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Monday, January 04, 2010


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Mike Anderson

Holy wrong on so many levels.

People in this world just don't seem to get enough privacy invasion the way it is, giving out all of their personal information on services like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It's going to take some serious rl identity theft to disuade them perhaps.

Dunno what's wrong with people that they want to give away their privacy so badly for.

I think this is a horrible idea on so many levels I don't know where to begin.

But at the same time, I see the flocks of sheep adopting it. I don't know what it is going to take for people to understand they just might want to protect their real life information, and that information starts with their real names.

This option is one that I'm hoping most intelligent persons will avoid, but, I'm sure they won't.

I see options like this and just have to laugh. With all of the different ways employers can track their employees already, this is just one other way I suppose.

Great useless (but needed for the mass sheep) option Lindens. Just what we don't need.

I can see it now at the Demonic night club now.

Hello SuperStar Gothly, this is my best friend Mike Anderson. Oh, hello Mike, I am Superstar Gothly, nice to meet you. Let's dance.

When I'm using SL, one of the lamest things I've always wondered about is when you can pick any name you want to, be anyone you want to, some persons in SL, pick the boringest, closest names to their RL name. I've always wondered why someone would want to do that. I think it's not only wrong, but ultra ultra lame.

This is a game people. Wake Up Lindens.

Markus Breuer (Pham Neutra)

Hmmmm ...
I DO think, RL names might be an improvement for some who are afraid of the anonymity of the web (one of the prejudices still prevalent with some people seeing basically dangers everywhere). A verified real name somewhere in the profile, combined with a "nickname" might be even more useful and appropriate, though.

All in all I think Mark's promises for 2010 are relatively "thin", to be honest. This won't sweep people off their feet. I am afraid, most of the innovation in virtual worlds will happen elsewhere (OpenSim among those alternatives).

Ann Otoole

Funny how people that don't actually use Second Life for anything serious have all these ideas about what is best for it. Linden Lab doesn't even use Second Life for anything serious.


There is nothing wrong with being able to pick real names IMHO. The choice is the important part. Most of the arguments are binary. All real names or all second names. It is just a bit of text after all :)
For some of us the online handle and the given name all begin to merge anyway.
What will be missed by some people if they pick just a real name is the serendipity that occurs once you have picked a surname. Bumping into fellow choosers of the same surname is always an icebreaker far more I think than your given surname.
A really simple fix for this though. There is a first life tab on the profile, simply let a field from that be an optional display. Show SL name, Show Real name, show both option.
Anyway.... choice and freedom.

Kwame Oh

Must agree on choice being the important thing, for game players with ref to Mikes post, it will be interesting if sub culture evolves, with starlight whimsicality asking John Doe if he is fantasy, or spy from real life, sent to infiltrate fantasy land? :-)

As advocate for meshing all realities this is a great innovation/ceding from Linden Lab and most welcome to mirror sims like ours.

Happy New Year 2010
Julius Sowu


Agree with epredator, choice is the key. How people use SL is down to the individual.

Will be disappointed if LL makes this a premium account only option, would not mind paying a small one off fee to reserve/create a RL name account but can see how it could be sold as another incentive to go premium but what happens to the account RL name if I decide to down grade?

Think it would be a bit odd running into someone in world with my RL name!!

Think Facebook are missing something with the emphasis on RL identity only, avatars are (behind the keyboard at least) real people too!


It'll cause a name-rush as people desperately try to claim their own names, then 99.9% of those accounts will sit dormant while LL claim an incredible resurgence in interest in SL. It's a good marketing event and I'll guarantee it appears the same day the new viewer does.

It won't change SL, why would it? It's a welcome option for those that want it and the rest of us will ignore it.


One thing that strikes me about the RL names thing is the issues around verification and conflict resoulution ... I wonder if they will tie in with something like open ID. I wouldn't want it to end up as a simple land grab in the RL namespace ... and once you allow real names, how do you deal with the (ligitimate) duplicates? Just random musings. To be honest, I'd be happy to use my real name, but agree with the sentiments here that it should be an 'opt in' affair not a requirement.

