User:Jaszon Maynard/Proposed Introduction

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This is a step-by-step guide to the essential things a new user (resident) should do to start learning their way in Second Life.

To keep it brief, it will assume the user does do all the tutorials and read various Notecards at New User Orientation Island as well as Public Orientation Island, and so will cover important information they would not learn even if they did that.

If content like this seems like a good idea to you, please check out the page

Please note, a few of the links in here function, however many lead nowhere. They're just indicated for quick illustration purposes of how this would read.

Also, the structure of this page is "done", but I have more to write to fill it in...I'm still in the middle of writing.

What is Second Life?

The best answer to that can be found at's "What Is Second Life?" page [1]. If you'd like to read more, they have more good info in their "Frequently Asked Questions" page [2].

What Can You Do In Second Life?

If you followed the the links given above, you should already have a pretty good idea about what you can do. If you'd like the one-sentence can meet people, chat (text or voice), change yourself into anything you can imagine, shop, hang-out in a nightclub in Paris...or in space, take classes on real world topics taught by real world institutions, play games & contests, watch movies, throw a party, visit a museum, play sports, fight dragons, role-play, own land, start a business, build a palace, create a game or a suit of seashells or a sculpture, make a movie, even make real-world money...and more.

Reading this Introductory Help

As you read these instructions, in addition to all the other help information, don't forget that this help documentation has a dictionary of terms, including in-world slang [definition]. It also has a help section regarding the client program [definition] you will be running on your computer to use Second Life, the Second Life Main Viewer.

Before Signing-Up for Second Life

For various reasons (explained in a following step, Your First Stop: Orientation Island for New Residents), when you first enter the Second Life world, you have a slightly limited time window in which to complete some valuable instruction tutorials. You can spend as much time as you like at any time going through the process of signing-up for an account [definition] (which can be free), downloading the Second Life Main Viewer, and installing it. However, when you're finally ready to enter the Second Life world, it is best if you do so at a time when you expect to have a block of available free time. This will allow you to take best advantage of the special instruction tutorials that are initially available to you.

Sign-up and Install

You may wish to first check Second Life's computer requirements [3] to ensure you will be able to run it. You should then head to and look for a "Get Started" or "Join" link, which will walk you through the steps of signing up for an account [definition] (which can be free), downloading the Second Life Main Viewer, and installing it.

Improving Your In-world Experience

As you begin using Second Life, walking around, and trying the in-world tutorials (as described in the following step Your First Stop: Orientation Island for New Residents), you may find that the graphics are jerky and stuttering. If you are not having any problems in this regard, then you can stop reading this step right now and skip to the next step. However, if you find the jerkiness to be bothersome or interfering with your enjoyment of Second Life, there are relatively simple steps you can take to improve the performance.

It's worth spending a little time to improve your in-world performance, however, you should not spend too much time optimizing performance right now. As mentioned in the step Before Signing-Up for Second Life, you have more important things to be doing with your initial time in Second Life. If you would like to take a few minutes to improve your performance, please see the information on Second Life Performance.

Your First Stop: Orientation Island for New Residents

About the Island

You start off in a special Orientation Island that's only for brand-new residents. It has various in-world tutorials and special screen overlays that help walk you through learning some initial ways to gets things done in Second Life.

Be aware that once you leave this special Orientation Island for New Residents, whether by accident or on purpose, you can never go back to it (unless you create a new account [definition] by joining again at And while there is a Public Orientation Island that you can visit at any time, the Orientation Island for New Residents has special features and tutorials that don't exist anywhere else.

Therefore, you should explore this special island thoroughly before you leave it. Especially the areas labelled Move, Communication, and Appearance, since knowledge of some basic mechanics of Second Life will be very helpful as you start exploring the world. You should do every exercise that seems at all valuable to you, and you may wish to gather every Notecard available to you, even if you don't read them all now. Should you miss any Notecards, the information they contain can be found here.

You should do your exploration soon. If you drag it out over the course of days, it can happen that when you return to Second Life, if the computers that run the special Orientation Island are having a problem at the time you are logging-in [definition] to Second Life, you may enter the world, but be kicked off the special Orientation Island and placed somewhere else in the world. Once that happens, you have left the special island and cannot return.

One of the early things you should do on this island is to do the tutorial written below.

An Important Tutorial: Save Your Appearance

One important tutorial that isn't on this island (but should be) to save your appearance. Sooner or later you're going to change your appearance. You're going to change clothes, your skin color, your face, even your entire body. And you're going to try on strange shapes sometime just for fun. But you want to make sure you know how to switch back to your original shape when desired. And you do that by "making an outfit".

Before you start experimenting with your appearance...or after you've completed some experiments and want to preserve what you've sure you "make an outfit". Here's how: Right-click your avatar and choose "Appearance". Then in the new pop-up window, click on the "Make Outfit" button at the bottom. Make sure every click-able checkbox is checked except "rename clothing to folder name" (if that one is checked, uncheck it). Name your outfit whatever you'd like. Then hit the Save button. A new folder with that name will be created in your Inventory under Clothing. Do this often when you're just starting out, you can have as many outfits as you want. Then anytime you want to change into one of those looks, just drag that folder out of your Inventory and drop it onto your avatar.

Leaving the Island

Once you're done with this special Orientation Island, it's time to leave (remember, you can't come back ever again). The most common way to leave it is to head to the central hub of the island and click on one of the various billboards there labelled "Exit". One billboard is for people who'd like to head to a special Help Island for New Residents next, the other is for those who'd like to head to a public welcome location in the world.

