Wikipedia talk:Username policy

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WT:UAA archives:

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Dubious info re. Deleting, merging accounts, right to disappear and vanishing.[edit]

  • The policy makes the claim that "It is not possible to delete user accounts, as all contributions must be assigned to some identifier; either a username or an IP address." It's certainly misleading. I've come across accounts that appear to have been deleted. I see "User account "<name>" is not registered." here. But the editor has surviving contributions.
  • The policy also makes the claim that "Editors seeking privacy per WP:Courtesy vanishing / right to vanish can usually have their accounts renamed and their user pages (and in exceptional cases user talk pages) deleted." IIRC, recent bureaucrat discussions indicate we don't allow this any more. What gives? Shouldn't the policy be honest? --Elvey(tc) 21:41, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
That account wasn't deleted, it was renamed. –xenotalk 21:47, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes, I see that, but it wasn't renamed in the normal sense. A normal rename leaves far more footprints, no? No sign of a rename at The user page is a redlink. The talk page was deleted and not fully restored. How often did this kind of rename happen, say, last month? If stopped happening after SUL, I'm not troubled by it.
  • And there's the vanishing issue, which IIRC, you're quite aware of. --Elvey(tc) 01:19, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

"Official" accounts representing individuals as opposed to groups[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was that there appears to be a clear consensus in against presumed or automatic blocking of user names for "official" individual names. Continued reporting at UAA, however, and individual consideration also appears to have consensus. (non-admin closure) Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 19:59, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

We seem to have an ongoing issue with certain types of names being reported at WP:UAA. They generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Some random non-notable persons name paired with "official" or "productions"
  • Some non-notable YouTube channel or blog name

These are reported as being promotional usernames, both by the bot and by users. They are usually tagged as promotional usernames. The current wording of WP:CORPNAME does not appear to support blocking these names as they represent individuals, not organizations. Yes, they are usually engaging in editing that is not desirable, such as creating social media style "profile" user pages or trying to write an article on their personal YouTube channel. But is it the editing or the username that administrators should be concerned with? Can we, as a matter of policy, block these names? If we can, should we? If we cannot or should not should we actively discourage users from reporting these names? 21:57, 4 December 2016 (UTC)


