Why do permalinks include my username?

(anonymous234) #1

When I click on a permalink button in a post while logged in, the link I get always includes the string “?u=anonymous234”.

I tried to find some kind of discussion about this but could not find any. What exactly is the benefit of that? It seems like it could cause accidental privacy violations (if I don’t want people to know my username in a certain forum, but share a link with it).

(Jeff Atwood) #2

It grants you a sharing badge if people click on the link.

We plan to add more sharing badges in the future.

(anonymous234) #3


Well, good to know then. I guess it could be hashed or something if people wanted.


Generating a random token for each user would be a good way to avoid showing the username while still being able to know who shared a link.

(Sam Saffron) #5

To what end? What problem would that solve?

(Mike Ottum) #6

I’m not sure that it’s a problem per se, but I also found it weird that the permalinks include my username, and I often manually remove my username before I share them.

Here’s a contrived example of why you might not want usernames included in the links: I keep my forum identity and my twitter identity separate. I tweet a link to a forum post and don’t notice that it includes my username (maybe because I’m an idiot). Maybe the post is inflammatory. Maybe my tweet is inflammatory. Whatever. Now people are able link the two identities, and harass me on the forum or on twitter or whatever.

Also, it seems non-standard for two different users to generate two different permalinks to the same document.

(Mittineague) #7

Can you not copy-paste from the browser’s address bar? eg.
has no tracking GET variables

(Jeff Atwood) #8

That’s a good idea but the address bar can be… inaccurate… depending on which part of the scroll position you believe the “current” post should be on. Top? Middle? Who knows…