Thursday, December 28, 2017

OkCupid Removes Usernames

OkCupid (via Scott Perry):

You see, DaddyzPrincess29*, we all have names. Good, noble names that took weeks, perhaps months to choose— from Hannah to Jordan to Lady Bird. And what we’ve discovered is that those names actually work best—better than usernames—when it comes connecting with people.


Ahead of the new year, we’re removing OkCupid usernames. It’s starting with a test group and will soon be rolled out to everyone on OkCupid, so all users will need to update their profiles with what they want their dates to call them.

Andrew Abernathy:

Looking forward to using real names to identify most anyone I see on your site, and email their family & co-workers all the interesting details from their profiles. (Yes, usernames are frustrating. Real names are a nightmare, esp. for people with uncommon names.)

According to Ars Technica, OKC will only be sharing your first name and they won’t be verifying that it’s your legal name, so it seems like in effect this boils down to “display names no longer have to be unique.”

I don’t understand what problem they think this solves, nor what they’ve actually “discovered” about what works. How does having many accounts identified by the same first name help anyone? Why would you want to reveal your real name to people you aren’t even communicating with? The only benefit I see is potentially more privacy for users who reuse the same username across multiple sites.

Update (2018-01-01): Andrew Kelley (via Ashley Bischoff):

I’m an engineer at OkCupid. I think we didn’t communicate this change very well. Users are free to chose any nickname, and user names are no longer unique and identifying. It’s actually more anonymous than before.

So it’s puzzling that their blog post encouraged people to use their real names.

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