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Friday, June 27, 2008


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Laetizia Coronet

Well, as with some other things, there should be more clarity about what a name means in SL and how you cannot change it.

Forsythe Whitfield

They do state very clearly on the signup form when you choose your name that you CANNOT change it. Beyond that I don't know what you expect Linden Labs to do. I think that people aren't used to the idea of a virtual world yet and many of them do think of this a "game" and therefore, how important is a name? I know that when I joined if I'd really known how important my name would be I'd have chosen differently. Now it's been over a year and I can't start over without losing ground so my name is my name.

Laetizia Coronet

Well OK, that's good. It isn't like I churn out new alts every week so I didn't know that these days they warn you.
Anyway, Forsythe Whitfield is a nice name, don't worry about it. It sounds rather good.

For the rest of it, heck if people want to be PeteInSL1987 Hax it's up to them...

ArminasX Saiman

Numbers aren't the only bad aspect of names. I have written up a fairly comprehensive list of factors one should consider when picking a name right here http://www.secondeffects.com/2008/06/how-cool-is-your-avatars-name.html.

Moriash Moreau

I do wish that there was some way to distribute a "What's in a Name?" document/presentation to new residents, and somehow force them to (or make them want to) read/listen to it. Back in 2005, on that fateful day when I was sucked into SL, I foolishly used my standard fantasy MMO/MUD first name. And, after a few months of exposure to the SL culture, I came to regret it. (It's more suited to a secondary character in a bad sword-and-sorcery novel than a substantially contemporary and/or near-future virtual world.) And I've spoken to quite a few people that feel the similar regret about their own names, including a few of SL's wizened elder class who would be loathe to drop their prestige rez-day in favor of a new alt with a name that doesn't make them cringe every login. Unfortunately, that's the problem right there. It's very hard to know what name is "right" (whatever that means) for a new community until you've had time to experience it.

CyFishy Traveler

This is why Thing #2 of my http://cyanidefish.tripod.com/secondlife/5things.html>Five Things To Do Before You Get Started is "Pick a Name You Can Live With."

I understand wanting to have a consistent identity from one part of the Internets to another. My first name is actually a function of that--my handle in Duranie circles was "Cyanide Fish" (long story why) and when I signed up for Second Life during The Great Duranie Rush Of August 2006, the surname "Fish" had already come and gone, so I compressed my name into something that resembled a first name but would still be recognizable to Duranies who knew me from elsewhere.

My point (and, yes, there was one) is that I do understand the impulse to preserve the name you've been known by. And perhaps some of these numbers people acquired those handles in more crowded places and it never occurred to them to do otherwise.

Marianne McCann

Amen to this! It can be a challege, but pick a name, not a serial number. Make it memorable, and all that.

I picked my name in less than a minute's time, getting the last name and plucking my first name our of the ether. Without too much ego, it is recognizable and memorable. Easily abbreviated, somewhat unique, and the alliteration works well, too!

Gahum Riptide

My name is unusual, but I like it and really did think about it before I picked it. It's a Philippine word (the same in various languages of the country) which means something like "potency, power, rule, govern". I found if funny since I have no real power, nor do I have the inclination to lead :).

I'm sure it gets mispronounced by English speakers, but that's OK. I did think I should have picked something more "normal", but I like it a lot now.

Still, I find it funny when I see people who have strings of numbers, or phrases as their first names. I actually warned a friend of mine that if he joined SL, that his name is permanent so choose wisely.

mikka Klaar

I had fooled around in the world before deciding i wanted to play, so when I established my final character I knew what kind of name I wanted. Klaar was availble and 'mikka' seemed to fit (and can be shortened. I didn't know it is a rl name though tee hee hee. Peopled think i'm from Scandanavia


I don't care about breaking immersion. And I will choose any handle I want for my avatar, even if its a string of numbers and random text. My avatar is not a person. It does not need a "name". Second life is not a world. It is pixels on a screen. That is all it is, and all it ever will be.

Patchouli Woollahra

I don't care about breaking immersion. And I will choose any handle I want for my avatar, even if its a string of numbers and random text. My avatar is not a person. It does not need a "name". Second life is not a world. It is pixels on a screen. That is all it is, and all it ever will be.

Oh, I'm so sorry that you don't get it at all. ArminasX's post still has value even if you don't believe in the more tangible aspects of Second Life, and I believe it should be required reading prior to choosing a Resident name.

A memorable name isn't everything, but it significantly smoothens out interactions with others in Second Life... and I rarely get anyone who mashes both numbers and letters in their names staying around long - it is a betrayal of a lack of imagination.

I mean, your parents never resorted to munging numbers into your name, right?

You may not have much choice in surnames, but your firstname is always up for grabs. Think of something original, something cool, and go with it. I know I did :D

Sophrosyne Stenvaag

I hadn't realized that virtually everybody would *mispronounce* mine (it's "suff ross uh knee," not "soff row sign")!

I knew all along my name would be a challenge to live up to: it means http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophrosyne>balance and moderation.

Choosing a name that fits the culture is important, though, and hard to do in advance. A good guide could be a great help. My first avatars in WoW were variants on my name and my community - I just created someone named to WoW conventions, which encourage puns and fourth-wall breaking humor: "Singularitea."

