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Username Policy

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Kathleen F.
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11557
Location: NM Albuquerque

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:27 pm    Post subject: Username Policy Reply with quote

Edit 5/29/13
Alas, it would appear that this document is doomed to get longer and longer. I don't understand how one cannot understand what is meant by "real name".

As of November 15, 2008 your username must be your real name. "Real name" means firstname <space> last name*. By "real name", I mean the name that appears on your driver's license, marriage certificate (if applicable), social security card, passport, your birth name or "government name". In the event there is ambiguity, use the name you are known by to MOST people.

I realize this is not typical for forums but there are solidly grounded reasons for this policy (below). If I change the rules for you, I'd have to make the same allowance for anyone else or risk accusations of playing favorites and having to continually explain why you are more special than anyone else. I regret if this makes you unhappy but between maintenance and content, the forum and the blog is a full time job and I just don't have time to help people remember their usernames anymore. Anyway, here are the reasons we have this policy:

I do not have the means to search for usernames from the back end; I have to do it just like you do. This means guessing any variety of character combinations over and over. The system does not even allow me to look you up by your email address! I picked this forum software over all others because this one protects users' privacy best. Admin cannot see your private email, your PM messages, your passwords etc. Meaning, it's good that you have privacy but it is bad in that I cannot retrieve information for you. In sum, using proper names is the best strategy I have to be able to help you troubleshoot your account.

The forum is private but not anonymous. It is not accessible to the public. In any event, over time we've noticed that others are much less likely to respond to a faked up username so your name is best.

Cognitive Overload:
People usually have a different email address which is different from their nickname, which is different from their real name and while I can often keep track of 3 or 4 different identifiers for the same person, it is unreasonable to expect me to do that all of the time (and besides, it's kind of creepy that I can keep all that in my head so there is little use in frightening innocents with my autie super powers). Using your real name works best because you are more likely to remember it and not need assistance at all.


Good examples of usernames are John Smith or Mary Smith. If you habitually use two surnames or have two first names, that is also fine. Examples such as Mary Catherine Smith, John Hunter Smith, Tiffany Smith Peters, etc are also fine.

Nicknames and company names however formatted are not accepted. Examples of unsuitable names are Johnny Boy, Mary Sews, Couture Cathy, Bling Bikini, South Breeze Arts, Designer Diana or Name of Your Company. Eliminating sewing or design words from your email address and username practices is generally a good idea anyway because professionals will think you're not very far along otherwise.

The following usernames are fine but are not formatted correctly:
JohnSmith, John_Smith, John-Smith. Just use firstname (space) lastname(s): John Smith.

It is not a problem if your username isn't formatted correctly (your registration will be processed) but I will correct it when I process your membership. I only mention this in the event you later try to login with the format you signed up under and wonder why you can't get in. Retype your real name (first and last name(s)) with spaces and you'll have no problem.

Name changes: Your username can be changed at any time so if you have a reason, just let me know. Acceptable grounds for name changes are marriage, divorce, domestic partnership, adoption and of course, a legal court approved name change.

Still one last exception: If your legal name is Mary Elizabeth Smith but you are known to all your friends, family and associates by your middle name, you can use that. Likewise, if your name is Elizabeth but everyone calls you Betsy, you can use Betsy. We want you to use whatever name it is that you are known by -if in doubt, how are your checks drawn? We draw the line at initial names ("JC") because experience has shown some individuals are sometimes trying to avoid a history which the rest of us would be well advised to know of. However, if checks are made out to you like that, you have a robust social or professional history under your initials name, exceptions can be made.

We also frown upon using the forum as an adjunct to develop another identity by using one of your legal names as a "stage name" for your design enterprise. For example, if everyone knows you as Mary but you use your middle name of Elizabeth for your business, the change is not likely to be accepted.

And I really regret having to bang on about this but continuing questions and commentary compel the effort...
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