I'm dead to me. June 27, 2010 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Not a pony, but a question about username changes, or lack thereof.

It's stated clearly both in the FAQ and several old MeTalk threads that except in the case of very new members and very extenuating circumstances there will be no name changes. The reasoning given is that one's name is one's identity on here. The thing is, I want to change my name rather than buy a new account for that precise reason. I'd want my posting history, etc. to be associated with my new account and some new guy with no posting history is not cmoj, even if I make a note of it in new guy's profile.

I'm not very new and I'm not covering my tracks fleeing from international terrorists or anything, so I'm not anticipating getting a name change. I just have a much better one in mind and winder what peoples' thoughts are about this.
posted by cmoj to Etiquette/Policy at 6:20 PM (120 comments total)

I also wonder.
posted by cmoj at 6:30 PM on June 27, 2010


Sounds like a Trojan Horse.
posted by unliteral at 6:32 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


We've seen a few people buy new accounts and explicitly link them to their old accounts on their profile page. I'm not sure what you're asking here exactly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:36 PM on June 27, 2010


I'd want my posting history, etc. to be associated with my new account

"Associated" is kind of vague. How exactly do you want them to be "associated"?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:40 PM on June 27, 2010


I think he means he wants to keep his "stats".
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:42 PM on June 27, 2010


To see all that history and stuff you want to keep we'd have to go to your profile page anyway. So then it's no different just having a link to the old profile. Some people will remember and figure out that the new name is the old cmoj (and some of us will forget) but that's going to work just the same regardless of if it's a new account or a rename of the old one. You gain nothing by renaming, we gain clarity and a clear audit trail as to what's happened.
posted by shelleycat at 6:43 PM on June 27, 2010


Favorites don't transfer like mileage credits.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:45 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


as i understood it, this is also a google caching issue, right? it's not just about identity (even thought that's a totally valid reason all by itself).

i have many, many times considered a new account, but i don't because i do like that this is a history of me of sorts - so i get your angle on that. however, i'm still in favor of not letting us change names even though i'd jump at the chance.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 PM on June 27, 2010


But there's also contacts lists, recent activity, that sort of thing. Would be kind of a PITA to have to keep switching back to the old account to access those things.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:49 PM on June 27, 2010


I'd want my posting history, etc. to be associated with my new account and some new guy with no posting history is not cmoj, even if I make a note of it in new guy's profile.

There's the rub, though: some new name isn't "cmoj", and everybody who recognizes you right now would suddenly have no idea who this new person is. It's of its own right a big disruption of continuity of identity.

If you buy a new account and leave a very clear "hey, this is who I used to be / this is who I am now" pair of messages on the old and new profile pages, you're no worse off for recognizability, and you don't gaslight several tens of thousands of other people in the process.

This is not even digging into the question of messing up responses that quote your username, all of which would suddenly be nonsensical.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 PM on June 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Embrace your cmojness.
posted by crunchland at 6:57 PM on June 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


crunchland speaks truth.
posted by yhbc at 7:01 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


But what if there's a transporter malfunction? Which one of you is the real cmoj? Do you still want to get with Troi?
posted by klangklangston at 7:06 PM on June 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


One significant issue with a name change is it breaking all the times people refer to another user in a post or question, and would make it more confusing and less readable for people coming in at a future point.

If I changed my name to Mr. Awesome then all the comments like the following would be like people talking to someone who doesn't exist:

@6550: great suggestion but that's not the book I'm thinking of

6550, that's the best answer I've seen here!

I agree with 6550

6550, you're full of yourself

posted by 6550 at 7:06 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like real life, you're stuck with your name on Metafilter and you have to learn to live with it, be that or good or ill.

If you buy a new account and leave a very clear "hey, this is who I used to be / this is who I am now" pair of messages on the old and new profile pages, you're no worse off for recognizability, and you don't gaslight several tens of thousands of other people in the process.

This gets into an individual vs community line of thought. Should a user be able to "fool" everyone by just getting a new account? What sort of responsibility does a person have to let others know they've changed account names? Why difference does it make if it's an old user with a new name, as long as they aren't doing anything malice or manipulative?

