Thursday, November 3, 2011

and we're already too late if we arrive at all

So, finally we arrive at the last names JIRA. Now, as usual, no matter how many times I or anyone else says it, people are still voting, not watching.

Don't vote. Watch. I know, I know, it's antithetical to everything the Lindens have told you in the past to do, but never mind--they changed their rules this time. The great case in point is seen on this JIRA:
See what I mean? Swap those figures and Linden Labs would suddenly be a lot more interested in what's going on, believe me.

From the description:
In hopes of Linden Lab taking notice in the many Second Life Residents who would like the options of last names when creating a username in SL, I have created this JIRA! So many of us wish for the option of originality like we once had and hope that new residents in the Second Life community would be given this option.
The problem is, without completely revamping the entire SL experience--which I'm thinking might be coming in a year or so, anyway--there has to be some preservation of Legacy systems. And Legacy systems run on firstname.lastname pairings. does wonder why the option was proposed in the first place.
Many people have expressed interest in having the option of choosing from a list of last names but also being able to choose "Resident" as their last name if they want to. So many of us believe that one of the best aspects of Second Life is the ability to be original in our virtual world and by being able to pick a last name we are able to find identity and originality!
First of all, SL never worked like that, just FYI. It was always You pick a first name, we'll do the rest. Some people learned the trick early on of going through specific server set-ups for specific names, but most of us, when we set up our accounts, chose from the list of that day's twenty names or so, and came up with something we could at least tolerate, if not actually like.

Now, would it be a good thing to be able to pick both your first and second name? Maybe, save for the distressing variations on John171827 Studd or SexyMILF WannaSexxMe that would crop up. (And if you think I'm kidding, just look up how many women named some variant of "Vagina" turn up under Search. Go on. Look. Bet it's still over fifteen.)
If this is a feature you would like to see brought back to the Second Life Grid please consider voting on this JIRA!
Stop that, you're losing intelligence points. It's WATCH, not VOTE.
We love all the new features that Linden Lab has brought our way the past few months,
No we don't.
but taking away the option of a last name, in our opinion was a mistake.
Especially since they NEVER TOOK IT AWAY--because the Legacy system STILL REQUIRES IT. Basically, all the Lab accomplished with their arcane maneuvering was to ensure that if thirteen girls log up for SL the same day and they all want to be named BellaCullen, that instead of BellaCullen Clockmaker, BellaCullen Wanderer, BellaCullen Noisette, and ten others, they're going to default to BellaCullen1 Resident, BellaCullen17 Resident, TheOnlyBellaCullen Resident, BellaCullenn Resident, BellllaCulllle3n Resident, and eight others that are worse.
Now often times the name people want is taken and they are forced to use numbers within their username, resulting in what looks like an instant messaging screen name.
See, this is what I don't get. We have a wide, wide world of diverse anime, books, comics, music, and that's not counting original thoughts, wandering impulses, and descriptions based on likes, hobbies, professions, and favorite plays--just to name a few. I will admit, part of my elitism is running across someone who has numbers in their name and immediately thinking they're lacking in some fashion. (And, outside of a few notable exceptions, I haven't been wrong.)

Of course, I did use the "BellaCullen" example earlier...because I thought it was sufficiently ridiculous as to be laughable in any virtual, well, pull up Search again sometime and look up how many of them there are. Tragic.
This being said, we do also love the feature of being able to change our names in world. Keeping that option is great, especially for those in family settings within the Second Life Community!
No comment.
We simply would love to have the option to have a last name choice once again when creating an SL avatar! It makes will in turn, hopefully make the community feel less divided between the older residents and the newer ones. I know many new residents have expressed interest in wishing they would have had the option of a fun last name like the rest of us!
See, I think what all of us thought when display names were initially discussed was something that made rational sense--that we'd all keep our originally-chosen firstname.lastname combos, but we'd be able to change them at will from, say, SexiiBabii Dimplefobber to RillySexxiBabi Babe, or something. (Okay, yes, I'm being mean, but at least if my name was Emilly Orr--oh wait, it is--and I went to some space-based RP sim, I could change my display name to Zarin Nenotech or something that sounded more suitable. I'd still have my name, but the name displayed would be altered.

(Instead, what we got was this botch job of a .resident last name for everyone past the change date, and a display name option that didn't automatically override, and that could be abused with unicode characters, expanded into multiple words, and in general diluted to the point of madness. Yeah. Great plan, guys.)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and casting your vote!
You're an idiot. Urge people to WATCH if they want anything done, not VOTE, don't be stupid.

And randomly from the comments:
Resident as a last name, might be great for store owners or so, but having resident as a last name, even when you dont see it on 2.0 still makes it feel now your not part of the SL family anymore, your a code or a number.
Spelling uncorrected. But the sentiment is correct, nonetheless; and I'll tell you something else. Especially after the latest viewer 3 revisions, I see someone walking around just under Elly or John19 my first thought is not, Oh, they look interesting, I should go say hi but Gosh, their last name fell off. Sucks to be them.
As someone who has needed to make a business alt in the last few months, I found it extremely difficult to find a unique username that isn't full of numbers etc.
See comment above on how many different forms of characterization are out there. Read a book, I lack all sympathy.
I am for the return to a choice of last names. I think it has created two classes of "residents."
Unfortunately, I agree with her. As much as I fight against it, I see someone under a Resident tag and I dismiss them as someone who obviously doesn't know the world. And that's not good. There are some really alive minds under those Resident tags (though granted, I haven't run into many), who've fought and clawed their way to make impressions on the grid. More power to them (meant in actually non-sarcastic ways, because yes, the added burden of innate discrimination does not help when one is already trying to learn a new world, new controls, and what constitutes acceptable behavior here.)
All of the new residents now look like they have AOL handles. Also, all of the "good" names were picked up quickly - by older SL residents!
To some extent she's right--I know a lot of people who immediately ran out and got all versions they could think of "their" name affixed to Resident tags--specifically so no one else could do the same. This both artificially swelled the numbers of new accounts, and locked up a lot of names that could have been in use.

