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I appreciate your comments, Eric. This whole thing started with a discussion on December 20 about "What can we do by Jan 4?" and was an intense scramble to get something up and running by then. In addition to designing and building the island, we had to coordinate with people from about 12 orgs who were on various holidays and vacations during those two weeks. It wasn't planned out weeks in advance, so the limitations that you mention were based mostly on what was possible given those conditions.

Unfortunately the two sims we threw together to make Capitol Hill would only support a small subset of the millions of residents, and after considering different models, we ended up allocating invitations to the various groups who pulled it off. I was still receiving requests via IM as the event went on, and was adding avatars as quickly as I could. I also think that avatar requests that were added to the access list were never confirmed. Some on the invitation list weren't there, given the last-minute nature of the invitations and also the lack of confirmation.

Attendance varied during the three hours of the event, and the SL viewer actually limits the number of avatars you can "see" at any one time. Had we filled every last seat, of course, the lag would probably have been bad for all.

We're still looking at the effectiveness of different kinds of media, including streaming of external video as well as audio feeds. That's a balancing act, given the higher information bandwidth afforded by the human voice versus typing avatars, yet the SL experience is still ultimately avatar-mediated. We also found that having both channels -- audio for the guest, chat for the attendees -- allowed attendee discussion to occur over the audio conversation.

About halfway through the project, we decided to open up the Capitol Hill and keep it open, at Clear Ink's expense. There have already been a lot of interesting one-on-one and small group pickup conversations, and there will be more scheduled group discussions as well as more formal events. We want it to be bipartisan, and I've tried to contact the Republican Policy Committee and House Republican Conference to invite their participation and information feeds, but haven't heard back yet.

It was an experiment, not an end-point, and we're learning from this how to continue this kind of thing. Your comments are helpful as we sort things out. I hope you'll be able to make it to future events.


Thanks Kiwini for the explanation. I'd love to be there the next time you have a formal event, at least to round out the participants.


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