Is this grid faking its stats?

CORRECTION: AviWorlds did, in fact, respond to my request for comment. I was wrong. The 1,000-plus regions that were listed as active on the grid were self-hosted by a grid resident and thus not always up. It is my policy to count regions as active in these cases. In addition, several people — including the grid’s hosting company — have confirmed that the active users stats are also, in fact accurate. I have removed all portions of the below story that concerned AviWorlds.

I’ve long felt that the issue of faked stats was a self-correcting problem.

A grid reports regions or users that aren’t there. Folks go in-world and can’t find them, get upset, and the grid gets the kind of attention that it didn’t want. Plus, nobody ever trusts its stats again.

What usually happens is that readers tip me off, I contact the grid owners, the grid owners explain away the problem as a “glitch,” fix it, and the issue goes away. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake, like accidentally showing total monthly logins instead of uniques. Or a management issue, such as a flood of bots, which is solved by new policies and better supervision.

But last week, while working on my stats report, I noticed a suspicious pattern that readers hadn’t tipped me off about, and which are not all that easily explained.

Faking current users

One of the worst thing to fake is current user logins. If your splash page shows fifty users currently logged in on your two-region grid, it’s trivially simple to log in and check that, in fact, there’s nobody in-world.

Virtual World City — a grid which is still under development — decided to use random numbers for its current logins on its splash page.

According to owner Frank Corsi, this was a deliberate decision.

The ‘users online now’ stats are not working correctly, as it can show people in the grid after they have logged out,” he told Hypergrid Business in an email last week. “For now, we just have a random number there till we get that fixed.”

The only other living people on Virtual World City.

The only other living people I could find on Virtual World City last week were grid employees.

Corsi said that the problem was the responsibility of an unnamed staff member.

We may be looking for a new staff member to help us with OpenSim management and operation as our current staff member is not able to get some things to work correctly,” he added.

Since that communication, Virtual World City is no longer showing current logins on its splash page.

Faking active users

But that splash page is still showing that Virtual World City had 440 active users over the past 30 days.

This number is a little difficult to check. Sure there are general rules of thumb correlating average daily logins and unique monthly logins, but they only work for very large numbers. On a smaller grid, maybe all these people logged in all on one day for some special event, and you missed them.

But there are two useful proxies for the active users number — in-world events and online communities.

Here’s an example of an events calendar for a grid that reported 323 active users last month: Littlefield Grid Event Calendar. Littlefield has something going on almost every day. Here is the Virtual Highway events calendar — again, something happening almost every day, plenty of events to keep its 335 active users busy. 3rd Rock Grid, with 401 active users, also has a packed event calendar.

An events calendar is also easily verifiable. Just show up for an event — it’s either happening, or it isn’t.

I was able to track down some grid employees on Virtual World City and asked about events. I learned that there were plans to hold events. But nothing happening yet.  Hmmm. What are all these active users doing with their time? Are they all employees building out new regions?

Online communities are another way to check out a grid’s activity. I did a roundup of OpenSim online communities a couple of months ago. These include online forums, Google Plus communities, and Facebook groups. FrancoGrid, with 187 active users, has a nice forum area on its website. Kitely, with 723 active users, has a very active user forum.

One of the busiest single-grid Google Plus communities is the Craft World community, with posts from a number of different residents. The grid has 535 active users. For an example of a busy Facebook page, the Island Oasis Facebook  page is a nice representation of the activity on the grid, which reports 879 active users.

So going back to Virtual World City.

No forums. No resident activity on Google Plus or Facebook.

That indicates to me that the numbers for the active users are as real as the ones for the current logins. That is — not very.

Another bad sign is the faked-up stats page for another grid run by the same company, AlphaTowne. The grid has been closed for a couple of years now, but both the grid’s main page and its splash page shows active monthly users. And the active user numbers are changing. It’s as though the website is running a script, adding a random number of active users every month.

Similarly, Virtual World City has — without any marketing or events — grown from 118 actives in March to 146 actives in April to, supposedly, 311 actives this month.

It might seem tempting to cheat and post high traffic and region counts, especially when a grid is just starting out. But all that happens is that people who might otherwise be interested in your grid visit once, decide that your grid can’t be trusted, and leave never to come back again.

Again, if you’re a startup grid and want to attract visitors, please don’t do it by faking numbers. You make yourself look bad, and you make OpenSim in general look bad. If you want some attention in the monthly stats report and give people a reason to visit your grid, schedule an event and send me a press release announcing it.

