User:Kaiwen1/Vote to prohibit anonymous edits

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This is a non-binding poll to determine the Wikipedia consensus on prohibiting anonymous edits as a method to reduce vandalism. The results will be forwarded to the WikiMedia Board of Trustees as a recommendation.

See also: Wikimedia:Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles.

Do you want to prohibit or allow anonymous edits on Wikipedia?

Prohibit (36 votes)[edit]

  1. Prohibit. I wish it weren't so, but people are stupid, immature and ignorant, and vandalize this article all too frequently. For instance, an anonymous user just replaced the words "sperm" with "cubans" in one part of the text. --Awakeandalive1, 11 May, 2006.
  2. Prohibit. I'm a new user but already I've seen countless acts of vandalism.--zider_red 19:06, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
  3. Prohibit. Forcing people to register means that it's more trouble to vandalize. -User:CountZ 8:29P PST, 3 March 2006
    And more trouble to edit productively. Would the 30 or 40 good edits I mentioned below have occurred if the editors had to go to the bother of registering? Some would, sure, but how many would be lost? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Prohibit. Allowing anon edits means a more inclusive community. But the sheer quanitity of vandalism degrades the experience of legitimate users, reduces the time available create and edit articles and may reduce the level of legitimate participation in the community. An overwhelming percentage of vandalism comes from anonymous users, so limiting such edits would indeed greatly reduce vandalism. -Gavin 19:10, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
    Correlation is not causation. That an overwhelming percentage of vandalism comes from anonymous users doesn't mean that removing anonymous editing will stop the vandalism; possibly the vandals will just register when they're bored and feel like vandalizing. Meanwhile, a lot of good edits come from anons. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Prohibit. It is very easy to get a user name. Get it.Dodgens 04:29, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
  6. Prohibit. Reverting instances of vandalism and correcting malicious edits, most of them by anonymous users, takes an inordinate amount of time in the case of the article that I have been working on for the past several months. Instead of being able to develop and improve the content of the article, I and the other editors who are struggling to maintain a modicum of Wiki standards have to devote almost all of our time to "cleanup". Polaris999 23:49, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
    Correlation is not causation. That an overwhelming percentage of vandalism comes from anonymous users doesn't mean that removing anonymous editing will stop the vandalism; possibly the vandals will just register when they're bored and feel like vandalizing. Meanwhile, a lot of good edits come from anons. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  7. Prohibit. I am generaly in favour of controversial or potentialy controversial documents being open only to editors. After all, anyone can become one easily, and will if they have something to add. Pelegius 02:18, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
    Controversial or potentially controversial, sure. See WP:SPP. But most articles aren't potentially controversial. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  8. Prohibit. As a relativly new member here, I've already seen and edited vandalism by anon users. It perplexes me how anyone with anything useful to say can't take the short amount of time to register a name. I know there are anon users out there doing good but why they can't just register and seperate from the riff-raff?--Skeev 13:59, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
    Some people are on computers which can't accept cookies, or for other technical reasons are unable to register an account. Maybe they don't have an email address to receive a confirmation. You're talking about banning these people from editing wikipedia. I say, leave things as they are; the average page stays vandalized, in my experience, for less than two minutes, and controversial or important pages often less than thirty seconds. I spend a lot of time reverting vandals myself, and I feel we have them on the run. There's no need for draconian measures unless they start kicking our butts. -Kasreyn 07:51, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
  9. Prohibit. 98% of the vandalism comes from users without a log-in, and getting a log-in name is not that much to ask to be allowed to edit in Wikipedia. I've heard before that Wikipedia likes to allow anonymous edits because some people need privacy for certain legitimate reasons, but I don't understand that argument since getting a log-in name doesn't require that one divulge any personal identifying information about one's self. --Jakob Huneycutt 17:59, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
    Correlation is not causation. That an overwhelming percentage of vandalism comes from anonymous users doesn't mean that removing anonymous editing will stop the vandalism; possibly the vandals will just register when they're bored and feel like vandalizing. Meanwhile, a lot of good edits come from anons. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  10. Prohibit. I hope vandals will not take trouble to register. --The NeveR SLeePiNG 19:24, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
    I suspect many won't. I also suspect many legitimate editors won't. How hard is it to sign up anyway? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  11. Prohibit. What's the big deal in registering, anyway? --DrBat 01:30, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
  12. Prohibit. It's the only way to go. Barryvalder 04:42, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
  13. Prohibit., too much vandalism and POV. Mac Domhnaill 22:10, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
    Why do you think requiring signup will reduce anon vandalism more than good edits? Many people aren't going to bother to sign up just so they can vandalize, but many also aren't going to bother to sign up to improve a page they'll probably never read again. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 23:21, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  14. Prohibit Anyone can still edit wikipedia. All we ask is that they identify themselves. Yes, hundreds of vandalizations can be erased per day by just one hard working wikipedian. Thats one day that wikipedian won't spend making wikipedia better, by writing something. Anons will still be able to read wikipedia, search it, etc. How bad does the situation with vandalism need to be? And how many admins is it justifiable to employ with no pay as day long devandalizers?
    Prometheuspan 21:00, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
    The less time I spend reverting vandal edits and removing spam, the more time I can spend on my real purpose in editing Wikipedia: contributing information to articles about computers and local TV shows. As you can see, I also regularly participate in discussions about Wikipedia - I'd have more time to do this with less IP vandals around. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 08:25, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
  15. Prohibit With dynamic allocation of IP addresses (as is done by my ISP) there's no way to track the continuity of an editor. But it's not just continuity. My concern is less with vandalism than with uninformed nonsense being added to articles by unregistered editors. I think if you have to put your name to what you edit, you're somewhat more likely to edit responsibly. Of course, that's not always the case, some folks sign their graffiti on building walls. #:--SteveMcCluskey 15:56, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
    Reply We already have a solution in place, we simply ban IP's. If a legitimate anon user is affected by this, they can get a username to get around the IP block which is stopping anons in their netblock. Kasreyn 23:48, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
    I don't see your point. If you mean to ban whole blocks of IP addresses, you're imposing a similar restriction to this proposal, but selectively only to those who subscribe to a specific ISP. --SteveMcCluskey 13:26, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
    I didn't really mean it in terms of discriminating against an ISP. Essentially, if there's a vandal on a connection with dynamic IP, the only way to be rid of him is to block his local netblock, most likely 256 IP's. So this would be something like a localized ban on anonymous editing for users of that subnet. But the block notice in these cases is a template which informs users that they can get around the block by obtaining a login. Those who've voted to Prohibit, including you, are advocating extending this practise even to anon vandals who have assigned IP's. There's no need for that - an anon vandal with an assigned IP can be easily blocked without affecting legitimate editors. Kasreyn 02:11, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
    Wrong again. My IP address is, which is shared by over 4 million people (the entire Singapore population). I am always logged in, but I am often blocked because someone else using this IP has been vandalizing pages. For more information, please see Wikipedia:Blocking policy proposal. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:17, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
    But I wasn't talking about that, I was talking about dynamic IP's. You apparently have a fixed IP. I sympathize, but I can't imagine why a moderately wealthy nation like Singapore can only afford one IP address. It's not reasonable to expect any Wikipedia policy to be able to deal with a situation as insane as four million people sharing one IP address. Kasreyn 19:40, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
    Your post mentioned "they can get around the block by obtaining a login". This is WRONG! I am constantly blocked because people are vandalising using this IP. Having an account does not protect me. And it's frustrating to be unable to edit a quarter of the time. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 04:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    You realize that if a registered user gets blocked, any other registered users who share an IP address with them would also get blocked? Someone editing from behind a huge proxy will be screwed until Mediazilla:550 is fixed either way. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 23:21, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    *Prohibit anon users are making a mess of things around here. JohnM4402 21:31, 3 June 2006 (UTC) Changing my vote to Allow... I misunderstood the premis. I thought we were voting to keep anon users from voting on AfD's etc. JohnM4402 22:51, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
