Developer Program Update

Here’s an excerpted email to the Developer Guinea Pigs from SamSyn. It pretty much reflects where we are, and is VERY exciting:

* The General Plan is:

1.) Submit a variety of designs (we ultimately want to feel we have tested every possible submission category, but since there are 358 of those (or so), that probably won’t happen, at least not without a lot more coordination.

2.) Get ‘review copies’ of everything you submit and take a long hard peek at the item in world. Make sure the organizer/MyThings/ChangeMe/About information looks correct (name, icon, menu options, etc). To get a review copy, just open the review page for the submission (There will be a “review” link in the submissions description on your “My Submissions” page). The review copy should have the same menu options as a normal tryIt.

3.) For vehicles, make sure they drive around normally, and obey local permissions (and can be raced in a funzone properly). In fact, this would fail if you tried it today. .. snip ..

4.) submit reviews as much as you can, on your own designs and others. Currently it is only easy to see your own designs (From your “My Submissions” list), but we will be introducing various ‘search’ opportunities as we move forward. Your reviews should be ‘honest’ and represent your own best opinion as to whether or not you feel the submission violates any guidelines.

You are NOT reviewing the esthetics of the submission. There is no secrecy, everyone will be able to read your reviews. Your ‘reviewer weight’ (think ‘skill’) will change over time, depending on whether your review agreed with the final outcome of the approve/reject cycle. Feel free to share review page urls with any member you like (They will only be able to submit a new review if their avatar is also in the Developer Program, but they do NOT need to be a Guinea Pig to submit a review, or get a review copy of your design)

5.) This is not pretend… you are submitting real designs that people will see, and you will be charged real fees. It is not our intention to make you pay for the privilege of testing this stuff. Please use the ‘cancel submission’ option (again, on the “My submissions” list) once you feel no additional testing is required on a design. That should refund the submission fee to you (please verify that it does and report any failures to us for refund).

6.) If your submission is actually approved, it will unlock the ability to list it for sale in auctions, which we want to test as well, but please use your best judgement to keep it as ‘fair’ as possible, given your special Guinea Pig status.

The first few approvals will be VERY SPARING and looked at in great detail, and then very likely cancelled retroactively and “product recall” will be used to pull all sold instances from the world and provide full refunds to the buyers. This is just to test that we have the ability to pull a truly obnoxious design from the world should it become approved accidentally.


Let’s see…

* Thank you! We realllllly appreciate your help in this project! The Whole World is Watching!

* This does NOT include the Developer BuyBack program yet, so your income is still only in ThereBux

* Vehicles submitted before the next server push will not obey the ‘can drive’ privilege, so please avoid teasing people in no-drive areas like Zona.

* We do want to start testing Interactive items in this Phase. You will need to help us understand how best to help you do that.

* Only developers on “The White List” (You Guinea Pigs) will be able to submit designs, and you Wave One piggies will recall that the White List starts out a little forgetful, so you might be able to submit today, but not tomorrow, for example. Just let us know if you think that has happened and we will kick it in the head again.

* Everyone who asked to be a Guinea Pig (by sending us the required email as described on Thumdar) has been added to the program. So if you think you SHOULD have been, but you did NOT receive THIS EMAIL (heh heh), then we must have missed your email. Nothing personal, feel free to send us another 🙂

* If you are testing a design and someone walks up, they can also review the design by using the ABOUT tag on the review copy (the ABOUT page for a ‘new submission’ includes a link to its review page)

* Once a design has been approved/rejected/cancelled, it should no longer be possible to submit a new review (but you can still open the review page and read the old reviews)

* If you submit multiple reviews on the same submission, only the ‘most recent one’ counts. The others still exist in the database, however, should Big Brother feel the need to retroactively check the behaviour of an individual reviewer.

