Share links should not include personal info

The URLs Discourse generates for sharing posts include your username in a URL parameter.

Example: https://forums.swift.org/t/why-the-constraint-collection-indices-index-collection-index/7635?u=ole (note the ?u=ole at the end).

If possible, I'd like to ask the admins to disable this "functionality". It can be a potential privacy issue if you're not careful to delete the parameter, and I see no significant benefit to having it. In addition, it makes the URLs uglier than they have to be.

To try this for yourself, copy the permalink from the timestamp of this post or use the Share button underneath the post.

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This issue was discussed on the Discourse Meta forum:

The co-founders didn’t seem to think it was a problem.

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Thanks for the links, @benrimmington. That’s disappointing.

The main rationale given in those discussions is “we need this info to award badges” (like on Stack Overflow), which I find unconvincing.

As a side note, I find the entire “stats” section in people’s profiles problematic from a privacy perspective, but that’s another discussion.

I also dislike both the username tracking in links and the stats on profiles. Most discussion forums have a way to set profiles to private, but I can’t find a similar setting here.

Discourse is open source, right? I assume Swift is self-hosting? So apart from concerns about whether it’s worth time implementing this, is there anything stopping Swift from maintaining a Discourse fork that solves these issues?

In fact, in one of the links @benrimmington listed above, one of the Discourse co-founders said he was open to adding a setting for this:

This is not configurable now, you would need a source level modification to disable it. Open to adding a site setting if you wish.

Provided someone contributed the implementation:

Sure, but someone is going to have to contribute this. This was in February 2015. I don’t know if this is still the state of things today.

It looks like there has been a change in the past week or so. Share links no longer include the username. Thanks to the forum admins for making this change!

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