It is occasionally useful for some people to include parenthetical information about themselves in their display name so that other people don't have to know to check that person's profile. Parentheses would be the natural way of formatting this but they are currently disallowed.

One example would be a person's pronouns. E.g.:

CB Bailey (they/them)

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    Strange, we seemed to have supported Zalgo in usernames it would be counter intuitive if regular punctuation characters are disallowed. Do you get a warning/error when you try to use ( ) /
    – rene
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 6:58
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    Person's pronouns should not be part of the display name IMO. Profile? Sure. Not directly in the name. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 7:33
  • @rene The relevant warning is Display Name can only contain letters, digits, spaces, apostrophes or hyphens and must start with a letter or digit.
    – Erik A
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 8:41
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    @ErikA that is super weird. So a whole bunch of unicode letters, including Chinese, is allowed, but a few interpunction chars are not. Maybe the Model scaffold got that regex on it and it never got updated since 2008?
    – rene
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 9:18
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    @Shadow but that is not what the question strictly asks. It asks to allow the use of ( ) and / in displaynames. I can imagine all kind of uses for it. Maybe the context is unfortunate, the request by itself is not extraordinary.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 10:50
  • @rene the example given is perfect. Anything that comes inside parenthesis is meta data about the user/person and doesn't belong in the display name anyway. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


One thing to note is that @-replying might be going to look awkward, e.g. if you type a comment (or chat message reply) it will autocomplete to @CBBailey(they/them). The system could for these cases omit the part between parentheses but I'm sure such a feature would be abused one way or another.

I can't offer a solution to this question, but I do have a workaround.

Since this situation comes up most often in Chat, I've written a userscript, Pronoun Assistant, which automatically pulls pronoun information from the user's chat profile into the list of signatures on the left of the page:

It has since been expanded to the regular Q&A pages, since many users started stating their pronouns in their Q&A profile too. It works on questions, answers and comments.

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    OP actually has their pronoun indicated in their Q&A profile, so you can make a test. Now, I'm curious how you manage to extract those from the profile text. Can you add please details on how the pronouns are guessed?
    – dim
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 7:46
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    There's a list of supported 'formats' in the Stack Apps post. If you're curious about the actual implementation and can read JavaScript, please have a look at the source code.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 7:49

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