This is in response to Linden Lab’s CEO Rod Humble’s post regarding the decision to not re-introduce last names to Second Life.
With high hopes that I’d be given a second chance at choosing a name in Second Life, my heart sank reading Rodvik’s post that all walks of Second Life waited so long for with our last update about the issue in January. With such credentials allowing Rod Humble to further understand the importance of character individuality through his solid resume including titles like EverQuest and The Sims 2, I felt certain that Residents now stuck in the middle of this unfair predicament would be given more than just assurance that this won’t be an issue in the future with the addition of other special characters such as hyphens. What about the Residents right now? You know, the Residents already perusing Second Life, bearing this outcast surname and yet still continuing on, with less reverence than older avatars but a compelling love for the grid? This post neither covers nor details anything about current Residents, the plethora of individuals caught in this year (and a few months) of registration imposing this last name and thus winding up having undesirable first names as a consequence.
I feel like the current Residents such as myself, burdened by our last name we didn’t even get to choose and thus alienated (or respected less) by portions of the community because of our registration date and lack of first name options available, are being overlooked. I commend LL for wishing to mend the issue somewhat in the future but Residents right now are stuck and the older Residents have felt passionate about bringing unity between the two classes of Second Life users as well, divided by those with last names versus those newer without.
We’re stuck with names like undercase “deerylou Resident” because the Registration page never clarifies that “Username” is your “First Name” for your avatar, something unique to Second Life that newcomers shouldn’t be penalized for. In any other “game” (I don’t even wish to call SL a game really but it’s the best comparison I can give) a “username” is the name you use to log in with, not your actual avatar. For example, in Blizzard’s Battle.net system (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, etcetera), to me my username is my Battle.net name, not any of my character’s names. Plenty of other platforms follow this presumed standard as well.
As MMORPGs and other platforms who use this definition as opposed to SL’s (extremely) unique definition of “user name” are more prominent, newcomers believe that this username isn’t their character’s name thus pick silly things like “deerylou” without any proper capitalization or “deerysongbird38756” because hey, no one can see our name anyway so why bother with the numbers? Surely our actual characters don’t evoke numbers as many other platforms won’t even allow numbers or characters into their characters’ names as it clutters the world and devalues the character. Second Life is no different and should embrace the fact that many of us come from other platforms where “username” is our login name, nothing more or less and the fact that we’re penalized for it through this decision to not allow Residents to have a second chance at a name is unfair. And for the future, new Residents should be given the benefit of re-wording on the registration page and use the word “Avatar Name” over “Username” in the name selection part. At least then newcomers would be more mindful before investing time and money into “deerysongbird38756” and getting stuck with an undesirable name they thought would be just an invisible username handle.
Overall, I’m happy to see LL is taking action regarding the future of the issue, however us Residents who were caught in the year and a few months gap of being merely a “Resident” and lacking username clarification on the registration page in a time where obtaining a good, number-less username is a difficult feat, are being overlooked. If anything, I wish LL would give these Residents a chance to have a paid name change service if they aren’t willing or can’t simply allow everyone to re-pick their first and surname. The hyphen and characters, while not my preference for a solution, do mend the future issue, it isn’t fair to allow those who have been taken away by this lovely grid to continue to be penalized and forgotten like we have been in the latest official post regarding this issue.
How will current Resident surname-bearers be helped in the future? Will we be able to request a name change? Will we be able to get a paid name change? And will we ever feel united with the older avatars in Second Life, bearing witty, fun, or thoughtful first and last name combinations versus ours, filled with possibly numbers and a forced “Resident” tacked on the end? I feel that we too need to be included in a post regarding this issue and not simply left behind.
A Resident still hopeful in having a second chance at a Second Life name somehow
* Also, this is what the registration page used to look like. Notice that it used to explain what the “Second Life name” is in detail that the registration page now dubs a “Username” with no further clarification at all. There should really be clarification on what a name/username/anything they wish to call it is on the registration page once again to prevent people from misinterpreting it as nothing more than an invisible login handle.