As many folks know, I go by the handle of ‘thomo_the_lost’ when I need a username on a website as it tends to fit my lifestyle of a year or two here, a year or two there. I have even used that handle on the odd financial services website without any issues. However, when trying to join the Lego website (don’t ask why), I was told I could not use that username, even though no one else was using it.
Normally I would not care about that and just change it but this happened to me earlier in Facebook as well. When I tried to use ‘thomo_the_lost’ for my Facebook homepage, Facebook rejected it even though it was not used anywhere else.
What is the difference between the two handles? One ‘m’ only. The words and sounds are still the same. So why does one reject and not the other? Simple really (although it took me nearly 60 seconds to work it out).
‘Thomo’ has the string ‘homo’ in it. To test that this is indeed the reason, I tried to set a username of ‘homo_sapien’. I thought, “that’s a good scientific name for a person”.
Just to confirm my suspicions and to make sure that I was being fair to Lego before writing this, I tried to login as ‘homo_sapien’ and then clicked on the ‘I forgot my password’ link. I figured that if ‘homo_sapien’ was already used as a username I would be able to see it from the return screen.
This is the same as Facebook (and I guess a number of other websites as well).
The problem is the ‘homo’ string. It seems that these organisations think ‘homo’ is a sexual or indeed homosexual term and that if that string is allowed in usernames, it will be the end of civilisation as we know it!
What is doubly disappointing to me is that Lego is a Danish ((and just to be sure I checked – the website carries a notice under the terms and conditions section that says, “the Site is owned and operated by LEGO A/S, a corporation incorporated under the laws of Denmark, having its principle office in Denmark.”)) firm and Denmark has strong non-discrimination laws. “Discrimination” I hear you say. “That’s a bit rich isn’t it?”
Well, it must be discrimination – I leave you with my last experimental trial on the Lego website – have a close look at this username!