Update 11.02.14: Since publication of these quiz results, Sniper Siemens, the curator of the LEA14 Second Life History Exhibition entitled “The Greatest Story Ever Told” has let me know that she has corrected the errors in the exhibition itself. Kudos to Sniper for fixing it!
First, let me say how happy I am to see over 500 people show enough of an interest in Second Life history to spend the time to complete a 31-question quiz! Generally speaking, most people said the quiz was very challenging and fun! In this post, I’ll share not only the answers, but how everyone taking the quiz answered (in anonymous aggregate).
Second, if you’ve not yet taken the Second Life History Quiz, read no further! The quiz is still open, so go there first, then feel free to come back and read this post.
Overall, 74% of respondents passed the quiz (a pass was 50% or higher) with the mean average result being 59.19%. For the statistically inclined, the median average was 58% (the middle score) and the mode was 55% (most frequent score).
Yeah… it might have been a wee bit tough, and it’s fair to say that some people might have lost points on a couple of errors on my part (I count 3 total). Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say these errors led too many people astray.
There were, as I expected there would be, several quibbles about the factual accuracy of some the questions and answers. Whilst relying mainly on the facts as presented at the LEA17 Exhibition “The Greatest Story Every Told”, I did find myself needing to slightly change some of the wording, dates, and in one case, kill off one multiple-choice option entirely (I detail the errata below). I am somewhat caught between a rock and a hard place with accuracy – on one hand I want to make the quiz a useful companion to the exhibit (which has a few flaws), on the other hand, I want to have the quiz align with the facts (which are often unreliably reported).
Therefore, I’ve decided to only change questions and answers when I see (what I consider) to be evidence that is credible. To be fair, wikis, whilst not approved by a review board, are sometimes the best we have for the moment at least. Also, I must trust them more than one person’s unsubstantiated version of the facts, even though a wiki might have been written by only one person. At least the wiki has had a chance to be challenged in a more public way, so I’m going to go with that source as the lesser of all evils.
Fortunately, most of the changes I needed to make were not materially significant to the question (they were typically referring to specific dates that were tangential to the essence). Still, as I’ve said in the past, there is only one true version of the facts, so I’ve made first efforts to find original (and credible) source material to verify the claims, and change them when they were found lacking. Suffice to say, the quiz is still a valid test of one’s Second Life history knowledge.
I also received some criticism that this quiz was too focused on trivial dates. Again, I must refer to the source of the answers I used, which were very much date driven. This isn’t the quiz to end all quizzes, and I hope that we see more ways of approaching our history, and challenging ourselves to recall it.
For future editions, I’ll take it upon myself to check (and double-check) the sources for accuracy – because in this world of unreliable memories and multi-editor “encyclopaedic” references – one can never be too careful about one’s facts. Nevertheless, barring a few niggles, it was a very fun and education exercise for many!
Question by question results
So let’s dig into the answers shall we? By the way, if you can’t see the detail of the Question images below, you might want to widen your screen of your browser, so that they become a bit more clear. If there’s anything on the image you can’t read, just click it and the image will become larger. Sorry about that, but my theme has a width limit that is sometimes rather… limiting.
One of the best parts for me about writing this quiz was dreaming up the more silly options to the questions, and seeing people actually select them! I’ve no idea if they were just fooling around (in some cases, I truly hope so!). Nevertheless, 22 people responded to Question 1 that Second Life was invented as a way to spy on Americans…
I think it’s kind of cute that 71 people answered Question 2 by saying that Linden Lab was named after Philip Linden, and not the other way around. To those not in the know, Philip Linden is the avatar of the human named Philip Rosedale. He, like many people who work at Linden Lab, get the last name Linden (hmm, if they can do it, why can’t we…) when they get their Second Life avatars.
