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Display Names and new SL Account names explained…

There has been a lot of confusion and even panic recently in regards to both, the new LL feature called Display Names and new account signup names. I’m going to attempt to clear as much of that up as possible to the best of my ability.

First of all, what are Display Names?… Display Names is a new feature designed to allow users to create a name of their choice. Not to be confused with a (user name). The user name is the name you signed up with to LL. This is the name you sign into the viewer with and this cannot be changed.

A Display Name can be just about anything up to 31 characters long. Only people on viewers that support display names will be able to set and see display names on other avatars. If you are on a viewer that supports display names, there will be options to see either display name only, display name AND user name, or just user name. If you have display names enabled, while on LL V2, the chat you see from users who have a display name set will reflect that display name and not their user name (from what I understand). If your on a viewer that supports display names, and you have it set to only show display names, you can always open a users profile to see their original user account name.

The next release of Phoenix Viewer expected out in the next few weeks will have support for display names a well, however you will have an option to list users in chats by their user name, display name & user name or just display name.

There has been a lot of negativity surrounding Display Names, and while I don’t entirely agree (personally) that display names are a great idea, I will say that they are NOT evil! They do have some good use cases like for Role Playing, or simply fixing a typo in your user name. Married couples can now have a common last name, etc. Yes, display names can be abused and used for malicious behavior, however this is no different than most any feature in SL. The vast majority of users will be using display names appropriately and as they were intended to be used.

I’ve heard reports first hand that people are passing out scripts that auto ban anyone using a display name. While land owners do have the right to ban/eject anyone they wish for whatever reason they choose, I strongly urge people not to do this to users just because they have a display name. There are many valid reasons and uses for display names and I suspect a lot of people will be using them. However if you see someone who has set their display name to your account name, with the intention of impersonating then I would strongly suggest you abuse report them. Ejecting and banning accounts who do this from your land.. in that case.. I think would be reasonable.

LL has made some changes to the sign up process. No longer will last names be available primarily because Display Names allows users to create whatever name they want. Old accounts signed up with a (firstname lastname). New accounts only have a first name and the last name is automatically “resident”. This has caused a lot of confusion among people who have recently signed up with one of these account names and dont know how to log into older viewers that have a (Firstname Lastname) login field. Simply login with your first name, being the name you chose when you signed up, and use “resident” as your last name. For example, if your username is thejoesmith: First Name: thejoesmith Last Name: resident

Old users who have a firstname lastname might notice that logging into website no longer has firstname and lastname fields. You guys log in using firstname.lastname. So for example I log in as jessica.lyon

I hope this clears up some of the mass confusion going around about display names and new account names.
Here are some links with more information.

LL Documentation on display names:

Must see Torley Video on display names:

A must see follow up Torley video on Display Names:

Documetnation on SL Usernames:

Jessica Lyon
Phoenix Viewer

  • I dont use a lot phoenix, but i just downloaded V2 with display names, good to know some people ban this but I dont care, Im using it.
    HEre is my experience, ive seen a lot of ppl using it, but they only add their partners names, their old names or stuff like that.. I havent seen yet anyone trying to abuse of it. One of the things I see positive is the display names is something you cannot change every 20 minutes, you have to keep the display name selected ONE WEEK, so if someone wants to grief or so, they dont have option to hide. I made something with my friend, we played like we were attacking each other with the display names, of course thinking like we were using each other names, just thinking ok? lol I dont want to have his name all this week.. and guess what? the REAL user name always appear if you want to ban them or report them.. When you check at their profile, the user name appears besides, when you check their objects, the user name appears too, when you pick up them from chats the same.. the thing is that the real user name appears. when you click over someone.. the same.. Its my experience until now.. i will see it dangerous if you werent able to see in anyform the real username, but it appears!! always!! and well i only disaprove ppl banning users with V2 display names whitout knowing it really… One thing is clear to me.. unfortunately we will miss a little the last names of avies becauste that gave a little personality to our avies, but I think that unfortunately we have to see LL like a monarchy where the “king” will make what he wants, its up to us to leave or stay.. he doesnt care how pissed off we can be. Thats the sad true

    Farabeuf Bouevier

    November 19, 2010

  • I dont understand why so drama from some people.
    For me, I like more use the old way. I think is a nice feature, but I just like to know people by tehir user name (less confusing for an old player)then I just turned off and no problem lol.

