directions latter.

July 20, 2007 (ScubaChris)- on creating an account - I'm putting together some directions for a workshop I'm doing next week and just a quick observation (request?)for the account create page. on https://secure-web11.secondlife.com/voicebeta/index.php where you select your name, the Voice page is missing the "Check this name for availability" link. It's not a biggy but I have found this link to be very helpful for reducing the time (and sometimes frustration) of picking a name (What do you mean that Gobbledygook Watanabe is already taken! How could that be?) I assume it will return when voice is the standard download but it would be nice to add here if not too much trouble.

July 17-21 (Master Quatro) Have seen many non-english speaking citizens who had a difficult time communicating. Perhaps separate portals for different nationalities would make their new experience more enjoyable. I'm sure the frustration of being overwhelmed with the new environment is multiplied when they can't communicate in their native language. I had one new subscriber that I chatted with that had turned on voice. He was Polish and the language barrier as well as his constant crashing prevented any meaningful help. The attempt was not successful. Most are too overwhelmed by the new world and most simply concentrated on getting dressed. I handed out lots of freebie clothes since this was a concern for them. The early morning hours (US) are rather calm. We get a few subcribers trickling in and in awe of it all.

July 21, 2007 (Phree2Be Foxley): Helped out Savannah this morning and into the afternoon. Together with Dirk, we came up with a little script to wear that gives some basics on the issues the OI is having. The following phrases are repeated every 3 minutes within the wearer's chat range:

Welcome: Hello All Welcome to Second Life

Welcome: To Activate Voice Chat, find the black sign in the center of the island. If you need further help a helper will be glad to help you.

Welcome: Your task here today is to complete the Orientation Guide. If you do not see it in the upper left hand corner of the screen, please ask a helper for assistance.

Welcome: If you have finished the tutorials and you wish to leave the island, click the Help Island sign for a landmark and click Teleport.

Welcome: If you are stuck and unable to change clothing, please follow these steps. Press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+D on your keyboard.

Welcome: This will add new items to the menu at the top of your screen. You should now see 'Client' and 'Server' listed there as well. Click on Client > Click on Character > Click on Character Tests > Choose a Male or Female Test.

Welcome: To See the History of these messages click 'ctrl <h>'.

If you would like a copy of this item, please contact Savannah, Dirk, or Myself. Hope it helps. See ya soon.


July 21 (ScubaChris) Worked with Savanah (who should get an award for people helped) this afternoon. For some reason we had a period where we got a several underage users (at least three or four). We tried to figure out why they had all appeared and redirected the two we could catch to teen SL.

The (vast) majority of new citizens were not using the voice and were not really interested in it as they were trying to figure out clothes and things. Also, the ones I asked about it (six or seven) all arrived without the Orientation Guide HUD so they had no clue what to do. Savannah and I were wondering if it might be possible to have them arrive with the chat already enabled. In other words, Voice Enabled is the default. If not, it would be nice if they were given directions on the web page to turn it on before they come in (using preferences on the log in page).


July 22 (DoteDote) Wow, what a difference priority makes on the sign-up page. Wednesday and Thursday nights were slow - on average, one true new resident per hour. Friday and Saturday nights, the place was jam-packed! It was great to help these people, and many seemed receptive. The language barrier is difficult to overcome. I converted an Italian person to voice, and that was sorta fun. I did my best to speak translated text, but had no way to translate his voice. Regardless, it worked and he's on his way. But, there are a lot of Europeans coming in overnights.

Observations about voice

First, I haven't had a single female willing to enable voice. I'd be curious to know whether Savannah has better luck with the females. Second, it seems people are more willing to enable voice if another user enables it (they want to, but don't want to admit they want to). For example, I help one person enable voice, then turn around and see another with the option enabled. Last night, I think we had three or four at once, along with Dirk and myself (about an hour later, voice completely died on the island). It does seem that some people come onto the voice OI without having downloaded the voice client. So far, I'm 0-for-5 in getting people to successfully d/l and return the the same OI. They tell me they're going to d/l, but I never see them again (Savannah did say she had one return after a d/l, so that's good).