Question 3 was fun to come up with options for. Terra and Viva both, were both actually considered as prospective names for Second Life, but not together as TerraViva. Phillip’s World was just a fun idea, and he actually did refer to it as the 3D internet in some interviews. Sayonara, was a twist of one of the other options, which was “Sansara”, meaning ever-changing, in Sanskrit. A fitting place as a home for our Avatars, which in Sanskrit means a “manifestation of the creator”.
It just goes to show how crazy the idea of Primitars is when you consider that 153 respondents answered Question 4 with the answer that it just wasn’t possible.
Ok, now this one was a subject for debate. Hamlet Au took issue with Question 5, saying “it was Doug and Ian Linden, not Cory and Philip, building the actual snowmen.” Cubey Terra, in a comment, said: “Cory indeed had an early presentation about Ators and birds, but he also had a presentation with a Primitar lobbing grenades to terraform.” My reference for this, as it was with nearly all the other questions, is the exhibition and that says something different. Nevertheless, none of these views are what 40% of respondents imagined it to be. So, as my friend Ylva just said quite poetically “the sands of time obscure details”.
Question 6 was kind of tricky, with most respondents assuming our esteemed founder to be the Neil Armstrong of our virtual world. That honour will forever belong to Steller Sunshine, born 03/13/2002 – who was reportedly a 20-year veteran of virtual worlds before Second Life(!?) I didn’t even know there were virtual worlds before Second Life, but there you go. Apparently, in his first night online, Steller made a game. Interestingly, Steller’s profile today says “I want to……have fun, yep! Thats it! =0)” under Interests, and “I tend to try to leave the “Real World” behind in SL.” under First Life. The most funny part of this question for me, however, is the fact that 18 respondents assumed it was actually Jo Yardley! Ok, she often says she’s an old lady, but she’s not that old (she’s actually under 6 years old in Second Life).
I have to admit I got a little devious giggle out of the answers to Question 7. I threw in Welcome Island on a bit of a lark, and it turns out that most people assumed the it was indeed the first region in Second Life. Sure, it might have been for many of us, but the first region was actually called Da Boom. Apparently, the name was chosen to symbolise our universe’s inception, or “The Big Bang”.
Question 8 was subject to some debate. Cubey Terra disagreed: “The Linden Dollar was not introduced in December 2003, as it was already implemented when I first tried SL in September 2003. I remember being annoyed at how much it cost just to rez something.” The official Second Life History page, however, supports the factual accuracy of the question: “It was in the end of 2003 when the Linden Dollar was introduced”. In this case, therefore, I have to go with the publicly edited wiki on this, but I am open to seeing counter-claims supported by evidence.
Question 9 is one of those “I don’t believe it” questions. We rez prims with such abandon today, paying for the privilege hardly seems possible, and 38% of respondents felt similarly.
Question 10 is in the same vein. Again, Cubey took issue with this saying “When I arrived in SL, there were no telehubs. You could teleport anywhere, but cost was increased by distance. Telehubs were later brought in an attempt to control movement and creat (sic) communities around telehubs.” Cubey didn’t tell me when he/she arrived, so I’ve no way of verifying their claim. In any case, again I must refer to the Second Life history page, that says “While population and land slowly grew, Linden Lab released Second Life in June 2003. As shocking as it may seem in hindsight, back then, SL had neither a currency nor were Residents able to teleport.” and that “(T)he first Telehubs were introduced in Version 1.1.0, with the feature of paying to teleport from one Telehub to another.” Still, 38% of respondents considered the idea of once being unable to teleport unbelievable.