  16. Prohibit It is dirt-easy to get an account. Blocking IPs has been shown to not work, as it's also dirt-easy to get an account on AOL. I've felt from the beginning that allowing anons to edit did more harm than good. Danny Lilithborne 04:23, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    Given that, as you say, it's dirt-easy to get an account, how is blocking accounts more effective than blocking IPs? Someone with AOL can just make a slew of new accounts, and we won't even know where he's coming from. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  17. Prohibit More than 96% of the vandal edit I deal with are from anonymous users. That being said, for people who are using an ISP with a dynamic IP, blocking an IP address or a string of them would unnecessarily block out those who might do some good. However, with the vast majority of vandal edits coming from anonymous users, I vote to prohibit. It is quite easy to get a user account. Tachyon01 17:08, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    An argument that applies equally well to both sides: easy for good users to get a user account, easy for vandals to get a user account. If the latter occurs, blocks longer than 24 hours and range blocks are both impossible with the current software, significantly reducing our ability to deal with vandals. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 23:21, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  18. Strong Prohibit A considerable percentage of vandalism comes from anonymous edits. By prohibiting anonymous edits, we can significantly reduce the amount of vandalism. If established editors spend less time fighting vandalism, they can spend more time on constructive activities such as expanding and improving articles. The number of editors leaving due to excessive vandalism will decrease. Many anonymous vandals are just casual vandals. They will be discouraged by the need to create an account. Although it will not deter the more determined vandals, forcing them to create an account will slow down their vandalism.
    Because registration will still remain completely open, Wikipedia will still be "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit". (Currently, allowing anonymous edits makes it "the encyclopedia that anyone can vandalize".) Wikipedia's development of articles is excellent. However, development of editors needs much improvement. Anonymous editors may lack the self-confidence to expand articles or correct errors, and they may make good faith edits that are reverted, partially because they lack understanding of Wikipedia policies, guidelines and formatting.
    Editors who create an account will be more inclined to read and understand the various Wikipedia policies, guidelines and formatting, and will be more bold. This will improve the overall quality of good-faith edits and foster a more integrated Wikipedia community. I disagree that "we were all anon users once". I never edited as an anon before creating this account.
    Anonymous vandals are also causing problems for editors with accounts. My IP is This IP is shared by almost all Singaporeans (Singapore's population is currently 4 million). There are plenty of anonymous vandals operating from this IP address, and when they are blocked, the blocking locks out the many editors with accounts, like myself. I am unable to edit a quarter of the time and this is very frustrating! Prohibiting anonymous edits will solve this problem. In addition, please sign at MediaZilla:550. Thanks. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:25, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
    I don't understand how that would solve anything due to the fact that, when an account is blocked, other accounts sharing its IP are also blocked. As I said in the comments section, there are numerous options for addressing cases such as yours; however, this proposal is cutting off the nose to spite the face. Moulder 18:27, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
  19. Prohibit BUT instigate other changes at the same time. Anon edits should not appear on the page until vetted by a user or admin. New users must also have a 1 to 7 day period before thay can edit. Alan Liefting 06:32, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
    Wouldn't your first proposal force users and admins to waste more time on double-checking every single individual anon edit than time actually spent improving the encyclopedia, and wouldn't your second proposal cause most people to never bother to get accounts in the first place since they'd have to wait a week before they could even make a 1-letter typo fix? People are naturally impatient. I'm glad we're coming up with innovative new ideas, but these seem like the kind of proposals which, if implemented, would actually destroy the encyclopedia. New users are the lifeblood of a collaborative project like this. -Silence 06:39, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  20. Prohibit It only takes a few seconds to register, and so much vandalism etc seems to be from anons. Might be an idea to make it bog-obvious how easy it is to register though. Britmax 10:11, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  21. Prohibit It seems quick to register, I just did today, and it gives added functions, like image uploading. It seems like a good idea. However, the first thing on my talk page was a very rude welcome anti-gay welcome, but the user seemed banned quicky. So it does seem like a good idea! Cheesehead 1980 18:27, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
  22. Prohibit - Nearly all of the vandalism I have encountered on this site came from anon. IPs... Mandatory registration will probably not restrict spammers, vandals with agendas or vandals who have already developed a perverse interest in Wiki, but it is my belief that much of the more petty, childish vandalism (i.e., "eat shite, Lenny") could be avoided by forcing new users to jump through one or two hoops. --(Mingus ah um 22:50, 21 June 2006 (UTC))
  23. Prohibit - The registration process is absurdly easy, and most Web users have come to accept registration requirements for certain features. The benefits far outweigh the cost. BukkWylde 17:24, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  24. Prohibit - It's incredibly easy to register, and anyone who can make positive edits to an article is most likely going to have knowledge about other topics which they can help improve, too. Agentscott00(talk contribs) 21:16, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  25. Prohibit - Serious editors would not mind registering, but random vandalism (such as "Joe is great" written by someone from a high school IP) will be prevented. Fighting vandalism is time-consumming and the existing policies just punish good editors with many articles on their watchlists. Tankred 21:02, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  26. Prohibit. It's a no-brainer. Anonymous editing undermines the project at every turn. The burden of clearing up after anonymous vandalism is allowed to fall by default upon good editors who would far sooner be working on articles – and for what benefit exactly? It's bad for morale, and it's bad for Wikipedia. Laurence Boyce 17:59, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  27. Strong Prohibit If someone really wants to contribute to Wikipedia, then they can make a little effort for thier good intentions. Pacific Coast Highway (blahnot even doom music) 18:51, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  28. Prohibit Wikipedia needs to have a way to cope with the rampant vandalism. Having active moderators reverting vandalism is not enough. People who are more likely to vandalize are less likely to register, most vandals are ones with a very low amount of edits, people who have just found the site and are enthusiastic about the idea of being able to mess with an encyclopedia. Registration should entail the following: To register one must enter one's desired username and password, along with their email address (no restrictions on what type of email, it could be gmail, yahoo, AOL, MSN, whatever). Wikipedia will send a confirmation email to their email address, they would have to click on a link to confirm their registration and make their account active. You can still log in without making your account active but you wouldn't be able to edit anything. This applies only to newcomers and long-time editors will not be sent a confirmation message. --Revolución hablar ver 04:32, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
  29. Prohibit. It is easy to get a user name and the IP-Problem (one IP for different people) is solved. Weird Bird, 18 July, 2006.
  30. Prohibit: This would cut vandalism by a huge number, leaving many users free to actually contribute anything, instead of constant vandal-whacking. Also vandalism from a few users of a shared IP usually gets it blocked, and makes many legit editors unable to edit (even users of the IP with accounts, this is bug 550). This happens so often to me, I had to request a special proxy from my ISP to be able to edit Wikipedia at all. IP addresses destroy far more then they contribute. +Hexagon1 (t) 03:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
  31. Prohibit I really dont see why people dont register. I registered before I made an edit due to the fact that I thought that you had to have registered to edit. If anons dont edit, vandalism will drop fast, plus anyone who vandalizes w/ a registration can be blocked. guitarhero777777 03:22, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
  32. Prohibit Per my cousin, there's no need for me to vote. I have developed a method of vandalism which allows me to vandalise over 20 pages quickly (in less than a minute) before getting blocked. Once, when I tried out my method to ensure it works, I managed to violate double 3RR on all 20 articles, and was only blocked after my seventh round of vandalism - the blocking admin even mistook me for a bot! Not only does the speed of my vandalism make it lethal, that I vandalise from shared IPs makes me harder to block. If I signed up for 10 ISPs which offer shared and dynamic IPs, and used them to conduct a massive vandalism attack against Wikipedia, you'd only be able to stop me by prohibiting anonymous edits. -- 10:32, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  33. Prohibit Am getting a bit fed up of annoying vandalism, I do a lot of edditing on medicine/disease related pages and some of the edits are quite hurtfulLeevanjackson 12:37, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
  34. Prohibit. I can't stand those anonymous vandals, especially ones with dynamic IPs. - Ivan Kricancic 07:42, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
  35. Prohibit Vandalism is all too frequent. Registering is free and takes all of a minute (maybe less) to do. This way, the persons who may only be an occasional (albeit serious) editor are free to join without worry of spam or other annoyances and the most immature, ignorant beasts will not go through the trouble of registering. The Filmaker 14:00, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
  36. Prohibit. Preventing edits by anonymous users should be combined with a new feature which would allow an admin to block new account creation by IP, given a username. That is to say, an admin would be able to access a link which would both ban a vandalizing user and block that user's last IP (or a small subnet around it) from creating new accounts for a time. This would allow established and productive users who unfortunately share that IP to continue contributing while the block persists. Additionally, requiring account creation for editing purposes allows anti-vandals to lodge their complaints with the correct user, rather than under an IP which might refer to many different users. --DachannienTalkContrib 15:30, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Allow (76 votes)[edit]

