DoppelMetaGangers February 8, 2012 6:30 PM   Subscribe

jason. jason. John. John.

I was looking for a particular Jason, and found TWO 'jason's. Then I found TWO 'John's. I noticed all of them had three digit user numbers. Is this a thing?
posted by unSane to Bugs at 6:30 PM (119 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Way back in the hippie days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we didn't check for name collisions. I'm not sure if we ever went through and did a clean-up pass though. Looks like not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:31 PM on February 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


There where hippie dinosaurs?
posted by The Whelk at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is a core tenet of the Mefi religion that while humans and dinosaurs did not co-exist, dinosaurs and hippies did.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


You know what really snaps my crackers when I'm looking at user names? That the person who squatted on my name squandered it by never making a post or comment! [sad face]
posted by heyho at 6:44 PM on February 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


You mean these aren't the hippie days we're currently taking part in? Then why am I wearing this stupid headband and why did I just take those 5 hits of microdot and why oh why is Widespread Panic hanging out in my kitchen?
posted by item at 6:45 PM on February 8, 2012


Like clockwork, winter rolls around and we start getting Jam Bands int the grain supply. Shoo! Shoo! Off with yee, we don't want any merchandise! Scoot!
posted by The Whelk at 6:49 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


heyho: ditto. Ain't that always the way.

Though he's almost in five digits. Guess I have no one to blame but myself.
posted by supercres at 7:07 PM on February 8, 2012


Could be worse, heyho. Think of all the usernames camped in limbo, never even seeing the light of a five dollar morning, waiting hopefully for the claimant to return and finish the process.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:08 PM on February 8, 2012


heyho: "You know what really snaps my crackers when I'm looking at user names? That the person who squatted on my name squandered it by never making a post or comment! [sad face]"

Same here. Senseless waste of a good name.
posted by arcticseal at 7:09 PM on February 8, 2012


Uma. Oprah. Oprah. Uma. Ummagumma. Gamma Delta. Delta Burke. Berke Breathed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:10 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just curious - how do they log on? I mean, hypothetically if they still would. Do you check all "John" accounts for the password provided, and if there's a match, log the person on to that account?
posted by Flunkie at 7:12 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


STONED HIPPIE T-REX: Have you actually *looked* at my arms, dude? I mean, have you ever actually *looked* at them??
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:17 PM on February 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


cortex, why not release names that weren't paid for, AND no one has logged on with in 10 years? Is that possible? It would please me and my homies, chris and patrick, greatly.
posted by heyho at 7:18 PM on February 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


LET MY JASONS GO
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 PM on February 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


ps John #245 seems to have joined solely to hawk porn.


He went so far as to register www.metajohn.com (NSFW), which I'll let you go yourself if you want, but let's just say it features the phrase "Tit's A Wonderful Life."
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:19 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets an STD!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


www.metafilter.com/username/[name] seems to go to the one with the lower number if anyone cares.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2012


The Man Who Fucked Liberty Vallance
posted by unSane at 7:33 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess Who's Coming at Dinner?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:35 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh hi this is where everyone's hangin out
posted by lazaruslong at 7:35 PM on February 8, 2012


seems to have joined solely to hawk porn

well, if he registered the account in 2000, he might have had his own perfectly innocuous page at that domain, and in the intervening 12 years let it lapse and it was re-purposed by other enterprising legitimate businessmen.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:35 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Rear Window.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 PM on February 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear I am both of the cjorgensens.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:36 PM on February 8, 2012


well, if he registered the account in 2000, he might have had his own perfectly innocuous page at that domain, and in the intervening 12 years let it lapse and it was re-purposed by other enterprising legitimate businessmen.

You make a valid point. It's not really even a porny sounding url.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:38 PM on February 8, 2012


On the other hand, one of his two-ever comments reads:

Score! You have picked Brandi Chastain. This Olympic champion is a ball of fire with both looks and talent to spare.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:39 PM on February 8, 2012


Ha, Jimmy Stewart's oeuvre is... ripe...

