Rules for new accounts for existing users? December 4, 2014 1:36 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago I got into an regrettably poor discussion with another user in mefi mail. During the course of that discussion it became clear the user was an older user with a new account. I asked why they were using a new account and the answer was essentially: "because I want too". This seemed very different from the still current FAQ answer about new accounts which says that the only legitimate reason to change your username was a "Grave or life threatening reason".

I asked the mods and Matt replied and said that 1. He did not know specifically why this user had a new account, or indeed whether there was a good reason for them to have a new account or even who they were before but 2. the FAQ was not correct and the actual policy was that "people can periodically move on to a new username as long as it is not a serial abuse situation or that they're using both accounts at once" (quote). and he promised to discuss It at the next mod meeting about FAQ stuff which he said happens about every 2-3 months. Last month I followed up on this with matt and he said that they had not had a chance to discuss this. I asked when they thought they would get a chance and did not get an answer.

I feel this is totally the opposite of the good reasons in the faq that: "Usernames are your identity in the community and carry a lot of weight with others that read your comments. If you are changing your username you are effectively disappearing from the site and reappearing anew." I am disappointed I did not get any further response after allowing 3 months for the issue to be considered. I think a metatalk thread is maybe the best way to go forward and clarify what the acceptable way for members to move to a new account is.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory to Etiquette/Policy at 1:36 PM (180 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Ah, I think I see the confusion. *Changing* your username is something we basically never do for accounts with any activity (if you misspell your handle when signing up, we'll fix it, but otherwise the answer is pretty much No.) Starting over with an entirely new account is a different thing - that's where that response from Matt comes from. The idea behind the Brand New Day is that sometimes people just need to shed their baggage and start over, and as long as they're not doing it to abuse or defraud the community, we're pretty much fine with it.

Does that help clarify things?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:41 PM on December 4, 2014 [25 favorites]


There are a number of active users who have dropped old user names to pick up new ones, sometimes later returning to their old, dormant names, and I haven't seen any concern over that. This isn't to the level of whole swaths of users re-inventing themselves, which could potentially disrupt some sense of community here, so I don't really see the issue, IMO.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on December 4, 2014


Does this help?
posted by *becca* at 1:43 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ok that helps a bit but I dont understand why there is the language about a "grave or life threatening reason" then. where is the use case where a user cannot start again with a Brand New Day but wants to change username? If that is the policy, just clarify the faq to make clear the difference and that new accounts are subject to the new start rules. Everything matt said and acted like made me think the faq was just wrong and there was a different rule that was now in effect.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:57 PM on December 4, 2014


Hm, ok. Here's the text of that FAQ entry:

"You cannot change your username. Usernames are your identity in the community and carry a lot of weight with others that read your comments. If you are changing your username you are effectively disappearing from the site and reappearing anew. Unless there is a grave and life-threatening reason to change your username, you cannot get it changed. If you are really unhappy with your username, you can sign up for an all new account."

The last line clarifies the difference to me, but if it's confusing, let's figure out how to change it so it's not.

(The "grave or life-threatening reason" thing is something that has maybe been done once, before my tenure - *changing* a username changes it everywhere, including in past comments/posts, so if someone needs to unattach their history from their name, it'll do it, but we're not kidding about the gravity necessary.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, when I read the "grave and life-threatening reason" line, I assume that means some sort of stalker situation or witness protection thing where someone needs to disassociate everything they've ever posted from their real name and/or known internet handle lest they be too easily tracked down via the googlenets.

I assume that the mods can track people via behind-the-scenes info like PayPal accounts and IP addresses and thus I imagine that they can look into any specific situations where you think someone might be using their sockpuppet or Brand New Day identity in a dishonest or otherwise detrimental-to-the-community manner.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:28 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think I see the problem: you're conflating changing an existing username with opening a whole new account under a new name --- that's two separate things.

Changing the user name on an existing account is what is verboten: you are who you named yourself to be, forever and ever amen. You paid your $5 to be thisname, and as r-n says it takes a "grave or life-threatening reason" to change that. But if you want, you can let your original account with thisname go dormant, and pay another $5 to open a brand-new account under newphrase.

The new account also has its name set in stone. You aren't allowed to use both the old and the new accounts at the same time, but you can use the new account for a while then go back to your old dormant account (and let the new one go dormant in its turn). Heck, if you want to, you can let both the old and new accounts go dormant, then pay yet another $5 to open a third account --- just never use more than one account at a time.
posted by easily confused at 2:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


"You cannot change your username. Usernames are your identity in the community and carry a lot of weight with others that read your comments. If you are changing your username you are effectively disappearing from the site and reappearing anew. Unless there is a grave and life-threatening reason to change your username, you cannot get it changed. If you are really unhappy with your username, you can sign up for an all new account."

>>The last line clarifies the difference to me, but if it's confusing, let's figure out how to change it so it's not.


I would change the last sentence and add a bit like:

You cannot change your username. Usernames are your identity in the community and carry a lot of weight with others that read your comments. If you are changing your username you are effectively disappearing from the site and reappearing anew. Unless there is a grave and life-threatening reason to change your username, you cannot get it changed. If you are really unhappy with your username, you can sign up for a new account with a new username. It will not change the username associated with your previous posts, and we ask that you not use two usernames simultaneously."
posted by jaguar at 2:36 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


And looking at that, I would also change "that" to "who" in the second sentence ("... with others who read your comments").
posted by jaguar at 2:38 PM on December 4, 2014


Ok, I guess I get the difference, though i am not sure I agree with it. But i do think the faq remains very confusing and if/when you do have a mod meeting about it hopefully this thread will give a good distinction between changing a username and creating a new account.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:50 PM on December 4, 2014


I went through a username change about a year and a half ago or so.

It was not due to a grave or life-threatening situation; it was because I wanted to change my username to avoid some connotations with the old one. The advice I received (from a very helpful mod) was to 1. Buy a new account and 2. Indicate on both the new and old account that what usernames I had been here under (so the old account has a pointer to the new one, and the new account a pointer to the old, although it was my choice to do so) and 3. not disable the old account, so that I could still access my older favourites and activity but that 4. any indication that I was attempting to use both accounts simultaneously would cause problems and questions from the mods.

My situation may not apply to everyone - my reasons for changing were pretty innocuous and not really any type of "Brand New Day" situation.

