Wednesday, August 18, 2010

we're setting the fires to light the way, we're burning it all to begin again

[18:22] Sandie Bing: scripts based on user names .. all those names are about to change ... and will lsl recognize display names or account names .... could be quite a mess
[18:22] Sandie Bing: well .. for scripters it can be a mess
[18:22] Sandie Bing: though any decent scripter should be basing it on UUID anyway

[18:24] Lalinda Lovell: another pointless stuck on feature to create havoc in a crashy world
[18:24] Emilly Orr: Yep.

We've been talking about the new Display Names feature being rolled out by the Labs. And I quote:
Rose Mackie says:

How wonderful to know that in the midst of all the troubles about lag, firings, closing Teen grid, Viewer 2 problems, abandoning Viewer 1 .... amidst all of this ... we can have DISPLAY NAMES instead of hovertext!

Bread and circuses, folks, bread and circuses
She's not wrong.

Here's my big problem with this: it seems to me that the whole "fun" feature of changeable display names is taking Second Life down the path of Blizzard's RealID. And Blizzard, as you might remember, changed their tone and quick when THOUSANDS of their subscribers protested.

Now, to be fair, there are a lot more 'free' level users of SL than there are free-level users of WoW, because they're heavily concentrating on the subscription model. Still, though, no one thought about the potential harm this could case? For instance:
  • taking the same display name as someone in a chat to cause confusion
  • griefing a sim then changing your name so people trying to solve the griefing problem right THEN won't know who you are
  • making an object then changing your name (or script, or whatever; and this one could be unintentional; but it's going to get odd to try to track down who made what with this system)
So I have two questions.

1. With the inrush of teens on the main grid, bringing with them potentially infringing content, bad attitudes, and possible griefer mentalities, THIS was the right time to trot this out?


2. This is not seriously what you thought people meant about the ability to change their display names, right?

I'd add one more thing:

[18:49] Serenity Semple: Man this comment just came across to me as, fnuck you all we don't care what you say we're doing what we want. XD

So I went and looked. The comment's from Jack Linden, a'course. Here are the highlights (though you should click the link and read for yourself):

We spent a great deal of time thinking about impersonation as an issue. I'd like to share our thinking on it.

It's already possible to impersonate another resident - there are attachments that mimic the name tag and residents have long used group tags in creative ways too. And it does happen from time to time. Will Display Names make it easier to impersonate - sure, it will. However, we are logging all Display Name changes for review, we have tools to turn off the feature for an account that is misusing it, and anyone concerned with impersonation can always display username to be sure of who they are speaking to.

Yeah, that doesn't so much help. But hey, they SEEM like they're being proactive, right? And SEEMING to improve the grid is better than ACTUALLY improving it.

As mentioned in the post - initially we're going to throttle how often you can change your Display Name. This is just common sense because with such diverse uses inworld we need to see the impact that Display Names have. But our intent is to bring that down because as several of you point out, one of the great uses for the feature is for roleplayers and that would require more frequent changes. So our view is that we'll start cautiously and then make changes as we learn more.

Translation: give it a few weeks or months, and then we can remove the block, and people can change their displayed name HOURLY if they want. Oh, won't THAT be fun...

Regarding usernames - we are blocking any new resident from creating a username that is identical to an existing username, either with or without the period. So, although I could log in with the username 'jack.linden', no-one can register the username 'jacklinden' without the period. So your username really will continue to show who you really are.

What about chat? In chat won't the display name ONLY show? Or will it be the account name? Is the account name ALWAYS the resident name? In that case, what's the point of display names again?

Basically, in short, the Labs are again telling us crashing isn't a priority, stabilizing the grid isn't a priority, group chat isn't a priority, but sparkly new things are. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Back to thinking, the Labs are dead-set on killing their own project, and now they've found a new way to kill another sector of their userbase. Keen.


Serenity said...

So freaking true. I am utterly appauled that they just really don't give a damn. I think what pisses me off is how they fling arrows of "This was requested this was requested, we're only doing what people ask for." Over and over again. I wish someone over there would pull their heads outta their behind for 5 mins and realize Lindens just have no idea what they're true users really want or need.

Emilly Orr said...

I'm honestly wondering how things get into their heads. Not trying to be ironic, trying to seriously figure it out.

* What format do we have to phrase questions in to be heard?

* Are they only talking to people who come to office hours?

* Are they only dealing with people who know Lindens personally?

* Do they discard anything said by people who are less than 60 days old, or more than 365?

Because I just don't get how they narrow things down.