Twitter should really have some kind of policy for releasing the names of completely unused accounts.
Of course, direct messages also come into play.
"If a username you would like is being used by an account that seems inactive, you should consider selecting an available variation for your use on Twitter. In general, adding numbers, underscores, or abbreviations can help you come up with a great available username."
Every time I read this page, (I checked it a few times because @timothee is taken but has never been used) I'm amused by the "if blah blah…, we offer no solution. But here's a 'solution' that we'll tell you is even better even though it's clearly not."
I can see an argument for not deleting inactive accounts in case their owners want to resume using them, but for accounts that are both inactive and practically unused (the two accounts I've mentioned... the one tweet, and the one reddit comment, both read "hi" - different person, though), they should be freed up.
It's basically the same issue as domain squatting, except that a.) there's no cost involved to help limit it and b.) it can, and is, done by mistake by many people
My preferred Twitter name:
2 Tweets, 1 Following, 0 Followers, inactive for 2 years.
I share a pretty unique given name with a world famous musician. That name is taken for everything, always. Even if it wasn't it would likely be stolen from me via some kind of crazy infringement claim.
On one hand, it's a fascinating window into the diversity of dgabriels and their lives, but it gets irritating when I repeatedly get stuff after telling the sender I am not the droid they are looking for.
And, yes, I totally grabbed my outlook.com username, even though I don't currently have plans for switching...
Other highlights have been a company requesting a toothbrush design (to which I promptly replied with a ms paint mock-up) and 2 requests for me to provide artwork for graphic novels.
If it is a service that I think I may want to use, or at least try out, I'd definitely squat my name. But I also think there should be an "inactivity" period for most services where user accounts merely get purged.
When I ran an online video game we did this by the number of "game hours" that your character had. At a certain point, if the character had enough "glory," we would make the character permanent for story purposes.
I still am undecided on how to go about account names - do I want people to infer my online handles from my name or other account names and e-mail addresses?
I still don't know if it's in my interest to have a unified account name across GitHub, Outlook.com, Gmail, Twitter, etc.
Convenience and privacy are often mutually exclusive, unfortunately. With GitHub, it's like a digital resumé, so I don't mind using my full name there.
Then again, if you manage to secure your last or first name, it could just as well be any of your namesakes.
I've historically used 'echelon' everywhere since 2001. It's my Gmail address, my Github account, and while I don't tweet much, it's also my Twitter handle.
I was so disappointed when 'echelon' was already allocated on Reddit and HN. It took me years to sign up for either site because I was put off by having to use an alternate username. Ultimately I registered here as 'possibilistic'.
Just under a year ago I randomly tried to register as echelon again; I suppose pg deallocated all of the unused accounts of a certain age--I got my originally desired username. My problem now is that all of my posts are under 'possibilistic'. As much as I'd like to be 'echelon', I like my comment history too. :-/
I wonder if I could bother someone at HN to rename 'possibilistic' to 'echelon' and just delete this account entirely? It's probably not worth their effort, but it would be really nice.
Essentially, I'd love:
> rm echelon
> mv possibilistic echelon
No worries if this isn't possible or is too much effort.
Why is this even a post of discussion? Aren't there better things to discuss about? Isn't this a typical first-world-problem?
2) The post is useful in that it takes something everyone has experienced and is familiar with and actually quantifies it. As the article suggests, this is particularly relevant on Twitter where longer IDs directly impact one's use of the system.
3) This "first-world-problem" meme or whatever the hell is some silly bullshit. Until HN starts filling up with topics like "Food: How to ensure that your infant doesn't die of starvation tomorrow night" - they're all first world problems.
It'd admittedly be confusing if there were an active 'delirium' and also an active '_delirium', but so far my doppelgangers hve all been inactive accounts (example: http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=delirium).
My parents always wondered how I ended up making so much money by selling "screen names".
I imagine it wouldn't be so different from buying a domain name. Probably an escrow service would be a good idea. Other than that it seems like it would just be a matter of reaching a meeting of the minds on price.
If the username you want, suffixed with .com, is a registered domain name, you would have to verify the postmaster email address at that domain to prove you own it. (Or upload one of those random HTML files like other domain ownership checks do.)
This way you can just own the .com domain name of your preferred username and guarantee you'll get it on sites that implement this.
Unfortunately, hyphens aren't always allowed so I have to switch to an underscore. And if those aren't allowed I have to switch to a backup username.
Long and weird enough. Well, too long sometimes. In those cases I revert to my "unix login name" ie jhrobert.
But, for twitter, where size matters, I got @jhr - I guess it must have been a long time ago.
Coming from Toronto, I added the local airport code (YYZ) to my nick.
The problem is that what I thought would be pronounced as "slant why why zed/zee" came out to others as "slanty eyes".
Fortunately, I have slanted eyes, so I guess nobody can accuse my nick of being inaccurate.
This made me laugh a lot. I imagine it spoken by a slightly-embarrassed news anchor on the Simpsons.
They (none of whom were Asians) thought that I should change my nick because it was racist and/or offensive to Asians, despite the fact that I'm Asian myself.
i don't know if this has to do with usernames being copied or because so many people are around the net nowadays and they all have the same idea now.