I love this community, and I want to help the new users here, so I pose this question in earnest:

I was a new user just about a month ago, and I've gotten used to taking the criticism here with a grain of salt, but I don't want to push away new users, especially to Ubuntu, as this portal is a great resource, much like the Gentoo Forums. In short, I'm tired of seeing all the new users named User + Some Number.

What would be a proper way of telling them to update their display names, without scaring them off?

  • 6
    There is really no reason they should update their username if they don't want to..
    – Seth
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:43
  • and that's fine, but what if 50% of the users named user didn't know they could update it, and would actually want to...
    – eyoung100
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:46
  • It is a relatively simple thing to do.. I don't see how/why they would think they couldn't change it.
    – Seth
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:48
  • Assume most users want to be anonymous and don't want to change their names by their will and not because they don't know how to change it. Similarly, don't assume people don't know how to change their avatar picture, they don't change it because they like the present one or want to remain a little anonymous just like you haven't changed yours till now :)
    – Aditya
    Apr 29, 2014 at 19:49
  • Touche.... but the avatar is used differently...
    – eyoung100
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:05
  • 3
    I'd say that people seeing all the other names around the place would soon pick up on the fact that making your own choice of display name is a possibility.
    – TRiG
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


There are quite experienced users who keep the automatically assigned username. For example, see here or here or here.

As you can see in the links above, there are many users with >1k rep who have kept their randomly assigned usernames. If that's what they want, why should we pester these people to change their names? This is not a social site, it's a Q&A site. Some of us like to engage in the gaming aspect and treat it like a social site but that is not its objective and we shouldn't try and force it.

In short, let people name themselves as they will.


Personally, I must say I definitely like users to have a more identifying name than "user126430826", which is in practice equivalent to having no name. Not because I am interested in their personal live in any way, not because I am interested in their opinions and not for socializing reasons, but to be able to distinguish someone and someone's activity on this site. No matter in which context, we keep being persons, and like to connect a person and his or her actions. At least, I know I do.

It should however be a free choice to choose a more defined name. Many people are just passing by to ask one or two questions and don't want to expose themselves in any way, not even by the style of their chosen name. We should keep that option available.

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