Question 11 was yet another debatable question about animations! Gattz Gilman said “The question “Q.11 User-created animations were first available in” seems to be wrong, as I joined SL in early 2004 and there were not user made animations. We were just stuck with the default linden ones. To dance at a club you had to wear a dance bracelet that would just play the couple LL dances at set intervals. If you wanted to to do the deed, you had to sit on a box that would go invisible, one would be in the motorcycle ride animation, the other in either a standing animation rotated horizontally or sleep animation, and you would move the prim up and down… It wasn’t until later that they allowed people to upload their own animations, around 2005.” First, moving prims up and down to simulate the throes of passion is uproariously funny, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Gattz seemed so sure, however, it made me question my notes, so I checked out Second Life Wikia (one of the sources used for the exhibition) and found that the Release Notes for SL version 1.4.0 (released June 15, 2004) are the first to include a reference to custom animations: “You can upload animations from Poser 4 or 5 by exporting .BVH files” So, I’m afraid that Gattz was moving prims up and down needlessly from summer of 2004 onwards!
The answer to Question 12 shocked me. The whole story, however, is chronicled in the AlphaVille Herald, which even includes an alleged IM conversation between Second Life hacker Plastic Duck (aka Gene Replacement, who was behind the work-around) and Philip Rosedale! It turns out that Plastic Duck, who was also responsible for creating the first megaprim by finding a way around the viewer code limitations of the day, openly showed the security fault in our currency accounts to the Lindens, and even helped them sort it out.
There must have been something in the water during 2007 (perhaps the Linden’s realised that I had finally joined Second Life and decided to pull out all the stops!), but there was real progress in the air with the introduction of three innovations many of us now consider essential. Unfortunately for 29% of respondents to Question 13, audio streaming was not one of them, arriving on the scene as early as 2004.
Today (according to Second Life Grid Survey), Second Life has had 41,102, 737 resident signups up to February 9th, 2015. Whether they’re real people is beside the point. It’s a remarkable number, considering it took 3 years to reach 1 million residents in October 2006. I’d love to know if anyone knows the name of the millionth arrival, because they should really get a prize of some sort, don’t you think?
The answer to Question 15 is another shocker. Like me, 24% of respondents had no idea this happened in September 2006 (also known to some as “Black September”). The wildest thing is, the security breach hit the media, which ironically resulted in new sign ups trebling. Who says that all PR isn’t good PR?
I must admit to an error in Question 16, in that I initially referred to Viewer 1 (the “Blue Viewer”) as Viewer 1.2.3, which understandably might have screwed a few people over with this question. For that, I’m sorry. Thankfully, Innula alerted me to the error in a comment, and I corrected the problem at 12:05 SLT on February 9th. So, if you completed the quiz before then and got that question wrong, I owe you a solid… just join the queue.
Call me easily amused, but I’m still chuckling at the fact that not everybody chose the correct answer to Question 17 :D
And finally a question about everybody’s favourite poster-girl for the “get rich quick in Second Life” hype of 2006-7. Most respondents got Question 18 bang on the money, although Jase Byrne did make me laugh when he whispered in the comments “They sanitized Anshe’s history…she had the land investments, but …there was this leetle sideline of hers…..”
Question 19 was tricky for some. I am tickled that 19 respondents chose the aptly named Zero Linden, who reportedly responded to his inclusion in this quiz by saying “Lord.”
Question 20 relates to a prevalent belief that Linden Lab takes every conceivable opportunity to screw Second Life residents over, with 37% of respondents still believing that Linden Lab killed off casinos by inviting the FBI to investigate Second Life, when all they were doing was obeying pre-existing laws.
The key word in Question 21 is “every”, which underscores a rule… always question statements that contain absolutes like “every”, “no one”, “always” and “never”, because they are rarely true! Yes, Premium Residents today “earn” a weekly stipend of $L300, but they are a minority of the residents across the grid. Still, Cubey said “While some residents may have been paid a weekly stipend of L$50, the number has varied over the years, and may well have been L$300 at one point. In 2003 it was L$500. Oldies who bought an account at that time still get a high stipend as we’re grandfathered in. So the answer was unclear.” I disagree, because the question clearly includes the word “every”, and that makes all the difference. According to the Second Life Wikia, Basic Account residents have never received more than $L50/week, which they report started at an unknown date and ended on May 28, 2006.
