Groups: a quick history

Groups have, more or less, been in Second Life™ since the start. Initially they were very much "one size fits all" and there were two levels of membership - officers who could do anything, and members who could do almost nothing, but could start votes to impeach officers. Groups were used for everything from their probable original intention of social networking, to setting up working relationships, to land ownership and more. Votes were widely used to communicate across the group rather than to impeach or actually vote. In 2005 the structure of groups was examined, and altered in several fundamental ways:

Using groups for education

You will probably want to consider an "admin avatar" for your educational venture. This, amongst other things, will allow continuity when a staff member leaves but the institution remains in Second Life. If you have done this, having the admin avatar as the group owner would make sense. If you have a group already, you can add new owners easily enough - although the current owner must invite them as an owner.

Creating a group costs L$100. Groups must maintain at least two members (this allows couples in Second Life to buy land together). You can create a group from Edit>Group and clicking create. You fill in the fields on the front page, and off you go (the group insignia field is optional).

Creating roles is not always obvious, and whilst I will list what I expect will be the main roles, you may find others make sense. Remember that an avatar can be a member of multiple roles - but they always get the most permissive option from the combination of their roles.

However, it is possible that you may find a system where each class has a different group works more efficiently for your system. You will still, probably want an admin group however, and to have those that can build etc. in that group. Be warned, however, that you are limited to 25 groups maximum. Creating a different group per class will very quickly fill up your students and your lecturers if they use Second Life a lot. The table below shows all the abilities in the order in which they appear in the groups window, and indicates how I suggest you assign them.