Such questions interest me, particularly in online communities.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cortex, you're right, of course. The two options are pretty equivalent to me and other users in the end, but one of them screws anyone looking back and possibly the very fabric of the internet.

And, Mr. Blatcher, I'm interested in this idea too. Identity breaks down the harder we grip it. Especially in the abstract and especially on the internet.

And, yeah, my stats too. I was inordinately interested in FishBike's script showing who favorites who the most and all that.
posted by cmoj at 7:21 PM on June 27, 2010


I think cortex was saying the gaslighting would be happening if we just changed the username so that all posts by cmoj were now attributed to mofofojohnsonbone esq. or something. Our basic feeling is we'll let you use whatever crazy account name you want, but we expect that except for the occasional joke, you'll have one primary account here and that will link to one person [though we occasionally see husband/wife teams who will share an account]

We've seen some people who seem to be serial account hoppers, where they'll change account names every few months and we really find that behavior sort of antithetical to the whole community ethos. That is we-the-mods know that its one person under three or four different accounts, but other people don't, and we think that's a problem. Same thing where people reply to their own AnonyMe post [we've seen it rarely, or rarely that we've known it was happening] and we tell people to Knock That Shit Off.

That said the whole Brand New Day idea says that if you want to close the old account and open a new one and not mesh the two, we'll let you do it, but if you out yourself in the process we're not going to put you in a MeFite Witness Protection Plan.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's stated clearly both in the FAQ and several old MeTalk threads that except in the case of very new members and very extenuating circumstances there will be no name changes.

I'm pretty sure that's a loosey-goosier guideline than most. There are definitely members who would no longer be here if they didn't have the option to start fresh, which is a big plus in the policy's favour, but there are others who've abused the resource and perpetuate the same behavior - hell, even linking to their original account from the new one - yet expect Brand New Day immunity.

I've thought about getting a new account under my real name to spare myself confusion in threads about American Airlines and Alcoholics Anonymous, but frankly, anything over #100k is just unseemly.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:26 PM on June 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah and just to be crystal clear: we are 100% okay with people closing up and old account and opening a new one. We just won't change the name on an account from something to something else unless you've basically never used it or are on the run from the mob.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:28 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like real life, you're stuck with your name on Metafilter and you have to learn to live with it, be that or good or ill.

no kidding. I chose my name because of the song I was listening to at the time, not realizing it could have pornographic* or condescending** connotations.

* hehehehe "Think_Long". . . that's what she said!!

** yes, well sir, unlike you, I believe in my mensa-level IQ, hence I like to Think_Long
posted by Think_Long at 7:30 PM on June 27, 2010


We just won't change the name on an account from something to something else unless you've basically never used it or are on the run from the mob.

*makes plans*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 PM on June 27, 2010

Like real life, you're stuck with your name on Metafilter and you have to learn to live with it, be that or good or ill.
... sigh ...
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:38 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]




mofofojohnsonbone esq.
hurr hurr
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2010


Like real life, you're stuck with your name on Metafilter and you have to learn to live with it, be that or good or ill.

Except that ... in real life, you can change your name, while holding onto the associated data one's life tends to produce.

dirtynumbangelboy makes a good point too, with all the contacts and history you accumulate.

This is something I've wondered too - if the point is just to make sure users are associated with their histories, why not allow name changes (I wouldn't even care to pay another 5$ for the trouble) but have an icon on the page showing their past names on the site.

Say, if it cost 5$ every time, and also there was a limit, like only one name change a year or something.
posted by mannequito at 7:46 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Except that ... in real life, you can change your name, while holding onto the associated data one's life tends to produce.

Oh yeah, that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 PM on June 27, 2010


I'd love that, mannequito, but it unfortunately doesn't address the problem of name references in comments. And I doubt that changing every instance of (e.g.) dnab/dirtynumbangelboy/dirtynumbbagelboy in the database would be something mathowie (or pb) would look upon with much pleasure.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:55 PM on June 27, 2010


I agree with 6550/Mr. Awesome.

