[wp-edu] Student Usernames and Privacy

Andrew Nacin wp at andrewnacin.com
Sun Aug 28 21:15:08 UTC 2011

On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM, Stas Sușcov <stas at nerd.ro> wrote:

> În data de Du, 28-08-2011 la 13:17 -0400, Alexandre Enkerli a scris:
> > Summary: If you were to create accounts for students, what would you
> > use as a username?

To me, it seems obvious to use their netname. At my alma mater, the netname
was also the local part of the University email address. It was public,
unique, and couldn't be changed unless a request went through to the IT
department for cases of marriage, etc. It was set by the student upon
enrollment, but I know a number of schools that use a name or initials +
some X-digit randomness (or graduation year, etc.).

Changing a username after the fact, FWIW, is not particularly difficult --
assuming you don't care about mentions etc., you just need to change the DB
row. If you're using an object cache backend (which I would hope you are),
you'll also want to ensure you flush the various user cache groups for the
corresponding user.

Another side note: Unfortunately, BuddyPress often uses user_login (the
actual login) instead of user_nicename (the slug that would appear in
mentions or URLs). I know BP 1.3 does include some fixes here, but I'm not
sure if it's entirely addressed, or if there are any misuses in core. But,
hypothetically, it's probably possible to hide the user_login by having a
separate user_nicename.

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