From jafe to El-Guest
jafe > cafe > cate > cete > cet > get > gest > egest > e gest > e guest > el guest
In any move, you can either 1) replace a letter, 2) add a letter, 3) remove a letter, 4) split a word or 5) combine two words. These are the ONLY five valid moves, and only one of these can be applied in a move.
After each move, each of the resulting words must be valid by itself, even if it makes no sense as a phrase. To level the playing field, only words defined as LEGITIMATE WORDS are considered valid. No proper nouns, abbreviations, prefixes or suffixes allowed. (However, words like jack, john, jane etc. are allowed as they are used as common nouns too.) Alternate spellings and archaic words are permitted, but words referring to specific persons, places or events are not valid.
You may only add a letter to an existing word, but a new letter (such as a or I) cannot create a new word separately. Likewise, you cannot drop a letter from a one-letter word to remove it altogether.
As an example, consider the following solution where @GordonK went from
stack, stark, shark, sh ark, eh ark, ex ark, ex hark, ex hare, ex chare, ex charge, ex change, exchange
This solution required 12 moves. (It may not be the optimal strategy for this pair of words, but it is a valid strategy, given just as an example).
Use the same method to link as many names of prominent Puzzling.SE users as possible.
The solution which achieves this with the largest number of usernames will be awarded the green tick. In case of a tie, the method with the least number of steps win.
No computers except for word-checking and answer-posting. If you are unsure whether a word could be used, please post it in the comments and I will reply ASAP.
Prominent P.SE User
A user with 3k+ rep [Reason: to prevent cases where new accounts are registered for this puzzle]
Display names, replacing any numbers/ symbols that are not English Alphabets with spaces. [El-Guest would become El Guest; and Brandon_J would become Brandon J]
Words that have an independent entry in Dictionary.com, or
Words within the name of the next linked user
LEADERBOARD: (Only includes valid entries)
User Names Moves PiIsNot3 36 128 [accepted] Gareth McCaughan 22 79 jafe 5 15
P.S. PiIsNot3's answer has been temporarily accepted. The green tick will be transferred to another person should anyone come up with a record-breaker. Well done!