That way I have all my bases covered.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:01 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think once you have a user name you should stick with it.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:11 PM on June 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Perhaps there should be a note on the signup page alerting potential users to the fact that a username is forever. You don't want people making regrettable username choices, do you?
posted by Frottage Cheese at 8:13 PM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. Everything is forever. Choose wisely.
posted by ND¢ at 8:21 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Milking that missing ¢ key is forever.
posted by carsonb at 8:22 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I shall be dortmunder 2.
posted by fleacircus at 8:23 PM on June 27, 2010


I dunno about the mo part, but I think the C and J parts are really good. You're like a Mo' Me. Consider keeping your name or I will be gravely insulted.
posted by cj_ at 8:35 PM on June 27, 2010


They wouldn't let me have "bunnyfire" back but thankfully it turns out I really really like this username better.

If you want to change your name on here it really isn't that big of a deal (Unless you are Cortex or Jonmc or Stavrosthewonderchicken.) You are who you are, and that usually comes out pretty clearly if you are anything close to a prolific poster. And if you AREN'T a prolific poster most people wouldn't notice anyway.

So, really, it's worth the five bucks if you have a better name in mind. You can always post in your profile who you used to be if that is a concern.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:06 PM on June 27, 2010


well no, what i meant was say a small icon that would show next to your name as you post, which indicates to other users that your name has been changed, not that every time you write a comment your name shows all your past names as well.

but please, disregard me, as this thread has convinced me otherwise. Should I wish to change my name in the future, I'll just stick with the idea of providing my own link, on my new user info page, to the old one. Its actually a very simple idea and one I (somehow, cuz me so smart) hadn't previously considered.
posted by mannequito at 9:21 PM on June 27, 2010


I've thought about starting up a new username because my name is... you know... my name. Fortunately, I haven't had any problems with the mob, so I wouldn't bother asking the mods to change my name. I was a lurker for 2 years, though, so my history is only 6 mos old. I can understand not wanting to get rid of years of history, but I can also understand the mods' fears.
posted by Lizsterr at 9:21 PM on June 27, 2010


I was allowed a name change. I assume it was because I am special.
posted by item at 10:03 PM on June 27, 2010


Huhn, I never encountered the term gaslight until now

relevant Steely Dan song
posted by mintcake! at 10:19 PM on June 27, 2010


Except that ... in real life, you can change your name, while holding onto the associated data one's life tends to produce.

Metafilter isn't real life, is the main thing. The stakes are different—generally far lower on mefi, mainly—and the kinds of circumstances we need to account for are fewer and more specific.

And on Metafilter the answer to "can I change my username" is basically a flat "no", period, barring very exceptional circumstances (which, in their rarity, are "I just signed up and man what a stupid/typoed/ill-considered username choice was this" like 95% of the time at that). Folks who really want to change names need to sign up for a new account and manage that transition on their profile page(s); folks who want to start with a blank slate need to sign up for a new account and manage that lack of connection as well. In neither case are we going to retcon a username.

And that's just the decision we've made here specifically. There are a lot of different ways to manage identity and different sites/communities have all kinds of different policies, all of them reasonably valid depending on what you want to accomplish. This is just what we think is right for mefi.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 PM on June 27, 2010


Metafilter isn't real life
WHAT?
posted by Cranberry at 10:41 PM on June 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The stakes are different—generally far lower on mefi, mainly

Huh?! On MeFi, we play for BLOOD!

Especially since the name I really wanted was already taken when I signed up, but aparently never used. On the other hand, never_used_Torgo_shoes has a ring to it.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:20 PM on June 27, 2010


Holy jesus fuck, would I ever love to changed my damn username.

What about this --

You can change your name up to once a year. Each time, you pay $5. Nobody can ever use that name again, and your full posting history becomes attached to your new name. Furthermore, on your profile page, there's a complete list of your former usernames.