General OI observations

I note three major problems on these islands. First, the Help Island sign is poorly-worded. People read it and think, "I don't need help, I want to get started", and they can't find a way to get started. My suggestion, split the sign into two halves. On one half, use animated textures to loop between English/Spanish/Japanese/German versions of the Help Island offer. On the other side, maybe something like "After you've completed your Orientation Guide, Click Here to take the next step into your Second Life," again cycling languages. As it is today, people walk around forever trying to get off the island. I wonder what would happen if we weren't there to tell them about the "Help Island" sign.
Second, the OI guide textures are very slow to load. I wonder whether is would be a positive, or negative, hit to loading times if there was an invisible prim near each area that would sorta pre-load the textures to speed the process. And there should be a solution to not having the guide attach in the first place. It seems this would be simple-enough... use a detector pad, same as the which detect when a person enters a tutorial zone. The pad should query the OI Guide, and if it gets a response... do nothing, but if there is no response, it could IM the resident with instructions to get the OI Guide attached (search inventory for 'guide', right click, wear).
Third, the character problem. This isn't so major, but without volunteers to instruct residents in fixing the problem, I wonder if they give up on SL altogether. For some folks, I think Appearance edit doesn't appear until the avatar problem is fixed... so the appearance tutorial wouldn't flow properly either. Solution: another sign... a picture of what the resident would see with the words "Does your avatar look like this? If yes, then click for instructions."

July 23, 2007 (Yummie Olsen) 2:00-3:30: Hello, ok making up for lost time sorry. I have volunteered on the voice island now wednesday, thursday, friday and saturday, and i found a fill in for me for Sunday for my daughters birthday. Ok, so it is interesting and a lot of fun, very neat. I see a few turn on their voice. It is harder when they do speak a different language tho. On saturday dirk and i did have two underage come in. The only reason i found out his age, is because, I do ask people why they are not interested in turning on voice. I am wondering what would stop them. The kids at this point said he was 14, and questioned me as to how old you have to be to be in second life. I am not thinking, from volunteering at the voice help island that the voice should be enabled so they just have to push the talk button, and if they dont want to use voice when they log in that is fine, they dont have to push the talk button. Looking back to when I first logged into Second Life, i now remember my mindset, i was afraid to push any buttons at all. Well sort of like working with Microsoft windows, when i was new to a computer, I was afraid that i would mess something up. Make a huge error and break the program. I was the same way with Second Life. I did not know when i first came to second life that all those buttons were ok to push and look through. I do like to personally greet everyone, and i do like to interact with everyone, as i am a social person. When I am with others tho, other volunteers you will see tho that I do sit back, as to not hog the area, and take over. A lot of people I talked to were receptive to killing rats, which when I talked to them people that were like that, it is cause they were coming from fighting games. I do not understand why people show up nude, I do believe that needs fixed and sort of fast. It is not what we want to teach new residents to do in second life in a PG area. Ok, now on to the sign of help island, I got to think there should be another way to direct them to a sign. Well just like if there was a big sign, with a name of a place, you think it is the name of the place you are at. People generally start a game with not wanting to click anything, more or less afraid to, to be greeted by people makes them feel welcomed. I can say for me the language barrier has been one of the problems with voice and how to fix that i am not sure. I want others, french, german, spanish ie, to know there are others in second life that are like them, ones that they can meet up with and voice chat with. Meaning, for the world to be welcomed in and have others to be like them to be welcomed into their language. I guess it would help if they could get a teleport to a region that is going to be comfortable to them. I would hate to see someone leave second life due to not having a helper that speaks their language in voice. Maybe landmarks to the Helpers to different regions that are different languages, so they can read stuff in their native language. I guess i am thinking from the golden rule thing, I know if i went into a game that was a foreign language and no one could talk to me, or type to me, I would get really frustrated and i would most likely log out. So we do need to take care of others that speak different languages. I do know we cant accommodate to all languages, but we can make an effort to teleport them to a place they feel comfortable. Ok i will be writing more often, and writing a lot less. Sorry I had to play catch up here.