  1. *1/2*Allow. Instead of prohibiting IP/anon edits; change wiki policy. Anonymous edits are changed immediately. I am against that, instead of changing anonymous edits immediately, redirect them to an offical all volunteer 'Recent Changes Patrol' for approval/confirmation that it is not vandalism. Once approved they can be saved on the page. I think the aforementioned suggestion would serve to reduce vandalism on quite a bit on Wikipedia, without violating the anyone can edit policy. Pseudoanonymous 02:01, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
    This seems it would be some work to implement - what about things like conflicts, because the page has changed since it gets approved? Plus, the amount of work spent approving edits would be at least as much as the time spent reverting vandalism anyway. Mdwh 17:10, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
    You'd have to have people in place that could spot any and all kinds of vanadlism though. It's not always about adding crude remarks but also slightly changing facts. I saw one guy go and change a ton of dates in the ECW article, what are the chances of the reviewer being a guy that could ascertain if a moment in the company's history actually took place in the previous or edited date? Or on that note if a battle took place in 1901 or 1902? It's insidious vandals like those that make it hard to detect and it seems like a lot to ask to have a group of people responsible for fact-checking every anon edit. On the positive side of your suggestion, knowing that thier edits will be reviewed will be a good deterrant to random anon vandals.--Skeev 14:06, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
    That would just give admins more work. And some vandalism is quite subtle. Anons are filling the RuneScape article with misinformation and lies that admins would pass. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. Allow. It may seem easy to get an account, but it's still more effort for someone who's just an occasional viewer, rather than someone who intends to become an editor. We want people to be fix mistakes they see, even if it's the only Wikipedia page they ever see, rather than them being put off due to having to create an account. Plus, the argument works both ways - if it's easy to get an account, then it's easy for people to get an account for the purposes of vandalism (and this is something which happens now). It's not clear to me how an account name is easier to ban than an IP address. And I'd say it will make tracking vandalism harder - with an IP address, I can see all previous edits under that IP address, but this is not true with someone repeatedly signing up new accounts. Mdwh 17:15, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
    However, some users (for example anyone on the same university subnet) may have the same IP address, and you can't ban all of them for the misbehaviour of a few users.
    Yes we can, and we do - correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure that such IPs can be banned. And if anyone is unfairly affected by an IP ban, they can sign up for an account - just as they'd have to do anyway if anonymous editing was banned altogether! Mdwh 22:55, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
    Actually, we do in fact ban by IP. There are several university and school IP's that have been banned. The user pages for those IP addresses have a notice to non-vandal users of that subnet that they can escape the ban by getting an account. Therefore there's no need to do away with anonymous editing. -Kasreyn 04:37, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
    My IP is It is shared by almost ALL USERS IN SINGAPORE (According to the Singapore article, our population is over 4 million.) There are a lot of anonymous vandals using that IP, and when they are blocked, they are locking out all legimate editors from Singapore. This has caused massive frustration not only for me, but for other Singapore users such as User:Stefan. I once almost left Wikipedia due to this. Complaining doesn't help. Let's stop this once and for all. No more anons on Wikipedia. They are putting a huge strain on legimate editors. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
    What strain, where is this strain!? I see no strain, people edit out of choice, if it was unenjoyable they would no do it. All vandalism means is that RC patrol has to be done. Philc TECI 21:49, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  3. Strongly in favor of Allowing. One hard-working wikipedian can revert hundreds of anon vandals a day. I think they would have to outnumber us by more than that amount in order to do serious harm. Wikipedia's design makes it easier and less time consuming to revert than it is to vandalize. Therefore the field is heavily tilted against vandals. Furthermore, I think it would really belie Wikipedia's motto and contention about being "the encyclopedia you can edit" (or whatever the phrase is). Eventually, Wikipedia is going to start receiving more than just passing glances from the mainstream media. I am convinced that wikipedia is eventually going to receive major notice. And when that day comes, we will get a swarm of new anonymous users, people who heard about us on the news or by word of mouth, and the first thought on their mind will be "do they really let you edit any page?" If the promise of Wikipedia turns out to be a lie, our credibility in factual matters will take an absolute nosedive. That's why I'm convinced anonymous editing is very important, and it'll do us more harm than good to ban it. -Kasreyn 22:52, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
    Wikipedia's design makes it easier and less time consuming to revert than it is to vandalize. Therefore the field is heavily tilted against vandals. - I would love to see the basis for this statement. It is much easier to paste in spam, change a number, or remove a sentence than it is to spot the change and revert it, on a user-for-user basis, IMO. Vandals don't generally care if their edit has collateral damage for the article; they can run scripts that randomly select articles, they can put in bad spelling or punctuation at their leisure because their whole goal is less refined than a legitimate user's. I would love to see the (current) data that supports your supposition (which in no way invalidates your other points, by the way). -- nae'blis (talk) 17:49, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
    They can, but most of them don't. From what I've seen, the vast majority of vandals are not mass blankers or script kiddies with auto-vandalizing programs. Most of them, from what I've seen over some months of vandal hunting, are anon IP's who wander upon an article and either vandalize with some sophomoric ALLCAPS witticism, or they spot something that's "wrong" (read: does not fit with their political or religious bias) and must be "fixed" (ie POV vandals). The first time they're reverted, more than half of them seem to give up and go away. These edits do take more time to make than a revert, because the vandal first has to read a paragraph or two before they can get enraged by Wikipedia's "lies" and get the urge to "fix" them. By comparison, all I have to do is scan the compare; changes highlighted in red makes it very easy to spot vandalism. The only problem arises when multiple vandals strike in a row and another editor reverts only one of them, not realizing there were multiples. Then you have to go back a few revisions and do a broader compare, but this only takes a few more seconds with practise. There are also vandal-reverting bots like TawkerBot, which do a great deal of work very quickly. I don't know which side has more bots currently, positive editors or vandals, but I am confident that "speedy vandals" of the kind you describe are a distinct minority of vandals. That, in a nutshell, is why I think we don't need extra measures to hold them at bay. If we came under attack by a determined group of script kiddies with multiple vandalbots running on dynamic IP's, then we'd be in trouble and I'd agree with the necessity of a temporary block on anon editing. As for data, I offer none but the synthesis of my observations. I don't even know where I would go to begin to collate such information. I'm sure there's some page somewhere that tracks Wikipedia statistics. You'd be much better off consulting such a resource instead of asking me! All I know is what I've seen. Best wishes, Kasreyn 18:31, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
    Exactly. For every Willy on Wheels, there are thousands of stupid, immature, lame, casual anonymous vandals. They won't bother to create an account just to vandalize. Someone who really wants to contribute probably wouldn't mind. And if they do, what they want to contribute probably isn't worth much. Spelling errors, maybe. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Allow. (1) Registered users are just as capable of vandalism and trolling as unregistered ones. (2) Vandalism is a temporary problem, a nuisance with no lasting consequences for any article. (3) Preventing beneficial edits to Wikipedia is a potentially permanent problem, thus the harm that would be caused by forbidding anonymous edits far outweighs the harm caused by anonymous vandals. Most Wikipedia editors made their first Wikipedia edits anonymously; that's how they figured things out and first got involved in the project. Considering that "all vandalism washes off" on Wikipedia, it would not even be worth it to ban a thousand vandals if it meant losing ten users who would have become valuable, productive editors. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, guys. It's faster, yes, but dirty bathwater is easier to deal with than dead babies. -Silence 18:01, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
    Hear hear. -Kasreyn 04:04, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
    Not all vandalism gets quickly spotted and reverted. I have seen anons adding spam to articles such as List of social networking websites, and such spam often goes unnoticed for many hours. The RuneScape article has been completely ruined by anon vandals who insert misinformation and lies which go unspotted for long periods of time. And the quality of the Neopets article has also degraded for similar reasons. So I disagree that all vandalism is a temporary problem, quickly spotted and reverted. And as for point 1, an overwhelming majority of vandals are just lame, stupid, immature, casual anon vandals who won't bother to create an account. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Allow — I do a great deal of countervandal work and part of me, at times, wishes that users would have to register. I do feel that it would cut down on the vandalism. I think that most people are like me, they ease into editing when the happen upon WP and figure out they can correct an error or expand an article. It took me several months of doing this anonymously before creating an account. If an account was required I would probably not become an editor. --Geneb1955Talk/CVU 03:23, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
    I never edited as an anon before creating an account. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  6. Allow, pretty much agree with everything Silence said. Jdcooper 16:37, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Allow --Mcmachete 00:16, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Allow. I've worked on wikis that disallow anon editing and I can definitely say that forcing registration won't change anything, it only makes good users more irritated and bad ones easier to catch (if they're on AOL or similar). GarrettTalk 05:56, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Strong Allow. --Vandals will have no trouble getting acounts (and sock puppets). Letting unregistered users edit is a good way to draw them in, and some people will be frightened by being asked to register, especially if all they want to do is add a comma.Emmett5 00:00, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    What percentage of vandals are so determined to actually create sock puppets? Most are just casual vandals. If good users won't bother to create an account, what they are contributing probably isn't worth it. They won't do much more than adding a comma. A registered user can make contributions ten times more significant than that, every day. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  10. Allow. -- Semiprotection is already causing a lot of vandals to create accounts just for vandalising; requiring accounts for all editors would just compound the problem. Think of all the blocking of school accounts that happens now-- imagine the vandalism from each school split up into dozens of accounts. Imagine how quickly they'd realise that, once blocked, a new account would allow them to go right back to vandalising 'til they'd accumulated three more warnings. Eeccchhh! -- Mwanner | Talk 00:02, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
    Many vandals are casual vandals who will be put off by having to create an account. Of course, determined vandals will still be deterred. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:29, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. Strong Allow I certainly wouldn't have participated in WP had i not been allowed to edit as an anon. Borisblue 00:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Strong Allow for three reasons. Anonymous edits 1) aren't a big pain to revert when they're bad, 2) give us an easy way to tell track suspicious edits, and 3) are a vital path to hook good editors. Forcing people to register won't stop the vandals, but it will drive away people who would otherwise get a taste for editing. --William Pietri 06:40, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. Allow per William Pietri. HKTTalk 21:01, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Allow'If we force vandals to log in then it will be much harder to tell established user edits from noob user edits. If I see an ip address by an edit summary of an article I am watching, then I check to see what they did. I am less likely to check edits from established users.--God Ω War 04:15, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
    If I see the registered user's username is a red link, odds are, they're new. That's the way to scrutnitize them. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  15. Allow for gods sake wikipedia was started as the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit" well, anyone doesn't JUST mean registered users. Batman2005 13:50, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
    Wikipedia currently seems to be "the encyclopedia that anyone can vandalize". Prohibiting anon edits would make it more like "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit". After all, registration is open. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  16. Allow. It's been argued pretty well that the evolution of VandalProof and similar tools balance out the vandalism, and plenty of people are arguing in favor of freedom and dogma and such, but has anyone considered Daniel Brandt's Wikipedia Watch? One of his main arguments against Wikipedia is the anonymity afforded by the creation of user accounts, and to a large degree, he's right. Creation of a user account affords far more anonymity than editing "anonymously"; consider Wikipedia:Congressional Staffer Edits, Adam_Curry#Controversy, the identification of the culprit in the John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy, etc. vs the (understandably) small number of users with access to, and the circumstances required to use, the CheckUser command. It is true that most vandalism is by anonymous IP users, but most of the vandalism where action against the ISP would be appropriate - Willy on Wheels, anyone? - is not. Who's to say the more insidious vandals who add nonsense or disinformation won't simply create a new account/personality when they come close to being banned? Unless we allow all users' IPs to be visible to everyone - and don't get me wrong, I think that's a mistake too - this simply doesn't seem like a wise move. Moulder 22:07, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
    We are not trying to stop Willy on Wheels. We are trying to stop those stupid, lame, immature, casual anonymous vandals, which clearly outnumber legimate contributors. And some people do have CheckUser rights. I think you should extend those rights to all admins. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  17. Allow I would not have become the user I am today if I could not have started as an anon user. Being open to everyone is important. JohnM4402 22:51, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
  18. Allow. There's no real reason to prohibit it—if you really think that all anons are vandals, then it helps you identify which edits should be brought up under more scrutiny. Also, I'm not convinced all anons do here is vandalism. Titoxd(?!? - help us) 01:50, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    The few contributions made by anons are hardly significant, and even if they are good faith, don't always improve the encyclopedia. Make them sign up, help them learn the ropes, and they'll becoem good contributors. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
    The "few" contributions? I'm sorry, but most of the time, I see anonymous users correcting spelling mistakes or something simple like that. Some users don't want to sign up, why do you want to make a hurdle for them to pass to make an edit? Titoxd(?!?) 19:28, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
  19. Extremely Strong Allow Anonymous users contribute a tremendous ammount of positive material. Furthermore this would be an unprecedented departure from past Wikipedia attitudes. Wikipedia IS the encyclopedia that *anyone* can edit! CAPS LOCK 04:24, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    The encyclopedia that anyone can vandalize, you mean, as long as anons are allowed to edit. I've hardly seen any significant contributions from anons. Spelling corrections, maybe. With an accout, they would contribute more. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  20. Allow. Err, no. Where do you guys think registered users come from? --maru (talk) contribs 04:22, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    From Earth? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  21. Allow - Even though tons of vandalism comes from their edits, anonymous contribu-TORS are the definition of wikignomes, which are valuable to Wikipedia. Since there are many anonymous users, there are that many wikignomes, which is great. I honestly don't think Wikipedia would be where it is now without them. Or maybe they want to try out editing before they decide to register an account. I know I want to be able to have a taste of something before I commit myself to an account. All things said, focus on all the positive from these wikignomes. —THIS IS MESSEDR with umlaut.pngOCKER (TALK) 04:26, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    Wikipedia is now one of the top 30 sites according to Alexa. We have over 1 million excellent contributors, but also tons of anonymous vandals. And if we don't stop these anonymous vandals, I am pretty sure that within the next 2 years, Wikipedia will end up like MySpace, AOL and Neopets - totally overgrown and in a mess. If that happens, many will leave the project, and it will be too late. Wikipedia must think about quality, not just quantity. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  22. Strong allow, for a couple of reasons. First of all, and most importantly, there's a significant psychological barrier to registration; the vandalism that results from this barrier's absence is unimportant compared to the positive contributions we get because of it. (Look over a random sample of anonymous edits: most are completely legit, only a minority are vandalism.) Second, IPs are easier to deal with than usernames, since the latter could be anyone, while many IPs are static and those that aren't can potentially be briefly rangeblocked if necessary, which is completely impossible with usernames (you'd have to run a checkuser to get their ISP to stop them from just using tons of dummy sleeper accounts).