I would suggest wording like:

"Usernames, once selected, cannot be changed. Usernames are your identity in this community, and they carry their history with them. Unless there is a grave and life-threatening reason to change your existing username, you must sign up for a new account and begin anew (with any links/connection to your old username up to your discretion). Your old username will continue to be associated with your previous posts and comments, and the community expectation is that you will not use two usernames simultaneously."
posted by nubs at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I used to have an account with a different name. That account still exists in a deactivated state. The comments made by that account still exist with that name attached to them.

At some point, I discovered that typing my name into Google brought up my unique-on-the-internet-to-me username. So I picked a new name, deactivated the old account and started making comments with this account.

There was no life or death reason for starting a new account. I just didn't want future employers reading my comments and making hiring decisions based on them. People can have all kinds of valid reasons for changing their usernames. That doesn't mean that they are fucking around with the site.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


There are jokey or reference-making accounts too.
posted by Shohobohaum Za at 3:28 PM on December 4, 2014


This metatalk thread that becca linked to earlier is (the author brazenly asserts) a pretty thorough rundown of all the stuff that comes into play as far as the new/sock/joke/etc accounts on the site. Far too long for an FAQ entry, but something we could totally look at adding a link to from the FAQ in service of answering more of the the detailed questions. In any case we can give the FAQ entry here a revisit to update the language to be a little clearer.

I can't speak to the details of your correspondence with Matt, but I should be clear that we don't have a formal meeting schedule with Discuss The FAQ as an action item. "We talk about it every 2-3 months" is a reasonable guess about the frequency that we'll end up having a longer group email discussion about some specific portion of the FAQ but it's not something to set a watch to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


A few months ago I got into an regrettably poor discussion with another user in mefi mail. During the course of that discussion it became clear the user was an older user with a new account. I asked why they were using a new account and the answer was essentially: "because I want too".

I am thinking that what is bugging you is things apparently kind of went south and this person had an advantage in the exchange because they knew who you were and you didn't know who they were, basically, because of the new account. And I think that's maybe a different issue from "when is it okay to change handles?"
posted by Michele in California at 3:42 PM on December 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


All the FAQ needs to do is distinguish between "changing one's username" (a no-no) and "Interacting on the site with a new account."
1. Changing your user name
1a. Community expectations
1b. Modifying the username on your existing account
1b1. Rules
1b2. How to proceed
1c. Changing your username by starting a new account
1c2. Rules
1c2. How to proceed
posted by bleep at 3:48 PM on December 4, 2014


What about something like: "The username attached to an existing account cannot be changed (i.e., changing the name attached to that account's past posts and comments). If you are really unhappy with your username, you can switch to using a new account for future participation."
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've added a link to the FAQ item about sockpuppet/second accounts into the end of the existing FAQ item about name changes, just for the time being.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:50 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'd suggest turning off Mefi mail for a long spell. I understand that option is not for everyone, but it has slowed down past attempts at griefing, IME, and it might help others.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:53 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've been considering changing my username for years now - troika isn't really me-ish and the word is connected to some unsavory things that I was unaware of when I signed up (I'm sort of an idiot). I thought I was stuck with this name! So...I can just sign up for a new account and close this one? And that's okay?
posted by troika at 3:53 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


troika: Yup.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:53 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


And nobody should be griefing anybody through MefiMail.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:55 PM on December 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


Thanks!
posted by troika at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2014


This has mostly run its course but to be clear: matt said "we talk about it every 2-3 months" then I said "ok i'll archive this for 3 months and email you back to see what the follow up is" then after 3 months I asked and he said "we have not discussed it" and I said "when is realistic to think you might?" and did not get a reply - so I made a thread and it seems to have answered my concerns in as informative way as I could of hoped. Given how many email discussions matt must face on a daily basis I think this turned out about as well as could be hoped for!
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 3:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, dude does email by the bushel, sounds like it slipped through. Contact form is a little more reliable than writing one of us directly (it's certainly more reliable than writing *me* directly, as anyone who's gotten a weeks-late response when I remember to go back through my mefimail can attest) since everybody has a chance to respond or catch that there hasn't been a response, but obviously it's fine to write us directly too if it's something that's less site biz and more personal query or whatever.

Glad we got you an answer here, in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:17 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can we file tickets?
posted by thelonius at 4:33 PM on December 4, 2014


CRITICAL tickets.
posted by thelonius at 4:33 PM on December 4, 2014


just to follow up the follow up for staff/ feedback benefit - I originally made contact via the contact form - but I see reviewing it that matt replied from his own email and at at some point the subsequent chat was not cc'ed to the mods general email, so probably it got lost then.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2014


Can we file tickets?

Only grave and life-threatening tickets.
posted by mullacc at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


*makes note to have Matt rewatch the VHS copy of Safety First: Everybody's Talking About 'Reply All' in the break room*
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [43 favorites]


" During the course of that discussion it became clear the user was an older user with a new account."

There are some users who are really good at knowing/guessing when someone is a new handle for an old account; I am NOT. I almost never have any clue. Every now and again I've had a similar experience to yours, where I feel suddenly uneasy in a conversation that the other person has a history with me that I don't know about because I'm not aware of their name change. I appreciate when people do like nubs and put in their profile that they used to be X and changed their handle but I understand why they don't always (and personally I totally respect that people want to be treated as if they're starting over and have such a terrible memory for that sort of thing that I forget as soon as I click away from their profile so obviously I treat them as new! I also never remember the ending of Law & Order episodes I've seen 20 times).

But I just want you to know, Nonsense Factory, that you're not the only person who's sometimes felt like this, and it's a bit unsettling. I feel ya. I'm okay with that occasional discomfort because I think it's more important that people be able to sometimes have a blank slate. But yeah, every now and then it creates interactions that are a little weird.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [22 favorites]


You think I'd still be posting as "Klangklangston" if I didn't have to (pay $5 to get a new name)?
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think it's annoying when users play weird games with usernames, like one frequent commenter who (IIRC) actually appeared in the same thread under two different usernames.