I can see no way in which this would harm the site. I can only see it helping. Especially for people who had the ill judgment to name themselves after a rather unfortunate haircut that they haven't had in years. It's really the only humane thing to do.

I know that it takes some time to code these things up, so how about this? What if you gave me temporary source code access and let me make the modification? I'm a senior-level programmer, I know what I'm doing.

I'm willing to invest a considerable amount of time in this. I'm completely serious. I really really really need to change my name. This is ludicrous already.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:14 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


* searches thread for "posted by mofofojohnsonbone esq."
* no results
* considers saying "that's the worst name I've ever heard", buying new account with nickname mofofojohnsonbone esq., posting "* cries"
* meh
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:39 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: “We've seen some people who seem to be serial account hoppers, where they'll change account names every few months and we really find that behavior sort of antithetical to the whole community ethos.”

Guess it's rare enough to see people go nuts like me and suddenly try to drag down the community and destroy every aspect of their Metafilter persona all in a single day, though, eh? Yeesh. I'm gonna just take two days off and freak out somewhere that I won't be lashing out at the people and the community I actually fuckin' care about.
posted by koeselitz at 1:06 AM on June 28, 2010


It is interesting to see so many ppl regretting their name choice. I think I took mine in exasperation (all other favs denied). I hate mine ("fur"?! I've never would have chosen a *fur* name!).

... can't even blame my parents this time ...
posted by Surfurrus at 1:31 AM on June 28, 2010


Actually, what I want is to insert a space between "Walter" and "Mitty", because I forgot it and didn't realise until months later.
posted by WalterMitty at 1:58 AM on June 28, 2010


cmoj, you can always think of a better username. Also, no one here, afaik, is judging your name except you. Also, in your profile, you can tell us the story of your state of mind when you chose this one and/or include a wishlist (or a regret list) of usernames that you'd much prefer instead. I'd read that.

Not trying to reject your question, but it's almost certain the mods won't change this rule, in which I wanted to point out that you do have options! And that yes, some guy with no posting history is not cmoj!
posted by mondaygreens at 3:42 AM on June 28, 2010


My username is the livejournal account name I had when I signed up. Didn't think I'd ever use it much.

Five years later and I can't believe that I had a livejournal account. Or a really emo username. Oh well. One of them, I'm stuck with. So much for "didn't think I'd use it." If I could change it, I'd go for something based on my actual name. Maybe in five years it would seem ridiculous that I have a "real name."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:48 AM on June 28, 2010


I'd hate to lose my spice


hey anyone wanna spousen hug... er... madaminvisible ?
posted by infini at 3:48 AM on June 28, 2010


"lee" is for sale, spotty, yet consistent posting history included!
posted by lee at 4:41 AM on June 28, 2010


I didn't realise you could have spaces in your name when I registered. What I would give to have spaces... *sigh*

I hated my username here for a while -- it's said some embarrassing old shite all over the internet, and is the online name I used when, well, scary tranny-chasers, long story, ew -- but now I've gotten used to it all over again. It's like 21 year-old me gives 30 year-old me a little poke every time I log on, to remind me not to be as pompous and foolish as I was back then.

It doesn't always work.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:49 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are those who think I am in league with The Great Deceiver. *sigh*

Anagrams are hard!
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:22 AM on June 28, 2010


"Five years later and I can't believe that I had a livejournal account. Or a really emo username. Oh well. One of them, I'm stuck with."

But then you would never have got this totes kick-ass shoutout!

'If I could change it, I'd go for something based on my actual name. Maybe in five years it would seem ridiculous that I have a "real name."'

Talk to Dave Faris.
posted by Eideteker at 5:57 AM on June 28, 2010


This is ludicrous already.