Small Town Girl
Wife vs Secretary
The Gorgeous Hussy
Vivacious Lady
The Shopworn Angel
The Naked Spur
Night Passage
Two Rode Together
Take Her, She's Mine
The Magic of Lassie
posted by unSane at 7:41 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

ps John #245 seems to have joined solely to hawk porn.
That doesn't seem to be true. Check out the conversation between him and mathowie in the thread with the very first comment (of his two). He apparently helped with code that was at one point part of Metafilter.
posted by Flunkie at 7:41 PM on February 8, 2012


Pimping Adventures 5
posted by P.o.B. at 7:42 PM on February 8, 2012


That was one of his lesser known roles.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:42 PM on February 8, 2012


metajohn.com could be the new dating subsite of metafilter.
posted by mannequito at 7:42 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what really snaps my crackers when I'm looking at user names? That the person who squatted on my name squandered it by never making a post or comment! [sad face]

That's how I feel about this guy's Twitter account.
posted by dfan at 7:43 PM on February 8, 2012


heyho: "cortex, why not release names that weren't paid for, AND no one has logged on with in 10 years?"

This would make for a good charity auction.
posted by arcticseal at 7:44 PM on February 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The only dirt I could dig up on Brandi Chastain (and by digging up I mean I went to wikipedia) was that she had a sports bra "incident"

Maybe you meant Brenda Chesty?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:44 PM on February 8, 2012


On the Watersportsfront
posted by argonauta at 7:46 PM on February 8, 2012


Also... dibs.
posted by heyho at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2012


You know what really snaps my crackers when I'm looking at user names? That the person who squatted on my name squandered it by never making a post or comment!

Heh. It doesn't really snap my crackers as much, because I never tried to register with my name, but it looks like I'm in that club, too.
Who are all these people and why did they join?
posted by trip and a half at 7:51 PM on February 8, 2012


yep, same here, but i like my handle now and wouldn't change it.
posted by fake at 7:52 PM on February 8, 2012


Carson beat me by about two weeks. At least they got some use out of AskMe. I guess. =\
posted by carsonb at 7:54 PM on February 8, 2012


I have a very common name with an unusual spelling. I am always surprised to see comments from this user, thinking for a moment that I was there before and forgot.
posted by not that girl at 7:58 PM on February 8, 2012


Mr Smith Comes On Washington
posted by unSane at 8:00 PM on February 8, 2012


Tranny Sandwich #4
posted by P.o.B. at 8:24 PM on February 8, 2012


I am my own imaginary friend
posted by flabdablet's sock puppet at 8:36 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, let's stay on topic, we're listing our favorite porns in here. I think.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:39 PM on February 8, 2012


Damn, the person who squatted on my name has not only never used her account, but doesn't even use the name in question! Nancy!
posted by arcticwoman at 9:11 PM on February 8, 2012


Uma. Oprah. Oprah. Uma. Ummagumma. Gamma Delta. Delta Burke. Berke Breathed.

I thought you were going to go to "Yma Dream". You can hear Christine Baranski read it.

/hee hee, gløgg.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:19 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, me too. What's with these people?
posted by naoko at 10:17 PM on February 8, 2012


You're the Mary.
posted by arcticseal at 10:27 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was actually pretty shocked that my name was available--I signed up quick as a bunny when registrationed opened in 2004 tho during the mass Monkeyfilter migration.
posted by Kimberly at 10:39 PM on February 8, 2012


I just really like the phrase "snaps my crackers". That's just going to made me giggle all week. Thanks heyho!
posted by anitanita at 10:43 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


And my name's not Anita, so I apologize to all the anita's out there.
posted by anitanita at 10:44 PM on February 8, 2012


I'm glad to see my legal name hasn't been squatted on.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:54 PM on February 8, 2012


My name never made a post but there's still an email address on the profile. If I were to email him asking for my name back at this site, and actually get a response, could that like, happen? I'll pay 5$ again!
posted by mannequito at 12:53 AM on February 9, 2012


All you people complaining that someone registered your name and never used it should count your blessings. Just imagine what might have happened if they had...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:04 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


there is a Kobayashi with a capital K and no punctuation. He has only commented once, in 1999. Nevertheless, I do not trust this one, nosiree.
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:18 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"There where hippie dinosaurs?"

