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It's been nine years since this beautiful post that states why we can use some Unicode characters in our usernames, but not others. With that in mind, I'm wondering if there are plans for this to change in the future?

Yes

The priority is very likely to be low, but is there a target date?

No

I assume there's a valid reason, what would that be?


My assumptions are that the answer is no, and that the reasoning is the difficulty behind removing everything but [a-zA-Z0-9] plus additional Unicode characters adds very little value to Stack Exchange while consuming a lot of time to implement.

My question then becomes what's the reasoning behind the restrictions in the first place?


EDIT: I added the emoji to the question title to test a theory, and remarkably it worked. Why does it work there, but not as a display name?

EDIT 2: Wow, I really underestimated how much the general public hates emojis. 😅

My Thoughts on Commented Points:

Mentions

The mention system is as simple as typing @ and then the user's name. If that user has an emoji in their name you can hit Tab on a computer if their name is highlighted, or click on it if there are multiple matches. If the user's name is simply an emoji on its own, then that's the one being mentioned's problem as they just won't be able to be notified, since they can't be mentioned.

One possible solution to this issue is to automatically supply emoji only users in the list automatically upon entering @ to ensure users can mention them.

Another issue with mentions is the mobile view in web browsers. This has a bug overall that it just doesn't work. It can be adjusted in the future to actually begin working, in which case it would fall back to the desktop functionality.

URL Encoding for User Profiles

URLs are currently encoded anyway since there is nothing to prevent a user from entering a valid character (such as ') that would be encoded with a percentage sign. Take my suggested display name for example:

Taco's-On-Titan = Taco%27s-On-Titan

This means that even today, users can, and do have encoded links for their Stack Exchange profiles.

Abuse

Well, this is covered in the CoC isn't it?

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  • 13
    I will henceforth be referred to as 🚽 – Kevin B Oct 27 '20 at 21:27
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    I mean I just want it for the obvious reason. - Taco 🌮 – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 21:27
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    I'm going for a solid hell no, because mentioning someone is hard, having your name in the URL is a problem, which emojis are supported is browser/OS dependent and I don't want an SE dev wasting their time to figure out a set that works on configs they support, users will use it to troll, and more reasons. – Erik A Oct 27 '20 at 21:32
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    @ErikA mentioning someone is as simple as typing @ and then starting to type their username, then hit tab when the user you're trying to mention is available. If their name is just an emoji, then that's kind of their problem not anyone else's. Having an emoji in the URL is easy as it's broken down (see this URL %ef%b8%8f), no one accesses user profiles by name anyways, and users will always find a way to troll. The biggest concern I have is little value for large effort. – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 21:38
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    @Taco That trick with starting with @ only works when user names are in the suggested list, which is not the case for users editing or closing, or mobile view. The purpose of the username in links is to make clear where a link is going on hover, which doesn't happen if it's filled with percentages and hexadecimal digits. – Erik A Oct 27 '20 at 21:47
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    If this were to be implemented, how long would it take for someone to use the puke emoji to signal their grievances with something/someone? – Luuklag Oct 27 '20 at 21:54
  • @ErikA the mobile view statement only holds true on mobile web browsers, not the app (it does work there). With regards to the links, I again fall back to that's their problem, not anyone else's. If my URL has percentages and hexadecimal digits then that's my problem if a visitor doesn't trust my URL, not anyone else's. What's to stop me from doing that manually in the current setup anyways? I can change it to Taco's-On-Titan which would translate to Taco%27s-On-Titan. – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 21:55
  • @Luuklag what's stopping me from doing it with text now? If I want to say Taco-Sucks, I can. Violations of ToS will and should be handled by mods. – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 21:55
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    One major problem with this would be it would require updating chat to support it... and chat doesn't often rank very high on the change list – Kevin B Oct 27 '20 at 21:56
  • Hopefully a quality filter @Taco – Luuklag Oct 27 '20 at 21:56
  • @user400654 that's a very good point! I bet a lot of people just said we have a chat?!. 😱 – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 21:56
  • @Luuklag I don't think one exists. Though I can't confirm because I can't change my name again for 30 days due to the tinkering prior to posting this question. 🤦‍♀️ go me! 😁 – Taco タコス Oct 27 '20 at 22:00
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    In regards to the app, that is no longer maintained. Also the mobile web views are in the proces of veing replaced with the responsive site in 6-8 years probably – Luuklag Oct 27 '20 at 22:07
  • though... TBF, chat already supports emoji's in room names, it's probably already supporting it with usernames should one occur – Kevin B Oct 27 '20 at 22:09
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    ♦🔸🔹🔶🔷 would be problems. Or anything that looks like a diamond for obvious reasons – Journeyman Geek Mod Oct 27 '20 at 22:40
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To quote ChrisF (who is a diamond moderator here):

The restrictions are in place to prevent users doing things like adding diamonds to their names to impersonate moderators. So rather than have a list of disallowed characters that must be constantly maintained it's easier to keep a list of known safe characters. If there's a character (or two) not on the list you really think would be useful then make the case for them to be added to the whitelist.

Nothing would stop a regular user from copying a moderator's diamond and sticking it in their username if we were allowed to do this. Besides that, there might be problems with the characters (%ef%b8%8f) of the emoji in the URL - and that's just one emoji. The developers will also have to find a set of emojis that works with configurations they support, and yes, it would have little value for large effort.

So, as emojis don't appear to be a useful set of characters that should be added to the list, I'm going with a no. It might be fun (Taco🌮 :D) at first, but then people would start abusing it.

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