When I joined Second Life if you teleported somewhere and another person was on the landing point you’d hover above their head with your limbs flailing in a crazy spider dance. It was funny to see it from a distance, but if you were the one stuck it was annoying. Most of us tried to be nice and move right away when we landed, but not everyone got the memo.
No matter how many times avatars were advised to move, many continued to just stand in the exact spot they arrived at. Some might have gone to make sandwiches in real life, while others just seemed to forget they were logged in. I suspect a few were bots, too. Because of this, landing sweepers were born, devices that move camping avatars from one spot to the other, keeping the landing point clear and sparing the rest of us from the spider dance.
Maybe not. For some residents, landing sweepers are more annoying than the people parking their butts.
“I object to being pushed around, whether it’s by another avatar or some faceless scripted object,” my friend Seren wrote in I’m no Pushover. “If I wanted to lose control of my body, I’d enable RLV and let someone else control me, but for me there are few things as annoying as arriving at a new location only to suddenly be swept off your feet, against your will, with no control over what has suddenly decided to propel you away…”
Ironically, Seren and I both planned to write about landing sweepers, so when I heard she was covering the topic too I got excited since her articles usually offer a non-cookie-cutter perspective.
One interesting thing Seren mentioned was the congestion outside of some stores caused not by people landing, but by all the goodies on display before you even enter the store (my paraphrase).
“Inworld, the general rule seems to be to have as many distractions as possible right outside, or just inside, the main entrance,” Seren pointed out. ” Giveaways and freebies, hunt clues, event landmark givers, group joiners… All of them located right where the congestion occurs, causing even more of a delay in getting through the doors, as customers grab what’s on offer and mill around, moving from noticeboard to noticeboard. If that’s not distracting enough, you then have to deal with requests to put your picture on display, popups asking you to join the store group, and pointless welcome messages, all of which have to be negotiated before you’ve even had a chance to set foot through the door. None of this, in any way, promotes the swift and smooth flow of traffic arriving at the entrance.”
Great point! Shop owners who use landing points to prevent congestion might keep the rest of this in mind as well.
Me? I’m not particularly keen on sweepers. It’s ingrained in me from my noob years to move off the landing point when I arrive, and I don’t like anyone controlling my avatar. However, the alternative to not having them and facing that crazy spider dance causes even me to admit that sweepers, or something like it, might be necessary at busy locations.
I can see both sides, so I decided to do a scientific study with extensive research to find out whether landing sweepers have a positive or negative impact on the virtual world of Second Life.
Just kidding. I asked people on Twitter and Facebook.
I did a poll on Facebook, and out of the 214 who voted, 60% liked sweepers, 8% said they were indifferent, and 14% didn’t like them. I neglected to limit people from adding their own options to the poll so the other percentages just had silly responses like “What’s an avatar?” or said sweepers were a love/hate relationship for them.
Twitter results were different. Of 106 who voted 46.2% were indifferent, 34.9% liked them, and 18.9% didn’t like them.
Just like anything on social media feedback and poll results should be taken with a grain of salt, especially since it was only a small survey, but it’s still interesting.
I wouldn’t mind seeing an improvement to landing sweepers, something that only moved people who just stood there, but left the people who walked upon landing alone. We’ll see!