Improvements to Web Profiles

Q Linden has posted about Viewer 2.5 going live, and in particular brings up the subject of web-based Profiles.

The introduction of web profiles has caused a lot of consternation, not least because of the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter buttons. For myself, I actually rather like the approach in general: being able to edit my Profile from the web, rather than having to log-into SL is a useful feature. The moving Profiles to this format reduces asset server loads is also no bad thing (assuming it does).

However, privacy has been a thorny issue for some – and not just because of the aforementioned buttons. Many kicked back against the idea that their Profile, far from being nice and secluded inside Second Life, would now be viewable by anyone on the Web. Protests were written  – Linden Lab read them and listened.

Firstly, they made the Facebook and Twitter buttons optional – but only if you opt not to have your Profile searchable in-world. Not an ideal start, it seemed at the time, but a start.

Now, with Viewer 2.5, Linden Lab have extended the degree of privacy you have with regards to your Web Profile. You can now:

  • Opt not to have your Profile displayed on the web at all
  • Select whether your Groups and Picks are viewable by “everyone” – the entire Internet and by search engines, or visible only to Second Life Users logged into SL / using the SL website, or only visible to your friends
  • Select whether any Classifieds yo may have are searchable / viewable on the web as a whole, or only by Second Life residents.

These are welcome changes, and even the defaults for Groups, Picks and Classifieds are sensible (they are set to Second Life). I’d personally prefer to see the option to have your Profile displayed on the web given precisely the same level of granularity as Groups and Picks, rather than it simply being an “on” or “off” affair – but perhaps that will come in time.

To see your profile and set your defaults, type:

into the address bar of your browser (where First.Last are your SL first name and last name). Press RETURN and your Profile page will be displayed.

You may have to log-in to the page using the link at the top right, which will take you to the log-in screen. Once you’ve logged in (SL username and password), you’ll be returned to your Profile page, which will now be editable and have a Privacy Settings link in the top right corner (see below).

Click on this link to open the Privacy option page, which is quite straightforward in its use.

Also, if you leave your Profile as viewable on the web, and are concerned about personal information, you can use the EDIT button from your profile page to re-word  / remove references to your real life – all such edits will be reflected back in your in-world Profile as well.

These moves are not perfect, but they are stepping in the right direction, and Linden Lab deserve the credit for adding this functionality to Viewer 2.5.

ADDENDUM – Feb 14th

There are times when one should look before one leaps. I’ve just had time to fiddle with Viewer 2.5, and I have to say two things:

  • Profile loading is abhorrent. I’m running a quad-core system with a newly-upgraded graphics card exceeding the recommended specification for SL, with bandwidth wide  open for SL – and the average time for a Profile to be grabbed and loaded is around 5 seconds. Hideous.
  • It appears the option to “Hide your profile” from the web means that no-one in-world can view your Profile either. This makes the ability to “hide” your profile about as useful as a chocolate shovel is for moving hot coals.

Far from deserving credit, as I originally stated, someone at LL needs a swift kick up the arse. Not everyone wants their profiles blasted across the interwebs; yet to maintain visibility in-world, that’s precisely what people have to do with Viewer 2.5, and frankly, that’s pathetic.

I sincerely hope there will be a way to correct this idiocy and give people a genuine choice.

And, having updated this post, I’m off to nibble on crow pie…

2 thoughts on “Improvements to Web Profiles

  1. Viewer 2.5 web profiles etc. is a total contradiction with what Rod Humble told you about privacy and SL.


    1. I have to admit, now I’ve been able to test Viewer 2.5, rather than rushing through a post on it, I’m disappointed (see the Addendum, above).

      Forcing people onto the web so their Profiles remain searchable in-world does run against the concept of genuine choice – and there can be no reasoned justification for this, and it matters not whether someone’s Profile contains naught about their RL. We should be able to search Profiles regardless of whether they are viewable on the web or not, and people should not be forced to allow their Profile be googled just for the ability to have it seen in-world.


Comments are closed.