Then there is the user who showed his ass so bad in the Trader Joe's/Rolling Stones thread, with his relentless mansplaining, that he adopted another username. LOL.
posted by jayder at 7:44 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, klang
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on December 4, 2014


I would get a new user name, but I can't decide between 725A or 724B.
posted by 724A at 8:05 PM on December 4, 2014 [30 favorites]


I take it that sockpuppets are the exception to the one active account rule.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2014


I believe the line with sockpuppets (and joke accounts) is that they need to be fairly obvious and their use needs to be either very specific, or very infrequent.
posted by Deoridhe at 8:14 PM on December 4, 2014


(Am I the only one that hears a big train bell going whenever klang posts? Or, at least, when I get to his name?)
posted by Deoridhe at 8:15 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I hope you're not being sarcastic, Deoridhe, because not only do I hear a train bell, sometimes I mumble "whoo whoo!" under my breath if he says something sharp.
posted by barchan at 8:20 PM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


One in ten times my brain insists on starting into a chorus of Klang Klang Klang Went The Trolley, and for that I hate him with every fiber of my being.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [67 favorites]


klang is a lovely name but instead I picture that he is a space warlord from Buck Rogers with a gold lamé jumpsuit and long green-lacquered fingernails.

When he's not conquering worlds with his henchpeople and bulky claw-handed robots he sits down at his enormous supercomputer of destruction and communicates with the earth folk on matters of great pith and moment.
posted by winna at 8:53 PM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


five fresh fish: "I take it that sockpuppets are the exception to the one active account rule."

This is addressed at some length in that MeTa post people have linked, but tl;dr: Yeah, as long as you aren't using them to be an asshole.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:56 PM on December 4, 2014


(Am I the only one that hears a big train bell going whenever klang posts? Or, at least, when I get to his name?)

Not me. I hear this sound when a certain user shows up.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:06 PM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I take it that sockpuppets are the exception to the one active account rule.

The plural form is "sockpupae".
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


You can use your sock to be funny but not to ask two Asks in a week! I have seen that get busted!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:52 PM on December 4, 2014


Full disclosure: there are a lot of questions I don't Ask Metafilter because i'm too lazy/cheap to get a sockpuppet account.

I figure the internet and perhaps even the world is better for this particular laziness.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Clarification: I don't mean that I do less Asks because a sockpuppet doesn't allow me to do more than one a week. I mean, like, super embarrassing questions I wouldn't want associated with this esteemed username which has previously asked such gems as Can I Please Eat These Delicious Carnitas I Left Out Overnight.
posted by Sara C. at 10:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pending deification won't pass muster so.
posted by clavdivs at 11:17 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sara, I think you want Sunday's short MeTa for those.
posted by klangklangston at 11:20 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you cortex for the streaming vision of Ethel Merman.
posted by clavdivs at 11:31 PM on December 4, 2014


One in ten times my brain insists on starting into a chorus of Klang Klang Klang Went The Trolley, and for that I hate him with every fiber of my being.

Cheers. Now my brain is doing that to me as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:05 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]




think of the little drummer boy instead, it helps
posted by Namlit at 3:15 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to know what the record is for account changes. I think I'm on identity #3 now, spread over the best part of 10 years . The first identity I sort of forgot about (didn't visit the site for a year or two, and although I've seen a comment or two I made back then I don't remember the username now). The second came about largely out of a desire to join the hallowed group of users with long puns as usernames, but also because I hadn't been a prolific poster with identity #1 and thought I'd be more comfortable starting afresh. Account #2, unused for a couple of years now, is probably the name most recognisable to regular site visitors (at least while it was in use). Account #3 (the current one) arose because I felt like I'd been moderately fighty on a few occasions, or had sometimes made an offhand remark that on reflection I didn't want to stand behind; I didn't really want to be defined by my comment history, in other words. It's this latter reason, which I suppose is a kind of lower-drama 'brand new day', that I suspect drives a lot of the people who change identities on the site.

I don't think any of this has caused problems, although I think if I'd been a high-profile member of the site, known for posting/commenting extensively on topic X, then returned user a different name and continued posting/commenting in the same manner, that would probably be problematic (if not actually against the rules).
posted by pipeski at 3:40 AM on December 5, 2014


$5 he paid them
klang klanga klangston
A new account to make
klang klanga klangston...
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:11 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


There was once a user called Klangston,
who'd chosen his handle at rand-sdom.
A change costs five bucks,
So much? Boy that sucks.
And so to his handle he hangs on.
posted by Namlit at 5:31 AM on December 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


It can be confusing when users switch their names. It would be great if we could avoid this.
posted by NSA at 6:08 AM on December 5, 2014 [41 favorites]


cortex: *makes note to have Matt rewatch the VHS copy of Safety First: Everybody's Talking About 'Reply All' in the break room*

Make sure he knows about the bananas: they're free!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:39 AM on December 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


This didn't happen on MetaFilter, but on another site with a similar policy about name changes. A longtime member in good standing had a handle along the lines of "ChrisBenoitFan". When Benoit killed his wife and son in a murder-suicide, the mods graciously allowed the user to change his name. I think similarly dire circumstances would be required for a MeFite to actually change a handle, with all of the retroactive confusion that would entail. New accounts and Brand New Days, as previously discussed, are much less drastic.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:48 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think judicious and infrequent use of a funny sockpuppet is completely appropriate.
posted by Treaty of Westphalia at 6:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [25 favorites]


There's a geek-folk performer here in Los Angeles who uses the name Cossbysweater. Pretty sure she's scrambling to Brand New Day herself IRL.
posted by Sara C. at 6:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


"My referential username has become retroactively problematic because the referent has turned out to be awful" is, while an unlucky situation I would totally sympathize with, not actually an example of something we'd alter a username for. That's the sort of situation where what we'd recommend is starting a new account and linking to your old one with a note about why you decided to make the change. Where the FAQ mentions grave circumstances, it means as in for-the-person, not for-the-person's-unproblematized-preference-of-username, which is why functionally speaking it just about never comes up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Fair enough, cortex.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:21 AM on December 5, 2014


I thank Edward Snowden for rescuing my user name from the cultural reference trash heap and have renewed hope that the good people at the NSA will make me relevant again every few years.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:57 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bye, troika, we'll miss you!
posted by Melismata at 7:58 AM on December 5, 2014


It can be confusing when users switch their names. It would be great if we could avoid this.

