Master accounts

This idea is not new. Indeed, even now, I’m coming to it later than others, like Ciaran Laval, who posted at the end of last month on the subject. But it is worth repeating here.

Second Life needs Master Accounts

This idea was first put forward a good while ago, under JIRA MISC 2222. Argent Stoncutter has revamped it under JIRA SVC-6212. This idea has significant benefits for personal security, and general SL use:

  • Accounts could be gathered under a single master account, which instead of logging you directly into SL, allows you to select which avatar you wish to use under that account, as Argent explains: so for example instead of logging in as “Argent Stonecutter”, I’d log in as “Argent007” or something that isn’t actually published… and then picked my “Argent Stonecutter” alt from a pulldown.
  • This master account would be far more secure, as the account name would never be publicly seen – once an avatar name is selected, the avatar’s name is all that is visible. Thus, accounts would be better protected from hacking (at the moment hackers already effectively have your account user name (avatar name) – and so are off to a head start. It’ll also reduce the overheads needed for overall account and password management for both the user and LL.

Potentially, the benefits go a lot further than this:

  • Linden dollars could be held in terms of the Master Account, regardless of which avatar buys them – and thus available to all avatars under that account, without the need to transfer funds between them
  • Inventory could be potentially linked to the Master Account, and also made available to all avatars under that account, with content creators capable of setting permissions so that items cannot be shared between Master Accounts
  • Age and account verification are simplified: verify the master account, and all avatars under that account are “automatically” verified.

The master account could be structured in such a way that there is a limit to the number of alts that can be created under it (perhaps, as a finger-in-the-air-figure: eight alts per master account), together with a limit on the number of “free” master accounts which can be created per user.

While this would not stop those determined to create mischief on the grid (griefing and copying), it could help reduce the need  / drama around sensitive topics such as “alt outing” as exemplified by the recent RedZone farrago: LL can ban by master account, instantly banning all avatars under that account.

Indeed, this could be extended into things like estate and land tools, helping land owners ensure, again, that a parcel / sim ban against one avatar is automatically (and invisibly as far as the land owner / sim owner is concerned) applied to the avatar’s master account, thus blocking all alts associated with it.

The idea is one, as I’ve mentioned, that has been raised before, only to remain in limbo. JIRA SVC-6212, however, seems to have traction in LL, with Yoz Linden commenting:

We would dearly love to have unified account ownership, for several of the reasons already outlined. However, do bear in mind that it would require significant changes to many parts of the infrastructure, especially in the billing systems. That’s not to say it’s not going to happen; on the contrary, we’re actively trying to move in this direction. Just saying that it’s noted, we agree because we’ve wanted something like this for ages, but it’ll take a while.

Given all the recent heartache and upset that has surrounded RedZone, I would strongly urge everyone to get over to the JIRA and support (watch) SVC-6212.  It stands to benefit every single person using SL.