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Forum Member's Display Names

Bill Edwards

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Dear All


The Forum Panel have recently been discussing the use of Display Names for members of the forum. Those of you who have been members for a while will remember that for some considerable time we insisted that members joining the forum used their real, full names and we insisted that new members proved that were who they said they were before being allowed to join.


The reasons we used this policy were:-

  • We found that when 'hiding' behind display names members were effectively posting anonymously. In a small percentage of members this allowed them to post things that they wouldn't post if they were known.
  • It's nice to know who you are talking to. Many members meet at various fairs and events and using your name helps this process.


The panel discussed and voted on two key issues:

  • Should new joining members be compelled to use their real, full name and should they be required to prove their identity before joining
  • Should this policy be applied retrospectively to all existing members 


The majority of the panel felt that new members should use their real, full names and prove that they are who they say they are before joining, and this policy has now been implemented.


There was some support for applying this policy retrospectively, however this will not be applied to existing members. Whilst it was felt it was desirable, it was felt impractical and potentially damaging to ask long standing members to comply with the policy. It was also felt unnecessary for members who, although using display names, had been members for a long time, were generally well known and had never used their display name to hide behind.  


If an existing member member using a display name posts badly or appears to be using a display name to hide behind, the forum panel reserve the right to insist that member uses their real full name.


I stress at this point, that this policy will not be used to keep genuine new members out of the forum - we will, as far as is possible, work with joining members to allow them access to the forum, but we will be making some basic checks to ensure they are who they say they are.


As part of this policy, YOU may be asked to vouch for someone trying to join the forum. One of the ways we can check is asking members if they know an existing member. I may ask "Do you know Joe Bloggs who is trying to join the forum"? We are not asking you "Is he a good person", or "Will he be a good member", we are simply asking if you know them to be a real person, using their real name. You will NOT be responsible for that member or anything that they post. However, if you say someone is real and using their real name and that turns out to be wrong, it will affect your credibility!


The facility for members to arbitrarily change their display name has been removed. If you wish to change your display name, please contact me. If any existing members wants to change their display name to their real name, this can be accommodated and would be welcomed by the panel.


I again stress, that this policy is not about making life difficult for genuine people to join our community, but trying to make things difficult for the small percentage of people who wish to use anonymity to cause the forum and it's members problems.





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Is it possible that if a person changes the display name, their original name is displayed in the profile?

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8 hours ago, Ian Woodall said:

Is it possible that if a person changes the display name, their original name is displayed in the profile?

If you visit a members profile and look at their username, just to the right is a swirly symbol (poor description, but you'll see what I mean), click it and it gives the display name history.

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