Popular chat and streaming app Discord is making every single one of its users change their names, and you could be forgiven for wondering why make such a disruptive move at all. But the platform’s founders say it’s more necessary than you might think.
Ordinarily, Discord users are identified by a name and random number separated by a hash sign – like MinaHarker#1897. Originally, explains co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy, it would have just been MinaHarker, since they didn’t require unique names (you were just joining a friend’s channel), but later when they needed to differentiate users with identical names, they added the “discriminator” four digit number.
As Discord has grown, this same system has stayed in place, but it wasn’t ideal for sharing outside of Discord. Meet someone in real life and you can say, “I’m @BigDraculaEnergy on Instagram” or whatever. But few people remembered their 4-digit number or indeed the capitalization of