1963: Namespace Land Rush

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 17:43, 5 March 2018 by (talk) (Table)
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Namespace Land Rush
You can also just mash the keyboard at random, but you might end up with a gibberish name no one can pronounce.
Title text: You can also just mash the keyboard at random, but you might end up with a gibberish name no one can pronounce.


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When a new web server starts, such as a forum, a social media server or an email portal, the first people to sign up get to choose their username on the service, which blocks future users from those usernames. Common names such as "john" are likely to be taken quickly. This is analogous to the way that land was distributed in America, with the first to claim able to choose the best land.

The title text is a self-reference to "xkcd", The name of the comic is an unpronounceable meaningless result of mashing the keyboard.

(Note: for a more serious list of problematic user names to block from a service provider’s point of view, see Hostnames and usernames to reserve as well as RFC 2142.)


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If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Entry Explanation
Straightforward (Usernames that a person would use under typical circumstances)
<Your usual username, if any>
<Your given name>
<Your full name>
Recognizable (Usernames that would make it look like the email came from an official source within the organization named)
<Your city>
<Name of person who runs the service>
Causing Trouble (Usernames that might cause errors when mixed with the service's back-end code)
Causing More Trouble
<Name of service>
Impossible to Say
Hyphen-Emdash Could be read "Hyphen hyphen Em dash" or "Hyphen dash em dash"
Dash-8hyphen-8 Could be read "Dash dash eight hyphen dash eight" or "Dash hyphen eight hyphen hyphen eight". "Hyphen eight" sounds like "hyphenate".
Zero0ne2numeral2 Could be read "Zero zero one two numeral two" or "Zero zero ne two numeral two" or "Zero oh ne two numeral two".
<Single Letters>
<Single Numbers>
<Common Words>
<SQL/JS Injection> Codes such as "Drop Table" intended to cause errors or even damage the service's back-end code.
Permissive Character Sets
@ é | " "
\ . # " '
<RTL override>
– - _ / ` ' `
<Any emoji> Current databases are not set up to store emojis as characters.
OkThisIsKindOfConfusingButIt's <LessThan\ForwardSlashHTML GreaterThanActualGreaterThan Symbol>Yes,ThatWasAllPartOfThe Name,ButSoIs...Ok,LetMeStartOver




Straightforward Recognizable
<Your usual username, if any> Google iPhone
<Your given name> Facebook BitCoin
<Your full name> Obama Canada
<Initial><Surname> NFL Garfield
<Surname> (Bold & Slightly
<Your city> NASA
  <Name of person who
runs the service>
More Trouble
Impossible to Say
User Admin Hyphen-Emdash
Username Administrator Dash-8hyphen-8
Name System Zero0ne2numeral2
You <Name of service> KrisasinHemsworth
Guest Help TheWord&Ampersand
Account Error ZettaWith3Teees
Misc   Permissive Character Sets
<Single Letters> <Space>   @ é | " "
<Single Numbers> <NBSP>   \ . # " '
<Common Words> <RTL override> – - _ / ` ' `
<SQL/JS Injection> <Any emoji> "," &NBSP;
Yes Bot OkThisIsKindOfConfusingButIt's
Computer Blocked <LessThan\ForwardSlashHTML
Deleted Jeeves GreaterThanActualGreaterThan
Narrator Internet Symbol>Yes,ThatWasAllPartOfThe
NPC Password Name,ButSoIs...Ok,LetMeStartOver

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  • Ahh, he left off root under Causing More Trouble. Nutster (talk) 05:41, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm very disappointed he left out [email protected] --05:43, 5 March 2018 (UTC)~
  • Is "gibberish name no one can pronounce" a reference to xkcd? 05:56, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • No test included. Frankly speaking I have seen people using testtest,testtesttesttest, and so on, up to the maxiumn allowed character limit. Jackomatt (talk) 06:35, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Took me some time to type the transcript. Randall made it quite hard. Klyxm (talk) 06:38, 5 March 2018
  • I came here just to see if the transcript had "..." or "…" in the last one -- 17:01, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • The thing at the bottom-right, he wrote "forward slash" but used a backslash. 08:35, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • It's just to mess with you. Klyxm (talk) 08:49, 5 March 2018
  • Null! Where's null? PenguinF (talk) 09:14, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I think this whole comic is a reference to the video Worst Wifi Password Ever [1] -- 11:13, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
This is analogous to the way that land was distributed in America

