Discord Changing Usernames to Remove Discriminators

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Discord is one of the most popular platforms where like-minded people, usually video gamers and tech enthusiasts, can chat and share information in online communities. Started in 2015, it quickly gained traction among gamers and now has around 14 million daily active users.

That’s a lot of people to potentially create the same username. To solve this, Discord adds four random digits to identical usernames for better differentiation – but that’s about to change.

Tip: chatting up a storm? Get things done faster with this handy Discord Keyboard Shortcuts cheatsheet. 

Sowing Discourse

In the early stages after launch, the platform didn’t have a friending system, but as more people joined, it became clear that similar usernames needed to be easily identifiable. That’s when Discord created the random four-digit discriminator system, adding “#xxxx” to identical names.

Discord Gamer
Image source: Unsplash

However, the problem with Discord’s username system is that it became too complex and obscure as the platform grew. For example, there could be 9,999 usernames that start with “Charlie.” Throw in case-sensitive letters and special characters, and it becomes an intellectual mess. Even by Discord’s own data, as many as 40 percent of users can’t remember their own discriminator – or even know what a discriminator is.

It’s easy to see why the system, after eight years, needs to change. “We came to the conclusion that if we were going to ask a lot of our users to make a change, we needed a more comprehensive and robust long-term solution – one that gives people the power to have a Display Name they can change anytime with very relaxed rate limits,” co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy explained in a blog post

Keyboard Unsplash
Image source: Unsplash

Throughout the year, Discord will implement its new username system, which is divided into two parts:

  • A unique alphanumeric username without a discriminator, limited to lowercase characters, numbers, a period and an underscore.
  • A non-unique Display Name that can include any combination of special characters, spaces, emojis and non-Latin characters.

The system is similar to how Twitter handles are created and displayed. Your “@” handle is unique and difficult to change, while you can freely alter your display name to whatever you want.

You’ll start seeing the change in the coming weeks as Discord will begin notifying users when they can update their account to a new username. Discord users who have been on the platform the longest will be given priority.

Tip: need to alter text? Here’s how to add a strikethrough in Discord messages.

Image credit: Unsplash

Charlie Fripp
Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp is a technology writer with a strong focus on consumer gadgets, video games, and cyber security. He holds an undergraduate degree in professional journalism and has worked as a journalist for over 15 years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing various musical instruments and gardening.

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