Monday, February 13, 2012

It's the Gift that Keeps On Giving

Logged on this morning to collect three copies of the same notecard from a place I've shopped at a few times... I'm wondering if this is fallout from the latest shock-horror to rock the grid, the throttling of the llGiveInventory function by Linden Lab.

Basically, this is meant as an anti-griefer measure, not unlike the famous "grey goo fence" that prevents objects from self-replicating excessively.  Anyone who's been out on the Mainland when the script-kiddies are at play will have noticed griefer objects relentlessly trying to give copies of themselves away - there is always a chance that an inexperienced person will accept one and rez it, thus giving the plague a new lease of life, and in any case the constant flood of pop-ups is annoying.  So, the Lab introduced a cap on the llGiveInventory function, which essentially shuts your scripted objects off from doing it once a certain threshold is passed.

The problem, of course, is that there are legitimate users out there - large merchants with centralized product servers, for instance - who have perfectly sound reasons for sending large bursts of inventory items every so often, and they are getting hit by this cap too.  (One example I've seen quoted is the 7 Seas fishing game - I do that myself from time to time - which has hundreds of venues potentially listening out for messages from its central server at any one time, and which can therefore hit the llGiveInventory cap any time.)  These merchants are, necessarily, among the largest and most prosperous on the Grid, and they are, quite understandably, unhappy.

It strikes me as something I thought the Lab had grown out of, in recent times; making an arbitrary (if necessary) decision without consulting the user base, or even understanding how the user base would be affected.  Yes, the griefer issue needed to be addressed, but there should have been some thought given to the people who had legitimate uses for the function....  I'm hoping the duplicate notecards I got indicate someone is trying to find a workaround.  Indeed, I hope very much that Linden Lab is working with its affected customers on finding that workaround.  (It shouldn't be impossible.  Off the top of my head: set up a whitelist where merchants can register legitimate server objects that won't be subject to the cap.  That took me two minutes; someone with more time and better brains than me can probably come up with more elegant solutions.)

Lately, Linden Lab have shown a lot more of a tendency to listen to their users and give them stuff they want, or even stuff they didn't know they wanted, but can use.  This particular brouhaha strikes me as a retrograde step.  I hope it's an isolated one.

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