Wikipedia talk:Username policy

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Question about geographical names

I was looking over the section about User:Crouch, Swale on the ArbCom noticeboard [1], and it occurred to me to find out what "Crouch, Swale" meant (I thought it might be the name of a law or architectural firm). Of course, I found out that it is a place, a hamlet named "Crouch" in the borough of "Swale" in England. I came here to look to see what the policy was about usernames being geographic places, and found there was no proscription there, but I wonder if there should be.

I think it might be a good idea to deal with geographical place names as usernames in the same way that we deal with corporate or organizational names: that is "MattelCorp" would not be allowed, but "Bob at MattelCorp" would. This would avoid having place names such as "New York City", "Berlin", "Spain" or "New Zealand" as usernames, while "Fred from NYC", "A Berliner", "Spanish editor" and "Kiwi person" would all be acceptable. (I assume that "Crouch, Swale" would be grandfathered if this were to happen.)

Does anyone else think this is a useful addition to the username policy? Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:07, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

Looking at User:Radiant!/Classification of admins I can see at least three admins who'd have to have chosen another name. It seems unnecessary, plus think of User:Paris, User:Georgia or User:Sydney. Whereas corporate names have issues with authority (ie who can use the name), copyright, account sharing, as well as any promotional issues, I don't see the same issues for most locations ... with the usual proviso that they're not trolling or something. So in the spirit of WP:CREEP my question would be, what problem is this trying to solve? -- zzuuzz (talk) 23:58, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
Good points. Let me see a few more opinions, and maybe I'll withdraw my suggestion. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:16, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Where would this stop? Would Northamerica1000 be outlawed (does tacking on digits make it OK?), or for that matter Beyond My Ken (does misspelling or extra words make it OK?): Noyster (talk), 08:33, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Clearly you're opposed to my suggestion, and that is fine, but your counter-examples are pretty weak, even if meant sarcastically. I would see NA10000 as okay, and your point about "Beyond My Men" is a stretch, considering that "Beyond my ken" is a known expression, my name is not "Beyond My Ken, Devon", and "Ken" is a man's name. Beyond My Ken (talk) 10:37, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
I can certainly see where you're coming from, but (assuming they're being productive) I can't see anyone who would think someone with a username of Aberdeen would actually be representing Aberdeen, unlike User:AcmeCorp. Primefac (talk) 14:06, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
How about PEIsquirrel ;) In seriousness, I think this is a case where the usual ISU or promotional tests could apply. We would likely block User:RiceLakeTourism as a promotional account, or at least advise them to change their username. If User:LondonAOK only edits London, Ontario and related articles, we'd probably do the same. Remember that at least in North America most towns of a reasonable size are incorporated and actively engaged in promotion, so WP:CORPNAME should apply. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:36, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Good point. Primefac (talk) 14:55, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • My thanks to everyone for their input. Clearly my suggestion was, as stated above, a solution looking for a problem, so please allow me to officially withdraw it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 17:33, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress

There is a move discussion in progress on Wikipedia talk:Sock puppetry which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 15:15, 28 February 2018 (UTC)


Could you do a favor for me and delete my account for me I would really appreciate it.✌️ John Powers124 (talk) 01:18, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Question for any fellow admins

Am I correct that even if a username is promotional(such as the name of a business or website) it shouldn't be blocked unless it has edited? I could see someone registering such a name simply to prevent someone else from doing so(for example) 331dot (talk) 08:34, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

"for any fellow admins"?? Really? That didn't take long did it?
If they haven't done anything yet what's wrong with {{Uw-coi-username}}? Cabayi (talk) 09:08, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with it, and you don't need to be an admin to post such a warning. 331dot (talk) 09:16, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that a username can only very rarely be promotional if the user hasn't edited. "Buy Bob's widgets at" is promotional, "Bob's widgets" and "" are not. Usernames which are never going to be acceptable, including shared usernames, can sometimes be soft-blocked with a suitable message, or you can just leave them a note explaining the policy and let them deal with it. No harm is done with a swift softblock and invitation to create a new account, IMO, but equally, it can often be a waste of time doing anything with them if they are older and haven't edited. -- zzuuzz (talk) 09:23, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. 331dot (talk) 09:26, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

Sorry for the late reply, didn’t see this at the time. Long standing practice here has been to only block the very worst of the worst usernames if they have never editied. ORGNAME violations would almost never qualify. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:20, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

; is not possible

"For technical reasons, usernames containing the forbidden characters # < > [ ] | { } / @ are not possible." So is ";" it should be included in the list. --2A02:908:D81:440:683F:1756:DA7E:7736 (talk) 01:52, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

Did you mean colon (:) rather than semicolon (;)? Anomie 13:12, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

RfC - Should promotional usernames have to edit before being banned?

