That Which We Call a Rose…

…might actually be Ahuva Heliosense. At least, so I understand from the announcement about Display Names. Everyone and their dog has begun commenting on Display Names, one of the new features unveiled at SLCC 2010. This is indeed one of the topics that has merely confirmed my opinion that I am lazy, that I have limited energy to devote to tracking information, and that I do not need to be an expert on all things. On the other hand, nothing in that previous sentence will stop me from giving MY 2 cents worth.

First, I’m listing a bunch of links. I wish I could publish the group chat. *sigh* No, I like you folks, I wouldn’t do that. But the coding/technical group to which I belong – wow – they went ballistic. There may indeed be just cause. LL claims that Display Names will not change how scripts work. Okay, as much as I give LL the benefit of the doubt, I’ve spent my professional life in software development. I’ll believe that the changes are transparent when I actually run the code myself.

The official announcement from the labs by Jack Linden
Of course Torley has a video
Dusan Writer has thoughts on this as well
Tateru Nino doesn’t seem all that impressed
Ordinal Malaprop sees some good in it

I can’t list anymore. You go and follow the links. It isn’t even the original posts – it’s the torrent of comments on each post.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I believe that corporations can and will be doing business in virtual worlds. It’s not just meetings because of budget economy. I believe that if we write the tools for business applications, working in a virtual world can simplify interfaces, thereby simplifying communication and helping solve the business issues. So when I heard that LL was parking SLE, I was disappointed. I have talked to some very smart people about this, people who know the technical issues. Certainly there are enough people speculating on the business reasons to end SLE. So if LL wants to get back to the residential community, as Gwyneth LLewellyn posts, or if they simply find the business community non-profitable as Prokofy Neva suggests, that is their prerogative.

Here’s my 2 cents. I don’t want to change my name. I don’t want other people using MY name. I even got used to the idea of forced last names. I like subtle indicators and last name was a real clue to the age of an avatar.

Having stated my bias, it seems to me that there are really only two groups of people who need to change their avatar names: the folk who are trying to do RL business in SL and the folk who didn’t understand that they would be stuck with a “strange” name and now regret it. I have read about people in Role Playing sims “needing” to change their names. I’m not quite sure that I understand that. It seems to me, speaking from the depths of my inexperience, that those people should be fine with the floating text provided by group tags. You can change your floating text very easily. So if you need to change your name frequently for role playing, it seems to me that you already have that capability, WITHOUT endangering all the scripts and, forgive me, MY name.

If you signed up with a first name that you now find awkward, I think there should be some process in place to allow you to change it. Yes, that will require effort on the part of LL. But it could be done. There is no reason such a process needs to be speedy (in the sense of immediate – do it NOW) nor does it need to be under user control. (Oh dear, I suspect my developer bias just showed. And *I* am the liaison between the coders and the clients….) /me waves hand imperiously, dismissing that group of users

That leaves the business crowd, the ones who insist that they have to use their REAL names to do business. I should be in that group, I suppose. I am still conflicted on it. Having been “outed” several times in the last year (always with my consent), I will say that it was extremely uncomfortable at first. I attended some conferences held in SL where attendees were asked to float their RL names above their avatars. It was not mandatory, but strongly preferred. I thought about not doing it. Then I looked at my mentor and coworkers and friends who displayed their names. I thought about it and did the same. I think that it’s much like the first time I went out in public in a bikini. Or went out in public wearing a strapless top. I FELT incredibly exposed. But no one else really saw me as exposed. Would that be the Emperor’s New Clothes in reverse? Anyway, I’m wandering.

Since it appears that LL is NOT interested at this time in actively supporting and recruiting the corporations and educational institutes and other business, I don’t see who NEEDS this Display Name feature in SL. My guess is that most of the dev work was already done and they are rolling this feature out to show that they are still alive, still developing, still responding to their client base. I am not sure, however, that their professed target community wants or needs this feature. For most SL drama, I wouldn’t care. SL is made up of many diverse people, all with different priorities. LL is a privately held company that can make whatever business decisions it wishes to make. But I am immersed enough to not be happy at the idea that somehow “my” name may be damaged. “MY” name. You know me as Ahuva Heliosense. *I* know me as Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t want that changed. I don’t want other people being able to be Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t even want people “almost” to be Ahuva Heliosense by displaying “MY” name, even if their unique name is something different.

My solution? LOL. My solution is probably another whole blog and not original. Go create a new, UNIQUE avatar. Link that avatar to your existing avatar with full rights to the inventory. There. Done. You can have whatever name you want as long as it’s not mine. AND you have all your existing inventory from your original avatar. *grin* Hey. I didn’t say I’d thought it out all that carefully, or that it would be easy. Just keep your hands and your display off MY name, okay????

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