Hey, man. I can dig that you feel this way, and I sympathize. But if a brother or sister wants to switch names, I think we can all learn to love the "new them" just as much. Because no matter what someone calls you, who you are on the inside is still beautiful.
Even after all the name changes and all the years.
"What a long strange trip it's been."
-xBz69x
posted by xBongzilla69x at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


Go back and get the joke.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've changed names a few times. It usually signals my desire, not always successful acheived, to change the way I interact with the site, or how I want to represent myself. This account, for instance, was the first I opened and was dormant for a long time, but it is my real name, and I felt more comfortable interacting under my own name, for whatever reason.

I did just recently find out that my name on my birth certificate, before I was adopted and given this name, was Baby Boy Monaghan, and I have spent the past day in agony because THAT'S THE MOST AWESOME NAME EVER. Needless to say, I have considered switching accounts again and being Baby Boy Monaghan on Metafilter, but probably won't.
posted by maxsparber at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2014 [33 favorites]


I'm not sure xBongzilla69x was being completely serious there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 AM on December 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure xBongzilla69x was being completely serious there.

I dunno, cortex, it looks like a pretty serious account to me. I mean the website linked in the profile is http://www.xbongzilla69x.edu/ so this account is representing an important educational instutition.
posted by capricorn at 8:57 AM on December 5, 2014 [28 favorites]


Brother, I'm always serious. Serious as a snowfall on a meadow in the waning days of winter. Because sometimes when you answer hate with love, you see that the greatest journey of all… is in yourself.
Rock on, cosmos.
-xBz69x
posted by xBongzilla69x at 8:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


One of higher learning, even.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:00 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh, Bongzilla. Will you ever come to a meetup so I can experience your zen in person?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:05 AM on December 5, 2014


There's lots of older users under new names here, most easily detected if you read closely. I myself would never do it, firstly since I'd probably be easily found out and two, it just seems kind of dishonest to me, YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


So you say, but I have long suspected you are the user formerly known as johnemcee.
posted by maxsparber at 9:11 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's interesting, the type of username I most often associate, rightly or wrongly, with users who have opened new accounts are the long, multiple word usernames that wouldn't work on most other sites out there. That might just be confirmation bias, but it was weird to see this question coming from someone with that type of username.
posted by ODiV at 9:17 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


my brain insists on starting into a chorus of Klang Klang Klang Went The Trolley

THANKS CORTEX.
posted by corb at 9:19 AM on December 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


posted by NSA

Um, we should probably compare notes. I mean, just hang out and or go see Guardians of the Galaxy or something. There are no notes. Never mind. LOL DFTMFA amirite?
posted by Room 641-A at 9:20 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hell, I've had the same email address since 1994, even though it uses the initials of a long-defunct start-up gift delivery business I worked at for only about five months.

There's something to be said for consistency in this zany society.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


wait, what's an "email address"?
posted by Namlit at 9:33 AM on December 5, 2014


I'd just like to say that Bongzilla University really overpromises what its career placement services will do for you after graudation and if I had to do it over again, I would have gone to DeVry.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


I got placed immediately, but my degree was in Water Pipe Engineering.
posted by maxsparber at 10:03 AM on December 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


I have this occasional fantasy about when I marry a rich famous film star and have to start a new metafilter account because TMZ is trawling my history looking for dirt on my new husband. I don't tell my current husband about this fantasy of course.
posted by shelleycat at 10:09 AM on December 5, 2014 [21 favorites]


How have I not noticed anything by xBongzilla69x before? Now I want to vote him #1.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


i have also had the situation come up where a poster goes 0-100 on me and it's obvious that they know who i am but i don't know who they are since they're under a new username (also had the situation where someone who knows me from elsewhere carried a grudge to here and then lashed out at me about it when they felt i was picking on them here, even though i had no idea they were that other person). i find it pretty crappy and i wish people didn't relish in that type of poopyhead behavior, but i think the ability for users to feel comfortable here is more important than correcting for those jerky edge cases.

something i didn't know for way too long is that you can block individual people from memailing you without turning off memail. it's pretty awesome.
posted by nadawi at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am incredibly transparent about my online identities. Unless I am actively hiding, I use the same 3 or 4 aliases and I almost always interlink between services.

I also have a sockpuppet: butt elephant, who was, well, the self-deprecating butt of some joke or other long ago. So yeah, voting for consistency and transparency, FWIW. Though I know there are some members who have seemed to do well with BND policies and some who were incredibly shitty about it. So that's not consistent.
posted by kalessin at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2014


Go back and get the joke.

Excellent user name.
posted by JanetLand at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2014


And then there are the days you go without sleep or meds, flip the fuck out, hit the red button and by the time you've got yourself together that afternoon you're left with nothing but your one-joke sock puppet.
posted by Glenn Grothman at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2014


i find it pretty crappy and i wish people didn't relish in that type of poopyhead behavior, but i think the ability for users to feel comfortable here is more important than correcting for those jerky edge cases.

That behavior does totally suck. Basically I remember a few major use cases

- user has turned over a new leaf, gets new account of their own volition, all is well and everyone is ok
- user is banned or leaves, gets BND account, comes back and all is fine
- user does either of those and comes back and does That Thing again and it's a pain because people sometimes don't know who the user is and they seem oddly familiar with the snark lexicon here now considering they've been a member for five days
- and, as other people have said, user is stalked or transitioning gender or a few other things that pretty rarely happen

In the last case the username on an existing account might be changed but in all cases the easiest thing to do is open a new account and close the old one. There's very little tolerance for people who are doing a bad job at BND-ing here. Then again I have been very happy just turning my MeMail totally off.

And as far as the FAQ, it's mostly a static document added to when things change here. If you think it needs changing, the process is to talk to the mods (or raise the issue here) about changing it. There's no regular FAQ review (or wasn't when I was here and I'm pretty sure that has not changed) and probably won't be one in the future, people's optimistic thoughts on the matter nonwithstanding.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2014


I want to parse it as klangklangson, i.e. son of klang. This is the way the joke works for me, and so it shall be misread each time.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Klangklang's Town
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


something i didn't know for way too long is that you can block individual people from memailing you without turning off memail

whoa I had no idea! That's great!
posted by corb at 12:47 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can I add spaces to my user name? I can't remember why I originally spelled it this way, all those years ago, but I think now I'd rather like the different words separated. Maybe for Christmas?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2014


my brain insists on starting into a chorus of Klang Klang Klang Went The Trolley


Also, for those people now hearing Ethel Merman's version of "The Trolley Song" in their heads I have an interesting solution. It relates to a comment I made on another forum, last night, during a discussion of NBC's live telecast:


People who called last night's production of Peter Pan the "worst three-hour drag show they've ever seen," obviously never had to sit through Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! - Rudy Giuliani's tribute to Judy at Carnegie Hall.


