17th Feb AltspaceVR Update: Goodbye Campfire & Commons Area

Disclaimer: I do not work for Altspace/Microsoft and thoughts and opinions are my own. This post was published in wake of the announcement and does not include community helper-privledged information released at time of publish. And this article will speculate on the role that community helpers could play in the future now that the commons areas have been removed.

There is news today that AltspaceVR has ceased all commons areas on the AltspaceVR platform. The commons campfire, info zone and news commons. This also includes the world instances of the various campfires with their own world code. These were sought worlds that were quickly disabled and a short cat and mouse game was played with users finding ‘official’ campfires previously used.

Notable changes to AltspaceVR from today:

  • AltspaceVR hosted social hubs including the Campfire, News and Entertainment Commons will be removed 
  • Existing Safety Bubble will now be turned on by default 
  • New attendees joining Events will be automatically muted 

You can read the official blog post here. https://altvr.com/making-altspacevr-a-safer-space/#more-13387

Extracted AltVR Discord Announcement

There was a separate announcement posted to the official AltspaceVR discord server as follows below.

Credit/source:

Hi Altspacers! Today we announced that we are making changes to AltspaceVR to improve safety and continue our mission to make Altspace a leading, event-based community. These changes will help users better connect with those who have shared common interests and ensure the spaces they access are free from inappropriate behavior and harassment. For more information, please read our blog post. https://altvr.com/making-altspacevr-a-safer-space/

We will be holding a Community Town Hall hosted by Alex Kipman on Friday 18 February 830am – 930am PST. We would love for you to join us to hear about the upcoming changes as well as have the opportunity to ask questions.

Please RSVP https://account.altvr.com/events/1933059366349439889

Due to limited time, we ask that you share your question with us ahead of the event, and we will do our best to address it in the event. If you would like to ask a question, please do so through this form https://forms.office.com/r/JwcSTSXpDb

Safety tools have also been enforced to automatically

What happens next?

This Friday 18th February Alex Kipman is hosting a town-hall-style meeting which you can RSVP to here.

https://account.altvr.com/events/1933059366349439889 where you can read more about the event which I have included below for people viewing this outside of AltspaceVR.

“We recently announced changes to AltspaceVR to improve safety and continue to focus the platform as an event-based community space. These changes will help users better connect with those who have shared common interests and ensure the spaces they access and people they encounter are appropriate for their age. We will be holding a town hall to discuss these further and answer questions.

Run of Show (times listed are PST):

  • Doors: 8:25am
  • Community Social Time: 8:30am-8:45am
  • Alex Talk + Q&A: 8:45am-9:20am
  • Community Social Time: 9:20am-9:35am
  • Event Ends: 9:35am”

In anticipation of this announcement, a Google doc form has been set up for questions to be received to Alex Kipman. It is highly recommended that you express your questions and concerns regarding these changes. As there has been limited announcements in recent months it is important in my opinion, for the community to have clarity.

During this event, it is hoped that more information will be released to the public.

Reaction from the commuinity

Opinion: I jumped online and the atmosphere was chaotic, to say the least. There were people still playing cat and mouse by jumping to old campfire rooms before they were closed. There were reports of users ripping the worlds before they were closed which shows the community had an enriching attachment to the campfire spaces.

AltspaceVR admin Fae joined a user-created and answered questions that she was allowed to which wasn’t much that she couldn’t say anyway because she had just found out personally within 12 hours of the announcement. Fae stated that most of the information she is aware of is covered in the blog post which she encouraged people to go read. Fae was very kind and understanding of everyone’s frustrations and advocated for people to fill out the Google doc before the event so they can have their questions in.

It is apparent that the campfire admins were kept in the dark, anxious users asked if Fae still had a job and to that response for herself personally she said yes. Fae went on to explain that she will be more active in the event spaces assisting and moderating. This would be assumed to be the same case for Jeremy and Jynx.

Another concern raised to Fae was the disclaimer of having to acknowledge every ‘unmoderated’ event space you enter. Another key concern is having the worlds beta and EAP enabled by default for users since there is no campfire for onboarding of users.

The consensus-based on the AltspaceVR Pals FaceBook group and interactions this morning is that generally people aren’t happy and feel that the normality of meeting up in the campfire has changed the way people find and reconnect with people. For some of my friends, it’s been the place they spend 80% of their time in Altspace. For some people, the campfire was a comfortable and safe place but now you will need to hunt down an admin in an event instance that they happen to be in at the time.

Positivity of these recent announcements

Sure there is a bitter taste to this recent announcement but migrating our accounts to Microsoft will hopefully streamline some features that have been difficult to implement before.

  • Microsoft store integration / account purchases
  • Age restricted rooms (18+ enforced by PC’s parental control and account level that syncs with Altspace with less implementation)
  • Better support during events: Visibility on issues such as web projector will be quickly picked up.
  • Some evidence to support that Altspace isn’t shutting down but changing pace a little and pivoting to new areas that will drive the network ie: events.

Short FAQ:

Does Fae/campfire admins still have a job?

Yes, Fae has confirmed she is remaining on Altspace and working mostly within the event spaces where she will be visible.

I want the campfire back!

Fill out the form provided in this post by Altspace to fill out for the meetup hosted by Alex Kipman this Friday (US time) where more information will be provided.

I can’t find the campfire worlds (worlds)

The AltspaceVR campfire world instances as well as the commons instances have been removed.

Conclusion

A lot is happening g on the platform behind the scenes and one interesting note is the AltspaceVR YouTube channel has had videos removed and new videos posted within the last few days. When you consider the urgency to link your Microsoft account indicates there may be a shift or change in technology in the coming months. These changes may be difficult but there is an opportunity for Altspace

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Published By: AussieGuy92
Published: 17 February 2022
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