As a general class of proposal not to make, anything that requires Linden Lab to change its business model will not happen in the short term. Anything that requires Linden Lab to stop being a potentially viable commercial concern is simply not going to happen, ever, if the Lindens can help it.
✗ Don't ask for Linden Lab to go out of business.
It is reasonable to assume that you would like Second Life to continue to exist, in which case you probably do not intend for Linden Lab to go out of business. When writing your proposal, you should keep a few things in mind:
- Linden Lab has to make money. While it did receive US$8 million in venture funding, you aren't given that much money unless the people who own that money think you can turn it into even more money. Any proposal that would not create a sink for money or time (after all, time is money) is simply not going to be accepted.
- Linden Lab has legal responsibilites. Many virtual worlds operate as temporary autonomous zones, but they are largely volunteer-run and non-commercial. Linden Lab is a legally incorporated entity with a board, officers, and physical offices (I've seen them, they're not shabby). It's required to operate Second Life within the laws of San Francisco, California, and the United States of America. Some rules you are asked to accept are required out of simple legal necessity. (Those very same rules suggest I should state that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.)
- Linden Lab does not need to please you individually. As a corrolary to the need to make money, Linden Lab has to please its customers to keep them paying. Depending on their business model, this may or may not include you. (I know it doesn't include me.) While Linden Lab may choose to cater to your needs, that's because your needs match most of their paying customers' needs, directly or indirectly (for example, free accounts are good because paying land owners need a customer base to buy their virtual goods). No one's needs are more directly important than paying customers'.
These are important factors to keep in mind when deciding if your idea is viable enough to become a proposal. However, they have subtle myriad ramifications when you actually work through them. Take care when deciding your idea is good enough to propose.
Requests that would add new terms of service or exempt some residents from the rules are mainly not worth considering. The rules have been worked out as a compromise between business managers and the company's lawyers to balance business needs against legal liability, and are only indirectly informed by the product design. While the terms of service are open to discussion, I wouldn't think that discussion is best undertaken in the feature voting system.
Don't ask Linden Lab to give up revenue without proposing how to replace it. Celebrated skeptic Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." Your suggestion of an obvious way to make less money is extraordinary; you'll need an extraordinary proposal on how that causes you to generate more. You can't suggest SL be 100% gratis then wave your hands, "I dunno, sell ads or something." Many proposals aren't that obvious, but have similar effects. You might suggest open sourcing Second Life to improve the quality of the software. How does Linden Lab then recover the revenue lost by competing with other providers of Second Life service? There are ways, and many people believe it's possible to compete in an open source market, but Linden Lab would need an ironclad business case to consider creating direct rivals.
In a manner of speaking, all esoteric feature requests are in this category, as they are demands on Linden Lab's limited resources. New features have various costs: designers' time, engineers' time, the support staff's time, and usability impact to name a few. Any feature that doesn't generate at least its cost in revenue is not worth accepting. While that's hard to measure directly, a good product designer can simply tell that some feature requests are too esoteric to be a net positive revenue addition. (That's what makes them good product designers.) Some of these strange proposals seem to be the first time their respective ideas have been exposed to public scrutiny. Your ideas would be well served by being discussed before being put to a vote; you can always add a proposal later.
Some proposals, such as #369 Limit ability of land barrons to monopolize property and #391 Increase L$ Supply, relate not to Second Life's operation within a free market but the operation of a free market within Second Life. This is an important distinction, similar to how the first amendment to the US Bill of Rights guarantees citizens the freedom from government restrictions on their speech, but not freedom from actions of private citizens or organizations because of their speech. These are not the cases I mean here; I hope to cover these issues separately later.
Lastly, when proposing Linden Lab close up shop, the unspoken scenario is if you do, in fact, want Linden Lab to go out of business. You are free to espouse that notion, loudly and publically. However, the feature voting system is not the appropriate venue. There are SL forums in which you can vent, and many weblog services that would be delighted to receive your business. An entire internet is at your disposal; please don't clutter Linden Lab's feature feedback mechanism with your discontent.
I hope you'll keep these points in mind when wishing for changes and new features. While Second Life is an amazing experiment in personal freedom, Linden Lab simply cannot comply with requests that they cease to exist. You shouldn't ask them to.