The policy on changing one's display name was changed back on February 4, 2010:

only one display name change is allowed every 30 days

However, there is no warning whatsoever when actually changing one's display name. Thus, it came as quite a bit of a shock to me when I found out today that I might be stuck as "Unicorns are Yummy" on Stack Overflow for the next freakin' month.

I would like to recommend that a warning be added to the "Edit Profile" page to warn people. Or, at least make the policy concerning display name changes more obvious.


I was able to change my display name back (phew!) by copying my profile from Meta Stack Overflow.

I still think a warning should be implemented, though.

  • 4
    @bmargulies: I don't think the edit was correct here. James McNellis's asking for a warning is caused in this particular instance because of the whole unicorn incident, but users changing their names in the future might be in the same sort of hot water for other reasons. Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 0:35
  • 21
    That's what you get for eating unicorns. :(
    – GManNickG
    Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 0:43
  • @GMan: Says the man who changed his name liked this which caused me to make a duplicate question of this one.... Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 0:44
  • @BillyONeal who was trying to be correct? This is Meta on 1 April.
    – Rosinante
    Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 1:49
  • 1
    @GMan: They're just so tasty; I couldn't help myself. Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 2:31
  • 1
    @bmargulies: Well I was guessing James was considering the question started out as containing unicorn references, and then ended having no unicorn references after one of his edits. Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 3:11
  • Totally agree and have no idea why you're limited to once a month. once a day sure, but once a month? please explain. Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 7:55
  • @Jack, I guess there's a better chance for an answer at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29966/…
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 8:20
  • So basically this means everyone needs to make accounts at ALL the sites, now!
    – Mark C
    Commented Apr 12, 2010 at 19:43
  • I've never seen such a genuinely useful unicorn-orientated suggestion.
    – Zaz
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 0:13
  • But "Unicorns are Yummy" is a wonderful username :) Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 2:40
  • My apologies, Mr. Unicorn. Commented Sep 13, 2010 at 22:13
  • Any progress? I just fixed the name for user who run into this bug. That should not be necessary.
    – fuxia
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 7:52
  • Alternatively we could just GoFundMe a few new servers so people could change their display name whenever they wanted. I mean a simple SQL UPADTE statement should not be so intensive as to require a quota. Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 22:50
  • +1, this'd be a great thing to have. Enjoy your gold badge :-) Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 0:30

4 Answers 4


A line right below the button (only once per 30-day period). Quick and simple, eh?

  • 2
    quick and simple and hard to do for SE developers!
    – B Faley
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 5:11
  • 6
    Hard in what way, it's a line of text?
    – Mike Lyons
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 23:37

It's still possible to workaround this limit. SE doesn't seem to check whether you have completed signup or not when you go here.

You type in name, click Complete Registration, you are brought to the tour and your name changes! And you can do it whenever you like, not only in the 5-mins grace period, like usually (I checked: changed the name on CiviCRM to "nic", then, a day later, changed it back).

  • That's very clever! But SE better not add another check here now! Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 12:17
  • They fixed it. Why did you say it? Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 21:05
  • @Uni because it's not fixed :)
    – nicael
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 21:06
  • @nicael Because this Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 21:30
  • @Uni Then it seems to be fixed, unfortunately. It was a bug for sure; me and one other person exploited it since I reported it there.
    – nicael
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 21:33

I accidentally changed my user name in SO from user unknown to seauser unknown (I don't live on the sea, but edited the about field and added a "searchin job..", and the sea... somehow made it into my username. When I recognized it, it was too late.

Now I feared someone will take my famous name, but was told in chat, that names needn't stay unique by jadarnal27, or somebody with that name at that time, at least.

I will try James copy-profile-trick, but don't understand why it has to be so complicated. If everybody can use this trick, maybe after creating a dummy account just for that reason?

  • Correct re: non-unique names. I've found out there are 2 Paddy on SO
    – Morphed
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 0:17

Moderators can change anyone's username if necessary, without any restrictions on how often they can do so.

So if it's actually important for some reason that you change your username more than once (e.g. if you change it to "Unicorns are Yummy" and want to change it back because you're applying for a job and mentioned your SO profile on your CV) and your site has nice obliging moderators, you could raise a flag on yourself and ask the mods to edit your profile for you.

  • 1
    I'm not sure that's something moderators should be bothered about, let alone flagging behaviour to be encouraged at all. Simply warning beforehand is stil lthe better solution. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 0:46
  • 1
    @ChristianRau Agreed that warning beforehand would be better, but until the devs implement that, this seems to be a good interim measure. I would certainly do this for someone if they flagged and asked nicely for it on my site - wouldn't you? Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 0:48
  • I'm not sure, probably not. Only if it's a really life-or-death reason and only after proper consulting. It's a very bad precedent. Such are the rules and we're not supposed to circumvent them for users that pledge nicely. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 0:50
  • IMO better be done in chat, not by flag. The rep difference (20 vs. 15) is minor enough. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 7:03
  • @ChristianRau Shog has spoken. My viewpoint has official support :-) Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 19:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .