Today the discord blog and in app update notifications discord announced a change to how user names work. This change will cause a number of negative effects. Most for users, but a handful for discord itself. I am going to go over each subtidal thing in the blog post in order. This is kinda an open letter to discord, thus the use of YOU.
"The biggest problem: our current usernames can often be too complicated or obscure for people to remember and share easily."
This statement and its supporting details are wrong in a number of ways. hear is an address of the post's subpoints about this
- Remembering the discriminator isn't the biggest deal. Its a bit of a paint at times, but remembering less than half a phone number is not hard.
- Case sensitivity is an issue, however most users with weird name casing will tell you their weird casing.
- Common name usage will be a problem under your new system as well, and will likely be worse. this is an inherent flaw of usernames. your current system almost fixes this issue even. this point does not make sense.
- People who change their name a lot live with this. Your new system prevents any changes at all. You are making the supposed problem worse here.
- Ok special characters are an issue. This is the only thing that you would be improving. However the extent that you propose limiting special character usage is a bit much.
- Most people call it your tag or end numbers. Not knowing the technical name isn't a problem here.
- Half of all requests failing is an issue, just not one warranting a redesign of a core feature.
"But we realized that then we would have an even _more_ complex system with both a Display Name and a username that still included the four-digit discriminator."
This is the core issue with your approach. The problem is characters users can't type (easily) in user names. You are trying to address this and the obtuse process of verbally communicating letter case.
Discord has elected to solve a problem that was minor and a problem many users don't have. This means that the solution will cause issues.
We now get to the main bad argument you make here, the section title. Discord profiles are already very complicated. Simplifying them means removing entrenched features. Four digits and an ampersand at the end of a user name is the smallest thing you could have done to simplify discord profiles. Bios and custom statuses are relatively redundant and both take up more profile space. Notes are about as entrenched as the current username system and removing them would also simplify your profiles.
Discord is already a complex and over featured software; and that is a good thing. You were able to spring into an established software market because of this. Doing everything other messengers do, but better and also a something nobody else does is why I and other users switch to discord. Removing complexity goes against why discord initially succeeded. In the past you have streamlined advanced features rather than removed them, which prevents new users from being overwhelmed and lets old users keep their toys.
Rate limits and complexity are not worth the damage your solution will cause.
"How We’re Improving Usernames on Discord"
Ok so your actual solution isn't the worst. Separate display and user names is fine. Its clunky but it is fine.
The changes to user names is where the issue lies. Usernames are now alphanumeric plus period and underscore. This is the core issue. While you did remove font special characters and emoji overuse you went overkill. Spaces are inoffensive, same with other standard keyboard special characters. Verbalizing usernames is not an issue most people care about. People who care make their usernames easy to verbalize.
The fact that you are implementing unique usernames this late into your software's lifespan is the biggest problem for you.
"we will be assigning priority to choose your new username based on when you registered for Discord."
The user name gold rush this late into a platform is a problem. My account is old; I will probably be able to snipe my username during the rollout. My current username will turn into my new one. I suspect most users with accounts from 2018 and on will run into issues getting the exact user name they want. Outside of people who's users have had special characters for years, newer users are likely to encounter someone else who wanted their special username. This will cause feel bads. Where the solution is to get someone else you hardly know to give up a user name.
Next up is that all the names of prominent figures are going to get snipped. Malicious actors are going to take ever @discord, @twitter, @ninja, and @mod they can.
You are going to upset most ordinary users who made accounts in the second half of your program's life, many streamers, and maybe a brand or two. A random roll out wont solve it either, you will still have streamers and brands getting snipped.
Just stick with the old system and ban special fonts. This wasn't a problem and your solution will make it worse.
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