    So for people that dont like this new feature, just turn off. Is easy isnt?

    And I agree with Farabeuf. They would keep the last name in new usrs. This give to us some kind of personality and even by the last name we can know like if our avatars are new or old, a common use last name or others that only few people have. But now everybody will look with the last name as “resident”? lol
    I’m happy with my last name, is something that you can choose at the begining and limited to some people and that make you unique 🙂

    Kitsune Shan

    November 19, 2010

  • i just see it as a tag…….


    November 20, 2010

  • I like the idea of display names. It allows me to use my fursona name in world instead of that rather silly Danball Tureaud that I have been since Jan 2007.

    Danball Tureaud

    November 20, 2010

  • It’s worth stating that it will not allow you to make a dispaly name of a current SL resident. If you tried to use a Lindens name or something, it wonlt let you. The potential for greifing with this is almost non existant.

    Michael Aironaut

    November 20, 2010

  • @Michael….I’m not sure if I am understanding you correctly, as I was definitely able to use a current username (my other avatar) as my display for another one of my avatars. It will not, at least is supposed to not, allow you to use Linden in your display name, but current usernames (resident names) are up for grabs.


    November 20, 2010

  • How do I log in from Phoenix with a new account?

    Xio Jester

    November 20, 2010

  • You can only login with the new acct names from the SL V2 viewer from what I have experienced so far. VERY not happy with being forced to use viewer 2 right now. I want my Phoenix back, durnit.


    November 20, 2010

  • Squee! I was wring, I figured it out. Your first name field would be the new user name, the last name field is simly “Resident” Proceed as usual


    November 20, 2010

  • As with everything else associated with Viewer 2, this is change for the sake of change with no improvement. Another remarkable waste of time brought to you by LL.


    November 20, 2010

  • an era has ended.. i dont understand why LL changes this… the first name/last name thing was unique to SL and think it was very charming…

    Melvin Starbrook

    November 21, 2010

  • As Jessica mentioned, for role play the display name suits you well. I am playing a role in a wild west rpg in sl, an old country doc in a small western town, whose name is Daniel Cody. Now people tend to adress me with my avatar’s login name which is Tiberius Pfeffer. With the display names, I can set the name on top of my head to the role play name and they won’t call me Tiberius anymore. *smiles*
    I’m really looking forward to be able to do it using Phoenix, because Phoenix is still my favourite viewer and I really hate V2.


    November 21, 2010

  • Yes..we REALLY needed this feature..above and beyond any other things.. like perhaps time spent on improving stability. Nice to see LL really know how to set priorities.

    Connie in a Sec

    November 21, 2010

  • why cant they just let us change our last names? We could pay them for this – they like money. I fing hate my last name, and will use a new display name but the way they have it set up makes it virtually useless for my avi to use as a stage name.


    November 21, 2010

  • Actually, display names are damned near useless for anyone but a new signup, or someone involved in only 1 sim/1 roleplay. If you are involved with multiple sims/roleplays, this will not be of use at all, since you can only change your display name once a week, *not* as needed. Another great idea implemented in a cocked-up way by LL.

    Angelia Silvia Dacia

    November 21, 2010

  • I personally like display names. I use viewer 2 (although I hate its interface) usually because all too many times I have changed clothes on Phoenix and appeared naked to everyone except me.
    Display names means be and my sisters can all have the same names. DIsplay names means my married friends can all share surnames with their partners. It is EASY to tell people’s user names. It can highlight your friends tags for you if you want it.
    I don’t know about the new usernames – it does seem a shame if they are dropping last names. But to sign in to the website or a viewer with just one username box, I just use a space (not a ‘.’) – it is really easy


    November 21, 2010

  • This comment has been removed by the author.


    November 22, 2010

  • I’m going to make a point of having display names turned off in world. Presumably I can still see the display name in people’s profile, so that I can also make a point of continually referring to them by their USER name so they are absolutely certain that display names are not going to wash with me 🙂


    November 22, 2010

  • It is my understanding that Display Names is only part of a bigger move to make SL names compatible with other social networks (facebook, myspace, et al) in the form of firstname.lastname.
    As I’m not usually associating my SL name with RL social networks, this has little impact on me personally but I just wanted to point out, it isn’t change for changes sake, there’s something else going on here.
    It seems a little limiting for everyone to have the last name Resident. Surely the list of typical first names will run low quickly and eventually we’ll have to add numerals or call ourselves odd names no one would ever give to a real person.
    So you could be Dan2010c.Resident or MyRealNameIsDan.Resident – but be quick for this gem!

