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Current state:

Let's say I decide to change my display name this way (notice more spaces between words):

Display name with many spaces

Then you'll see me on my user's profile this way (notice the only one space between words):

Display name on profile page

Once, assuming I'm just a "Big TLama" with one space between Big and TLama like you've seen on my profile page you'll try to find me through the Users tab, but you'll get no result. And you will find me this way only when you know me very well:

Different search results


I would suggest to trim more than one space between words in display name (like is done when showing it on profile page) when the profile is being saved. Personally, I don't think someone really need to have more than one space between display name words and it simplify the life sometimes.

share|improve this question
This should not only apply to users but questions and answers in general. But quick question, why would you do that? – Cole Johnson Aug 25 '12 at 0:04
@ColeJohnson: Read the linked question, it explains how this came up. He's saying he doesn't know why someone would do that, and it caused some confusion. – animuson Aug 25 '12 at 0:05
I can't think of a good reason to honor multiple spaces. Especially if it's not honored universally (and because of how hard it could be count spaces, if they were honored, in non-fixed width fonts). – Aaron Bertrand Aug 25 '12 at 0:12
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The problem is with the display: in HTML, multiple spaces simply have no effect.

Here is an example.

Source of the above:

Here                 is        an      example.

So your assumption like is done when showing it on profile page is wrong - nothing is done, the name is stored as is in the database.

Instead of this, ordinary blank space can be replaced with   when displayed then you will see the real display name as you entered it.

Starting to block more than one blank space in a row is a dead end - what about     such     character? (Unicode space, don't remember its official name)

IMO best is to let users get wild with their names, but always show the original name they chose.

share|improve this answer
+1, that's right. However I definitely agree with this comment. Why would one need more than one space in display name ? Well, there are 30 chars available for this field, so it could fit to display the name in the profile page. But what if you'd like to find a user whose name you'll see at the post or comment without visiting his/her profile ? – TLama Aug 27 '12 at 9:09
Valid point, but keep in mind we also allow unicode characters. For example ☻♥♦♣♠ should be perfectly valid display name and totally unsearchable. My point is: it's the user's responsibility to put proper name if he want others to find him. – Shadow Wizard Aug 27 '12 at 10:15
I stumbled across this problem and definitely agree with @Tlama (which means, I disagree with your take on the matter). As multiple spaces aren't displayed, it's very hard to find out. Most of the time multiple spaces will be unintended. I say, collapse white space to a single space. Makes life a bit easier for everyone. If you want to get kinky with your display name you still have the UNICODE arsenal at your disposal. Most people just want it to work. – Erwin Brandstetter Oct 12 '12 at 0:50
@Erwin like I replied to TLama, valid point and I don't object to this, however since it's display issue replacing all spaces with   will be better "fix" as it will show the user his mistake and he can then fix it himself. 25 upvotes are pretty much, surprised this issue didn't get any official reply yet. :/ – Shadow Wizard Oct 12 '12 at 7:56

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