Meanwhile, I won’t be running the user numbers for Virtual World City.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • hack13

    In many grid’s defenses are are open, Maria you did disclaim this but at the same time not accurately enough for the public to understand. Note, if someone does put hundreds or even just a few regions up, and they crash or not shut down properly they NEVER de-register automatically. This is why grids like OSgrid have to do clean ups to wipe all of the regions, because some people attempt, never get past a nat-loopback or something else stupid and give up. This is something you have to take into account, now, I am not justifying faking statistics, ,just INFORM YOUR READERS PROPERLY WITH ALL THE INFORMATION.

    • “a few regions up, and they crash or not shut down properly they NEVER de-register automatically” happened to me when i first started using opensim and wanted to learn more. Didnt exactly know what i was doing and the sim didnt correctly connect to OSGrid, it connected but couldnt access it from in world, then opensim.exe crashed on me. Fixed the problem in the config but when i tried again i could not connect my sim to that empty spot on the map because it was already taken by my first attempt to connect a sim to OSGrid so i gave up and just joined a grid and rented a sim from them.
      Anyways just a example of hack13’s comment.

  • hack13

    Also a little more, concurrent users is something that is really hard to keep accurate by default. If someone crashes and doesn’t relog, or stuck in a teleport this causes issues and keeps them stuck in the database. We at Zetamex just recently built a tool, which you can see on our blog at http://zetamexstatus.com/ and it debugs the database and provides even better, but it will never be 100% accurate.

    • I agree with you. There are many valid reasons why a count might be off. I’ve heard them all from grid owners!

      This is the first time a grid owner told me that they were just running random numbers. It seemed egregious.

      • In the AviWorlds regions case, it could have been innocent that the grid’s size increased ten-fold right before stats time — a user might have been running a scalability test of self-hosted regions, for example. I would have taken that as an answer and adjusted the stats quietly. When combined with other factors, however, such as a lack of evidence of in-world activities, I have to take the stats with a very big grain of salt.

        • AviWorlds

          I find this article offensive and specially when you Maria has defended Kitely who does have dead regions and is not purging them off their stats.
          Aviworlds has no needs for faking and I assure you that zetamex can provide a list of all ip numbers.
          Randy placed 1013 regions in AviWorlds and never came back for 7 days. I asked Timothy to purge them off. Well Randy came back last night. He owns a data center and he will be placing them back soon.
          You Maria should be ashamed of yourself by instigating and really accusing me of faking numbers.
          I for once have made it my goal to prove you wrong now and you will apologise and say that you are wrong.
          All the people coming in and out of my grid are REAL!
          The fact that no events are being advertised on your bias blog here does not mean AviWorlds is fake.
          Have a good day

      • Frank Corsi

        I told you the truth about a meaningless stat and you turned it into a personal attack. Not all virtual worlds care about what you care about, we do not need events or stats. We pay our bills and take care of our customers, you have no need to tell us how we should run our business.

  • Hannah

    I spent 2013 hopping around grids and came to the conclusion that there’s really very, very few people in opensim, and that the numbers are largely cooked.

    If you want control, sim-on-a-stick is your best bet; but if you want *people* …SL is the only game in town.

    • Joe Builder

      Exactly

  • hmmmm… Now I know how it feels, as a grid co-owner, to be slapped in
    the face by a report with apparently no need to write accuracies by a
    reporter who seems to have no understanding of the grid with which I am
    100% affiliated. I proposed to my fellow owner that we simply place a
    ban on this reporter from our grid as we have no need for including her
    in Virtual World City with her slanted blog. She is not paying our
    bills, nor do we care about her stats.

    Odd how she reported “the only living people on Virtual World City”. Wonder how she knew
    that? On my chat, whereby I am friended with various active grid
    members, I had several “bold” names showing people as being present. I
    tried to explain we have multiple cities. I didn’t know i needed to
    drag people from whatever they were doing in their cities to prove their
    presence to the reporter.

    The accusation of “faking active users” makes no sense. Virtual World City is not a grid clone of other
    virtual grids. It has been constructed for entirely different purpose.
    Our city purchasers are often not knowledgable about virtual grids at
    all. As stated on Virtual World City business plan, which has been
    delivered to multiple real world people, “The way Virtual World City
    will set itself apart from other virtual locations is unique. It is a
    virtual experience which extends into real world business
    commercialism”. Wonder why Maria didn’t investigate the real operations
    of Virtual World City? Our cities sell from $10,000 to $250,000.
    Seems she is tossing our grid into a pit calling us a snake. We are NOT
    a snake at all. We stand upright on a totally different platform than
    other grids, with room for us all.

