Some time back there was a discussion regarding the changing of usernames. On the whole the attitude was that such changes ought to be discouraged. The arguments against were that:
- frequent changes are confusing to other users.
- respect and reputation (and their counterparts) are associated with handles, and ought not to be disassociated frivolously.
The solutions offered to address these problems were to:
- place limits on frequency or number of username changes per account.
- apply an XP penalty for a change.
- allow the use of aliases, effectively giving each user multiple names.
Now this discussion took place before my time, so I can't speak to the actual reasons why none of these suggestions were implemented, however the problems are quite real and the proposed solutions are lacking. The first would require an arbitrary number that would suit some monks' desires and not others'. The second seems merely punitive, bearing no logical connection to the problems it seeks to solve, but providing only negative reinforcement. The third threatens more clutter in an already (wonderfully) busy community.
My proposal: allow users to consider their own homenodes. Doing so ensures that:
- only users of a significant rank (friar) and who thereby have demonstrated commitment to the Monastery might change their names.
- the decision would require the approval of one's peers via the normal keep/edit/delete/nothing voting upon consideration (except that 'delete' would mean something else).
- awareness of the potential renaming would have time to grow as a natural outcome of the sometimes lengthy consideration process, reducing strain on other users.
This approach would solve the stated problems by automatically restricting the pool of potential name changers, as well as the frequency of the changes and resultant confusion through reliance upon the approval of other monks. Drawing attention to the fact that one had considered one's own node would be accomplished by joining the Recently Updated Home Nodes
list, and by lobbying one's friends, arguably those most affected by the name change. To my knowledge, it would also be simpler to implement than the original proposals, as most nodes already have the capacity to be considered.
"The dead do not recognize context" -- Kai, Lexx