Wikipedia talk:User account policy/Archive 6

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Boring procedural note- I see that this page is now very long. Do others agree that having a Bot work on archiving it would be a good idea? Perhaps all threads older than 7 days to be archived? WjBscribe 04:06, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

A week is good. I see too many places that use 24 hours, which is too short. And 'automatic' is good... Shenme 04:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, autoarchiving is good, and a week is a good time limit. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:33, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
7 days sounds good. Clear out the cobwebs. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:35, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I'll add a template then... WjBscribe 02:09, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

User names with exclamation mark character

I've brought this up for discussion, as it's something I found out about today when welcoming a user. I discovered Matt 3!!! XL (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) when RC-patrolling today, and this user's name broke the {{welcomeg}} template when I left a note on his talk page.

It doesn't seem to break the {{userlinks}} template: Matt 3!!! XL (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) but it breaks the welcomeg template.

Anyone else here think that the exclamation mark character should be disallowed in usernames, like the @ symbol is?? --sunstar nettalk 13:08, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I had to urlencode the username here, as below:

Matt+3%21%21%21+XL (talk • contribs • deleted contribs • nuke contribs • logs • filter log • block user • block log) --sunstar nettalk 13:10, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Personally think that most special characters should not be allowed. If they want to have a bunch of !!!!'s in their signature then go ahead. I think it's destracting to have a bunch of ?<>!@#$%^&*()-+ in someone's username. CascadiaTALK|HISTORY 13:33, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Good point. However, I'm confused about one thing. The @ symbol isn't allowed in usernames, yet Stewards have to use it in the form "User:Wikieditor1@enwiki when setting user rights. Confusing, or what?? --sunstar nettalk 13:37, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
It appears the @ symbol is used as part of backend syntax... CascadiaTALK|HISTORY 13:49, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
See #Proposed_amendment for more discussion on related matters. The @ sign was disabled to stop e-mail addresses in usernames, not for technical reasons(as far as I know). HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:24, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

The problem is with the template, not the name. The template puts the name in a box which uses "!" as a header control character -- which is why this template "broke" on this name, while other templates (not putting the username inside such a box) handled the same name just fine. As a short-term (but ugly) fix, I've made {{welcomeg}} urlencode the name. As a longer-term fix, the name needs to be used outside such boxes. -- BenTALK/HIST 07:30, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Okay, the problem with {{welcomeg}} is fixed. The name no longer looks bad. Tell me if you encounter any other such problem. Thanks! -- BenTALK/HIST 07:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


What about usernames like "Anytopic expert"? I didn't find an appropriate section in the policy, but I tend to believe that such usernames are likely to offend other users who may feel like experts on the topic themselves, and to bite newbies who may be discouraged by such an immediate display of over-confidence. After all, how are you going to convince someone who has the expert written in his username? —KNcyu38 (talkcontribs) 02:08, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

It is inappropriate to give an "expert" any sort of special treatment on Wikipedia, WP:V applies just as much to Stephen Hawking as me. I see no reason to prohibit such names. As for other experts getting offended at a person claiming to be an expert, well, I don't think we can always spare the feelings of the most sensitive. Has there been any problems with this type of name already? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:39, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Impersonation of organisation

Hi, User:Hillsong church is entering various negative POV items on Hillsong related pages, and is clearly not representing the church. They also entered defamatory information on the Bobbie Houston page, which I have warned the user about. I was going to add the {{UsernameConcern}} tag to his page but I'm not actually sure which part of the policy covers this, if any. I am assuming it would be considered inappropriate for anyone to sign themselves up with a username apparently representing any organisation or person (trademarked or otherwise) and then carry out actions like this. Any guidance appreciated - thanks! Halsteadk 12:10, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Usernames that promote a company: Usernames of or closely resembling the names of companies and groups are discouraged and may be blocked as a violation of Wikipedia policy against spamming and advertisement. MaxSem 12:17, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Obfuscated e-mail addresses disallowed?

Are obfuscated e-mail addresses like "NobodyAtExampleDotCom" disallowed also? The policy is unclear on this: it just states that usernames containing '@' are rejected by the MediaWiki software, apparently due to spam concerns. If this is the case, can we amend the policy to also say "Usernames that are not literal e-mail addresses but clearly convey one (such as "NobodyAtExampleDotCom") are also disallowed."? I bring this up because I noticed such a name get blocked. -SpuriousQ (talk) 15:31, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Usernames which imply a domain are disallowed so I don't really think there's a needto change policy on this one Ryanpostlethwaite contribs/talk 15:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Yeah, I did consider that it was covered by the domain clause... but still thought it was a bit unclear. Maybe it would be better if the "E-mail addresses" section were indented to be under the "Domains" section, to clarify that it's just a special case? -SpuriousQ (talk) 15:40, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
      • A major reason why the @ sign was blocked was actually because it causes problems with templates as well. I still think that it's clear enough already, but others may differ. I would maybe support chaning wording to Usernames which imply a domain, web address or email adress Ryanpostlethwaite contribs/talk 15:44, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Now that I think of it, there's an inconsistency in that e-mail addresses that predate the MediaWiki '@' ban are allowed, but these do of course contain domain names. So it appears the cases are not identical. -SpuriousQ (talk) 15:54, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Another such name was not blocked. It would be good to have more clear policy here. -SpuriousQ (talk) 14:33, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
  • E-mails are not allowed unless they predate the rule(sept 26 2006), no matter how you obfuscate them. The rule against domains also did not exist when the e-mail rule came about so I would say that the domain issue does not apply to e-mail username predating the rule. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Potentially inflammatory

I removed "potentially" in front of inflammatory in the "No inflammatory usernames." A username that people think has the "potential" to be inflammatory or offensive, but which no one actually claims it is inflammatory or offensive should not be disallowed. Someone, somewhere, can be inflamed by just about anything. Mangojuicetalk 17:14, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I have put it back in, it is good that you were bold, but I have reverted in the spirit of Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle.
I think that it is a very important word to have. Keep in mind we hold usernames to a higher standard than regular speech. The fact is that usernames should not be decided based on how a particular editor feels about the name, but the potential to offend other editors. Otherwise WP:RFCN becomes WP:ILIKEIT, WP:IDONTLIKEIT. We are making decisions based on how the Wikipedia public will react, so the term "potential" is very important. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with HighInBC. Besides, if, for example, something was obviously highly offensive to Scientologists or some other significant but not highly prevalent religious group, why should we wait until one happens to come along and gets offended before doing anything about it? It doesn't mean we have to be extremely conservative or unreasonably obtuse about what is actually likely to offend people, but we should be allowed to react before something actually offends someone.--Dycedarg ж 17:51, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Won't someone think of the scientologists! HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Seriously though, there was a recent discussion about just this here is a link. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 18:07, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, we must consider how editors in general will react. That's not the point. I think we can all agree that we judge usernames on their potential to inflame or upset or offend, because we can't just let it offend people in order to decide. Here's my point. I see four levels of usernames: (1) obviously inflammatory, (2) inflammatory, but not obviously so, (3) not inflammatory, but theoretically could be, and (4) obviously not inflammatory. We should, in fact, disallow usernames of level 1 and 2, and should not disallow ones of levels 3 and 4. The current wording can imply to some people that those level 3 names should be disallowed, because with enough imagination, they can be considered "potentially inflammatory." If we remove the word "potentially" from the policy, I cannot really believe that usernames that are actually inflammatory but in a non-obvious way will suddenly become allowed, so levels 1 and 2 will be disallowed, and levels 3 and 4 will be okay. Put another way: this page isn't about the process, or about how we decide which names are okay. Rather, it's about what kinds of names are okay, and I say it's the "inflammatory or offensive" ones, and not the ones merely with potential, that are not okay. Mangojuicetalk 18:32, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I am confused, first your say "I think we can all agree that we judge usernames on their potential to inflame or upset or offend", then you go on to say that the word "potentially" should be removed. This level 3 your speak of, where a name is "not inflammatory, but theoretically could be" will exist no matter where we set the bar. Do you have a specific wording in mind, because simply removing the word potentially will not result in what you are proposing. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 01:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Level 3 may always exist, but right now the rule tends to somewhat endorse the idea that level 3 usernames are not okay, but they really are okay. I know that changing the rule won't prevent people from going too far in imagining potential for offense when none really exists. However, right now the rule supports that kind of speculation by the use of the word "potentially", and it would be better not to. Especially, it would be better not to because the word is just plainly unnecessary in the rule. Let me put this another way: including "potentially" makes the wording slightly more accurate, but it does so at the cost of implying that the spirit of the rule is more exclusive of problematic usernames than I think we really mean. When it comes down to it, the spirit of the rule is more important than the need to be accurate by mentioning the issue of potential offense. If this doesn't convince you that my wording is the best choice, I will try to craft an alternative that both embraces the proper spirit and keeps the accuracy of the word "potentially" in place...but I'm afraid it will end up being clunky and inelegant. Mangojuicetalk 03:43, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Some times level 3 is okay, other times it is not, consensus decides. I frankly don't think we are too biased in the direction you think we are. If anything we are letting one's through that should be disallowed. Which usernames do you think have been blocked inappropriately because of the word "potentially"? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:03, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I think most such names are not disallowed after a discussion... but damage is done by them even being discussed, in light of WP:BITE. See User:Ghanarhea for instance, someone ended up giving that user a barnstar of resilience for just putting up with the discussion, over a username that was, at best, theoretically offensive to someone. Mangojuicetalk 17:42, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Discussion is a good thing, it is how we solve problems. I don't see anything bitey in discussing a name then allowing it. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:47, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Notibility vs. fame