  • Please note that what is being looked for here is an open discussion of these issues, there's no need for bolded !vote statements at this time as there is no specific proposal and I don't think we need one, I am just not aware of this specific issue being discussed in the past and it has become an "all day, every day" thing at UAA.
In my experience, these users usually make their page, either a WP:VSCA userpage or a lame article on their terrible YouTube channel/blog/vlog/etc with ten followers, the page gets speedy deleted, they get told why it was deleted, and that's that. In some rare cases they persist, at which point they can be blocked for spamming anyway, rendering the username issue moot. (In the case of the bot I believe it should continue to report these as it is unable to determine a context and it does find a decent number of CORPNAME violations, I'm more concerned about having specific guidance for human editors on this issue). Beeblebrox (talk) 21:57, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Mwa. The CORPNAME-guide reads "Usernames that unambiguously represent the name of a company, group, institution or product [...]". I believe that in case of the blogs and youtube channels, at least, a strong case could be made for it being the representation of a product/group (technically, 'brand' would be the closest fit, but that's not in the letter of the rules), presuming the broad sense of the word product is used. In regards to the personal names + productions/official/etc., it becomes a bit more case-to-case depending on exactly what they're promoting/how their name is used outside the wiki environment. (E.g. 'Calvin Klein Official' = blatant vio of letter and spirit of the rules. 'Random Dude Official' where Random Dude is also the name of [his solo music project/the thingamajigs he's selling through ebay/his blog] = vio of spirit of the rules and a good case could be made for letter of the rules. 'My Name Official' where the main thing being promoted is Book I Wrote or whatever and 'My Name' isn't basically used as brand gets a lot more iffy under the current rules, though.
So basically, I'd say that as things stand, one-(wo)man vlog/blog/youtube projects under the username of their project do count as a blatant vio but it wouldn't hurt to add 'brand' to the CORPNAME policy if there's consensus for it. One-(wo)man projects under the username of the involved person depend on whether their name is also (significant part of) their project's names, at least as far as current policy goes. AddWittyNameHere (talk) 22:20, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
What I've been seeing mostly with he "official" pages is that a large portion of them represent an individual promoting themselves, as if this were a social media website, and is if there is some possibility that there could be a fake page about some non-notable person you never heard of out there, so they're making sure you now this one's the real deal. It's extremely silly, but seems to fall more under WP:REALNAME. The YouTube type names are bit less clear cut in my mind. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:27, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Ah, stuff that's mostly along the same lines as adding 'The REAL' in front of the username. No, I don't really think the current policy does cover those cases. If anything, they'd fall under 'misguiding' in that it suggests some kind of official-ness that doesn't quite exist (outside the user's mind, anyway), but I suspect reporting with a reasoning along the lines of 'Misguiding username: user pretends to be notable enough there may be unofficial accounts with their name floating around' won't fly. AddWittyNameHere (talk) 22:33, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I was hoping more than one other user would have something to say about this.... Beeblebrox (talk) 21:05, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Examples needed. In my opinion if someone does something where we need to bother if they're official or not, they fall under the REALNAME section of the policy. Let's take some examples from at the time this RfC was started.[1][2] Usernames like "Fred Official", "Som official", "Bob official" (there's quite a few more) I really don't have a problem with. Barack Obama (official) I would. Someone with "Productions" in their name fails the group name and promotional parts of the policy. More tricky is where someone uses their Youtube name. In some more famous cases I would have an issue with it. If it's just someone boring then I won't. For example, zzuuzz could also be my Youtube channel and you'd never know, or if you did you might not care. Or my username could also be and that's within policy. I can understand why "official" usernames are reported, especially by the UAA bot, but I think most can normally be dismissed. -- zzuuzz (talk) 21:32, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
  • From a few months of observations over at ANI, UAA, and related noticeboards, it appears as though most of these "official" accounts are only here to promote themselves or whatever they're representing, but are dealt with in a manner similar to SPAs or COI editors, which are discouraged, but not expressly forbidden. I think looking in that particular direction may be helpful in resolving the issue.
If accounts that expressly belong to one person but represent their own interests are banned, however, I think that you'd have to unilaterally apply it to each and any person who does paid editing/raises concerns about content on behalf of the subject (like edit requests), which is perhaps a step too far. Obviously, the extent to which they represent themselves is a factor here (like having a neutrally worded COI disclosure vs blatant PR fluff & legal threats), but username bans solely for this reason is, in my opinion, not covered by precedent or current community policy. No comment on whether or not they should be reported, since i don't think the same goes for SPAs, but does for COI editors. Zupotachyon (talkcontribs) Ping me with {{SUBST:reply to|Zupotachyon}} 16:41, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I would support blocking because they are obviously no here to contribute to the encyclopedia, and are more interested in promoting themselves. Ramaksoud2000 (Talk to me) 20:56, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I would WP:AGF and not block over username alone, but watch them more vigilantly for self-promotional editing. -- King of ♠ 04:24, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The 10-subscriber-youtube-channel ones would be unlikely to be anyone else, but some may not be so obvious. At the other extreme would be something like DonaldTrumpOfficial or MerylStreepOfficial. While they may be the individual themself editing, it's more likely to be someone representing them. Even the "nobodies" may have hired a freelancer to promote them, "officially". As this means these kinds of account have a reasonable likeliness of not belonging to a specific individual, or being subject to WP:IMPERSONATE, I think there is good enough reason to not allow this kind of name. There's also the point mentioned by AddWittyNameHere, where people seeing these names may infer something incorrect, such as that there is some kind of "verified" official account system, or that people are using these "official"-style names to avoid confusion with imposters, which may lead people to believe that this is a good idea to follow... Yeryry (talk) 16:09, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Non-script characters in usernames (not in signatures)[edit]

That is some sort of following to a discussion at WP:RFCUN, see here (the last one). It was decided there that a certain username, composed of a single Unicode character "☈", should not be allowed.

