Curious on a habit I am starting to see on the trilogy. There is nothing stated on this in the FAQ so figured I would ask here. What is the policy on using a web address as your display name? Personally to me this feels more like spamming since the profile gives you a field for a web address. Just curious what others think.

  • Could you clarify 'using web addresses as domain names' makes no sense. Feb 2, 2010 at 15:19
  • Sorry, corrected: There are others using web addresses as display names; I've seen no problems up to now.
    – alex
    Feb 2, 2010 at 15:21
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    I've been doing it for a while to see if it would have much impact on visits, to be honest not so much and I'll likely change it back once I get round to it Feb 2, 2010 at 15:22
  • You can search for .com and .net in the Users tab. There are a few users doing it.
    – alex
    Feb 2, 2010 at 15:24
  • @homes4film.com I wouldn't imagine there would be a traffic increase :) Was just curious of the policy. I try not to flag to much stuff but I know on most places this is a taboo so was curious as to what my actions should be here. Feb 2, 2010 at 15:27
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    @home: Spammer! Feb 2, 2010 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


What is the policy on using a web address as your display name?

There is no policy, because it is not, or has not been, a problem. Note that even if one uses their web address as their name, the link still points to their user page, where they are, and always have been, free to link to wherever they please. The links are nofollow until you get a certain rep, so it's not a big deal.

At this point, as long as the name isn't blatantly offensive I don't believe we need a policy. Let people put whatever they want there - if they are positively contributing to the site then it's a small cost for their contribution.

The recent name change was only implemented because people incessantly complained to Jeff and Co. about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. As soon as it becomes more of a burden to field questions about this non-problem than it takes to 'fix' it, a change in policy will be made.

However, unlike the "changing names frequently" problem, this is something that can't be fixed with a technical solution - every name would have to pass before a person for review, which means that people would have to flag posts by such users and have a moderator make a determination, which would result in all sorts of belly-aching on Meta - see: Chet Atwood issue

That 'cure' may be worse than simply telling people, "Hey, if they're advertising a site, I don't care. Only alert a moderator if it's blatantly offensive, otherwise let them get their pittance of branding because they are actively contributing to the site, and the branding is so minimal it's not worth worrying about."

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    Last time we were discussing usernames it became a problem despite it not being a problem at all.
    – random
    Feb 2, 2010 at 15:37
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    ahah yeah.. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29196/… if you don't know what he's talking about Feb 2, 2010 at 15:39
  • @random - Ah, those were the days. i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll164/stienman/chetatwoodtshirt.jpg
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 12, 2011 at 17:33
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    @McDonald's You're focusing on one tiny aspect of my answer, which has little to do with the question. If you search meta for "offensive username" I expect you'll find many better questions to guide you towards making a good choice, or at least understanding where the line might be and what the consequences could be of crossing it.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 11, 2017 at 10:28

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