Per-user opt-in of appending the username on link sharing

Say, when I copy a link, seems to have my name at the end:… 724/6?u=jidanni
But I’m thinking if that link gets passed around all over the Internet, then people will remember me forever or something. I’m not sure the exact goal of putting my name at the back of the link. Maybe it’s to earn me prizes or something?
Seems like a preference option is in order to disable that. That will save me a lot of time cleaning it up each time.

Just like with cell phone cameras, they don’t put your GPS coordinates in the Exif by default. So this certainly is a privacy issue we’re dealing with here.

I mean we don’t want Little Billy to post pictures with his familiy’s mansion’s coordinates in the metadata.

Likewise, we don’t want a Little Billy to pass around links with his name stuck in them.

And with most users, they don’t ever get their hands on links that they share. It’s all done underneath the hood. They don’t even have a chance to edit the mishmosh URL string they’re passing along. Even if it isn’t that complicated.

Hmmm…, seems like that preference should be opt-in.

Hi Dan,

Your name at the end of the link is called a “URL Parameter”. Its any text after the question mark in the link. Its used for tracking purposes. Discourse will show how many times you shared a link. Its designed to show the outreach your share had by tracking how many people click it. Its quite a useful feature in my opinion. Most social media platforms do this. Some will display your username, while others show an encrypted looking string which only the social media platform admins will be able to convert to see your username (not the public).

You are more than welcome to delete all the text after the question mark, including the question mark.
Original:… 724/6?u=jidanni
Updated:… 724/6

Both links will work, but the later does not contain any identifier containing your name.

As for the security aspect, I always suggest to never use your real name on the internet. Use an Alias, or simply a username that does not link directly to your real identity. That is the only true way to limit issues regarding privacy.

I hope that helps!


OK! But still sounds like it still qualifies for a preference so that users who don’t like it could turn it off, to save them manually having to snip it out each time.

It’s recently been added as a site preference, which I think is a good thing (allow username in share links):

Though a per user one is an interesting idea for those sites that still want to keep it as default.


If you are the admin of the Discourse instance, you can go to settings, and search for allow username in share links

And uncheck this setting:

But as @JammyDodger mentioned, it does not appear to be a feature which can be enabled/disabled within a users profile.

There is a feature section on this forum where you can request this feature.

I’ll just thow this out there but my initial assumption when sharing topics was that this param would prompt a login into my account. So I removed it every time

In other words, my intuition lead me to think it meant the full url implied “here is the topic and post I want to see as user xxx”

It wasn’t until I realized that the “share” badges use this that it was just used for tracking. I actually think that it would be better if the username was obscured (ex. use the user id instead or another uniquely identifing string) and/or the actual param name could be changed from “u=” to something more explicit. Just as an example, Instagram uses “igshid=”

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Let’s get some rationality here.

How is adding your own username on the end of an internal url shared on a post you author which itself is unavoidably associated with your username significantly problematic?


I’m not sure I’m tracking that? It gets added to any post link you copy and paste to somewhere else, not just the ones you author.

My use case that I argued for in the other topic was for if you wanted to share a topic from a forum but didn’t want to reveal that you were a member, or what your specific username was. Not including it on every shared link by default seems much safer for sensitive sites such as mental health or sexual advice sites, for instance, where a degree of anonymity is desired. Especially for people who aren’t savvy enough to remove it manually before sharing it.

As I understand it, it’s only to track for badges so it seems reasonable to be able to turn it off?


Good point that it can be pasted anywhere not just internally. But that’s where you are going to be using it 99% of the time.

As a site option it seems reasonable.

You could even make a theme component to add another button that provides the link without the username … just saying …


Hi, jidanni,

It seems many posts and links here answered your questions and your topic doesn’t really fit ux, as you can see from the category’s description, as the appended username is rather a feature:

If you want to request a per-user setting, which is legitimate, feel free to open a new topic in feature.

But also note that you can easily copy-paste Discourse URLs without your username simply from your browser’s address bar, which is always updated in real time.
You can see that, for example, when you navigate inside a topic: the URL is constantly updated with the current post ID.

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Hi jidanni :slight_smile:
I was a bit too fast in how I managed this topic. After re-reading more carefully, you explicitly asked for an per-user opt-in setting in your very first messages, so I recategorized the topic in the proper category as well as rewrote the topic’s title to make it more accurate :slight_smile:

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This option doesn’t exist on DiscourseHub or the PWA, however.

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Copy exists and editing of paste exists too.

But no browser address bar.

So? The main point is getting URL, not if it comes from address bar or link icon, that isn’t even remotely important thing-

Well I’m also talking from the ux side of things. One just gets the impression that wow it never occurred to the designers that throwing around people’s usernames on the Internet is not very privacy protective.

And lo and behold, the option to control it is only available to site owners. It’s like the little user guy doesn’t matter.

I wonder how many other options there are like this?

If I may…

You have a total control of what you paste from your operating system clipboard. You can remove your username from a pasted Discourse link in a matter of seconds.

Yes but that’s work. Also what if I forget. And what about the little guy who doesn’t know about that stuff.