Appoligizing for the lack of finesse on the page... I got it up fast. Angel is a Lady
I think what I would like to do is first point out many of the problems we encountered in CT mall. This will cover both residents complaints, tech problems and rules. Bareing in mind that the object is to keep people happy and coming back, perferably to buy in both mall and flea. I would then like to suggest rules to start out with to avoid some common problems. Baring in mind I am not sure what the arrangements will be, or any tech problems the malls may face.
COPYRIGHT: An object that breaks the copyright rules.
DROPS: Droping of new objects for sale (usually an event anticipated by several residents).
FLOOR MODELS: 3d floor models that the MDS can place for sale and they allow deisgners to restock.
HOLDS: Items that are held and turned over to designer at no or low cost.
MD: 3D Mall Deputy.
RARES: Rares are items that the designer limits the amount uploaded.
PROBLEM: One of the biggest problems was how to fairly place the objects for sale so that the rare items were not all bought by one person. Not announcing drops meant the first person who found it could buy all/most of a limited item then turn and sell it for a substancial profit. Some felt that by announcing drops meant the same people would always get the best objects. Others felt not announcing drops would allow a limited amount of people to take all of the best objects.
SOLUTION: The best solution seemed to be to announce every drop to as many people as possible. I would go into the CT flea and announce there and in the CT mall. As long as the MD doing this has already placed the items 3d and only has to set the prices, it ran very smoothly with the MD able to concentrate on any problems that would arise.
PROBLEM: Copyrights are a big concern due to the legal problems involved. The Checker of objects should be a person who is able to hand code VRML. When objects are approved for the mall the checker is also responsible for checking items for copyright infringement. And to determine if the item was public domain, (library vrml ok to use with modification) or copyrighted material. However there is no way one person can catch everything.
SOLUTION: The MDs droping the objects are also responsible for copyrights to the point where if they recognize an item or picture or a resident did, to take a complaint and not drop the item in the store but to drop it back in the warehouse marked with explaination in the inbox for the checker. We also hired on an expert in copyrights, someone who had worked with them real life, whose job was to assist the checker by providing URLS to known art work, or URLS to vrml on line. The copyright person would fill out a report, the designer name, the item, reason it was with held, URL or info backing up claim. It was up to the checker to decide if it met the criteria to give a warning to the designer and destroy the object. It was up to the copyright expert to issue a standardized warning to the deisgner explaining what the item was withheld for and any penalities that would be leived next time it happened. (We had a page not released to the public listing the designer and what the warning was for seperated by how many warnings each person has had so that the fines could be explained.) **I would like to eliminate any fines. Basically they are breaking the law, if they persist they should not be allowed to upload again. If the designer has more than one copyrighted item uploaded at once then that would all count under first warning. After that they would be banned from uploading.**
I would also bring out the items before I started placing them 3d asking if the designers or buyers saw any errors or problems let me know. Sometimes it was copyright, other times it was a rare with too many in stock, others were the wrong jpg or no jpg with the item. In any case presenting them before the drop allowed the MD to deal with any problems in a unstressed maner instead of in the middle of a hectic drop.
There was a problem that a designer could resock their item before it was dropped or given to them as a hold bypassing the mall fees, while still in mds bp. (this pertains to holds also, we were never able to figure out how to stop this under the system we had and still allow viewing of objects, or they could rifle through the mds bp while they were trying to drop. However with holds there was a solution see below)
PROBLEM: Holds were given out for 10 cc each to any designer who uploaded them, they were not allowed to sell them only use them as gifts and for contests/awards for colonies. They were limited to 10 each, and kept in the warehouse until the deisgner came to claim them. Unfortunatly once they left the MD's hands there was no way to stop the selling of the items. (someone could hold a limited item, buy all of them for 10 cc then resell them for 1000's each). Fines were levied if they were caught or the person they gave it to sold it (impossible to enforce).
Solution: Upload holds to a web site then have the manager determine if they were for colony (ND or above was to contact manager) or a personal hold. Then using a specail acount the mall manager would upload the holds. This prevented the designer from restocking a hold because he was not the designer that the blaxxun software recognized.
