Wikipedia:Why create an account?

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Registering doesn't just give you better tools for making edits: An account facilitates everything from offering art to working with other volunteers.

This is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It is free to read, and free to edit. Go beyond reading, and join the world's community of volunteers.

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Wikipedia has various sister projects too, like Wikimedia Commons – where everyone collects and volunteers free media.

You don't need to be registered to contribute, but getting an account will allow you to:

For a little bit more detail, read on. Or, get started: sign up – contribute to the Wikipedia Project the way that you want to.

Creating an account is quick and completely free.

Benefits explained

Username and privacy

If you create an account, you can pick a username provided it is available and unique. Edits you make while logged in will be assigned to that name. That means you will get full credit for your contributions in the page history (when not logged in, the edits are just assigned to your IP address). You can also view all your contributions by clicking the "My contributions" link, which is visible only when you are logged in.

You will have your own permanent user page where you can write a bit about yourself. While Wikipedia is not a homepage provider, you can use this to display a few free pictures, write about your hobbies, etc. Many users use their user page to maintain a list of the articles they are most proud of, or to collect other valuable information from Wikipedia.

You will also have a permanent talk page you can use to communicate with other users. You will be notified whenever someone writes a message on your talk page. If you choose to give an e-mail address, other users will be able to contact you by e-mail. This feature is anonymous; the user who emails you will not know your e-mail address.

You are actually less identifiable logged in than you are as an unregistered editor, owing to the hiding of your IP address (so long as you avoid disclosing identifiable information on your User Page). You might want to consider privacy and the possibility of offline harassment, when deciding what to say on your User Page.

Reputation, communication, and more successful edits

Having an account gives you a fixed Wikipedia identity that other users will recognize. While we welcome contributions from unregistered editors, logging in under a User Name lets you build trust and respect through a history of good edits, and makes it easier for veteran users to assume good faith, communicate and collaborate. Having a good name (or a pseudonym to protect your identity) promotes more responsible editing, and more civil discourse.

Sometimes new or unregistered users are blocked from editing pages that are common targets of vandalism (just as this page is protected, and only users with an account can edit it). Also, bots can mistake even good faith IP address edits for vandalism. For these reasons, edits under a User Name tend to be more successful.

Your User Name may also receive recognition for good work such as Barnstars, Project Awards, Personal User Awards, or nomination for voted accolades like Editor of the Week. You need a fixed account identity to accumulate these pats on the back; they are not awarded to IP addresses.

As your reputation builds, it is possible to earn privileges such as rollback, sysop, and others. It is not possible for an unregistered editor to be granted these privileges.

User preferences

As a registered user, you can customize the way MediaWiki behaves in great detail by altering your Preferences at Special:Preferences. There, in the Appearance tab, you can change the following display settings:

  • Under Skin: choose between various options as to the appearance of the website.
  • Under Math: how mathematical formulas are displayed.
  • Under Files: how large image thumbnails are displayed

And various editing preferences:

  • How to sign your name.
  • How large the editing box should be.
  • How pages should be displayed in recent changes.
  • and many others.

Blocked?

Shared IP addresses such as school and enterprise networks or proxy servers are frequently blocked for vandalism which, unfortunately, may also affect innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be modified to affect only unregistered editors so that they can continue contributing to Wikipedia. If you are currently blocked from creating an account, we suggest you do one of the following:

  • Try again after the block on your IP address expires. Go to my contributions and follow the Block log link at the top of that page to find the length of the block. If no block appears go to Special:BlockList and copy the IP address which appears at the top of Special:MyPage into the box next to "IP address for username:".
  • Request an account by filling in this form to ask a volunteer to create an account for you. Be sure to read the instructions at Wikipedia:Request an account first and to change your password once you are logged in.
  • You may wish to create an account on Meta-Wiki.

See the Blocking policy for details.

Create an account now

To create an account, click on the "Create an account now" link and fill out the required fields. This will be logged, and your account will be created.

See also