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Firestorm Help Groups: Tips, Rules, and Guidelines

We’re so glad you’re seeking help in one of the many support groups we’ve set up for Firestorm users to seek assistance for viewer-related problems and questions! Firestorm Support English (FSE) and our other language-specific groups can be truly useful resources, but to keep them so, we need to have rules and guidelines, and there are many ways — in addition to following these — that you can make it easier for us to help you.

What our groups are for

Our support groups are there so that Firestorm users can receive help from both Firestorm Support Team members and helpful peers for:

  • troubleshooting problems with the latest version of Firestorm Viewer;
  • asking questions about how to use the latest version of Firestorm Viewer;
  • finding a setting, preference, menu item, or option in the latest version of Firestorm Viewer;
  • troubleshooting problems experienced in Second Life while using Firestorm but that you don’t know the cause of.

A quick note on the last one: It’s always fine to ask if you don’t know, but there are a lot of things outside the scope of the support team’s ability to help. If your issue turns out not to be something we can help with, we’ll do our best to direct you to a better resource.

What our groups are NOT for

Perhaps because of how high-volume and high-traffic some of our groups are and because there is such a huge range of issues we can help with, it’s easy sometimes to think that we’re a catch-all for all Second Life questions and issues. Although we’re flattered that you think our knowledge is so broad, we need to keep the group focused in order to provide the best help we can for the issues that do fall within our domain. Here are some of the things we can’t help with:

  • problems experienced on other viewers;
  • problems with the Second Life server;
  • account problems;
  • problems that take place on the web, e.g., at the Second Life domain, including Marketplace;
  • shopping questions;
  • building or scripting questions;
  • new user mentorship (but please visit the Firestorm Gateway regions or join the FS/SL Gateway Help Network for this type of support);
  • problems with specific inworld products, such as items you’ve purchased;
  • personal issues with other users, including griefers (we can instruct you on how to use viewer tools like ejection, banning, using area search to find griefing objects and remove them from your property, filing abuse reports, and so on, but we cannot police griefers ourselves).

If you’re not sure whether your question is something we handle or not, you’re always welcome to ask! Just understand that if we suggest that you ask elsewhere, it’s not because we aren’t concerned about your issue, it’s because a different resource would be better suited to help you (and in many cases is the only resource that can help you).

How to get help

First, if you haven’t yet, join one or more of our language-specific Firestorm Support groups.

Second, open the chat or wait for it to open. When you see a popup window that asks you if you want to specify your viewer version when chatting in the group, select Yes. You’ll only be asked once unless your settings are cleared at some point. What this does is add the Firestorm version number you’re logged in on to your name in Firestorm groups only. This information can sometimes come in very handy while we’re answering your questions.

Third, ask your question! Here are some tips for doing so:

  • You don’t need to say “Hi,” “Is anyone there?,” “Can someone help me?,” and so on. Just dive right in. If you do include preliminary statements or questions like those, and no one answers them, don’t be discouraged from asking your question. It just means everyone is waiting for you to share your actual issue.
  • This group is not a role-play space. While speaking as a role-play character (e.g., using baby talk or a role-play dialect or referring to yourself in the third person) is not prohibited, it may make things more confusing and needlessly complicated for people trying to help you. We encourage typing as clearly as possible and referring to yourself as “I” as you would in a normal tech-support call.
  • The more clear and direct you are, the faster we’ll be able to help you. For instance,
    • instead of asking: “Is anyone else feeling lag today?”
    • try something more like: “I’m experiencing a lot of lag today, like when I walk, and my teleports keep failing. What can I do to try to fix this?”
  • Type your entire problem and question in one message. This makes it less likely for things to get confusing at busy times.
  • If someone asks you for more info, try to provide as clear and direct a response as you can. If you don’t understand the question, just ask them to explain; don’t avoid the question, and don’t try to guess what they mean without asking.
  • If your problem is a common one, then we will often have a collection of suggestions for you to try. We compile these suggestions on the Firestorm Wiki. The support team member will give you a link to the relevant page. Here’s an example: When we offer you a wiki page,
    • Try each suggestion one by one, starting with the first and moving down the list. We usually put the fastest, easiest, or most reliable steps first, so you don’t want to skip those!
    • Do them even if you think — or know — you’ve done the step already. Sometimes there can be subtle differences in what you did and what we’re suggesting you do now, or maybe there’s something in particular we want you to pay attention to if it doesn’t work.
    • Come back to the group and ask us if you’d like us to explain what something written on the wiki means.
    • Make sure you’ve tried everything listed before asking for additional suggestions — the ideas on the wiki are there because they’ve worked for numerous people before you, and they’ll probably be a lot easier to complete than anything new we can try to come up with.
  • If a screenshot will help explain your issue, by all means share it! There’s no need to spend L$10 to upload your picture, either. Just post it to a web-based image sharing site, such as Gyazo, Imgur, or TinyPic, and share the URL in the group.
  • If no one answers or acknowledges your question in 15 minutes or so, try repeating it. People come and go and may be busier than you think they are.

