Names Changes: rounding-up what’s known ahead of any launch

Name Changes – the ability for Premium subscribers to be able to choose their own first and last names – is due to be deployed in 2020, possibly as soon as February. I’ve provided two prior summary updates on what has been released about the capability already.

However, while much of what is already known is unlikely yo e news to many, I thought that now we’re almost on the cusp of the capability being made available, I’d pull all of what is known from those updates and via more recent Lab-led meetings to offer what is (I hope) a reasonably complete, one-stop summary of what is known, and what might be surmised fee-wise.

The Basics

  • Name Changes will be a Premium-only benefit.
  • Qualifying users will be able to change their first and / or last name as often as they like.
  • First names will be entirely free-form.
  • Last names will be selectable from a list (see below for more).
  • Both first and last names can be up to 31 characters each.
  • Combinations of first name + last name must be unique, and can never be used by any other user.
  • Subject to final confirmation, it should be possible for a user to change back to a first name / last name they have previously used.
  • There will be a USD fee payable for each name change (see below for more).
  • The ability for Premium members to change their first / last names will be via an option on their secondlife.com dashboard, not an in-viewer option.
  • Names Changes will not be replacing Display Names, which will remain available for any user wishing to use it.

Last Names

  • The list of last names will likely be around 20-30 names, and subject to periodic update.
  • Generally speaking, Previously used last names will not be made publicly available for re-use, but users will be able to re-use names they’ve previously had, per above.
  • Suggestions from users for possible last names may be taken by Linden Lab.
    • A Name Changes competition that saw the submission of 6,000 names closed on January 6th.
  • Two possible means for rotating names in the list that the Lab are considering are:
    • Replacing popular names from the list as they reach a certain number of people selecting them.
    • Replacing “unpopular” names if they fail to achieve a certain threshold of use over a period of time.

Fees

  • While it has yet to be officially confirmed, the fee for using Name Changes will likely be US $39.99 (based on Section 5 of the rules for the recent Last Names competition).
  • The fee will be charged whether changing only a first or last name, or both the first and last name.
  • When launched (at a date still to be determined) the new Premium Plus subscription will offer Name Changes at a lower fee (still TBA) than Premium membership.
  • The fee is being levied primarily to discourage users from making frequent changes to their user name, due to the potential impact on SL services (as everywhere a user name appears must be updated when a change is made).

Availability

  • It is hoped that Name Changes will be available in February 2020.
  • However, at the January 8th, 2020 Web User Group meeting, it was indicated that final deployment is dependent on the Lab finishing all remaining work on the capability and then testing it.

General Points

  • Name changes will be reflected across all of Second Life. This includes things like:
    • Other people’s Friends lists.
    • The Creator and Owner fields of the Edit / Build floater.
    • Group member lists.
    • Marketplace listings.
    • Chat and IM.
    • Plus anywhere else a “live” record of a user name is held.
  • Previous names should be retained by the system, so if you can remember someone’s previous name, you can search on that name and get their current name.
  • At the time of writing, it was still not clear whether a change of name will trigger a notification to those on a user’s Friends list or not.
  • It has taken a long time to implement because Second Life was never designed to support users changing their account name, and as the account name touches every aspects of the platform, the Lab had to go through all the places the user name touches and make sure that any updates correctly reach them without being missed / causing an adverse impact.
  • Incoming users will not be able to pick a last name when signing-up.
    • They will receive the default last name of “Resident”.
    • It they upgrade to Premium as part of the sing-up process, they will be able to change their name via their secondlife.com dashboard, just like other Premium subscribers.
    • Last name choice is not included in the sign-up process because a) it is a Premium benefit; b) it has been found to be a major blocker to users completing the sign-up process (which was a major reason last names were originally abandoned).
  • When using scripts to handle account / avatar-specific information, creators and scripts are strongly advised to use the Agent Key (avatar UUID) as their reference point, not the account name.

References

Therese Carfagno at Ani’s Gallery in Second Life

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

Currently open on the upper floor of Ani’s Gallery is an untitled exhibition by Therese Carfagno that offers a intriguing mix of images and styles, and which runs through until early February.

I say “intriguing” because the art on offer spans everything from SL-focused photography – landscapes and those with something of an avatar-focus – to more sensual pieces that appear routed in the physical world, to more abstracted pieces mindful of Jackson Pollack and pieces that carry a strong surrealist element. All of which makes this a creatively diverse exhibition well worth taking the time to witness, one that also includes a hint of Second Life history.

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

The latter is most noticeable in Sunrise, Midday, Sunset, Midnight, a four-panel image on the left wall of the the gallery space, relative to the top of the stairs. The four images in the piece show AM Radio’s The Far Away, now co-curated by Ziki Questi and Kinn Kinnaird, all of which appear to include AM himself (at least going by the top hat) as one of the two figures standing in the wheat field.

A further reminder of AM Radio can be found within the poster facing the top of the stairs, featuring as it does AM’s Mary Poppins outfit. Next to this are two pieces, Sita 1 and Sita 2 that are richly surreal in their presentation of their subject.

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

The more sensual pieces appear to mix both physical world and SL studies that offer nudity without crossing the line into outright NSFW. Two sets of of abstract pieces are to be found, both amidst the more sensual pieces – nicely breaking them up – and with the SL-centric images. Three are predominantly monochrome in nature, three in colour. Together they form two sets that re almost triptych in nature, the images in each set following neatly from one to the next.

I’ve not previously witnessed Therese’s art prior to this exhibition, but on the strength of it, I will be looking out for more exhibition of her work.

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