Clearly not going to pass. Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 05:03, 2 May 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I think username policy should be changed. As of now in order for a promotional username to be blocked it must edit first. Thank you. They should be banned right then as are disruptive names for example. Bobherry Talk Edits 16:04, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Previous discussion. - FlightTime (open channel) 16:10, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) And you want to change it to... what? Please make sure an RFC is fully formed before you open one. I've commented out the {{rfc}} for now because it won't fly as-is. Primefac (talk) 16:11, 18 April 2018 (UTC) I don't care about the RFC, just the formatting. Primefac (talk) 17:54, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
  • I'll repeat my contention, mentioned in a thread above, that promotional usernames are actually exceedingly rare. Promotional usernames are usually blocked quickly, so I'll assume you're talking about accounts which appear to be either shared or about to promote something. They're both probably going to be fairly quickly informed of a policy they've probably never seen. The difference is accounts which look like they might be about to promote something. Unfortunately if they haven't edited we have no way of knowing if that's what they're actually going to do so we don't know whether to apply a hard block telling them to change their ways or get lost, or a soft block inviting them to create a new account, or a big welcome and a polite notice informing them of policy. Or indeed the real block reason. -- zzuuzz (talk) 17:52, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Please don't start an RfC about some issue without a preliminary discussion to assess whether there is any support. Generally, stuff at Wikipedia happens when needed. If there is a problem with a few user names that are not blocked, please mention them. Johnuniq (talk) 01:24, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
  • As zzuuzz states, it is difficult to know which type of block to apply in most cases without assessing the edits of the user. Applying a hard block in the wrong cases could potentially drive away a potential good editor who would be willing to stop their promotional activity. I'm not sure what problem this proposal is trying to solve. 331dot (talk) 08:03, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Agree with zzuuzz. No need for this here. We already have a system in place. Blatantly promotional accounts are closed fast. In all cases, their edits are checked to see if they are blockable, and if it warrants a hard or a soft block, or just a warning, as explained above. (Note that your title talks about banning, not blocking, a different proposition). -- Alexf(talk) 10:53, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are different reasons why people have usernames that are (or might be considered) promotional, only a minority of these indicate bad faith. As other have said, in most cases it is not possible to determine wether a promotional username is being used in bad faith or good faith until the account edits. See also WP:BITE. Thryduulf (talk) 15:50, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. See also the reasoning at this AN discussion and on the RfC initiator's user talk page. Blocks are also to prevent continuous and imminent disruption, and most usernames that give the semblance of being promotional never edit. For the ones that do, depending on the nature of their edits we may prefer discussion over immediate blocking. I don't see anything wrong with current practice, and I also envision this proposal as having a WP:BITE effect. Mz7 (talk) 01:17, 20 April 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Reporting usernames that have not edited creates useless busywork in an area that regularly experiences backlogs. Only the very wort of the worst usernames should be blocked or reported without waiting for them to make at least one edit or trip one edit filter. This proposal does not even try to explain why this would be beneficial, which isn’t surprising since it would not be. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:24, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per above - If they don't edit then it's a waste of time blocking IMHO. –Davey2010Talk 21:28, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Does WP:IMPERSONATE apply to someone with no article?

I feel like this is coming up with greater frequency lately and is therefore worthy of discussion.

  • Real or stage names of non-notable people are not blockable.
  • Real or stage names of notable people are (soft) blockable, in order to prevent them from being impersonated. If they can verify to WP:OTRS that they are the person they claim they are unblocked.

That’s all well established and reasonable. So here’s my question: What is the apporopriate response when someone uses the name of the subject of a draft article as their username? (assuming it is not also an WP:ORGNAME) It can take months for the draft to be reviewed once it is submitted. So, until such time the name represents someone who, as far as Wikipedia is concerned, is not yet notable. But iff the article is accepted as being about a notable subject, IMPERSONATE would seem to apply.

Do we block, warn, or ignore it until the draft’s fate is known? Something else? Beeblebrox (talk) 09:39, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

I'd say warn them as soon as the draft is discovered, so at the very least they know what might be coming. There are a ton of people who think they need to register as the person they're trying to write an article about (which also explains the huge number of user page "articles"). Primefac (talk) 12:14, 2 May 2018 (UTC)
I have always held the position that since they have created a draft article on the person, by definition they are themselves asserting the person's notability; so IMPERSONATE clearly applies, and I block them. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:01, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

7.1 Deleting and merging accounts

Section 7.1 Deleting and merging accounts has nothing whatsoever about merging accounts. Keith (talk) 03:37, 17 May 2018 (UTC)


"It is recommended that contributors not use multiple accounts without good reason."

Less wordy = "Using multiple accounts without a good reason is not recommended."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 13 July 2018‎ (UTC)

 Done --Danski454 (talk) 12:14, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
 Undone: This request has been undone. --Danski454 (talk) 18:31, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

Template related to UAA up for deletion

See Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2018 July 15#Template:UAA-no edits. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:01, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

Shared accounts (WP:ISU)

Can someone either point me to the WMF legal policy requiring accounts to be associated with an individual and not a group, or explain to me what is the rationale behind forbidding shared accounts? I thought it was a requirement per the ToU but I cannot see it anywhere in wmf:Terms_of_Use/en#Our_Terms_of_Use.

