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Following my off-topic comment in another thread, I would like to post it as a question now:

I always wondered, why do old regular users with high reputation use names like user370305 ?

What's your thoughts about it? Maybe we should gently ask experienced users (after they reach some reputation value or after a certain amount of activity time) to change autogenerated names to something more meaningful?

p.s.: pls note, that I read Why do some users have username "user########"?. But I ask a different question here.

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Maybe they like using an opaque name? Maybe they have a looser account that doesn't require them to log in (not sure how well this would work)? –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 16:35
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They are uncreative? Or perhaps they want to remain incognito? I use my real name, because I never was creative enough to come up with some handle like ZOMG_ZigGY_StartDust –  Robert Harvey Dec 5 '11 at 16:37
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Until now, apparently. All hail ZOMG_ZigGY_StartDust♦! –  Pops Dec 5 '11 at 16:38
    
It would be really interesting to hear the reason from one of those users. –  Idolon Dec 5 '11 at 16:39
    
@RobertHarvey Or they simply don't notice "edit" link on the profile page? ;) –  Idolon Dec 5 '11 at 16:43
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Just to clarify: That user is actually user370305. If it was really user123456, I think the reason for keeping the name should be obvious! BTW, we're only a couple hundred thousand away from user1234567, and less than 20,000 away from user1111111! –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 5 '11 at 16:55
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Some of them have default avatars, too. –  mmyers Dec 5 '11 at 19:10
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Some history: until September 2009 the OpenID user name would be used as a default. And related: Is it bad to use your “real name” as your user name? –  Arjan Dec 6 '11 at 10:37
    
@KevinVermeer I was not sure whether to put a real user name in the title. Changed it now (hope user370305 won't complain). –  Idolon Dec 6 '11 at 14:04
    
Khm… 3 votes to close as "not constructive"… Would it be better to emphasize the constructive IMHO part of the question: Maybe we should gently ask experienced users … to change autogenerated names to something more meaningful? –  Idolon Dec 6 '11 at 15:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 21 down vote accepted

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.

If identifiability is a concern, then surely having a constant username is better than users that change their names every so often.

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.

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Jingleballs? Good to see some Christmas spirit on Meta. –  Jay Riggs Dec 5 '11 at 16:52
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The only possible inconvenience? What about the problem of even realizing that there are two different users in a thread when both of their usernames look nearly identical? I can't imagine trying to understand code where variables had names like var581924. –  Gabe Dec 5 '11 at 17:07
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@Gabe - So you haven't noticed how many John and Mark we have here? The 'User' users are at least numbered! –  Bo Persson Dec 5 '11 at 17:14
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@BoPersson: We have maybe 700 Johns, but 100k user######s! –  Gabe Dec 5 '11 at 17:33
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@Gabe Actually we have about 7012 Johns and about 134k user######s, but I think your point is still valid. –  Jason Plank Dec 5 '11 at 20:11

I looked at the OP from the thread you refer to and based upon the lack of information they give on their profile they must prefer the sense of anonymity associated with the auto generated name. Personally i don't think it has any bearing on anything, their questions and answers are just as valid.

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