I feel that a clarification of policy is needed, be it to allow or forbid nonscript Unicode in usernames. The outcome at that thread was fairly consensual, and arguments could apply to pretty much any other username that includes non-script characters; but a good deal of them also work for script non-Latin characters, which are currently allowed per policy in usernames. DocTree said they were preparing an RfC on the subject but I do not see it. WP:CANVASS disclosure: I will not ping the 10+ others from the RFCUN thread for now, but will do so if the discussion here develops beyond someone pointing me to a relevant past discussion that settled the issue.

In my opinion, the only restriction difference between usernames with nonscript characters and usernames with nonlatin script characters should be the technical restrictions. I see a few arguments of accessibility, for example MOS:ACCESS concerns that all users should be able to easily read others' UN, or concerns that a username should be easily typed (I assume for the purpose of pinging), but these arguments apply equally well to nonlatin scripts read or typed by en-keyboard users (or the other way around, but this is en-wikipedia). The only argument for differentiation that in my view can hold water is that of lookalike symbols

Also, I think "nonlatin" should be clarified somewhere to "any character outside Basic_Latin_(Unicode_block)" since that is the lowest common denominator of en-keyboards, so diacritics (à, É), ligatures (ß), and others from Latin_script#As_used_by_various_languages should be treated the same way as katakana. Of course, for a native English speaker, it is easier to imagine on the fly an English pronounciation for Søren or Étienne than for כהן (Cohen) or 김 (Kim), but that is a matter for the signature; if you have to copy the username to ping because there is a character that you cannot reproduce, it does not matter if it is close to a basic Latin symbol.

Any thoughts? Any former threads that I should be aware of? TigraanClick here to contact me 13:15, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

Banning "non-script characters", OK, but I don't think it would be at all acceptable to prevent an editor who is not a native English speaker from using his or her real name, or some other name that has meaning for him or her, just because it contains a letter that is not used in English. As for banning non-Latin script, what would we do about editors who mainly edit on other Wikipedias? Would we require them to have a separate account for editing on English Wikipedia? We used to have separate accounts for different projects, but we have moved on to having unified accounts, and the various disadvantages of moving back would outweigh the advantages. I do agree that non-Latin-alphabet names are somewhat more difficult to follow for editors who are familiar only with the Latin alphabet, but personally I don't find it a major problem. If I see an editor taking part in a discussion and signing "כהן" I can just think of it as "the editor with a that Hebrew name", or in the case of an alphabet that I don't recognise "that editor with the funny squiggly user name". Certainly more cumbersome than a name which I can actually read, but not a major problem and neither serious enough or common enough to justify the disadvantages that would be produced. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 10:00, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Broadly agree that disallowing all non-Latin/English characters is not a good idea as we would be preventing people from using their real names, presented in the way that they were given. Our tireless username patrollers are fairly good at detecting and translating it when someone tries to slip an actual username violation in in a foreign script. On the other hand, there is no such cost to preventing emojis or unicode characters, they are not anyone's name and I believe not all browsers render them properly. Most do, but we need to be cognizant of the fact that some users are using older machines and sftware and we still want them to participate and know who it is they are speaking to. The one recent case we've had of this was an admin seemingly doing it as a test case. (The only other case I can recall was User:Δ, but I don't think we should look there for precedent as there was a lot of other baggage/drama involved and as I recall discussions were as much about the user themselves as their name.) Beeblebrox (talk) 08:15, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Unless there are particular reasons local to the English Wikipedia for banning certain names, I'd rather see it done globally on Meta to help avoid situations where a username that's usable on one wiki isn't on another. Anomie 21:10, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
That's a good point, anyone care to open a discussion at meta? Beeblebrox (talk) 01:02, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: I'd be willing to, but I'll leave it to User:Anomie for now to avoid potentially duplicating the discussion at meta (in case Anomie decides to make one soon). If not, I'd be happy to. --JustBerry (talk) 01:08, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
@JustBerry: Go ahead. To clarify: I don't see much point in blocking emoji usernames, but if people want it done I'd rather it be done at Meta. Anomie 01:10, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: @Anomie: Yes check.svg Done here. Feel free to make modifications to or propose modifications for the RfC filing. --JustBerry (talk) 01:46, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Update: RfC now reflects here under the subsection 'Open RfCs' also. --JustBerry (talk) 02:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I would say disallowing non-script characters, which those on older computers may not be able to render, is fine. However, disallowing all non-Latin/English characters may be a stretch, as such a policy would unfairly force users of other wikis to chose a name in English on the meta level (even if they do not contribute to the English Wikipedia) or may discourage meta users from contributing to the English Wikipedia if they had to manage multiple accounts (or ruin the purpose of a unified login system). In an age of copy and paste, it's not all that difficult (or time consuming for that matter) to copy the username of a user from their signature (or user talk page title) and paste it, for instance, into the ping template's parameter when replying to that user's message. --JustBerry (talk) 21:37, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I also think this should be done globally if at all, although I also think it shouldn't be done. BethNaught (talk) 18:55, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Merge WT:UAA here?[edit]

