I agree that the unused "nicks" can be frustrating. My own handle would be 6 characters rather than 17 if either corwin or rattus had been available. However, given what JayBonci said lower down about deleting user nodes being potentially problematic, I wonder if renaming the users would be a better solution. I would suggest something like User<node_id>, which most likely would cause few if any username collisions. This would free up the usernames that are registered but have never been used.
- $0.02 from the rat
He seemed like such a nice guy to his neighbors /
Kept to himself and never bothered them with favors
- Jefferson Airplane, "Assassin"