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Automatic recycling of usernames from inactive members?

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
So we have lots of inactive members with obviously popular usernames like Dave and Bob. Does anyone recycle user names from members who haven't visited for years?
E.g. change those login names to 'Member nnnnn' (where nnnnn is the user id) so someone else can use that name?
I don't advocate deleting the members altogether. They might want their account at some point and it does no harm to keep their record. But by not visiting for so long, I think they have forfeited their login name.
Any thoughts?

Daniel Hood

Well-known member
I wouldn't be upset if a community I was a member of did that. I'd commend changing it to like "Stuart50" though. And you should make sure it's in your TOS.

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
Perhaps an addon which automatically recycles user names after n days of inactivity (maybe a year?). Changing them to username + n where n is a number to use the first available free name. Would just need to check that the length of the new username does not exceed the maximum number of characters allowed. Otherwise fairly straight forward?

A courtesy email to the member warning them their username is about to be changed?

How about automatically doing it for members with permanently bouncing email addresses?


Well-known member
I think "recycling" or deleting users who were ever active - even for a small handful of posts - is a terrible idea.

People do come back, even after many years, and re-enter communities. Why would you want to prevent them from using their original name? The name everyone recognizes as that person? An established user changing names is even worse. Even if it's a change to a name they prefer.

What about consistency and accountability and knowing who's who? These are communities we're building after all, not hourly-rate motels.