The campaign to bring back Second Names for Second Lives grinds on – even though Linden Lab have apparently wandered away, disinterested.
But I still continue to watch the Jira (as do many, many other people. It IS still important, you see – for a whole variety of people (not least of which is giving people a sense of belonging, that this is something beyond a game that they can switch to and from in mid-Steam).
Moreover, the legacy of Once There Were Real Names can be crippling, because the implications are still (Still! After all this time!) undigested by the Lab.
There’s a Jira currently out there which highlights one quite jaw-dropping problem you’d encounter. I had a notecard from Toady Nakamura of Grendel’s about it yesterday.
The situation relates to losing your password – a common enough problem. If you go to the Second Life website to request a new one, you have to confirm your hint – pretty standard, and so far so good. Then you are asked:
Three last names of your friends are listed below, what first names belong to them?
Well, let’s leave aside people like me with huge friends lists – so if presented with Last Name = Hax, I would be all at sea as to whether I should fill in Emmanuele, Ulyth or Robustus. I’m a power user and (hopefully) less likely to forget my password.
Instead imagine that you are someone who has been around for the last couple of years and has a regular friends list of … fifty? seventy? Including people of your own generation, of course. And you are presented with this:
Answer A: ___________ Resident
Answer B: ___________ Resident
Answer C: ___________ Resident
Ah, we are back in the Kafkaesque territory of second guessing the Lab. Because, you see, the fiendish cunning of this ploy is not that you need to give the name of any three residents – “Oh, there’s Bob Resident, Lucy Resident and Tom Resident – I’ll put them.” No – you have to identify … the exact three Residents that the Lab have in mind … and put them in the correct order*.
I’m unsure how many goes the Lab allow you. Someone can calculate the mathematical probabilities of getting it right if you have, say, 10 avatars surnamed Resident on your list. I should imagine you’re going to be getting into some serious number crunching in order to select the right three AND arrange them in the right order.
And let’s not even go into the fact that many, many Residents prefer to be known by display names and prefer to be known as, say, Bob Austen, to hide the fact that they originally signed up as WhatTheHellShallIPut.
I’m watching the Jira, and I would recommend that you do too, since we are told that voting no longer counts and only watchers will convince the Lab that action needs to be taken (although, to be honest, I’m not even convinced of that).
But when the Lab are looking for ways in which to retain users, perhaps lowering the barrier on retrieving a lost password might be among them.
*Update – whether you need to list specific Residents in the correct order is currently being debated on the Last Name Jira. If you feel brave enough to experiment, please let me know!