Can't we require users to fill in a nicer username than user$xxxx$ when registering? It is (at least for me, but I can imagine it is also the case for others) to keep track who they are (as in, what they have written in the past and so on).

• Could you please be more specific as to what you are proposing? If users want to be anonymous and are required to fill in a username, what would stop them from filling in "anonymous"? At least currently the names are distinguishable, unlike at MathOverflow where there are numerous users named "unknown (google)", some more named "unknown (yahoo)", some simply "unknown". – Jonas Meyer Dec 31 '10 at 21:25
• Meyer: You can still find an anonymous name that isn't "userxxxx", the idea is that not all the anonymous users are named "userxxxx" (of course they can pick that if they like) so they are easier to distinguish. If you for example remember a question a certain user has posted (which is probably easier to remember than user2304) but not the question itself, you can look into the user list to look it up. – Jonas Teuwen Jan 2 '11 at 17:34

I can't think of a viable way to do that, maybe to just remove automatic username assignment when registering via open-id (which is now in place). Other than that, users will still be free to choose whatever pleases them, including filling something like userX2321 instead of user2321.

• If you register via open-id you can still let the user pick a name at first login. They can choose whatever pleases them, even if it is user1234, but I think less users will then pick userxxxx if they are required to choose something. Not having a username like user1234 doesn't mean they lose their anonymity. – Jonas Teuwen Jan 2 '11 at 17:36