Nickname vs Username

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Solohina, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Solohina Junior Member

    Hello everyone.

    I am putting together a form that users will have to fill out to register for a service on-line. I need to include something like a "username", a name people can select for themselves (but that's not their real name). The problem is, the word "username" is already used for something else on our form.
    Someone else on my team suggested to name it Aka or Nickname. I do not like either of these versions.

    Aka will be difficult to understand in this context. Like you can say "Salvatore Luciana aka "Lucky" Luciana,the Sicilian gangster :D, but you cannot tell a person "Choose an Aka for yourself". Apart from that, i can't get rid of the feeling that Aka is strongly associated with gangster stories and police reports.

    Nickname - sounds derogatory or humorous. I think, it's a name others call a person to make fun or offend him/her. A person cannot choose a nickname for himself, too.

    So, the questions are:

    1) Am i right, thinking that neither Aka or Nickname are good substitutes for Username?
    2) Am i right about the connotations (Aka = gangster stories and police reports; and Nickname = the way people call someone to offend or make fun of him/her)?
    3) Is there a better, neutral synonym for Username in this context?
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    1. yes
    2. yes
    3. forum name (maybe)
  3. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    (3) You might try using something obvious like "Choose a second username". If these people have to join this service, you could try "member name".
    (1) I agree. Those choices would probably confuse some people.
    (2) You seem to have a good understanding of "aka" and "nickname".
  4. quillerbee Senior Member

    Canadian English
    Hi Solo,I don't quite understand what you need, because there can be only one username on a forum, correct? The word username should be reserved for the log-in name. For other naming uses, you could use nickname or alias, and I think people will understand that your intent is not to laugh at them or throw them behind bars. But don't use aka, that acronym is not used as a noun.
  5. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    agree with Quiller

    I think alias is a good option.
  6. frannigan Junior Member

    British English
    I would choose 'Display Name' I think.
  7. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    In the more technical side of computer code and on some sites you'll come across the term 'handle' to mean the same thing.
    So I think it could be a good option here, as it's not too uncommon on the net, and fits the purpose.
    But I also think "nick/nickname" is a good alternative to "username" and would be fine for your purposes, but I see some people disagree so I thought I'd offer up an alternative.

  8. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    I think it would help us a lot if we knew what you were using "user name" for and how that differs from this other field.
  9. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    My suggestion: User ID

    (Or is that too similar to username?)
  10. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    1) Yes
    2) No, some people are either neutral or proud of their nickname
    3) screen name
  11. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    For what? "Username" has a very specific online meaning—as you say, a name made up for online use, as in a forum; a name that is not the user's real name. That sounds like exactly what you need now. For what are you already using this word? Can that change?
  12. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Usually on sites to log in you use your email address and a password, but some sites demand an actual username which you use to log in with, and then give you an option to have a different name for posting in a sort of forum-like area (again, a lot of people would use the login for this, too). But with raised security concerns, identifying a user's login name from what's visible in that public area gives a potential hacker the ability to know how that person logs in, so that's why some sites are programmed for this information to be separate. But in the last few years especially I've noticed a tendency for there to be a "login via email address" instead of a specific username.

    So having a username to create/log-into the account, and a different 'handle' to be known by in some public area, these can both be valid uses of the term 'username', so I think that could be the case here.
  13. Solohina Junior Member

    Haven't viewed this discussion for a while. Thank you for your opinions and ideas.

    Alxmrphi, really appreciate your professional replies.
    In the end, we decided to go for "Username". And change the other usage of the term "username" in our system.
  14. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    On-screen name, on-site name, on-screen persona, all come to mind. The last, if the on-screen name also reflects the forum member's attitude (which often seems the case).

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