A user on SO, Abhijit, referred to the OP of a question, acpigeon, as "he" (and then Aaron) in the comments on this answer.

I didn't see the name on the question page, nor on acpigeon's profile page. Is there a way to look this up that I missed? Alternatives are Abhijit knows acpigeon, or maybe Abhijit was just making things up.

I'm still relatively new to these sites, so I'm still learning my way around. Is there a way short of the two alternatives above to know the OP's name? If so, how?

2 Answers 2


There isn't really a way to know a user's real name, unless they disclose it themselves. Your guesses are good, they might know each other, they may have conversed in chat and exchanged real names, or it could be that Abhijit was just making things up. Another alternative is that acpigeon used to go by "Aaron" once, I used to go by "Zaphod Beeblebrox" for almost all of January, and someone mentioned it earlier today (true story).

Also it's not unusual for people to use different usernames per account, I'm using the silly "Yahoo Answers enthusiast" here (because MSO is silly), but go by my real name everywhere else (not to say that everywhere else is not equally silly). That's not the case with acpigeon as he only has one account (that we know of).

Lastly, what animuson already said.

  • thanks .. I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss an obvious way to look this up. I think SO (and the related sites) have somewhat of a steep learning curve initially - though once you use it for a while it does make sort of sense :-) ... but it's not for the faint of heart. (If I would chastise my students the way some people do here, I'd have no students - never mind questions)
    – Levon
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 22:46
  • 2
    @Levon Since you're new, here's some light reading for you ;) And we might be a bit cruel once in a while, but in general we are very nice. Don't forget we are all volunteers, we are obviously here to help but not to waste our time...
    – yannis
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 22:49
  • Ah .. thanks .. I'll take a look.
    – Levon
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 23:09

No, their real name is not shown on their profile unless they put it in their bio. If you provide a website which states your name, it could also be found that way.

The word 'he' is often used whenever you don't know the gender of the person, kind of like a fallback. See Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? for other ways used when the gender is unknown. Honestly, I have no idea where Aaron came from.

  • thanks .. just wanted to make sure I didn't miss something :)
    – Levon
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 22:47
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    Even if you provide it, it appears only to you and the moderators... not others. Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 22:53
  • @yoda: Really? I've never noticed before. So why would they need my real name then? Send me t-shirts?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 22:57
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    @animuson Well, they don't need it :) You're free to not provide that info. The only field that's required is the openID if you're registered and an email address (and maybe name, which can be anything) if you're not. Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 23:48

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