    Why she would even bring AlphaTowne declaring it “another grid run by the same company” lends
    credence to her inability to report accurately. Facts are that
    AlphaTowne was a test town for software development and mock up
    testing. No one ever paid a dime to be in AlphaTowne testing during
    this process. What in the world would that have to do with Maria’s
    report today. Stats mean nothing, nada, zip, zilch in regards to
    AlphaTowne.

    Maria was told on her visit to Virtual World City it has been in beta testing stages. She was told there are no events
    posted because there are NO events. If the city owners wish to sponsor
    events, they will gladly be assisted and guided by Virtual World City
    staff.

    This current article reports no resident activity on
    Google Plus or Facebook. Again, where is this reporter checking her
    facts. While we do not use Google Plus, there are 452 Likes on facebook
    for Virtual World City. She reports the increase in activity numbers
    as though they are fictious. Did she even read the press release given
    her showing what those numbers reflect, showing our strategic
    partnership with four southern California to produce those numbers?
    http://www.icplaces.com/ic-places-signs-strategic-alliance-agreement-3d-virtual-web-joint-market-and-develop-virtual-world

    All this long rhetoric is to say. I find no accurate reporting in this
    blog about Virtual World City. Had Maria been a good investigative
    reporter, she would have known she was talking to me, co-owner of
    Virtual World City, for her interview and that an owner is in her
    picture posted with this article. I will reaffirm my determination to
    exclude her from Virtual World City. Her reports are of no value to the
    existence or progressive growth in our grid.

  • Frank Corsi

    You call me out by name and dont approve my post… this is not right!

  • Frank Corsi

    None of our customers base their decision to purchase services from our corporation based on users online stat. None! Fake stats are nothing more than a “News Story” here. It does not mean anything and we have removed that stat from our system. The stat is flawed and does not work correctly as My avatar still shows many people online that are not online.

    What is the point here? what is the REAL message from this story? Scare people… “Fake” oh my… Get with it. This attack did not need to happen, it is not news it is a personal attack.

    • Gaga

      I find myself questioning the need for this article and I wonder why Maria couldn’t just quietly drop the grids she suspected of faking stats. I just think articles like this do more harm to Opensim in general and gives certain people an excuse to bleat that Second Life has more people than Opensim grids again and again like some broken record. Of course, they don’t mention all the thousands of camper, alts and bots that inflate the Second Life metrics. And they never bother to mention that Opensim grids have plenty of community if one takes the trouble look a bit closer and perhaps travel the Hypergrid.

      Grids that fake stats do themselves no good because visitors soon realize the truth.

      • Frank Corsi

        Gaga your 100% correct, and i did everything but beg maria not to post this negative story! But she has an axe to grind.

      • Joe Builder

        A perfect example is the ones that claim there in “Cold Storage” lol

    • Mircea Kitsune

      Erm… mistakes happen. I doubt anyone here would have something against a grid itself. I do however believe someone should inquire better before posting a conclusion like “the grid is faking its stats”.

      • lmpierce

        Hi Mircea,

        Frank himself acknowledged that the grid stats were in fact made up numbers.

        • Frank Corsi

          Not stats, only one stat the “Active Users Online” which several people have said it is broken.

          • lmpierce

            Perhaps this alternate wording helps:

            “Frank himself acknowledged that the “users online now” stats were in fact made up numbers.” ‘stats’ now matches your own original wording:

            “The ‘users online now’ stats are not working correctly, as it can show people in the grid after they have logged out,” he told Hypergrid Business in an email last week. “For now, we just have a random number there till we get that fixed.”

            Either way that I write my response, the statement “the grid is faking its stats” is valid and that is the original comment I was responding to. Arguing over an ‘s’ really doesn’t resolve this issue.

            As for the other suggestions about contacting CNN and so on, we should be so lucky as to be on national news radar! I hope you are successful in getting their attention.

            On a more realistic note, I don’t know how carefully you’ve followed discussions in Hypergrid Business, but the issue of region counts and active user counts has been a consistent source of contention among our readers. For every reader that thinks these things are important, another says they don’t matter at all. I assume that if you posted an online user count you also consider those numbers meaningful, or expect that others consider them useful.