    The Noise

    November 22, 2010

  • sighs; so much resistance to change; like there has to be a reason. Change is a constant, and in Second Life it occurs more rapidly than it does in real life. For whatever reason LL does things, it is their prerogative to do so, at their hazard. I am using Phoenix and stick with it.


    November 22, 2010

  • Logging into the site with Firstname Lastname (using a space instead of a ., and the original capitalization) works just fine.


    November 22, 2010

  • Well, for one thing it isnt all that useful for roleplay due to the once a week limit, for another there seeems to be some sort of bug with the system where people’s names are showing up as ???, or even someone elses name entirely.

    Dont know if thats a problem with V2 itself or the system as a whole though.


    November 23, 2010

  • It has always seemed to me something as a nonsense that one has been lumbered with the user name you might have picked in a moment of madness on first signing up for SL. For many years (before I doscovered SL) I was an inveterate chatter on Yahoo which enables one to have up to 7 different ‘display names’. It’s great fun, for example at Christmas, soon to be upon us, to have a seasonable name. Oh dear, all those ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’


    November 24, 2010

  • Just to clarify on the issue of website login using first and last name in one field, it also works in the format “firstname< space >lastname” (unfortunately the blog software mutilates the way I wanted that to show up, it’s supposed to be your avatars firstname followed by a space character (using the spacebar on the keyboard) then followed by your avatars lastname) for example I login using “Aeronya Arai” with a space character between the first and last name. I just wanted to clarify that you don’t need to use a period between the first and last name when logging into the SL website as your article claims, as I indicated using a space between them as you would when you right them out on paper also works to login to the SL website.

    Aeronya Arai

    November 24, 2010

  • I run an events venue, hosting many many musicians each week. I have several musicians using the new display name feature to list their actual name for reasons of self-promotion. This makes total sense for them.

    I think this whole broo-haha on display names is a tempest in a teapot. Each individual can choose what they display or not. If they’re smart in their choice they’ll be fine. If they’re not, they may wish they had been. After 20+ years of online community life, I realize you can only do so much to save others from their own stupidity.


    November 25, 2010

  • I’m a RPer… both fetish and cyber punk, and for that I think display names are brilliant… now I can play an alt on the same account without using a titler to rename myself, or my mistress can give me a new name as she sees fit. And the promotion thing Aamused mentioned, also brilliant. Sure, it can be used to grief, but actually, because you can choose to still see account names its not as griefer friendly as alot of people are trying to make it appear. I think its a happy and welcome addition.

    Ayami Imako

    November 26, 2010

  • I’ve got a SL account but how do I log into Phoenix, it’s asking for a first and last name, i don’t remember inputing that anywhere when signing up for SL, help please.


    November 26, 2010

  • Hi, just type in a username and Resident as last name


    November 26, 2010

  • Thank you for taking time to explain all the newer LLv2 junk along with the fact that you guys are hard at it and still trying to develop the best viewer on Second Life – kudos to all on the team! Live long and prosper!


    RoyBoy Bigboots

    November 26, 2010

  • kinda sad they do this sort of stuff ..the name thang the choosing of the last name list was cool really was …the wildness and all…the thangs they have done makes me want to cry cause its becoming harder and harder to understand …we are not all Computer Geeks many of us are just rather simple be it just cause or some sort of illness causing it… this BS they throwing at us constantly just crazy i came to SL to RP Phonex made it the eastiest but am scared its going to be hard even


    November 27, 2010

  • I haven’t yet, because of the fact that so many people use phoenix and it hasn’t supported Display names so far, but eventually I’m gonna start ignoring people when they don’t call me by my display name lol. In my case, its not a name i chose Arbitrarily, Its what i go by every other place on the internet, but i never could on SL because of having to do it FirstName/LastName Style, and it looking stupid as hell to use the name i wanted as a first name and have a random last name. Its good that it’s an option to show only User names, but i recommend showing both, if ur not comfortable with only Display names. Calling people by their display names is always the best bet, because if they didnt want to be called that they wouldnt have set it.

