So, Rodvik has blogged on the subject of last names. In sort: they’re not coming back. The overall direction of the post is pretty obvious from the outset – that last names won’t be making a return just yet – simply because the first couple of paragraphs ramble somewhat – as if Rodvik knows what he is about to say is going to draw howls of disappointment.
As the Lab can’t strike a balance between freedom of choice and pre-set last names, they’re not doing either. However, special characters are being introduced to the sign-up process to allow some degree of freedom. This means, as Rodvik says, the someone signing-up can be “Horatio-Nelson”; it’s a step forward, given that the Lab are also looking to expunge all last traces of “Resident” (and Rodvik has asked to be informed if people come across any) – but it’s a very small step.
I have to admit, I found the claim that pre-set last names appeared to cause more new-user sign-up angst than the current system surprising. Admittedly, it’s been a long while since I signed-up, and almost as long since I was forced to create what is now my “crash test alt”, but I can’t ever remember feeling frustrated by being limited to a list of pre-sets (which was pretty extensive). Rather the reverse, in fact – I found I was dallying over the name selection as the available presets were intriguing – a make of name-up names, names from history and fiction, ethnic names, and so on which (I do remember) got me thinking on the whole question of identity and how I wanted to project myself in Second Life – what aspects of my personality, which interests, and then playing with various name options to see how they worked before I made my final choice.
But then, I’m weird like that.
So as the Lab can’t strike a balance between pre-set and free-form last names, neither will be making a return to the sign-up page for new users. In the meantime Rodvik will be kicking-off a new Profile Feed “round-table” to discuss recapturing the “frontier feel” of SL, probably next Monday. Interestingly, one of the ideas he put up for discussion what that of allowing new users pick from a list of pre-set last names after having been involved in SL for six months or so. Also offered-up for discussion is the potential to re-think Linden Homes (which I thought they were doing anyway…or did I simply dream I’d received a survey on linden Homes last month…?), and the idea for a new “Mainland-like region” – something that is bound to intrigue / cause concerns ahead of the actual discussions.
Rodvik’s post can be read in full here.