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When I started posting I was in a career where keeping moderate anonymity seemed sensible. Now it makes more sense to use something closer to my real name (though conceivably I'll want to change back in future).

As far as I can see in user settings, there's no name change option?

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There seems to have been an update since this was posted as I was able to change my username without any additional checks now.

I can't find a way to change my username. I tried a few days before your post and again now. Please advise.

Sarah Cheng
Hi there - it looks like you were affected by our bug, but I think I was able to fix your account so that you can change your username now. If that doesn't work please contact us and we can update your username for you.
1[comment deleted]

Yea, users don't have permissions to change their own usernames. If you want to change it, you need to contact a forum moderator, such as Aaron Gertler, JP Addison, Julia Wise and myself (not sure exactly who else has the relevant permissions). 

Feel free to add a comment or send me a message with your desired username.

Is that an intentional policy, or just a feature that hasn't been implemented yet?

If intentional, could you say why? Obviously it could be confusing, but there are some substantial downsides to preventing it.

(This is something we haven't edited from LessWrong, so this is me speaking for why I agree with their call, not why I made it myself.) I'd say it's a little of both. I'd like to allow users to change it if it's important, but heavily discourage changes that lose continuity of user identification without much gain. If you have to talk to a human to do it, you're only going to do that if you think it's important. Maybe in the ideal case we'd do something like facebook, where they let you do it, but discourage you through multiple levels of "are you sure?" and "you won't be able to change your name again for x days". And/or we could implement moderator review. But we probably won't prioritize building these, as it seems like a lot of UI functionality that will be very rarely exercised, which is a recipe for bugs.

Aaron Gertler
I second this. Right now, we review all new users when they join the Forum, including their names. We'd also want to review all name changes if users could make them, which isn't too different from users asking us for name changes (though infrastructure allowing that would be nice to have someday). For anyone who wants an example of how a username change could cause a prblem: If you try to use "Will MacAskilI" (with a capital "I" instead of the second "L") as a username, you'll be caught before your account is approved. So we're also wary of someone changing their name to that and then pretending to be Will for a bit.
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