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We have a new user called Asian but no Chinese. It's not spam, and I guess it's not offensive, but it seems … weird. I couldn't find a tag related to username issues on the only other post I remember about, uh, username issues, which is MO policy regarding pseudonyms that are other people's real name. Is it appropriate to suggest the user change it to something else?

EDIT: There's some very interesting discussion in the comments, which I'd be glad to see continue if it's not inappropriate; but @YCor has already made the suggestion, so I regard this question as answered. In fact, if @YCor or anyone else wants to say something to that effect, then I would be glad to accept it as the answer.

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    $\begingroup$ FWIW this could be "no" meaning "not" $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi May 1 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ It is odd, but I wouldn't make any official suggestion of changing it. I would regard a parallel name like "European but not German" as acceptable too. $\endgroup$ – Matt F. May 2 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ I am curious as to why it makes you uncomfortable (I could be missing some subtext). My theory about the name is that in real life people just assume they are Chinese and liked this name. I personally find the real names more in bad taste or at the very least annoying. $\endgroup$ – user35370 May 2 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulPlummer, I think I must be misunderstanding your comment—real names are in bad taste? Anyway, it makes me uncomfortable because I think including racist (in the literal sense) specifiers in names opens the door to conduct that we really don't want to see, and I'd rather cut it off entirely than decide on the dividing line where neutral taste shades into bad. I appreciate @‍YCor's suggestion. $\endgroup$ – LSpice May 2 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe enough people interpret it as racist that it is worth changing though and I can see some arguement about just removing race altogether (but I could also see that as questionable). I would be curious as to what an actual asian person thinks (perhaps you are?) $\endgroup$ – user35370 May 2 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ It seems clear to me that it's easy for this username to be interpreted as expressing negativity towards Chinese-ness, and that the user should change it, but I have nothing concrete to say about whether it violates any policy. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Arlin May 2 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulPlummer, yes, "race identifier" is what I meant, and I should have said "race or national identifier". I am not Asian, but I would be just as uncomfortable with username "Caucasian but not American", or whatever, or @‍MattF.'s mention of "European but not German". $\endgroup$ – LSpice May 2 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @KevinArlin, thanks for that point. I don't know of any policy on user names (which isn't to say that there shouldn't be; maybe there is one but I don't know about it); and, if there is one, I doubt this explicitly violates it. That's why I spoke only of suggesting that the user change it, which @‍YCor has done; so, though I am interested in further opinions, I don't find any more action necessary. $\endgroup$ – LSpice May 2 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I can answer for any MO policy. A few times I saw new users with names that are not great I suggested to change it. I possibly did it for names that are not problematic but very uninformative such as "0000000000" or "math" (they only convey the information "I didn't think a lot when opening my account"). I possibly did it when I found the username very negative like "DepressedMathematician". In each case this was not more than suggestion. In the present case I think it's better if OP changes by own choice (seems OP didn't log in since the suggestion). But it can be a flag case. $\endgroup$ – YCor May 2 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ Just to add my opinion: I too find the user name questionable, and can see how it might have unpleasant racial connotations. Perhaps nothing of this sort is intended, but changing the name to something neutral would be good anyway. $\endgroup$ – Lucia May 2 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ Nobody seems to have stated this explicitly yet, but I wonder if some of the discomfort stems from the use of the word "no" to mean "not," which some people might interpret as making fun of the way some native Chinese speakers speak English. Here's a question for those who are discomfited by "Asian but no Chinese": would you be equally discomfited by "Asian but not Chinese"? Or is one more discomfiting than the other? $\endgroup$ – Timothy Chow May 2 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ @TimothyChow, I took it to be a simple typo (or language error), not mockery, so it makes no difference to me. $\endgroup$ – LSpice May 2 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ The concerned user was logged in 1 hour ago and didn't modify. I'd suggest to flag for moderation, including a link to this meta post. (Note: my own perception of the username is not affected by the "no/not" issue.) $\endgroup$ – YCor May 3 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ I've just flagged. I don't think consensus is needed for flagging (while consensus here would lead to nothing since only moderators can decide anything). I mentioned the discussion here, which moderators can take, or not, in consideration. $\endgroup$ – YCor May 3 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ OP replied to my request "Sure I'll change as soon as I can. Since I already changed my username around a month ago, I am currently not able to change, but 4 days later :)". A moderator left a comment (unrelated to the user name) after the flag, so moderators considered or are considering the case. At this point the best to do for us is to wait 5 days and leave a reminder then if the user name is still unchanged. $\endgroup$ – YCor May 3 at 19:38
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The user has changed to another username Math is like Friday.

(Just answering to make the possibility of considering the issue as solved.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Ahaha, this new username is very accurate. I like it. $\endgroup$ – AIM_BLB May 13 at 10:52

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