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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Allowing members to change their username
chadmg




msg:1560069
 7:18 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Should you allow forum members to change their username? On the one hand, you may not want to have the same name you had five years ago. You may be a different person than you were then. MrBachelor might get married, you never know. You may want a fresh start, like on eBay. If you don't allow name changes, then they may just sign up with a new name under a secondary email address, which is hardly beneficial for the forum or the member.

But on the other hand if someone changes their name every week, it could get pretty annoying. Of course you could put a limit on name changes, but I hate choosing arbitrary limits on such things. If I allow two name changes, someone might have a legitimate reason for a third. And if you allow it in any capacity, you have to police it.

Any thoughts?

 

FourDegreez




msg:1560070
 7:34 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did a full re-write of my site, at which time I allowed my members to choose new names. I'd estimate about 10-15% took a new name, but in most cases it was on a whim and not due to some big shift in identity. Much confusion resulted over the new names. I don't think I'd make it a regular policy to allow name changes. However, I would be open to someone coming to me in private requesting a manual name change if there was a good reason for it.

WibbleWobble




msg:1560071
 9:02 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Most fora have a format like
Username
rank or title

Why not have it so if the username has changed, the rank/title is overwritten with 'previously username'
Plus, you could force users to request a name change, and have it queued for allowance, rather than just accept name changes instantly. Then you can deny multiple requests, or inappropriate choices and so on.

rogerd




msg:1560072
 3:58 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I usually maintain an official policy of no name changes (to avoid being inundated with pointless requests and to avoid confusion from new identities), but once in a while I make a quiet exception for a member who has a legitimate reason, e.g., "GeorgesWife" who is no longer married to George. :)

vB3 makes name changing trivial as the username is an editable field for an admin. Forum communities are built on members knowing each other from their posts, though, and frequent changes to member names would not benefit the community.

lorenzinho2




msg:1560073
 5:10 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

We allow users to easily change their own user names. That being said, it is very rare that a regular user changes their user name - most of the folks WANT people to know who they are.

Jenstar




msg:1560074
 11:34 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I usually maintain an official policy of no name changes (to avoid being inundated with pointless requests and to avoid confusion from new identities), but once in a while I make a quiet exception for a member who has a legitimate reason

I have the exact same policy. Members cannot change it in the control panel, they have to contact me. And while some members I do not allow to change (ie. from annoying member "Lisa" who wants to now be known as "MyNewWebsiteName") I do make exceptions in certain cases, usually for those I consider valuable to the community.

Changing usernames can also make it hard to track problem users.

chadmg




msg:1560075
 4:26 pm on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

For those that allow name changes by contacting you, do you ever get complaints when you won't allow one? How do you phrase your policy if you list one? It's harder to create a policy when it's arbitrary instead of being absolute. What are some of the reasons you state when you deny a name change?

kodaks




msg:1560076
 6:54 pm on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

On my forum, I tried out the feature where users can change their usernames, but after a while I did not like it.

It becomes very confusing and just puts more stress on adinistrators and moderators, because they would have to review the new usernames, first. I think it would be better if they had to stick with a username "forever", or only allow slight changes when neccesary (like a marriage/divorce).

rogerd




msg:1560077
 10:15 pm on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>For those that allow name changes by contacting you, do you ever get complaints when you won't allow one?

It seems like you would have to offer a reason if you disallow a particular name change - too commercial, adult term, etc.

I think the user-adjustable approach would be a pain for mods. While they probably have the ability to track the user down by a record number or IP, a problem user could be more of a problem by switching identities often. The regular members would be even worse off. (Surprisingly, members are pretty adept at spotting returning baddies - we often get notes that a banned user has reincarnated with a new name. They are almost always right.)

rogerd




msg:1560078
 10:15 pm on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>For those that allow name changes by contacting you, do you ever get complaints when you won't allow one?

It seems like you would have to offer a reason if you disallow a particular name change - too commercial, adult term, etc.

I think the user-adjustable approach would be a pain for mods. While they probably have the ability to track the user down by a record number or IP, a problem user could be more of a problem by switching identities often. The regular members would be even worse off. (Surprisingly, members are pretty adept at spotting returning baddies - we often get notes that a banned user has reincarnated with a new name. They are almost always right.)

wheel




msg:1560079
 10:51 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

We allow it. It gets very confusing, as many of our members do it routinely. I see members with 10,000 posts who I have no idea who they are - I don't recognize the name..

Unfortunately that community is also very indepenendet spirited to the point of being rebelious (the forum has the name 'rebel' in it's name) so we'd have war on our hands if we restricted this.

OTOH, there are times when this helps community building. At halloween for example, many members add masks to their avatars and change their name a bit to reflect the time. So I might become 'wheeeEEEEL! BOO!' for a couple of days.

saoi_jp




msg:1560080
 5:02 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

change their name a bit to reflect the time. So I might become 'wheeeEEEEL! BOO!' for a couple of days

So during that time, how could you prevent someone from becoming "wheel", thereby taking your identity?

In other words, are names "retired" (only to be reactivated with their original passwords) or do they become up for grabs?

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