At FANDOM it is one our goals to give you, our user base, as much control over your account as possible. We provide our users scores of switches and buttons in Special:Preferences to customize your content tools, offer you the ability to add your own custom scripts, and even let you pick your own editor. We also give you easy access to the basics of account control - making sure you can change your email, set your password, and choose what emails you receive from FANDOM.
And now today, we’re giving you the power to change your own account name. FANDOM is pleased to unveil the next step in user self-service tools: The User Rename Tool. FANDOM has offered users the ability to rename accounts since 2010, but this required staff intervention to review and then process the requests. As of today, users will be able to fill out a form and rename their account at their convenience.
A New, Improved Process
The primary reason we are able to offer this now as a self-service tool is due to a significant amount of engineering work that dramatically improved both the speed and the reliability of our rename script.
Previously, users being renamed were globally blocked during the rename process. The process itself could take up to a couple of hours for users with a lot of edits. And for the users with the highest amounts of edits, sometimes the process could take days and could potentially break down due to the sheer volume of database records to change.
We’re pleased to say that this is no longer the case! Users will no longer need to be blocked because the rename is almost instantaneous. In fact, as part of our testing, we renamed my account! (It turns out that the nickname you thought was cool back when you were 13 isn’t as awesome when you’re twice that age.) I had nearly a million edits across nearly 10,000 wikis and the process took just a couple of minutes.
Many thanks goes to our engineering team, who went above and beyond - from simply making the process better to building a great new tool users can use themselves.
Understanding The Tool’s Requirements
The UserRenameTool is coded to enforce many of the same policies we had in place when users had to write in to request a new name. This is a good time to review these policies and explain why they are in place.
- One rename per account - This is the most important requirement of the UserRenameTool. You can only rename a specific account once. So, since I renamed my account from “daNASCAT” to “TimmyQuivy”, I will now not able to rename my account again. This policy is in place for two specific reasons, one technical and one social. Technically, renaming an account multiple times would lead to multiple broken redirects. Socially, once a username is used in the user database, it can not be freed up, even if that username is then renamed. So you will not be able to register “daNASCAT” even though I no longer use that name.
- No special characters - We do not allow non-alphabetic characters - for example, card suit symbols or trademark signs. Adding these special characters raise technical encoding issues and also make it much harder for users to be able to type your account name in and find your account. Your username should be an emoji free zone.
- No spoofing - We prevent users from registering usernames too similar to those already in use. This prevents user confusion and also prevents vandalism/abuse from people pretending to be an admin or staff. For instance, my username is “TimmyQuivy ”. We prevent people from registering “Timmyquivy” (no capital Q).
- Uncapitalized usernames - This is a legacy requirement of the MediaWiki software FANDOM runs on. In MediaWiki, all usernames start with a capital. They just do. Remember that on FANDOM usernames as a whole are case sensitive - whenever I log in I will need to make sure to capitalize the Q in “TimmyQuivy” or I’ll get an error message.
That’s all! If you’ve been wanting to rename your account and just haven’t gotten around to it, or if you just discovered this ability exists, feel free to go ahead and get going. Remember that usernames can only be renamed once! I renamed my account after spending a lot of time making sure I wanted to do it. If you’re not sure or you’re thinking about doing it on a whim, it never hurts to take some time to think about it. Usernames are the most visible thing that makes you uniquely you on the internet, so choose wisely!
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