A few days ago, I talked about one area that Second Life residents would desperately like to see improved – support.
But another thing that is causing a number of problems is the question of user names. I have written about this before, and about the Jira that is pleading for the Lab to address this issue. But, despite the fact that 1306 people have votes on this, and 366 people are currently watching it, there has been no response whatsoever from the Lab, and it is still unassigned.
So, today, Prim Perfect is launching a campaign to get people to read the Jira, to vote on it (if they wish) and then to watch it (this is the REALLYimportant figure).
We are making available (to all our subscribers and group members) a poster containing a notecard that explains the issue, explains what a Jira is and asks people to go and show their support. The poster also contains a further poster which you can display in your store, club or any other area where it might attract attention. You can collect a copy from the Prim Perfect offices in Costa Rica, or from the Second Life Marketplace.
Let me make one thing quite clear: we are NOT asking for display names to be abandoned. There are definitely problems with display names – but what we are asking is that new residents have, once again, a choice of second names, as the universal “Resident” is widely disliked (just read the Jira). We want residents – especially Residents – to have a choice.
And if Second Life DOES re-introduce second names and feels they are struggling to find suitable surnames, I sure residents would be happy to add ideas to a suggestion box!
Why people want Second Names
Once upon a time – and not so very long ago – Second Life residents could choose their own last names from a list of approved names when they joined Second Life. Periodically, the lists would change, so residents could be recognised (roughly) by their age.
Then Linden Lab introduced a new policy: all new residents would have just a single name (and the addition of “Resident” as a last name). This would give residents more freedom, it was argued, and make the registration process simpler as people were being put off by being required to choose a second name from a list that they did not like.
And once registered, residents could choose a display name that could reflect their real life name, or a roleplay name they wanted. If they partnered in Second life, they could share their partner’s name. It would no longer matter if two residents wanted the same name – they could both have it as display names. And they could change their name every week if they wanted.
But this new system has proved unpopular, for a variety of reasons.
- The new system is destroying identity. Once, everyone entered Second Life with a name that was uniquely theirs and fixed. Now, anyone can be called anything, and that sense of identity is lost.
- New names become harder to find as every resident now has to enter with a single unique name. As a result, the user names are forced to become more complex and cumbersome
- Many people dislike display names and turn them off – and can only see the cumbersome user + Resident names
- If residents change their display names, it becomes hard for their display name-using friends to keep track of them in their friends’ lists. Some people keep user names enabled to avoid this problem.
- Some Residents feel they are treated as second class citizens. While we wish for all residents to feel unique, equal, and respected, the blunt truth is that Mary7365 Resident will not be as warmly welcomed by some longtime Second Lifers as, say, Mary Sprocket or Mary McLeod. For some Residents the generic surname “Resident” has become a burden, under which they feel that they will always be thought of as less than the rest – as some have stated publically.
- Whether residents use user names or display names, a wealth of created content in Second Life is tied to user names – for example, trivia boards, contests, sploders, etc, where the scripting pulls their actual name. So, Penelope Poppycock answers a trivia question correctly and the trivia machine tells the room that “Penny42747573 Resident” has won. Quite the downer.
In fact, it has ALWAYS been possible for people to register ‘special’ names that they wish to be called. They can do this by creating a group and then creating names within the group – a married couple, for example, can create a group that will show their hyphenated names so that Trixie Florabella could wear the group title “Mrs Trixie Florabella-Jones.” Alternatively, they can wear ‘titlers’, freely available in the Marketplace, that allow them to wear a fully displayed name.
But we are not suggesting that Linden Lab should abandon the display name system for people that really want it. What we are asking is that Linden Lab should let people CHOOSE whether they want to be Residents, or whether they want a full user name.
In fact, it is still possible to have a chosen second name. Certain educational portal sites still offer this, usually behind a firewall. How much people want surnames was shown when one of these was publicised recently and over the next three days, 4,000 new avatars registered there. These were, we suspect, mainly existing residents (and Residents) seeking properly named alts.
For more information, please read these articles in the Prim Perfect blog:
- We can create a new style resident with an old style name – so why is Linden Lab reluctant to let us?
- What’s in a (Sur)Name?
Second Names for Second Lives!
Second Names for Second Lives!