    Being that Jimbo refers to "you can edit this page right now" as sacred, I don't think this poll is going to make the slightest bit of difference anyway. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:30, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

    Some anons do make useful contributions, but they are hardly significant. Mostly spelling corrections and stuff. Only registered users would make the kind of bold contributions I do: creating the Google Groups and Homerun articles, re-organizing information into the new History of Yahoo! article, etc. It's been a few months since anons were prohibited from creating new pages. Did that reduce the amount of vandalism? In contrast, vandalism is a huge problem. Even obvious vandalism which is easy to revert - it wastes time which admins could spend improving articles. Some articles, however, are the victims of subtle vandalism, such as spamming and the inserting of deliberate misinformation and lies. List of social networking websites and RuneScape are examples. My IP,, is shared by almost all Singapore users (our population is 4 million) and there is tons of vandalism from anons using that address (so it could be anyone). Furthermore, they are causing massive frustration for the hundreds of legimate Singapore contributors who are locked out during blocks. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  23. Strongest Possible Allow per all the reasoning above, especially Moulder and Simetrical. ^demon[yell at me][ubx_war_sux] /04:45, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  24. Allow. I've seen anonymous users make quite good edits, and many are very prolific contributors. Also, I'll admit that there's probably more vandalism from IP addresses than there are from usernames; however, I feel this is to our advantage, not disadvantage. It makes it easier to decide which edits to check first; if everyone were forced to log in, it would be much harder to find vandalism, and I really don't think it would decrease that much (if at all). EWS23 (Leave me a message!) 05:20, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  25. Depends I've started to use Vandalproof and I can tell you that most of IP edits are good but, thanks to VP's ability to determinate if the editor has vandalism warnings and the times s/he's been blocked I've discovered that there are 2 types of IP contributors: good contributors and peolple who vandalize for fun and almost never contribute to the project. So, if we have to prevent IPs from editing we should prevent only those that have already been blocked once and aren't showing any interest on contributing. (If I can't say "depends" I say allow.)Argentino (talk/cont.) 19:16, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    If you're voting "depends", you're essentially voting "allow" because you're voting against the proposition to "prohibit all anonymous edits". Everyone agrees that some anons should be blocked, it's just that those voting "allow" don't think that all anons should be blocked, as those voting "prohibit" are arguing. There seems to be no meaningful distinction between your vote and any of the other "depends/allow" votes; you're just discussing a different issue from the one this page is directly about (though I agree with the points you make). -Silence 19:22, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
    No comment. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  26. Allow Per all above.--Anchoress 03:29, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  27. Strong allow per above. Anon edits should be allowed as (the way I see it) Wikipedia can be edited by anyone unless they have broken a policy/guideline consistently and allowing them to edit further would cause further problems. When bug 550 finally gets fixed (hopefully soon) - maybe, or maybe not, by Wikipedia:Blocking policy proposal - this may no longer be a problem. I'm not sure if anyone else has mentioned these, but I'm going to list the ones of importance that are related: meta:Privacy policy, WP:RULES, Wikipedia:Semi-protection policy, Wikipedia:Disabling edits by unregistered users and stricter registration requirement and the archieved poll results, and some other things that might be effected such as Wikipedia:How to edit a page, Wikipedia:Introduction, Wikipedia:Tutorial (Registration), Help:Logging in, Wikipedia:Why create an account?, Wikipedia:Anonymity#Rejected_guidelines, Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia is so great, Wikipedia:Welcome, newcomers, Wikipedia:Overview FAQ, etc. IP address/anon readers/contributors are important to further wikipedia as I'm sure is the view of the Welcoming Committee. One thing that isn't addressed (or maybe was oversighted) is that many anonymouse editors regularly contribute to the Reference desk, and the Help desk - not just asking questions, but answering and helping understand a specific topic too. TheJC TalkContributions 08:51, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
  28. strong allow as per many comments above, all said better than i could hope to. frymaster 22:08, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
  29. Strong Allow I've been patrolling the Recent Changes and reverting vandalism and tests for a few weeks now. Frankly, most of the anon edits I've seen have been helpful and constructive. Most of the rest have been good-faith efforts, even if they wern't necessarily helpful. Only a few have been destructive, and most of those have been like one a couple days ago, that just put, "Hi!!!" at the top of an article... it was the first and only edit from that IP address, and it was obviously a case of, "hey, what's this? I can change the page? Cool! Is this sort of a discussion thingy or what?" When someone first discovers Wikipedia, either by a link, or by accident, they generally have no clue what it is or what it is about. It took me a long time to realize what Wikipedia was all about, then longer to work up the courage to make my first anon edits, then I saw no reason to register for an account until I saw a page that clearly needed to be deleted, and I knew a registered user would have some additional credibility in bringing it to someone's attention. If I hadn't been able to edit without an account, I doubt I would have even tried to make those first initial edits, let alone ever registering for an account at all. Some articles are written almost entierly by anons, and why should we discount their hard work? ONUnicorn
    Make them register. Then they'll read the rules and their good faith edits will be more beneficial to the encyclopedia. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  30. Allow --CygnusPius 02:20, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  31. Allow Silly concept. The anon's don't take the time to register, so they can become easier to track. It takes time for a vandal to register, and encouraging them to find ways to create accounts more quickly is not a good idea. We just need to clamp the AOL vandalism down a little, possibly with forced HTTPS. Kevin_b_er 07:39, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
    Not just AOL. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  32. Allow Riadlem 08:42, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
  33. Allow. As a person who monitors only anonymous edits using VandalProof, I was surprised to find that the majority of edits are in fact in good faith and often times the edits are to fix a typo or something of that nature. Using this knowledge, I can assume that the majority of typo and grammatical fixes are actually completed by the anonymous users, the people that are casually reading an article and happen to spot the typo. Those same people would probably not take the time to register if they were forced to, instead choosing to just leave the typo for someone else to fix. Since wikipedia has over 1.2 million articles, this could take awhile.--SomeStranger(t) 23:45, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
    Registered users would probably make 10 typo fixes a day, if their primary business on Wikipedia is fixing typos. I do fix typos and revert vandalism occasionally, but my primary purpose is still contributing information to articles on websites and Singapore TV shows/movies, and participating in discussions to improve the project. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  34. Strong Allow per Simetrical and statistics below. --Zoz (t) 11:50, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  35. Allow, because this is Wikipedia! bd2412 T 14:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  36. Allow per all above. I use VandalProof a lot. Anonymous users fixes typos (I noticed this). Wikipedia may suffer without these Anonymous users even if some of them vandalize. Anonymous__Anonymous 15:43, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
    I've said this 101 times. Make the typo-fixing anonymous editors register. Then they will fix more typos as registered editors. And if we make them register, we'll see more quality articles like Google Groups and Homerun (written by me, who never edited as an anon before registering). Wikipedia is going to suffer with all the vandalism that comes from allowing anonymous users edit. Reverting it wastes registered users' energy. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  37. Allow. I don't think trivial vandalism is much of a problem, since that usually gets swiftly fixed by the RC patrollers, CVU, and countervandalism BOTs. The vandalism that matters is the 1% that is rather more cleverly crafted and looks right so doesn't get spotted for six months, and I don't think banning anon editors would help there. My own impression is that most anon edits are constructive and Wikipedia would presumably lose many of those. Jll 15:00, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
    If you think vandalism is reverted quickly, you're wrong, wrong, wrong! Vandal fighting is not even my job (I find it boring and prefer to contribute information to articles on websites and Singapore TV shows), but just look how much vandalism I spotted in the past few days that was not reverted quickly. (By quickly, I mean in less than an hour, although most vandalism is apparently reverted within 10 minutes.) An IP vandal added nonsense to the Henna article. It went unspotted for 2 hours until I reverted it. Several IP vandals ganged up on the Neopets article. Most of the edits were reverted, but 2 vandal edits remained unspotted for 8 (!) hours, until I reverted it. An IP vandal edited the Microsoft article, adding that Microsoft's products were "inferior". 3 hours later, another IP vandal blanked the page with insults. Only then was the first piece of vandalism spotted, and both edits reverted. All these IP edits were obviously vandalism to relatively high-exposure articles. Why were they not spotted/reverted by the RC patrollers, CVU and antivandal bots, but by a content-adding user who opposes anonymous edits? And you won't believe the amount of spam that gets into the List of social networking websites article. An IP spammer added an obviously non-notable website called to the article, and I reverted it after 3 hours. The anonymous editor then re-added it, and I did not re-revert it (3RR). After 6 hours, it still has not been reverted by another editor, so my revert could be a mistake. Nevertheless, the claim that obvious vandalism is reverted quickly is wrong. Remember, I'm not even a vandal fighter, and I have only 200 articles on my watchlist. Prohibiting anonymous edits forever would stop the subtle vandalism that is severely degrading the RuneScape article, and making it fail Good Article and Featured Article. I'm sure there are many more cases I did not notice. "Most anon edits are constructive"? Nonsense. My watchlist is littered with edit summaries "Reverted edits by <IP vandal> to latest version by <registered user>". --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    An independetn study found vandalism is reverted within 5 minutes. Tell me what's not fast about that? Hello! Monday, July 3, 2006, 20:00 (UTC)
  38. Allow, this is a Wiki. Anons are needed in many ways, to fix errors, or even add content! A miniority of them even revert vandalism. IPs should be allowed to edit, vandalism is not a big problem. I must agree with Anonymous Aonymous that the website may suffer without anons. --Terence Ong (Chat | Contribs) 10:53, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
    Anons reverting vandalism? Maybe after Microsoft goes bankrupt. I've never seen any significant contributions from anonymous editors. Maybe correcting a typo, or inserting a badly-written sentence with some (usually false) information. Prohibiting anonymous editing will get the good-faith anons to register and make more significant contributions, while simultaneously driving away the bad-faith anons and reducing vandalism. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  39. Allow, Oftentimes I acess Wikipedia from a computer that is not my own. In these cases where I am not logged in and I spot a typo, it is simply glorious to be able to do somthing for the good of the wiki instantly. In any case where we begin to build a wall around contribution, the Wiki is perhaps protected, but it is also cut off. Mr. Pants 01:13, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
  40. Allow, Wikipedia has reached over 1,000,000 articles because anyone can edit. That button lead to me and many others staying here. Vandalism is a problem with I agree with Simmetrical - reviewing anon edits in VP shows that vandalism is a small part of anon editing which only gets so much visability as there is just such a large number of edits per day. Anon editing is the headline on the front page and the first section of the introduction for a good reason --Peripitus (Talk) 12:28, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