            The goal and hope is that over time these counting systems will become more refined and useful. With each misstep, lessons are learned. Obviously you are free to take the ball and run with it wherever you like. The complex issue of grid stats is going to remain with us. So you faked some numbers that people would have argued about in any event. What you do next to attract people to virtual worlds is really far more important than tilting at windmills.

      • Frank Corsi

        OMG… “Active Avatars Online” stat was broken.. so bash me and hang me out to dry. , I cant see any real useful purpose for this article. I am asking around facebook and everyone I talk to about this tells me its a JOKE.. Im sending this report to CNN reporters and every reporter I can find all day today, to get this story to go VIRAL.. So far my replies have been that this is not a useful news article at all.. Its not over! I will show this to every news organization I can send an email to, every news organization will know Maria when I am done. 🙂

      • Frank Corsi

        ” I do however believe someone should inquire better before posting a conclusion like “the grid is faking its stats”. You are Correct! Im making a collection of these replies.

  • ok, well, 2 mineys in Kitely at the same time could be considering a skewing of the numbers, right? So, here is the proof and a small catfight!!

  • AviWorlds

    Maria what u are doing is wrong. You are bashing hard work and real dedication. Im an ambulance driver and I rely on Timothy and his team to run AviWorlds for me.
    You are now acusing zetamex of participating in this crazy idea of yours saying Im faking my numbers?
    This is defamation of character and false acusations.
    AviWorlds is a product of hard work, dedication and love for the game.
    Instead of bashing and doing what u are doing your should praise success and not defame it just because Aviworlds is not your favorite grid. But like it or not I will now make it my objective to prove you wrong and show to everyone you dont deserve to be in the position you hold on this blog.

    • You are right that you are not my favorite grid. My favorite grid is Hyperica, because that’s my baby. All other grids are a distant second. Do I like you less than I like other grids? No, because I don’t spend any personal time on ANY grids.

      I do like to see OpenSim grow. When I have to remove stats from my database because I don’t trust them anymore, I get pretty upset.

      So being proven wrong will make me happy. A little embarrassed, because I’d have to print a correction, but, overall, pleased.

      I know a lot of people don’t care about the numbers. But I do. Folks who don’t care can just ignore my stats articles. Plenty of people do. (I just looked up the stats. With 17,636 unique visitors last month, there were only 913 unique page views for the stats articles — a ratio of just 5 percent. Most people go for the ‘where to get content’ article and the active grids list, which shows no stats.)

  • Joe Builder

    This is mostly directed to the Opensim Police detective, I think the author of this blog should tread lightly being I see a case for a charge of defamation of character brewing. In fact Aviworlds focuses on one of the largest communities in virtual worlds “Brazilians” and to claim there fake or not there is so not true being the hosting company Zetamex has all the information on each and every user. Now I say this being Aviworlds also allows regions to connect to there grid, Maria seems to think they need all to be accessible being the police has to check there authenticity. This is crazy thinking or seems she’s gunning for Aviworlds for unknown reasons. There are many grids with questionable regions and questionable residents. Last night I was in Aviworlds there was 30 plus residents online even a few Hypergater’s from kitley. The fella Randy from randyland came in and asked why was his regions offline. Alex told him they where inactive for more than 7 days he had zetamex purge them. Now I think all grids should follow a grid like Aviworlds to ensure honest region count. Many call them “Cold Storage” again another comical term. The Brazilian community does not come from a wealthy part of RL and for a grid owner to help out with a option like camping for them to make extra money is a plus in hopefully everyone’s eye. Maria did not do her homework on this one, I strongly suggest she refrains from posting any more false hoods about Grids the repercussion could be harmful to this blogs legitimacy

    • So there was in fact a user named Randy who had set up these regions? Why didn’t Alex just tell me? There would have been no story,

      I was operating under the assumption that AviWorlds is a closed grid — based on what Alex’ most recent statements about this — in order to protect in-world content. (Which, again, is why I was surprised to see hypergrid re-enabled.) And I emailed him and asked about this.

      I understand that open grids have lots of regions which may be down at any particular time. That’s just how they work — they are running on home computers, which aren’t always on.

      And it’s certainly a better explanation than saying “We don’t care about the numbers, so we just make them up.”

      • AviWorlds

        Maria I sent 3 emails reaponding to your email you sent to me questioning the region count. I fully explained to you on my emails and I even emailed u when I had Timothy purge the regions.
        I have all the emails saved.
        I never said I make numbera up. Your attack will have conseguences. I took lindens labs to court once and won,
        Alex.