    Evil Plush Toy

    November 30, 2010

  • Jessica wrote: «People are passing out scripts that auto ban anyone using a display name»

    Wow, that’s a great idea! I’m gonna implement that on my land ASAP. Thanks for the tip, Jessica!

    Tuvalkin Karu

    December 2, 2010

  • Why are people so opposed to this as though its the players making the choice? Its just a new feature on the game and despite the hate people show to it its not going to change.

    I think this is a cool feature and I will be utilizing it once Phoenix updates (which I’m eagerly waiting for)because as much as I love the avatar that I created and built the inventory up on, the name is something that I’ve grown to dislike. I’ve always wanted to change it, but don’t have the time and money needed to get a new avie to the same inventory and standing position as my four year old avie. And as far as partnering and people that play family members “parents, siblings” this now gives them the chance to share a same surname. Yes, LL could make it that you can pay for a name change, but that doesn’t guarantee that the surname you want will be available to you cause its more then likely that someone out their already has it as there is a limited amount of time that a name can be used and such. And this way, you can change the name no matter what and for free as well. So why complain?

    And I’ve seen a lot saying “I’m just not going to have it set to show”. Again, why? This feature can’t be used for hidden griefing anymore then any other griefing tool already out there in the game already. Bans and mutes will do it by the username (which can also be seen easily by going to the persons profile)so its no less secure then the game as it is now. Not to mention you can no longer create accounts with a first and last name set, so not having this feature on is going to surround you with the name “Oddname Resident”. I would much rather see the person’s chosen username then having to wade through a sea of “Residents”

    It will also bring around an end to mass alts because people will no longer have to create an alt just to get a new name. All they have to do is change their display name and boom, a new character.

    So yes, it adds nothing to the stability or running of the game, but I still think its going to be a pretty cool feature. It allows people more freedom to pick and choose their avatars names to THEIR creative want and not from a dictated list of previously chosen names. It gives people the change to fix spelling mistakes or remove numbers or even capitalize letters they may have forgotten in the past.

    I don’t see the reason for the hate or fear. Its a game and all its doing is giving its user more freedom with their avatars name. Might as well embrace it because all the anger in the world isn’t going to stop it.


    December 2, 2010

  • why is it when i log in to phoenix it tells me the builder bridge was not made by phoenix ,,even tho i down loade it fronm the official web site, can u explain that one oh wise ones,,, btw sarcasim


    December 3, 2010

  • Thank you LL for giving me another reason to feel old, (sarcasm.) I’ve been on SL and got to see my own chosen last name phased out of existence. While I’m trying not to wax nostalgic it does create a problem of possible names that could be linked to the single resident last name just as there are a finite number of numbers that can be generated through an algorithm in mathematics. While the pro and con for a player is something of personal preferences the problem of the numerical limit is partially settled though, log-ins will in all likelihood start to experience more errors until the system of registration is altered. A hybrid of the generic resident surname with the older standard selections might have saved the headache but, LL has made their choice and it give us something interesting to watch from the labs to solve it when it becomes overwhelming.

    Saint Lucifer

    December 3, 2010

  • How much more crap do people want floating over their heads? Group titles were bad enough. Why not just eliminate avatars altogether and just have floating profile pages moving about? Hey, let’s just bag SL altogether and make Facebook profiles for our avatars! Isn’t that where SL is heading anyway?


    December 3, 2010

  • whatta pain in the ass the new sign-up process has been. i created an account on Nov 22, and again on Dec 2, and i’m still waiting for my email for verification. it would be better for LL to concentrate more on getting new subscribers than worrying about display names and/or new viewers.


    December 5, 2010

  • Even though it’s old, might want to update the post to avoid any confusion. The thing about “Firstname Resident” is wrong. That’s only for script backwards compatibility. (and Phoenix, apparently?) I can login to other clients just fine with my old “firstname lastname”.

    A positive aspect of Display Names is they support Unicode characters for non-English speakers who always wanted their name in their native language.


    December 5, 2010

  • This comment has been removed by the author.


    December 7, 2010

  • The same thing is happening this time that happened the last time I updated the program. At least two of the files are duplicate and will not copy over the old files. I am not able to update to the new viewer.


    December 8, 2010

  • the thing most people who don’t like Display names seem to be overlooking is the fact that your real name also appears in your profile, so its not possible to completely hide who you are via a display name.


    April 15, 2011