    I thought anonymous editors were prohibited from creating new articles? Since when was that implemented? How much do anonymous editors contribute anyway? I can do ten times as much in a single edit, as I have proven again and again. Why? I'm a registered user. And I never edited anonymously before registering. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  41. Allow How many of us would edit today if we weren't allowed to while we were anons? It's Wikipedia's gift, and Wikipedia's curse. You get vandalism, but it's the only way to attract new users. Seriously, how many people would join a website just to edit it? The anons realize that they can change the pages and fix typos and such, and it hooks them. There's that little 'log in' button deal at the top, but I didn't even know you could register until after somebody welcomed me! Hello! Saturday, July 1, 2006, 18:31 (UTC)
    Indeed, without anonymous editing, people like (talk · contribs) would never have been able to help us. 03:19, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
  42. Allow - Anonymous editors are valuable to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. --TonyM キタ━( °∀° )━ッ!! 16:46, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
    What does freedom have to do with allowing anonymous editing? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    A free encyclopedia should let its users edit anonymously if they wish so. -TonyM キタ━( °∀° )━ッ!! 19:07, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
  43. Allow, don't toss out a dozen of eggs just because one of them is a bad egg.--Ac1983fan(yell at me) 23:17, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
    A single bad egg can rot a dozen good eggs. I've seen forums where the trolls drive away the established users. Do you want Wikipedia to turn into MySpace, AOL or Neopets? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  44. Allow. As I'm sure others have noted, although anonymous edits are rarely of stellar quality, they are instrumental in introducing new users to the site and getting them involved without a great deal of effort. Anonymous edits must stay, and if I were running the show, anonymous article creation would still be around too. Deco 03:04, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  45. Are you crazy? Of course allow! Does all of the users that voted to not allow IP's to edit remember that this is a Wiki? This place was built upon the principle of anon's editing. Sure, some vandalize, but so do alot of registered users. Come on now guys, be realistic here. Matt B."aka" Thetruthbelow 06:05, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    Hello, who are you calling crazy? I know this is a Wiki. The concept is "anyone can edit". Requiring registration won't change this. Anyone can still edit as registration is completely open. The vandals will soon overwhelm Wikipedia and turn it into MySpace, AOL or Neopets. Come on, be realistic. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 09:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    Uh, hello? I'm an IP. Guess what? I edit constuctivley! Wow! Who would've guessed! if they haven't overturned Wikipedia yet, what makes you think they will? With things like Tawkerbot and the AIV, vandals can be taken care of with little or no trouble. You may have registered before editing, but the vast majority of users start off as IPs. Hello! Monday, July 3, 2006, 19:36 (UTC)
    Hey just wanted to show you Wikipedia's Motto and Creed. It is, and I quote, "THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA THAT ANYONE CAN EDIT". Now, when they said anyone, they didn't mean ,"Anyone, except for those IP guys", they meant anyone at all. Keep that it mind averyone. Matt B."aka" Thetruthbelow 22:57, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  46. Allow. I'd imagine Jimbo will overturn this if it passes anyway. --Lord Deskana (talk) 13:58, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  47. Allow - per User: GeorgeMoney (talk) 20:58, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  48. Allow - per the extensive reasoning above, and Symetrical's stats below. Also, if every vandal used an account, the longest you could block them for would be 24 hours (The time their IP is blocked for when an account is blocked), even if you indef the account. Month long blocks for persistant vandals would be a thing of the past. You could argue changes could be made to MediaWiki or whatnot so the IP is blocked for longer when an account is blocked, but there could and would be collateral damage done if you unknowingly block an account used from an AOL IP, which in a while will become a legitimate user's IP. -- Steel 21:42, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  49. Allow At every oppurtunity people are trying to turn wikipedia into an elitest society, for people who consider themselves better than everyone else, ranking users doesnt help, so I think its best to keep boundries between people at a minimum. Anyone should be allowed to edit. We need them more than they need wikipedia. Philc TECI 22:03, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  50. Allow. I know anon vandalism is a pain, and I've probably reverted it 20,000 times, more or less; call me an idealist if you want: but I still think that "anyone can edit" is the coolest thing. Let it be so. Antandrus (talk) 22:17, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  51. Allow I would leave Wikipedia if anons were banned. --Robdurbar 08:56, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    And please be careful when editing; the above was deleted by an over-zealous (registered!) user --Robdurbar 22:32, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
    Sorry. Edit conflict. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
  52. Allow, Vandalism is a pain, but this isn't the way to deal with it. EVOCATIVEINTRIGUE TALKTOME | EMAILME | IMPROVEME 13:56, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  53. Allow, because this is simply ridiculous. It's likely to drive away just as many legit editors as vandals. - Che Nuevara: Join the Revolution 16:26, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
  54. Allow, I started off as an anon. I am sure we'd miss out on a lot of good edits if we block the anons. All you keep talking about is the vandalism caused by the anons, but they do contribute in lots of other ways to the wikipedia. Jayant,17 Years, Indiacontribs 18:26, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
  55. Allow, I think that many of the editors started here as anonymous – I know I did. Vandals can easily register accounts no anonymous editors is a very weak protection for such large projects as Wikipedia. Jeltz talk 08:45, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  56. Allow Because there is at least 4-5 consistant editors that only work under an IP. I was actually leaning towards not letting them edit, but that would seem a little unfair because almost everybody's first edits were under an IP. — The King of Kings 22:10 July 08 '06
  57. Allow there's semi-protection... so..--Andeh 10:52, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
  58. Allow - this can't be serious? —Celestianpower háblame 13:33, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  59. Strong Allow - I, before I registered on Wikipedia, tested the waters with a few anon edits, all positive. Later, I registered and am pushing my way slowly towards 1000 registered edits. I keep a relatively large (to me, at least) watchlist of >100 articles, so I often see IP edits, and a surprising number of them are positive. While vandalism is both frequent and annoying, forcing users to register would block many casual users who either cannot or will not register, especially when reverting articles is so fast and easy. It also expressly violates Wikipedia's ethos of openness. This simply cannot be allowed. Nihiltres 02:39, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
  60. Disallow registered users from editing They argue and futz around with polls too much. 17:28, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
  61. VERY STRONG ALLOW - I, personally, and I think most other users, would have never started editing wikipedia if we could do that quickly and easily. I am a frequent RC patroller and though a high number of vandals come from IPs MOST Anon contributions are positive and a lot of them are very bold and positive contributions. If you ban Anon editing, vandals will just register accounts and vandalise anyway, in exactly the same way, then what? Ban all newly registered users?--Konstable 04:36, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
  62. Allow due to the existance of this editor: User: and the idea that, let's face it, the anon I.P. vandalism may be annoying, but it's not exactly crippling. Homestarmy 03:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
  63. Allow, anonymous users are not all vandals, vandals are not all anonymous users. This is no panacea, and I am convinced it will do more harm to Wikipedia than good. The very basis of the encyclopedia is that anyone can edit, and speaking as someone who is getting increasingly annoyed with sites demanding I register I can attest that some people simply don't want to have to register. Wikipedia grows on edits, so when you cut out the capability of people to do that without jumping through hoops, you stunt the growth. Mallocks 11:37, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
  64. Allow this is "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, that anyone can edit". If only registered users can vandalize, then vandals will become registered users. (Even if I am disturbed how close that sounds to another saying...) The ban on anon page creations, as any RC-patroller can tell you, did not stop new nonsense pages from being made. (I will admit it did cut down on it, but it is much more likely a one-time anon user will have one useful line or correction to add than they will actually be trying to write a whole, valid article). -Goldom ‽‽‽ 19:50, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
  65. Allow Most IP contributions are helpful and creating an account is and should be easy, so prohibiting their contributions won't prevent vandalism.--Chaser T 07:41, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
  66. Allow. Wikipedia should have a wide-open door. Gazpacho 08:25, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
  67. Allow, of course. My worst experience has been registered sock trolls. Many of us have fairly stable IP addresses, it changes here and there. If anything, require more investment in the registration process or have a more detailed level version available...-- 00:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
  68. Allow. As pointed out time and time again above we have User: There is no greater argument. Ifnord 02:46, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
  69. Allow it will be much harder to combat againest vandalism, if vandaliser all go and make an account. Bannning their ip would be much easier now, whom has less intent to create an account to vandalise. GSPbeetle complains Vandalisms 11:49, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  70. Allow Ip sherd be aball to edit to get the tase of Wikipedia. I starded that way. There are good ips and bad ips.**My Cat inn @ (talk)** 01:03, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  71. Strong Allow Wikipedia is the free encyclopdia that anyone can edit. Also, the ability to edit annymously is a foundation issue. 21:36, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  72. It's way easier to block IP's because no one cares --mboverload@ 08:03, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  73. Allow From looking at my watchlist. There are more good edits than bad/vandalism edits from IP's. Garion96 (talk) 21:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  74. Allow. Actually, we need to seriously allow. I created my account on Wikipedia because I did something nice while unlogged in. If, say, I was banned from editing (Which some anonymous users are, mainly because of proxies or Semi-Protected pages), I would not have the incentive to become a full fledged user and edit. Although there are the notable downsides of vandals from AOL and the limit on block lengths, I suppose that there is not alot we can do about it besides discourage it. Logical2u 00:40, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
  75. Allow. Making edits on the fly is a huge asset of Wikipedia and an indispensable way to try out the wiki way, before signing up for an account. That Wikipedia trusted me without knowing me, when I first came here, is what made coming here such a great experience to begin with. --MortenB 23:01, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
  76. Allow I would be against anonymous editing, were it not for a policy which bugs the crap out of me. If n people (I'm not sure what n is) register new accounts from the same computer in one 24-hour period, then the (n+1)th person (and everyone after that) can't create a new account. Then the only kind of edit they can make is an anonymous one. If we ban anonymous editing, then that will effectively exclude most Wikipedians (and potential Wikipedians) in the Third World, as well as poorer people in the First or Second Worlds who only have access to shared computers, such as those at libraries or schools. RobertAustin 17:30, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
  77. Strong Allow. Reverting vandalism is quick and easy, and registration won't stop vandals. — Red XIV (talk) 01:14, 1 August 2007 (UTC)