Oh, God, I hope so.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:36 AM on February 9, 2012


I was looking for a particular Jason, and found TWO 'jason's. Then I found TWO 'John's. I noticed all of them had three digit user numbers. Is this a thing?

You think that's weird? Well this guy not only shares my username, he has the exact same user number as me and posts the exact same comments as I do at the exact same time! It's super-creepy.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:11 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


See! There he is doing it again! GET A LIFE, WEIRDO.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:11 AM on February 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, dave was slightly active, but hasn't been since 2003. His two posts are kind of charmingly dated-yet-still-current -- one about DVD region blocking and one about slumping CD sales.

There is also a rather famous MeFi's Own squatting on david. Who knew?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:03 AM on February 9, 2012


I clicked expecting some sort of

RICK
RICK
RICK

joke, but discovered a discussion of porn titles instead. I am not sure if this makes me happy or sad.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:54 AM on February 9, 2012


cortex, why not release names that weren't paid for, AND no one has logged on with in 10 years? Is that possible? It would please me and my homies, chris and patrick, greatly.

Speaking from a personal perspective, I like the weird no-man's-land territory defined by the camped names; the topography of what became unavailable when is weird interesting stuff in its own right, a sort of trail of accidental camping that is in my mind as much a feature of the signup process here as anything else.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]



"There where hippie dinosaurs?"


Yeah and then they went glam.
posted by thivaia at 7:44 AM on February 9, 2012


I like the weird no-man's-land territory defined by the camped names; the topography of what became unavailable when is weird interesting stuff in its own right, a sort of trail of accidental camping

Any chance you'd be up for having the computer spit out a timeline of camped names, Cortex?
posted by nobody at 7:45 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I clicked expecting some sort of

RICK
RICK
RICK

joke, but discovered a discussion of porn titles instead.



RICK
RICK
RICK

Just exploring your sock drawer,

Didn't know you had movies about cats.

Looking forward to watching A Tale of Two Pussies when you get home.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:51 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


> What? I don't want to go camping, I just want to be known as linda instead of Ed McMahon's drunken faux-expletive.

Wouldn't the data-play be even more fun if you released all those unused, unpaid-for names and watched as people snatch them up once again? That's far more interesting because it would be far more data! I, for one, would love to hear all about it afterward. I think a lot of people would enjoy that.

It's 2012... We may never get this chance again!
posted by heyho at 8:13 AM on February 9, 2012


> heyho: ditto

Meee tooo! At least my last name is being used by an actual person.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2012


> What's with these people?

Was it these people or this person? sara and mary joined the same day.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:24 AM on February 9, 2012


My name never made a post but there's still an email address on the profile. If I were to email him asking for my name back at this site, and actually get a response, could that like, happen?

Considering that person doesn't have a presence here that seems reasonable.
posted by Mitheral at 8:28 AM on February 9, 2012


It's also worth noting that none of the camped never-finished-signing-up names, not even the very oldest ones, are in fact ten years gone. If we started releasing them after ten years that wouldn't even start happening until late 2014, the tenth anniversary of when $5 signups went live and it became possible to limbo-camp a name at all.

Also worth noting that every great once in a while someone actually does pick up the signup process where they left off after a long gap, something that sort of delights me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:46 AM on February 9, 2012


Also worth noting that every great once in a while someone actually does pick up the signup process where they left off after a long gap, something that sort of delights me.

Hey that's what I did. I like that it makes it seem like I've been a member here so much longer than I actively have.
posted by kingbenny at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2012


It took a long time to save up that $5 is all.
posted by kingbenny at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


That can happen. I know a guy who started a swear jar but then realized he didn't know any curse words. "Dang it!" he would cry, forlorn, stuck forever grasping a nickle that he couldn't sin his way out of. "Dang it all to heck!"
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:22 AM on February 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


No, seriously. Isn't that a lot of wasted server space, all those accounts that never finish the process? Wouldn't everything run faster/better if things were cleaned up?