Mike Anderson

I think most persons who think the real name option is a good idea just don't have a good understanding of identity theft\privacy.


The only upside I see to this option is that if you wanted to have a cool SL name, you are no longer limited to the regular SL last names and you can choose something more creative.

The key is more creative, and using your real name is not only the oposite of being creative, it's not a great thing to do. I can see it now.

People using their real names and pissing people off inworld who then go and google the users and find their phone numbers and start harrassing them at home\work, etc.


Alanagh Recreant

Names only become important once behaviour needs to be attributed to an entity in an online (or offline) environment. So, Second Life name or pseudoname or birth name - it remains the behaviour, the reputation, the style of being, merged values and principles as well as community opinion that make the real difference. These cannot be claimed through registration of any name, these are earned or lost over time with individuals one-on-one. Will need to think about this one... have mixed feelings.

Arcadia Codesmith

Real names are good for the edubiz monolith.

For everyday use? I suppose it's fine as an option, as long as there's no mechanism to discriminate against people who chose to keep their private information private.

But it's not an option I would ever choose. I'm in Second Life to be judged on the strength of my ideas and talent, not on whether I'm a Vanderbilt or Perez or Aziz.

And that, I think, is most the insidious evil of real-world identities... you pull in all the real-world bullshit and baggage that keeps us down and holds us back.

So no, I won't tell you my real name, age, skin color, gender, income bracket or species. Who I am is independent of that trivial ephemera. I won't be pre-judged.

Mike Anderson

Identity theft is overrated

CyFishy Traveler

As long as it's an option and not an obligation, I have no real problem with it. I might even register an alt with my RL name, just to keep it safe and so I can have an inworld presence linked to my real name that's separate from this one, should I have need of it.

Thom Blake

One of the things that turned me off from Second Life in the first place was not being able to have a custom name. On one hand, if I want a fantasy avatar I'd like to pick whatever name I want. On the other hand, if I'm conducting business / giving a presentation / etc, I'd like to be able to use my real name, like I do everywhere else online.


They already gave out my RL name in world, thru the *austrian* portal only as one of their 'new user portal names groups' and my first name was taken by the time I figured out where I could register it. And what is annoying is that prior to that, I'd offered to pay the $$$ fee for my private last name, but they'd only do it for businesses at the time. Frustrating, especially as I'm one of the few online people who almost always uses his real name for everything :)

Adric Antfarm

I would like to go one step further and do something useful.

I would never encourage the lame practice of "partners" given your "Mrs" is in fact a 48 year old fat guy in Trenton, NJ, however if you are that sad, I think you should be able to take their name when you do partner.

My cat, Eggy, would also like to be an Antfarm and that is an option I would like to have given she is much more well liked that I. That name is out of reach to me however.

There are more interesting (and useful) name ideas that need to be explored I guess.

Barring that, I call Adric Au.


I just closed on another big piece of real life property, 1.8 million to be exact. DO you think I want every tom dick and harry to know who I really am? Once people know you have money its a never ending stream of hands out and people trying to pickpocket you.

But yeah, there will be a huge landrush for first names, and for the record there is about 22 other 'me's out there. Exact dupes. And even with that low world wide number; I am still not to happy about all those other "me"s having potential access to a account of mine.

The likely hood they actually play SL is low, but it could happen.
( I buy sims to build a virtual homes on for display to real life customers. ) No I won't show you. Not unless I get to run your credit first.

I build "If you have to ask you can not afford homes" just to set things straight.


About time.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Well, I'm happy to be given some more choices :) Like @epredator and @lufpleh said: more choices is always good.

But let's be realistic :) I won't be able to register my own real name, even if I wished; there are at least half a million (counted on Google) people sharing my exact first and last name. Since in my country it's customary to have more than two names because of that (I have 5 :) ) there is little hope for me to catch the choice in SL... even if I wished (which I really don't, thank you very much).

