The platform Discord is asking the user to change the usernamecreating a race to secure their preferred usernames. Generating several discussions online – and also quite a few complaints about the decision of the social network.
The race for the username on Discord
Within the next couple of weeks, all Discord users will need to abandon their old names with four digits at the end. Discord enforces a new common policy across the platform. For Discord, it’s a way to get closer to traditional social networks. For some users, however, it is one radical change of what makes Discord unique, a change that affects both culture and technology.
Discord has always used a suffix number system for usernames. Instead of requiring a completely unique name, it allowed repeating names by adding a four-digit code called “discriminator”. Think about MarioRossi#1234to use a facsimile nomenclature of 730. But earlier this week, it announced it was abandoning this system and switching to unique identifiers that resemble Twitter’s @MarioRossi.
Resistance to change
Co-founder and CTO Stanislav Vishnevskiy admitted the change could be “difficult” for some. However, he also argued that the discriminators were too complicated: he reports that over 40 percent of users don’t know their discriminant number. This leads to “nearly half” of friend requests failing. Because users just don’t know their name on Discord.
Vishnevskiy says that for most users, this change won’t be a problem at all. In fact, most use a different display-name than their username, as the CEO explains on Reddit. In a response that, however, suffered about 500 downvotes on Reddit. But the CEO does not give up: “it is not a choice we have made lightly”.
The username race on Discord
This change, in addition to the criticisms, is generating a race for the best username on Discord. To avoid server collapses and management problems, Discord will only allow you to change your username once you receive a notification. Which could arrive “in the coming months”.
The company will give the precedence to users based on their Discord join date. So whoever has had a name for the longest time will have a better chance of getting the name he wants.
This brings many concerns and questions. What prevents people from take the name of a famous creator if they choose it before him? To prevent this, Discord should reserve the names of well-known creators, even if they’re not first in line. But would that be right?
Unlike other emerging services trying to attract new users, there are several well-known creators on Discord. And in some cases, they probably pay for a subscription as well. Discord told The Verge that it has “created highly visible user processes to protect usernames that will allow them to trade on our platform with minimal risk of impersonation.”
However, many creators with large fanbases, but who are not well known enough to have ongoing partnerships with Discord, lare at risk of losing their name.
Change of identity online
But another problem that many users find in these changes concerns the very concept of online identity. Many on Reddit and on social media complain the fact that the username on Discord was more “Private” than usernames on other social networks. Something that reflects the diverse nature of the platform, made to discuss with fans and create communities based on interests. While many social networks are a way of self-promotion. So a well-known streamer could use Instagram and Twitter for official announcements, while on Discord he only spoke with his closest fans. Who themselvesthey could maintain greater anonymity.
Anonymity that has repeatedly created problems – with users who were not afraid to publish problematic content, which they would never have spread on a social network with a unique name. But which, on the other hand, many users define “liberating“, because it placed a filter between online and private life.
Changing your username on Discord stems from a practical need: to make it easier to identify who you’re talking to. But it could change the platform in a profound way.