Section 1 : What It Doesn't Do
Foreword; this bit was copied from another thread. I've already provided this, but it's guaranteed to be buried in the incoming tsunami of replies and comments agreeing with the sentiment, and I believe it's helpful to have this reach a larger audience. Thread can be found here https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/14337329256983--Do-NOT-add-The-new-discord-usernames-system?page=1#comments
I think I can give a more comprehensive list of just.. why this change is actually nearly as bad as everyone here makes it out to be, especially given Discord's publicly-announced reasons. Allow me to preface this by saying I understand what they were going for, and I do think it's a good idea, but it's the implementation of this that no one likes.
Pertaining to sharing your profile in spoken communication, Discord says, "unfortunately, you either can’t remember the discriminator, have to explain which letters are uppercase and lowercase" and that the use of non-standard characters can cause errors in locating people.
The idea is fine, make it easier to share information with people you've met in person. But, it's 2023, we can take 3 seconds to pull up this information in a neat format and show it to our friend, or acquaintance. If users cannot remember 4 numbers, how can we expect them to remember their username? And at that, even, I don't think it's reasonable to say that supposedly half of your userbase is entirely unable to use the essential mental ability of recall, literally the first and most basic form of intelligence.
Still about sharing contact information vocally, Discord suggests that it may be difficult if users "have to try to specify which special characters your name uses," since situations where "[Someone says their name is] vernacular but actually it’s 𝖛𝖊𝖗𝖓𝖆𝖈𝖚𝖑𝖆𝖗 and you have trouble finding them."
Now, again, this makes sense, most keyboards don't come with all 150K unicode characters (via wikipedia.org), I get it. However, let me pose this; the user could have chosen not to make their username in non-standard characters. The tools to fix this problem are entirely present, and if that party does not feel like resolving this issue, then mark it closed, and move on. This isn't Discord's fault, nor is it their problem to deal with.
Yes, let's talk about common names. Discord's concern is, "You want to use a common name (...) but there are already 9,999 [users with that name] so you're blocked from that name altogether."
First off, I believe it takes 10,000 (0000-9999), so that's already wrong, unless Discord cannot handle a 0 discriminator (not too far-fetched). Second, you're not locked out with current system, any more so than with proposed fix. This is actually what brought about names like XxUsernamexX in the first place, to my understanding. There just weren't enough picks left, so we started appending random characters that looked reasonable. This problem actually becomes emphasized with new system, as users pick names, the already-existing 10K Johns for example will take names like john, john1, jon, johnathan, xxjohnxx, etc. Now you've locked the already-existing 9,999 out of having the username John, instead of only those after the initial 10K. The Display Name doesn't resolve this, either, since users can already do effectively the same thing with nicknames, and somehow it's a problem now that will be resolved by making it worse.
Don't Know What Discriminator Is
You polled a thread of what was initially maybe 40 people and said, "wow, look at the 40% of our userbase that doesn't know what this number is. I can't defend this, at all, quite frankly. The lack of information on what something is doesn't limit its use or functionality. No one ever told users that Discord was a collection of 1's and 0's in a computer, that were compiled from some language that might not even be readable to them, and probably no one explicitly told them, "hey, Discord is a messaging app," and yet we still know how to use the platform. So let me repeat myself, knowing what something is has NO influence on knowledge of how to use it.
If the concern here is that users don't know how to use the discriminator, that's fine, but that's not what was said, or even implied. The message given was, and I quote, "More than 40% of you either don’t remember your discriminator or don't even know what a discriminator is." For what it's worth, the thread linked in this message actively refers to it as something they know how to use, and know about, the poster asked for the name of it. So not only was the polling bad by being misrepresentative of the millions of users on the platform, but it completely misinterpreted intent. Link to subreddit post here: https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/1311wal/what_is_this_code_called/
Section 2 : Problems It Creates
There have been a good number of concerns about the implications of this implemented username idea, rightly so, if I may be so bold. Again, trying to compile a large number of users' concerns into an easier format, as well as adding my own knowledge and intuition of the platform, and how this change may adversely affect the userbase.
There have been a lot of complaints that this change will cause easy impersonation, since accounts can have a username that is representative of a well-known or established figure, which could then be used to tarnish that entity's reputation. In addition, usernames are entirely likely not going to be immediately available to official figures in some communities, so when they inevitably get stuck with a username like discdev_0x4655, and users can't meaningfully distinguish between that and a look-alike, there is a lot of flexibility for malicious use, content, ideas, etc.
Username Sniping / Old Account "Utility"
Now, I think this one is a little silly, but I understand the argument being made. Users are concerned that others who hold long-term accounts are going to take priority in the "war" so to speak of who gets the first unique name (aka, "sniping" a username). Now, since these users hold something that's of value to a lot of people, they can.. run side-hussles on getting those usernames to other people. Obviously against ToS, but when has that stopped anyone, ever?