        • I’m looking for your emails now…. Your previous ones had come through fine… and you are right. They were eaten by my spam folder — you did explain it. I was wrong. I’ll edit the article, and put a retraction on top.

      • Joe Builder

        My personal grid is 121 regions there on my time frame. I shut them down when I’m not there. Same way I did when I was connected to Osgrid. Jumping to conclusions is not good reporting somewhat like all the silly tabloids that no one believes. I’m not sure why Alex didn’t report to you every time there is a change in his grid. I suppose we need to send him to his bed with no ice-cream tonight,

    • AviWorlds

      Thank you Joe. Well said.

  • Frank Corsi

    You mention “a grid which is still under development” does this mean every grid under development will be bashed on like this? I feel this is a personal attack! Our CEO and a staff member told you Maria, to check all the regions in different cities for where users may be. You did not!
    Is it a crime to not have events, or a forum, or google page? I think not.
    You also mention how you expect a grid operator to say they will fix something not right.. Well i did email you and you posted what I said.
    ““For now, we just have a random number there till we get that fixed.””

  • While I dont think its really a prudent idea to use random numbers for your login page, its hardly newsworthy and as for Aviworlds, we are all well aware of what aviworlds is.

    Maria is a bit obsessed with everything “being like a proper business”. I do have sympathy though, it must be a tough gig to be a journalist in a place where very little actually occurs, but since the sight was revamped it seems dross has become more frequent too.

    To quote Maria below ” I have to take the stats with a very big grain of salt” – Is there any other way to take any kind of stats, ever?

    I dont mean to be insulting, but I really feel the above article is not journalism in any recognisable sense of the word. Take them out of your list if you think they are cheating, fine. But to publicly shame them when not in full possession of the facts is just bad form.

    • Frank Corsi

      “But to publicly shame them when not in full possession of the facts is just bad form.” YES Correct!

  • Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Maria, I tend to agree with the concept of your article in general– ie that information provided by grids isn’t always all that reliable. However, this article seems to me like shooting at already-wounded ducks.

    None of OpenSim is doing all that great. We all realize that. These are folks that are in some cases trying hard to accomplish something, in other cases not. But in truth stats of 300 or 400 users really is a drop in the bucket of online activity. So the question comes: Is there really any need to make such stats the focus of a headline article like this? What purpose does it serve?

    I agree with one of the comments below that probably the best purpose to be served is to write a short, direct post stating that any grid that has obviously incorrect stats on their splash page will no longer be included in your listings. I’d guess that would have a stronger and more productive result than making people angry. That way folks would have fair notice, no one would be publicly named… and no one would accuse you of publishing falsified information or libel.

    Not the best example of journalism I’ve seen. Your info may be accurate or inaccurate, I have no idea. I kind of got stuck at the concept of “responsible reporting”.

  • AviWorlds

    Well go to AviWorlds everyone and check it.out for yourselves. I rest my case.

  • Fly Man

    It’s not many times that I respond to any of Maria’s posts but this post was pointed out to me by some grid owners as being “Defaming the grid owner because he doesn’t respond”

    However, both “Virtual World City” and “AviWorlds” are grids with a history so I can understand from Maria’s point of view that “there’s an Axe to grind” but both grids have gone instantly into defense mode because of the lack of response towards Maria.

    As 1 of the developers on Virtual Worlds (OpenSim / AuroraSim / WhiteCore) I can safely say that there’s NO active working implementation that shows the logged in users, last week or last 30 days accurate. There simply isn’t one as a crash of a region or viewer will make it inaccurate.

    BUT: The amount of regions currently connected to the grid is a whole different story. When a grid decides to “up” their region count all they have to do is write a simple script to “emulate” a region connecting to the grid server. And yes, it’s that simple, just run a PHP / ASP or Python script to “up” the region count.

    And having a private owner that just puts 1000 regions up just before Maria checks the stats is quite rare, kinda sounds like Linden Lab says “Hey, we need better stats for the login page, just boot up 20 servers with some clean regions”

    In conclusion: I condone the way that Maria has written this article, however, she’s completely right about the lack of communication when a grid owner decides to go “rogue” and not answer her back. The story shows both sides of the medal “Good grid owners that are actively communicating” and “Bad grid owners that just want to shine in Maria’s list and have no interest of communicating”

    AviWorlds / Frank: Show the VW community that you have users and pro-actively work with people that want to get information.