How long would it take you to sign up for a new account, add 114 contacts to your profile to follow and put a link on your profile page to your old account? I mean seriously, that's an hour of your time, involves no grand policy change and provides you with a fresh start while embracing your past.
posted by Hiker at 6:07 AM on June 28, 2010


I was able to get the first letter of my username changed from upper case to lower case. Thank god, that upper-case Marxchivist guy was an asshole.
posted by marxchivist at 6:18 AM on June 28, 2010


i created a great account with the coolest username ever ... but then i forgot the password.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:19 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be nice to be able to change your name, while retaining your contacts, favorites etc. Ideally, the profile page would mention you had changed your name, perhaps reveal what it was to logged in members.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I'm willing to invest a considerable amount of time in this. I'm completely serious. I really really really need to change my name.

So get a new account with the name you like. I really really really don't see the problem.
posted by languagehat at 6:48 AM on June 28, 2010


I want to change my username to "nakedcolourfulswans.ca" and have every appearance of it link to my pay-per-view website.
posted by orange swan at 6:59 AM on June 28, 2010


Here's a question for the mods:

So, I think I AM going to create a new username and leave this one in the dust (you guys can do it too, I promise!), but what if I want to ALSO create a sock puppet? Is it OK to have three usernames, as long as I'm not using them to get around the rules? This username will be kept only so I could link back to it.
posted by Lizsterr at 7:02 AM on June 28, 2010


Lizsterr:

The gun is good. The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was, but the gun shoots death, and purifies the Earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth . . . and kill!

Hope that clears things up for you.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:06 AM on June 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I the the only limit to sock puppets and name changes is sanity and your bank account.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:08 AM on June 28, 2010


So, I think I AM going to create a new username and leave this one in the dust (you guys can do it too, I promise!), but what if I want to ALSO create a sock puppet?

If you decide to retire Lizsterr in favor of a new primary account, go for it. If you decide to sign up a sockpuppet for e.g. anonymity in askme and aren't going to do anything weird with it, go for it. It's really two separate issues, so there's no specific issue with you doing both independently.

Also, if Meatbomb invites you over for "Zardoz Twister", decline.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:09 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


True that, that shoutout was indeed kickass and well worth having an emo Tom Waits reference for a username.

I'm actually going to be changing my *real* name in the not too distant future, which is going to be pretty sweet as my initials will be "sea."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:10 AM on June 28, 2010


If it opens up, can I change my username to cmoj?
posted by yeti at 7:12 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex: Good to know. And I most certainly will decline! I have no interest in playing twister with a man in a jock strap and suspenders. Pass.
posted by Lizsterr at 7:19 AM on June 28, 2010


What if I just want the underscores in my username switched around? Right now, I have the left underscore on the right, and the right underscore on the left because I think it looks neater that way. But if I decided I wanted to switch them, people would still know it's me (except for the obvious _ instead of a _). I mean, see how weird that looks? not_on_display. You would know it's me, but WOW, the way just switching the underscores changes the whole feel of my username. I'd be a freak! But you would still know it was me.
posted by not_on_display at 7:22 AM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF WE ARE CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL CAPSLOCK DAY TODAY OR NOT

PLZ ADVISE
posted by elizardbits at 7:26 AM on June 28, 2010


...you don't want people making regrettable username choices, do you?
posted by Frottage Cheese


snort
posted by workerant at 7:33 AM on June 28, 2010


If the whole point of not allowing name changes is to provide continuity for the community, then allowing people to close out their accounts and create new identities, or allowing them to make as many sockpuppet accounts as they like, without insisting on a link between the old uid and the new uids seems completely contradictory.
posted by crunchland at 7:41 AM on June 28, 2010


If the whole point of not allowing name changes is to provide continuity for the community, then allowing people to close out their accounts and create new identities, or allowing them to make as many sockpuppet accounts as they like, without insisting on a link between the old uid and the new uids seems completely contradictory.

I think the point is that there shouldn't be the need for mod involvement and coding to create a solution to a problem that exists on the individual user level only and that already has a solution.
posted by Hiker at 7:47 AM on June 28, 2010


I think user names are like tattoos. Though bright and colorful when new, they fade and become part users overall persona over time. At least they don't show stretch marks or sagging, nor do they require wearing long sleeve shirts to job interviews or long explanations about being really drunk in the Philippines in 74. So consider yourself lucky.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:06 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought we already had a discussion on the treatment and prevention of uids?
posted by infini at 8:09 AM on June 28, 2010


If the whole point of not allowing name changes is to provide continuity for the community, then allowing people to close out their accounts and create new identities, or allowing them to make as many sockpuppet accounts as they like, without insisting on a link between the old uid and the new uids seems completely contradictory.

