So, what with the infohubs being dropped from the Destination Guide (see here ), I decided to pull out my old notecard guide to the hubs - yes, at one point I was the Baedeker of SL infohubs - and see what effect, if any, the policy had had.
I started off, of course, with the Moderate hubs that make up the bulk of infohub traffic. Had this policy change had any effect? Any positive effect, even? Well, I worked down the list in alphabetical order...
Scenic Ambat Infohub! Still scenic. NCI infonode still accessible only via a tortuous mountain stair. Population... down. Way down. All of three other people on the entire sim while I was there. Even the hippos in the fountain look discouraged and dejected.
Bay City Municipal Airport
Landing spot is occupied by a flying snake guy who seems to have been there for weeks. People pop in and out, but the population level is down. There are some folks sitting on the booking desk, as there usually were... BCMA always did have a little clique of regulars there to sneer at the newbies, but this seems significantly depleted, too. Even the troll has gone - I forget his name; his schtick was being deliberately obnoxious - which was what made him a troll, I guess. Anyway. Not there any more.
Bear Dream Lodge
Used to be bustling and full of idiots shouting in voice (a "Chat Hot Spot" in LL-speak). Now? Four silent newbies and me. I mean, good grief, the place used to be so full, you had to walk to the next sim to TP out. Now look at it.
I was given my first ever griefer object at Boardroom infohub! So nostalgic... (No, of course I didn't wear or use it, even in those days I wasn't quite that daft.) Anyway. Time was when even the advertising and traffic-gaming bots were stacked six deep at Boardroom. Now? A whole six people on the sim. And not one of them a manic kilted Scotsman trying to hump my shoulder. Times have changed.
Still there, still an impressive build - for its time - but empty. For the first time, I find someone eating crisps with his mic open. I mean, it's only at the fifth hub I visit that I find someone using voice? Bizarre, isn't it? This one is actually busier than most, but still a shadow of its former self. No problem TPing out, so I don't know if a failed TP still drops you in the dungeon....
Was never very busy anyway, so it all looks much the same, now. There was one new guy there whom I'd seen, a little bit previously, at Bear Dream Lodge. Perhaps he's infohub touring the way I used to, before I accidentally set a home spot for myself. He had turned into a jet fighter in between hubs. People do that, you know. There was one woman naked except for pant cuffs, bra and sunglasses. Six hubs, now, and that's the first Community Standards violation I've seen?
Ferry Terminal Barbarossa
This one wasn't on my old notecard, it is new, since my infohub-touring days. As the gateway to the Blake Sea, or some such, it is still reasonably busy. Quiet, though. But there are people around, including vampires on motorbikes. What would SL be without vampires on motorbikes? And they provided my first sighting of inappropriate public sexual activity, too. You can rely on the vamps to come through! And, just as I TP'ed out, my first Bloodlines attack of the day. (From a werewolf. I don't want people to think I discriminate against vampires, you know.)
Same story. Helfell used to be a reliable place to go if you wanted to get gesture-spammed to within an inch of your life. Now? Barely half a dozen people and not a "HOWLZ" in sight. First instance, though, of a Portuguese speaker coming up to me, saying "oi" and walking off. Nice to see some old traditions being kept up.
Oh, this is more like it. People! A dancing twit with his mic open! Even... gesture spam! Hyannisport always was a traditional sort of place, and it may be one of the last bastions of the old-fashioned infohub experience. Truly, a blast from the past.
Hyles Info Center
This one has been redeveloped since I first came to SL, but is still here, and still more or less worth a visit - if you're new - on account of the handy freebies on display. The new look seems more bland and bleak than the old pseudo-Arabesque style. There are a few people about. Not many, though.
Ah, the Shelter is still popular! And, blimey, I could buy an 1136 chunk of land here, if I had the odd L$1,250,000 spare. Oh, wait, that'd put my tier up. Never mind. The Shelter's associated hub hasn't changed all that much; it's still busy, which is probably why people are trying to charge Bay City prices for land here. And, with active participation from the nice people at the Shelter, Isabel infohub continues to be one of the more civilized ones to visit.
Well, gosh, this is a sign of the times, isn't it? About five people on the whole sim, and only two of them in voice, and they aren't even swearing! Are the end times upon us?
I don't think I've ever seen this place this quiet. There is particle snow falling, and it is the loudest thing about. Pooley is one of those standard sims you go to when you have inventory loading problems, so there is almost always someone about. But not very many, today! First instance of getting n00bdozered at a hub. (For the uninitiated - jostled around by someone who has not yet realized that avatars are physical in SL and you can't just walk through them.)
Temple of Iris
I still haven't worked out what is so all-fired historical about this Linden Historical Site. Unless "historical" is LL-speak for "inconvenient"... Why no stairs, Lindens? Why no stairs? Anyway. Some people around, but not many.
Waterhead Welcome Area
Wow. It is coming to something when this place is quiet... the way I remember it, every time I came there was something going on outside the entrance. Some people might call it performance art, others might just call it a bunch of people being twerps, but there was always something happening. And now there isn't. And it looks weird. A twit in a gas mask tried to hit on me, but that was the only echo of a once-proud tradition that I found.
Welcome Area Korea
Yay! Korea is still four whole sims of lag and obnoxious pillocks! It is a triumph of stupidity over common sense. Obscene group tags, people SLing while drunk, and I'm sure some of these folks have been standing in the same places since I first visited here. It will take more than delisting the hubs from Chat Hot Spots to change the essential nature of the Korea Welcome Area! A lot more! - Does anyone have a tactical nuke I can borrow?
The volcano infohub hasn't changed a lot either - population appears normal, by the loose infohub standards for "normal", at least. Some time after I gave up infohub touring, the famed volcano in the next sim turned damage-enabled; I used to send my alt there to suffer (she deserves it). Standing on the diving board over the bubbling lava in the crater is surprisingly bad for your health.
So there we are. I may go on and do the General hubs (most of them were empty anyway, though) and the five Adult hubs (I don't expect much change there). Still. It seems the listing change is having an effect - based purely on my anecdotal evidence, and one trip around, probably at a bad time of day anyway....