As I run a roleplay community SL groups are very important to me, but it isn’t always easy to use them.
Let’s start with the titles.
Every group has roles besides being able to wear a nice title like “1920s Berlin rules” under the name floating above your head they also give people certain powers and identify them as being someone with a certain role.
For instance, in our community we have people who maintain order who we call Polizei (police) and we have people who live in the many apartments, they are called Tenants.
The police need their title so people can see they are official sim police and not some joker pretending to be.
These officers also need the title because it comes with very important and special powers that include ejecting and banning someone.
Our tenants want the title so they can show they are part of the community, they need the title so they can rez objects and decorate their homes.
But because we are a roleplay community, we sometimes also need or just want more titles, just to show what group of people someone belongs to or so that we can communicate with just a certain section of our people in stead of everyone.
We sometimes want to remind all the children that school is about to begin without having to tell all the 1000+ other members of our main group.
For our 1920s Berlin group alone we use about 13 groups in total, out of the maximum of 42 we are allowed to have.
You can imagine what will happen if I create another sim like Berlin or if I join a roleplay sim as diverse as ours…
I would soon run out of groups I could join.
So, SL groups could do with some improvements.
One of the first things is that groups need more space for roles, at the moment a group can have just 10 roles, a few of those don’t count because those go to owners, everyone, etc.
That is not a lot of roles for a roleplay sim.
If we had more, we wouldn’t need to create more groups… except for communication.
We even have to use a pay per month service from Hippo to create another 20 groups just to be sure we can communicate with them as well.
So the next improvement would be a very simple one; let us send messages to members inside a group who have a certain role.
For instance, our group could have tenants and police as a role, all within our main group.
When we want to announce a rent decrease we can use the very same main group and send the message or note to JUST the people with the tenant role.
Or when some criminal is wandering around town clearly being planning some evil deed, we could send a note JUST to the people with a police role… to make things even nicer, we could perhaps even start a chat with JUST these people.
A little dropdown menu next to the “chat” or “send notice” buttons is always set to “everyone” but by clicking it you can choose the people who have the role you want to talk to.
All this would cut back on the amount of groups dramatically, it would would make search a lot easier and would give people less groups to manage.
Most of all it would allow people who manage large communities to keep things a little clearer and also save some money by quitting those paid services.
Group lag has been reduced a bit a while back but it is still rather bad at times.
Another important thing that groups REALLY need is the option to ban someone from joining the group.
Right now it is a bit of a hassle, you need to take away someones ability to take part in a group chat if you want to chat them up.
A manual and complicated task.
And even if you remove their group chat ability they will still receive group notices and be able to listen in.
It is odd that as a sim owner and group owner I do not have the power to simply ban someone from a group!
I also think many of our SL group options should be useable trough the SL website so we can send messages and even start a group chat without having to go into SL.
More about that in this other blog post.