There. Now that's in your head.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:56 PM on December 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also, for those people now hearing Ethel Merman's version of "The Trolley Song" in their heads

Judy Garland is singing it in my head.

I love that movie.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:39 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just assume all gimmick accounts are Flo.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:42 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


How have I not noticed anything by xBongzilla69x before? Now I want to vote him #1.

I came here to do this as well.
posted by infini at 3:03 PM on December 5, 2014


I keep thinking about getting a new account so I can be Bigfoot Educational Foundation, but that doesn't really make sense when one of my problems with this name is that it is too jokey. I can't switch to the super hero identity I imagined in junior high because Kestrel is already taken.
posted by Area Man at 3:07 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, now I have lots of ways to be irritated when I see "klangklangston" when I have never been irritated before. Thanks, everyone!
posted by Kwine at 3:35 PM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


get irritated by ALL the things!!!
posted by Namlit at 4:14 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can I add spaces to my user name? I can't remember why I originally spelled it this way, all those years ago, but I think now I'd rather like the different words separated. Maybe for Christmas?

Sure you can; right here.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:43 PM on December 5, 2014


Potomac Avenue: "I just assume all gimmick accounts are Flo."

[NOT FLO-IST]
posted by Treaty of Westphalia at 5:02 PM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

I used to have a sockpuppet: butt elephant
I missed the punctuation in this the first time I read it. The noise I made caused all the dogs in the neighborhood to start barking.
posted by scrump at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, for those people now hearing Ethel Merman's version of "The Trolley Song" in their heads

Judy Garland is singing it in my head.

I love that movie.


It is the best Christmas movie.

I also love The Harvey Girls.
posted by winna at 6:54 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm hearing The Sweeney Sisters.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:10 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


And then there are the days you go without sleep or meds, flip the fuck out, hit the red button and by the time you've got yourself together that afternoon you're left with nothing but your one-joke sock puppet.
posted by Glenn Grothman at 2:11 PM on December 5 [+] [!]


Just so you know, you can use the contact form to email the mods and get a Big Red Buttoned account reopened.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:17 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hm. Now that I think of it, it's kind of weird to say you can only get an actual username changed for a "grave or life-threatening reason." Is that really a thing that happens - situations where people are in actual danger of dying because their username can't get changed? I guess it's possible - I can kind of imagine a situation where someone's getting stalked, I don't know. But if "grave or life-threatening" basically just means for "we'll almost never do it," maybe we could ditch the morbid euphemism and be direct about what we are saying.

Or maybe I am wrong, and there really are grave situations like that. This kind of makes me wonder about the types of situations in which the mods have changed usernames for people in the past.
posted by koeselitz at 1:10 AM on December 6, 2014


It does say grave or life-threatening, not gravely life-threatening. That does allow for some serious-but-not-life-threatening situations to warrant a username change.
posted by Dysk at 2:28 AM on December 6, 2014


I went the BND route for two reasons: 1) when I red-buttoned, it wasn't just because I needed a break from MeFi - I could just sign out and not come back for a spell if I wanted to do that - but also, I wanted to make a more definitive break from the kinds of exchanges I was getting into, and 2) when I came back, I recognized that I had changed a lot in terms of how I looked at communicating with others on this site, and wanted to make a fresh start. That's it.

Seeing this MeTa is kind of a relief, though, because I was once told in MeMail something like "sorry you were in a grave or life-threatening situation" and I was like wtf is this guy talking about. Like I thought they were just messing with me. Apparently I ought to read the FAQ more often. Well, no hard feelings about that exchange anyway.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:22 AM on December 6, 2014


I think it should read that it takes divine intervention to get your username changed.

"Hey cortex, Ganesh Baba says you have to to change my username to Dove Bucket."
posted by cjorgensen at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I've changed names a few times. It usually signals my desire, not always successful acheived, to change the way I interact with the site, or how I want to represent myself. This account, for instance, was the first I opened and was dormant for a long time, but it is my real name, and I felt more comfortable interacting under my own name, for whatever reason.

Fine, whatever, could you please just let Astro Zombie 2 out of the cage once in a while?
posted by languagehat at 7:01 AM on December 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


*gives cjorgensen the hairy eyeball*
posted by infini at 7:09 AM on December 6, 2014


ain't no reason to get a new user name
if you get a new user name you're gonna confuse me
i won't know what to call you, then you're gonna lose me
ain't no reason to get a new user name

don't you dare to get a new user name
if you get a new user name it's gonna enrage me
and your posts and comments will no longer engage me
don't you dare to get a new user name
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 AM on December 6, 2014


This is inspiring me to probably start a new account at some point too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2014


Me too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on December 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


Ain't done rainin' here, I tell you that
posted by Namlit at 10:39 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Suddenly, I'm overcome with the desire to sing the theme song from Cheers...
posted by infini at 11:08 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Me too.

You're back!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:13 AM on December 6, 2014


I am curious:

The blocking individuals via memail thing: How does that look to the blocked individual? Does it just show that "memail is disabled" to them? Or does it say they are blocked? Or do their memails just go out as usual, not show up at the other end and then it looks to them like we are just ignoring them? Or something else?
posted by Michele in California at 11:18 AM on December 6, 2014


nadawi: i have also had the situation come up where a poster goes 0-100 on me and it's obvious that they know who i am but i don't know who they are since they're under a new username

jessamyn: - user does either of those and comes back and does That Thing again and it's a pain because people sometimes don't know who the user is and they seem oddly familiar with the snark lexicon here now considering they've been a member for five days

This is the part I've been finding increasingly troublesome in recent years. Seeing new users show up and instantly start getting involved in MeTa disputes in ways that make it clear that they're long-time users, but having no idea who they are, is a bit unsettling. I think the relative benefit of allowing people to change names still probably outweighs my discomfort, but I've been noticing it more and more and I think it does have some small effect on the community feel of the site. It doesn't bother me as much when it's people who changed names just because they wanted to change how they interact with the site, but when it's people who really violated site norms, who were banned from the site or otherwise very publicly flamed out here, it feels especially disconcerting.
posted by dialetheia at 11:29 AM on December 6, 2014 [15 favorites]


It doesn't bother me as much when it's people who changed names just because they wanted to change how they interact with the site, but when it's people who really violated site norms, who were banned from the site or otherwise very publicly flamed out here, it feels especially disconcerting.

