Update, April 21st, 2018: at the April 20th Town Hall meeting with Ebbe Altberg, it was indicated that the new first name / last name system might be a Premium only benefit, or that if generally available to all users, that Premium account holders will have some advantage in using the capability over Basic account holders. Please refer to the audio of Grumpity Linden’s comments from that event appended at the end of this article.
Update, March 28th, 2018: further information was provided at the Web User Group meeting on this date. This information has been appended to the end of this article.
Following the Lab’s announcement that last names will be returning to Second Life later in 2018 (see my post here), Oz and Patch Linden have been providing further details on the change.
Oz Linden took time to address questions on the subject at the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting on Thursday, March 22nd.
The following is a summary of what has been said thus far, predominantly using Oz Linden’s comments at the CCUG meeting. I’ve attempted to summarise the key points as series of short topics, and have included audio extracts of Oz’s comments with each topic.
Note that the audio extracts draw together related comments voiced at different points in the session, as Oz addressed questions. I hope that presenting them in this way, rather than just chronologically as they came up at the meeting, helps to present a clearer picture of what is being planned.
As the original blog post indicated, the return of last names will be coming later in 2018 – not in the immediate future. There are some back-end changes to SL which need to be made before last names can make a return, so it would seem like “later in 2018” users might be read as “late 2018”.
That is not something that we’re going to be able to deliver real quickly. Don’t look for it in the next few weeks. But it is on the road map for this year, and we’ll try to make it better than the very end of the year, but there are a couple of things that have to get fixed on the back-end before that can work.
Oz Linden, CCUG meeting, March 22nd, 2018
With the introduction of this system, Agent IDs will become the primary means of link names to avatars. As noted below, this means that those scripting items which require avatar details, and who don’t use Agent IDs might want to start thinking about revising their scripts to do so.
- The plan is to allow people to change their first and last name whenever they wish.
- As with the “old” system, users will be able to choose whatever first name they like, then select their last name from a pre-set list of available names.
- The list of last names will be routinely refreshed.
- The Lab is considering accepting suggestions from users.
- Once a name combination has been created, it is forever tied to that avatar, it cannot be used by anyone else, even if the “owner” later changes their name, or their account is deactivated.
- Previous names will be retained by the system, so:
- If you can remember someone’s previous name, you can search on that and get their current name.
- Users will be able to switch back to previous names they have used, as well as select new names as the list changes.
- Unicode will not be supported when entering a first name.
- The first name / last name capability will not replace Display Names1.
This has no effect on display names and largely I do not anticipate we will change how display names work. If anything, it somewhat sunsets the need for them.
Patch Linden, March 22nd, forum thread
- There will be a fee associated with changing your name (which has still to be determined).
- The fee is liable to be “large enough” to prevent people simply constantly changing name just to use the “good names” up.
- Advice from the Lab to scripters:
- Given this change is coming, scripters who have a need to same avatar details should start to consider doing so by Agent ID, not first name / last name.
- The Lab will most likely provide an API for resolving first name / last name into a valid Agent ID.
In the forum thread, Patch also reiterates the uniqueness of first name / last name combinations, as noted above.
No hiding of names. First name and surname combos will have to be unique like they are today. A couple of other questions that came up – no re-use of retired names, once a name has been used, it belongs to that account forever. We keep a transnational name change history. Only standard English characters will be permitted.
Patch Linden, March 22nd, forum thread.
I’ll have more on the return of Last Names as information becomes available, mostly like much nearer the time the feature is ready to deploy. In the meantime, Patch may post further information on the forum thread, so it might be worth keeping and eye on that.
Update From the Web User Group, March 28th, 2018
- “Original / legacy” last names will not be re-opened for use.
- New users joining Second Life will still be given the automatic “last name” of “Resident”, but have the option of changing if they wish.
- The fee for name changes has not been announced, however, at this point the indication is that the fee will be in fiat currency (i.e. US dollars) not Linden Dollars.
Update From the Town Hall Meeting, April 20th, 2018
- Intimation that the name change capability might be a Premium-only benefit.
- Indication that if available to Premium and Basic, Premium members will have an (at the time of reporting) unspecified advantage over Basic account holders.
- Oz indicated that Display Names will not be replaced due to the work involved in removing the functionality. It’s also worth noting that – depending on the fee levied for name changes – people who have multiple characters associated with their avatar for role-play, etc., and so frequently change their name, might find using Display Names remains more convenient / cost-effective means of doing so once the first name / last name capability is deployed.