Should the policy about names of notabile people read "Well-known" or notabile since policy dictates not to equate the two? Also does this apply to fictional characters? BuickCenturyDriver (Honk, contribs, odometer) 17:47, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

We are not deciding if we should build an article for them, but if we should let people use their names. We should have different, lower, standards of fame for simply protecting someone's name. WP:N which you refer to is about a persons worthiness of encyclopedic mention, which is unrelated to usernames. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:49, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Another question comes as what consitutes proof that User:John Doe or John Doe? BuickCenturyDriver (Honk, contribs, odometer) 17:55, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Usually we e-mail the person using an official contact number from a pre-existing official website. So if it was an actor we would confirm it through their agent or official e-mail address. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 18:01, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Policy tweak: excretory functions

Recent conversation at RFCN has shown that there is ambiguity in the policy on excretory function. Specifically, what constitutes excretory function for the purpose of banning usernames? Urination and defacation are the obvious ones, but usernames refering to flatulence also should be blocked. However, the dictionary definition provided during the RFCN also states that breathing and sweating are excretory functions. Do we block these names too? comments please Flyguy649talkcontribs 18:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Normally I would say common sense should play into this, but it appears we need to actually specify verbatim what is allowed and what isn't allowed. Just as Poop is disallowed because of the poop joke, and just the fact that poop is what it is, farting is used in the same line. I think we just need to add farting as an example. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 18:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
We'll need specific medical references to put breathing and sweating as excretory, and I doubt that they'd be considered so in a real medical definition. Applying that 'general' dictionary definition is OR anyway, but for "fart" I found a source that explicitly called it an excretory function. Perhaps the policy should have a parenthetical list along the lines of "...excretory functions(such as poop, pee, fart, & related)..." In any case I believe I made it clear that "fart" is no good. The Behnam 19:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
So taking a dictionary definition is OR now? Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 19:10, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Not necessarily. It is just that your dictionary definition didn't define "fart" as excretory, and was so general a definition as to allow "breathing" to be considered excretory. It seems OR to take the definition of excretory and the definition of fart and put them together on account of similarities. Anyway I believe that the issue is clarified with a direct source so there is no need to argue on this point any further. Is there? The Behnam 19:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Not trying to argue it out, just trying to see how you saw reading a dictionary entry verbatim as OR, outside of the fact the words "Fart", "flatus", or "flatuence" did not specifically appear in the definition. Thanks for clarifying your position. I don't agree with it, but thank you for clarifying either way. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 19:31, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • In the history of RFCN, a trend towards increasingly stringency on usernames appears to be in progress. I'm not certain that it, or the prohibition of usernames that reference breathing or farting, furthers the goal of the encyclopedia nor "protects" it. - CHAIRBOY () 19:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Where do you get the "breathing" prohibition? Nobody has suggested that. RJASE1 Talk 19:32, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
      • Chairboy for some reason has been on the kick of taking the definition I cited and the fact that it referenced "Breathing", and has decided that if we disallow Farting, we should disallow Breathing too. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 19:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Please don't denigrate my opinion by describing it as being on a "kick", implying that I'm just out to cause trouble. The definition you provided to back up flatulence as a form of excretion applies equally as well to breathing. You acknowledged this in the specific RFCN discussion, and used 'common sense' as the rationale for why some gas is more equal than others. - CHAIRBOY () 19:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
      • Chairboy, when you look at someone using a username relating to farting, and a username relating to breathing, and a dictionary definition defines both as excreting, when applying a common sense approach to using that definition, you would find that Farting, being something that is generally not considered proper would fall under the defintition better than Breathing, which I don't know of a single group on earth that finds breathing a s improper. That is what I was hoping you'd take from it. Instead, you've decided to interpret it as breathing and farting are 100% the same, which they are not, even though the dictionary reference equates the two. That is where I find you're on a kick, sir. You have to look at the context of the term. Farting is something that is refered to as gross, disgusting, and rude. Breathing is not. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 20:02, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I'd also urge consideration of vomiting as prohibited under this definition, though it's probably not strictly considered as an 'excretory function'. RJASE1 Talk 19:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It basically comes down to considering what the ultimate goal of a username that references a bodily function many find gross, disgusting, or rude. Shock value? Vulgar comedy? I'm not sure I grasp the desire by some to be refered online in a place where they are making an intellectual contribution as "BucketOPuke" or "SirFartsAlot". Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 19:34, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Propose changing the guideline to read as follows: "Usernames that refer to or allude to reproductive or excretory functions of the body, to include flatulence and vomiting". RJASE1 Talk 19:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I like it. It allows breathing. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 19:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I disagree that the username policy needs to creep further in this direction. - CHAIRBOY () 19:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I posted a notice of this discussion at the Village Pump. RJASE1 Talk 21:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Just out of curiosity, how does this policy affect double entendres, neologisms, inside jokes, and the like? --Aarktica 22:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Part of my original concern in starting this is that there are certain types who will now try to get us to ban "breath" and "sweat" usernames, and then cite the dicdef and discussion from the User:FartyMcGee RFCN as precedent. I'd rather avoid policy creep if we can; we may be ok under the current guidelines, which state in whole:

Inflammatory usernames: Wikipedia does not allow potentially inflammatory or offensive usernames. Inflammatory usernames are needlessly discouraging to other contributors, and disrupt and distract from our task of creating an encyclopedia. This includes, but is not limited to:
[many types]
  • Usernames that refer to or allude to reproductive or excretory functions of the body.

