Previously my account name was written out in the top bar with nice real letters and it was also a link that took me to my profile and a dropdown for profile stuff like logout.

It felt like I'm part of the network and what I do matters (to some tiny degree, or at least for my personal development).

With the new top bar on meta my name is gone.

The profile link seems to be incorporated to the badges and stuff, fine (albeit not very intuitive). But why is my name gone?

Now the log-out functionality is moved under "StackExchange". Previously it was like I was to log out... now it feels like "oh I can log out from stackexchange - whoa", except it's not so whoa.

It's not that I keep multiple identities on StackExchange (it defeated any ill intent with this reputation game anyway). But this is not one of those "tell us your real name or else" sites either.

Personally I don't feel the justification for removing my name and my personal little dropdown for supposedly personal functionality, because there is frankly enough space left for putting it there.

Even if the dropdown is gone, writing it on the top bar felt nicer and healthier...

Why is it gone?

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    I agree, and here's my userscript to add the name back github.com/Gabro/SE-Topbar-MainMeta – Gabriele Petronella Nov 18 '13 at 6:50
  • The avatar can be a standard width. Usernames are all over the place in sizes – random Nov 18 '13 at 7:01
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    @random that's true, however I expect the avarage username within reasonable length. Users with very long usernames could be truncated with "..." (if their name is really long then I think it'd be no big surprise to them). The theoretical possibility of having very long usernames should not come on the expense of disabling them altogether. – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 7:20
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    Also, it's even a matter of priority: are things more important than my username? Icons can be all over the place too! Why not group them under my username? Not saying this is the way, only saying that "getting rid of usernames because they can took too much place from something else" is not the whole story. – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 7:22
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/a/207955/178816 – Travis J Nov 18 '13 at 23:42

random is correct; the main reason for getting rid of user names is so that area always takes up the same amount of space. The number of items in the top bar actually varies between different types of users - 10k users, diamond moderators, and employees have the most items up there, while anonymous users have the least. All other users (which is the majority) fall somewhere in between, but we have to make the top bar work for everyone.

With both the user name and number of items to be displayed being so variable, it was really easy for the old top bar to get cluttered and confusing; we're trying to standardize that now and make it cleaner. We chose to show the avatar rather than the user name because it takes up less space and is guaranteed to be standard for all users. I do empathize with your wanting the top bar to feel personalized, but that's why we allow users to use Gravatar or upload their own picture as their avatar here. A custom picture is just as personalized as a user name.

Regarding the dropdown with the log out link...that log out link was really kind of orphaned there. If we had a "profile" menu with account settings, privacy settings, etc. the way that some other sites do, it would make sense to keep it there, but we don't. The log out link was shoved into a menu with a bunch of unrelated things (what does your posting activity and a list of privileges you can earn have to do with logging out?), so we regrouped it. Almost everything that was in the avatar dropdown is now in the "achievements" dropdown (represented by the graph icon). The log out link is grouped with all other site actions in the site switcher.

While we may disagree on the user name issue, give the new top bar some time to see if you get used to it. I hope you'll come to like it, or at least find that it doesn't hurt your workflow on the site.

  • The number of items in the top bar actually varies between different types of users - 10k users, diamond moderators, and employees have the most items up there this explains a lot to me. I'm not sure the top bar needs a standardization (what I like is [options for] customization :). Telling because I can understand you better now. But will give time. About the gravatar, I think it's different from the name, but you can check our comments below Sha Wiz Dow Ard's about that. About user dropdown, actually perceived it a kind of profile menu, that gave the relation. :) Thanks 4 the answer. :) – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 23:11

I found it!

Just hover the tiny avatar and your name will appear as tooltip.

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    Not really discoverable. Maybe Jon Skeet has the IQ to instantly discover this "feature" but most people don't. – Deer Hunter Nov 18 '13 at 10:29
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    nice find! err, but is this supposed to be a praise? ;) Even with you pointing out, took a while for me to find it. Seems like my name has became the alt tag of my gravatar :S. Besides, the point is not that I don't know my username and could use a tip... It's just I feel like more personal and valued if my username is written out on the bar (without me doing, well, anything). – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 11:06
  • @Deer agreed, but many features of SE are hidden away e.g. question timeline. :) – Shadow9 Nov 18 '13 at 11:58
  • @naxa not alt, tooltip. I get your point and partially agree but we need to remember SE sites are not meant to be personal or social, just professional. – Shadow9 Nov 18 '13 at 11:59
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    @naxa "It's just I feel like more personal and valued if my username is written out on the bar" - how so? (genuine question) – Marc Gravell Nov 18 '13 at 13:33
  • @MarcGravell I think I associate my "achievement" in score and badges with my name more easily if they are next to each other, visibly. It recalls the feel of my "work" and my experience on the site so far without directly thinking about them. With a chosen name, the longetivity connects me with what I've gone through here and what I've got and give to the site, and the lessons I've learned here, happy to say all the good memories because the site is so constructive it's a joy. Seeing my name in this context gives me a past to remember and energy and some kind of wish to go on even further. – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 22:54
  • @naxa and your gravatar or choice of image wouldn't do the same? – Marc Gravell Nov 18 '13 at 22:56
  • @MarcGravell I guess for many it could and I like the picture of others'. Don't know about how many like me, but personally I didn't feel the wish to choose a picture (I like to call it) for myself. I guess you could say that I'm more textual. A name is something I feel I made, and they use it every day, in addressing comments, in references, chit-chat, even real-life... A picture is just different, I cannot associate so closely. Just me. :) – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 22:59
  • @naxa how about a picture of the word "naxa"? – Marc Gravell Nov 18 '13 at 23:02
  • @MarcGravell haha, you're right. :D But wouldn't it be scaled and screwed to fit that bar? Nevertheless, to add, I don't think it's like I could or wish not to change, so you can also view it as an opportunity. I guess one will find its creativity either way. It's just you feel a loss when you took something for granted and personal and it suddenly disappears. Maybe that, or the name just needs a[n optional?] comeback. ;) – n611x007 Nov 18 '13 at 23:04
  • @naxa sometimes the cheese has to be moved... – Marc Gravell Nov 18 '13 at 23:05
  • @naxa there are things we just have to accept and adapt to. I got a daughter, 3 years old. She already has her own taste in clothes and when specific shirt she like doesn't fit her any more she highly dislike any new shirt. But we have no choice, she grows up and needs new clothing. SE is the same, it must not remain static. Design refresh is important, and it's really not that bad. – Shadow9 Nov 18 '13 at 23:50

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