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Why do avatars stay in the Database after you cancel an account?


Guku Aabye
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Hi Guku,

We're residents, just like you. So, we don't know why LL does what they do. But I'll guess that avatar names stay in the database to prevent new people from reusing old names and thereby inheriting old reputations. Should I leave SL, it might be awkward for someone to join using the name Madelaine McMasters. They'd have a lot of explaining to do.

For a more specific example, let's say that I created a bunch of products that were sold all across SL. Then I leave. Then someone else arrives and selects my name. It would be reasonable to expect that poor soul to be bombarded by support requests.

For this very reason, I know of no online platform that reissues usernames.

Now, if you're wondering why an avatar's inventory is maintained long after account deletion, I'll guess that's for two reasons:

  1. Inventory takes very little space, it's really just links to stuff. Deleting an account doesn't save them much money.
  2. LL has a better chance of collecting the $9.95(9?) reactivation fee if people know there's a chance of recovering everything.
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Hi Guku,

We're residents, just like you. So, we don't know why LL does what they do. But I'll guess that avatar names stay in the database to prevent new people from reusing old names and thereby inheriting old reputations. Should I leave SL, it might be awkward for someone to join using the name Madelaine McMasters. They'd have a lot of explaining to do.

For a more specific example, let's say that I created a bunch of products that were sold all across SL. Then I leave. Then someone else arrives and selects my name. It would be reasonable to expect that poor soul to be bombarded by support requests.

For this very reason, I know of no online platform that reissues usernames.

Now, if you're wondering why an avatar's inventory is maintained long after account deletion, I'll guess that's for two reasons:

  1. Inventory takes very little space, it's really just links to stuff. Deleting an account doesn't save them much money.
  2. LL has a better chance of collecting the $9.95(9?) reactivation fee if people know there's a chance of recovering everything.
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It's a fundamental principle of database design that you don't recycle unique identifiers (in this case UUIDs), and in SL usernames/legacy names are bound to UUIDs in a 1:1 relationship, so it would be difficult to recycle them.

Furthermore, deleting your account doesn't necessarily delete all instances of items you've made or uploaded.   There must be thousands of copies of scripts I've made sitting in rezzed items belonging to other people, or in items in people's inventories, and if I deleted my account they'd continue to work.    At least I hope they would.   It would doubtless mess up LL's database no end if  the "creator" field in the database entry for those scripts pointed to a non-existent UUID.

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Agreed, but even in systems where the public facing identifier is not the internal UUID, you'd not want to recycle the public identifier for the reasons I described. Imagine a system where I could come back as a new account with the name Madelaine McMasters but a new UUID. There would be no database confusion about who I am, but there would be a lot of confusion for other users, who would know me by the name, not the UUID. The SL display name system sorta works because everybody presumably knows that display names do not identify us, the unique usernames do (though we know from experience that not everybody remembers this ;-).

I belong to a couple forums that have both username and nicknames. Everybody's nicknames are complex things because they can't be reused, even though they're not the UUID. I haven't looked carefully at everything I belong to, but I wonder if there are places that allow for non-unique/reuse of display/nick names.

And this brings up a question about sites that use e-mail address as the unique ID. What happens if you quit such a system and also retire your e-mail account? Someone else could return using the same e-mail address. Would they be able to resurrect your old identity? Domain names (and the e-mail addresses that germinate from them) are not perpetually unique. They are bought, sold, retired, resurrected, etc. If I hosted a system, I'd have to balance the probability of someone cancelling their account then changing their mind against the potential for an e-mail address changing hands without my knowing.

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