I recall that SE enforces a three-letter minimum on usernames.

But, this doesn't seem to be the case here.

There's no Unicode magic going on, his username really is just one character long:

enter image description here

Looks like there's a bug somewhere :s

After some testing, it seems like there is no length check at all for unregistered accounts. And, when registering an unregistered account, the short username is carried over (Here's a test account I created and registered).

  • User X is a spy – American Luke Jan 23 '13 at 16:40
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    Not really a username until they register – random Jan 23 '13 at 16:42
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    @random: Yeah, but unregistered accounts sometimes stick around for a long time (I've seen a 1k unreg on Physics). And registration doesn't change your username. – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 16:43
  • It might if there's a constraint on the posts table @Manishearth :-). – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 23 '13 at 16:47
  • A short username is not retained when an account is registered. I recall a case where a user with a 2 letter name, say XY on A51 (A51 still allows it, since it runs an old SE engine), was automatically assigned XY01 when registering on a site. – Lorem Ipsum Jan 23 '13 at 16:56
  • @AnonE.Mouse: Nope. See edit. – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 17:02
  • (I'll destroy the test account once this gets fixed) – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 17:03
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    @Manishearth you should probably edit the Bio of that user to be clear on what you are doing with this test account. – Richard J. Ross III Jan 23 '13 at 17:12
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    @RichardJ.RossIII: Done, though I doubt that's necessary. – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 17:15
  • I used to have a two character username until I started getting random errors one day recently(-ish). In the beginning of SO, there was no length requirement. – lc. Jan 23 '13 at 18:26
  • How can you have an unregistered account? – Mr Reenlist'er Jan 23 '13 at 18:30
  • @MrLister: ? Care to elaborate? – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 18:36
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    @MrLister By not registering. – user102937 Jan 23 '13 at 18:36
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    @MrLister: No, if you try posting an answer, it asks you to log in, or supply a name+email+homepage. – Manishearth Jan 23 '13 at 18:45
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    I've got dibs on Q! – jscs Jan 23 '13 at 19:17

Screwed that one up, didn't we? We made a change to the user validation pipeline in April of 2011 (!), but didn't correctly apply it to the unregistered post creation, only the user editing.

The next build will reenable this validation, and it will also fix any existing illegal user names. Thanks for the catch.

Oh, also: It took two years for this to be noticed? Disappoint, people of Meta! ;p

  • Out of curiosity, how will it fix them? – Lightness Races BY-SA 3.0 Jan 30 '13 at 2:02
  • Look at the example account from the question: It gave them back their default user20145, which is the name they would've had if validation had been working. – balpha Jan 30 '13 at 7:59
  • Hah, never had I spotted that in userX the X corresponds to the numeric user ID and is thus fixed and available for use when the text username becomes invalid. – Lightness Races BY-SA 3.0 Jan 30 '13 at 21:35

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