If we look at the clause on bodily excretion in the context of the Inflammatory Usernames section, then it only seems to apply to offensive usernames involving any excretory function. Am I reading this right? Flyguy649talkcontribs 22:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

  • As much as I am loathe to point this out, determining what is 'offensive' can be rather subjective. What happens when a username is determined to be slang for an offensive term? Aarktica 22:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Depends, think of the game Craps and then discuss whether the name should be allowed. BuickCenturyDriver (Honk, contribs, odometer) 01:05, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • From reading the first few posts, it seems like you guys have a hard time deciding whether breathing and sweat are excretory funcions. I would like to clarify, unless someone else has already done so, that exhaling and sweating are and excretory function. (according to my biology teacher) My biology textbook states, "The skin excretes excess water and salts, as well as a small amount of urea, in the form of sweat. The lungs excrete carbon dioxide, a gas produced when energy is captured from compounds in foods." But does that mean that we should allow "urea" in our usernames? *shrug* Maybe we should change policy to say "reproductive or excretory functions of the body that do not involve the respiratory or exocrine systems"--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 03:01, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
    • The "breathing" and "sweating" thing was just WP:POINT a hyperbolic and illogical argument by one user. RJASE1 Talk 03:36, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
      • If you're accusing me of disrupting wikipedia to make a point, I'd like a retraction and an apology. - CHAIRBOY () 03:44, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

User:Alison just posted here that by some definitions, defecation is technically not excretion. Perhaps we should try something along the lines of Usernames that refer to or allude to reproductive or bodily functions, including defecation, urination, and vomiting. Similar to an earlier suggestion, removes the word "excretory", which caused our problem. We definitely need more discussion on this. Flyguy649talkcontribs 04:28, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Indeed. The newer suggestion definately provides a more consise definition, and prevents most toilet humor that is not appropriet for this type of community. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 14:45, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Was the spirit of the policy to stop people from creating disruption via their usernames by forcing people to type in what they considered curse-words and whatnot, creating physical discomfort because they were being essentially forced to dwell on scatological topics? Or was it to stop a fart joke? I'm thinking some variant of the former, because Farty McGee doesn't seem to be the type of username that will "bring disrepute" onto the project (to paraphrase an argument I've heard recently in this discussion) or something that will cause mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together, etc on the project. That's the username that sparked this conversation here, and I think a little perspective is needed. We're arguing about policy creep, and in an area that doesn't seem to need changing. If someone names themselves User:ShitFilledToilet, then they're zapped. But a username that makes a silly 2nd grade joke because it uses 'fart' in the name? It seems like unnecessary policy sharpening that doesn't serve the interest of the project. Either way, community consensus is what's important here, and it seems increasingly clear to me that a small, vocal group is currently best represented in this thread and, through effective communication, they have created the appearance of a widespread community consensus when I suspect that may not be true. Before the changes to WP:U proposed are made, I hope we can get some more time to widen the net to make sure that the proposed changes actually meet the wishes of the editors. - CHAIRBOY () 15:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that wider consensus should be reached before the policy is changed. RJASE1 Talk 15:15, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Chairboy, what really is the difference between having a username that uses flatulence as part of a "silly second grade joke" and putting at the end of every post on a talk page "I Farted", which is also a "silly second grade joke". It may seem silly, it may seem stupid, but as I've stated elsewhere, I have to question the motivation of a user that insists to be refered to as a mechanism of toilet humor. This is not simply about flatulence and the term 'fart', 'farting', or 'farty', in direct reference to the name that sparked this conversation, it is about outlining certain forms of humor that are not appreciated in a community where the goal is to further knowledge. Just as walking into a board meeting in a company and using a fart joke is not appropriet, using one here I feel is equally inappropriet, as well as opening pandoras box for juvenile usernames of User:IPassGas or User:IFarted. If you look at a lot of the immature vandalism that goes on, it is simply inserting things like "Poop" or "I farted" into an article. That is what I'm looking at, not that it's "A harmless 2nd grade joke" that a few people might get a chuckle out of. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 15:27, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, this changes everything. The WP:U policy is specifically about the content of the usernames themselves. If you're now arguing that you're just concerned about their motivations instead of the username itself, then you're essentially retracting your objection as it has no place in a WP:U discussion. If the user is a vandal, then they'll be reverted and blocked as necessary. Reading the motivation into the username is an exercise prone to failure at best, and in danger of punishing innocent people at worst. - CHAIRBOY () 15:36, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I was stating that I personally have to question the motivation... not that it needs to be written into policy. The rest of my argument still stands. Hope that clarifies things for you. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 15:49, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
When did farting become obscene anyways? Must depend on who you are, because farts are funny in my family. Instead of saying "Excuse me", we all just laughed. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:19, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion: "reproductive or bodily functions of the body that do not involve the respiratory, nervous, skeletal, muscular, endocrine, or exocrine systems???" Bodily functions describes a vague term.--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 22:38, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Revised version

Over a month ago a rewrite of this page was started at Wikipedia:Username policy/Draft, with the aim to clean up the page, remove redundancies, and clarify. This is not a change in actual policy, just in the wording. This has been discussed on the draft's talk page, as well as WP:LAP, WP:AN and the village pump, and is part of a general aim to keep our policies up to date and simple. If you see any problems, unclarities, or inadvertent changes, please edit the page and fix them. >Radiant< 09:46, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

  • The policy on religious usernames is particularly open to interpretation again, as it sits in the draft. I think the text of the current policy should be applied to the revised version. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 13:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Okay. Is the current version better? It feels a bit verbose. >Radiant< 13:13, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
      • Aye, thanks. It may seem a bit on the verbose side (and probably is), but that was what has been discussed. I'm up for discussing a reduction further should it be deemed neccisary. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 13:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
You need to make sure your draft reflects the current policy before replacing what we have. For example you re-added the prohibition on criminal names despite the consensus to remove it a few weeks ago. I support a re-write, but I have reverted until that re-write reflects the current set of rules. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:52, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Hmm on further ivestigation it seems that was re-added some other time, I will return the draft for now and try to figure out when that modification came in. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:53, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Scanning back over the last half year I am unable to find a version that does not contain this prohibition. That said I would not object to removing it; I have not seen it being a problem all that often. I think we have a MasterThiefGarrett somewhere, for instance. >Radiant< 13:56, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Another problem with criminal names is that what constitutes a crime in one jurisdiction may not be a crime in others. Obviously murder is murder, but smoking marijuana (for example) isn't a crime everywhere. Flyguy649talkcontribs 14:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed clause

There has been a lot of controversy over at WP:RFCN where a user name User:TortureIsWrong was allowed by consensus, however some still feel it violates the policy. I think it would be important the following (or a similar clause) to the username policy to prevent such controversies in the future.

"Usernames that are not blatantly innapropriate (I.E., would not be blocked on site if reported to WP:AIV), are subject to community review at WP:RFCN. These usernames, many of them in the "grey" area of policy, will be left to the interpretation and consensus of the community which in turn will be used to determine the appropriateness of said username and will be the final word in such decisions.

