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Having just read Squatting Vanity Urls, it seems like whilst squatting is a real problem, it is more inconvenient if you happen to share a name with someone else. To solve this name-sharing problem, would it be beneficial to have a sort of disambiguation page similar to how wikipedia does when there is a name clash? This way, going to careers.stackoverflow.com/joebloggs could show you all of the Joe Bloggs that have a public CV, with a summary of their CV (similar to how CVs appear in search results) so you can choose the correct one.

This might not be an ideal solution for everyone, but it seems a good approach if you don't happen to get the vanity url first - after all who wants careers.stackoverflow.com/joebloggs99 as their url?

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after all who wants careers.stackoverflow.com/joebloggs99 as their url?

*ahem*

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Do you happen to know Tony? * cough * –  Diago Oct 29 '09 at 19:35
    
lol! hahahahahaha –  Maxim Zaslavsky Oct 29 '09 at 22:36
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How do you disambiguate a name in a job search? If there is more than one Adam Davis on careers then a potential employer is going to have to look at all the profiles on the disambiguation page to have a hope of figuring out which one she actually came here for.

I suspect people are going to come via direct links anyway, so while joebloggs99 may not be attractive, it isn't going to matter.

Keep in mind that it's a relatively small community. Unlike AOL there won't be thousands of Adam Davis. Some names will duplicate quite a bit, but the majority might only require 3-4 valid alternatives (adamdavis, adavis, adamd, ad, davisa, adamprograms, programmeradam, adamthenewhotnessdavis, not to mention dashes, underscores, etc). I'd say this problem will really only adversely affect less than 1% of the users. Only those that cannot come up with meaningful alternatives will have to resort to using nondescript numbers.

Lastly, what is the alternative? If you add these disambiguation pages (which I argue adds ambiguity) then what is the point of a "vanity" URL? We're back to saying, "Well, you can either go to /adamdavis and search for me, or you can go to /K3DS934 to get directly to my profile." You are essentially arguing against having vanity URLs at all.

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The public CVs are free, and so may attract a larger number of users than if they were paid for. As such, there is a higher chance of sharing a name with another person. I see the public urls as a way of pointing people to you CV directly, so the url does matter to some people. After all, if it didn't, then why bother having a vanity url at all and just use careers.stackoverflow.com/[userid]? Whilst I am lucky(?) in that my name is distinct enough that I don't share it with many people, others are not so lucky (there are currently 23 users called Punit Singhi and 15 called Mike Thomas). –  adrianbanks Oct 29 '09 at 22:01
    
True, I didn't realize when I wrote this that the vanity urls are free. Still, there are only 24k stackoverflow users with a rep of over 100, and probably only a small fraction of them are going to participate. Your example names demonstrate that very few of the participate in the community beyond their initial join. –  Adam Davis Oct 29 '09 at 22:23
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Still, a disambiguation page wouldn't help - if anything it would hurt. Let's say I decide to use "adamdavis" for my vanity name, and someone else comes along and desires to use it as well. The disambiguation module would now show that there are two people with this name, and ask the person to choose one. I would get tired of that, eventually, and change it to something no one else would ever use so that I have a direct URL. As far as I can tell, this would only make the process more ambiguous. –  Adam Davis Oct 29 '09 at 22:25
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Why do you keep on insisting that you include your name in the post when the convention and etiquette is to not do so since your avatar is already there? –  random Oct 29 '09 at 23:23
    
The signature is fine. Please don't edit the question if that's the only thing you are going to 'clarify' - see blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/the-great-edit-wars for Jeff Atwood's suggestion on what to do when the author clearly prefers one representation of the question/answer above the others. –  Adam Davis Oct 30 '09 at 0:17
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No, signatures are not fine: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/5029/… for Jeff's suggestion on what to do when the author clearly flies in the face of the social norm of the site. –  random Oct 30 '09 at 0:21
    
Note that I only edit it back in if I make other substantial edits to the post (unlike others, who feel the need to remove it even if that's the only thing 'wrong'). I don't see myself editing this again, so if you were to remove it, it likely won't come back. But if you are still unsure as to what/when/why/how you should edit, check out the sidebar conveniently next to the editing window, where it says, "How to Edit - Fix grammatical or spelling errors. - Clarify meaning without changing it. - Correct minor mistakes. - Add related resources or links. - Always respect the original author." –  Adam Davis Oct 30 '09 at 0:21
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You could just not put it in in the first place if you know that's what the community has decided against. –  random Oct 30 '09 at 0:27
    
Or I could respectfully disagree for several reasons (I won't repeat, but here's my old post on it: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/5029/… ) and continue to keep posting as I normally do. –  Adam Davis Oct 30 '09 at 0:31
    
@Adrianbanks there are currently 23 users called Punit Singhi and 15 called Mike Thomas You also assume that the 23 Punit Singhi aren't 22 duplicate accounts. Same for Mike Thomas. They may not all be duplicates, but odds are one of them is. (yes, I realize this post is old, so what) –  jcolebrand May 13 '11 at 18:28
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