    • “As 1 of the developers on Virtual Worlds (OpenSim / AuroraSim / WhiteCore) I can safely say that there’s NO active working implementation that shows the logged in users, last week or last 30 days accurate. ”

      And may I say that I am loving having my aurora style terraforming tools back with Whitecore, and due to that very easy install program…it’s wonderful!!

      I have been saying some margin of error should be developed…what, how much, and how it would be implemented, I have no further thoughts on, but your comment seems to show that it would be more useful.

      Of course, I personally no longer use specific grid stats as a rule of thumb but overall Metaverse trending…which can be gleaned from Maria’s numbers easily, also.

    • AviWorlds

      I showed. Its plastered all over the google+, facebook page and twitter. 40 people party in AviWorlds.

      • Fly Man

        @aviworlds:disqus Yes, I just saw the announcements on Twitter and FB.

  • AviWorlds

    Thank you Maria for retracting this blog. AviWorlds is constantly changing and growing and yes I have done x amounts of strategy changes and yes to see what really stick. I love the game and Im in it for the long haul.

    • Joe Builder

      Damage is done, No way to change that ban all trouble makers and move forward.

  • Joe Builder

    You mean false reporting don’t you? Denial is only coming from your side.

  • AviWorlds

    I agree with Frank and Joe. The harm and damage has been done. But there is a lesson to be learned from this. Please make sure before you kill the bird.Could be a very rare bird and protected by law. AviWorlds is legit and always was I take it as I get it and if we have to come back from the bottom like we always did so be it. I am proud of my work and I also thank zetamex, Timothy Rogers for his superb customer service and professionalism handling aviworlds for me and for my community in it. We all thank you.!

    • Frank Corsi

      The evil intent here is that this will stay online and she hopes to sway or scare off potential customers. I am seeking all legal options I have. But Im not going to sit by and let this abuse happen to me.

      • lmpierce

        Hi Frank,

        Please note that under the discussion guidelines, outright misrepresentations of Hypergrid Business or journalists is not allowed. Your business concerns are being overshadowed by claiming malicious intent, or in your words, “evil intent” to hurt your business. If you wish to continue the discussion along those lines, you may, however, post a link to another forum of your choice.

        As a note to all commenters, there is a fine line between assuming intent, showing evidence of intent and describing effects from which one is tempted to draw conclusions. Please be mindful that the discussions here are meant to support an exchange of ideas and perspectives to which final agreement may not be possible. To allow the maximum latitude, the moderation of this topic has been light and reactions have been monitored to gauge the effects of various assertions. There have been valid points made and corrections offered. This is the nature of debate. Articles are meant to present a perspective which can then be debated in the discussions; articles are not meant to avoid all controversy or disagreement.

        • Frank Corsi

          Should I say in my opinion only!

          • lmpierce

            No, that doesn’t really help as it was already clear that it was an opinion in the first place.

            Here’s the issue (keep in mind I view this as a moderator which necessitates a certain equanimity in my explanations):

            You acknowledged that the stats shown on the website for your grid were fake random numbers. Maria then ran a story which brought this to light.

            In the subsequent discussions many people weighed in with a range of perspectives, from discounting the value of stats to supporting Maria to supporting your position and Virtual World City. This was the ensuing debate that followed the article.

            Up to that point, the issue was heated and contentious, but as noted earlier, I did my best to apply a light hand in moderation. I understand that people have vested interests in these kinds of stories and want their voice to be heard. The discussion section is provided to allow such debate. This makes it possible for people to express their opinions, alternative facts, and draw their own conclusions.

            I did, however, find it inappropriate to assert that Maria had malicious intentions, especially as emphasized by invoking the word “evil”. After all, no one said your actions were “evil”, and if they had, I would have felt compelled to apply moderation actions as well. I draw from the discussion guidelines and invoke the restrictions about making outright misrepresentations or unsubstantiated accusations.

            As a whole, the article and ensuing comments provides a lot of information for readers to consider, and multiple viewpoints that both defend and criticize stats, how they were reported at your grid, and what impact this has on the community. As noted, we recognize that this forum may not provide the full opportunity you seek for expressing your reactions, and we do allow commenters to post links to other forums so that interested readers can follow you to those venues.

          • Frank Corsi

            @Impierce.. what you fail to admit is how my team has been working on our software for several years, and although we are still testing. A news article like this does cause our business some harm and will continue to cause us harm as it remains online. I can only hope to discredit this article with the facts. It is a shame that the need for a negative report has to come with pain for a team of hard working people. And for what? Why? to prove that we put a random number in place of a well known broken stat on our login page. Simply sad that some people thrive on this type of negativity and hurt for others.

