Why is there now a rule that names can be changed only once? Was it really a problem?

Sure, I’ve been cool with one name here for going on 5 years, but at other boards I change every year or so. If that makes me a flibbertigibbet, so be it.
It doesn’t hurt anyone.
Those people who say they want to assess my “rep” based on more than a year’s worth of posts are blowing smoke. With thousands of regular posters, anybody who can recall more than a few dozen “reps” is a Rainman case.

And besides, I would like to think that I’m not under the same obligation as a politician to be consistent.
If I want to take a certain side in today’s discussion, that’s my business, prior statements to the contrary be damned. The statute of limitations on my opinions is one thread.

Also, it seemed we used to allow multiple changes. I’m sure a handful of people have had three names over 5 years. I doubt, though, that there has been as many as would be noticeable in the normal flux of names.

There are a couple reasons for not allowing more than one name change.

  • The main reason is: We’re trying to build a community. That means people have identities, and are more than just anonymous posters. That means people take responsibility for what they say. In real life, you don’t change your name every few weeks – or, if you do, most people would figure you’ve got something to hide. On the Message Board, your name is your only identity, and thus we don’t want to encourage name changes.

  • It’s more work for the already over-worked administrators. We need to check that the request really comes from you, that the new name hasn’t been taken by someone else, etc.

It’s one of the (many) reasons I enjoy reading this board. Many posters come and go so infrequently that if names were regularly changed, there would be no way to build an online relationship within the community. For example, if I see a post today from Crunchy Frog, I know it’s the same poster that I “knew” several years ago.

YMMV but I, for one, like it that way.

Doesn’t it also cause confusion in a thread where references might be made to someone who had posted an item. Then if they had changed their name it would make a nonsense of the contents, as that person had “ceased to exist”.


We don’t want people swapping names like this season’s fashions . . . to be discarded as quickly and as easily.

Names mean something here, and we ask you to give a bit of thought to how you would like to be styled as a member of the Straight Dope Message Board Community.

It’s not a lot to ask under the circumstances.

your humble TubaDiva