Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The companionship of the Lucky Chair

Lucky chair dresses snaffled: zero (bad); Hours spent stalking dress in lucky chair: 1. And a Bit. But of course you can do other things whilst stalking a lucky chair (who am I fooling; bad)

Spent some time today stalking a free dress from Icing in a new lucky chair. Could have been writing thoughts on Education in SL, could have been marking, could have been getting an early night, but no. Did this as my alt, which somehow feel should be excuse - but - it's still my time, isn't it.

For those to whom a Lucky Chair sounds alien and rather Dubious, this is a device to lure people into dress shops, boost their traffic numbers and possibly get you to buy some other items either by mistake or out of sheer boredom. There is an item for free in the chair, but you have to wait til the first letter of your name comes up, at which point you Sit in the chair, there is a fanfare and the item (in this case, the Pizzacato Poppies dress) drops seamlessly into your inventory.

Or not, if your name begins with D and you have the letters P (x2), Q (x2), B (x5), O (x2, my alt is pictured next to an O, above), H (x50 million) coming up. Lucky Chair stalking is classic procrastination activity, and also becomes addictive as you wait for Just One More Letter.

A Brit makes money out of devising new types of lucky chair (e.g. the lucky random Easter Egg version), and a couple of months ago he blogged his RL redundancy and said how at least he was still keeping the wolf from the door through his SL Lucky Chair business.
Anyway, after you have finished looking at all the other items in the shop, Inspecting any moderately attractive clothes worn by other Lucky Chair stalkers to see who made them, and sorting your Inventory (all traditional Lucky Chair activities) you might actually start talking to the other Stalkers. People tend to be very polite & celebratory and this is an extract from the dialogue today (with people's names reduced to initials)

[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Hello J... M...
[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: I'm looking for a player whose name begins with J. Your name begins with J.
[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: We have a winner!
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Please enjoy your prize. I'm now selecting a new magic letter....
[16:26] M... M...: YAYAYAYAYAY!! J....!!
[16:26] J... M...: YAY!
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Next Prize: *ICING* Pizzicato Poppies
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Looking for a winner whose name begins with.... R.
[16:26] J... M...: thanks M....!
[16:26] M... M...: you are welcome! a well earned prize for the hardest working person in SL!!!
[16:26] J... M...: :)
[16:26] J... M...: See ya later!
[16:27] M... M...: : Dimitrova..I love your outfit
[16:27] Dimitrova Shostakovich [for that is the name of my alt]: thanks! The dress was only 75 Linden
[16:27] Dimitrova Shostakovich: from Sari's
[16:27] M... M...: : oh! love Sari's
[16:28] M... M...: haven't been there for awhile, tho'
[16:28] Dimitrova Shostakovich: the textures had improved since I last visited

and so forth and so on, riveting stuff as you can see.

Feel there must be some research possibilities in this aspect of my (alt) life e.g. a discourse analysis of a random sample of Lucky Chair conversations, or an ethnographic study of SL fashionistas in their Lucky Chair habitus. As can be seen from above dialogue can qualify as participant-observer. Will add this to my huge list of Research opportunities Not Followed Up.


Rika Watanabe said...

Two observations for you:

1. Letters on Lucky Chairs do try to be equally probable, it doesn't hate you. (or anyone else. I made a lucky chair that would love and hate people based on criteria advantageous to the shop owner and deliberately fudge letters, but I'm hesitant to release it - field tests show it doesn't end up as effective as I hoped) Lucky chairs just fail miserably at generating a proper equal probability spread with up to 20% deviation -- apparently, because of misuse of llFRand function and rounding errors.

2. Letters actually seen as first letters of names are not equally probable by far - the most common would be A and S, which together account for 20% of all names seen. Contrary to popular opinion, Q is not the rarest one, it just sticks the longest on the chairs because a person with a name like that cannot be readily found.

Data collected by parsing some 20 megabytes of logs, and visitor lists from a few shops kindly donated by their owners, for a grand total of about 7000 unique names.

There is some discrepancy about first letter frequencies between data from customer lists and data from inworld observation of lucky chair stalkers, but I cannot say if it's statistically significant enough to merit any theories.

Sheila Yoshikawa said...

Hi - thank you very much - I suppose I knew logically that the owners wouldn't necessarily be stacking their chairs with obscure letters just to annoy you, but one loses touch with logic after an hour of waiting for a virtual letter to chanege on a virtual chair so you can get a virtual dress...

You sound like one of the people doing social scinces research in SL?

Rika Watanabe said...

I am, though I'm eclectic about it and normally don't publicise this activity. :) The official forums on average laugh out two survey attempts per week.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.