          • lmpierce

            Hi Frank,

            As regards this article, my comments have only been to describe my reactions as moderator, although sometimes I write comments as a reader as well. As you note, I have made no specific attempt to weigh in on the issues themselves. I think a broad variety of relevant perspectives are already presented.

          • Fly Man

            @frankcorsi:disqus

            Since you are so proud of your team working hard on “your” software, i’m kinda wondering which software you are referring to. Opensim and other derived software packages are first of all no-one’s property. They are Open Sourced for a reason and it’s each grid owners feeling/work that he/she puts into it that makes it their own version.

            To stay on topic, Maria has done what other websites should have done earlier this year and run a story about making up the numbers. I had 10 independent people open up your welcome page to see which numbers came up for them and guess what ? Each time when they checked the page, the same number appeared for them. So even when users were logging in, the same number was on the splash page.

            I personally checked your Active Cities list and found out that at the moment of writing this, you should have 39 active avatars in the real life cities and a set of 332 avatars in 1 of the fictional cities. So, either your live stats page is off as well or you’re running a good bot that represents 332 users.

            In the end, you claim that this post has done your grid no good because now you will show up in Google as being a bad grid. I think showing up in Google as a bad grid is the least of your issues at this moment.

            @mariakorolov:disqus

            This post has stirred up quite some dust, not only here but also in Virtual World land. Many grid owners are now a little afraid to show statistics on their splash pages.

            @Impierce

            If you think this post is too much or harsh, please moderate it where needed.

          • FlyMan — If some grids take down inaccurate numbers from the splash pages that would, be, overall, a good thing. If grids take down accurate numbers that could be misinterpreted — as I did with AviWorld’s data — it would be a very bad thing. I hope the lesson here is that there are real consequences to putting random numbers up on your stats page. And also that if I make a mistake, I fix it.

            Again: My apologies to AviWorlds. I was wrong, I messed up, and they were right.

          • Frank Corsi

            Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Hypergrid Business

        • Frank Corsi

          Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes.[2]However, elements that are commonly associated with evil involve unbalanced behavior involving expediency, selfishness, ignorance, or neglect.

  • Caveat Emptor

    adults should not base any decisions solely from stats – they should check out the community first-hand

    Second Life with its 10,000 new accounts per day? please . . .

    a splash page is created to help market a service, product, etc – are they truthful?

    i dunno, but even big companies like Vibram stated that their silly five toed shoes were healthier – now they are in a class action suit because that is not true – they were betting that is was and lost

    when a movie states “Based on a true story”, that has no legal meaning and it does not need to have any single bit of its story be true, it simply adds to the immersion of the movie

    next month look for the “True Story of Ener Hax Living on the Moon and Her Daily Struggle Against Eating Too Much Cheese Because the Moon is Made of Cheese”, based on a true story

    hmm, that’s a mouthful of a title (doh) and the only part actually true is the bit about being made of cheese (100% cheesy!) =)

    • Frank Corsi

      You need to post an article about this terrible negative story! Ill even pay you.. lol

  • Actually, there ARE laws, tho, of course different in different countries. As well, at least in America, anyone can file to sue for all sorts of things related to all this…HOWEVER…there are several issues to consider first.

    Any suit can be countered by the respondent with a motion to dismiss on the merits. That motion can also ask for a judgement against the plaintiffs for legal fees and other costs, and sometimes even multiplied by law. It is a BAD idea to sue for frivolous reasons and plaintiffs should make sure they have their “i”s dotted and their “t”s crossed before they enter the legal system in such regards. [this aside from the fact that, unless your attorney is taking a fee rather than commission of the proceeds, none will take a frivolous case in the first place…ya gotta prove it will run to them first].

    There is no point in filing a suit if A] the time and costs associated will not pay off, even if they should win, which is also never set in stone, and B] if the respondent does not have the money or has it hidden properly or shielded in various ways [but one can file personally and to their company which sometimes helps], even if one wins they get nothing or very little of what is asked in the original pleading, and C] if they win often it is just a judgement…for example, there are certain workman’s protections such that if someone works on my own land and I do not pay them they can sue me….but the judgement attached to my land only pays off if I sell the land [and if they keep up with the case and refill the judgement regularly].

