I was researching something, and found this question. The questioner's name is David. However, that is not me (also David).

When I look at the other questioner's question, the title bar lists him as the "current" user, not me - at least, it puts up his reputation, and his gold and silver awards. If I click on the links, they all go to me - but the reputation and award counts never change. The drop-down information is also mine.

I knew that using my first name only was going to be a problem.... I don't suppose changing a name is possible or even wise... is it?

PS (thanks for the migration!)

ACK! I think I found the reason I was confused: the question is on StackOverflow - and I spend most of my time on ServerFault. Thus my profile on StackOverflow doesn't match my profile on ServerFault. The questioner was actually this person.

Is it wise to change my username or is that a mistake? Is there anything I should know about changing the username?


2 Answers 2


I don't suppose changing a name is possible or even wise

If you want to change your username because you think it can create confusion, you can change your username. I don't remember if there are restrictions for the first time you change it (e.g. you need to have a minimum reputation to change your username), but there are restrictions about the number of times you can do it.

As Chris S said, there is no actual confusion, as Stack Exchange uses your user ID, not your username; that is only used when showing who posted, or wrote a comment.

  • Do all of your comments, answers, and questions show the new name?
    – Mei
    Dec 22, 2011 at 22:53
  • Yes, they do. Comments could show the old username, but that happens because they are showing cached data; they will show the new username after a few.
    – apaderno
    Dec 22, 2011 at 23:09
  • 1
    And any @-replies throughout the site remain as they are, with the now old name. Dec 23, 2011 at 8:40

The SE sites do not use your username for anything but display. They only use your UID, which is unique (and different on each site). Signin is only by OpenID, again not username. You can further change your username to anything you like.

If something is getting mixed up on pages it's an error in the DB. The chances of a DB error picking another UID that happens to have the exact same Username is highly unlikely...

  • 'Signin is only by OpenID, again not username' - But you can have an explicit SE account (password protected, not necessarily OpenID); the email address being unique, obviously necessarily so. Dec 23, 2011 at 8:37
  • @Mr.Disappointment Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed and remember when Jeff was against that idea for a variety of reasons (which I would argue persist today). Interesting though...
    – Chris S
    Dec 23, 2011 at 13:49

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