Capitalization in username

18 Sep 2010 - 3:04pm
3 years ago
4 replies
716 reads
hilhorst
2004

We're currently having a debate around capitalization in usernames (not display names).

2 scenarios:

  1. Capitalization is allowed and consistent across the interface, if you sign up with capitalization in the username, you will be required to use that same capitalization when signing in, e.g. if your username is "John", you will have to use "John" when signing in, "john" will not work.

  2. Capitalization is allowed when signing up, but is not enforced when signing in, e.g. if your username is "John", you can login using either "john" or "John".

Which of these scenarios is preferable? Any best practices or heuristics?

Cheers,

Didier.

Comments

18 Sep 2010 - 5:05pm
mshulbert
2010

I recommend usernames be case insensitive. You system could store and recall the case-sensitive version. But it shouldn't require it.

There are several problems with be case sensitive on the username level.

1) If you do enforce case, then 'THEGuy', 'theGuy' and 'theguy' are all unique accounts. This is to complex and would lead to problems on many levels.

2) Usernames in general are not case-sensitive, so people wouldn't expect it

You can choose to remember the case each person input if you want, you just shouldn't require it.

{m} matt hulbert

On Sep 18, 2010, at 1:39 PM, hilhorst wrote:

> We're currently having a debate around capitalization in usernames (not display names). > > 2 scenarios: > > 1) Capitalization is allowed and consistent across the interface, if you > sign up with capitalization in > the username, you will be required to use that same capitalization when > signing in, e.g. if your > username is "John", you will have to use "John" when signing in, "john" > will not work. > 2) Capitalization is allowed when signing up, but is not enforced when > signing in, e.g. if your > username is "John", you can login using either "john" or "John". >
> Which of these scenarios is preferable? Any best practices or heuristics? > > Cheers, > > Didier. > >

19 Sep 2010 - 1:05am
Suedesign
2010

Second for sure. If a third party needs to use the name they will be unsure if capitalization is required and may reference an entirely seprrate user. Unix yes everything else no. -----Original Message----- From: Suedesign Sender:
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 00:28:37 To: Reply-To: discuss@ixda.org Subject: [IxDA] 回复:[IxDA] Capitalization in userna me

hello,I have read your mail, and I perfer the second scenario,that would be
better because of it's convenient.Besides,I think it can Prompted by the
historical record as a small tips. Yours, Sue  ------------------ 原始邮件 ------------------发件人: "hilhorst";发送时间: 2010年9月19日(星期天)
凌晨4:34收件人: "Sue.Design"; 主题: [IxDA]
Capitalization in username We're currently having a debate around
capitalization in usernames (not  display names).

2 scenarios:

 1) Capitalization is allowed and consistent across the interface, if you     sign up with capitalization in     the username, you will be required to use that same capitalization
when     signing in, e.g. if your     username is "John", you will have to use "John" when signing in,
"john"     will not work.      2) Capitalization is allowed when signing up, but is not enforced when     signing in, e.g. if your     username is "John", you can login using either "john" or "John".    

Which of these scenarios is preferable? Any best practices or heuristics?

Cheers,

Didier.

(((Please leave all content below this line)))

19 Sep 2010 - 6:25am
fj
2010

I cannot think of a single site that enforces capitalization in usernames. It would break the preconceptions of most Internet users.

Besides the already mentioned problems of having 'john' and 'John' be two different users on your system, and that implementing it would be a pain because all off-the-shelf back-ends do not care about capitalization, you should think of your mobile users. Entering captials on most mobile devices is a pain. And you may think you need not consider mobile now, but you would be wrong: people will use your system from their phones, and if your system takes off, your managers will ask you to make it mobile friendly. Better start right away.

Also, forcing a new usernmae & password combination upon users -- who already only have, what, 200 or so on average? -- is getting seriously passé. Consider also offering Facebook Connect, Twitter OAuth, and OpenID. Yes, it will scare some users, but they do not have to use it, and will make the set of experienced web users be up and running on your site so much faster.

19 Sep 2010 - 1:09pm
johnk
2010

Everything that faces the user, except passwords, should be case-insensitive.

In code, in docs and specifications, URLs, and naming, everything should be considered case-sensitive, but naming standards should probably enforce an all-lowercase rule.  That is the Unix and Internet style.

The big headache with case-sensitivity is when developers use it.  Almost all programming languages are case-sensitive, and some even use this case-sensitivity as a "feature", which is really annoying.  For example, Thing is a data type, but thing is variable of the data type - I hope nobody does that anymore.

Sometimes, you're typing a function like (javascript's) document.getElementById()... or was it document.getElementByID() ?  The acronym (ID) confuses the issue.  Now, was it object.asHTML() or object.asHtml()?  I don't remember what I named it, becuase we didn't have a good naming standard for acronyms.

Ugh.  But I understand why it's necessary that computer languages be case-sensitive for performance reasons.

Getting back to usernames, there are two case sensitivity problems.

As noted, one is that when user TheDude registers, someone else called Thedude or thedude or even "The Dude" or _-^the-dude^-_ could register, causing problems.

Another is that if someone named lilly registers, someone can forge the name using capital-i instead of lowercase-L.  Iilly, liIly, IiIIy, liIIy, lilIy, IiIly and a few others are possible variations.  It would be useful if, at some point, the username were displayed capitalized, so others could see that "LILLY" and "IIIIY" were distinct usernames.

During registration, it would be smart to disallow using capital-i as lowercase-L.  Internally, uppercase everything, and consider i and L to be equivalent (convert L to I).  Consider 0 and O to be equivalent.  Maybe even vv should be folded into w.

 

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