Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Correction: Sansar Won't Require Users to Use Real-Life Names

By Bixyl Shuftan

A the Tuesday "Meet the Lindens," I showed up and listened as Ebeb Linden, the CEO of Linden Lab,was interviewed by Jo Yardley. The event being held in voice, I took down notes on paper the best I could, and after logging off I wrote about the event. The notes I had taken suggested Ebbe had been leaning toward having residents use their real-life identities in Sansar.

This caused me to scratch my head, but from my point of view this wouldn't be the first time the Lab had made a questionable move. So I went ahead and wrote the story, confident I hadn't missed anything important. Later in the week I saw some transcripts on Inara Pey's newsletter, and it seems I had only written down part of the information (link).

Second Life is on, I would say, the far spectrum of the anonymity side; and on the other side you have what we call real names, real identities, like probably the most successful real system on planet Earth is Facebook. 

And there’s a reason why they’ve been extremely successful with that; and there’s probably a reason why 100% anonymous networks like Twitter and Second Life run into some really interesting challenges. And there are pros and cons; and we’re trying to think of ways of potentially mixing these models, but we have not made final decisions yet.

I have a preference, some other team players have slightly different preferences, so we’ll see where it ends up. But I think what would be best for Sansar would be real names, and then the ability to have personas underneath that.

so I could go into a role-playing, or into an experience as an anonymous user in that context. But to the platform, I am not anonymous. And so, without making that too complicated and confusing, is that the right answer? We’ll see. But I think to, it would certainly help with griefing and other things. And it also supports a lot of interesting use-cases where anonymity is actually just really confusing, and actually gets in the way.

You can think of a lot of professional use-cases where there are teachers and students and professionals having meetings where these anonymous identities makes things really confusing; “I know Bob, I want to talk to Bob. Who the hell is this Jumping Jack guy?”

So we’re still debating this, and I’m pushing in one way, and people are pushing in different ways, and we’ll see where we end up. I mean, unfortunately, to implement real names is also really complicated. Do you hitch a ride with Facebook, or do you have to somehow build your own real name system.

And building a real name system is incredibly difficult. Facebook did it in an extremely clever way, by basically relying on the social graph to ensure real names. Because just having everybody having to put a credit card down, or identification to prove their real identity is super cumbersome. So, interesting topic. 

Taking a look at the transcript, there's room for interpretation. But it seems while pondering briefly how certain parts sounded, he was asked about the question of anonymity, being identifiable to the Lab through Paypal, though anonymous to everyone else.

If we have to reply on like, for some it’s PayPal, for some it’s this, for some it’s that, it gets really complicated for us to do that.

It’s definitely something we’re thinking a lot about. but do I want that people in Sansar should be able to walk around anonymously? Absolutely! You can in the physical world. I don’t have to have a name tag on myself and show my ID to every person I approach on the street. not that I’m trying to hide anything, but I also don’t think everybody should know what the hell I’m doing all the time. It’s none of your business; it’s my business.

So I totally want to have that mix of, we know who you are but you can also be whoever you want to be, and still have a somewhat functional society going on within that. So we’ll see where we end up.

So it seems by brief inattention caused me to miss an important line.

I apologize for the error, to you the readers and to Ebbe Linden, and resolve to be more careful in the future.

 Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. Interesting...this doesn't directly address the concept of creating an alternate persona identity...or not. Currently in SL people completely expect to rezz in-world as a differently-named character from RL. Not just anonymous by not revealing identity, but explicitly being someone else...