Is a display-name obliquely endorsing violence allowed on Stack Exchange sites? For example, "Arm the good guys in America"?

The display-name is political and borderline offensive to me. Is there some SE-wide policy about this? The name in question is an obscure reference to the contemporary US political and legal environment.

Related but not to the point:

  • Did you try custom flagging a post and explaining the issue? What happened? Nov 3, 2020 at 20:35
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    Having a politically charged username is not against the rules. You should flag a post of theirs and get a mod to weigh in, though. I could be wrong.
    – Makoto
    Nov 3, 2020 at 20:42
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    @Makoto Politically charged usernames do tend to be reset by mods every now and then, though. Nov 3, 2020 at 21:03
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    I suppose that depends on how charged it is, really @SonictheK-DayHedgehog. Every now and again I see a user with banned Chinese characters in their name and the mods don't really do much about that. I could see them intervening in if there was something truly horrendous, though.
    – Makoto
    Nov 3, 2020 at 21:04
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    @RobertLongson et al. It struck me as a SE-wide issue, one that should be broached here first. I'll try flagging a post and directing mod attention to my rather mild objection...see where that goes. Thanks for your responses.
    – JEL
    Nov 4, 2020 at 0:15
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    EL&U mods are looking at your flag, but we haven't come to a decision.
    – Meta Ellen
    Nov 6, 2020 at 15:09
  • @MetaEllen, any movement on this?
    – JEL
    Nov 13, 2020 at 5:22
  • @JEL we handled your flag last night. Essentially we don't think the name is harmful.
    – Meta Ellen
    Nov 13, 2020 at 9:16
  • Hey!, remember,
    – Rob
    Dec 18, 2020 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


Is a display-name obliquely endorsing violence allowed on Stack Exchange sites?

The word "allowed" is not accurate, since there isn't a rule against such cases. It's more a question of "If I'll ask the site moderators or Stack Exchange staff to reset the name, will they do it?".

And the answer to that is: we can't know. It's case-by-case, and each mod/staff member might have different response based on personal beliefs/ideas/opinions.

If you feel offended by anything you see on Stack Exchange, be it post, comment, or display name, you have the right to flag and report (assuming you have the rep, of course). In case of display name, the way is to flag a post or a comment by that user with custom flag and explain why you think the name should be reset. In case the user has no posts or comments, there's not really a point to flag - the only way to see the name is when looking in the users page. Personally I don't think you should do anything in such case.

When flagging, keep in mind the flag might be declined. In such case, please do not flag again, that would already be waste of the moderators time. If the flag is pending after long time (few days, not just a single day), try nudging a mod in chat, or flag other post - but that's the limit. If even that second flag is not handled, and the display name is not outright offensive (e.g. "Kill All The Bad Guys of America") better let it go.

  • In case the user has no posts you can flag, flag one of your own posts.
    – Luuklag
    Nov 4, 2020 at 8:23
  • @Luuklag actually, not worth IMO, see my edit. Nov 4, 2020 at 8:30
  • Yes, if I'd been inclined to split hairs, I would've made explicit the implicit "...allowed [to remain on] etc." And I personally might find "Kill All the Bad Guys etc." as or more offensive than "Arm etc." I was wondering about SE policy though--and I expect you've answered that. Thanks. It does seem odd that encouragement of violence would be endorsed by policy. Inaction is a type of action; in this case an endorsement.
    – JEL
    Nov 4, 2020 at 9:50
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    @JEL I disagree about encouragement of violence. If SE will censor anything related to politics in display names, it will cause big outrage, and rightly so. Nov 4, 2020 at 13:08
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    Yes, we disagree. It's impossible for SE to "censor" anything, since they don't control a public forum. Whatever: in context, the display name certainly advocates vigilantism. It's not a harmless display name and shouldn't be tolerated. We'll see.
    – JEL
    Nov 4, 2020 at 18:01

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