I’m grateful to Inara Pey for being early to point out that Question 22 might have been made more clear by clarifying that Philip Rosedale stepped down as CEO in 2008, without leaving the Linden Lab in an executive director capacity (I had said he “left”). Fortunately, she picked that up very early, and I clarified the question at 12:00 SLT on Feb 8, so if you got the answer wrong after then, that’s tough!
I was just having fun with twists on names that people might remember from somewhere (XStreet, LeTigre Release Channel [which to me sounds like a sexy french Tiger], and Project Shining). Still, 26% of people didn’t choose the right answer to Question 23 .
Arrrggg! Question 24 was a mess :( . I apologise profusely. Again, I referenced these answers from the placards I found at the exhibition (pictured below), only to be later corrected by Cubey who said: “Q24: While mesh was indeed not introduced in 2009, neither were Premium Memberships, which were available at least as early as 2005.”
In this instance, he is correct that Premium Memberships predate 2009 – although it is unclear about when they were introduced, as I verified through Second Life Wikia. To make matters worse, this error followed out another error pointed out by Han Held, who said “I’m also positive that the resident surname came out in late 2010, not 2009 (I spend 2010 making alts and all of them up to Dec 2010 had surnames)”. She’s right. After further research I found that “In 2010, Second Life changed from registering new accounts with a “first name” and “last name” to a single-word username If you registered your account after mid-2010, you created a unique, single-word username; for example: mortimer1980, or jsmith57. When you log in to Second Life, you simply enter the username you selected when you registered.”
Arrrrgggg you lying little green eggmen!!!
Question 25 heard no complaints, thank goodness. I did find it funny that many people seem to imagine the worst possible outcome at the prospect of any significant change in the viewer interface. I suppose that’s the case for pretty much every popular piece of software in existence.
Question 26, was also not controversial. Still, I was surprised that given how recent this history is, only 30% of respondents got it right.
Question 27 was similarly non-controversial. There was still, however, a wide range of answers. Cubey pointed out that “there was a “Materials” setting for prims at least as far back as 2003, but it was for physics and sound fx rather than for rendering.” I’m doubtful if that particular ambiguity would have thrown many people off, given the context of the dates provided as options. But who knows? It does remind one to be as clear as possible with quiz questions that might be misinterpreted.
Hurrah for another non-controversial question! You’ve got to admit, when you look at the list of innovations in Question 28, Ebbe has had a pretty good run so far.
Ok, thank goodness most respondents got question 29 right. I am myself guilty of using the term Second Life 2.0 as a nickname for the next generation virtual world, but I never believed it was the real name. I do think it’s awesomely cute that 27 people chose “Higher Fidelity”. “NextLife” is a nickname I pilfered from Gwyneth Llewellyn, and V-World is straight out of Caprica (the prequel to Battlestar Galactica) which has some close similarities to a simulated reality version of Second Life.
Just when I thought I was out of the woods, Han Held pointed out that the “The OpenSimulator project was founded in January 2007″. Upon verification, she was right about that too. Doh! I again must admit that I took the exhibition’s placards at face value, and I have an image to prove it (see below)! It just goes to show you can’t trust placards written by little green eggmen!!!
Thankfully, we can finish off in the clear, with Question 31, about the first interworld teleport. I thought I’d throw in some quirky options just for a laugh, and was surprised to see almost half of the respondents selecting them. Perhaps they were similarly messing about. The interworld nudism, by the way, refers to the fact that our intrepid gridnauts arrived in Open Sim without any attachments or inventory.
I’m happy that so many people enjoyed my Second Life History Quiz. It, like the exhibition itself, is not without its faults. Still, I think it the exhibition is a fun thing to do for many residents, and with further improvements, both it and my quiz should continue to be a fun way to learn about Second Life history in the future.
One thing that the quiz results suggest, is that we’re a bit so-so when it comes to the history of Second Life. For that reason, it’s even more important for exhibitions, and exercises like these, to become more permanent fixtures of our culture for years to come.