* Try not to freak out if your reviewer weight goes DOWN from time to time. The current adjustment algorithm is very simple. If your review AGREES with the final approval/rejection, you earn one point (up to a max of 100). If your review DISAGREES with the final approval/rejection, you lose 10% of your current points (down to a minimum of 0, though there is also an explicit “banned from reviewing” opportunity, to be used for truly hopeless reviewers 🙂


So, as I have said before, while we are committed to giving Developers a way to make real money for their contributions, we are not planning a buyback program. As I posted in other places, our problem with BuyBack programs include (but are not limited to):

  • Overhang. With a “Buyback” program in place, we have an accounting problem in that potentially every T$ in circulation is eligible for redemption. Optically, that’s horrible for the books.
  • Fraud. I want to believe that people are basically good, but our experience with our last Buyback (even though it was coming right out of the Investor’s pockets, on top of other other losses in the business) showed that there are still a few bad apples out there. We had all kinds of cheating going on,
    up to and including people buying T$ from 3rd party resellers to sell them back to us.
  • Overhead. Handling a BuyBack program, especially in light of the above, is a lot of overhead. That would be more money we’d have to spend to manage the program.
  • Sources of Income. Any BuyBack would be directed towards Developers, and not money you might have in your account. We don’t have any way to enforce this, and, without implementing for sort of dual in-world currency system, it would be a complex and error prone undertaking to track.

I know that some people believe we “promised” a BuyBack program, but that’s not what we did. We said we would implement a way for Developers to get a real $ benefit from their work, and that’s the plan.

  1. #1 by Swimgood on 2012.10.04 - 7:16 pm

    Have you started review on ban/ suspended accounts? Can you please consider making this a priority, I am sure there has to be people who are waiting and willing to play There.

  2. #2 by seckoa92 on 2012.10.03 - 12:19 am

    Not sure if I’m double posting, but I’m excited for the October update. Always love learning something new about There every month!

  3. #3 by seckoa92 on 2012.10.03 - 12:18 am

    Can’t wait for the update for the month of October. The best thing about each month is that I learn something new about There.

  4. #4 by Kala on 2012.09.30 - 4:32 pm

    I will be 18 in about too months I can’t wait!!! I miss There so much! its like my own virtual world I love it it’s amazing. I wouldn’t mind spending my whole day on There! There rocks! but I got a question do I have to wait and pay until i’m 18 or can I pay in about a few day’s?

  5. #5 by Okalnix on 2012.09.22 - 11:47 am

    Pirates on Dune Valley Buggy Arena.
    Also on sunday 23 SEp 1pm east time

    Thank you for the update and indeed the preview works great.
    Good job

  6. #6 by Lady_Tigrane on 2012.09.22 - 8:58 am

    On an off topic question, How’s your shoulder healing? Hope it doesn’t give you any trouble. Btw.. they have found you should avoid spinach when broken bones are healing. It slows bone growth in broken bones. Once it’s all better you can eat all the spinach you like.

    Hugs, Your There Mom

  7. #7 by Deb Sassybeme on 2012.09.19 - 4:30 pm

    Has any one said how we find these items to review? IF so, I’ve missed it. If I can’t submit test, I would think reviewing would be just as helpful. I might have more time for reviewing rather then designing atm.

    • #8 by soede on 2012.09.20 - 11:04 am

      You have to get the link from the submitter itself for the time being.

      • #9 by Deb Sassybeme on 2012.09.20 - 12:33 pm

        Well that kind of bites.

      • #10 by ImageMaker on 2012.09.21 - 4:25 pm

        That’s a temporary thing while instant submission and crowd review are being tested. Once it’s live, anyone will be able to click “about” on an object and find a “Review” link, if I read the e-mail excerpts correctly. Meantime, if you can find a developer testing an instant object, you’ll be able to do that now.

