Affiliations ("Titles") should not be used in everyday communication

I do not like that fact that the contributions by many people are made to look more important by prominently displaying their status or group affiliation. I am a member of Data Working Group but this is irrelevant to 99% of things I say on this forum, and I have hence disabled this under “Title” in my preferences. I notice that many others proudly display their affiliation or heightened status - be that “Forum Governance Team”, “Germany Moderator”, or “Leader” (wtf?). It makes sense to show these where they are relevant - e.g. if a moderator chooses to step in when someone misbehaves, it can be useful to make it clear that they are doing this in their job as a moderator. But where people participate not in their role but as a private individual, I would like to see people’s contributions judged on content and not on status or group affiliation.

I propose to encourage everyone to disable the “title” setting and only use it where relevant. Alternatively, I propose to disable the concept of publicly visible affiliation altogether, at least where it symbolises heightened status.


For me as a “regular” OSM user it is helpful to know the role a user has in OSM structure. And of course I judge a message about, for example, automatic editing by someone from DWG differently than a message by John Doe. But I don’t think that is a bad thing.

I’m not sure how this is going to work. After all, it’s global setting, and the minute you change it, it will become visible or invisible on every single of your posts.

Unless you’re in some kind of moderation role, I personally find them rather silly and would always disable them.

On the general question of “who is X” you can always hop over to and see their edits, and comments on those edits.

This should work most of the time, though perhaps there are some edge cases (lookalike or non printable characters in some OSM usernames) where it may not.

Tbh, I find this quite inconvenient due to the lack of an auto-generated link to the correct user page on

I remember some discussions to add such a link, but it didn’t seem to have made progress.

The “old” forum also displayed “moderator” always on the posts.
It was not that much of a problem there. Still I understand the point Frederik brings up. Sometimes you are speaking as a person having a specific “role”, but most of the time it is just your personal opinion.

Probably due to UI design of discourse, it looks a bit more “prominent” than before.

I also do not like the way the “moderator” shield is rendered along with the title. You could add visually similar elements to the “username” field. This could make you look “more important”, if that is your desire.

Here a screenshot of how it might look like if you edit your “name” field. It looks visually very similar to the title added by the forum. Also the shield emoji just slightly differs. Looks important, doesn’t it?