24 JUL 2007 (Savannah Glimmer) Since my last post, on 19 JUL, OI 15 has gone through a few technical blips, which has caused much time spent on getting new residents loaded and clothed. There have been creative methods of getting messages across to new users, as described by Phree above, via notecards created by Dirk, and through text chat. With all of this going on, attempts to get new residents on voice was still a priority. I noticed some people standing in front of the voice instruction board on their own accord, and making attempts to enable voice. Some were successful, some had to go back and download the voice client. Requests to setup help were always put out in chat. If a resident asked for help, the directions were typed in chat, which we found caused others to follow suit and enable their own. Up until tonight, the most residents on voice chat with the mentors was two or three at one time. Tonight however, volunteering with Phree, we had five residents in voice chat with us at one time. One of the people in voice chat was from Brazil and we did not understand each other at all, yet seemed to still break the language barrier and had a lot of laughs, all of us together. One of the residents, who was also there yesterday, did not opt to talk, but listened and gave hearty "lol's" in text chat in response to our conversation. Once a resident uses voice, helping them is so much easier. Given that all mentors are on the same channel, the person on voice chat really benefits from a group who can help, vs. one mentor focused on them and typing, while other mentors type to other residents. I also saw that residents who were in voice together, became more social in text chat together, helping each other if they spoke the same language, and helping us to translate at times. I think a solution to the translation issue might be to attempt use of "Speech Tools". This product translates in 19 languages, both from voice or text, and puts out male or female voice translation (the new version sounds less robotic). I will try to use it but will likely crash. If someone else wants to volunteer, please let me know and I will get a copy to you or give you the LM to go test it out first. I didnt see any brown-white-purple av's tonight so maybe that issue is repaired.  : )

24 July 2007 (Master Quatro) - There is an issue of proper progression: do we send people to help island first in order to become somewhat familiar with SL and then get them into voice when they are not constantly trying to figure out this new environment, wearing clothes, changing shapes etc. I have found that the there is a basic order of needs when a new subscriber first enters SL: 1. Very basic inderstanding of surroundings (where am I, what is this, what am I doing here) 2. Need to communicate (be understood) 3. Preoccupation with "look", shape, skin (how do I change gender? how do I look like you?. 4. Need to be dressed in anything other then basic purple (I need clothes, where do I get them?. 5. Need to find worthwhile activity (what do I do now? how do I get out of here? where can I go from here?)

There is a high level of impatience, expectation, disappointment due to the necessary time and effort involved in having a basic understanding of how to navigate SL and how to "make" things. Most new subscribers simply are not interested in voice. I have been able to convince only 2 individuals to even attempt it. We are presenting them with an option well beyond their basic needs. They are use to typing in chat environments and this is ok here too. There needs to be a better explanation of what to expect from voice before the individual enters SL. The web presentation previous to entry should be organized to provide a basic introduction to voice in a way appropriate for neophites not present SL users. I agree with others' comments about difficulty of communication with subscribers who don't speak languages that we are familiar with. They are frustrated by not being able to be understood.


I welcomed the new residesnt with this copy and paste -- Taylaa Williamson, Tuesday, July 24, 2007,

Each time a new resident would land on the island in a group, I would paste this: If anyone is intersted in communicating wtih us in Voice, please follow the directions on the black board on how to enable Voice.

The board that has the instructions for how to enable voice isnt noticable to anyone. It's dark and visually invisible; not to mention the language barrier for those who don't know English. Perhaps a Large Sign, or a Flashing Sign indicating "Voice Communication Instructions" would help; or a White board with black fonts or Black board with white letters.

Throughout my shift, the majority of of the new residents ignored what I typed about enabling voice, however, there were 3 who had an interest in it and they were sucessful in getting thier voice communication going. There was also 1 person who was using the first look client and went thru the steps to enable voice but they weren't able to get voice going. This person said the didnt see the white above our head but he did get the voic controls and they were useless to him.


July 24 (ScubaChris MIA) Hi all, Sorry that I missed my shift today. Something happened with the power outage. Every time I try and launch SecondLife, I crash. Sometimes I make it all the way in and sometimes not. Working on a fix and hope to be back tomorrow.