I don’t expect the following gripe about Twitch usernames to change anything. However, I do feel that documenting my experience may help others in how they write content, or manage details for (hopefully) happier customers.

There are times when you do have to prevent people from abusing a system through the use of account limitations. And then, there are times when those very limitations come across as punishment to a single individual, who, with good intentions, wants to use his own name for something good.

Anton: “You know, I don’t really use Pixelhuffer in a professional sense. I should update that, if I plan on streaming some new #Creative videos on Twitch. Let’s see what’s involved.”
Twitch Website: “No. You can’t change your username, changes are restricted to how the capitalization appears.”
A: “Oh? That’s weird. I kind of wish there was more to it, but okay… I can roll with that. I’ll just create a new account using my full name (@AntonPeck), and have it match Twitter.”
T: “Nope. It appears that this is an old username, and it’s been locked. You can’t have that. There was a conversion period that ended in early 2015.”
A: “Seriously? I can’t have my own name? A username that’s not being used, and used to be mine on a shelved service, AND belonged to me? I probably haven’t even thought about that account in over five years. Let alone know or recall that there was a conversion process.”
T: “Yeah. But no. Use something else. Or use what you’ve got now. If you want to close your account you can do it — here — .”

I considered emailing their support system again to try to pull the legacy username away from the lock, but I had already tried the contact form once, trying to convince them to convert my current username. The speed at which I got the auto-reply email that I got was enough to indicate that they weren’t going to listen to anything I had to say. It was about as close to a door slam as email can get.

As a web developer, I find the logic confusing. The display of a username is not something that I would set up as being so completely inflexible. I can understand if there was a process involved in the event that it affected cross-table connections. And, I also can see a case for making this a paid service. But to flat-out refuse? Something’s odd about that.

As a UX professional, I find the communication frustrating. The language was non-apologetic. The speed of which I received an auto-rejection email implied that any chance of considering an exception was out of the cards, and just left a sting. The conversation was over. I would not hear from anyone. It’s as if I were attempting to do something nefarious. Additionally, to imply that someone can close their account, immediately after declaring how they cannot help them, leaves me wondering what the drop-off rate of their customer-base is.

At the end of the day, it’s not the really deal-breaking material. But it did cause me to think more carefully about my own personal branding, and what names I decide to use to publish my work. It also served in a strong lesson that the language you use with your customers and clients, as well as the timing of auto-responding emails, is not to be taken too lightly.

If the email that I got had been delayed by five, or even ten minutes, I would have had some hope that it was queued for a later, more-human response. An instant reply tells me 1) My message was flagged by a filtering algorithm, and 2) It was sent into a folder full of similar requests that never gets checked. Joy.

– Anton