And is it really against Mefi's religion to delete accounts where they did complete the process but never contributed a thing, and then disabled it? I know we are all for saving complete archives here, but there are some folks here who deserve to have the name they want...
posted by Melismata at 9:28 AM on February 9, 2012


"No, seriously. Isn't that a lot of wasted server space, all those accounts that never finish the process? Wouldn't everything run faster/better if things were cleaned up?"

No, no, no. The trolling thread is thataway.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2012


drjimmy11: He went so far as to register www.metajohn.com (NSFW), which I'll let you go yourself if you want

LobsterMitten: well, if he registered the account in 2000, he might have had his own perfectly innocuous page at that domain, and in the intervening 12 years let it lapse and it was re-purposed by other enterprising legitimate businessmen.

m e t a j o h n used to be a personal weblog, back when people got noticed for color schemes, and "kool h@k@" was a phrase used. metajohn moved circa January 26, 2002 (to thinkhole.org, which totally doesn't sound porn-related), and circa May 27, 2002 metajohn was a porn-related site. It wasn't NSFW yet, but it was getting there.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even more bizarrely, there are three users named apt820, all with the same email address, who all joined on the same day. None of the accounts ever posted anything.
posted by unSane at 10:45 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There where hippie dinosaurs?

Hello, Tommy Chong ring a bell?
posted by stormpooper at 10:56 AM on February 9, 2012


Pfff, she can keep mary. I'm obviously better.
posted by maryr at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2012


Ah! There's no Alena. I'm gonna go get it. For posting stuff about Alena.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:28 AM on February 9, 2012


Just curious - how do they log on? I mean, hypothetically if they still would. Do you check all "John" accounts for the password provided, and if there's a match, log the person on to that account?

I am also curious about this.
posted by contraption at 11:56 AM on February 9, 2012


Posting on behalf of the Amys - we're out of luck too.
posted by alynnk at 11:58 AM on February 9, 2012


And there's this. It was interesting in that I didn't intend it to be unnoticed, both insinuating that it wasn't what it seemed and also emailing Matt immediately when I made the account and comments so he could close the hole.

Possibly, some might have thought I was being a spoilsport, preventing some future fun. I figured, though, that I'd both have a bit of harmless fun while avoiding some more serious potential stuff in the future by calling attention to it.

I think you can use unicode codepoints in usernames now (as should be the case everywhere these days in my opinion). Unless I'm mistaken. But, there's some characters that are pretty much identical to the English alphabet so if you really want to create your username in the form of your real name, you probably can do so without impersonating anyone, as long as the almost-identical username isn't (or especially if it never was) active.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:18 PM on February 9, 2012


Just curious - how do they log on? I mean, hypothetically if they still would. Do you check all "John" accounts for the password provided, and if there's a match, log the person on to that account?

I am extremely curious about this. What if both "John"s had the same password? Cortex?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2012


while humans and dinosaurs did not co-exist, dinosaurs and hippies did.

Despite a wardrobe of wildcat's hide and a diet of bear cat stew, Alley Oop wasn't a hippie. He was a mean motor scooter and a bad go-getter. Which sounds more like a mod to me. And take Fred Flintstone: he wasn't a hippie, either. More your blue-collar modern stone-age family kind of guy. Now, maybe—maybe!—Captain Caveman was a hippie. I'll grant you that.

Hi Yo dinosaur.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2012


Just curious - how do they log on? I mean, hypothetically if they still would. Do you check all "John" accounts for the password provided, and if there's a match, log the person on to that account?

I'm just spitballing here, but I'd guess what happens is it tries to authenticate with the first account with the given name that occurs in the user table, period. So if you're anyone else, you're a bit SOL. Matt or pb would be able to answer more definitively.

