Make renaming free...but with a little catch.
Short, concise description of the idea
Allow a user to change their username for free, but with a catch; they can only do it once a year or once every two years, so they have to pick wisely.
Full description of the idea
I think it's fair to allow renaming. 15 USD may be difficult for those who have financial issues or don't feel comfortable tossing money around online. If a user can only change their username once per year or once per two years, it'll prevent abuse. Perhaps a little message under the new username or on the user's profile that says "Formerly so-and-so-name" for a month will help prevent confusion over who this new person is. Also, users won't be able to rename to taken usernames or usernames that are too long.
- People with financial difficulties won't be burdened.
- Someone can change a username that no longer reflects them without losing years of journal entries.
- The hassle of informing communities of a new username will be diminished.
- The long wait time between changes will prevent abuse.
- Users who abandoned their Livejournals may come back.
- Serial abusers might wait out the one to two years.
- People who just made new accounts because their old one doesn't reflect them anymore will probably feel put out.
- A troll might change a username to something similar to another user to cause trouble. (Banning them from communities will take care of this, leaving the person being trolled to keep posting without issues.)
- Communities who organize post tags by usernames will have to change the tags.