Friday, March 2, 2012

Breaking News: No Return for Last Names

Some sad news for Second Life's more recent residents hoping to have their accounts get a last name like those who came earlier. Linden Labs won't be bringing back surnames for new accounts after all.

The news was posted by Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Linden in the Second Life forums, "when it comes to last names, I have spent a lot of time going through all your comments and chatting with the team here. I learnt a lot. Firstly, as I already knew identity is very important, and the last name issue is extremely polarizing. What I didn’t know was how big a negative impact it used to have on new users signing up (the data is startling at how much friction it added). Folks just wanted to create their own name; they became even more annoyed if there was a pre-done last name that could fit but that had already been taken. The namespace hijacking issue was not solved by pre done last names."

"...if we couldn’t figure out a way that was a win/win for folks who want complete freedom vs. a list of last names, we wouldn’t do it. We couldn’t, so we wont."

"Thanks again for all these comments and discussion. It’s a pity that the first one couldn’t come up with a clean solution that solved all the world’s problems (or cats’ problems) but it was valuable nevertheless."

The forum post didn't allow for comments, but there was a link to Rodvik's profile posts, where residents posted a large number of replies. Naturally, there were many disappointed people. Rodvik had suggested the possibility of adding the option of a hyphen, but residents commented that was a poor substitute.

Prim Perfect already has an article on the matter, "the Lab has just blown off one way that could have given a greater degree of engagement and building community – without costing residents money."

*Addition* In Hamlet Au's article, he supports Linden Lab's decision. But most of those commenting on it were either outright opposed or skeptical, which seems to be the general feeling.


  1. It's not difficult. YOu have pulldown menus like before, but one selection is OTHER. When you select that, you can type in any name you want. If the name is already in use or forbidden, you reject it.

    How hard is this to pull off? Answer: Not hard at all.

    1. Agreed. The stink of politics and strongarming is all over this. I think someone spooked the higher-ups badly here, since, as you said, it's -damn- easy to make a last name drop down.

      Looks like it'll have to be limited to display names. :/

      -- Xym

  2. So will they stick with Smith and Jones?