I don't run this poll or anything, but I feel it has a lot of influence on editors and should be kept honest. I've removed what seem to be sockpuppets from the 'prohibit' section, and taken out an unsigned from from 'allow' section. If you disagree, say so. I just think that this should be accurate. Also, I would have asked Kaiwen about doing this, but (s)he hasn't been here a lot lately. So I figured I'd just go for it. -- 20:37, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

#Prohibit. There's a lot of people with an agenda on this topic. lock it down! --MrPogi 18:32, 16 April 2006 (UTC) MrPogi (User's only edit. HKTTalk 23:50, 1 June 2006 (UTC)) I don't know why this vote was allowed to stay for so long, but it's gotta be a sock. One edit and they already know the deal with anons? Right. I'm being bold here, so feel free to put it back if you disagree. -- 21:33, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

#Prohibit. Registering only takes about 10 seconds. If you have something useful to add, you can sign up. Ancienterf 07:29, 24 February 2006 (UTC) (User has 12 edits. HKTTalk 23:50, 1 June 2006 (UTC)) Okay, seriously: who is using all the socks? All these people who have 1-20 edits share the same writing style and haven't edited for months. Socks, socks, socks! Again, I'm being bold here, so if you disagree go ahead and put it back. I just don't believe it.-- 20:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

#Prohibit. Too much vandalism. Baltikatroika 05:51, 21 February 2006 (UTC) (User has 14 edits. HKTTalk 23:50, 1 June 2006 (UTC)) Once again, I'm really suspicious that there's a lot of socks here. Users who have been dormant for this long and who have less than twenty edits would not be counted in AFD's and such, so I think the same should applly for this. -- 20:23, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that's being presumptous. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it's being smart. And I think you're a bit obsessed with this page. Really, you put 'no comment' on someone's vote to keep anons. Did they ask you to comment? Hello! Sunday, August 13, 2006, 04:43 (UTC)

This poll is pointless[edit]

We're not going to prohibit "anonymous" (non-logged-in) edits because of a poll in somebody's user space. This poll gives those who see it, and who may bot know much about how Wikipedia works, the false impression that we make decisions by competitive voting. --Tony Sidaway 13:33, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Of course it is. But since Wikipedia is NPOV, everyone has POV buildup and needed some place to release it all. -- 17:26, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm relatively new to Wikipedia, but I understand that it works by building consensus through discussion. It's not so much the numbers that count. The reasons behind the decision of one's vote are more important. It's just like the Featured Article Candidates whereby an article with 50 suports and 1 oppose can be failed if the opposer provides excellent reasoning. I have stated very clearly why Wikipedia should prohibit anonymous edits. It's not just to prevent vandalism. It's for the sake of editor development. The results and reasons will be forwarded to a higher authority who will look at them and make the appropriate decision. Even if anonymous edits are not prohibited, if some of the problems caused by allowing them can be solved through alternative means, I think they will implement the alternative means. Since I'm relatively new, and have heard complaints about Tony, I might be wrong, so correct me if I am. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 02:48, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Due to that fact your new to the project, I'm willing to pass off your ridiculous stance as ignorance. Philc TECI 12:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Phil that was a personal attack on this user who has the correct idea about WP policy. Wikipedia is not a democracy. - Kookykman|(t)e 19:50, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
My "ridiculous stance"? Could you correct me, then, since I'm new? Or are you just biting me? I don't really care, since I'm considering leaving Wikipedia (see last section), but correcting me might help other users. Of course, if you were just making a personal attack on me, like Kookyman said, then I will let the more experienced users deal with you appropriately, as policy dictates. Being new, I'm in no position to reprimand you for breaking policy, if you did. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
You think that by adding a single intermediate step, that all vandals will suddenly decide not to vandalise, that just because they have to click a couple of extra buttons to mess with wikipedia, that the will give up completely, they obviously wont. Vandalism will continue at as higher rates as ever. Philc TECI 11:31, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Committed vandals would continue vandalism, but the rate of casual vandalism would lower. --The NeveR SLeePiNG 12:13, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
For every determined vandal, there are plenty of casual vandals, who vandalise just because it is so easy to vandalise. One thing I've learnt about people is that most have a can't-be-bothered attitude. Register to vandalise? Most can't be bothered. In Google Groups, I used to own a group with over 500 members, while my friend owned a group with about 50 members. One would expect that a larger group would get more spam. However, my friend allows non-members (the Google Groups equivalent of anonymous editors) to post, and therefore his group gets over 10 times as much spam as mine. However, I think a case study on Wikipedia would be better. I understand that last December, a decision was made that anonymous editors would not be allowed to create new articles. This is probably because of excessive nonsensical, profane or libelous articles created by anonymous editors. After that was implemented, did the level of new vandal-pages created decrease sharply? Did the anonymous vandals register new accounts just to create new vandal-pages? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 12:38, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
This would be a very enlightening statistic. Any ideas on how to obtain it? Gavin 20:08, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Quick statistics[edit]

I just reviewed the last 50 anonymous edits. I've grouped them by whether they're vandalism or not. You can try it yourself if you don't believe my numbers, but please stop saying 99% of anon edits are vandalism. The figures I have here are 2% clear vandalism, 16% probably damaging but intentionally-ambiguous edits, 30% where I'm not sure their facts are correct, and a full 52% that are clearly harmless at worst, generally typo fixes and stuff. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:10, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Clear vandalism[edit]

(These are edits that are clearly bad for the article and could not possibly have resulted from an attempt to make the encyclopedia better, although they may still have only been intended as tests rather than damage.)

  1. [1]

Intentionally ambiguous[edit]

(This includes stuff that is possibly destructive, but may quite possibly be in good faith.)

  1. [2]
  2. [3]
  3. [4]
  4. [5]
  5. [6]
  6. [7]
  7. [8]
  8. [9]

Factually ambiguous[edit]

(These are all the ones where I'm not sure if the action was based on valid info.)

  1. [10]
  2. [11]
  3. [12]
  4. [13]
  5. [14]
  6. [15]
  7. [16]
  8. [17]
  9. [18]
  10. [19]
  11. [20]
  12. [21]
  13. [22]
  14. [23]
  15. [24]

Clear non-vandalism[edit]

(This includes everything that clearly doesn't diminish the value of the article somehow. They may not increase it, however.)

  1. [25]
  2. [26]
  3. [27]
  4. [28]
  5. [29]
  6. [30]
  7. [31]
  8. [32]
  9. [33]
  10. [34]
  11. [35]
  12. [36]
  13. [37]
  14. [38]
  15. [39]
  16. [40]
  17. [41]
  18. [42]
  19. [43]
  20. [44]
  21. [45]
  22. [46]
  23. [47]
  24. [48]
  25. [49]
  26. [50]

This does not appear to be the case with the articles on my watchlist. One notable example is the RuneScape article. Anonymous vandals are completely ruining the article. There is lots of childish vandalism that we can revert, but there are also anons deliberately adding lots of nonsene, misinformation, and lies to the article, and trying to degrade its quality in every way possible. The article is semi-protected about half the time, and when it is not semi-protected, it receives about 10 times as much vandalism compared to when it is semi-protected. This proves that prohibiting anonymous edits will stop the vandalism. I wish to point out that the anonymous vandalism caused RuneScape to fail both Featured Article and Good Article, partially on the grounds of stability and other problems caused by allowing anonymous editors. If we had semi-protected the article forever, I'm pretty sure it would already be a Good Article, and may already be making its way to becoming a Featured Article candidate. Many other articles, such as Neopets and Microsoft, also receive tons of vandalism from anonymous editors. The article List of social networking sites also receives a myraid of spam almost every day, mostly from - you guessed it - anonymous editors. Anonymous editors are filling articles with vandalism, spam and just outright misinformation and nonsense.

If we don't stop this, I predict that Wikipedia will implode within the next two or three years. We really need to stop anonymous vandals from completely destroying the articles. I admit that I have seen some reasonably helpful edits from anonymous editors, but never anything more than a spelling correction, or inserting a sentence of information. I don't think any anonymous editor will make any significant contribution to Wikipedia, such as the Google Groups and Homerun articles I wrote. I have already written above on why I think anonymous editors are unlikely to make any significant contribution to the encyclopedia.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:08, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

So why not simply protect the problem pages? Your experiences back this point of view - it's not that anonymous edits in general are full of vandalism, but that there are a few particular pages which attract vandals from casual users.
There's no need to force it upon every page - including the many pages which receive useful edits from anonymous editors. As for List of social networking websites, I see there are also logged in users who are putting spam links. All that will happen by prohibiting anonymous edits is that they'll get accounts and vandalise, and it will make watching vandalism far harder (at the moment you can at least pay closer attention to the anonymous edits). Mdwh 03:31, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
The articles are semi-protected on a regular basis. Then after a few days, some admin will decide to unprotect it "because Wikipedia is open to anons". Then one hundred vandal edits before it's protected again. As far as I can tell, the problem is not limited to RuneScape and a few "problem" articles. Practically every high-profile article: Microsoft, AOL, Neopets, Google, Myspace, Singapore, etc. always gets hit by tons of anon vandals. The reason why RuneScape suffers the most damage is because much of the vandalism is subtle, adding deliberate misinformation and lies (this is difficult to do unnoticed for Microsoft, for example). Another problem is anons filling articles with spam. I have personally witnessed this plenty of times. And, as I said, List of social networking websites is not neccesarily a "problem page". I just mentioned it as an example. Let's stop wasting admins' time. Get rid of anon vandals once and for all so they can spend their time on Wikipedia more constructively. And good-faith anons who register can become better contributors. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 05:15, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Everyone here seems to be worried about scaring away casual editors by asking them to register. I am a casual editor, and I did make a couple of edits anonymously before I got an account, but I'm far more annoyed by anonymous vandals than by the account registration process. I searched out this page after becoming frustrated by the fraction of bogus anon edits to the page Wonders of the World. I just went through the last 50 edits of the page, which included 26 anonymous edits. Of these, 22 were simple anonymous vandalism, 2 were trivial, non-destructive anonymous changes, 1 was an appropriate anonymous reversion, and 1 was a subtle bit of anonymous vandalism that has been around for 2 weeks and which I only noticed because I was compiling this list. There was, by comparison, one instance of vandalism by a registered user. Needless to say, most of the changes by registered users consisted of reverting the changes by anons. Wonders of the World is not a high-profile article, but, among the anonymous contributions in the last 50 edits, 88 percent of them were destructive and 96 percent of vandalism was inflicted by anonymous users. I consider this to be indicative of a problem. --Beastinwith


The fact that RC patrollers and CVU members are more likely to be in favor of allowing IPs to edit than the rest of us says something about this (rehash, IIRC) proposal, since they're the ones who actually deal with most of the vandalism in question. IMO, there is not such an out-of-control situation that we need to "seal our borders" so to speak; several legitimate concerns were related to issues that can be solved without disallowing all IP editing. Moulder 21:28, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. There are those of us (myself included) who don't write much for the encyclopedia itself, for one reason or another (mine being that I hate my writing). It's that group of people who are your dedicated vandal fighters, as well as the people who pay so close attention to policy debates, *fD, and such. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, and I think, let the vandal fighters keep fighting vandalism, because in my opinion, they do a damn good job. -^demon[yell at me][ubx_war_sux] /14:48, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
i joined cvu for exactly the reason that i support anonymous edits! i think within rcp and cvu you will find a fair number of people who feel that vandalism cleanup is the price they pay willingly to keep wikipedia open for all. frymaster 22:11, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
applause! Kasreyn 02:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Another issue that needs to be resolved, since getting an account is no great hardship, disallowing anon edits may make it harder to spot vandalism - I guess we all inherently mistrust anon edits. A compromise may be to force all anon editors to endure a Captcha for every submission, to weed out vandalbots. Ace of Risk 16:49, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

But then that would be an accessibility issue. Some people use screen-readers and can't view a captcha, or what about other people using Lynx or somesuch? -^demon[yell at me][ubx_war_sux] /16:52, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not involved with Wiktionary nor have I ever been, so I don't know if they have more severe vandalism issues, but their registration process does use something like that. As for text-only browsers, though... I personally don't mind leaving them with the 20th century. Does anyone know when (if at all?) this thing will close? Moulder 19:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I RC patrol occasionally and agree it's a small price to pay to maintain Wikipedia as it is, and most "vandalism" edits are just new users sanboxing or easy to spot and easier to revert.
Annoying they may be, and I agree it'd be nice if everyone registered, but it should remain a choice.

