There is "Full name" field on the user profile page:

Full name

Such name can be set different on each SE site. Is there a reason to allow that, since this name is not shown publicly?

  • 3
    At the very least, just like display name, you can put your localized name on localized SE sites and use English/transliterated name on English-speaking SE sites. Also, "not shown publicly" doesn't mean only you can see it though... Mar 25, 2019 at 12:01
  • @GetAnswerWizard good point about localization! I know what "not shown publicly" means in general :) Mar 25, 2019 at 12:06

2 Answers 2


Ultimately, it's because there's no reason to forbid it either. Sure, it technically should be the same across the network. But keeping that field always in sync network-wide when it's barely used for anything is just not worth the resources required to do that. Nobody really cares what users type into the field, or if it's different across sites. So it's just a standard field that's... there.

  • 1
    This is our design, we know it's bad, but we don't have any resources to implement it correclty ... How many times SE employees said so? Mar 25, 2019 at 11:51
  • 3
    "Don't have" is an incorrect way to think about it. "Is not worth any of our time" is a better way to think about it. It's just a worthless profile field that gets used in like two places. If anything, it'd make a lot more sense to just hide it on all sites other than Stack Overflow. Afaik that's the only place it's used.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Mar 25, 2019 at 12:05
  • GetAnswerWizard suggested a nice usage of that field in the comment under the question. BTW is this field accesible by regular site mods or by only employees? Mar 25, 2019 at 12:09
  • @αλεχολυτ site mods can see user's private information: meta.stackexchange.com/a/149637/152859 Mar 25, 2019 at 13:22

The real name is used when the user is contacted by SE: automated emails or staff, e.g. I was contacted by SE swag provider who used my real name.

Since those are being sent via email, some people might find it easier to filter the emails when using a unique name for each site.

Also, nobody is forced to actually give their real name (SE is not Facebook ;)) so I'm pretty sure many users put their display name in there as well, which can be different on each site.

  • In my little experience with diamond's communication this name is never used. Filtering emails by that name looks very syntetic issue to me. Mar 25, 2019 at 9:01
  • 1
    Nah, moderators don't use the real name when contacting users. Just the display name. If you're seeing your real name, it's because it is associated with your email address by your mail client. Mar 25, 2019 at 9:05
  • @Cody thanks, I've edited the answer and removed the part about moderators. Mar 25, 2019 at 11:34

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