Of the two examples of this that immediately spring to mind, one of them ultimately had to be shown the door permanently, and the other toned things and became a great user to chat with (though they seem to have deleted their account, again).

So, I dunno. I never thought about how I feel about banned/problematic users returning under a new handle. On another forum I frequent, the attitude has been "if I can't tell that this 'new' user used to be [Terrible Poster X], then they're probably trying to make a good faith effort to change." I guess I feel the same.

Still, I can understand the disconcerting-ness of a "new" user appearing who clearly is a new incarnation of an older user. I guess there's nothing wrong with shooting them a PM and asking, if you have a hunch, and if they're inclined to respond I guess they will.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:41 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've share some of the feelings that dialethia has. It's a mildly unsettling feeling to see a new user name show up that seems fighty from day one. I don't think there should be any site-wide policy changes ('cause I can certainly see the benefits), but I think it would be polite for people who open new accounts to identify themselves on their profile page. It would let me satisfy the itch with "Oh, I see, X is making a new start".

I think Lovecraft In Brooklyn did it very well, when he chose his new name as Charlemagne In Sweatpants, and on the new profile page put a comment like "Yes, I am the same person you're thinking I am." It set the tone of not trying to duck out of past behavior but make it clear he wanted to start over.

The guy was still angry that minds had to have physical bodies. It was a pretty strong tell.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:51 PM on December 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't think there should be any site-wide policy changes ('cause I can certainly see the benefits), but I think it would be polite for people who open new accounts to identify themselves on their profile page. It would let me satisfy the itch with "Oh, I see, X is making a new start".

I did this for the first month or so after I came back, then removed the message, because a) I figured everyone who knew me, if they wanted to know, had seen the message and b) I thought way too long about what the cut-off point is for being "new" and at what point some "this is the new me" message is no longer "new".
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:06 PM on December 6, 2014


That makes sense to me.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:12 PM on December 6, 2014


On another forum I frequent, the attitude has been "if I can't tell that this 'new' user used to be [Terrible Poster X], then they're probably trying to make a good faith effort to change."

just for the record, when i say upthread that they go 0-100, i mean on me specifically, saying things like "i have always been respectful to you!" or something similar that makes it obvious that in their mind we're having a continued interaction although i had never really interacted with their new handle. again, i'm not looking for action or anything to change - but i do find it pretty crappy and if someone wants me to know where they're coming from based on their/our history, they'll have to tell me who they are.
posted by nadawi at 2:29 PM on December 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yes. You'll get no argument from me there. That kind of thing is on par with nodding when someone asks you a question over the phone: I really can't know unless you say so; I'm not on your side of the device. I think it's good for BND's to have that in mind.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:41 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't experienced it here, but I have had some tiny little websites or other for something like 15 years and I have used different handles on different forums over the years, and, yeah, I have had folks recognize me from elsewhere and go apeshit on me when I had no idea who they were. And it really sucks. There is no good way to respond to something like that.

I am not super familiar with what the guidelines currently say about things like BND, but if it isn't spelled out clearly, maybe it needs to be spelled out that part of a successful brand new day is not treating people here like you know them when they don't know who you are. If you really want a clean slate, you need to recognize that people do not automatically know who you are and not use that as some weird tactical advantage to put people on the spot.

I have sympathy for the fact that it is hard to do that. But it's kind of creepy behavior to bring their past into it when you have a new skin and you are trying to get your past washed clean by getting a new skin. And the incident that inspired this MeTa -- where someone memailed someone -- seems particularly creepy to me. It is the virtual equivalent of getting someone alone and using some advantage you have over them. The most abusive stuff is almost always when someone gets you alone so there are no witnesses.
posted by Michele in California at 2:50 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am not super familiar with what the guidelines currently say about things like BND […]

BND and Having more than one account.

Only linking to be helpful.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:47 PM on December 6, 2014


You're back!

Visiting for the holidays. Missed you guys!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:07 PM on December 6, 2014 [23 favorites]


The second rule of Nice Club is first do no harm.
posted by y2karl at 11:27 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Visiting for the holidays. Missed you guys!

Wait? You come back for the holidays? Do you like long cranky MeTas hat end with bleary unfocused GRAR?
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:43 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Holidays: You'll be waving your hats crankily while GRAR GRAR with bleary unfocused eyes by the time we're done you! Join us today!
posted by infini at 8:58 AM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Damn those party hats.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:43 PM on December 7, 2014


I don't have a party hat, my head's that shape and GRAR to you for that, thanks very much.
posted by Namlit at 5:07 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


well what do you know, I myself am planning to evolve to the next level in naming pretty soon, soon as I feel like its ok to spend $5.

Over on mefightclub, someone mentioned Brand New Day as if it were A Thing, which i now see that it is, so thanks for that.
posted by rebent at 8:42 PM on December 7, 2014


I think you should be allowed to change your user name IF AND ONLY IF you change it to the name of a Culture ship. Preferably one of the more obscure ones.

I've actually been pondering changing my username for about two years, but I am lazy, and I'll probably just dox myself again anyway because I am not a smart man.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:32 AM on December 8, 2014


And then there are the days you go without sleep or meds, flip the fuck out, hit the red button and by the time you've got yourself together that afternoon you're left with nothing but your one-joke sock puppet.


Without sleep/meds/flipped the fuck out is how I post. It's kind of my thing. I'm kind of my own sock puppet *floopfloopfloop*
posted by louche mustachio at 4:21 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]



I don't have a party hat, my head's that shape and GRAR to you for that, thanks very much.


Are you from France?
posted by louche mustachio at 4:23 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is my twelfth (and probably final) user name on MetaFilter. The first eleven were all misspellings of my current user name.
posted by syzygy at 5:05 AM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


GROUP HUG!!!!
posted by infini at 5:41 AM on December 8, 2014


And before you think I'm in a good mood, keep in mind this is just simple text and you can't tell anyhow from across the waters. I've actually been muting, blocking, hiding and unfollowing since late Saturday in a fit of grumpycranks.
posted by infini at 5:42 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hooo. If you're not following, how could you know I'm across the waters? GRARblublubblub...
posted by Namlit at 7:07 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're into wackytown now (which I'm sure we could all use) but I will mention in passing that there's a 200k+ user who seems really invested in the current marathon MeTa and (I don't believe) they have identified themselves as existing under a previous handle. They're not obligated to, of course, but I share in the uneasiness expressed above about this kind of thing.