To date I don't know if we've had a problem with one of those folks trying to log in and not being able to and it coming down to this issue; the problem really existed only in the early, early history of the site and so it's lucky if even one of any given duplicate account names is really active these days.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2012


I think you can use unicode codepoints in usernames now (as should be the case everywhere these days in my opinion).

I think we actually regressed support there to straight ascii characters at some point, specifically to get away from some of the headaches (social and technical) that come with wacky unicode hijinks. But, again, I'm more armchair on this than anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:51 PM on February 9, 2012


"I think we actually regressed support there to straight ascii characters at some point, specifically to get away from some of the headaches (social and technical) that come with wacky unicode hijinks. But, again, I'm more armchair on this than anything."

Yeah. I did what I did with entities, which just render in the browser in an indistinguishable fashion.

When I've thought about this issue in the past, with unicode and apparently-duplicated usernames, I just figured that somebody, somewhere will have written and be maintaining a library for catching apparently-identical characters to keep them from being used in usernames and in similar cases.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2012


To date I don't know if we've had a problem with one of those folks trying to log in and not being able to and it coming down to this issue; the problem really existed only in the early, early history of the site and so it's lucky if even one of any given duplicate account names is really active these days.

Actually, I think I'm an example of this! For some reason I made two "jess" accounts back in 2000 but only posted on this, the later one. I then wandered away from MeFi for a couple of years and when I got back my password was no longer recognized. The automated password reset would just change the password on the first account (I think?) and also didn't work.

Short story long, I had to email the mods and pb worked some database wizardry that allowed me to log in on the one true "jess" account.
posted by jess at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2012


Someone out there took Torgo, but never used it. Stumped, I looked around my desk, and saw my Ghidorah beanie baby. And no you know.

/Paul Harvey.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2012


WTF, matt?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:15 PM on February 9, 2012


maryr: Pfff, she can keep mary. I'm obviously better.

Exactly, you're just so much maryr.

Heh.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The more the me.
posted by maryr at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


unSane: Even more bizarrely, there are three users named apt820, all with the same email address, who all joined on the same day

Oh, these old, unused accounts bring back such memories. Remember when Mail.com wasn't another internet portal along with its pick-a-domain email addresses? And when the specific domains told you that you could get a similar vanity domain, instead of a generic domain squatter page? (And until now, I didn't realize mail.com still existed.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:24 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


mail.com still exists?! Damn. I lost access to my mail.com account because I stopped checking it because OMG TEH SPAM and that meant I couldn't reset my password for the registrar for my original site domain and that meant that like metajohn, it was snapped up by the scum of the internet. (Which I ended up posting about on Flickr, for crying out loud.) Fucking domain squatters how do they work?
posted by epersonae at 4:02 PM on February 9, 2012


Dang. My name-twin has only 2 AskMe questions and 4 comments. Just out of curiosity, would "Wendy" and "wendy" be the same user? I guess not if "jason" and "jason" aren't the same. But then I just tried to register "wendy" and the form said it was already taken.
posted by bendy at 9:02 PM on February 9, 2012


Yeah, usernames are reserved on a case-insensitive basis, so if wendy is taken then Wendy and WENDY and wEnDy and all other case variants fall into the same bucket.

The deal with these old accounts like the two jasons is that very early on the site didn't properly check for duplicates. That's a bug long since fixed, so no joy these days.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:29 PM on February 9, 2012


I think we actually regressed support there to straight ascii characters at some point, specifically to get away from some of the headaches (social and technical) that come with wacky unicode hijinks. But, again, I'm more armchair on this than anything.

I tried to register 💩 as an username and got the following:
Error: Your username contains characters that are not allowed in usernames—Metafilter only supports English letters in usernames.
So no sǝɯɐuɹǝsn ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn or the like.
posted by frimble at 10:16 PM on February 9, 2012


Sure you can, frimble.
posted by heyho at 10:23 PM on February 9, 2012


So no more ND¢ usernames?
posted by maryr at 10:26 PM on February 9, 2012


Oops, looks like we kinda had a (not particularly conclusive) MeTa on this already.
posted by maryr at 10:31 PM on February 9, 2012


Ow. I tried registering ǝlqɯıɹɟ before getting what was up with uosuaq's username. Now I feel foolish, and will stop screwing with the registration page.

