Last week's post on Second Life user retention recommended that an interest questionnaire be included in the initial registration process. Training and guidance could then focus on getting the newcomer up to speed in the specific area of their interest. I viewed the strategy mostly in terms of improving the pain/gain ratio, by zeroing in on the most desirable aspects of Second Life for the particular person.
After a week of mulling the idea over, I realized that narrowing options right at the start of the registration process also makes sense based on the ideas discussed in Barry Schwartz' fascinating book, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less." He discusses the real life ramifications of research in decision theory showing that giving a person access to too many options can result in poorer decisions or actually lead to no decision at all.
The video below from a presentation Barry Schwarz made at Ted Talks in 2007 is a good introduction to his ideas.