I use a display name, Nal. Simple, easy to spell, and solves the problem of my being called Natalie, which I don’t mind that much unless a Natalie is in the area. So, I don’t care that much about Display Names (DN) either way. I just read Avril Korman’s article, The Name Game: Display Names and the Law Of Unintended Consequences. This is a well written piece on the subject of Display Names. I recommend it.
I am a great believer in the idea that if one is going to complain they complain to someone that can do something about the problem and offer a solution, preferably more than one solution to the complaint.
Avril explains the problems with Display Names. This is not a simple they suck. But, a good analysis of what was intended verses what the results have been. I can’t find any point where I disagree with Avril’s thinking.
I do have my personal annoyance that Avril didn’t touch on. In SL Viewer 2 or 3 it is not possible to copy names in chat. Previously, when I was typing responses I would often copy-pasted names into my response. There is no easy way to type extended characters or upside-down text. Plus getting the spelling of long names correct is a problem. So, Display Names has made it much harder to deal with names in chat.
What To Do?
I encourage you to take the time to read Avril’s article. If you agree that Display Names as currently implemented are more of a problem than a solution, please visit the JIRA SVC-7125 and click WATCH. You can click Vote too, but the Lindens do NOT take Votes as seriously as they do WATCH. So, please click WATCH.
Please send your like minded friends to this or Avril’s article and ask them to consider Watching the JIRA.
I do like the solution that Avril puts forward. I think having an option to enter two names, first and surname, would solve many problems. For ease of signup the last name could be optional. But, allowing one to enter the last name rather than selecting from a list is a good idea.
I also think it really important that some means of changing names be allowed. I understand the possibilities for griefers to change names. But, new users starting out will make mistakes. Especially since no one can tell them what SL really is… they have no clue whether a real name or a fun, rude, or sexy name is more appropriate for SL.
I really don’t like seeing sucky names like bob14253649247593.
While Firestorm has provided a way to keep friends names in a useable order, no matter how many times they change their DN, it is just another annoyance.
I would hope that some better naming process could be devised. With all the pseudonym discussion going on I think it is obvious some sort of Circles style solution is needed for names. Could I have a DN for my RPG/Combat game? Another for my PG circle of friends? Another for Business contacts? I mean this is SL, which should reflect our RL personas, which we do keep separate.
UPDATE 8/19: It seems the old naming convention is still in use. Hamlet at NWN’s posted: How to Create a Second Life Avatar With a Last Name (If You Hate SL’s New Naming System, Which Many Do)