Currently the site requires the "display name" to be > 2 characters.

For example, my chinese name is 马泰, but if I try to set this as my name, I get the error

Oops! There was a problem updating your profile: Display Name must be at least three characters

Is this not a problem, or is there a way to fix it?

3 Answers 3


Can I suggest to keep also the "alphabetical" name? Not all of us know the characters, and if I wish to ping you in chat, for example, I can't do that if you only have a chinese name... :)

  • 1
    good points. That seems reasonable to require a romanised name, as well as chinese characters. Dec 14, 2011 at 11:02
  • @MatthewRudy马泰 Glad you agree... I wish I could be able to ping you with chinese characters! ahah :D Just give me some time. :D
    – Alenanno
    Dec 14, 2011 at 11:04
  • 1
    Don't know about chat, but the @ functionality in comments has since been improved. Now, if you type @ and wait a moment, a list of eligible names will appear, including ones that begin with unicode Chinese characters. The minimum length for display names remains, though, so you'll need at least three characters. May 22, 2014 at 3:22

As Alenanno said, it would be preferable to start your display name with an alphanumerical character, because:

  • Comment threads Stack Exchange has a reply system that uses @<user name> that you can use to notify users in the same thread about replies. The details of how this works is rather complex, but basically you'll want your name to start with alphanumerical characters to be safe (It'll also be easier to type)
  • Ditto for chat

In fact, the three character minimum was introduced because of the fact that comment reply matching requires at least three characters. You can 'solve' this by padding out your name with a period (.), but this does not solve the problems mentioned above.


I guess the 3 character restriction is based on the roman alphabet, in which a 2 character cluster is mostly not very significant and not very unique to identify anything successfully.

But we know this doesn't apply to chinese logograms as they convey a lot of meaning and uniqueness in just a single character.

What is true also, and I can't argue with that, is the point stated in other answers as of ease of writing @usernames to reply in comments.

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