i really, really hate it when services that require a username and password do some sort of decency check on the username you try to pick. i generally try to use some combination of bits of my first, middle, and last name for usernames, which means usernames most generally end up containing the string “nigga”. this, apparently, is a major affront to many companies.

the situation generally plays out like this: i find a service i’m interested in and start the registration process, during the registration process i’m asked to pick a username, and then when i’m done filling out the form and hit submit i get an error that says that the username i chose is not available. ok, while i find it odd that any username made up of bits of my first, middle, and last name is taken, i try again with some other permutation. again, the username is unavailable. this cycle repeats two or three more times until i’m convinced they just think my last name is a dirty word.

the first time i ran into this problem that i can remember was registering for aol when i was in 9th grade. later on, google implemented the same policy for gmail. last week i found that windows live also is disgusted by my last name. now, i sort of understand when free services, especially socially-centered services, like aol, gmail, and windows live do this. they don’t want some wannabe thugs picking offensive usernames and then harassing people. it’s annoying, but i sort of understand. what i don’t understand, though, is what happened to me today. i just recently switched from comcast to at&t for home phone and internet access, so today i was signing up for online account management with at&t and they pulled the same stunt. this is not an account that is used for anything but managing my home phone service. it’s not used for an email address, message board, online gaming, or anything else that would cause it to be seen by anyone but me and possibly some folks at at&t, so i’m not sure what the fuss is about. but, at least they had the decency to actually say why my chosen username was being rejected instead of just saying it is unavailable.