Many people are bad at remembering names, but are much worse with arbitrary numbers.

Several users here have names of the form <$common string$><#arbitrary number#>.

Suppose I'm replying to a comment by user foo174328, and I begin typing @foo, and being lazy, hit <Tab> for autocomplete, and the autocomplete then gets confused because it doesn't know how to choose between users foo174327, foo17427, foo17432799, etc.

It would be nice to have SE recognize this annoyance, and now and then nag (or re-nag) applicable users to pick a handle that doesn't have so many numbers, and better still, algorithmically conforms to a certain "distance" between other names, the better to discourage such Too Many Daves problems.

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    Maybe this belongs on Meta.SE... – agc Aug 12 '18 at 20:55
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    I agree with your last comment. I doubt anyone can do that just here (on poli SE) automatically. Unless what you ask is for people to voluntarily change their names that way, or maybe for mods to nudge them to do that... But you should change your question/proposal in that case. – Fizz Aug 12 '18 at 23:56
  • The current situation is actually worse... Are usernames required to be unique?: No. – Andrew T. Aug 13 '18 at 8:30
  • @AndrewT. more to the point meta.stackexchange.com/questions/168118/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/228510/… "you don't need to able to read a user name". – Fizz Aug 13 '18 at 17:58
  • Unless I read something convincing on MetaSE your points remain much more reasonable than what I found so far, from a human perspective. Unfortunately, this seems like the wrong alley to plant a tree to bark up to – and more important: that the human aspect seems to be deliberately designed out by the devs and Daves programming SE. I just hate-hate it, like you, but maybe "it's a good thing®", really (avoiding halo-effect, voting on persons instead of posts)? But then the rep-game clearly contradicts this and corroborates your points. Take it to MetaSE, get my +1 (and still drown in DVs)… – LаngLаngС Aug 15 '18 at 21:55

Basically you should ask this on meta.SE. I very much doubt an automated solution can be implemented just for politics.SE. But don't get your hopes up since the semi-official view is that

you don't need to be able to read a user name


The only restrictions to usernames is that they not be offensive.


Some users wish to remain anonymous and low key. They have no qualms with the autogenerated names and see no reason to change it.

I don't see any benefit in making them change it either, since there's nothing to stop them from changing it to something just as meaningless as aksgdashdkjgw or jingleballs.

One possible inconvenience I can think of that can result from *user** usernames is when then are more than one involved in a comment thread -- it makes the thread a little harder to follow, and the usernames a tad harder to target using @user.... This is a rare edge case and is hardly worth fretting about.

So you probably won't find much support for your proposal on meta.SE.

They have added a feature were non-ASCII users can be replied to in comments by extending auto-complete to handle that. But they don't seem to have any will to make user names (technically "display names") either unique or easy to read (and therefore rembeer or type).

A suggestion for mods to handle this in some way (here on poli SE) could be considered separately.

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  • It's not about meaning, it's about human convenience. Mnemonically "jingleballs" is much easier to remember than "aksgdashdkjgw". – agc Aug 14 '18 at 2:39
  • Also arguing against distinguishable user names, or display names, would be, if taken to an extreme, tantamount to making all posts publicly anonymous. – agc Aug 14 '18 at 3:04

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