On preview: this comment from the Metatalk referenced in the referenced Metatalk is fairly conclusive.
posted by frimble at 10:43 PM on February 9, 2012


Cortex Speaking from a personal perspective, I like the weird no-man's-land territory defined by the camped names; the topography of what became unavailable when is weird interesting stuff in its own right, a sort of trail of accidental camping that is in my mind as much a feature of the signup process here as anything else.

You have a way with words sir.

From my perspective on the other hand it's simply bad practice to lock resources in a business transaction and not having a timeout mechanism that releases the locked resources.
Badly developed software imo.
posted by joost de vries at 11:54 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait wait wait. This is a business? I think I've been doing it wrong.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2012


'Business transaction' as in: not an atomic, potentially two-phase commit transaction, but a longer running one.
But, yeah, it's a business: it's paying for 5 peoples livelihoods. Just not on our end but on the ads end.
posted by joost de vries at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2012


You know what really snaps my crackers when I'm looking at user names? That the person who squatted on my name squandered it by never making a post or comment! [sad face]

So.... that comment prompted me to search for my name to see who had it. I then noticed that this evil person who had stolen my name had used it to make one measly comment. ONE! What a waste.

So I clicked on the comment and started reading and grudgingly thought, "ok, I agree with this comment. She makes a good point. Maybe this person isn't so bad." I keep reading the comment. "Wait, I used to do that. What a funny coincidence. Hey I did that, too. This is so stran....Wait! OMG! I WROTE THAT COMMENT THAT WAS ME THIS WAS MY USERNAME!!! OMG OMG OMG (yes I tend to get a little excited about stuff."

Because back in 2001 I was a naive innocent in the ways of the internet, I used to use the same password for every site. I tried it. I logged out of my account and logged in under my name. And here I am! Welcome back, me!

I am such a moron. No, wait. I am such a genius. No...oh I can't decide. But anyway, what I'd really like to say is, thank you past me, with love from future me!
posted by Tanya at 10:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


it's paying for 5 peoples livelihoods.

Six. And it's always been a balance for us between letting people start the sign up process and finish it later and other people's ability to get the username of their choice. We've just never felt like locking up a specific username was "locking resources" per se, though I understand that perspective.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2012


Ha. Sorry. Business information systems is my profession. So 'shoddy work' (from that perspective) irks me. But I guess this is not a 'business information system' but a website.
Sorry about the derail.
posted by joost de vries at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2012


The thing to keep in mind is just how gigantic the actual namespace for usernames is. I'd be more worried about freeing up camped names if there weren't for example something on the order of tens of billions of possible usernames even at the eight-characters-or-less level using only alphabetic characters.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on February 10, 2012


"I am such a moron. No, wait. I am such a genius. No...oh I can't decide. But anyway, what I'd really like to say is, thank you past me, with love from future me!"

That's a great story.

I've been saying shit online for 28 years and it's happened at least twice that I've come across something, read it and agreed with it (or whatever) and only then figured out that I wrote it. It's a very, very weird experience.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Feel free to say that you don't want to change the status quo.
But your attestations that the status quo is preferable are less than convincing.

I'm bowing out here though.
Friday afternoon: the hour of beer is close at hand.
posted by joost de vries at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2012


I'd be more worried about freeing up camped names if there weren't for example something on the order of tens of billions of possible usernames even at the eight-characters-or-less level using only alphabetic characters.

Yeah, I heard the no several times now. My point was that out of the tens of billions of combinations, the only one I'm interested in is "linda," and I'm only interested in it because no one's using it. But I understand if it's a bother and something people don't think is important. Understandable; no biggie.
posted by heyho at 10:33 AM on February 10, 2012


Feel free to say that you don't want to change the status quo.
But your attestations that the status quo is preferable are less than convincing.