Can I put forward what I see as an important point. Since such a high content of vandalism comes from anons, this makes RC patrol easier as you have a 98% chance of finding the vandalism if you look on a anon edit as opposed to a registered user, whereas, if we forced them to register, which they would do, and just vandalize from an account, it is harder for people on RC to target vandalism quicker.

Another point. I see the statistic 98% of vandalism comes from anons flouted a lot, well if you ban them, 100% of vandalism will come from registered users, are you going to ban them next!? and say only admins can edit or something!!!??? Where will the line be drawn. Philc TECI 21:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The overall level of vandalism would still decrease sharply, by, I estimate, as much as 90%. For every WoW/WiC/NCV there are 1000 casual vandals, who wouldn't vandalise if it required an account. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Why would it decrease sharply? Why? Because vandals are physically incapable of creating an account, because their arms dont bend that way? of course they would, vandalism would probably not drop at all. This is so stupid, this is like saying people need to get a permit to comit a crime, it wouldnt cause crime levels to drop, just permit applications to rise. We would just have thousands more registered accounts devoted to vandalism. Philc TECI 11:29, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Problems caused by allowing anonymous users to edit[edit]

Wikipedia is now a top-20 website according to Alexa, with over 1 million articles. However, I predict that in a few years, Wikipedia is going to end up like MySpace, AOL and Neopets: overbloated and messy. The main reason is because we allow anonymous edits.

Because of Wikipedia's popularity, and how easy it is to vandalize, the amount of vandalism can only grow. Although we may be able to handle the current level of vandalism, we may not be able to handle future levels of vandalism. There may be determined vandals like Wikipedia is Communism and Willy on Wheels, but the majority of vandals are casual vandals, and they vandalize Wikipedia because it is so easy to vandalize. Just click "edit this page", add some nonsense, and click "Save". Forcing them to register will discourage them, even if it may not discourage determined vandals.

The most common rebuttal is that doing so will not only discourage casual vandals, but also many good-faith editors contributing without an account. Although I acknowledge that there are anonymous contributors who edit in good faith, I have found most of their edits to be relatively insignificant. Adding a "HI!" test does not improve an article in any way. Such tests belong in the sandbox, but few anonymous editors actually know or use it, because they don't bother to read. Sometimes an anonymous editor adds a badly-written sentence to the article, which reminds me of AOL n00bs. There is the occasional spelling correction, but a registered user can easily do 10 daily.

By making these good-faith editors register, we can groom them into better contributors. A registered user is more likely to familiarize himself with Wikipedia markup and policy. This will lead to more significant and higher-quality contributions from him. They will also be more bold in making more significant contributions to articles. I propose that if an anonymous clicks on "edit this page", he would see a message that says something like "Welcome to Wikipedia! Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It's easy to create an account and start editing. If you would like to experiment with editing a page, please use the Sandbox. If you would like to contribute, please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia policy." This will encourage good-faith otherwise-anonymous editors to sign up, test at the sandbox, and familiarize themselves with Wikipedia policy. Wikipedia currently has a great article development process, but it fails as far as editor development is concerned. Think of contributors as investments and article quality as money.

Shared IPs are also causing a huge problem. My IP is and is shared by the majority of Internet users in Singapore. Naturally, there are lots of vandals using this IP, and when they are blocked, hundreds of logged-in Singaporean contributors are locked out from editing as well. This is very frustrating and almost made me leave Wikipedia once. In addition, leaving warnings on the talk page of a shared IP will often result in the vandal never getting the warning, but other anonymous users sharing the IP will be scared off by the warnings. This is why I think we should prohibit anonymous edits, for the sake of our logged-in users who are punished for something they did not do.

I am a regular user of Google Groups. I own a teen chat group, Minors Major, which has 481 members. Currently, only group members can post. My friend owns a group with 59 members. Anyone can post to his group, member or not. Although I warned him, he did not change the group settings. Although his group is less than 15% the size of mine, his group gets thrice as much spam as mine. He has since abandoned the group. This case study shows that prohibiting anonymous edits on Wikipedia will decrease the amount of vandalism.

Some argue that vandalism is quickly spotted and reverted. This is not always the case. Just today, an IP vandal added nonsense to the Henna article. The vandal edit remained unnoticed for 2 hours, until I reverted it. Again, just today, several IP vandals ganged up to vandalize the Neopets article. Some of the vandal edits were reverted, but two pieces of vandalism remained in the article for 8 hours, until I reverted it. A couple of days ago, an IP vandal edited the Microsoft article, adding that Microsoft's products were "inferior". 3 hours later, another IP vandal replaced the entire page with "Microsoft are a completely useless software writing company". Only then was the vandalism from the first IP vandal spotted and both edits reverted. IP vandals have been regularly attacking the RuneScape article. Besides "RuneScape is gay" vandalism, there are also cases of IP vandals deliberately inserting misinformation and outright lies into the article, or changing facts and statistics to make them incorrect. Such vandalism often goes unspotted for a very long time.

In addition, reverting vandalism wastes admins' time - time which they could have spent contributing to the encyclopedia. My main purpose on Wikipedia is contributing information to articles on websites and Singapore TV shows. Instead, I am wasting time reverting vandalism from anonymous users, which drains my energy and results in me contributing less information to the encyclopedia.

The vandalism is degrading the quality of articles. For example, RuneScape is vandalized over 20 times a day by anonymous editors. Besides "RuneScape is gay" vandalism, there are also cases of IP vandals deliberately inserting misinformation and outright lies into the article, or changing facts and statistics to make them incorrect. Semi-protection prevents the vandalism, but an admin will usually unprotect the article and leave it open to vandalism after a few days. These IP vandals have caused RuneScape to fail Featured Article and Good Article nominations. If we had permenantly prohibited anonymous edits, by now RuneScape would possibly be making its way to Featured Article Candidates.

The overwhelming amount of vandalism will eventually cause established contributors to become frustrated and leave, just like Usenet and Yahoo!'s message boards. Eventually, Wikipedia will be overrun by vandals, trolls and n00bs. History has repeated itself because no one wants to listen to it. Sooner or later, it will be neccesary to prohibit anonymous edits, and we'd better do it before it's too late. Wikipedia recently prohibited anonymous users from creating new articles, suggesting that it is about to admit defeat. Even Yahoo! and eBay have been hacked, but Neopets refused to listen to warnings from computer-literate users, and thus paid the price. Wikipedia's turn will come. So, to prevent Wikipedia from ending up like MySpace, Neopets or AOL, please prohibit anonymous editing. Not only will doing so reduce a considerable percentage of vandalism, it will also help in editor development.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 10:53, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

  • You need accounts on MySpace and AOL, so I'm sure such people are capable of getting accounts in Wikipedia if they had to.
I posted my case study from Google Groups. I had a group where only members could post, and my friend had a group where anyone - members or not - could post. His group receives thrice as much spam as mine, although the number of members in his group is only 15% the number of members in my group. I would think that a similar principle would apply to Wikipedia. Similar results have been proven on Wikipedia. The RuneScape article receives tons of vandalism from IP vandals. Semi-protect it, and no more vandalism. When we unprotect it, the IP vandals will flock back. Wikipedia already admitted that the end is near when they blocked anonymous users from creating new pages. Do you notice vandals creating accounts just to make a new vandal page? I have never noticed such cases before. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
  • "By making these good-faith editors register" - again, the flaw is made that good-faith editors will be persuaded to register, whilst vandals won't.
See paragraph 4. When an anon clicks "edit this page", he should get a page which directs him to the sandbox (which should remain open to anons). I think a good-faith anonymous editor would do testing in the sandbox if told to, because they don't really want to damage articles - they just need a place to test. After they are directed to the sandbox and done with their testing, direct them to sign up. This is a much more newcomer-friendly approach and is more likely to garner registered users who will stay and become regular contributors. On the other hand, it will drive away vandals. And remember that having 10 registered users who make 100 significant contributions daily is better than having 1000 anonymous users which make only 1 edit daily, because the good edits are likely to be minor, and because a higher percentage of the anon edits will be vandalism. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm sure I can dig out plenty of examples of vandalism by registered users (of course there's not as much, but only because they don't need to register).
I never said that registered users don't vandalize. I have seen registered users vandalize. But a considerably smaller percentage of registered users vandalize. Some of these are hardcore vandals, not the casual vandals who would not vandalize if doing so required signing up. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
  • A comparison to spam is irrelevant - spam is automated, and can therefore be blocked by requiring signup, unlike a vandal/troll.
You do admit that requiring signup (possibly with a captcha) would prevent automated spam? And I don't think anyone would edit Wikipedia using Lynx. They're not worth it. Drop 'em. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
  • As for IP banning, that could be fixed by only banning the unregistered users on that IP, not logged in users (indeed, I thought that was how things worked, but I guess not).
That would be a viable solution. But when will it be implemented? And it would not resolve the problem of warnings reaching the wrong anonymous editor. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 03:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Mdwh 21:58, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia cannot get screwed over because of how mich easier it is to revert vandalism than it is to create it. That is why wikipedia works. Philc TECI 12:39, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is going to end up like MySpace, AOL and Neopets: overbloated and messy. The main reason is because we allow anonymous edits." Interesting how you should mention three things where registration is necesary. The destroys your point instantly does it not, if there is a problem, registration does not help. So, in the immortal words of Dr Evil "you frikkin idiot!". Philc TECI 22:37, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
"You frikkin idiot!" Isn't that a personal attack? I know NeoPets and MySpace require registration. I'm just stating a similar outcome. I don't know any other large site which is open to non-registered users. I remember posting my case study on Google Groups, where my friend's group, where posting was open to all, received 5 times as much spam as my group, where only members could post, which received 5 times as much members. I'd like to ask: creation of articles by anonymous editors was recently prohibited. Did that seriously lighten the load on AFDs, etc. and reduce the number of vandalism/patent nonsense/etc. articles created? --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, Im just pissed off. its so easy to remove spam on wikipedia, and the system works, look at the place, most vandalism is reverted in seconds, and almost all within the day. Why mess with a system that works. Philc TECI 11:27, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

It's a Wiki for a reason![edit]

Okay, so the anons vandalize. Big deal! Can we not fix it? Can we not keep up at the same pace? How many of you here today would have registered and became full time editors if you weren't allowed to edit as an anon?