      • #11 by Deb Sassybeme on 2012.09.22 - 5:49 pm

        Yes, I kind of get it is temporary. I’m sure they will provide a link later. IF I had so much time to hunt links…..Oh well, just something I thought I could help with. I can wait till their done with it all. After all, I have sound in my zone now. 😀

  8. #12 by Thumdar on 2012.09.19 - 1:14 pm

    This really is exciting! It seems to me this new approval system will make the new There better than the old (at least regarding the Dev program). I can only imagine that people will be eager to get involved and thus log into There more often and spend more time in world. I’m not trying to be a cheerleader but I sincerely believe the slow, methodical and logical approach to making There more efficient is very wise and should help There prosper. Now get back to work and get us some cats.

  9. #13 by Adrian on 2012.09.19 - 11:47 am

    I cannot wait for these 2 Years to Pass by! Im so excited for i want to Start to develop. Im taking Graphic Design and i love Making things. Michael, you are awesome.

  10. #14 by Michael Wilson on 2012.09.19 - 10:28 am

    Why do you think we’d still have “Push Days”? I think he’s referring to server code pushes, which we won’t require for every submission. That wouldn’t be a step in the right direction.

    As for the “Then we no longer have to be in the developer program to review items?”. Well the “barrier to entry” for the Developer program is pretty low – you just have to accept the Developer’s agreement – so I’m not sure if making that a requirement is going to make reviews any more or less qualified.

    • #15 by Deb Sassybeme on 2012.09.19 - 11:34 am

      Okay, as I said it kind of confused me about push day thing. Then if the old push days are long gone, then yes that is a plus in the right direction.

      As far as rather or not someone should be a developer to review? Well any one can join a group without developing a thing. So it really never mattered much to me to say it has to be this one way. As long as some thing was in place for abusers it is all good. If it would need to change later, it would be due to some new reason. I don’t feel the need to belittle any member of being unqualified to review. We review items we buy in real life all the time whether we make what we buy or not.

      Was there a way however to eliminate how many times we could review an item? That bothered me a bit. IF you have ever voted for American Idol. They let you repeat vote. It is all rather confusing which vote counted. OR if your vote was actually correctly counted. I’d rather it cut me off and not give me a choice to vote again.

      Thanks for clearing those up for me though.

      • #16 by Dan Samuel on 2012.09.22 - 11:54 am

        You may review an item as many times as you like during its review period, but only your most recent review “counts.” (i.e. you are allowed to change your mind if needed, but not to ‘double vote’) The submissions stops being reviewable after it is cancelled, approved, or rejected. But the previously-submitted reviews remain available for perusal forever.

    • #17 by Jordan on 2012.09.19 - 1:31 pm

      Not to be rude Michael but I think they mean they can’t wait until their 18’th birthday to pass so they can make items for There. 🙂

  11. #18 by Deb Sassybeme on 2012.09.19 - 10:17 am

    Wow, moving right along. I feel a little lost after reading this. I didn’t know we’d still have push days. I must have misunderstood in thinking that was to be no more.
    * If you are testing a design and someone walks up, they can also review the design by using the ABOUT tag on the review copy (the ABOUT page for a ‘new submission’ includes a link to its review page)– Then we no longer have to be in the developer program to review items? And is this before or after submitting? Another misunderstanding. But then again I guess nothing is written in stone yet. Just a bit of a mind shock/confusing.

    • #19 by Dan Samuel on 2012.09.22 - 12:02 pm

      Michael is correct, I was referring to *server code* pushes. We’re still finding bugs in the new developer code, so we periodically push new code to resolve those. There is no longer a *sord* push required to publish a newly submitted design.

      “server code” — the actual programs which run on the servers.

      “sord” — our unique name for a process whereby a large amount of data (not code… at least not exactly) is pushed to the cluster.

      We used to accumulate new products in local sord as they were submitted and approved, and then copy them en masse to the cluster on periodic ‘sord push’ days. But now the designs have their assets pushed individually to the cluster as soon as you submit them. (well, as soon as they pass automated checks)

      Also note: sord still exists, and is periodically pushed. it just no longer contains any of the developer submissions.

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