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. – Billy ONeal Apr 2 '10 at 0:35
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    That's what you get for eating unicorns. :( – GManNickG Apr 2 '10 at 0:43
  • @GMan: Says the man who changed his name liked this which caused me to make a duplicate question of this one.... – Billy ONeal Apr 2 '10 at 0:44
  • @BillyONeal who was trying to be correct? This is Meta on 1 April. – Rosinante Apr 2 '10 at 1:49
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    @GMan: They're just so tasty; I couldn't help myself. – James McNellis Apr 2 '10 at 2:31
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    @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. – Billy ONeal Apr 2 '10 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. – Jack Marchetti Apr 2 '10 at 7:55
  • @Jack, I guess there's a better chance for an answer at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29966/… – Arjan Apr 2 '10 at 8:20
  • So basically this means everyone needs to make accounts at ALL the sites, now! – Mark C Apr 12 '10 at 19:43
  • I've never seen such a genuinely useful unicorn-orientated suggestion. – Zaz Aug 4 '10 at 0:13
  • But "Unicorns are Yummy" is a wonderful username :) – The Bespectacled One Sep 12 '10 at 2:40
  • My apologies, Mr. Unicorn. – The Bespectacled One Sep 13 '10 at 22:13
  • Any progress? I just fixed the name for user who run into this bug. That should not be necessary. – fuxia Sep 1 '12 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. – Evan Carroll Mar 16 '16 at 22:50
  • +1, this'd be a great thing to have. Enjoy your gold badge :-) – Rand al'Thor Mar 17 '16 at 0:30

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! – Meysam Apr 19 '12 at 5:11
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    Hard in what way, it's a line of text? – Mike Lyons Apr 23 '12 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! – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jun 21 '15 at 12:17
  • They fixed it. Why did you say it? – Universal Electricity Jun 27 '15 at 21:05
  • @Uni because it's not fixed :) – nicael Jun 27 '15 at 21:06
  • @nicael Because this – Universal Electricity Jun 27 '15 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 Jun 27 '15 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 – Paddy Apr 19 '12 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. – Christian Rau Mar 17 '16 at 0:46
  • @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? – Rand al'Thor Mar 17 '16 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. – Christian Rau Mar 17 '16 at 0:50
  • IMO better be done in chat, not by flag. The rep difference (20 vs. 15) is minor enough. – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Mar 17 '16 at 7:03
  • @ChristianRau Shog has spoken. My viewpoint has official support :-) – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '16 at 19:09

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