Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ask Eddi: What Is Your Position On Alts?

My Second Life Alt Ryce Skytower Being Groovy

Note from Eddi:  Here is an actual comment that was recently placed left on this blog under one of my photographs of various hot Second Life avatars, and my answer to the person who left the comment. 

I wrote a similar column on the same issue back in 2009 which you can read here.  This is not an update, of the same content:


A reader left a comment on this blog recently under one of the many "hot avatar" posts that I publish.

"_______________" is an alt".  What is your position on alts?

Dear concerned reader:

Usually underneath but sometimes riding them in a cowboy postion. 

Levity aside, I appreciate the time you took in leaving me information here. Unfortunately, I cannot publish this information.  Why is this?

The reason is that I will never publish any comment here which reveals the "true identity" of avatars whom I photograph, or any negative comment at all about any Second Life resident. This is the Golden Rule of this blog, and one that I scrupulously enforce- to blog about others as I wish them to blog about me. 

Now, please let me give yourself and  anyone who places such comments on blogs, or feels it is their duty to "snitch" on anyone who has an alt (alternative account) in Second Life to third parties some heartfelt advice. 

Unless the (suspected) alt involved is doing something clearly malicious or unfair (I will get into this in a bit), there is nothing wrong with having one or more as needed. And you are probably demeaning yourself in the eyes of others by revealing information, especially if it was told to you in confidence. 

Just about everyone who has been in Second Life for several months has one or more alts. In fact, anyone who owns a business in Second Life probably has several. What are some of the  typical reasons why someone would make one?

1. Storage -- If you have more than 10,000 items, you may want to create an alternative account to store excess items.

2. Business Reasons:  If you own a business, and do not want to be in "work mode" whenever you log on, you might create an alt to give yourself "breathing room". The main reason I have Ryce Skytower, my alt (and as far as I know the only alt who wears a tag to this effect and has his own blog) is to let myself have breathing space at night -- I tend to be contacted by many people who want blog coverage, or to get me to come and photograp their event, and I simply do not want to work and answer scores of publishing related IMs during most evening hours.

In addition, Ryce does things that I feel uncomfortable doing as Eddi -- such as occasionally dancing nude in public at more risque Second Life clubs and beaches. One can let their hair down with an alt. 

3. A Fresh Start: Someone who has recently ended a relationship, or wants to "start a new Second Life" for any reason might create an alt -- and keep their old account intact just in case they decide to revert back to their original identity. (I recommend never cancelling an account -- just about everyone I know who continues in Second Life regrets cancelling their first account over time).

4. Having an account to log in as in case your primary account is locked out due to technical issues. 

What are the wrong and dishonest reasons for making an alt? Here are some. 

1. To try to see if your partner is cheating on you by making an alt that picks up your significant other. I have no worries in this regard because I am in a warm and loving long-term open relationship.  However, I have to think that anyone who seeks to "trap" their Second Life significant other with an alt should not be in a relationship with them to begin with.  

Some individuals might want to have an alt so they can have "sex on the side" outside of their main relationship.  If you want to do this, at least discuss it with your partner beforehand.  I imagine that "alts" of partners have hooked up in Second Life in the past, with both parties wondering if that avatar they just had hot sex with is their Second Life partner's secret alt.

2. Winning pay-for-vote contests. These used to be the rage in Second Life. In prior years, avatars were harassed by their contacts to come vote with Lindens at a location in some beauty contest which they entered. Happily, this practice has subsided. 

Thousands of Lindens have been stolen by unscrupulous individuals who conduct these contests, collecting voting funds which promise to be paid out to the winner, and then have an alt -- or someone whom they are close to -- win the contest by upping the cash till at the last minute -- getting all their money back, and everyone else's in the process.  I know this happened once, and I am glad these rackets are few and far between now. Never ever pay your Lindens in contest like this -- unless they are conducted by reputable organizations for good purposes such as charity fundraising - such as the recent Second Pride Christmas Tree event.  

3. It is possible to log on now as multiple avatars.  One way to win club contests is to log on with several accounts and vote for yourself. 

4. To grieve and harass residents and businesses through other means. However, since Second Life keeps track of your ip address (as does other banned Second Life Software) any such grieving can have all your accounts banned at once if you violate enough Second Life terms and conditions. 

Bitchy gay gossips at work.  Hey do you know so-and-so is an  alt?

There are other "good" and "bad" reasons for having alts. But by itself, just having one is totally acceptable. And if you wish to have a fresh start in Second Life, by all means make one. But just saying so-and-so is an alt means nothing, and really will bore just about everyone involved, and making yourself seem like a bitchy gossip if you reveal this information if a trust has been given to you. 

And that is my advice for today. 

--- Eddi

Note, If you want me to answer your question, please leave a comment here, and I answer it if I can in an upcoming column.  Anonymous questions are fine. 


  1. Thanks for addressing this issue again, Eddi.

    People too often assume that an alt is only about fraud. I think an alt can also be about courage and the willingness to let go of the past.

    If you've ever experienced a hurtful ending or loss in SL, you know that the silence of a once vibrant existence can be deafening. We don't have five senses in SL to fill the void and usually our RL support systems are not open for this kind of grief.

    As much as we like to feel that our SL is full of friends and connections, it's mostly about the "one" in all of us. Sometimes a new home for the "one" is the best option for everyone.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. These are well spoken words. And sometimes, you might decide to tell just certain people about who you were in Second Life, and avoid others who might, for whatever reason, caused you pain the past. A new account, or new alt can also be a way to repackage who you are and drop things about your online presence that you bother you.


Please Note- We never publish negative comments, or publish inappropriate information, about any Second Life or other Virtual World Resident. Thank you for keeping things positive! Ryce & Eddi
Addendum- September 2018 - We no longer anonymous comments advertising links to other blogs.