Could Stack Overflow be damaged by “URL poisoning”?
Friendly URLs for profiles is a nice feature, however, there are at least 2 drawbacks:
Attacks on reputation problem
Friendly URLs can open the door to malevolent attacks on someone's reputation (as in "real world reputation").
Imagine you have this profile URL:
A malevolent person could create a Google bomb attack with this kind of URL:
This URL is still valid for a SE site: it just redirects to "john-doe" for instance.
I have a dozen accounts opened on different SE sites, all linked to my SO account.
Googling for my name showed first a bunch of URLs pointing to my profiles on different SE sites (most of which I use very rarely), showing even before my SO and Linkedin profiles!
A month ago I decided to change my name to a pseudonym on these (rarely used) SE profiles, trying to mitigate the problem.
And it didn't gelp. Google still keeps those URLs on top - it must consider them as still valid (because they technically are).
Disable the friendly URL feature on profiles, allowing only 2 possible ways to access a profile:
where john-doe is the current name of the profile owner. Any other URL "friendling" would trigger a 404 response.