If someone decides for whatever personal reason that they need a fresh start in the community, we won't stop them from doing that with a fresh account. If they do so and then appear specifically to abuse those circumstances, we'll deal with that as it arises. It doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

Likewise, if someone wants to responsibly use a sockpuppet for e.g. privacy reasons like we've discussed lately in the Anonymous Ask metatalk and elsewhere, that's fine. If someone really wants to spend $5 on a throwaway joke sockpuppet that, again, they use responsibly (which is to say pretty much just once or on rare, clearcut joke occasions), that's pretty much fine as well. If someone starts up a sockpuppet and uses it in an abusive or problematic way, we'll deal with that as well. Again, hasn't been much of an issue in practice, certainly not lately.

The continuity-of-username thing is in that same neighborhood of tricky questions, but they're not all of a single piece. There's lots of ways any given site/community could answer these policy questions; this is the way mefi is answering them, not because it's the most perfect or rigorously consistent set of answers but because it's the set of answers that we feel like does the most practical long-term service to this place, compromises and all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:12 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What if I just want the underscores in my username switched around?

That's your parallel-universe user name. Parallel-universe-you is evil and makes FPPs that get tons of "detests".
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:13 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Especially since the name I really wanted was already taken when I signed up, but aparently never used. On the other hand, never_used_Torgo_shoes has a ring to it.

*blink*
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:27 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were I to do it again, I would register under

Blackstone! William Blackstone!

I prefer the continuity of my history to a clever name, though, and I wear the "Day 2 Fidolla N00b!" badge right *here* on my sleeve.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:47 AM on June 28, 2010


I guess I'm no internet yukster because I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.
posted by cmoj at 9:00 AM on June 28, 2010


I guess I'm no internet yukster because I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

I see you have not met Mrs Gazpacho Blatcher yet?
posted by infini at 9:04 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

It helps with the crushing loneliness and the ennui, at least. It gets lonely in solitary.
posted by Schmoopy at 9:06 AM on June 28, 2010


I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

So are the rest of us.
posted by crunchland at 9:07 AM on June 28, 2010


There are some accounts like Mom and The Cabal and, gosh I can't remember them now, who show up in MeTa especially at opportune moments and make comments that are mostly funny because of the juxtaposition of username and comment. Which is totally hilarious to mutliple-level-humor-getters that we all consider ourselves to be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:08 AM on June 28, 2010


Which is totally hilarious to mutliple-level-humor-getters that we all consider ourselves to be.

Wait...
posted by That's What She Said. at 9:10 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


~ FIN ~
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:13 AM on June 28, 2010


(((cmoj)))
posted by hugbucket at 9:13 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine changing my username; I self-identify as much to 'quin' as I do to my real name. It's just a part of who I am now. (more specifically; the really scary, stabby, cannibalistic part of who I am.)
posted by quin at 9:15 AM on June 28, 2010


How long would it take you to sign up for a new account, add 114 contacts to your profile to follow and put a link on your profile page to your old account?

So get a new account with the name you like. I really really really don't see the problem.


Wow, way to execute a perfect dive, followed by a deft tuck-and-roll, culminating in artful summersault, all to MISS MY GODDAMN POINT ENTIRELY.

Look, I like the stuff on my profile page. I want to keep it there. I do not want to make people execute a second click just to get to that stuff. Furthermore, I have suggested a perfectly reasonable way of addressing the name-change problem, and have even volunteered to do the work on it.

So what, exactly, is your problem?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:35 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Afroblanco, I thought you were kidding earlier and don't know if you're not still kidding now, so forgive me if I'm tediously failing to run with the joke, but: changing a username is technically very simple. It would take me five seconds to do, literally. The problem is not us not knowing how, it's that it's not something we're going to do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 AM on June 28, 2010


Afroblanco: So what, exactly, is your problem?