Unique Names and User Capacity
So, obviously, with the discriminator system, you could have up to 10K (10,000) users that all share the same username. The username itself, according to dev insight, is between 2 and 32 characters long, with an added 4 digits at the end to differentiate between 2 users with the same username. Now, the same username isn't possible, outright (display name isn't the same, and already exists as nickname. End of story), so instead of 10K users with the same username, you'll have 1 user for every username. Great, until you realise that a) this was already possible ("Oh, Bob#0-9999 have all been taken, you can use Bob1#0-9999"), and b) the username limit hasn't been adjusted to compensate. The discriminator system legitimately has 10k times more capacity for usernames.
This is one I've seen a lot. Obviously, removing some odd characters makes it generally easier to find someone (see vernacular example in Section 1), however, for countries that don't use a-z, 0-9, and/or ._ characters, this makes the platform almost entirely inaccessible to them. And like, fine, Discord is based in the states, what do they care, except for that they quite clearly mention in their blog post, and I quote, "Meanwhile, people from regions where non-alphanumeric characters are common in names, such as Asia, would have difficulty fully representing themselves." Names like O'Connel (just the first one I found from search) are entirely impossible with new system (again, display name doesn't count, because it already exists, and that's not something they're changing, adding, or fixing)
Porting (From User#XXXX to userXXXX)
Realistically, users will want a name that's as close or similar to their existing one as possible, can we all agree with that? It's unlikely someone will use their ID as their username (though odd that it's possible in the first place), and unlikely that someone will use some odd key-generated UUID (again, oddly possible, and very likely after a certain point), so what will they do? Everyone is just going to go from Username#XXXX, to usernamexxxx, or username_xxxx or username.xxxx, etc. And now it has all of the same problems that they were trying to fix, in addition to being completely unique, since capital letters are not allowed anymore. So, for users John#1111, john#1111, johN#1111, and JOHN#1111, only one of them actually gets the unique username, john_1111 (or whichever you prefer the most)
Discord has been long well-known for it's tag system, any time someone posted, shared, spoke of, etc. some username with the renowned 4-letter combination at the end, everyone would know, "hey, that's a Discord user," because it's mostly unique to this platform. By removing this, Discord removes any distinguishing features between them and literally every other social media platform. No one likes the username system being implemented everywhere else, and it's especially confusing when you may have 4 different platform-specific accounts that are all different. For example, if I actively used other social media, I might expect to be stardust, star_dust, 9681stardust, etc. What was nice about Discord, is that it also had the discriminator to differentiate itself from everything else, which made it easier to remember ("oh yeah, it's the one with the numbers at the end").
Section 3 : Misconceptions
It's come to my attention that some users seem confused about how some of these will be implemented, and are expecting changes to be made in a way that they will not be. I'd like to do my best to clear some of this up here, because I believe it is important for users to understand what exactly is going on, as context to some of the cases made above, as well as just general information that they can use to make an informed decision on.
More Users With The Same Name
There have been a few people suggesting that there will be more users with the same username now than before, due to usernames allowing customisation like "john001," "john0001," "john00001" etc and so forth. Allow me to clarify that this is not true. While there are more combinations using just the text portion of the username, the allowed number of characters is the same, so with the current (soon-to-be-previous) system, you could have 10K john001's, and 10K john0001's. To more clearly explain what this means; the current system has 10K times more space for users with the same name, at a minimum. Once more, let me dictate that display name does not matter, since nicknames already exist, and this has still been deemed a concern to Discord.
I've seen a few mentions of moderators of servers being glad for this change because the username should function as a permanent marker of who a user is. Whereas with the current system, users could change their username and/or discriminator, which meant that the only consistent method of identification was using user IDs (which you can find by enabling developer mode in settings, right-clicking on a user, and copying their ID). This has not changed however, according to Discord's help centre and FAQ post, "you can change your username up to 2 times per hour." This does not appear to be paywalled like many other features, so unless you somehow need to change your name once every 20 minutes on average, users effectively have unending ability to change this whenever they please.
Link to FAQ here: https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/articles/12620128861463#h_01GXPQ8MBT04Y02QQFCPDHXHHG
Users Can go Back to Using Discriminators
I'm not sure who started spreading this one, but no, once your account has been flagged for being able to change to username system, and you've switched to that system, you cannot go back to using the ol' faithful discriminator system. Discord very insightfully recommends that users can "always add 4 numbers at the end of [their] username," in response to a user's concern for resorting to strange combinations of characters.
You can read this thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/136urpb/comment/jiqdm9d/?context=1000
Section 4 : Current Impacts
So, as most of y'all know, there is a main feedback thread for this, which you can find here: https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/14337329256983--Do-NOT-add-The-new-discord-usernames-system
That on its own is great and all, but I'd especially like to highlight a few things;
1) That post has hit the highest comment limit, of 1,021, and users cannot create new comments on that post. There are a few repeats, but with a few exceptions, around 1,000 users came and gave actual text input to this. It is the only post, on the entirety of this feedback website, to hit this cap, with the next closest being server profile pictures, at 1,002.
