A new user (56922) gave themselves the user name 'peter file'. Presumably this is a joke/play on the word pedophile, which is surely inappropriate for an inclusive and safe website. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to imagine a survivor of sexual abuse to find this 'joke' upsetting if they saw this username around this public site.

If this is indeed against any 'be nice' policy, then can, and will, this username be altered by moderators?


Obviously I'm being somewhat zealous making this request, but in my work, not taking child protection issues seriously is not an option, so I'm seeing through that lens. It doesn't need to be a consensus issue, where most people say it doesn't bother them, therefore it's ok.

Jokey usernames are obviously harmless most of the time, however, the 'joke' in this case is that the username basically reads "I'm a threat to children". However funny that is or isn't, we as a community should say, that's not really an area where we need to be joking around, the bar is set very low.

I suggest it is edited to 'peter f'.

  • 3
    There are real people with that name ... May 24, 2021 at 22:07
  • @DavidPostill that doesn't mean this is one of them
    – Swifty
    May 25, 2021 at 6:15
  • 1
    What would you do if someone named after this guy took an interest in bicycles? Aug 22, 2021 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


I saw the initial answer and didn't even notice anything about the name.

Turns out this user has the same name as a legitimate singer, and a character from the IT crowd.

While its certainly in poor taste from one viewpoint, it might also legitimately be their name. I know a cyclist named "Rick Shaw" and I used to work with a chap named "Long Dong" both legitimate names despite the one interpretation.

Upshot, I wouldn't do anything as a mod, unless the situation deteriorated.

  • 3
    Rick shaw and long dong aren't in the same league. Is someone making the request not enough? what is the threshold? I saw the name immediately and thought joke name in bad taste. Changing it to 'peter f' would be a completely reasonable step until it's proven legit. Otherwise we're saying user names are beyond complaint?
    – Swifty
    May 25, 2021 at 6:21
  • 2
    also, the IT crowd is obvs the same joke so moot point, the legitimate name is one thing, but that would be the only reasonable counter point, with a simple and reasonable adjustment possible
    – Swifty
    May 25, 2021 at 6:53
  • @Swifty Some of the points raised in bicycles.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1428 are relevant here, like light-touch . If we decide to start moderating any username that could be offensive to someone, then where does it stop? I'm sure many names have some bad context somewhere, example urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=criggie
    – Criggie Mod
    May 25, 2021 at 11:50
  • 2
    good discussion, I'm often happy with the light-touch, but I think that issues of child protection require special care. This might only be on the fringe of that issue, but there should be zero tolerance, rather than light-touch, when it comes to child protection. Therefore a joke in this arena requires a little more concern. A la risk assessments: Consider the risk of offence is moderate, but the impact of that offence could be severe. That puts it over the line into a space where a simple adjustment is appropriate.
    – Swifty
    May 25, 2021 at 15:51
  • 5
    @Swifty I agree with the idea that there should be zero tolerance for jokes like this. However, it is an assumption that this is a joke. If it is someone's real name, it is likely a source of frustration for this person and asking them to adjust it is punishing them for something they have no control over. Even reaching out to them might be touching on a sensitive subject. Given the lack of any other bad behavior, monitoring is the appropriate action for now. FWIW, Criggie and I each received guidance from the larger SE mod community, who agreed with this approach.
    – jimchristie Mod
    May 26, 2021 at 15:31

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