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This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

There are several types of usernames on the Internet. Usernames are at least 3 letters long, and if you know what's good for you you won't make them longer than 8 letters. Besides initialisms and real names, usernames guarantee pseudonymity.


Initialisms (3 letters)

Initialisms are an uncommon but recognizable type of username. When they are a username they are always written in lowercase, as opposed to when you write the person's real name and use all caps (for example, "RMS and ESR are pals"). Initialisms are based on your real name and thus not much of a username at all, but they are included here because they make a statement. The statement is "I am a geek and proud of it, and I have geek authority I am throwing around by using an initialism."

Callsigns (4-6 letters)

Callsigns are seen exclusively in the ham radio community. Very few people use a callsign as a universal name, but they often supplement usernames and in the ham radio world you will more often see a callsign than someone's real name.

IRC-style pseudonyms (1-8 letters)

There are two defining characteristics of IRC-style pseudonyms: they are a single word or acronym, and they are always lowercase, even when writing the person's name (example: "hannibal and inpheaux run my favorite website"). IRC pseudonyms usually do not make much sense but are an off-the-cuff handle chosen when logging into IRC, and thereafter transferred to other websites.

Forum-style pseudonyms (4-25 letters)

Forum-style pseudonyms were invented on an Internet forum or Usenet. Generally they are properly capitalized, using CamelCaps or even spaces, and take the form of a nickname or a recognizable noun phrase. Because forum systems are so large, forum-style pseudonyms are often obscure, but rarely contain numbers unless if the person is incredibly lazy. Because of the intellectual style of forums these names are often quirky in an attempt to stand out.

Scoop-style pseudonyms (3-25 letters)

Scoop-style pseudonyms were invented for a single non-forum community, but not a community where people share their real names. You see this sometimes on websites running Slashcode as its engine, but usually it is DailyKos or Kuro5hin which both run Scoop. Scoop-style pseudonyms are often recognizable as real names, or at least real words.

AIM/Yahoo/LJ-style pseudonyms (4-25 letters)

These names are usually English words with various stray letters and numbers tacked on. There is a lot of overlap between AIM names and LiveJournal names. LiveJournal names can be "artier" and AIM names can be more functional with numbers tacked on because all the good names were taken, but this isn't always the case.

Throwaway usernames

Anonymous manifests himself in the form of a throwaway name when he is forced to register for a service. These names don't mean anything significant and are obviously not intended to be used for long term discussion; thus, stuck-up fools will ban them over and over and wonder why they aren't going away.

Real name

Some people have never wanted a pseudonym and simply use their real name. These people don't have a right to vanish and are stuck with their Internet choices for the rest of time.

Which is right for you?

If you don't already have a username, or you are exercising your right to vanish, I recommend an IRC-style name. Just log into IRC and pick something. It will make you cool with the in-crowd.

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