Any body strongly disagree with that wording (I am assuming alot of people will, but i feel it is important). -- Chrislk02 (Chris Kreider) 14:09, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure. I'm not at all happy that RFCN has changed from an alert noticeboard to a "votes on username appropriateness". In general clear-cut violations of UN will likely be blocked by some admin who spots them; we don't want to give trolls the idea they can appeal an obvious block to RFCN. >Radiant< 14:39, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    • I will agree with that, and I think obvious trolling should be dealt with. I also agree clear cut violations will be dealt with, which I tried to clarify in the clause. However, this is supposed to apply to usernames that are unclear. I.E., generally usernames which spend days on WP:RFCN and generaly many pages of discussion. These are the ones I am trying to clarify. -- Chrislk02 (Chris Kreider) 14:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    • One problem is that not everyone who appeals is a troll, and the past few months have shown that quite a few people were blocked for WP:U violations inappropriately. While the pendulum should never swing so far as to jump its track, the health of the project is probably best served if it swung more in the direction of assuming good faith and allowing. This is not a blanket condemnation of all username blocks, merely counsel that the project may be best served by allowing the occasional borderline case instead of possibly overreacting and blocking usernames that are not reasonably offensive. A recent RFCN discussion, for example, focussed on a username that was proposed because someone who had just watched a documentary on the Holocaust mentally projected the username as a Nazi reference. While some of the more conservative participants of the page agreed that it "sounded menacing", many others opined that it seemed to be a bit of a stretch. Another recent username that was allowed in spite of vigorous protestation from a small group of editors (and the username that sparks this discussion, I suspect) was allowed because the community interpreted the spirit of the username policy as relates to violence. The change proposed above would seem to cement the importance of community opinion on these matters, and as Wikipedia is built on the almost brownian actions of thousands of editors, this community input should receive the respect it deserves. There are area where the policy must trump opinion, such as copyright issues and other things that have legal consequences, but determining the appropriateness of 'Farty McGee' or 'TortureIsWrong' isn't one of them. If the community changes its mind, then it will be reflected by changes to the architecture of the policy framework. - CHAIRBOY () 14:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The existing policy gives clearance for debate in some areas and not others. I think it is fine as it is. We need structure or it turns into a "ilikeit" "idontlikeit" vote. Remember, RFCN is a request for comment, not a request for decision. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:52, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Again, it is not black and white. It is very rarley ilikeit or idontlike it. It is mroe often, i dont interpret this as a violation of policy. If there are many RFCNs that state, "Allow - I like it" I would be all for not allowing it. Also, I feel that current consensus over a username trumps past consensus of the policys defintion. I.E. if at the time, policy would have prevented a broad array of actions, a current consensus allows a small subset of the previously disallowed "range" of actions, the current consenus takes precedent, especially in situations where current consensus allows something that is in the smaller subset of the previous consensus. -- Chrislk02 (Chris Kreider) 14:57, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
(ec)What in the end needs to happen is that we need to decide whether we're going to interperate usernames based on the "spirit" of the policy, which is open to a far greater range of interpretations, vs. the letter of the policy, which is consise and may be interpreted, but it is much more narrow than the spirit. Otherwise, why do we have the subpoints of the policy? If we're just going to go along by spirit, perhaps the policy should be a short two-sentence policy of "usernames found objectionable by the community are not allowed, usernames that are not objectionable by the community ARE allowed." Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 14:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Again, i feel we are trying to black and white things. I am sure there are a large subset of names that everybody agrees should be disallowed. and, most of these wont be the subject of a RFCN. I think the policy is important, but perhaps needs clarification when prohibiting large subsets of things, such as reer to violence. There are many many words that may refer to violence, have other meanings, etc etc and in short, that part of the policy is open to interpretation. Where, sometimes it works well, and others it is not as clear. I think we need to make sure that the policy does not assume taht things are not al;ways black and white, however sometimes are subject to human interpretation. Otherwise, if it was all black and whtie, we could have a bot doing our username blocks. -- Chrislk02 (Chris Kreider) 15:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
If a decision is made on specific policy with an understanding that it is going against the spirit (aka, the actual wishes of) the policy, then a mistake has been made. I believe the sub-points are intended to assist in establishing a framework to make the decision, not to always be hard-points that can pierce an argument. An admin acting on his/her own should find more usefulness in the subpoints than a community discussion like RFCN, which I hope would be attempting to find the actual intention/spirit. - CHAIRBOY () 15:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
What I see here is an attempt to turn this into some sort of guideline that we can follow or not follow. It is important that this be a binding policy. What happens when somebody mentions an RFCN on ani, and 15 people who haven't even read the policy start voting? Well, either the policy discounts their votes, or for one day only we do something different at the whim of the flowing masses. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem lies in the fact that when we try to do too much open interpretation, we loose the ability to be fair and consistant. Two usernames that are similar in nature may, at this point, get different results on different days depending on who votes with that emotion. By strictly sticking to the letter of the policy, there is interpretation, but it is far more narrow and does not permit emotion-based/Spirit-based inconsistancies. Two names that contain the word torture, TortureIsWrong, and TortureIsOkaySometimes will most likely get two different results based on spirit. Doing it based off of the letter of the policy prevents the latter user from accusing anyone of POV violation, etc. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 15:44, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I've tweaked the relevant section. Does that help? Please copyed. >Radiant< 08:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The issue will be presented differently by people on the different sides of the disagreement. What I'd say, for example, is that for HighInBC, RJASE1, Cascadia, and one or two others, the policy at this page is a hard-edged matter, and their interpretation of it is simply what it says. It's to be followed inflexibly and unreflectively, and anyone who either interprets it differently or argues that it should be applied flexibly is either a troll or ignorant, and their arguments not counted. From the point of view of those on the other side of the debate, this group take a notion such as the potential to offend, and take it to mean that, if anyone is actually offended (no matter how many people say that a name isn't offensive), or even if it can be conceived that someone might be offended, the name must be disallowed. This has led to arguments such as that "TortureIsWrong" might be offensive to someone into S&M...

If anyone really argued that, because "TortureIsWrong" was allowed, "TortureIsOKSometimes" should be allowed too would be missing the point of the policy, and it would be explained to them. If they still couldn't see it — well Wikipedia is full of people who just can't see why their article on the fictional friend of the mother of a minor pop star isn't notable, or why their essay on the secret World Government of Black Jewish communist aliens isn't acceptable; we can live with it.

I'd like to see the policy drop the reference to potentiality in favour of something rather less open-ended; that might go some way to heading off some of the more bizarre arguments at RFCN. Often the first experience of Wikipedia for some editors is a baroque argument over their innocently-chosen user name, with people coming up with hitherto unthought of and often bizarre problems with it. That's not good, and I've little doubt that we've put off good editors in this way. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 08:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

And also,

It has been suggested to rename this to "account policy", since its scope is slightly broader than what its current title suggests. Thoughts please? >Radiant< 14:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

What part of this policy is unrelated to usernames? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The "using multiple accounts" section for example has not much to do with usernames. "Account policy" might be technically correct, but it also sounds kinda awkward. --Conti| 15:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, and also the parts on account sharing and account deletion. I'd be happy to consider other names. For instance, we could simply call it "user accounts". >Radiant< 15:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
User account policy? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:53, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I thought WP:SOCK dealt with the Multiple Account Policy??Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 15:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It was also partially covered here, and is being incorporated here to reduce confusion and redundancy, and make related issues more comprehensive. >Radiant< 16:01, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Are we proposing a merge into a single policy?Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 16:08, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Rewrite of the inappropriate username criteria

I was just reading through the new username criteria and I think it is much more clear now than it was before. That said, I have one concern. The rewrite contains a section that prohibits long repetitions of the same character and apparently random strings of characters, however it does not seem to contain the prohibition against extremely lengthy usernames that existed before. Was there consensus to take this out? I recently brought This username is my username and the username that I shall use (talk · contribs) to WP:RFCN as an extremely lengthy username, but then going over the policy I was unable to find that clause that existed before. --NickContact/Contribs 21:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

As the saying goes What looks good on paper doesn't always work the best in real life. I think that those working on the Draft version were looking to cut down on the clutter, they seem to have removed things that didn't need to be removed (isn't that a rewrite of policy). Not saying it was intentional, things happen. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 21:19, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
That's understandable, and as a whole the new version is much easier to navigate than before. I'd like to propose that a line reading something along the lines of "Are extremely lengthy" be added below the restriction against lengthy repetitions in the Misleading section, assuming there are no objections to this. --NickContact/Contribs 21:28, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
No objection from the peanut gallery (myself). Considering it was in the origional version before v4/2/07 came around, I don't think it needs to go to a vote or anything. Cascadia TALK| HISTORY 21:34, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I have added it back in worded the same way it was before. Another discrepancy I noticed was the lack of a section prohibiting names of Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, etc.). That section was relatively new, added in February, as an addition to the "imply official role" prohibition. --NickContact/Contribs 21:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

