Display Names/History

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Residents have been requesting "Can I change my name?" since Second Life was in open beta (2003). It's a popular question rooted in MUCH history, substantiating its benefits for Resis both existing and new.

Thus, Display Names can be sensibly presented as a culmination of many longtime wishes, of which I (Torley) present the following to you below, a sampling of where "Can I change/choose my name?" has appeared before.

And feel free to add other independent mentions!

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Let's go to the Issue Tracker:

There are a some dupes, too. FURTHER BACK IN HISTORY... this dates back over seven years ago!

Holy crap, a question I answered in 2006:

Almost 50 more mentions in the forum archives! (Some are jokes.)

Many threads about last name limitations in particular:

But why stop there? Let's head to Resi blogs, universities, and beyond! All these are related to the meaning of names, identity, and flexibility (or lack thereof) in customizing. In some cases they've cited our own support materials.

Other inworld-culture use cases

Practical observations from Torley during early Display Names development (some of these would later be highlighted in this video):

  • Display names can replace the need for "titler" scripted gadgets that show someone's desired name (or nickname).
    • With some exceptions, since we won't be allowing extensive ASCII art that isn't intended to be a reasonable name.
  • Display names provide relief for Residents who've been irked by their name, yet didn't want to start a new account since that'd separate them from their inventory and acquired history (like extensive friends lists).
  • Partners can FINALLY share a last name OR hyphenate it! Linden Lab has granted this on VERY rare cultural occasions ("FairChang") but it's no longer a "love limitation". I suspect those who roleplay SL families can also show solidarity as belonging to a "clan" rather than just group titles. It goes one step further.
  • People with numbery names like "Bob4458 Jones" can simply appear as "Bob Jones". Display Names are forgiving!
  • Roleplayers can pick a different display name for their character for greater immersion, and simply do away with their last name if they want to be like Yoda (but not infringe on his rights ;) ). So, it's not just for "augmentists" who want their real, legal name in here.
  • Localization possibilities via Unicode has been brought up, and certainly is one to keep championing.

See also