Monday, August 15, 2011

New Lower Tier in the C.D.S.

The Confederation of Democratic Simulators, the CDS, Second Life's oldest functioning democracy, has just released their new, lower tier rates. The CDS began in 2004 on the SL mainland as an experiment in self-governance that has grown to a community of 5 sims whose citizens run the sims. Anyone who purchases a parcel in the CDS becomes a citizen of the CDS and is able to participate in the democracy.

I joined Second Life in May 2010 and I spent my first three weeks exploring the grid, seeing what Second Life was all about. My first exposure to the CDS was when I discovered Alpine Meadow, one of the five sims of the CDS. First I fell in love with the scenery and architecture and than a citizen explained to me what the CDS was all about, being the oldest self-governed community in Second Life, and I found the concept quite intriguing so I've been a citizen ever since.

The issue of tier restructuring is an excellent example of how the democracy works in the CDS. When I joined, the CDS had very few vacancies, land was a hot commodity. Since that time, just like in real life communities and like many estates across the Second Life grid, the CDS has experienced a higher rate of vacancies than in previous years. The CDS gives its citizens tools to express their opinions, thoughts, suggestions and ideas through in-world meetings and the forums located on the web portal. One of the recurring topics was the issue of tier. Some citizens felt it was too high while others felt it was just fine. So as a citizen of the CDS who happens to enjoy working with numbers I took it upon myself to do some research and see how the CDS pricing compared to others. I discovered the CDS tier was slightly above the median, there were estates with higher tier than ours and there were estates with lower tier.

There were three main goals to my tier restructuring plan.

  1. Reduce tier to a more competitive level with other estates

  2. Have a uniform tier across all 5 sims

  3. Have a double-prim parcel's tier be exactly double that of a single-prim parcel

As each sim was brought in-world they were calculated for tier on an individual basis so each one would be self-sustaining. This resulted in 5 sims with a wide variety of tier, all different from each other. The second goal of having a uniform tier for all 5 sims would have resulted in a large increase in tier on two sims, a significant drop in tier on one sim, only a slight drop in tier on the remaining 2 sims and an overall savings estate wide of only 3%.

Further calculations proved the other two goals successful. The 5 sims of the CDS are four full region sims, two single-prim sims and two double-prim sims, and one homestead sim. The two single-prim sims were reduced to US$ 3.25 per 512sqm. The two double-prim sims were reduced to US$ 6.50 per 512sqm. The homestead sim was also reduced to a more competitive level with its own tier set independent of the other four due to the low private land to public land ratio. The proposal was submitted to the Representative Assembly of the CDS for approval and is now in effect. The result of the new tier structure is an impressive savings of 23% estate wide.