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I'm testing curious usernames and I am searching their user_id by:

http://api.stackoverflow.com/0.8/users/?filter=username_filter

I'm trying to get information about this particular user:

http://stackoverflow.com/users/190597/unutbu

http://api.stackoverflow.com/0.8/users/?filter=unutbu returns nothing.

I know this is a corner case; the only thing I found is the Meta Stack Overflow post A last tribute to the Tilde although I'm not sure if it is related to the same problem.

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From Jeff's answer to the deleted question* linked to from the question you link to:

Your name is inferred from your openid until you specify a display name. You have no display name specified.

Thus your inferred username is ...

~quack

... because it's based on your openid URL. It's not an actual, valid display name.

If you check unutbu's page there's no name specified.

* visible only to 10K+ meta users.

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Here's Jeff's answer to a question that hasn't been deleted.

These users don't actually have names; we're synthesizing a fake name based on their OpenID string.

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