We also lost the prohibition on trademarks - was that intentional? RJASE1 Talk 21:42, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but it should probably be re-included. I have gone ahead and added span ids to the inappropriate username section, in order to allow the user of shortcuts again (like WP:U#Random and WP:U#Illness) that are common on WP:RFCN. If anyone should feel like it, please review the span ids I've added to make sure I chose span ids that fit the section they direct to appropriately. --NickContact/Contribs 22:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I've replaced it. >Radiant< 08:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
    • I've removed it again, on second thought. The problem is that lots and lots of things are trademarks these days. For instance, fictional characters and movie titles (both a very fertile source of usernames) tend to be trademarked by their companies. >Radiant< 09:29, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree: trademarks don't need to be forbidden. If a name is a trademark but it doesn't imply some kind of potential confusion about the user's role on Wikipedia, I don't see a problem, and I do agree that too many things are trademarked for us to need to prohibit all of them. Spirit of the law is more important here. Mangojuicetalk 20:22, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

"Can't sleep..", "_Guy," and "_on Wheels"

Okay, do we have a blacklist for these? We reached a point where otherwise reasonable names are blocked on sight because they have these words. BuickCenturyDriver (Honk, contribs, odometer) 22:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

We have, and "on wheels" is on it. I don't think the other two should be added, tho, otherwise we'll soon have every admins name on that list. --Conti| 22:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Guy can be ok. Flyguy649talkcontribs 23:56, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
There was a discussion about here!--Ed ¿Cómo estás? 00:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


Do trademark restrictions apply to entities alone or products as well, like "Buick Century"? BuickCenturyDriver (Honk, contribs, odometer) 22:50, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Under the old policy, they didn't. User:Buick Century might possibly be disallowed because that is a tradmark, but not a fan-type name like yours. RJASE1 Talk 22:52, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Hm, come to think of it, I recall several other such names (like PepsiDrinker, for instance). It seems those are in good faith and should hardly be forbidden. But by present wording of policy they are; so it would be nice to fix this wording. >Radiant< 08:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


The username policy explicitly prohibits "random" usernames, this seems vague, because any username that has no meaning (like my username) would be considered "random letters". What's the exact meaning of it and what's the rationale behind it? Wooyi 15:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, okay I got it. Thanks. Someone else has also answered it in the talk page on RFCN. Wooyi 15:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The "Inappropriate usernames" section can be ignored now.

The Fenian Swine precedent overrides the Inappropriate names section.

It appears all one has to do to use an otherwise inappropriate username is to declare one, or both, of the following:
  • The username is intended by the user to show irony.
  • The username is intended to defuse prejudice.
Since one can not judge what another intends, there's no point to even discussing how offensive a name is, once the user cites the above as their justifications for the username. patsw 02:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Keep in mind the name predated the rule against "potentially" offensive names. That being said, there is a problem with people ignoring policy using creative excuses, but that does not mean the policy can be ignored. It would be better to ignore the people ignoring the policy when it comes time to close.
I am restructuring my RFCN usage with that in mind. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 02:35, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Only prospectively, or also retroactively? -- BenTALK/HIST 07:41, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Just because a policy has exceptions doesn't mean it's not policy. >Radiant< 07:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
But if everyone claims to be an exception....? -- BenTALK/HIST 09:58, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • We prove them wrong. My point is that every policy on Wikipedia has had an exception or two in the past, that's not generally problematic. >Radiant< 10:03, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Pick two hate words from any two categories (religious, political, ethnic, etc.) and make them a username. Now give the identical arguments in that name's favor that "Fenian Swine" had. It must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not disallow any such name. The loophole has been opened wide enough for a long long convoy to pass through. -- BenTALK/HIST 10:55, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Interesting point, but a major argument for allowing Fenian's Swine's username is that he has been here since July 2005. The case would have been very different had the name been picked up in the first weeks of his editing (and incidentally, in the first weeks of his editing this rule did not exist; hence it's basically a grandfather clause). >Radiant< 11:00, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I was under the impression the name was objected to, in August 2005: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Fenian Swine. He was asked to change names then, because this name was offensive, and he simply refused. No grandfather clause then, no "old-timer" exemption. -- BenTALK/HIST 11:15, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • I stand corrected, I was unaware of that. Nevertheless it does not follow that just because we make one exception we must also make every similar exception. Another (but admittedly weak) argument for FS is that he apparently is Fenian (weak in part because everyone can make similar claims). >Radiant< 11:26, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

POV usernames

I thought the policy was explicit about disallowing usernames that strongly embrace a controversial point of view (for instance, User:OutlawAbortion, or the likes). This seems to have been lost in the recent rewriting. Mangojuicetalk 03:48, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Added a line, please copyed. >Radiant< 09:49, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Policy change on email addresses

Sorry for the foul language, but wtf. [1]. An edit summary of "see talk" and there's NOTHING on the talk page supporting this? Nardman1 04:06, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

See #Revised version. -SpuriousQ (talk) 04:11, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
As well, the draft itself Wikipedia:Username_policy/Draft and its talk page (the link was hidden next to the archive links) Shenme 04:14, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Right. Well I want to re-open the debate, because I've just noticed this. By removing things such as the mention of existing email addresses not being blocked, you've opened the gateway to block editors who've been on Wikipedia for years without problems. See Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/User_names/ There might be other things wrong with it. I'm tired and am going to bed but I want to register my strong objections. Nardman1 04:16, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Longstanding editors who existed before policy change should be grandfathered. Anyways, what's the rationale of prohibiting email address? I see lots of users exposing their email on Wikipedia. WooyiTalk, Editor review 04:41, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I will review my block of in the morning in light of this new information, but it is late here, and I have a wife to cuddle with, goodnight. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 04:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
We can fix such problems. I've added an exception note, please copyed. >Radiant< 09:47, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Multiple Language Editor

Hey I'm new to this and I'm hoping to avoid being called a 'sock puppet', I signed up to the German wikipedia project but I would also like to be able to sign in to the english site. But I find that I get an error message when trying to log in. Can I sign up to the english wikipedia project with the same user name? >PattyM< 23:42, 5 April 2007 (NZST)

Inactive User?

Having used wikipedia for a long time, I thought I'd give editing a try. I was hoping to use my first name (Rabi) as my user name, but I get a "Username entered already in use" error. The user has no User Page or Talk Page, and has zero contributions. Is there any way I can acquire this user name? 03:43, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

See WP:USURP for a relatively new procedure, for just this kind of situation. I can't seem to see when the previous user was created, so maybe it was quite a while ago? (even better for your request?) Shenme 03:50, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Grandfather policy

The grandfather policy keeps getting mentioned on the discussion page, yet it does not appear on the project page. Could someone who claims to know what the grandfather policy is get a version of it on the project page for discussion here. Is it as simple as this?

