I love being able to start an article with “public outcry”.
Makes me feel like a proper journalist.

Anyway, good news.
On May 29th LL announced the rather drastic and unpopular changes to premium and basic accounts which included increasing the number of groups for premium members while decreasing them or basic account members.
You won’t be surprised to know that the SL community was not too happy with this.

I myself wrote a blog about it that you can read by clicking here.

People discussed these changes both inworld and on rl social media and here an there Lindens got involved.
Especially here on the Second Life Forum thread started by Grumpity Linden;

Today Linden Lab announced that they have listened to the public and thus changed their mind, you can read the official announcement here;

In short; Basic accounts will keep their 42 group limit.
Especially this line in the announcement is interesting;

Our goal is to increase Group performance for everyone – whether you are Basic or Premium. As a result, we will be prioritizing some development resources to address Group performance.

Up until quite recently it seemed like groups weren’t a big deal when it came to performance.
Maybe I didn’t pay attention and understood it all wrong but I always assumed that group sizes weren’t important in regards to SL’s resources and it really didn’t matter if you regularly removed members who had not been online for a long time.
I did it anyway because it irritated me to see people in my group who had not been online for over a year.
Now it seems that it all does matter and in stead of solving the issue by taking groups away from people LL is now “prioritizing some development resources to address group performance”.

Does that mean that, simply put, there are several big fires going on and in stead of putting one out a fireman is taken away from one fire to come keep this one under control?

I hope they will also keep looking at a solution though.
In the past I’ve written about two things that I think will help;

Give groups more options, such as more titles and sub-groups so people no longer need a few dozen groups just for one sim;

And clearing inactive accounts;

Unfortunately the other planned changes have not been changed, which means that the rather draconian increase in cashing out fees will remain.
This is still rather bad.
Remember that those of us who create the experiences, own shops, run bars, manage communities, rarely make a decent income out of it and even when we do make some money much of what we make is spend before it ends up in our pocket.
We pay LL tier, L$ cash out fees, we pay Paypal fees, credit card fees, taxes, etc.
All these have been going up as well.
When our income goes down we have to find a way to increase this and that means everyone else will have to pay more for rent, visiting sims, drinks, etc.
Which is fine when things go up a little now and then, but having a huge increase in costs is quite difficult to deal with and explain to those you have to squeeze even harder.

Tier will go down for some regions (not homesteads) but this will not always balance out with the increase of fees.
If you want to support the economy in SL and help those who create all the content in this virtual world, you should make things easier for them, not harder.

Because as I’ve mentioned elsewhere; if cashing out fees get too high, people may just go ahead and decide to let their inworld tenants, customers, clients pay them directly via paypal or bank transfer, bypassing Linden Lab completely.

Anyway, the good news is that Linden Lab has listened to us and changed their plans.
Let’s hope people keep sharing their opinions about other changes now and in the future.
You are being listened to even though it sometimes may not feel like it.