I think what it's hard for people to appreciate is that this site runs on a dedicated server. There are lots of services where you can get a website and you don't have to have your own server at all. I think I have a website on google. And I can do whatever I want to with it and I don't have to worry about how much processing power I use because I am on Google's server and it's free. Google handles all of the server management. It's not my concern.
This site is different. It's on a dedicated server. There's no cloud storage or anything. It's a single server and there's no one to manage it but me. When I changed to a new Internet Service Provider, I tried to share servers with other website owners, because that would be cheaper, but it hasn't worked. I always get kicked off because the site starts using more processing power than it should for some reason. So, I have to have my own server so I'm not slowing down anyone else's website. Now, if I was computer savvy and always knew why load averages were rising and I could fix them myself, it would be no problem. But most of the time when load averages go up, I have no real idea why it happened.
I could pay someone who knows servers to manage the server and always stay on top of things, but I don't want to. I could pay for a bigger, more powerful server, but that costs more money and I don't want to do that either. This site costs $200 a month and I don't want to pay any more than that for managed hosting or a larger capacity server.
Everything the forum does takes up processing power. It's usually very minimum. Just regular posting on an every day basis is no big deal. Even on big nights when we have a lot of posters, like when a tour opens, I don't think it hurts the server. No big deal. But whenever you do something that changes 1000s of posts, it becomes a big deal. Let's say a user with 15,000 posts wants all of their posts deleted. To delete 15,000 posts puts a burden on the processor. First it slows down and then it just hangs and I have to HOPE that rebooting will make everything work again. And when it reboots in the middle of a process like that, the process may not have been completed at all. It may not even result in all of the 15,000 posts having been deleted. All that trouble for nothing.
And sometimes if the server goes down unexpectedly, data is lost. You older posters may remember that I lost a lot of data doing something when I first bought the sight from Marty. I was making a change and it seemed to stall and I waited for hours and then I just decided that I had no choice but to reboot and when I did we lost thousands of posts. Marty was a programmer. He knew how to fix technical glitches himself. He came back and he restored as many posts as he could from a back up, with the help of his brother-in-law.
Long story short or -- as Stevie said -- short story long, to change the name on 15,000 posts puts a burden on the processor. It hangs. I have to hope that rebooting works, because if something more is needed, then I have to pay someone to fix the problem for me.
We have a search function. For the search function to work, all posts are indexed. When you make changes to a post, the post is re-indexed. That's no big deal when you change one post. It's no big deal when you delete one post. But if we all decided we wanted to edit or delete a post at one time, that WOULD cause a problem. Changing thousands of posts from Dave Brown to Dave Jones would cause a problem.
When I make any change that effects a lot of posts at one time that can cause the server to go down. Sure, sometimes getting it back up takes just a reboot, but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it takes me hiring someone to fix the problem for me to get me up and running again and I just am not into doing that.
Functions that take up a lot of memory and processing power won't be allowed. Now, everyone could just start a new user account and leave their old posts unchanged and start with new usernames at post #1 again. That wouldn't clog up the server, but I don't think people should have a second user account. So, that's not going to happen either. I know people don't like it. I remember one longtime poster, John, had the username Pete something and he didn't want it anymore and he decided to leave because he couldn't change it and that was very sad, but I think that the stance I've taken is the most prudent one for my situation.