AbilityWho might needNotes and comments
Membership abilities
Invite to groupOwner, administrators. Possibly lecturersThis is relatively harmless but can make your group very big, very quickly. You will want to limit this if you use groups for students, staff and invited developers only.
Eject members from groupProbably only admin and ownerDoes what it says on the tin
Toggle 'Open Enrollment' and change 'Signup Fee'Probably owner only (owner can't turn off powers)This lets people join from searching for the group. It's great for open access groups.
Roles abilities
Create new rolesAdmin and owners onlyPretty obvious here - it lets you add new roles such as admin, owner, lecturer etc.
Delete rolesOwner only, maybe adminsAlso pretty obvious. You want to limit this quite tightly, because setting up new roles takes quite some time and you don't want to delete them by accident.
Change role names, titles and descriptionsOwners and admins onlyThis is relatively harmless, but lets you change the title that floats over you name on the avatar if show names and group titles are selected. Giving the power to all will result in interesting names appearing.
Assign members to assigner's rolesThis is probably owner and admin only, but if you have a guest role and open access could be available to guests tooThis is an oddly worded one, and one to be careful off. If you give it to lecturers they could mistakenly invite guests as lecturers for example, or developers could invite students as devs...
Assign members to any roleOwner and admin onlyUse this with extreme caution. There is a drop down that asks which role you would like to invite the person to - make sure to use this carefully.
Remove members from rolesOwner and admin onlyThis isn't too bad - you can always invite people back in, but it's insulting when lecturers are kicked from their role by mistake.
Assign and remove abilities in rolesOwner onlyThis is the most powerful item here. If you invite me to a role with this ability, I can set everything else to be available to me, or to everyone!
Group Identity
Change Charter, Insignia etc.Admin and owner onlyThis isn't as dramatic as assign abilities in roles, but the insignia displays on each group notice so you want to keep that neat, tidy and appropriate.
Parcel Management
Deed land and buy land for groupOwner only probablyIf you stick to islands there is no need for this to be used.
Abandon Land to Governor LindenOwner onlyThis will never be used on an island.
Set land for sale infoOwner only, possibly adminsYou may choose to sell parcels to lecturers, or even students (they can always be reclaimed by the sim's owner) in which case opening this wider may appeal.
Subdivide and join parcelsOwner and developersParcelling land will affect streaming audio and video - the parcels these can reach and how the parcels are shaped. It's worth giving this to the developers so they can parcel for rooms as they build.
Parcel Identity
Toggle show in find places and set categoryOwner onlyThis probably won't change very often, so limit it to the owner. You could consider admins and developers too if you find it does get changed
Change parcel name, description and publish to webOwner, admins and developersAll the people that can make parcels should probably be able to name them. Admins might want to name it too.
Set landing point and set teleport routingOwner and developersAll the people that can make parcels should probably be able to set tp routes as part of the design process.
Parcel Settings
Change music and media settingsOwner, Admin, Developers, LecturersYou want quite a lot of people to be able to set this - so they can easily change the streams. You may, if you have student discos for example, want an extra role for DJs with this ability - but avoid it for most students!
Toggle edit terrainOwner and developersThe developers will want to use this, it doesn't matter for anyone else
Toggle various About Land > Options settingsOwner, admins, developers, lecturersThe first three are obvious - the lecturers depends on what you've got them doing: if they have their own spaces it would make sense, if there will be a shared sandbox, then don't allow the lecturers in.
Parcel Powers
Always allow Edit TerrainOwner only. Devs maybe.This is a powerful one. You might want to consider a "landscaper" dev role with this always on and blocking most of the developers. A mountain appearing by accident in the middle of a lecture is not a good thing, and quite easy to do with this!
Always allow FlyEveryoneSome sims turn fly off for role-play reasons, otherwise leave it on
Always allow Create ObjectsOwner and devs onlyThis stops people building in the middle of the lecture theatre...
Always allow Create LandmarkEveryoneI can never see why you turn this off.
Allow Set Home To Here on group landEveryoneThen your students, lecturers etc. have a quick way to get back to the island.
Parcel Access
Manage parcel access listsOwner, Admins, possibly lecturersThis will prevent people coming in to certain parcels without permission. Banning is more likely to be useful to a lecturer though.
Manage parcel ban listsOwner, admins, support staff, lecturersThis list also prevents people coming in, but it is more used to exclude named people, e.g. troublemakers.
Change parcel 'Sell passes...' settingsOwner only, unless you use thisYou can set a parcel to limited access where people pay to come in. It is not widely used, and I'm not clear why you would want to use it.
Eject and freeze residentsOwner, admins, lecturers, DJs, anyone with a security roleThis lets you boot people whilst they are being a nuisance. You want to avoid giving it to guests and students in general - they could boot lecturers in mid-flow, but you want it fairly accessible in case of griefing or disrupting classes.
Parcel Content
Return objects owned by groupOwner and developers onlyThis is another powerful one - if all objects are deeded to group, you want to have only the developers able to return group stuff so that the build is not destroyed by accident
Return objects set to groupOwner and developers onlyAs above. NOTE: neither of these stop the creator deleting their own created objects, it is returning other people's objects.
Return non-group objectsOwner, admins, developers, security, probably lecturersThis lets people tidy up random rubbish and send it back - always good.
Landscaping using Linden PlantsOwner and Developers onlyUnless you encourage landscaping by the students?
Object Management
Deed objects to groupOwner and Developers, possibly adminsIf you use group deeding to control media access and return options you will want to limit this closely because getting rid of group objects can be tricky.
Manipulate group-owned objectsThis is tricky - either not many or everyone should have this.If you have free-from areas that have group ownership you will need to give this to everyone so they can move the chairs, but it will mean they can move the buildings too!
Set group-owned objects for saleOwner onlyI can't see why you would use this.
Pay group liabilities and receive group dividendsOwner only?If you're not selling anything, this is irrelevant.
Send noticesEveryone at firstThis may need to change if it gets spammed, but notices are a good way to communicate to the whole group. If you limit it, owner, developers, admins, lecturers, DJs etc. would make sense to keep it.
Receive noticesEveryoneThey're too useful not to have.
Create ProposalsOwner only?I see less use for this than the notices, but if you want a democracy you might want to use it.
Vote on ProposalsEveryoneJust in case you use it... if you have a guest role, you may want to consider excluding guests to poll University of Nottingham people

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