To Luce: your atomic-world self is just a sequence of code built out of amino acids. No "personhood" is involved - you're just a bag of chemicals. Identity and naming is delusional. From where I sit, you're all just carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen to me, and you can't tell me otherwise! :P

BJ Tabor

The no name change policy are one of those user unfriendly features of SL. If you were like me and started playing late on a Sunday evening on lark you may not have put as much sober thought of into the name as you could have. For example probably I would have not ended up with a name that sounded like "Bacon, lettuce and warmed over tunnafish".

But I am pretty sure n00bs don't read this blog and will ever get it's sage advice before it is far, far too late so what's the point of the post? Just getting snooty at the witless n00b who chose unwisely is a good way to end up with a witless n00b who finds they have better things to do than play SL.

Stone Semyorka

I totally agree, Hamlet. It's a name dammit! If you call yourself something like "SuperAwesomeJohnathan1991," you don't get what SL is all about.

And, to some others, put a capital letter on your first name.

Oh, and hey, Forsythe Whitfield is a great name for what you do in SL. (Loved stompin' to Poulet Shack during your gig at Fishbelly's Juke Joint.)

Since everyone is telling how... I'm into space stuff and when I spotted Semyorka amidst a mostly undesirable list of last names, I recognized the Russian word for seven. The historic Sputnik was launched in 1957 on a rocket they referred to affectionately as "Old Number Seven." I grabbed the name and found, like Marianne McCann said, it didn't take any time at all to add a first name. Stone is memorable, masculine, and has that cool same-first-and-last-initial thing that looks great embossed in leather.


Laetizia Coronet

Some of the naming with numbers has to do with the fact that these days, last names get a much longer availability run. I think there only ever were about 100 Coronets around (I may be wrong there), but nowadays it's much more.
Consequently, people cannot be Andy or Joe anymore with the last name of their choice, and they choose Andy1978 or JoeFromOhio. Indeed, just like Hotmail or AOL accounts.

Christophe Hugo

When a griefer with a convoluted first name commits a "hit and run" on your land, and you don't click on his profile before he disappears, it makes the banning process a little bit harder than usual (e.g., remembering "Johnxx21WERT Doe" isn't as straightforward as remembering "John Doe").

No doubt "serial griefers" are aware of that issue and know how to exploit it.

Patchouli Woollahra

Christophe:No doubt "serial griefers" are aware of that issue and know how to exploit it.

It depends on the nature of the attack, Christophe. The more significant the damage, the more likely traces will be left.

Orbital and cage cannon rounds will always have their owner's name included as part of the proceedings, and the default SL client has a Bumps, Pushes and Hits panel in Help menu that lets you know what other people are doing to you.

Anything that jams up a sim has to have a pretty solid existence. Even a long trail of repeated self-rezzing Temp On Rezzes is still a trail.

Obscene or racist verbage is recorded. With the right options checked in Preferences > Text Chat, it is even timestamped and logged to disk even if the attack forces you offline. You just need to do regular housecleaning every other week to avoid having your logs choking your hard disk.

Remember, every action, every word in SL is logged to disk, either in the sim or on your computer. In the worst case, file a Abuse Report with a Linden name filled in (explain precisely that it is a placeholder and not an accusation of a staffer) and provide the approximate (as close as possible) date/time of the attack.

Lae:Consequently, people cannot be Andy or Joe anymore with the last name of their choice, and they choose Andy1978 or JoeFromOhio.

There's room for adding words together for a firstname, but I really, really have to question the bona fides of a Resident who decides to use numbers in his or her name in a manner that hasn't been carefully thought out.

Is he or she really going to still be here in a month's time? It just feels so... throwaway.

There are ways of obtaining a unique username even in these days of longer surname runs that don't involve chunking numbers.

Here's a few tips I picked up over a decade of being a virtualist.

- don't just look in the Big-ass Book of Boring Baby Names. Anything goes as long as it doesn't infringe on SL Terms of Service or Community Standards, which are available on the website for reading BEFORE registering or logging in for the first time.

- Go into your incense or fragrances shoppe. Not all perfume names are innately feminine, some have a certain gender neutral or even masculine touch.

- Look at popular culture and media where you live. Not just Hollywood stuff - even your local media counts)

- Read, read, read. There is a long history of people picking up names from their previous reading to use in virtual realms.

- Get to know more of other Real Life people, personalities and things. A lot of surnames are actual names of people, places, and foods, concepts and cultural references. In a perfect world, the surname list during SL registration would provide users with descriptions or background on the significance of each surname, allowing users to decide faster as to what they want to associate themselves with. Wikipedia and google are your friend atm...

- Two words, taken to a lesser extent for a start: "Mirrored Flourishing".

Arcadian Vanalten

Personally, I kinda like names that show some creativity. A name like a license plate and/or prison inmate number doesn't usually work for me, but to each his own, I guess. As a DJ, I DO kinda dread getting a request from folks w/ a name like "Htzcnsntzlvvwlz458392"; I always like to credit a request or dedication on air, and that's just hell to figure out how to pronounce.

Most folks have a sense of humor about their name and/or suggest a nickname (I go by Arc, as The Arcadian was an old nickname of mine that was easy to say, but is kinda cumbersome when typed out in its dubious full 4-syllable glory), but there are a few who get kinda hostile if you fail to pronounce their string of vowel-less consonants correctly. I wonder if some of those few mostly use the name as a bait to flame others.

Still, the idiosyncracies of naming are kinda fun. I know several who keep lists of their favorite name sightings. Offhand, I can think of "Dying Embers" and "Maybe Tomorrow" that got a grin from me.

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