Friday, November 4, 2011

it's part of the noise when winter comes, it reverberates in my lungs

Meet Catrin Arno. She's a German graphic designer and digital artist currently living in Malaysia, and she's turning out these impressively detailed fantasy works, featuring women with impossible hair, impossible attire, and impossible bodies. She takes on everything from motherhood to melancholy, reading to dreaming, and she does it in a style that speaks to both the present and the past. (She also sells prints through RedBubble, but the point is not commerce, it's simply introduction.)

Speaking of reading--or at least, accessories for writing, if not writing and reading--meet Simone, who lives in Italy and runs Anticovalore on Etsy. Not only does she make and sell homemade blank journals, but she also makes tiny journal earrings and tiny journal magnets. She's also made a tribute to the Doctor's Tardis journal; so far it's seen in necklace and ring form.

Back to the last names JIRA, last seen here.
I too jumped through hoops, like Nathan Adored, to choose from available surnames and then get the name of my choice. It was part of the fun and when I was done it MEANT something to me and still does. I thought having accounts with first name + surname was creative and classy and ahead of the curve. Eliminating surnames seemed a deliberate attempt to cheapen down something that was unique and wonderful about SL. And I agree that it has created a division that does not serve the community, that separates new residents in a way that would not encourage them to stick around.
Again, reinforcing what's been said before, that the introduction of Resident as a last name, and the Linden insistence that the last name system has been eliminated, when patently it's only been crippled.
Of course, the thing about display names is, someone can easily change their display name multiple times, at their whim, to something completely different, so if you remember them only by their display name, and don't have them friended, you lose track of them. And if you do have them friended, and they've changed their display name again for the umpteenth time, you might see the new name in your friends list and no longer know what their relationship is to you because you've lost track of what their display name was when you friended them.
This is an additional complication, and I've run into this myself--before I had a 2.x structured viewer I saw the avatar names as they originally registered into the system. Post-2.x, I see some "given" names, and some display names, and this also occurs in chat.

(Case in point: while sure, yes, "Your Friendly Internet Troll" is a good description for Jakkar Carlos, if I didn't know it was him in chats that he pops up in, I'd have no clue who he was, because his display name is no longer a name at all. I find it hard to believe that the Lindens never conceived of this use of display names as alternate titlers, or as Unicode support displays, but then, if they truly had I doubt we'd have been given the option of display names.)

That entire comment post is worth reading through, but I want to pull one additional quote from it:
I've also heard it said that some of the thinking of some at LL was that people would then stick their real name as their display name, and that that would help to better tie them into their Facebook accounts, this being back when LL were trying to forge a big connection between SL and FB, which turned out to be an epic fail for a number of reasons that should have been obvious up front. But, LL were so salivating over the idea that their forging a connection to Facebook would bring in millions of new users from there that otherwise wouldn't likely have come... and since Facebook REQUIRES real name be attached to the account, OF COURSE then setting things up so someone COULD (theoretically) have their displayname be their real name would placate the powers that be at Facebook... this may well have strongly motivated them to implement this change over to making the account name less important and bolt this dumb display name thing in on top of it. The fact that no one really ever wound up using display name for that purpose pretty much shot that one down.
Yeah. And frankly, if the Lindens cared to listen at all to the people who live in their world and pay their salaries, almost any of us could have told them what an utter disaster this was going to be. FacebookLife was destined to fail from the moment it was proposed, and only the Lindens involved in the slim thread of access-grabbing failed to realize it.
Point to [N] - after all 'Resident' is still there as a placeholder. Believe thats been stated by the Lab. Placeholder in DB terms == reserved space for data.
Which is still reserved for that data, because the coding for it has only been disabled, not removed.
Thanks LL, for fixing things that don't need to be fixed.
It's what the Lindens do best, after all.
It doesn't feel like a person to me if they use the name resident.
And here's the end stop on the line of thinking--first, "Resident" seen as Other; next, "Resident" seen as threat; finally, "Resident" seen as not even a real person. In a philosophical sense at least, depersonalization is the ultimate harm that can be done, because one one human being convinces themselves that another human being is not, in fact, real at all...then (at least in the non-digital world), they can directly harm that being, willfully injure that being, even murder that being. It's part of what distinguishes serial killers from the rest of us; that they no longer see people as people, capable of being hurt, capable of being afraid...but instead, see them as cardboard cutouts, people that only look like people, but aren't really, or even worse--simply as things to be utilized, then disposed of when that particular predator is finished with them.

