Bark of the Dragon

December 6, 2006

Second Life search still broken

Filed under: Second Life — tomashausdorff @ 11:58 am

It has been a week since the last update, and during that entire span of time search has not worked properly.  Even some of what they say is “fixed” is really only partially fixed, with the restored functionality being limited in the extreme.   So their list of “hot issues of the moment” is actually missing some rather critical considerations. 

The one that really bothers me is somewhat summarized in this quote from the blog entry in the first link above:

[Dec. 6 @ 10:32 AM PST] Some of you have asked about: (1) being able to search Classifieds fully again, meaning not just the title but the description too <…> We know the current behavior is limited, and “the old way” is more useful. Pending further testing, I’m sorry I don’t have an update on this situation yet. I’ll post when it comes.

Let me give you a bit of context so you can better understand what this means.  Second Life consists of over 3,000 “sims” (simulators), each being roughly equivalent to 16 acres of space.  Tens of thousands of places to find and buy items exist within this space, interspersed randomly with houses, parks, clubs, and other things. 

Finding what you want is almost entirely dependent on being able to search through small advertisements (classifieds) created by and paid for by business owners.  You create a small advertisement with some descriptive text and a title: perhaps you include the words “furniture”, or “men’s clothes”.  And people can seek out what they want by using the search tools to do keyword scans through the classifieds.

Or at least this is what they used to be able to do.  Currently they can do nothing of the sort: the search function has basically been reduced to almost total uselessness.  A search now strictly looks at the title of the listing, which is generally the name of your store and is limited to a half dozen words or so (a single line) in any case.

This is the best they can do after an entire week of effort.  In essence, the only way to sell things now is to hope someone remembers where your store is (improbable) or stumbles across it randomly.  Or to be so incredibly large and popular (the top 1%) that folks just know where to locate you, or so wealthy that you buy an entire sim and name it after your business.  Or to spend even more money to take out more classified advertisements with a few keywords each.

Calling this “limited” is a bit like calling a hurricane “slightly inclement weather”.  I don’t intend to denigrate the undoubtedly herculean effort that has gone into getting even this far.  But it appears that things are so fundamentally broken in the underlying database / data server architecture that no amount of cobbled-on effort will make it whole again.

I’d suggest that perhaps it is time for Linden Lab to begin establishing a structured development process, beginning with an architectural review and leading through a well-defined roadmap consisting of commitments for completion of long promised changes and improvements.  Fixing the problems with Second Life will require hard work by serious programmers, not random experimentation and fun features.  This isn’t to say that the work can not be fun, but it may not be exactly the “fun” the developers currently want to have.



  1. To be fair, I think “slightly inclement weather” is closer to “*mildly* limited”, but I won’t mince over words.

    (If I were to be emotional, I’d go, ARGH I MISS MY CLASSIFIEDS. I really do.)

    Context: I kept things general because there are a lot of factors left to investigate right now.

    Re: roadmap, I’ll get your suggestion to Cory Linden; it’s possible there may be a Technical Town Hall soon. More details to come, you know where to look!

    Thx Tomas. =^_^=

    Comment by Torley Linden — December 6, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  2. I GIVE UP. Since last week things are just getting worse and worse. First the update wasn’t it was more of a downdate. Next, MY INVENTORY IS GONE all of it. When I called I got the run around and told to im someone who hasn’t been at work ALL day. Now the clothes I am wearing are dissapearing the longer I’m in world. Called again got the same woman only this time she got even nastier guess who must just answer phones for a living? I paid 60 bucks between land tier and membership fees this past month for what? Over 400 dollars (not linden dollars)worth of stuff poof gone.
    Lastest problem is no matter how many times I relog I CAN’T MOVE!!! The only thing I can do is sit in my sky pad and wait for the guy to get online and find my stuff and fix the problem. So SL thanks for uhhh takin my money and giving me nothing back you must be affiliated with Cable Vision.

    Comment by RayneSaltair — December 6, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

  3. Can we roll back to the las update? This one sucks big time.
    The last one was good for me could move better and rez quicker. Now it’s worse than treacle…

    Comment by Montana Corleone — December 6, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

  4. Torley, as always, thank you for coming by! And I don’t doubt for a moment that the current situation is taken seriously by the folks at Linden Lab. I respect the hard work, but from the outside at least it appears that things aren’t coming together the way they should.

    Rayne, I’m really sorry to hear about your problems- it puts my issues in context. I’m not suffering anything as serious as you- if all of my inventory was disappearing, I’m not sure what I’d do other than freak out. From what I’ve heard, though, folks experiencing inventory loss seem to get their inventory back “automagically” at some point: it sounded like LL was almost encouraging such folks to report their problem then take a few days off or something. I’m surprised and somewhat disheartened to hear, thought, that some folks are still experiencing this degree of difficulty at this late date.

    Montana, it seems like rolling back is pretty close to impossible once they get past a certain point. Having worked with (less complex) computer systems I can understand why this is so. Changes in how data is managed between patches could mean that rolling back is essentially impossible without data loss (I.E.: rolling back all the data as well as the applications). That said, I’m pretty frustrated myself with the current situation.

    Comment by tomashausdorff — December 6, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

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