I know that I myself wasn't even aware you could edit until I clicked the 'edit this page' tab on the top. Yes, the main page mentions it, and yes, it's everywhere, but this is the internet-who actually reads things they aren't interested in? It just goes right over your head like another set of advertisements. And if you were to click 'edit this page' and got one of those 'register now' messages, what's the first thing you'd do? Skip it. Because to you, it's just another site asking you to register so they can get better Alexa results and make more money.

The fact that Wiki allows anyone-yes, that means anyone at all-to edit it shows that Wiki is unique. It shows that this is not another money making scheme, and that something new is actually going on in this crap heap we call the internet. Where else can a ten year old argue rocket science with a professor? Where else can I spell every other word wrong in this paragraph and have someone passing by fix it?

That wouldn't happen if anons lost editing privileges. The people who want to vandalize are going to vandalize, regardless of whether or not the anons can edit. If you tell them they have to make accounts to do it, they will.

It's the other half of the people you want-those who want to help out. Some of them will pass up such the change if the word 'registering' comes up.

I remember the first time I wrote something on Wikipedia. As strange as it sounds, I was nervous! I didn't know if I was going to do it wrong, or if I would get blasted for making something I should have, or if everyone here was a professional and I was just a kid...

So I moved along slowly. A little spelling, here and there, maybe fix a broken link, take off some vandalism... And I started to get the hang of it. I began getting messages and started interacting with other people in the community. It took months before I was comfortable with doing much of anything here.

Nowadays, roughly 2,000 edits later, I think I know what I'm doing. I'm still inexperienced (and I still can't spell), but I like Wikipedia and I'm not going anywhere. Had it not been for the 'edit this page' tab that tempted me so, I would have never even thought of this place the way I do now. I might've seen that wonderful little box, but as soon as I clicked it and saw the 'you must be logged in to edit this page', I would have never thought of it again.

The reason you don't see that many good anons anymore is because they all register and become a part of the community-after they've already seen what they can do with nothing but their IP address. Hello! Saturday, July 1, 2006, 18:54 (UTC)

Brilliantly worded, 69.145. You said half of all the things I couldn't put into words.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 19:01, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Funny, I wrote it in five minutes or so. :) Hello! Saturday, July 1, 2006, 19:02 (UTC)
Say,, could you write my speeches when I start getting on my soapbox? :) —It's The Cliff! 16:23, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
You rock. :) ~ EdBoy[c] 01:08, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

New poll[edit]

Rather than ask how many of you think registering should be required, I have a better idea. How did you edit first? Under an IP, or under a username that you registered?


  1. Kind of a given, wouldn't you say? Hello! Monday, July 3, 2006, 19:46 (UTC)
  2. For about 3 months --Robdurbar 19:53, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  3. IP, for at least five months. Emmett5 20:04, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  4. IP, I then liked the fact that you could edit and improve articles, that i decided to sign up. But, I would never sign up if i hadn't been an ip first. GeorgeMoney (talk) 21:01, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  5. Didn't really realise what it was, for a while, just did little things. Then I registered, mostly because at the time I had AOL and was constantly being blamed for vandalism. Philc TECI 21:58, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  6. Yep, tends to happen a lot—172•135•104•217(contact)02:31, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  7. IP for quite a while. EVOCATIVEINTRIGUE TALKTOME | EMAILME | IMPROVEME 13:45, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  8. IP for about three edits, then I registered once I discovered the watchlist. -- nae'blis (talk) 22:26, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  9. IP on and off for several months before I registered - Che Nuevara: Join the Revolution 23:08, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  10. IP, for about two months (even though I wasn't very active as an IP). —It's The Cliff! 20:15, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  11. HAHAHA I remember my first edit I was a nOOb. An IP, for my first edits then but I registered in late June/early July. — The King of Kings 22:16 July 08 '06
  12. IP, obviously. I can't recall the edit, back then I mostly did minor spelling fixes. I'm pretty sure being required to get a login then would have been a turnoff. Nowadays my girlfriend is starting down the same path, a few spelling edits here and there from my IP... soon I'll get her hooked like me. Muahahahaa!  ;) Kasreyn 07:27, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
  13. Yup, I made my first edits anonymously. :) I did register a couple of weeks after my first edit, though. --TonyM キタ━( °∀° )━ッ!! 17:36, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
  14. Still do. 17:18, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
  15. One of my first anon edits was to create this article, and I went on to do various other corrections and whatnot well before I began as a full-blown user. – ClockworkSoul 16:37, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  16. Yup... did some editing over at game I play... wasn't really constructive, but it was a learning experience. :) ---J.S (t|c) 22:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
  17. IP...for almost a year...still do. 10:33, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  18. IP for a while. Although when I first found out about Wikipedia, in 2002 or early 2003, I rarely edited, I just used the information for assignments and stuff. - Ivan Kricancic 07:38, 30 September 2006 (UTC)


  1. With username. --The NeveR SLeePiNG 20:00, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  2. Though for a while after registering, I made about 50% of my early edits anonymously because I frequently had to use computer labs and libraries to get on Wikipedia and it was difficult or impossible to keep signing back in. -Silence 22:24, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  3. From day one, I created an account and read many Wikipedia policy pages before making my first edit. If I didn't do that, I'd be more confused than I am now. I once vandalized as an anon when I was really stressed, but I wouldn't vandalise under an account. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


To make a further point, I started off as a vandal, mot destructive, I just made nonsense pages, because I didn't understand the project. The freindly, polite, and non-elitest way in which an admin dealt with it (I was treated as a misguided equal, not a misbehaving lesser being) way in which an admin dealt with me is the sole reason I started contributing, to prove that I could do better. I would definitely say that the 3 reverts, and deletion, which had to be made as a result of my wobbly start, have been far outweighed by my contributions as a user. Philc TECI 14:44, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I vandalised once, but that was it (it was to Lillith, I had had a bad day, and I was mad that someone thought she was Adam's first wife). A while later, I went back to change it—ha ha, inexperienced, unregistered user with no knowledge—and Splash had reverted it, so a big thanks to him. —It's The Cliff! 20:18, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I remember a conflict on Wikipedia that left me really stressed, so I switched browsers and vandalised tons of pages anonymously. I regret that, but if accounts were required to edit, I wouldn't have registered a second one, and I definitely wouldn't use this account. I'd play some online game. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm considering leaving Wikipedia, and allowing anons to edit partially contributed to it[edit]

I realized that I am failing as a Wikipedian, and that being on Wikipedia is causing me stress. I am considering leaving Wikipedia and have announced my reasons on my talk page. I will make my final decision by 25 July.

You probably notice that I am the most determined advocate against anonymous editing on Wikipedia. Indirectly, allowing anonymous editing on Wikipedia has partially contributed to my leaving. How so?

Firstly, I joined Wikipedia to contribute information to articles on websites and Singapore TV shows/movies. I would revert vandalism occasionally if I happened to spot it. However, anonymous vandalism is getting rampant, particularly on articles like RuneScape, and I am making more and more reverts. This is draining me from contributing information.

Secondly, as you may know, my IP is User:, a shared IP used by almost all Singaporeans. Naturally, with 4 million users sharing this IP, vandalism from this IP is rampant, and this IP is frequently blocked. The blocks are more than a major inconvenience, and I have tried various means to settle this issue (including voting to prohibit anonymous edits), all to no avail. This has caused me massive stress, and is driving me away from Wikipedia. If anonymous editing was not allowed, this would never have happened.

In short, you want the anonymous editors, and you don't want me. Instead of my writing and contributing information to articles on websites and Singapore TV shows/movies, you'd rather have anons correcting spelling, and making me revert their vandalism and messes. For the sake of allowing anons to edit, and then blocking them because of vandalism, you're locking me out of Wikipedia a quarter of the time and causing me stress. I could contribute 10 more articles of the standard of Google Groups, but I guess you'd rather have anons.

Of course, I have yet to confirm my departure, and will stay if some of the issues are resolved. And prohibiting anonymous edits would resolve some of them, although I am open to alternative solutions.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I am sorry to hear that. Sounds like you are having issues with people who share your particular IP address. Before you leave, you might be interested in looking at a new blocking policy proposal. Prohibiting anon edits is, of course, not a good solution. 17:57, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
In fact, the above policy has now been officially implemented,. [51]. Now, a registered user can still edit from a blocked ip. Hopefully that removes the main concern for many who want ip's banned. --Robdurbar 17:13, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't made to be fun for the contributers, its made to be useful as a source of information. Philc TECI 17:54, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I acknowledge that, Phil, but people contribute because they enjoy doing so. If contributing causes them stress, they will leave. I'm glad to know that the blocking policy proposal has been implemented, and this means I am likely to stay, as long as I can find some WikiProjects to make steady contributions. I still oppose anonymous editing, though not as strongly as before, for other reasons, including editor development. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 02:26, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think everything should be done to make it as enjoyable and easy as possible for the contributors, but we cant let this interfere with the projects main goal, to compile all the knowledge availible into one place, and complicating the procedure to contribute will results in some people that couls have made valuable contributions not doing so, maybe its just because they cant be bohered to sign up, to add just one piece of information, but that one piece may never be added if they dont add it, so its best if anons can edit, as they are the majority, and therefore hold the majority of useful information on the planet. Philc TECI 18:47, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

See also[edit]