I also have a damn good idea about who they are due to style, but that's beside the point.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the far future, all MeTa wars will be fought with proxy armies of socks and BNDs.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:24 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I really dislike the whole Brand New Day concept. If you burn your bridges to such an extent that you have to change your name I doubt the odds are great you will behave so much better for having paid five more dollars.

But I don't set policy or ever will, so my opinion is worth as much as a pair of woolly Christmas socks in northern hemisphere summer.
posted by winna at 10:37 AM on December 8, 2014


Brand new day? Mmh...I believe in stepwise improvement. Like this (invented, oh yes) user who maybe pissed me off for decades and all of a sudden displays a human trait? Awesome. Another user bouncing on and off the site with help of a bucketload of assumed and discarded aliases? Sooo Confuusing.



Oh, I'm still the same. My Brand New Days start invariably with a spiteful mood about having to get up at all, a creaky neck in spite of extended, meticulous pillowlogical research, a need to fend off mind-recaps of weird and disturbing dreams, and Great Clumsiness around my Moka pot, and all this before coffee. MetaFilter is my only relief. So there.
posted by Namlit at 10:51 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really dislike the whole Brand New Day concept. If you burn your bridges to such an extent that you have to change your name I doubt the odds are great you will behave so much better for having paid five more dollars.

It's a weird thing, because it's the failures that stick out and the successes that go, pretty much by definition, unnoticed. We've had a lot of folks start over with new accounts over the years, some after really fractious interactions and some not so much, and of those it's really a mixed bag in how well its gone. The fact that we have had a bunch of people reasonably successfully reboot their participation is why it's a policy we keep in place and try to support as best we can; that it doesn't always go well is a source of understandable frustration for folks who are uncomfortable with it seeming like a sort of "out" for folks who have already established a record of problem behavior in the past.

No real clean way to separate those two sides of the coin, unfortunately, and I think one of the hardest parts for us as moderators to deal with is figuring out just where to draw the line on the trying-but-failing cases. It's rare that someone comes back to the site with a new account specifically to be a villain; most folks who come back have something they get out of this place, and trying to find a way to make that possible is the main idea but not always one that's easy to navigate.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


My Brand new Day and night and alter ego will be Granny Grumpycakes takes a GRAR
posted by infini at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do honestly admire that we have the Brand New Day thing even though I dislike it, oddly enough. It's nice to give people that chance, even if they have been rampaging grumpy goats and the odds of it working are low.

It's kind of like the way pb always thoughtfully tries to make user requests work even when they're ludicrous. I would just have a giant NO NO NO U IS DENY gif for all those things, so the willingness to try is even more admirable than it would be if I weren't a NO NO NO U IS DENY kind of person.
posted by winna at 11:21 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


the odds of it working are low.

Well that's the thing, it does work really well a lot of the time. People just notice it when it doesn't. And a lot of people start over even when there hasn't been a real problem in their past either because they quit in a huff or their life changed or something like that. Some people are grumpy because of temporary (even if long-term temporary) circumstances and some people are just contentious pills. Haivng it available for the former is worth suffering the "(occasional) latter. The big deal is that there are maybe 5-10 people who are just ongoing MeTa assholes and no matter what username they choose, that stuff is kinda obvious.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:39 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


can't get used to the "retired" tag. Brand new what
posted by Namlit at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2014


I think judicious and infrequent use of a funny sockpuppet is completely appropriate.

Surprising even myself, I agree.
posted by someone is wrong on the internet at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is... is this what personal growth feels like?
posted by someone is wrong on the internet at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2014


Wait, no, I read some comments on Imgur, I'm good.
posted by someone is wrong on the internet at 12:37 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Obligatory link.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:02 PM on December 8, 2014




I think it's annoying when users play weird games with usernames, like one frequent commenter who (IIRC) actually appeared in the same thread under two different usernames.

This seems like the appropriate place to suggest that one of the trade-offs for switching names is that you don't get to continue conversations mid-thread like that, unless, perhaps, you're willing to announce the change in the thread.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:20 PM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm a frequent user using an alternate username for a while - I might shut this one down too and start over over. I agree that it changes interaction - even though mine was mostly positive under the other username, there was still a sense of "oh this user will now act this way" or maybe I just felt like I had to. Also it makes me feel like I NEED to engage less, which has given me back some personal time I didn't even realize I was giving to the site.
posted by zutalors! at 8:08 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: maybe 5-10 people who are just ongoing MeTa assholes.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:06 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think you should be allowed to change your user name IF AND ONLY IF you change it to the name of a Culture ship. Preferably one of the more obscure ones.

Dibs on GCU Sweet And Full Of Grace.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:36 PM on December 8, 2014


Stupid phone thinks it's Hub but it's not.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 PM on December 8, 2014


I don't have a party hat, my head's that shape and GRAR to you for that, thanks very much.

Here is where I feel compelled to point out one of my recent favorite comments, in which kagredon brings the science... via cats wearing party hats:
"(basically, saturated fats are very flexible and thus pack really well together really easily, like when you stuff a box full of sedated cats, and unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds that can't easily be rotated around and so don't pack well, like when you give each of the cats a hilarious and elaborate hat.)"
Hmpf. If all my teachers had taught principles of science using cats in elaborate hats, maybe I would have grown up to be a smartypants sciencetype person. Your loss, Science!

Anyway, dibs on "box full of sedated cats" for my BND.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:56 PM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's the 'when', rather than 'if' that cracked me up in that particular comment.
posted by pompomtom at 5:05 PM on December 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


All my comments have appeared under one user name forever and ever and ever...............
posted by bjgeiger at 8:07 PM on December 9, 2014


That's weird, my comments tend to be over my user name.
posted by ODiV at 8:35 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's the 'when', rather than 'if' that cracked me up in that particular comment

You know who else was the subject of the "when" vs "if" debate?
posted by Room 641-A at 8:27 AM on December 10, 2014


Anyway, dibs on "box full of sedated cats" for my BND.