    These grids often stand on their TOS as the catchall, which it is not at all. One could sue for misrepresentation even if a TOS says they are in beta and it is “use as-is”, one could sue for “reasonable” cures to issues that arise that are not taken care of “reasonably”.

    In fact, there are many case use issues for which grids could be sued for.

    As well, once a suit is filed then the Discovery process initiates. This includes what is known as interrogatories…those are a questionnaire sent to each party with questions to be answered, and what answers are given can be used in court. So, for example, if one party to the suit is lying in some provable [or by a preponderance of evidence] ways then questions properly devised can show them to have such a nature on the stand, which speaks to anything else they say…character assassination.

    As well, in criminal actions the tenant of law is “beyond the benefit of the doubt”, in civil law it is “by a preponderance of evidence”. In other words, if you can show the judge or jury/judge by more evidence than not that your filed plea is true, then you should win.

    But the overall fact remains is that you better be ready to pursue it properly, in time, money and energy, and have your ducks lined up, because the potential for having it backfire are large.

    And of course the disclaimer thing…I am not an attorney, I only roleplay one………………..thus anything I say should be fact checked or ignored [the latter being the best idea, imo]. [I am also just a goofball]

  • I actually think this concept is pretty cool. Different for sure. I do hope it all works out for you also.

    Perhaps all this has allowed you to better “get the word out”…regards

    • Frank Corsi

      Thank You Minethere

  • I been going to many grids in opensim for many years and never seen huge numbers of avatars in the map anywhere.. when I did it always turned out to be bots..

    Opensim is a lovely ghost town.its nobody’s fault.maybe it’s because when something is free people don’t value it ….but i remember Secondlife when it was a ghost town too..

    Maria does a great job..she will happily eat her words publicly when proved wrong..Frank Corsi has an awesome grid ..Aviworlds and all the others are doing great things for the opensim community..we are spoilt rotten..I appreciate it and hate to see everyone fighting over nothing..I never believed those stats..who does ? Maria just wants to try to make them as accurate as possible..that’s her thing and sometimes she puts her foot in her mouth ..like I have just done Ha ! Ha !

    • Frank Corsi

      Thanks Manlea, My team works hard to explore real world business in a virtual environment. To use forums or do events is nobody’s business but ours. Our business model does not require these methods.

  • Frank Corsi

    Just a note as someone asked me about this… AlphaTowne was an “Alpha” test city where nobody ever paid any money to participate. It is still online but we are awaiting the domain name to expire. It did serve its purpose at the time to gather feedback to build what we have now.

  • ssm2017 Binder

    im sowhere happy to see an article about the Maria’s website stats.
    beeing the actual FrancoGrid’s administrator and dev of a Drupal’s grid interface, i can tell you my experience on this side.

    the loginpage stats are an old SecondLife’s tradition that was kept with wiredux.
    the issue is that (as we all know) they are not really representative of the reality (virtual stats ? 🙂 )

    to be franck, during a time, i wanted to show random stats only to demonstrate that they are wrong but never did it.
    since the last year, we have decided to try to show the stats as real as they are.
    i have made some scripts that are running on the grid side to clean ghosts.
    every 15mn a script is removing the “ghost users” on the grid database and every night another one is removing the “ghost regions”.
    so we are now proud to be one of the only grid that is showing “almost” real stats.
    the scripts can be found here : https://github.com/ssm2017/os_cleaner
    (we are using another region cleaner script because we are deregistering the region directly on robust console using a tmux pipe instead of removing it in the db but the script is almost the same one)

    some people are using stats to have their grid listed on top of lists.
    this can be usefull for some people who are looking for sponsors for their grid because financers like stats.
    but this solution is not a long term one because people are registering accounts every day, but they are not staying necessarilly depending on the grid’s life and neighborhoud.

    • Frank Corsi

      Maria has taken the position to act as “Stat Police” to protect the world! But the stats are broken. And I never signed up for any police coverage.. lol

  • Yes, of course there are Danko…the light and the dark sides, and, “There can be only one!!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqcLjcSloXs

    [fyi–I only posted this ’cause I think he is sooooo darn handsome!!!] [rugged also]

  • Joe Builder

    Wrong side, and the Right side.

    • Frank Corsi

      The reporting of this was a personal attack, as she said if a grid owner was to say it was a bug that will be fixed she would not flame them, but here she did. I also replied to her pre reporting threat in the report with the grid numbers. I also sent email to her about this, and she spoke with our staff. This is a Corporation not a game, this crap reporting will sit on google forever causing grief to my company.