Allow the selling of holds (we had a set fee of 1000 for each personal hold and 10cc for each colony hold allowing colonies to upload 30 each.) An alternative solution would be to set the fee to what an item would be charged for upload fees and the blaxxun cut of profits. I am not sure what this set up will be however 50% of selling price would have been great, but everyone would have had everything marked for 10cc (then turn around and sell for much more). The 1000cc fine did cause other complications as far as deisgners being upset about hold backs of rares. see below.
PROBLEM: Rares the deisgners wanted to have one of their own, and one for the person they dedicated it to and one for their friends. Some even felt they should be in control of how many went out at what time of the day. Uploading just enough and streching it out. This caused massive problems, people would upload 10 of 50 then restock the other 40 when they and thier friends were the only ones to buy them out. Or purposely over stocking them a little at a time. Enforcing a policy of only holding back 5 helped, but was not the best. Many designers would buy thier own rares to pass out to new people and any rules that limited that would upset them. This is a complicated multifaced problem, obviously no matter which way is decided people will feel cheated. The buyers because they didn't get rares because the designer didn't release them. The Designers because they didn't get control over thier object.
SOLUTION: Restrict rares. There is no telling how long an item will take to sell out in the 3d shop. But we can restrict how many a designer uploads every month/week. Making a rare a true rare instead of constant limiting of items. All must be uploaded and they can be removed when sold out. If a designer would like one for themselves they can upload 1 to the hold system for free.
PROBLEM: Rules that the 3d mall makes to acount for room, problems arising, technical problems, buyer complaints, ect.
SOLUTION: Have monthly meetings open to buyers and designers, the mall manager should conduct the meeting bringing up any problems and solutions to vote on. Any discussion of the problems should take place in the mall message base ahead of time and the 3d manager should have one or more comprehensive plans that will deal with the problems. Otherwise the meeting will soon get out of hand. However there will be times when due to emergency tech problems the mall manager will need to institute actions without going though the meeting and recomendation fazes, in that case the Mall manager should discuss why such action was taken in the message base if necessary (if it is not something up for discussion because of tech problems there is no need for this) and allow people to come up with solutions that may be better than what was done. Allowing the designers and buyers input into the mall will ease any feelings of unfair rules.
PROBLEM: Message board clogged with messages undermining staff, or extrainious messages.
SOLUTION: Message board should be for mall business only and strictly inforced. That is the lifeline to deisgners to give info to them concerning new rules and problems arising with objects. To post which items passed the check, ect. It is also where the designers can ask for price changes, or notify the mall staff of any problems. There should also be a permanent message on the board describing where to go if there is a problem with mall personell or with object problems, that are unresolved.
PROBLEM: MDs who would take items from the mall or not drop them.
SOLUTION: Never allow anyone to carry a floor model around except when transporting to or from warehouse except when droping items, passing out holds or removing them from mall for destruction, items should never be stored in mds bps. (Mds should also be warned when hired, that because they are dealing with the designers copyrighted materials, they should conduct themselves in a fair and impartial way at all times.) There may be a need for more room for holds or copyrighted held items, than the warehouse can hold, more room should be planned for.
The info board is used by the mall deputies to post what new items have been dropped.
The message base was used to tell when there has been a check of items and which items passed. (As long as the drops are frequent there is still a need for this to help assist mds and designers in tracking thier items through the system.) If a object did not pass the Blaxxun software allowed the checker to send message to designer explaining problem(s) and providing help on how to fix it. It was also used for price change requests and help questions or info.
The mall checker this was a page that 008 developed similar to the check page the checker saw so that the designer could look at his own item and judge scale and where it sat on the floor. This was VERY helpful allowing the designers to get an idea what things would look like compared to an avatar as they sat in the mall. It would also let them see if there were problems with texture uploading sometimes. See CT's mall checker. Mall Checker
The remove board was used to post what item was to be removed by the designer. These were items they felt were not selling, there was a problem with or to be removed because it would not be restocked. The md would have seperate access to it to check that the item had acutally been removed. It should have designer name, item name, shop located, and a box showing if it was still in mall or not.
Approved links should be given to the MDs to give out for info, any link asked for should be checked out by the Mall Manager before being approved for the list.
I am sure there is much more but this should cover many of the problems that will arise.