Wikipedia:Changing username/Guidelines

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This page consists of guidelines as to how global renamers approach requests at Wikipedia:Changing username/Simple and how Bureaucrats who are also renamers approach requests at Wikipedia:Changing username/Usurpations. Renames are a matter of discretion and renamers may depart from the guidelines where there is good reason to do so.

Guidelines applicable to all renames

When changing usernames is probably appropriate

  • Present name is a policy violation. Where a user's present name violates the username policy, renames should usually be performed.
  • Privacy reasons. If a user wishes to stop using a personally identifying username (e.g. their real name or a name connected to it) this request should usually be performed. It should be noted, though, that the rename log will contain a permanent record of the name and that total privacy is only possible by creating a new account. See also m:Right to vanish.
  • Eliminating SUL conflicts. It is generally helpful if users are known by the same name across Wikimedia projects. With single login implemented, renames and usurpation are the best way to achieve this.
  • Personal preference. If a user would simply prefer another username, and there is no common sense reason (or reason listed below) to decline the request, renaming is typically appropriate.
  • Trivial renames. The software prohibits users who are not administrators and account creators from creating usernames that add only spaces or capitalisation changes to an existing username. These may be performed even for brand new users.

When changing usernames is probably inappropriate

  • Arbitration restrictions. If a user is currently restricted by Arbitration Committee rulings, renaming might cause confusion. Generally, approval should be sought from ArbCom before renames are performed in these cases.
  • New username is a username policy violation. If the target username violates the username policy to the extent where their new username would be blockable, the rename will not be performed.
  • Too many previous username changes. Changing usernames puts a lot of strain on the server, causing watchlist lag and even possibly causing a database lockdown. If there's no evidence that a user will stick with the new username, performing the rename is probably not a good idea.
  • Confusing requests. If the request is so confusing that the person requesting it may not be aware of the consequences, or has listed several different and confusing requests, asking them directly what they would prefer before renaming them is a good course of action.
  • Controversial renames. When there are many editors opposing the rename (for good reason), it is apparently a controversial issue. It would probably be better to gain consensus for it first at the appropriate venues (by discussing changes to the username policy on its talk page, bringing it up at the village pump, etc.).

Additional guidelines for usurpation requests

As a pre-note, remember, for usurpations, if User:xyz is usurping User:abc, it is necessary to rename "User:abc" to "User:abc (usurped)" to vacate the abc name for xyz.

When usurping is probably appropriate

  • Target account has no (or no significant) edits to any project.
  • Deleted edits are now reallocated during renaming. As such the presence of deleted contributions by the target account is not, in most cases, a bar to usurpation.
  • Both accounts are owned by the same person. If the user can demonstrate that the target account belongs to them (usually by confirming the request while signed in as that account) usurpation requests can be performed immediately regardless of the presence of edits by the target account. This also covers situations where the requester creates the account they wish to be renamed to, erroneously believing this necessary to the rename process.
  • Target username consents. If the target account consents to the usurpation, the request can be performed immediately regardless of the presence of edits attributed to the target account. This should only be done if confusion will not result (the target account should not be a well-known user).

When usurping is probably inappropriate

  • Target account's primary wiki is not the English Wikipedia. Such a request should be referred to m:SRUC for a Steward to consider.
  • Target account has made significant edits to another project. Such a request should be referred to m:SRUC for a Steward to consider.
  • Target account objects to usurpation. Forced usurpations are not performed. If the target account registers an opposition to usurpation, the request will not be performed.
  • Target username has edits. If the target username has good faith edits which were not immediately reverted, and the account owner has not explicitly consented to the rename, then usurping is generally not approved except to resolve SUL conflicts, when this may be done as a matter of discretion.
  • Target username is too new. If the target username was created recently, usurpation is probably premature. It is expected that the target username will have existed for at least 6 months.
  • Account requesting usurpation is not established. To ensure that good use is made of popular usernames, usurpation is reserved for established users. It is expected that an account requesting usurpation will have existed for several months and made non-trivial contributions to the encyclopedia.

See also

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