So take that to the grid, what do we have as a result? With this line of thinking comes dismissiveness: it doesn't matter how we talk to Residents, it's not like they're real. With this line of thinking also comes denial: because they're not real, it doesn't matter if we lie to them; if we mistreat them; if we emotionally or psychologically hurt them. With this line of thinking, dealing with Residents not only becomes a chore to be eliminated as soon as possible, but abuse-reporting Residents also becomes mainstream: after all, they're a Resident, they've probably done something wrong anyway, right?
In a world like Second Life, persistent identity is highly important. Avatars are supposed to be expressions of ourselves, of our identities. Having a last name establishes us as real people with thoughts and feelings.
See above discusson on depersonalization.
If guild wars can let me create a first and a last name of my own, and it does, why can't SL.
It's a fair point. Why can't the Lindens do this? It's not like it would be in the least difficult, because the coding's already there, nearly complete. All that would be needed would be an Other option on the last names, with an added fill-in field.
I don't like the separate classes of "people with last names" and "Resident".
I'm not sure anyone does.
With the advent of display names, you can have any name you want already. First, middle, and last if that is what makes you happy. Those who refuse to embrace the use of display names are stuck in the past.
Another rare dissenting opinion, and in this case, a wrong one, because here's the thing--when I use CoolVL, I see a mix of people: some have one name, some have many names, some have descriptives--and those are all display names showing. But underneath that? It will show things that read "bob1947.resident" or "xoxluciexlx.resident". "Resident" may still be a placeholder, but even when using Second Life's official Viewer 2, I'm still occasionally seeing the firstname.lastname format--under the display name.
Display names, while a nice novelty, was really unneeded and a wasteful use of time and resources to implement when anyone could give themselves any name or title simply by creating and editing a group title. Trying to find someone by what they happen to be calling themselves THIS week is a nightmare, as is trying to read the outrageous "names" that use numbers, symbols, Ascii, and UPSIDE DOWN letters. Its impossible to type these display names and it seems they have been grossly misused. Further, not everyone's computer has the right language fonts to actually see the display names correctly.
This is another excellent point. Second Life to this day is not auto-enabled to translate Unicode characters properly for all systems. Until they have proper Unicode support, or even better, ban the use of Unicode characters from display names, display names will continue to be a bad joke that's long since worn out its welcome.
Btw, while I was all for display names from the moment I heard about them, I was as taken by surprise as anyone when they changed the account names as well. I don't recall even hearing that mentioned when the display name debate was going on. It's like they just slipped it in while everyone was busy elsewhere.
Yeah, and I think that's the general conclusion. Display names were hotly debated and practically begged from the Lindens; what no one seemed to expect was the utter removal of system-generated names. And it just hasn't worked. It was a bad idea, and it needs to be abandoned and last names returned.
The use of Resident for all last names happened suddenly with no rationale offered. It smells of simple laziness on the part of someone who didn't want to be bothered thinking up the next list of 200 last names.
And I still don't understand why it's a burden. Most of the names of the past--those that weren't sheerly invented whole-cloth--were taken from various fandoms, geeky concepts, internet memes, and scientists and thinkers that were admired by the Lindens. As concepts keep being invented, and names are kept for some time before rotating out, I would think it wouldn't be at all difficult to keep tossing in potential names for the field. Maybe I'm wrong, and it was an arduous part of the job, but seriously--between grid instability, and integrating mesh into all systems, and keeping voice running without system corruption, thinking up "new" last names seems like the easy part of the job.

No comments: