Pony with super special extra care We changed episode spoiler tags to match official order (Yakity-Sax 18, Friendship U 16, etc.)

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I have another thread going into the why and the wherefore of this, but I think this is a necessary addition to the new username feature.

When a user changes their username, the old name shouldn’t be abandoned, but registered to a dummy profile with a forwarding link to the new profile instead.

That way, links won’t go dead like they have been, and squatters/trolls can’t use the names. Mods can, of course, delete or free up the dummy profiles if a user has a legit reason for wanting the name, but I don’t think these names should be immediately available by default.
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@Mad Black
That’s how it used to work, but users complained about it not being human-readable or easily found. I don’t think we ever predicted needing permalinks because we never had the option to change usernames. Now that it’s been this way for a while, we have to do something about the non-permalink profile links that people have gotten used to.
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@Mad Black
I’d imagine that the best of both worlds would be to change the profile link structure, so that instead of being /profiles/profilename, it’s /profiles/UUID/profilename. That way, all name changes can be listed under the UUID, and they can be made to forward to whatever name is currently set, and the URL is still human-readable. The whole "not being easily found" bit may not be solved by that, though. It also runs in to the possibility of two users being able to have the same name, unless there’s a preventative check on its availability.
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@evan555alpha
There are preventative checks. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about people being able to find the profiles (it became a lot easier to find people after you could just type their name), as well as existing links still resolving to something.

The slickest way would be for old usernames to redirect automatically to the correct userID, until and unless someone registered the name, but that’d take a lot of work for the devs. Far more work than automatically registering a new user to the retired name with a link pointing to the new name. That’s repeatable, doesn’t require database changes, and effectively prevents abuse. Plus, all that needs to happen to make it available to new users is just handing over the keys, so to speak. THAT is "best of both worlds" for the problems I saw with the new feature.
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@WingbeatPony
Well one solution could be a simple searchterm like user:Username, kinda like uploader:username, or artist:name, just that it would link to a profile instead of an image search page. But that seems a bit redundant, thought not every user uploads art, but if there is no art of an user, why would you even look at their profile? Just for the stats, comments and posts?
But that sounds like it would need a new system, maybe with some kind of variability.
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@Mad Black
And also not very helpful if a user changes their name. Searching for (I’ll draw a random example here) user:Keith Mowz would not return Wesley Foxx’s account unless something very clever was going on under the hood, and if it was, then why couldn’t /profiles/Keith+Mowz redirect to /profiles/Wesley+Foxx?

Finding an account is generally useful if you’re trying to PM someone – if you don’t know their name exactly, you have to hunt through recent activity to find them, and then the link to "Send Message." ’twas even worse when user profiles weren’t human-readable. There are other reasons, too, the most obvious being to find out what kind of person they are from their faves, comments, and so on.
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@evan555alpha
That would expose that two (or more) profile names were owned by the same person.

That is not desirable.

If people want to link their profiles, they may do so in their "About Me" information.

@WingbeatPony
If you don’t know someone, or can’t find their link via their art or a post, then why are you PMing them?
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@Ciaran
Happens less now, but once upon a time we didn’t have a commissions directory, and sometimes people weren’t on IRC that I wanted to send a message to… but regardless, I have always used the link on user profiles to compose a PM, I just don’t trust myself to remember how to spell names when I send messages of a private nature out into the ether.

Also, I’m kinda curious about what you meant by your comment about multiple names on the same profile. We’re talking about the same user id, so the multiple names would all come from name changes. It’s not exposing alt accounts, so how is that a bad thing?
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How is it that having a history of name changes is "undesirable"? I’d personally have it so that a list of all previous names, and the dates that they were changed, were listed somewhere on the profile, so that it is easier to keep track of who is who.
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@evan555alpha
People are welcome to have as many profiles as they would like. The site allows people to post as BP or as alternatives – their pick. As long as they don’t abuse the feature, it’s fine.

For example, an artist might have a pseudonym for NSFW images, or someone might have a profile just for RPing.

Linking profiles under a single user id as you proposed would expose, or "out", people with multiple profiles.