  • Every username in existence before 2005-12-08 doesn't come under this policy. patsw 23:07, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Without objection here, I have edited the project page. patsw 14:31, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

It is important to have the date there, I support that edit. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

New change to promotional policy

I just noticed a change[2], I like it. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 01:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I think it's perfectly in line with the spam policies/guidelines. RJASE1 Talk 01:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Spam usernames

John254 said in the edit summary, "Actually, we really don't like spam usernames, even if the users really are representatives of the companies for whom they are spamming". I'm not sure where this came from but it seems to me that the point is we don't like spam. If we had a User:Cocacola who was a representative of some sort of the Coca Cola company, we may at some point block him for spamming or COI violations, but we should not a priori consider that an invalid username. Thoughts? >Radiant< 08:35, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, placing the company name in your name would make every post you do an advertisement. I don't think we should allow company names at all. - This message brought to you by MegaCo (HighInBC(Need help? Ask me)) 13:20, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Likewise, every post you do is an advertisement for BC Recordings, as well as Blue Cross health insurance, and a video game :) I don't think having your name in edit logs or talk page posts counts as advertising much, although it's a novel idea. >Radiant< 13:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I suppose that is why we already have the provision "unless the name is generic and could reasonably refer to something else". It is far from a novel idea, most promotional usernames are for the purposes of advertising in one's sig. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:41, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I just hadn't heard of that one before. Perhaps you have a link to some related debate? >Radiant< 13:51, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Debate about what? The persons motives are not relevant, the fact is if your name is a company name then you are advertising every time you sign a post, if it was your plan or not. I run a small educational group, I was going to name myself after it when I joined, then I read the policy. My goal was to lead people to my site. I saw it was against the rules so I did not.
We don't allow advertising anywhere else, why would we allow it in a username? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
It's the same reason why I can't, and wouldn't, have a username of "BlueNovaTechnologies", although I am the COO of this small startup company. However, calling oneself "BlueNova" is generic enough to not = a company right off the bat. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 14:55, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree. However if a person name bluenova made an article about BlueNovaTechnologies, and linked to it from everywhere, that would increase the likelihood of it being seen as a username violation. The existing wording seems to cover this. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:57, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 15:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Good then, I am going out for espresso. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:04, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


A single editor should not have more than one account with admin powers. If you leave, come back under a new name and are nominated for adminship, it is expected that you will give up admin powers on your old account. You may do this quietly with your old account and not have to show a link between accounts.

Hey, this makes adminbots impossible. That's not good. What was the original reason for this paragraph? Maybe we can find a synthesis or compromise. --Kim Bruning 12:41, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

This excludes administrators who run adminbot accounts  ????? Ryan Postlethwaite talk/contribs 12:46, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know the origin of this phrasing, but it's been there for a long time, and there was a recent controversy when a new account was adminned without RFA, because he had an older admin accout. >Radiant< 12:53, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Why is that in this policy, anyway? Sounds like it should be at WP:SOCK... which is this policy, ok never mind. Lol. Mangojuicetalk 12:55, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I am pretty sure this is covered in WP:ADMIN where it says "Although multiple user accounts are allowed on Wikipedia in certain circumstances, only one should have administrative tools."
Every admin has to read that page, so I see no point in repeating it here. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:12, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Single purpose account

I'm concerned about the wording here, in particular: "....only exists to push a single opinion" followed by "Such accounts are not forbidden". I thought POV pushing was against our policies. Having a separate account to edit in a specific area or on a single article seems fine, but an account to expressly push a single point of view shouldn't be condones whether its a sockpuppet of not should it? This seems at odd with other policies. -- Siobhan Hansa 13:18, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

  • It is against our policy, but having such account does not violate the username policy. >Radiant< 13:29, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Well if it is against policy, but not against this policy, then why mention it here? If we are going to mention it here, why say it is not forbidden? HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:13, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems like a poor idea to have writing that could confuse users about one of our core ideals. I suggest a change from "push a single opinion" to "edit a single article or topic area". -- Siobhan Hansa 15:45, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes, this would seem to require some rewording to clear that up. >Radiant< 08:30, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

No to Merge with SPA Policy

I know that several of you are hell-bent on some kind of mass-merger campaign, both in the notability context, and it seems, here too. Well, it's not appreciated. Knock it off! The SPA designation is used all of the time in Afds, and is useful because you can cite to it and people immediately know what policy you are referring to without making them wade through the entire username policy. Please leave it just as it is. Thank you.  MortonDevonshire  Yo  · 17:48, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I've noticed some mass-merger campaigns going on... I'm not sure of the motive. It is not like it makes things easier, but fact, more difficult. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 18:00, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Whether or not mergers make things more difficult, the complaint by MD is incorrect. A shortcut or a wikilink can put the reader right into appropriate section (see, for example, WP:SOCK); no one will have to wade through the entire username policy if WP:SPA were to be changed to redirect to this policy. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:49, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, if you want a merge then you really should put merge tags on both pages so that people are aware of the proposal. Secondly, the pages don't cover similar ground. Wikipedia:Single purpose account is closer to Wikipedia:Sock puppetry than it is to the username policy. Thirdly, the former is an essay (and a fairly controversial one) and you're proposing to merge it into a policy page. Have you thought the implications of this through? --bainer (talk) 02:14, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Apparently you missed the fact that WP:SOCK is being merged here too, and WP:DOP already has been. Hence my rant below. Not that it surprises me that you missed it, considering that no one seems to use merge tags anymore. They apparently discuss changes everywhere except the pages effected then declare consensus was reached and merge away. Never mind that people who care about these pages don't necessarily read the WP:LAP talk page. For that matter, why should we be expected to?--Dycedarg ж 03:22, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Being an SPA is not a violation in policy. A merge of that is inappropriate. --badlydrawnjeff talk 18:48, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I also object to the merge, it makes no sense. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 19:26, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Indeed, being an SPA is not a violation of policy, and the merge is in no way intended to change that. Note that SPA doesn't say that either, it only says "such accounts may warrant a bit of gentle scrutiny". It would seem that most of the SPA page is redundant, however. >Radiant< 08:47, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Account stuff

