I'm curious why they removed the username from the top bar?
I actually like it so others can't see your name, but wondering if that was the reason?
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The limit for user name length is rather generous, so while the typical user name is reasonable short, there are quite a few really, really long user names. The design of the top bar has to take the maximum length into account (it could shorten user names a bit, but that would also be rather messy).
This came up a few times when more links were requested for the old topbar, and it prevented the space on the topbar from being used efficiently.
Using the avatar instead of the name circumvents this problem entirely, as the avatar is the same small size for every user.
Apparently the top bar was too cluttered for users with mod abilities and long user names. It was discussed at length in various places in this post: The new top bar is out on meta. Consider it a beta