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How to change your username to protect your privacy

Discussion in 'About This Site' started by Forest, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    I want to lay out the site policy for changing usernames. Our organization values our member's privacy, so I encourage new members to choose a "very anonymous" username. If you want to change your username for privacy reasons simply send me a personal message to me, and I will accommodate your wishes.

    Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, changing the username on an account is a difficult process, and one that becomes more difficult the more posts you have made. Therefore, we only offer username changes to help protect a member’s privacy. Furthermore, we only offer one username change per account, and the new username must be “very anonymous.”

    Thanks for your understanding and support!

    How to choose a “very anonymous” username

    Whenever you choose a username, I encourage people to select a "very anonymous" username. For example, please don't use your name or even parts of your name in your username. The same goes for the name of your business if you have one. You might even want to avoid anything that hints at your interests or your location (it's up to you). It is easy to choose a "very anonymous" username, and there isn't really a downside to doing so. (Often people will choose usernames that aren't anonymous at all, but I do not suggest this.)

    If you are stuck coming up with a very anonymous username, consider the following ideas:
    • Choose the first name of a character from some form of entertainment or public life. For example, a character in a novel, a public figure, etc.
    • Look around your desk for a word. On my desk, I see "Pan" (Panasonic batteries), "Belkin" (a power adapter), and "Harper" (the publisher of The Divide Mind). No one will know where the inspiration came from and those are actually quite good names (feel free to use them).
    • If someone already has taken the name you want, just add a couple of digits at the end.
    In the end, don't worry about the actual name - people will like you for the honest connections you make in your posts, not for the username. Some people enjoy coming up with a clever username, whereas others, like myself, just want any old name. Do choose a name that you are comfortable being called, though, as people will refer to you via your username and may even choose an abbreviated form.

    Other advice on choosing usernames

    Avoid choosing a name that is a reference to your symptoms. Remember, your goal is to overcome your symptoms and be immersed in your life. Your symptoms want to distract you, and the more attention you give them, the more powerful you make them.

    On the flip side, we TMSers often put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to heal. This pressure can be like a predator, constantly pulling us back to thinking about our symptoms. Even a positive message in our usernames can serve as a distraction from being present in our lives and keep us focused on our symptoms. This attention makes the symptoms stronger. Thus, you may want to avoid any mention of your symptoms or condition in your username. After all, as you participate in the community, you will be seeing it a lot!
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017

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