I am creating a software which will be used by scientists. There are two places where names will be used: first, in personal greetings ("You are logged in as Rosalind Frnklin"), and second, in user-generated content ("This model was created by Rosalind Franklin from King's college, London"). And we are considering using their academic titles too. ("This model was created by Dr. Rosalind Franklin").
Our team agrees that most scientists, especially the distinguished ones, will prefer to see their titles. But there will be groups (e.g. grad students whose highest title is "B. Sc.", or egalitarity activists) who would strongly prefer not to have them shown. And here, the team is divided.
One position is to only have the optional "Title" textbox on the page with a scientist's account. If the scientist enters something in there, it will always be shown. If the scientist prefers it to not be entered, she can delete the existing title. The argument of the supporters: saves a checkbox cluttering the settings, making it easier for the user.
The second position is to have a checkbox "use my title" independently of the textbox. If a user unchecks it, the title will not be shown. The argument for this option: A user who is miffed by her title showing up everywhere will not think of just deleting it from the profile. A checkbox is the obvious solution the user will look for.
Does anybody have some real data/observations about similar cases? Will users enter their titles in the first place even if they don't want the system to use them? Will they think of removing them if they don't like the display?
My own preferred solution would be to not ask for first name, last name and title, but to have a single field asking "How would you like your name to be displayed in the application", and it could contain whatever the user wants. But this is not something I can get my product owner to agree to, so I am trying to at least give people the option to hide their title.