You can't do it!

Why?

Because they said so!
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:43 AM on June 28, 2010


Right, no, I understand why you do not want to change peoples' usernames.

What I was suggesting was a way to change usernames that would not harm the site or disrupt the continuity of the community.

So, yes, I was being serious, although injecting my usual amount of hyperbole.

The the plan, which I outlined as such :

You can change your name up to once a year. Each time, you pay $5. Nobody can ever use that name again, and your full posting history becomes attached to your new name. Furthermore, on your profile page, there's a complete list of your former usernames.

Doesn't this answer all of your main concerns?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:44 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

It's been done before.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:46 AM on June 28, 2010


Afroblanco: what about all the comments like this one, where I refer to your username?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:53 AM on June 28, 2010


(also, the "What, exactly, is your problem?" part was not directed at cortex or any of the mods, but at languagehat and Hiker who were smart-assedly suggesting that I didn't know that one could make a new account with a new name)
posted by Afroblanco at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2010


Doesn't this answer all of your main concerns?

No. It doesn't address the concerns of all the references that immediately break and it doesn't address the concerns of people having to take the extra step to figure out who the user is who they were interacting with six months ago who now has a different username that they don't know. We don't care about the $5, we care about community continuity which is why you can't change your username. It is not a technical problem we're deferring to, it's a social one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


oof sorry mrs blatcher for calling you gazpacho when Jaltcoh has just shown me your name is guacamole...
posted by infini at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2010


also, the "What, exactly, is your problem?" part was not directed at cortex or any of the mods, but at languagehat and Hiker who were smart-assedly suggesting that I didn't know that one could make a new account with a new name

It wasn't smart-assedly; it was simply pointing out that instead of offering to invest hours of coding time to implement a feature that would confuse virtually everyone as to who you are, you could confuse everyone while investing an hour of your time.

If I came upon a username I'd never seen with a huge posting history, it'd be pretty hard to remember who that user was and whatever associations (positive, negative, etc.) I had with that user would be gone until I figured out who they were originally. At LEAST with the "new, linked to old" method, there'd be some ability to keep people straight around here.
posted by Hiker at 9:59 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.


Oh dear, I wish you hadn't done that.
posted by Grandma Metafilter at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


it doesn't address the concerns of people having to take the extra step to figure out who the user is who they were interacting with six months ago who now has a different username that they don't know.

Hmm, yeah, I don't buy this. People make new accounts and start over all the time, and nobody stops them. (although I'm sure that point has been raised already)

It doesn't address the concerns of all the references that immediately break

Okay, this I get. It does kind of make the case for strong-linking responses to comments -- i.e. giving us a "respond to this" button -- but I understand what you're getting at.

I dunno, really, I think you guys are overthinking this. I mean yeah, I get it, you're mods, you're used to thinking though edge-cases and worrying about how people will abuse the system. But really, in practice, I don't even think that many people would use this option. I think it just would be a few scattered people (like myself and cmoj) with "bad tattoo" usernames. Most ill-behaved users would probably still opt to create new accounts, since they probably don't want to be linked to their previous history anyway.

But anyway, it's cool. I'm not really mad or anything. Massive hyperbole with a grain of genuine irritation is just pretty much my M.O.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2010


I guess I'm no internet yukster because I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

Damn kids, with your fancy high speed internet! This is why you have no imagination, it's just delivered to you. Back in my day, we had to work for our bytes, transporting them by hand, uphill, both ways! Made us strong.

Now outta my damn basement!
posted by Grandpa Metafilter at 10:09 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


See, you've woken him up and you know his router can't deal with a lot of stress at this age! For shame, I should have reformatted all of you years ago!
posted by Grandma Metafilter at 10:10 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


dirtynumbangelboy writes "Afroblanco: what about all the comments like this one, where I refer to your username?"

