Nickname vs Username

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Solohina

Member
russian
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?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    (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".
     

    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.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    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.

    Wiki said:
    A user is an agent, either human (end-user) or software, who uses a computer or network service. A user often has a user account and is identified by a username (also user name), screen name (also screenname), nickname (also nick), or handle, which is derived from the identical Citizen's Band radio term.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    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.
    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.
     

    PaulQ

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

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The problem is, the word "username" is already used for something else on our form.
    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?
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Solohina

    Member
    russian
    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.
     

    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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