I'm sorry if I missed some big talk page discussion concerning this, and if I did so feel free to point me to it so I can cross-post this, but I must ask: Why is WP:SOCK being merged here? For that matter, why is there a shortcut box preemptively claiming that WP:SOCK links to that section when it doesn't and never has? The reason I object to this merger in the strongest possible of terms is the fact that "Usernames" are not "Accounts". When I got my username change I did not delete one account and transfer all contribs to my new account. I changed my username. The account remained constant. Usernames are the tags by which accounts are identified, but they are not the account itself. No other website anywhere on the internet that I have spent any time with refers to an account as a username. Accounts are accounts, and they have usernames. Sockpuppetry in and of itself has absolutely nothing to do with them, except for the fact that the accounts have different usernames. For the same reason, I also object to WP:SPA and WP:DOP being merged here, though I'm apparently too late for the latter page. This page goes on and on about usernames and how to choose them, which ones are appropriate and which ones are not, then suddenly how to delete an account, although that kind of makes sense because it is assumed that anyone reading this policy is about to make his first account and such information is relevant to that (not to mention that section has been there a while), but then suddenly we segue into sharing accounts, multiple accounts, single-purpose accounts, doppelganger accounts, etc. Does this transition actually make sense to people? If so, why? Are we going to transition to saying "You can't use that sockpuppet like that. It's a violation of the username policy." which makes absolutely no sense? If you're going to put all the account-related rules here, then rename the page. I object to the idea either way, because you're mingling two completely different concepts for no apparent reason. WP:LAP does not apply, because before those sections were added, there was no overlap or redundancy. I would propose that if we want all the account stuff in one place, that it be put on a page devoted to such things. WP::U is not it. Sorry that this turned out longer than I intended.--Dycedarg ж 03:19, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I somehow missed all this talk too. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 03:23, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Just for my knowledge, when did it become standard practice to discuss mergers everywhere except the pages to be merged or the destination page, merge the content into the destination page, and only then mark the pages to be merged for merger? I'm sorry, but I think the content for WP:U should be decided on WT:U, since this is the page people interested in the policy are going to check. Consensus on WP:LAP, a page I hadn't even heard of before today, does not equal consensus here.--Dycedarg ж 03:44, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not standard practice. Merges should be announced on both the "from" and the "to" page. --bainer (talk) 04:01, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems what is being attempted is some kind of overarching "user account policy", but the way this is being carried out is by merging everything into the username policy, which makes no sense. By all means, create an overview page which discusses the policies, guidelines and maybe even essays which relate to user accounts, but they shouldn't all just be dumped into the one page. --bainer (talk) 04:01, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how there topics belong together. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 19:27, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I've noticed a few movements going on within Wikipedia... to kill anything perceived as bureaucracy, policy creep, etc., by those very means. People taking on WP:RFCN because it is too bureaucratic, yet discussion of a merge of non-relative policies go on off radar of those that haunt those pages, disputes over projects like WP:AMA, etc., all of which come back to a single pattern: kill bureaucracy with bureaucracy, headed by someone who has decided to act as an authoritative figure on the subject matter, and go so far as push for reforms, etc., based on I Don't Like it. </rant> But, I digress... these two polices definitely belong on separate pages to make them easily digestible and prone to being read. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 19:45, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Thebainer is correct. Note that there is a thread earlier on this page suggesting to rename this page to "User account policy". >Radiant< 08:44, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
    • That would also have been inappropriate because this page is only one of the various pages which deal with different things to do with user accounts. --bainer (talk) 09:01, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
      • One of two-and-a-half, by my count, the half being the essay, or did I miss any? Of course the rename doesn't make sense without merging those, and likewise the merge doesn't make sense without renaming the results. The general point here is that Wikipedia has too many policy pages and this is confusing to many users, hence a few people are trying to alleviate that. And of course a few other people disagree. Please tell me what would be bad about having one account policy rather than having the issue spread over several pages? >Radiant< 09:20, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
        • First of all, the username policy is long enough as it is. The probability of a new user reading a policy page decreases every time we make that page longer, and usernames don't have much to do with accounts anyway. Usernames are how accounts are identified. The account pages deal primarily with types of accounts and how they should be dealt with, which has nothing to do with usernames. Secondly, the information in WP:SPA is an essay. It doesn't have policy-level consensus, and it never has, thus merging it into a policy page is wholly inappropriate. As far as WP:DOP goes, it is rather irrelevant to new users so why should it be merged anywhere? Who's going to try to impersonate some random newbie, so why should they be bothered with making doppelganger accounts? The information on WP:DOP was useful to longtime editors, and they are they only ones to whom it was any use at all. Putting a tiny useless synopsis of it somewhere so it would be more accessible for newbies while deleting the only information it had that wasn't self-evident to the people for whom it was originally intended is nonsensical and counterproductive. I think it would be a good idea to have a page that summarizes all the other pages pertaining to the various kinds of accounts that exist and how to deal with them, but WP:SOCK, WP:DOP, and WP:SPA should exist as they are. Each section of the new page could have its nice synopsis with a link to the primary page. There's no reason I can see to redirect the pages once the synopsis page is there because the only thing you're doing that way is vastly reducing the amount of available information.--Dycedarg ж 10:18, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
When I was a new user I found the separation of the policy pages very helpful. Most websites have a 30 page "Terms of service" that is written in legalese and have everything together. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 17:58, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I've removed the merge tag because the proposed merge isn't being actively discussed anymore and not many were in favor anyways. Anyone who intends to pump more life into the discussion is free to revert me. Picaroon 16:59, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


Harassing usernames include usernames that
  • Are defamatory or insulting to other people, groups, articles or processes
  • Contain personal information about people, such as a telephone number or street address
  • Give the impression that you intend to cause trouble here, such as by alluding to hacking, spamming, trolling, or computer viruses
  • Are similar to those used by known vandals

Defamation of other people or groups might better be classified as offensive, and defamation of "articles or processes" is incomprehensible; broadcasting personal info is surely harassment, but is probably very, very rare and falls under WP:BEANS; worrying about allusions to hacking and the like is oversensitivity; and similarity to a known vandal is utterly worthless when trying to pick a name, it is directed at administrators and might be better covered under "how to block" or under the new sockpuppet stuff. In short, maybe we can move the good bits around and toss the rest. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 15:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Good points, but a few comments... Names like "(some username) is a jerk" are harassment of that (some username). Personal info issues may be rare but are very high in impact, hence their listing here. We're not particularly worried about hacking issues but will nevertheless block any user who is a self-proclaimed spammer or troll; and indeed the "known vandal" bit is aimed at admins, but does belong here since it's an invalid username. >Radiant< 15:09, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Cool. In general, I see this as having (at least) two somewhat divergent purposes: suggestions to people who are creating accounts in good faith, and suggestions to administrators. As to personal info, I would ask two questions:
  1. Are we worried that, in absence of this line, a user might choose, in good faith, to reveal someone's personal info in their username!?
  2. Are we worried that, in absence of this line, administrators would not block such a username on sight?
Regards, --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 15:26, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:U is defined to prevent confusion as much as possible. If a provision is in WP:U, I would have to take that as there has been an issue with that in the past, and by having it expressly outlined in WP:U, it prevents confusion. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 15:31, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  • (1) no. (2) yes, and (3) it serves to avert wikilawyering. WP:BEANS is not such a big deal for things that everybody can do (unlike, say, writing how to crash Wikipedia). >Radiant< 15:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh, from experience, I doubt this is how it went. I would say that more likely it never came up, but some well-meaning soul decided to be proactive; or else, it came up once or twice, the course of action was obvious, and there was no confusion, and no wiki-lawyering, but some well-meaning soul decided to add it anyway. If anyone knows differently, let us know, though. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 15:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  • That is moslty correct (it did come up a few times, actually), but I don't see why that is a problem. >Radiant< 15:53, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  • It would depend what actually happened. Generally, WP:U should not try to list all types of invalid usernames. It's a potentially infinite list, and making it longer does not avert Wikilawyering at all, and probably increases it. Having come up once or twice is not by itself grounds for inclusion. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 17:52, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Character cutoff

This has probably been suggested before, and this probably wouldn't be the place to suggest it, but seeing as how we have a rule against "extremely lengthly" usernames, is there any way at all to create a built-in limit on the number of characters allowed when creating a new account? For example, if someone attempted to use the account name "ThisIsIncrediblyLongAndObviouslyIllegal", it would either be truncated to "ThisIsIncrediblyLongAndO" (24 characters or something around there) or just refused straight off the bat. It seems as though this would prevent a lot of work and confusion for admins and new members, and might get us more people to stay. I'm afraid that an immediate block for long names might deter new users who want to contribute. Ideas? Hersfold (talk/work) 01:25, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, there is. See WP:BUG and ask the developers. >Radiant< 08:12, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
THought that might be it. Thanks. :-) Hersfold (talk/work) 14:10, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

The bugzilla guys came back rather quickly on this - apparently there is a very easy way to enforce this, we just add the code .{24,} to the page MediaWiki:Usernameblacklist, and voilá, nobody can create a name longer than 24 characters. (Source) The question now is, should we do this? Policy is supposed to reflect concensus, and the policy says that long usernames aren't allowed, but I don't think we've ever actually set a specific number that is "too long". Now would probably be a very good time for such a poll. Hersfold (talk/work) 19:41, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

It looks like previous consensus was to leave it vague and up to the discretion of blocking admins. There's no way of knowing if this blacklist will affect existing users such as yourself, anyway... so maybe it's best to leave it off for now. Sorry to those who do edit with long names, Abu-Fool in particular. :-) Hersfold (talk/work) 21:52, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, there is a way of knowing whether or not the blacklist affects current users. And the answer is no it does not.--Dycedarg ж 05:23, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Username disambiguation

moved from WP:U --MaxSem 06:58, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Where has this stuff come from? I personally find them really annoying-and it does feel like they are squatting an unused account space. I'd rather encourage people not to use redirects etc in the userspace. Secretlondon 06:53, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I clearly need more coffee. *blush* Secretlondon 07:29, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the assumption is that if other users mispell your name as something often enough to warrant your creating a redirect, that mispelling is close enough to your name that no one could register it anyway without breaking the rules against having a name similar to someone else's. I've mostly seen it used for capitalization issues anyway.--Dycedarg ж 16:44, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


