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Explained: Discord is making people change their usernames

Discord's new usernames and display names are aimed to make it easier for people to connect

Discord is changing its username system and making people pick new ones. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Discord is changing its username system and making people pick new ones. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

In the coming weeks, Discord users will have to say goodbye to the four-digit numbers attached to their usernames, a system implemented in 2015. This feature let people use the same username as long as they had different four-digit discriminators or case letters. 

With this new update, users will have to pick a new and unique username without discriminators (#0000). The usernames must be lowercase, alphanumeric, and limited to certain special characters. Moreover, users will also have to add a display name, which is how you will primarily appear on the platform, according to Discord’s blog post. You will be able to change the display name whenever you want.

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When you pick your new username, your display name will automatically change to your old username to make it easier for your friends to recognize you, but it can be changed through the profile settings. Talking about the changes, Discord’s co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy said in a blog post they are aimed “to make it a lot easier for you and all the new users coming to Discord to connect and hang out with friends.”

Over the years, as Discord has grown, Vishnevskiy explained that small issues that were initially impacting a few people were now affecting millions. “The biggest problem: our current usernames can often be too complicated or obscure for people to remember and share easily,” he said. For instance, if you meet someone outside of Discord, you might not remember the discriminator or have to explain which letters are uppercase and lowercase. 

Moreover, according to Vishnevskiy, more than 40% of users either don’t remember their discriminator or don’t know what it is. And almost half of all friend requests fail to connect mostly because of an incorrect or invalid username due to a combination of the missing discriminator and incorrect casing, according to the post. 

To address these gaps and make it easier for people to connect, Discord will be rolling out the changes in the next few weeks. All Discord users will be asked to choose a new username, and access will roll out over the course of several months, according to Vishnevskiy. 

Priority to choose a new username will be based on when you registered for Discord. Owners of partner and verified servers will get access first then it will be rolled out to users based on the age of their account in the coming months, starting with 2015, according to the post. Current Nitro subscribers who are paying for customization of their discriminator and registered for Nitro on or before 1 March, 2023, will also be given early access.

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