Why do I keep seeing symbols?

This may sound crazy, but on some posts lately I’ve been seeing symbols / numbers instead of letters. Is that intentional? Or is a glitch?

Ex. L3ah, [name_f]Sophi[/name_f]@, [name_m]Ol[/name_m]!ver

No, that’s people voluntarily censoring themselves because they’re afraid that someone will look up their name and see that post.

I personally think it’s silly. I would just not post at all if I was afraid of people finding it, but whatever.

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It’s intended for privacy, to make a name (possibly their kids’ names) less Googleable.


I only do it if it’s a rare name or one that isn’t on the database. But I agree @Theodora_Phoenix I might as well just not say it at all.



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But it does give more privacy than openly saying your name, imo

But yea what everyone else said

People often use it for the names of their real children (usually just for sibsets or combos, which would be distinctive), and most definitely for surnames. It means that the name can’t be googled, so people can’t be identified.


It mystifies me also.
What could someone do if they did identify you?

I mean, a lot of the time, it’s fairly common names - like [name_u]Oliver[/name_u].
So obscuring the name seems a bit ridiculous.

But let’s say that someone was using a sibling set to zero in on a family.
They come to Nameberry, see a list of mispelled names, correct the mispellings and google those.
You’ve gained nothing by using ones and zeros.

Or if the search is happening the other way. If someone is searching Google for your kids’ names, you’d have to be intentionally hunting for the sibset to find it on Nameberry, and there’d be lots of false positives in a sibling set with common names. Lots of false positives. Try it with your own kids names. You’re unlikely to find this needle in the haystack.

Worst case, someone is able to track the sibset to you, at your relative location. Now that someone knows your kids live in your town. Many people already know your kids live at your address, including potentially creepy neighbours on your own street. You should already have prepped your kids not to wander off with strangers.

Also… honestly, if someone were creepily fishing for info… again, what could they really do with your kids names… but if they were, there’s a lot more of it on Facebook or Instagram than Nameberry. [name_f]Do[/name_f] people really come to Nameberry to creep around for info?

The only thing that seems to make sense to me is that the person is a bit paranoid that a friend, also occasionally on nameberry, may steal a name you want to use for a baby. So, being a bit private about a possible baby name.

And that turned into a rant! :nerd_face:


I sound like I’m being rhetorical. I am genuinely interested in thinking it out. [name_m]Can[/name_m] you think of any good reasons for obscuring the name? Is it a danger, and I’m just missing it?

For extremely common names I think it is a little silly, but if it’s a really rare name, not in the database, if someone looks up their name and finds someone talking about it on here, I just think it would be a little weird.

That makes sense if you’re talking about someone else names. But if you’re talking about your own…

I think people just don’t want Googling their children’s names to bring up their Nameberry posting history :woman_shrugging:

It’s not necessarily just about physical safety, it’s just — why not keep your posts and any personal things you share here as un-Googleable as possible? TTC and relationships and birth and breastfeeding and all that stuff (even just nametalk itself) can get quite personal and emotional, and I guess people would rather all that wasn’t easily found, if someone they knew happened to Google their kids’ names. (Or even the child themselves, in the future!)

It’s also used a lot when people are talking about sibling sets they’ve come across “in the wild” — R0man and Beck3tt, rather than writing the names out in full. Again, it’s just for privacy and so no one Googles their kids’ names and comes across a post about them on NB.

I think it’s very rarely about a fear of physical danger, and more about a desire for privacy.


I agree with everything @katinka said, and I also might point out that if the post was asking for feedback about the name or sibling set, it may not all be positive.

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That makes more sense. I can understand being anti-Google. I’m fairly anti-google, and actively avoid it whenever possible (use alternative search, email, docs, storage, OS, browser, etc). So I do get putting a spanner in the spokes.

And I suppose I’m being a hypocrite, b/c I haven’t shared my own name here. But I have shared all those things to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And those environments are so much more toxic than NB. So I’m not quite sure why I haven’t. I guess there’s something oldschool internet about namelessness. Or a concern someone would judge me if they found out I was on here too much?