I accept payment via PayPal.
posted by box full of sedated cats at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wow, I am really confused now! I thought Brand New Day was also for people who may have willingly left the site for a while, maybe because they realized themselves they had been getting too contentious and grumpy for their own peace of mind and needed a break, and then came back and decided to use a new name to start fresh rather than fall back into old patterns.

But according to the FAQ cjorgensen linked to, BND is specifically used to refer to banned users only:

With a few exceptions, people who have been banned from MetaFilter may return under our Brand New Day policy.

Okay, so BNDs are definitely people who had to leave, were kicked off the site. And they are being given a BND as a clean slate to start over.

And then there's also this from cjorgensen's link:
BND means that a user can sign up with a new account and mods will not "out" that user as being someone who held an account previously.

But there's this exchange in that contentious thread that just closed where nobody flat out says he thinks another user is a BND. That seems really uncool, and doing that seems to go against the whole concept of BND, trying to "out" someone that has BNDed. It feels like the person doing that should have been told to knock it off or something.

After the user responded, saying no, they had an earlier account but hadn't been banned and just came back with another name, cortex, you weighed in and said, hey, you are basically a BND.

That seems to go against the whole BND concept, too--either they were banned, BNDed, and you shouldn't have outed them, or they weren't, and it isn't a BND at all.

Was that because the person admitted to having an old account but NOT having been banned, so you figured it was okay to out them as actually having been banned, cortex?

If they weren't banned, making the BND correlation the way you did really gives the impression they had been, which, sorry, but that also seems seriously uncool.

I am just, like I said, now totally confused by BND policies. It seems like they are not being followed as written at all. Are they outdated and need to be rewritten?

What am I missing here?
posted by misha at 10:36 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


That exchange bothered me too, but I thought it was more cortex being frustrated rather than an example of ongoing site policy. Could be wrong, of course.
posted by corb at 10:39 AM on December 10, 2014


BND is specifically used to refer to banned users only:

That FAQ is specifically about banned users and how BND may apply to them. I don't think it should be read as all BND's are necessarily previously banned users. In other words, I think your original conception of BNDs (the one you had before reading that FAQ) is correct.
posted by 0 at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The MeTa that cortex linked to at the beginning of the thread lays it out pretty clearly:
3. Brand New Day. If you want to have a fresh start on Metafilter, it is okay to close or walk away from your existing account and start up a new one instead that's not publicly related to the old one. This is commonly called "Brand New Day" on Mefi, or BND for short. If you are doing this because you want to distance yourself from your previous behavior/history/reputation, it is on you to make the effort to change your behavior along with your mefi handle. When we talk about "Brand New Day" we aren't just referring to a different username, we're talking about a fresh start where you meet the mods and the userbase halfway by genuinely making the effort to not do the same old problematic things or have the new account be a poorly-maintained open secret. If you're going to start over, you need to really start over. The ability to have this fresh start is extended as a courtesy, not a given, and it depends on you holding up your end.
From what cortex said in the recent MeTa, the problem is that user is engaging in the same behavior that led to the (voluntary) BND, which means they're not holding up their end of the bargain.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 AM on December 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Cortex didn't "out" anyone. It had already been stated (by the person in question) that he was a previous member, returned under a new handle. Cortex merely clarified that since he chose to return under a new handle and not link to his previous account, it was de facto a BND and, thus, he needed to behave like a BND user and not do sketchy stuff of the sort that inspired this MeTa, like bringing in old grudges while not identifying himself.

Sounds like a totally valid exercise of mod powers to me: Hey, you, you may THINK you are not BND because you were not banned, but, listen up, because of thus and such, you are BND, so follow the appropriate rules, mmkay?
posted by Michele in California at 10:58 AM on December 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Okay, so BNDs are definitely people who had to leave, were kicked off the site. And they are being given a BND as a clean slate to start over.

No, it can apply just as well to folks who left and came back on their own terms. It is the case that most folks who have been banned are welcome to make an effort with a new account in the spirit of the Brand New Day idea, but it is not the case that one must have been banned in order to do so, and plenty of folks have elected to just sort of autonomously reboot after having some friction on the site but being in good standing, or for other more or less entirely personal reasons.

Brand New Day refers to the idea of starting over. It is not limited to any specific reason for starting over. It is does not require the BND user to have been banned.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:17 AM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


No, it can apply just as well to folks who left and came back on their own terms.

Okay, that makes a lot more sense. That's what I had originally thought before reading the links in this thread.

I don't think the BND link cjorgensen pointed to in this thread makes that at all clear, though. That one is what got me all turned around to begin with. So maybe an edit to that entry on BND would be a good idea?
posted by misha at 11:21 AM on December 10, 2014


I have that Sting song stuck in my head now.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2014


misha, it's plenty clear. The only issue is that you followed someone else's link that just said "BND" and made an unwarranted assumption that it covered all BND cases and policies. The FAQ entry itself is crystal clear: "BND means that a user can sign up with a new account and mods will not "out" that user as being someone who held an account previously." This is true whether the account was banned or the user red-buttoned.
posted by dialetheia at 11:39 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the Meta cortex linked to IS crystal clear, but that FAQ answer cjorgensen linked to wasn't. And while you're right, Dialetheia, that the link answers a question about coming back after you've been banned, I did I search through the FAQ page for "BND" before making my comment here and that answer is the only thing in the FAQ that came up.

Maybe I am just an idiot AND my search skills suck, but since a whole Meta was made by the mods about BNDs, usernames, etc., two years ago to set all this out anyway, and in light of this Meta today, maybe a "What is a Brand New Day? Isn't that the same as changing my username?" addition to the FAQ would not be a bad idea? The answer could just be links to both the Metas, even.
posted by misha at 12:43 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do think a link to that MeTa would be a useful addition to the FAQ. Even just: "Additional commentary and discussion HERE."
posted by Chrysostom at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


That MeTa was already linked in that FAQ entry. But I updated the rest of the entry, maybe that makes it more visible.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:18 PM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


And Misha, the entry on BNDs is here. There's a link to it from the second account/changing accounts entry, or you can find it by searching the page for "BND".
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:20 PM on December 12, 2014


Thanks, LobsterMitten!
posted by misha at 10:10 PM on December 12, 2014


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