As part of Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations an inworld Q&A session called Meet The Lindens takes place. Last night it was the turn of Linden Lab CEO to sit on the couch and answer questions.
SL Newser reporter Bixyl Shuftan reported on the event yesterday and as part of his report he wrote :
Ebbe was then asked if users of Sansar would have the option to chose their own names for their avatars, or would they be having to use real-life identities. Ebbe answered he was leaning to the latter, “I think what’s best for Sansar is real names. … anonymous identities makes things confusing.”
Hamlet Au over at New World Notes picked up on this and blogged : Project Sansar May Require RL Names, Suggests CEO. The comments on Hamlet’s post suggested that many people were not exactly enamoured by this news. Fortunately, Ebbe didn’t say that real names would be required for Project Sansar and this simply seems to have been a matter of crossed wires.
Inara Pey has the posted the full transcript and audio : SL13B: Ebbe on the Lab, Second Life, Sansar and more. Here we can see that Ebbe mentions that Linden Lab have been discussing issues of identity for Project Sansar and that real names are being discussed :
I have a preference, some other team players have slightly different preferences, so we’ll see where it ends up. But I think what would be best for Sansar would be real names, and then the ability to have personas underneath that.
This should not be taken in isolation, reading the full transcript we can see that Ebbe isn’t saying that everyone should have to display real names, but he feels it might be ideal if Linden Lab know your real name and that in certain circumstances you may well be in a setting where real names are a better option :
So I could go into a role-playing, or into an experience as an anonymous user in that context. But to the platform, I am not anonymous. And so, without making that too complicated and confusing, is that the right answer? We’ll see. But I think to, it would certainly help with griefing and other things. And it also supports a lot of interesting use-cases where anonymity is actually just really confusing, and actually gets in the way.
You can think of a lot of professional use-cases where there are teachers and students and professionals having meetings where these anonymous identities makes things really confusing; “I know Bob, I want to talk to Bob. Who the hell is this Jumping Jack guy?”
So we’re still debating this, and I’m pushing in one way, and people are pushing in different ways, and we’ll see where we end up. I mean, unfortunately, to implement real names is also really complicated. Do you hitch a ride with Facebook, or do you have to somehow build your own real name system.
There’s more, a lot more and I urge people to read it in full. If you want to go straight to this part of the transcript go here. The important things to note are that Linden Lab have not yet made a decision but it looks as if they are talking about the possibility of using your real name or a pseudonym depending upon the experience you’re visiting. This is not a new discussion at Linden Lab and has been going on since well before Ebbe Altberg joined the company.
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