I'm thinking of changing my username to my real name. Given that I have a presence on some of the sites here (mostly codegolf), what etiquette should I follow when choosing my new name?

As my username is currently Quincunx, I'm thinking of changing it to MyRealName (formerly Quincunx). Or perhaps MyRealName (né Quincunx). Maybe just MyRealName (Quincunx). If I do use these usernames, will people be able to recognize who I am? Or is there already a standard way to change usernames (such as relying on the profile picture)?


2 Answers 2


First of all, you can't have parentheses in display name:

Display Name can only contain letters, digits, spaces, apostrophes or hyphens and must start with a letter or digit

I suggest not adding any "former" appendix in the username. To me it would look a little pretentious, as if it's so important for others to know who you are. Stack Exchange is not a social network; if you are posting good stuff, that's all that matters.

Some users put a note in the profile "formerly ...", which has the benefits of not cluttering user card under every post, and also allowing anyone who actually cares to see the connection.

By the way, if your presence is sufficiently noticeable, you will be recognized even if you change both your name and avatar at the same time, and will not tell anyone about it. At least by those who care a bit about who you are; most users don't.


It's entirely up to you. Usually users just rely on others recognizing the avatar; occasionally they'll put it in their profile. I don't think I've seen anyone add the old name like you suggest, but whatever floats your boat.

  • 1
    I agree... as long as you don't change your UN and Avatar at the same time, it should be fine.
    – Catija
    Jul 1, 2015 at 5:01
  • 1
    This. It's fine to put 'I used to contribute as [name]' in your profile to remove any ambiguity should someone be confused with a new name next to a familiar avatar, but totally not necessary.
    – user50049
    Jul 1, 2015 at 7:44
  • @Catija But often the username might have to be congruent with the avatar. I don't see a problem with changing both in unison. Afterall those sites are about the contributions of the people, not their personalities and comment conversations (which are practically the only thing that could get confusing) shouldn't be of long last anyway, if any. Jul 1, 2015 at 8:59

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