More to the point, if they tie "real names" with "validation", it will give people a false sense of security. There is this widespread fallacy that assumes that only dishonest people use assumed names, and honest ones use their real names. If that would be the case, we could easily get rid of criminality in half a dozen years :) Corrupt politicians with their real names get elected every day, for instance... ;)

But I'm fine with all that! Give people more choices! That's always great!

Then again, there is only one Gwyneth Llewelyn *beams and smiles vainly*

Galatea Gynoid

Mike, Adric, the only "lame" and "sad" things here are that there are people around who think its a bad idea to give anyone else options that they themselves would never use. Other people differ. That's not "sad" or "lame", it's wonderful. Avoid the ones that differ in a way you find annoying, but thank the gods for the wide variety of people with different interests and needs. The only "sad" people are the ones that are bothered by the existence of these others, and there's nothing more "lame" than displaying this kind of attitude towards others who are different in blog posts, as if it makes some other point beyond letting everyone know you're an intolerant bigot. Seriously, you both sound like you just dropped out of Jr. High. "OMG his partner is some guy from Jersey!" So what? /eyeroll Grow up...

Crap Mariner

So, what happens when someone with the last name of Linden wants their RL name?


Lizzie Lexington

I am so going to grab my RL name when that option is available! And luckily, there is only one other "me" in the US and in Denmark (home of my family's ethnic origin)and it's my cousin who goes by a nickname vs our full name. YAY for real life in SL - now maybe some of my RL friends will join too!

Sarra Foggarty

I think this is a great idea, as long as it remains a choice. Business people may not want to join SL if it means adopting an alias, and some people like to be themselves. Personally I won't change I have been Sarra Foggarty too long, and I already have a mix of my RL in there.

Catherine Cotton

I would much prefer LL made a new grid for those that want to "get real" and use their rl info. Runs off to make an anti LL project.

Nine Warrhol

I guess its ok if you're one who wants your real name in SL. Personally this is just going to add ammo to those who scream 'I'm more real than you are blah blah blah'. Whatever tickles yer pickle I 'spose.


Galatea, perhaps it is you who is not so bright when it comes to protecting ones identity.

Like the person mentioned with the expensive houses. Some people are much better off keeping their rl identities private.

If people want to be this stupid, I guess that's their perogative.

I can't wait to see the upswing in violence towards people in SL increase, now that their personal info will be available to some of the crazies on the web\sl. And if you think there are no crazies on the web or in sl....then you would be......mistaken.

Troy McConaghy

Many of the scientists using SL want to use their real names so others can identify them (e.g. at public seminars) and so they can identify their colleagues easily. Not being able to use real names has turned many off. This will help.

I wonder if Linden Lab will allow multiple avatars with the same name (such as "John Smith"). Facebook does. So does reality. Wikipedia has disambiguation pages to help you sort them out.

Joel Foner

There are people in Second Life with their real names as avatar names, but after checking I discovered that this option is only made available, at the discretion of Linden Lab, to people who are of sufficient celebrity status to be interesting to them. At least this would level the playing field, as it were, to allow anyone who wanted to use their real name to do so.


Surnames have a certain function for me, I think that somehow ppl choices reveal more of they personality than real names, my "cousins" Runo´s must have something in common with me. After all i did not choose my real name And SL is about choices, options , alternatives i don´t find is better or worst a fantasy name than a real name. After all the whole idea of Self is mostly a fantasy.

Flashing Merlin

The biggest problem I have persuading friends to try SL is getting past the name selection. People balk at having to choose the "least worst" name available. IMHO this is greatest advance in SL since voice communication was introduced.

Since you will have the choice of real or fantasy or both (if you're a premium member), there is no down side to this decision. The objections posted above are just paranoia, or resistance to change.

When can I start lining up in hope of getting my "real" name as an alt?


I think its not a bad ieda, although i don't know how they want to handle double names.