There is so much wrong with that sentence. -- 12:26, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

  • I think is what he means by rtl override: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2011/09/right-to-left-override-aids-email-attacks/ and I agree surprised he didn’t include the null character; maybe because it’s so hard to get it to actually reach the service? 15:24, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Emojis don't work in databases? They should be treated no differently from any other UNICODE characters. They would be hard to type if you're using an OS/browser that doesn't have a convenient Emoji-picker, but I would think that they should work as long as the server isn't filtering them out. But I've never deployed a service like this so there may be something important I'm missing here. Shamino (talk) 17:53, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
The "emoji not work" refers specifically to emojis requiring four characters when encoded in UTF-8, as many programs including databases like MySQL used to only support three-byte UTF-8 characters. There are emoji which fits into three bytes and non-emoji characters requiring four bytes, but for most people, support for four-byte UTF-8 is equivalent to support of (new) emoji. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:56, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
(Obviously, when you want to test database, you should be creative and instead of "any" emoji try something like "fairy girl with dark skin tone" 🧚🏿‍♀️ - that's five UTF characters, 18 bytes total, and is supposed to render as single character) -- Hkmaly (talk) 01:08, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Whether it renders as a single character is only relevant if you're trying to render it. The database only cares about a name as a sequence of characters, it shouldn't care how many glyphs they correspond to. (And almost related: I vaguely recall the guys behind emoj.li saying that the most common complaint they got was that the most obvious single-character usernames were already taken) -- 17:01, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Most databases support sorting 😊. Also, attempts to store four-byte character into three-byte UTF column really damaged it - although, obviously, storing it to binary column would not, it's just that username is rarely binary column. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:41, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Someone once told me that on old email databases, you could send a message to "*@example.com" and it would send the message to everyone with an account on that domain. No idea if its true or not, but it seems like the username "*" could cause problems. 19:56, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

So OkThisIsKindOfConfusingButIt's <LessThan\ForwardSlashHTML GreaterThanActualGreaterThan Symbol>Yes,ThatWasAllPartOfThe Name,ButSoIs...Ok,LetMeStartOver actually is "<<\/HTML>> or is it just supposed to be </HTML>? 13:46, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Do you really think there's a definitely correct answer to that question? 14:25, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I am not confident enough about this to make the edit myself, but wouldn't the names listed in Causing Trouble (Usernames that might cause errors when mixed with the service's back-end code) (user, guest, etc) be used not so much to trying to fool other people, but because those names are often used as placeholders when the site is in development, and may therefore still have odd/altered permissions, allowing potential malicious access assuming the devs were lazy? Snowblinded (talk) 18:04, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Also true. And false. And Schrödinger'sCat. 21:15, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I still try Alt-codes

I can remember ¥ [alt-157] off the top of my head from high school (circa i286), and I'm trying to figure out how to keyboard 乜 [U+4E5C], it doesn't quite map to [alt-20060]. As for Causing More Trouble anybody try Hastur? I wonder if there will ever be a Unicode Symbol for "The Yellow Sign."Cutech (talk) 08:54, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

I saw a username that uses hashtag and asterisk symbols before on a website I usually frequent, are they even allowed?Boeing-787lover 09:02, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

the transscript

Klyxm, I know it was probably a hard effort to make it look this pretty, but I believe that we should not try to recreate the physical layout. Not only is it not relevant to the joke, but this makes the transcript hard to use for people using screen readers (try reading the source code -- the categories are intertwined and linewise reading doesn't make sense any more).

I have stripped the formatting and replaced it with a list (in reading order). I'd welcome a discussion about this, but if you must, there is the "revert this edit" button right there. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please don't forget to sign your comments. You are right and there were many discussions about this here before. My new incomplete reason is this: "Layout not standard (eg. indentation) and a short description at the beginning about what is shown should be given." It needs a little bit more rework. In principle the transcript is the written text of the words you use when telling someone else what's in the comic. --Dgbrt (talk) 13:18, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

Added zero-width spaces in the last line of the transcript due to page zooming issues. 06:52, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

Keep it simple, compare it to other recent transcripts, and read this What is the format of the transcript section ? --Dgbrt (talk) 18:39, 5 October 2018 (UTC)

"Username" could also be a reference similar to entering "your name" when instructed to "Enter your name." 03:42, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I wouldn't suggest using the unpronounceable names. People who play Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes are good with those. 20:41, 14 July 2020 (UTC)