Geez, I thought we were done with this. It is sufficient to talk about impersonation or promotion of company names. There are no intellectual property issues. We asked Wikimedia counsel, nobody cared. See here. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 18:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

That does not look like a consensus to remove the rule, it looks like there is disagreement there. I think it is an important rule and it should stand until there is a consensus to remove it. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 13:43, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Ryan, reading it, doesn't it look like we asked Wikimedia counsel, and nobody cares? I mean, they didn't come up with this one, and if they're the least bit interested in having it, they've had an awfully long time to tell us so. I think this means appeal to Wikimedia is exhausted. And honestly, we can't keep saying "it should be a rule because it was a rule" in the face of heavy opposition.
So! Be it resolved:
  1. There are no trademark issues.
  2. It is enough to refer to impersonation or promotion of companies.
  3. Nuclear power in Canada is Clean and Safe.
  4. Dan is a stubborn old Fool.
--Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 15:21, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I strongly support removing the trademark restriction. In any case, usernames can't usually be trademarks, since trademarks include very specific font, color, layout, and often, images. There is no legal issue to someone using a trademark as their username: it's not a form of competition. As for a trademark making it look like an official account, if it does, they're already blockable, and if it doesn't, what's the problem? I can't imagine User:CountChocula being really mistaken for an official account of General Mills, for instance, nor can I think of any other reason to disallow the name. Some trademark names may be bad, but many others aren't. I'm removing the restriction from the guideline: this has now been discussed (and was also discussed above in a previous section): at this point, the restriction needs to be discussed before it goes back in, not the other way around. Mangojuicetalk 15:36, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
So names like "Mickey Mouse" or "Exxon McDisney" would be okay because they don't seem to represent the companies themselves? What about the use of words that were invented by a company and then protected like "Segway" or "Google"? I am not dead set against the removal of the rule, but I do see its value, and I don't really see a former consensus, the discussion just petered off. The problem as I see it, is that somebody can use a trademark in their name and act like and ass, we block them but the damage to the name is already done. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:58, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
That being said, I am fine with the rule being removed now that there is a discussion on the talk page happening and opinions are being tossed about in a healthy fashion. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 16:02, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
IMO, the real username policy is against certain overarching types of usernames: misleading/confusing, harassing, or offensive. There are good reasons for each of those. This restriction fell under the "misleading" part, but I can't see how these names could actually be misleading. And for ordinary trademarks, there would be no legal issue to their use: see, for instance, United States trademark law and Trademark. It's hard for me to imagine a username that might actually create a legal problem for the foundation. Even "Mickey Mouse" (the most difficult example I could think of) would be okay. Of course, if Disney actually complained about such a user, the situation might become different... but I'd be surprised if Disney wanted to wrangle with Wikipedia over a username and not, say, over our gazillions of fair use images. Mangojuicetalk 16:22, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Your point about damage to the trademark is interesting.. but I figure, if it's not a big deal thing, we can just remove the user's talk page contributions, and if it's a really big deal thing, there's always Wikipedia:Oversight. Mangojuicetalk 16:22, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
So your point is that if someone registers the name Captain America and acts like an ass, it has tarnished the name of Captain America in the eyes of the people dealing with the user and this damages Marvel's holdings? I can't see why that would happen. People are not so easily influenced as all that, and I can't see their opinion of the product, service, character, or whatever represented by a trademark being altered by anything a user bearing that trademark as his username could do. Would you seriously even consider changing search engines solely because User:TheGoogle called you something profane or vandalized your user page? I can't see at all why this sort of thing would cause even remotely enough damage to warrant having the rule.--Dycedarg ж 17:57, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Keep in mind, by the way, that comic characters like Captain America and Mickey Mouse aren't just trademarks, they are also protected under copyright. But that doesn't mean people can't pretend to be Captain America, it means they can't try to sell new stories about Captain America. Mangojuicetalk 20:21, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
As it says on facebook's username policy: "Dude, everyone knows that you aren't Paris Hilton". Maybe there is no harm in doing it, but a good amount of users with copyrighted names end up spamming. Perhaps we should take it on a case-by-case basis and give people the benefit of the doubt. Take, for example, Sony trademark vs dell trademark (talk · contribs), a newbie whose name I put into WP:RFCN (he was amenable to the idea). I wanted to check what others feel about this gray area and I don't want him to have to change his username unless consensus is in favor of changing it. I think it would be a good idea to use this RFCN as a precedent for such a name. Let me know what you think --Valley2city₪‽ 20:40, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Well as far as I understand it, I don't think there are any realistic legal reasons to restrict the use of trademarks in usernames per se. However, usernames which are defamatory towards a particular company / trademark could be an issue, but these are already not allowed by other policies. The only problem that I have with the use of trademarks in usernames is the potential that, in some cases, it could appear that the edit was coming from some kind of official source, which could be misleading. As such, I would hesitate to allow usernames along the line of User:Google but I can't see any issues with names like User:I like google which couldn't really be misinterpreted as the user having an affiliation with the trademark. Will (aka Wimt) 21:26, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
User:Google matches the name of a well-known company or group, and would still be disallowed. This is only about trademarks that aren't the names of companies, and thus can't be mistaken as being official.--Dycedarg ж 03:12, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I've just renamed User:TheGoogle as User:HighInBC (who has a very annoying userpage) decided to block them over it. I've renamed them but I'm not very happy that they were blocked over it as I don't see this stuff as clear cut. I'm horrified that some people seem to block first and ask questions later. Blocking is appropriate for obscenities etc but not for things like this. Secretlondon 21:17, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I actually see where HighInBC was coming from when he blocked this, it seams to imply that the account had an official role with google, it might be an idea taking it up with him. Ryan Postlethwaite 21:24, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
The user claims it's mocking George Bush. If google were to have a wikipedia account it would at least be grammatical. My real concern is the WP:BITE elements of blocking to enforce non-clearcut policy. Some people are far too keen on the block button.. Secretlondon 21:30, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I certainly agree we should discuss non blatant names first (with the user and then at RFCN if needs be), but without endorsing the block, I can see where High was coming from. Ryan Postlethwaite 21:52, 25 April 2007 (UTC)


Recently User:Jimbo3374 was blocked because his name is too similar to User:Jimbo Wales. This seems a little harsh, lets WP:AGF, do we really want to prevent anyone else called Jimbo from having a username similar to their own name? LukeSurl t c 13:25, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Why don't you take it up with the blocking administrator? The policy is up for interpretation but I don't think it would stop names like Jimbo3371, the admin is User:Wafulz. Ryan Postlethwaite 13:30, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
AGF is not the issue. Taking the name of the only person who does not need consensus to act unilaterally here is bound to cause confusion amongst our less experienced editors. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:14, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, the old "there are others like it" argument. Well I don't hold too strong an opinion on the matter, but I do think the names are problematic. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:21, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we should be blocking usernames that include "Jimbo" except if they look like they could be legitimately confused with the real Jimbo Wales. However, if anyone pretends to be Jimbo, they should be stopped from doing that. Someone who pretends to be Jimbo, if their username helps them, we should block the name. Mangojuicetalk 14:42, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
We've recently renamed a User:Jjimbo too. He'd been told by someone to change his name. Secretlondon 14:52, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that one I think was more sensible: at a glance, it looks just like plain "Jimbo". Mangojuicetalk 16:54, 24 April 2007 (UTC)