(Note that I am talking about names that violate WP:ISU but not WP:ORGNAME, e.g. User:FriendsFromFlorida.) TigraanClick here to contact me 07:41, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

According to the licensing Wikipedia is published under, all original contributions must be attributed to an individual, which is satisfied by a pseudonymous account operated by a single otherwise anonymous individual, but is not satisfied by a shared account. AFAIK this is not a WMF or TOU issue. It is primarily a licensing issue. For example, verified official organizational accounts are permitted at least in practice on Commons (although it's complicated). But for the most part, if a piece of media is appropriately licensed, it ought to be permitted on Common regardless of the account that uploaded it. Although this gets into shady areas when you consider that any original contribution, such as a file description not taken verbatim from something like an original catalog entry, would still need to be attributable to an individual to satisfy the terms of the license. Other projects block outright as does (e.g., s:WS:ALT, s:WS:BP#Usernames, wikt:WT:USER). Other projects discourage but don't explicitly forbid them (e.g., q:WQ:U), but it's not clear such a policy (as in cases of original contributions to Commons) would actually conform to the licensing if explicitly challenged. GMGtalk 14:51, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
I've always considered the licensing argument to be a nonsense, when you consider we permit pseudonymous users, anon/shared IPs, open proxies, and public domain contributions. It's definitely local policy though, following previous discussions (probably in this page's archives). If I recall correctly we simply want one person to be held responsible for all of one account's actions. We do additionally have (potentially legal) problems when a user claims to represent an organisation, and it just generally raises problems we don't want to deal with. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:02, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
Well, CC BY SA provides specifically for the use of pseudonyms for attribution (I presume IPs are treated as transitory pseudonyms for licensing purposes). Open proxies are not really permitted (m:No open proxies). I'm not sure I understand the relevance public domain here. But there are certainly also non-license related reasons to prefer a prohibition on shared accounts. GMGtalk 15:46, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
The text of the open proxy policy was updated ten years ago, but is frequently misquoted. It has said for a long time, "users ... may freely use proxies". BTW, Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy/Archive_18#RfC_on_the_WP:NOSHARE_prohibition. -- zzuuzz (talk) 16:01, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the answers. For context: I have always thought the "no shared accounts" rule was stupid, and the latest iteration nudged me into seriously considering opening an RfC to repeal it, but I had to do some homework first. I must say I am still not convinced.
Licensing stuff -> I fail to see how licensing makes shared accounts a problem, because we still attribute the account name, which surely satisfies CC-BY on our end. It could (potentially maybe futurely) cause nasty things when A claims to have done all the editing on User:A&B and B wants a share of the royalties from A's new book, and even if we don't care about A and B's disputes we might care of the risk of it spilling over (either disrupting our talk pages or them badmouthing Wikipedia in the press), but that is a long chain of hypotheticals. In any case, if it was obvious that there was legal repercussions, I would expect the WMF to have done something about the other wikis who allow shared accounts (there might still be a legal problem, but at any rate not an obvious one).
We do additionally have (potentially legal) problems when a user claims to represent an organisation (...) I would consider that to be better dealt by ORGNAME; the rationale is not "you should not use an account for multiple people" but "you should not have an 'official account'". User:BigCorpOfficial is problematic, but in the same way that User:BigCorpSpokespersonJeff is problematic, while User:SomeGalsAtBigCorp is not (in my view).
If I recall correctly we simply want one person to be held responsible for all of one account's actions. I can understand that as two sub-arguments, either of which I find unconvincing:
  1. "We cannot (bureaucratically speaking) place blocks on specific persons behind the account." My answer is to just keep doing what we already do. Treat shared accounts just as non-shared accounts: if A screws up hard enough on User:A&B that they get blocked, autoblocked, TPA revoked and all the rest, too bad for B, they should not have accepted a shared account in the first place. Maybe write something to say so in the policy, if necessary.
  2. "We should not place blame and blocks on shared accounts", i.e. it is unfair to block Sally Sweetheart because Heidi Hothead misbehaved on their shared account. Well, maybe, but in the current situation the incentives are for Sally and Heidi to create a shared account in violation of policy and not tell anyone; the end result is that Sally gets blocked nonetheless. So the arguments rests on either "as soon as you violate policy, you deserve everything that comes your way" (and with that mentality, I do not see why blocking A&B for A's faults only is a problem as long as it is in the policy), or that it makes admins sleep more soundly because they did not knowingly block a collateral victim.
From the point of view of someone wanting a shared account, the world where they can register one but risk collateral punishment through no fault of their own is better than the world where they cannot at all. Also, of course, what ISU punishes is usernames implying shared use, not shared use itself, because obviously admins are not psychic and cannot determine the latter, but the former is surely a very poor proxy of the latter. TigraanClick here to contact me 16:40, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
The licensing argument is a non-starter, from what I know. Other wikis allow shared accounts, and zzuuzz makes some great points beyond that. The only reason to disallow shared accounts here is the local policy. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 16:10, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
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