@Wesley Foxx
Unless a name is changed for Rule #8 or similar reasons, like an artist going PHP. Also, that "previously known as" thing is really just to help people get accustomed to whole "people can change a profile’s name now" – it may not be a long-term thing.
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@Ciaran
How would a (user-initiated) account name change offer any level of anonymizing? The account would still have all of its comments/forum posts/PMs/linked artist tags/favorites/badges pointing back at it. If someone’s going to try dredging up another user’s past, those links are what they’re going to use.
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@Ciaran
What? That’s absolutely not what I meant at all. I meant having all profile changes linked under a UUID. Not all profiles registered under the same person. For example, if there were a UUID, my current account link would be /profiles/UUID/evan555alpha. If I were to change my account name to Evan, then it would become /profiles/UUID/Evan, and now /profiles/UUID/evan555alpha would automatically redirect to /profiles/UUID/Evan.
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@Exedrus
If the user has activity and doesn’t ask us to scrub it, and especially as long as the "previously known as" thing is around, then it won’t offer any anonymity.

However, the only way to tie that new profile name to the old one is really only through replies to posts made by the original profile. The name changes on the profile’s posts, but not on replies to them.

Normal users can’t uniquely ID someone based on badges except in rare instances like ducks or unique badges, and all a profiles favorites, PMs, etc will be associated with the new profile, not the old one.

Also, the User Links are partially done by hand, but if there’s an artist alias involved in the move, then all of that, including tag descriptions and DNP settings, are moved to the new profile as if they’d always been there. The only marker of that afterwards is the alias on the new tag, and if the user wants anonymity we can delete that original tag completely.
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@evan555alpha
Oh, alright, that isn’t what I thought you meant. That seems even less useful – why do you care what someone’s name used to be? All your posts, uploads, comments, etc, are under the new name, not the old one.
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@Ciaran
As I’ve stated a few times before, it would make it easier to track who is who. Just because the change has a 90 day timer on it doesn’t mean I’m going to remember someone as their current/changed username. I absolutely hate it when someone changes their name to something completely different to what it was before, and I end up having no idea who the fuck they’re meant to be.

The "previously known as" thing is nice for a temporary fix, but knowing all past pseudonyms of a given user helps to know who they are, and know what they were known as when I first saw them on the site.
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@evan555alpha
As a workaround, for those who want to track that kind of information, they can add it to their About Me – and they can even make a new profile with that old name to "reserve" it (although I don’t know if that’s something that can be done right away or if the old users slug is reserved until the notice expires … a dev may have to answer that one). Also, the new case check might make it impossible, because there are instances where the only difference between names is the case. But in general this should work for anyone who wants their past names to be available on their profiles, or who want to retain the link to their their old profile and reserve that name, while also moving their metadata to a new name.

So, if you want to do that, you absolutely can.

But people aren’t required to do it, and I don’t personally think they should be. Also, the system isn’t keeping track of it either, except perhaps in site logs.

I see that several people think there should be a public record of profile name changes, and that offsite links to profiles should always "find the right person", even if that person has changed their profile name.

For now, that isn’t happening, but it seems that the ability for people to change their own profile names is being used by many people who had been looking for the ability to do this, including several artists who simply had too much interaction with the site for us to do it by hand, so it seems that the feature, as is, is already a success.

It will be interesting to see how this feature evolves over the years.
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It’s bad enough we have to keep track of fickle %$&*# artists who change their gorram account names every fifteen minutes on DA or Tumblr or whatever, now we’re going to have the same thing with regular users. Hooray.
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@Exedrus
Yeah, most of my involvement with changing profile names has been instances where artists are going PHP or rebranding, or Rule #8 instances, where it is necessary to scrub the original profile from the site, or at least to make it less obvious.

Also, I’m a fan of people being able to maintain their anonymity on the site, if they so desire.

So, from my perspective, the new name change tool is cherry and nearly 90% complete as is.

From a socializing standpoint, I can see how the new feature is a little Facebooky – people just all of a sudden are named something else. I own some pages on there, and it gets annoying when people just change their name and you have to look through your interaction log to figure out who they are.

But, I was already getting screwed up by the folks using slightly modified versions of other staff member’s avatars .. I keep thinking I’m seeing LB everywhere I go now .. so I’m already accustomed to having to look twice before thinking I know who I’m replying to :)
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@TexasUberAlles
Alles is right.

Your "workaround" won’t work. That requires the person changing their name to do it, not me. I can already foresee that that isn’t going to end well. At all.

It’s bad enough having to track who is who on external sites, and Discord. I do not want to do the same here.

If a person changes their name from Person McPersonface to something completely unrelated, such as Totally not a BP, and then something completely unrelated yet again, such as Tworlort Sprackle, every chance they get, then I’m not going to know who Tworlort Sprackle is, and I’ll wonder where Person McPersonface buggered off to. All I’m asking is that the user page keep track of these name changes, and when they were changed. That way, I can click on Tworlort Sprackle’s profile and go "Oh, okay, yeah, they’re Person McPersonface" and move on.
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