2) The very same post exceeded the all-time highest number of votes, also on this website, by a factor of almost twice the next greatest. Meeting 31,788 net votes, this thread can be found by sorting all posts by most voted, and among posts that have existed for 5 years or potentially longer, it has seen more general agreement than any other post on this website
So of the main thread, not only did it garner a lot of the attention regarding this change, it has gained the most attention of any post, ever, and overwhelmingly, the results are that no one likes this, no one wants this, and no one agreed to it. Highly recommend you go read that post if you haven't, it's been changed since last I read it, and it addresses some things I had missed.
Now, as these changes are rolling out to more people, there have been several articles on various media platforms (not just Discord, Twitter, and/or Reddit) about some of these impacts. Lots of people overall are speaking up about this change, and what its effects actually are, and let the records state that there is not a single positive thing mentioned around them.
First off, it's clear Discord hasn't been fully transparent about the staging of this change; as groups are keeping tabs on who Discord is releasing these changes to over time, it's been revealed that some low-key, standard users who are not partners, who do not run large community servers, who have no affiliation with Discord, etc. are receiving this change earlier than others.
That's not the only thing that has happened, though. As this post mentioned previously, this change was guaranteed to create a black market of sorts for rare names. But in case other platforms' dealings with this same problem using the same system wasn't convincing enough, now that this change is being rolled out, people are finding others participating in these black markets much more frequently than before. I truly reckon that will increase to a time before flattening out, as everyone involved is almost certainly looking to make a profit off of some group's terrible decisions here, and users will be how they are, and will almost certainly give sellers that profit, so they can say they have a particularly rare name.
Another thing that seems to be quite interesting; users who will soonest have access to this feature (still primarily Discord staff, partners, affiliates, etc) are operating on a reservation basis -- claiming their username, so that it can't be taken by another high-priority user. Thing is, there are some well-known personalities, in addition to production studios, business groups, etc. that are unable to access their own names because, turns out, someone beat them to the punch. Public statements from indie title, Rust Lake's team, reads, "A warning for all the indie devs waiting to claim their own username, we just received an email that we, as Verified Owners, could finally submit a new username and wow… ‘rustylake’ is already taken!" In addition, several partners have discovered names like "markiplier" (a well-known YouTube content creator and online personality) were not reserved early, and now, the affected individual(s) will not have access to their identifying name on this platform.
Finally; this change has made news coverage. Discord has gotten a large amount of coverage on various news outlets, all talking about the same few things -- Discord making a big (stupid) change, people that use the platform are outraged, Discord doesn't care.
If you're interested in seeing more about this, someone made an honest-to-god server on this platform for sharing information, discussion, etc. which you can find the link to in the Main Thread or post talking about this change (linked above)
Section 5 : In Summary, and Conclusion
Look, nothing here will change what's already been done. Discord is already rolling out this heinous problem, there are already users that have this in an active part of their user profile.
As I mentioned in the other thread, I know I can't change this, and while I don't want to discourage others from trying to, I feel obligated to say that no amount of signing petitions, of revolting against the developers, of downvoting them on reddit, and youtube, and whatever other platforms you'd like, and no amount of telling them how terrible of a thing this is that they've moved to, they're not changing their minds.
I've proposed solutions to their problems, and given answers as best I can to what I think should be done about their problems. I think that, if they want to require names to be more easily shared, they can cap usernames to alphanumeric characters, and a selection of non-alphanumeric characters for regions that don't use them, or use others as well. This would, as far as I am aware, fix any problems they think that they had seen, and let them initiate a change in a way that doesn't involve major community backlash.
So... Let me say this; Discord's been trending downward for years, they've stopped responding in most part to user feedback, they've stopped responding to any useful degree to user reports, and they've stopped caring about the users' experience, both as free and paying customers. Move to another platform that will hear your feedback, because your input is valuable for products like this, it helps them thrive, and Discord is very happily throwing it in the garbage chute.
If you're looking for alternatives, let me suggest Guilded or Revolt. I'm of inherent bias to the latter, but I've also heard good things of Guilded. Links below;
Guilded - https://www.guilded.gg/
Revolt - https://app.revolt.chat/
Element - https://app.element.io/
Cinny - https://cinny.in/
Good day all, please remember to be civil in the comments, and understand that clear, detailed, and constructive feedback will always accomplish more than continuously restating that you see a problem. And hey, if you could, share this thread. Increasing visibility means more informed people on this change, and more input, which eventually leads to better problem resolution. Permalink here: https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/14357829240983-Username-Change-Sucks-A-Compilation-of-Feedback-and-Critisism-
Post Edit History
- Added more alternate platforms
- Added section for misconceptions
- Added section addressing main post
- Changed section to cover current events and results of this change
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