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On a whim the other day, I changed my meta name from Lord Torgamus to Popular Demand. I just noticed that the old name has "stuck" to the author tag of a Community Wiki question I asked before the change; everywhere else on meta, my new name displays as expected. Is this a feature? Is it a bug? Mostly I'm just curious, as I can't think of a strong reason in favor of keeping this behavior or a strong reason for changing it.

A question somewhat like this has been raised before as Migrated questions retain old usernames on Community Wiki questions, but the previous poster implied that the issue had something to do with migration, which my situation shows is not the case.

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    The revision history correctly shows Popular Demand, yet the question itself shows Lord Torgamus. Very interesting!
    – Pollyanna
    Apr 22, 2010 at 14:23
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    +1: I noticed the same thing on one of my CW posts the other day (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/102/additional-badge-ideas/…), but forgot to post a question about it. Doh! Apr 22, 2010 at 17:19
  • Fascinatingly, the example question now shows Popular Demand as the author, while Pops is the current name.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:43
  • Bump! Surely 10+ years later this can be fixed for CW posts (ignoring comments). This could be helpful for users who have legally changed their name. Possibly what has happened to the user of this deleted post: meta.stackexchange.com/a/178917/195862 Jan 6, 2021 at 3:58

3 Answers 3

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Some time in mid or late 2011, a change was made that affected this behavior. Current names are now shown on some old posts, such as the one I used as the example in the question. However, old names are still present in some places, which can be seen in the user card column of these search results (thanks Tim Stone!).

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    Hm. Is it perhaps only present if there are multiple revisions/users? A quick skim shows that I only see Pollyanna if I also see extra revision/user junk as well.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Oct 25, 2011 at 14:27
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That's stored in a denormalized field, so it will reflect the username at the time it was last calculated (usually on edit).

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  • Excuse me, if logging old username is necessary, why is it applied only to CW rather than to the whole?
    – xport
    Jul 17, 2011 at 16:56
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    @xport: The internal owner of the post is now the Community user, so the OwnerName field is used instead to show the original poster. A similar thing happens for migrated posts where the original owner has no account on the new site, I suppose. Sep 18, 2011 at 0:28
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    Sounds like a bug masked as "by-design" by me.
    – casperOne
    Apr 30, 2012 at 17:19
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    @casper more accurately described as "don't care" masked by same Apr 30, 2012 at 22:02
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    @Jeff Fair point, we'll throw it on top of the pluralization bugs.
    – casperOne
    Apr 30, 2012 at 23:06
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    @JeffAtwood Perhaps a new status-dontcare tag is in order? xD Jul 29, 2013 at 4:41
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+50

It's not really possible to change your name completely on this site, since any comment (or chat message, I think) that ever @responded to you will still have the old name (and it's usually pretty obvious who it's referring to). Since there are relatively few CWs, comments are really the bigger problem. A request to change this has been : Change all @username references in comments when a user changes their name?


However, for Community Wiki posts, it is possible to get the name to update: the post just needs an edit, which can be done by anyone (non-OPs with <100 rep still need their changes reviewed though). For example, here's a post before and after I made an edit:

Before:

After:

Considering how few CW posts people (usually) have, this could work as a solution (assuming that this won't be fixed in the system). The only downside is the same downside editing always has: it bumps the post. (An additional downside that applies to people deleting their accounts is that the edit will need to be approved by others.)

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    Ha, thanks for using me as an example! Speaking of comment replies, it's trivially possible to get old usernames using this tool, which also works for deleted users. Also, if the user has already deleted their account and wants to remove their username, they can just suggest an anonymous edit. Feb 7, 2019 at 23:28
  • Thanks for the answer, as it show a way to erase the information atleast
    – yagmoth555
    Feb 14, 2019 at 14:07

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