Rodvik blogs: No Last Names

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.

21 thoughts on “Rodvik blogs: No Last Names

  1. “Mainland-like region”

    I smell a bait-and-switch attempt.

    A ‘oh shucky darns, we done gonna get them mad now. Quick, what’s a way to cause so much panic and argument somewhere -else- so they won’t pay attention when we give them the ol’ what for over this one?’


  2. Well, I don’t know. It’s impossible to please people when they’re polarised across conflicting and contradictory opinions. It looks rather difficult to have both last names and NOT have last names, and allow people to choose among conflicting alternatives, so I understand LL’s technical argument.

    If they allow spaces on the first name, and remove the dreadful pseudo-last-name “Resident” from everywhere, what is the difference?


    1. There is a difference, Gwyneth, though subtle. And Rodvik said nothing about allowing spaces. And it isn’t impossible to have both last names and not have last names, as the third party registration sites proved. LL could just give at registration the option of having no last name or chosing a last name form a list. I think a good solution would be to leave the registration page as it is now, only adding a link like “if you want to have a SL last name, click here” that would take you to a list type registration page.


    2. Indeed. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. But you can please some of the people some of the time; not sure this option even goes that far, but time will tell.

      No spaces in names, but special characters, such as “-” might help. Even so, a decision not going to be seen as hugely popular….


      1. Who’s polarized?
        Made up excuse.
        Seriously – who does not want last names back?



        That’s a ruse.

        There are folks who want last names. And folks who want last names -and- the ability to not have one.
        – These two camps actually agree with each other…


  3. Can they really remove Resident without breaking an awful lot of content across the grid? Ad boards, greeters and roleplay meters are set up to read User names; they can’t (as I understand it) read Display names.

    Breaking this content would annoy the creators of the tools and the owners – i.e. club owners, store owners and roleplay managers – and their customers, That’s a pretty broad swathe of the grid right there.

    Oh, and security orbs too. You might hate them – but they do provide a small degree of protection.


    1. I’m not sure it is a case of removing “Resident” so much as no longer having it displayed prominently.


  4. I think it’s easy to see where this is going. Eventually there will be an option for name change but you’ll have to pay for it. An affordable cost but a cost nonetheless. I know there used to be buy a name schemes but these were expensive and came with conditions, if I remember correctly. It’s just dissapointing given how much he gave the appearance of actually listening and hearing what the community wanted.


  5. /me throws a tantrum
    no!! no!! no!! no!! nooooooo!!!
    it was so easy to make a solution that pleased all, even if we are in the database as canoro.philipp.resident, the Resident ones could have added the Resident last name like canoro.resident.resident, having Last Name as optional on the interface with a field that suggest names as you type! 😥
    now bringing back last names has been archived.


  6. It is a profoundly disappointing decision and one that I think will haunt the Lab for some time.

    Since it’s still possible to create an avatar with a genuine last name via some regapi sites (I’ve created more than one the past few months myself), it seems strange that Rodvik implies that there are technical impossibilities at hand.

    The engaged and creative experience you describe, Inara, in selecting a last name was very much what my own was, and I recall very much enjoying the process. Of course, there were times when a first name might not have been available because someone had already taken it, but now I would guess that finding *any* first name is getting to be a nightmare. So as for the Lab’s position that selecting a last name was a problem that turned users away (never heard that one before…), it’s really beyond me how they could think that what we have now could be any sort of improvement.


  7. It is interesting.
    By the way they done all wrong.
    By instance, the Labs try to control even our IPs traffic in one way, their way.
    They don’t support for keep backup of our legallly bough inventory list, but they haven’t any doubt about cleaning up by her side in case some “error” in payments.
    They force to fill too much personal info and so few options, strating by our avatar name.
    Time ago was first and last (that one to her choice). Now you choose for one weird combo available to set later a “custom” name (with spaces included, yeah…)
    They talk about TOS and private protection, but allow by user banlist, parcel and lines.
    They talk about safety but allow creators by scripting “spy” and hidden tracker systems.

    They do all wrong and crash focused, but her payment system work fine while the deliveries from marketplace don’t.

    What more I can say about…
    we all are hostage prisoneers of her system…
    …but always can turn away like Elf Clans and say:
    Goodbye Mr. Linden!


  8. What about her ugly voice morphing… LOL
    They support for children care and safety, but then everyone who decide can cheat with her voice as another gender, older… plus change a name to his discreet.

    That, Linden, it is support for pederast and harassment and mistreat.
    Not to be a funny game… So many times a found a man who was a child, a girl who was a pervert man… and more lot dangerous hazards of liers…

    Still you do all wrong.


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