Clicking on a billboard will cause a Landmark to be given to you, which you should choose to "Keep". It will then be saved into your Inventory. Landmarks are a way of specifying a location in the world. Additionally, a Landmark window will pop-up onto your screen, from which you can click "Teleport" to choose to be teleported to the specified destination.

Optional Stop: Help Island for New Residents

If you chose to head to the Help Island for New Residents, you'll be on a special Help Island that is only for brand-new residents. Here you can....

Once you're done with this special Help Island, it's time to leave for the public areas of Second Life (remember, you can't come back ever again).


Quick Info: Avoiding In-world Mischief

Once you've left the islands for new residents behind and are in the public areas of Second Life, you will find as you explore the world that, like the real world, there are practical jokers in Second Life, and even dishonest people. It's not common, but you could run into someone who asks you to sit in a special chair, or hands you a trick item to wear, or an object to use, and then something unexpected may happen to you when you do that.

It may be something harmless and silly, though possibly annoying, that, at most, wastes some of your time. Or, should you actually have spent real-world money buying Linden dollars, it could be something criminal that actually steals real-world money from your Second Life account [definition].

One way to avoid problems is to be a little careful about who you trust, particularly when it comes to using items that have been given to you. Of course, when you're brand-new to Second Life and haven't gotten to know anyone, who do you trust? Generally speaking, someone who has a "stake" in Second Life or a reputation they're concerned about should be trustworthy.

For instance, if you sit in a chair at a bar in Second Life, the owner of that building has, at the least, invested a good deal of time to setup that bar, and they probably want to keep it running. They're not likely to place trick chairs in there or allow other people to permanently place harmful objects in there. The same applies to buying items from an established store or vending machine. If the owner of an establishment abused residents they could be punished, and be in jeopardy of losing what they have invested in Second Life (whether time or real-world money).

Second Life Mentors should also be trustworthy. A Second Life Mentor is a volunteer resident of Second Life who works with Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, to help teach and guide other residents. Most Mentors can be recognized in-world because above their name they will have the title "Second Life Mentor". You can also tell if someone is a Second Life Mentor by right-clicking on their avatar and seeing if they belong to the Group "Second Life Mentor".

Overall you should not worry too much about these things in Second Life, it's not a common problem. But you should at least be a little aware that mischief is possible.

Should you be the victim of some form of mischief and you need help in addressing it or would like to lodge a complaint about the perpetrator, read the information available here.

Find a "Home"

For various reasons, explained elsewhere, it can be helpful to have established a Home for yourself in Second Life. You can do this even if you do not own land in Second Life. To establish a Home in Second Life, please read the article about Home.

Quick Info: Managing Your Inventory

As you spend time in Second Life and acquire various items (clothes, accessories, objects, etc), you may find that the Inventory of items you are carrying quickly becomes very full and disorganized, making it hard to find what you want when you want it. If you notice that starting to happen, you may wish to read the tips on managing your Inventory.

You're "Done"...What Next?

You've completed the quick intro to Second Life, it's time to decide what you'd like to do next. If you still feel lost and want additional basic instruction and tutorials, then go to the step Optional Basic Instruction. Or perhaps you want to get out there and start experiencing the Second Life world, in which case go to the step Explore the World.

Optional Basic Instruction

(Please note, if you are still on New User Orientation Island and have not yet completed the 4 required mini-tutorials in the center of the island, you will not be allowed to teleport directly to the following locations at this time. Read the earlier section in this article regarding New User Orientation Island to find out ways to leave the island)

The Public Orientation Island

There are Public Orientation Islands that are open to anyone at any time. To reach one, in the menubar select the Help menu, select "In-World Help", and in the pop-up window, select "Orientation Island Public", then you will be given an option to teleport. Once you're on an island, follow the stone pathway and you will be brought to various tutorials and information not available on the Orientation Island for New Residents.

The Public Help Island

If you explore a Public Help Island you will find various tutorials and information that is not on any of the Orientation Islands. To reach one, in the menubar select the Help menu, select "In-World Help", and in the pop-up window, select "Help Island Public", then you will be given an option to teleport. At the center of a Help island (which is where you will first arrive on the island), you will likely find Mentors waiting to answer questions of anyone who asks (as well as a lot of people asking questions). (should this detail HOW to ask a ask it aloud, vs. ask for a Mentor's attention aloud, vs. simply pick a Mentor and IM them?)

Explore the World!

There are many things you can do in Second Life! Simply looking through the help topics may give you many ideas. But here's a few easy things to start with:

  • You can go sight-seeing and explore the world, and just see who you run into.
  • You can seek out various entertainment & Events. You may find a game, concert, contest, discussion about movies/art/history/etc, art opening, museum, etc to which you'd like to go.
  • You can Search for a Group that shares your interests, join it, and start talking to the members to find interesting things to do.

Additional Instruction, & Questions/Problems

Looking for more instruction/tutorials? Or have a question? Without knowing your problem or where you are in the Second Life process (have you successfully entered Second Life? Are you still on New User Orientation Island? etc), it's difficult to say the best way for you to get your issue addressed. However, to get additional help, either read the topics in this wiki's Second Life Help, or use the various help resources available, both on the web and in-world, which are described in Where to get additional help.

(the structure of this page is "done", but I have more to write to fill it in...I'm still in the middle of writing)