Huh? We're just saying this is a thing that has barely come up before and we've done it the way we've done it for this reason previously. If it turns out that this is a Huge Thing that people want to go differently, we can talk about that. Here are a few concerns as I see them.

1. We have a few sorts of abandoned accounts: abandoned pre-$5 era and abandoned post-$5 era.
2. The second group breaks down into "paid for" and "not paid for" [i.e. stopped before the sign up process was complete].
3. Then there are those in the "made three measly comments seven years ago" category

Anyone who has already paid for an account, even if it was a long time ago and they don't use it, is not really in the "eligible to be freed up" category, likewise anyone who has ever used their account at all. So, we have the "went partway through the signup process" folks and the "signed up when you didn't have to pay and then never used their account or logged in in the past few years" (we don't have data before then, I don't think) categories. Additionally, we don't have a mechanism for transferring your activity from one username to another. So if you've made 100 comments under one username and switch usernames, we have no mechanism for shifting those comments to the new username. This is just not something we do here. So anyone who wanted to take over a "freed up" account if that account were available, would lose all of their past contributions or have to do some kludgey profile-linking to make that happen.

So it's not so much that the status quo is preferable, just that there are a whole bunch of sub-optimal parts to making this work differently that would have to be specifically addressed. A lot of the situations we've seen in this thread are people who would like usernames that have been active at one time and we're really not wanting to go there in terms of reclaiming barely-used accounts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2012


So anyone who wanted to take over a "freed up" account if that account were available, would lose all of their past contributions or have to do some kludgey profile-linking to make that happen.

We all know this. And it's kinda the point, in my case. I'm sick of being tied to my most [+] comments in an obvious way. Change is good.

posted by heyho at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012


I was talking about names that are not available because of signups that people didn't complete. There's no reason not to release those.
And you were talking about that case too. Witness; And it's always been a balance for us between letting people start the sign up process and finish it later and other people's ability to get the username of their choice.
There's not a trade-off being satisfied by not releasing those unused usernames. After a time window of, say, a week hardly anyone will come back and if they do it's perfectly reasonable and within user expectations that that username might not be available anymore but may be claimed by someone else.
It's a perfectly standard good software development practice for the requirments at hand: you let someone claim a username at the start of the signup process and if they don't complete the process within a reasonable timeframe you release the claimed name for others.
You forgot the do so when this software was developed and you're loath to change the current situation. That's fine.

Ok. I admit I was untruthful.
About bowing out! And beer o' clock!
Best wishes of beery goodwill from the low countries.
posted by joost de vries at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2012


Ivan Fyodorovich: I've been saying shit online for 28 years and it's happened at least twice that I've come across something, read it and agreed with it (or whatever) and only then figured out that I wrote it. It's a very, very weird experience.

I've had that happen right here on MetaFilter, and I've only been a member for 3 years. Seriously, I've read old threads, comment after comment, and came across one that rang true, only to see my user name at the end.

Oh, hi doggy!

My brain is full of dumb movie quotes instead of remembering my own past actions, it seems
posted by filthy light thief at 2:50 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're looking into ways to rejigger the sign up process so that you pick a name after you've paid which seems like it will work pretty well going forward. Still figuring out how we're going to "free up" old usernames but we'll take a stab at it. Matt's out of the country for a bit so progress may be slow, but we're moving forward on it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 AM on February 11, 2012


I'm only a datapoint, but it seems a bit weird for me to pick your username *after* paying, since you might (reasonably or unreasonably) worry that the one you want wouldn't be available.
posted by unSane at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2012


Yeah we'll have to build some sort of "check username" functionality in there to avoid that sort of thing. Good point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2012


I'd like to apologize to all the other Ritchies for not making more of my user experience on MetaFilter. At least I've done more than this guy.
posted by Ritchie at 5:21 AM on February 13, 2012


This is as if not more irritating. Just look at all those awesome zeroes and all those terrible, actually relevent ones.

And what is going on here?
posted by maryr at 8:23 PM on February 13, 2012


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