Group rules

Like all large groups, Firestorm Support English and the other help groups need rules to keep everything running smoothly. Members of the Firestorm Team have the ability to moderate chat if problems occur. Please observe the following rules:

  • Don’t be rude to team members or to other users. We know you’re frustrated with the problems you need help with, but you’ll receive better, faster, more patient help if negativity is kept to a minimum.
  • Don’t spam. This means, in part:
    • Don’t post advertisements, whether for clubs, sales, events, specific products, or even freebies;
    • Don’t post warnings about the latest scam, hack, phishing attempt, copybotter, or other security risk you’ve heard rumors about;
    • Don’t post Second Life grid status updates — feel free to post a link if there is news and no one else has posted one in the previous 15 minutes or so, but it’s unnecessary to paste entire status messages;
    • Don’t post links to Marketplace items. Links to pages with bug reports or technical support, such as other Linden Lab pages and Firestorm pages, are usually OK, but it’s safest to check with a Firestorm Team member first before posting outside links.
  • Avoid off-topic conversations, especially if there are any support questions on the floor. The Phoenix Lounge group is an open-topic discussion and help group that is not officially affiliated with the Firestorm Team but has many of the same individuals in it.
  • Don’t swear. Our group’s maturity rating is G for General.
  • Don’t begin or perpetuate drama. We know “drama” is cliché to the point where no one really agrees on what drama in Second Life even means, so here are some types of drama to give you an idea, but we couldn’t possibly list everything:
    • Don’t name-call, roll your virtual eyes at, or make belittling comments about others;
    • Don’t flame Linden Lab, other third-party viewers, or operating systems you don’t like;
    • Don’t harass — sexually or otherwise — other people in the group;
    • If you see a team member moderating another individual, don’t pile on;
    • Be the first one to walk away if an argument starts.

The Firestorm Team will give warnings before taking disciplinary steps, but continued infringements of any of these rules may result in removal of chat privileges, ejection from the group, and/or a group ban.

Team members

Team members’ role is to answer support questions and moderate the chat. Everyone on the Firestorm Team is an unpaid volunteer. They don’t have set schedules or shifts, and they are free to help out as often or as little as they prefer. They are not required to respond to IMs (but they can if they want to), and some prefer only to answer questions posed in the group chats.

You can tell who’s on the Firestorm Team in three ways.

  1. If you’re currently logged in on Firestorm and you haven’t changed the setting for it, Firestorm Team members should appear in bold chat in the Firestorm groups. Please note, however, that this setting can fail if you open the chat window manually (or if the team member did).
  2. If you’re currently logged in on Firestorm, open the person’s profile in the legacy view (not web view) and look in the Account: section. Right below Resident and Payment Info, you should see Firestorm Support, Firestorm Developer, or Firestorm Bug Hunter. If you don’t see this, then the individual does not belong to the Firestorm staff.
  3. Anyone can view our list of current team members on this website, at our support and developer pages.

Help from non-team members

People who are not on the Firestorm Team are encouraged to help answer questions in the group chats, but we ask you to follow a few guidelines:

  1. Please do not try to moderate chat or to tell other users how to conduct themselves. Leave that responsibility to team members. Answering help questions and moderating chat are not the same activity.
  2. If we notice non-team members providing information that we consider erroneous, we will try to correct that information, especially if the info could make the user’s problem worse, rather than better. Please defer to the team member’s information. If you believe they are incorrect, please drop a notecard to Lette Ponnier or the applicable group lead (see below) rather than arguing in chat.
  3. If a team member is already in the process of helping a user, please don’t interfere. There will be plenty more users to help who we are unable to get to, and then we’ll be grateful for your assistance.

Keeping these three basic requests in mind, we invite and welcome your peer-to-peer support in the group. That’s where everyone on the team began before they were invited to join!

Comments, compliments, and concerns

If you have comments of any kind about the help you get in the Firestorm groups, please contact that group’s lead. We love to receive feedback, both good and not-so-good. If the feedback is about the group lead, please contact Lette Ponnier  or Jessica Lyon.