This is the unsurmountable problem of any username change proposals. And it's not only a metafilter problem it would also degrade outside sites that may link to or quote Metafilter users.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on June 28, 2010


I'm having trouble imagining how having a sockpuppet account would help with jokes.

Me too.
posted by flabdablet's sock puppet at 10:14 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hush dear, damn brats should know some of their own history.
posted by Grandpa Metafilter at 10:16 AM on June 28, 2010


Oh geeze, Pop, come on, they're good kids, even if they do use Windows sometimes.
posted by Mr. and Mrs. Metafilter at 10:19 AM on June 28, 2010


Look here boy, DOS is all you'll ever need.

Like a I need an icon to show me where the hard drive is! It's right there, by the computer!
posted by Grandpa Metafilter at 10:20 AM on June 28, 2010


Now that I know it takes cortex five seconds to do it, I sort of like the idea of selecting an active user at random and giving them a new name. Say, oh, once a year, go for a whole Lottery vibe. adipocere is now known as "Princess Sparklebooty."
posted by adipocere at 10:25 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel like that may be our April Fools plan for next year. Some sort of cookie thing so that you see everyone's username the same but YOURS has been changed. It's like a hellban spin on things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]





hey! what if you changed all our names to be the same ?
posted by infini at 10:43 AM on June 28, 2010


How different the vibe would be if we were all named Princess Sparklebooty.
posted by Hiker at 10:53 AM on June 28, 2010


> (also, the "What, exactly, is your problem?" part was not directed at cortex or any of the mods, but at languagehat and Hiker who were smart-assedly suggesting that I didn't know that one could make a new account with a new name)

What Hiker said. I was, of course, not suggesting, smart-assedly or not, any such thing. But I'm glad you've accepted the situation with good grace.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on June 28, 2010


And hereby I make a suggestion that we add some new contact options like "previously" and "sockpuppet". Sounds simple implementation-wise, and less kludgy than linking from the profile text or such.

Of course, this may prove disturbing once you see someone who has a "spouse, sockpuppet" contact.
posted by qvantamon at 12:25 PM on June 28, 2010


Some sort of cookie thing so that you see everyone's username the same but YOURS has been changed.

Excellent. I look forward to next April when I will be briefly but lovingly known as "Conan the Bonin' Groanin' Ronin." I will lead you all wisely and sexily.
posted by Skot at 12:25 PM on June 28, 2010


I feel like that may be our April Fools plan for next year.

What happened to changing the favorite button to Facebook's "Like" button?
posted by qvantamon at 12:28 PM on June 28, 2010


Oh please do this.
posted by Mister_A at 12:42 PM on June 28, 2010


Milking that missing ¢ key is forever.

¢lan of the missing "¢" key, members: â„¢, ( • )( • ), •, and Zippity Bopâ„¢. Oh, wait, that's ™, ( • )( • ), •, and Zippity Bop™ - there is only ¢ in the ¢lan.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:46 PM on June 28, 2010


Personally, I was hoping anyone who gets renamed retains some lineage in their name.

Examples: NewName Wascmoj, Princess Sparklebooty Wasadipocere

Or if we get gender-specific: NewName cmojson, Princess Sparklebooty adipoceredaut*

* guessing at gender and using you for an off-handed example, my apologies
posted by filthy light thief at 3:03 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


And hereby I make a suggestion that we add some new contact options like "previously" and "sockpuppet".

There's a perfectly reasonable total open-ended field in your profile where you can add stuff like this, though. Also, I think the XFN contact thingy isn't particularly open for customization.
posted by dersins at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


*runs off to see if Princess Sparklebooty is available*

Also, nice to see you 'round these parts again, dersins.
posted by catlet at 7:25 AM on June 29, 2010


I used to be a member of an online community where users could, and did, change their names monthly. None of the comments were edited, so there was a serious disconnect in the older threads, but it was actually pretty easy to keep track of who was who at any given moment. It was pretty fun, actually. The user-base was much, much smaller than MeFi's though.
posted by lekvar at 3:08 PM on June 29, 2010


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