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I had the best April Fools' joke idea. I've been brewing it for months. And it flopped.

It involved changing my name and picture to Jon Skeet. (No, that was not the prank itself.) I did that last night, to give it time to propagate over to chat. When I checked this morning, my picture still had Jon's face, but my name had changed back to Kendall Frey.

Why did my name change back to Kendall Frey? Is it some automated system, or did a mod change it?

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    Possibly related: meta.stackexchange.com/a/174456/148949 Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:48
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    I think we might be preventing name changes on April fools. Not sure though. I think there were so many impersonators that it was blocked. His name gets rep, you know.
    – Linuxios
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:50
  • Was my name changed back by a moderator? Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:53
  • Not a moderator, but a community manager. A lot of people had the same idea. I think a bunch of people in chat got together for the same joke. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:57
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    Hardly the "best" idea. Not a patch on unicorn avatars for instance. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:17
  • @dmckee I didn't even tell you what the idea was. How can you say it's not good? Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:37

2 Answers 2

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Your name specifically was changed back by Shog9.

Strictly speaking, we have rules against impersonation outlined in the terms of service (emphasis mine):

Under no circumstances will Subscriber use the Network or the Service to (a) send unsolicited e-mails, bulk mail, spam or other materials to users of the Network or any other individual, (b) harass, threaten, stalk or abuse any person or party, including other users of the Network, (c) create a false identity or to impersonate another person, or (d) knowingly post any false, inaccurate or incomplete material.

Now, we aren't entirely without a sense of humour (even though we hate fun), so a name change here and there isn't a big deal, especially when it's clear that there is no real intent to impersonate another user. However, once several people start changing their name and gravatar and copying other profile details without even disclosing that it's a joke, things get weird. We'd rather avoid confusion altogether.

Also, you can only change your name once every 30 days, so this isn't a particularly good choice for a single-day prank.

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  • I didn't copy any information other than the name and picture. It wasn't intended to be an impersonation, just to fool naive people. I suppose it's for the best if SO doesn't become a zoo on April 1st. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:01
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    The irony of Community posting this answer is almost overwhelming.
    – JNK
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:29
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    @Kendall: a few other people kinda poisoned the well there, IMHO.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:46
  • Even though this answer is helpful, it doesn't actually answer the question. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:49
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    @Kendall Frey: I'm not sure what answer you were expecting. You asked why... and we gave a reason. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 17:23
  • Maybe I should clarify the question. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 17:23
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There's very little chance that anyone would ever want to impersonate me, but if someone did, I would be furious. Really, acting in other person's identity is possibly the least amusing idea you could come up with.

Apparently Jon Skeet himself is lenient about it, but I'm glad the moderators take the issue seriously.

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