If people still can use fantasy names, this step will not change SL.

What i wonder is what about copyright then. Fantasy names with a brand name in it won't be tolerated by Linden, otherwise people that have a brand name in their RL name, have the right to choose it....

Tateru Nino

Names can't be copyrighted, though they can be trademarked.

Arcadian Vanalten

*grins*, Crap, actually, my art teacher in high school had the RL last name of Linden, hehe. And I could totally see her going online to teach 3D art in SL if she's still kicking around. That WOULD be a fun conundrum :D

I can see the potential usefulness of it to extend RL professional involvements, but yeah, I think it's gonna end up with an AOLian mess of "John Smith23435" names. As is, folks can, and do, make professional names simply using the first name blank to cover both, as in John_Smith Vanalten, which gets around the need for the string of numbers to get around the inevitable repetition of names. All in all? Not a breathtakingly bad idea, but certainly not an impressively good one either.

Markopolis Balhaus

It's another option, what could be wrong with that?
SL is about the avatars, not the names.


I think it is extremely naive for someone to want to give away their real name in a game or VW. Just asking for trouble.

It doesn't stop Facebook however, so it won't stop SL.

Extropia DaSilva

So long as it is a matter of personal choice, I definitely believe we should have the option to use real life names. If it is not fair to make people adopt RL names or publicly link to RL identities if they do NOT want to, it must also be unfair to DENY someone the opportunity to link back to RL if they DO want to:)

A person should be able to have as little or as much seperation between their 1st and 2nd life as they are comfortable with. This should not be a matter dictated by anything other than personal choice, so I think the option to use your 1st life names is a welcome move.

Extropia DaSilva

@ Galatea Gynoid.

OMG, I did not know you still existed! How lovely to know you are still alive and kicking:)

Ann Otoole

Perhaps LL will change the account model to allow us to have an account ID to log in with and we select which name to display as needed.

This would be a security hardening feature btw.

As for people complaining they can't use their real names in SL well I guess they don't know how to create a group with a role tag to stick their rl name up there, don't know how to fill in a profile, and don't know how to market themselves in SL. Because if you wanted your real name to be known you certainly can do so with extreme minimal effort. And with the account ID model then you could choose which name to be displayed on items.

However I don't really trust LL's idea of security given various historical factors including a recent something related to inventory so overall it would still be smarter to create a second account for the real name option.

Customer choice is a good thing. As long as it does not interfere with the existing accounts many of which just happen to be RL names. My "fantasy name" is an rl name. Just not mine. (didn't really think about it at account creation time) So there is a point of use case discussion LL will have to contend with.


Name options should be a personal choice. I already use RL name in OpenSim as well as my SL name. I don't see identity as a serious dilemna until we have the ability to use one transworld avatar across the hypergrid. Then I will have to re-consider name along with everything else that identifies me digitally (how will the ManyMe unify, what will be on my digital passport?). As for privacy - there is none. Every electronic moment of your life is already trackable and has been since the 1980s.

Max Timekeeper

Says it all about why you need to protect your privacy:


Tensai Hilra

Oh yes, this will be good... HR department does a search for you when you apply for a job, "Hmm.. oh this is interesting... they are a furry, AND in 3 BDSM groups... yea, I think I'll round-file this application."

Already happens with people who Facebook/myspace and let their data out into google.

jenn frank jenn frank jenn frank
I would never encourage the lame practice of "partners" given your "Mrs" is in fact a 48 year old fat guy in Trenton, NJ, however if you are that sad, I think you should be able to take their name when you do partner.

Um. My in-world "partner" was also my "real-world" "partner" for six years. This may be a total shocker, but some people have zero problem with conflating their real-world selves with their Second Life avatars'.

And while I totally get that not everyone is into that complication -- or simplification? -- of identity, I could not begin to care less if everyone everywhere knew "Jennatar Flow" is the avatar of Jenn Frank. (Identity theft, people? Really? Everyone with a magazine byline is in danger, sure.)

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