See, the old system, as annoying as it was on occasion, offered say, a list of fifteen names. Say you're Sallen Coster, and you decide you want to be Sallen in SL, too. Under the Legacy naming system, you'd log in and see something like this:
and so on.

Obviously, these are not all "real" last names--hells, I'm not sure any of them were actual last names at any point--but my point is, say there were seven other people named Sallen who wanted to retain that name. Under the Legacy system, they could--because everyone could choose a different last name.

Now? Not only is that distinctiveness gone, that choice is gone. It's actually a far more restrictive system, and as much as I complain about people not using their imaginations, if I really wanted to be Emilly-with-two-Ls these days, I couldn't do it, because there already is one. As opposed to one choice separated between half a hundred potential last names--and that was just on any given day--now there's one choice separated between nothing--it's first come, first serve, and that was never how SL worked in the past.

The last one I'm going to quote--for now, though I am going to be going through the comments on this one over the next few days--is also the longest extract I'm choosing to mention:
I am really missing this part of secondlife, as now we are no residents anymore we are numbers like we are in all other chat worlds in the internet. It does not feel like being born into secondlife anymore, its just a chat like all others with a poor graphic. When i started secondlife i really felt like being born into this world, i had only a few last names to choose from, just like in the real life when you get a name by your parents. and inworld it was funny to meet someone with a strange name or also to meet "family" with the same last name. all this feelings are totally gone now. the feeling of a community is 0 now as you only see names that have got numbers just like in any other chat. there is nothing special here anymore. Since there are no last names there is no feeling of having a life in secondlife.I hate all this "xx12395433SUGARHONEYxxx Resident" names this is not what i would expect in a internet world that claims to have residents that live there.

Give back the last names, give back the soul of secondlife!
Now, again, spelling and grammar errors left intact, but essentially, there's a good point here. It's sort of like the frontier days of the internet, all over again--it used to be that everyone had handles, everyone went by something--something that became just as valued to their core identity as their own name. Something they lived by and defended, something that reflected their personality and personal choices.

Then AOL and Compuserve and a couple of other non-Usenet derivatives launched, and suddenly, everything crawling out of AOL onto the wider net had names like Bob1942 and Suzie1729 and--of course--the dreaded xxCommandoxx-style names. And sparks flew when the two tribes met. Those pre-AOL dismissed the 'new kids' because if they'd known or cared how to operate a computer before, they wouldn't have such a ridiculous name, and the 'new kids' retaliating that at least they were going by recognizeable names and weren't thugs and criminals hiding behind a fake screen name.

In microcosm, this is something akin to what happened when display names were introduced--instead of expanding the choices available, it caused division. Instead of causing the residents of their grid to embrace the newcomers, the newcomers were spurned as stupid kids, spammers, hackers, or even worse, outright copyright infringers. People started, for the first time, widespread bans of anyone under a month old from their stores, or anyone without payment information on file; some merchants even went so far as to set up scripted programs that would auto-ban anyone who walked through their doors without an identifiable last name beyond "Resident".

Was this really what the Lindens wanted when they introduced this? I don't think so. But it's entrenched now, and good or bad, the prejudice is widespread. Even the most outgoing folks still withhold, by perhaps the merest amount, when facing a Resident-only last name. Because it is marking these people, and in no good ways.


Serenity Semple said...

I still have the problem in my head that watches matter over votes. XD

Emilly Orr said...

Everyone does, even me. The problem with thinking like that is that again, the Lindens have told us that votes don't count, at all, but they're vague on when the "Vote" option is going to disappear from the JIRA. If it's even planned to be phased out.

Meanwhile, the problem with watching a JIRA issue is the same as it always was--voting registers that we want an issue fixed; watching spams our emails. Some get around this by having their JIRA notices sent to dummy accounts; most people skip that part, and have it sent to the account they registered for SL with, and then stop watching issues after a while, because it's a pain to always get email from whatever issue is under fire.

It's a profoundly flawed system.

Astolat Dufaux said...

Thank you so much for writing about this issue. I can't agree with you more.

My wish for the return to "real" last names is to also give residents the option to remove unicode and/or repetitive numbers/letters from their first names. More than a few people I've come across would love to correct the ill-conceived naming choices they made when signing up.

(And to actually be able to register your real name - without the excessive fee. Though I'm not even sure if they do that anymore...)

Also, I'm a watcher on the JIRA now ;)

Emilly Orr said...

That's the concept behind this that is the most baffling--to "simplify" the login experience, the Lab made it harder to get an individual, unique name. Because instead of one name scattered among a pool of separate last names (for example, I'm Emilly Orr; I have met Miss Emilly Ladybird), it's one unique name with the same last name options, reducing the option drastically.

For a similar example, we met a fellow for a task force in City of Heroes. He was named PRIME-. (And yes, with the end dash). This was because Prime as well as PRIME were taken, and he wasn't willing to compromise on the name. o Widow o is another example, likely because Widow, _Widow_, -Widow- as well as oWidowo were already chosen by other players.

Either player could have simply come up with a different name; but even I've fallen prey to that one. (It's why I have a villain named Smallpoxx after all; because Smallpox had already been used.)