  YesY Merger complete. Wikipedia talk:Usernames for administrator attention

This may seem a little nuts, given the long history of that page, but I think it might be for the best for the following reasons:

  • The two pages are obviously closely related and anyone with an interest in UAA is also likely to be keeping an eye on this page as well.
  • But if they are not it would be a simple thing to add some sort of notification to UAA and WP:UAAI as well.
  • The main UAA page is busy all day, every day. Reporting users, reviewing admins, and the helperbot make for a basically never ending flurry of activity. Because talk pages cannot be watchlisted separately from the pages they are attached to, this makes it difficult to get much. input on that talk page.
  • Links to the UAA talk archives can easily be added here so that all past discussions are also accessible from one place.

Thoughts? Beeblebrox (talk) 03:53, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

A good point and one I think equally applicable to the talk pages of other high-use boards, like WT:AIV and WT:RPP. Narrowly construed, these should be only for discussing improvements to the *** page, for example "it should have a purple background" or "new posts should be at the bottom/top"; but in practice most of the entries fall outside these limits and are either policy-related discussions that belong better on WT:Username policy, WT:Vandalism or WT:Protection policy, or they are misplaced reports or discussions of particular cases that should probably be raised with particular editors or on an admin noticeboard: Noyster (talk), 13:40, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Now that I look at it the same applies to Wikipedia talk:Requests for comment/User names. It hasn't had any substantive discussion of the process itself in years, just side conversations about username issues that could be handled here, and nothing at all for over two years.. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:55, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Makes sense to me. Beeblebrox makes a good point. -- Alexf(talk) 13:41, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Makes sense. All the CHU venue talk pages (there used to be more than 2...) are merged to WT:CHU, for example. –xenotalk 13:58, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Go for it. – Juliancolton | Talk 17:26, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Doing.... Beeblebrox (talk) 00:29, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Aaand Yes check.svg Done Beeblebrox (talk) 00:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Need a quick close[edit]


There is a discussion at WP:RFC/N with an obvious consensus, it just needs an uninvolved admin to close it and act on the result. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:22, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

@Beeblebrox: With a solid consensus like that, I think you can apply WP:IAR and close it yourself. Linguisttalk|contribs 19:45, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Meh. The editor in question isn't editing much right now, with just two edits in the last four days (and both of those to WP:RFC/NAME). I don't think there's any rush. I think Beeblebrox's move here is the right one. If the account begins being disruptive, ok. Until then, carefully following WP:INVOLVED is very likely to stir up less problems. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:53, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
If I had just commented I think I'd be ok closing it, but given that I opened the discussion it's probably better if someone else does it. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:12, 25 January 2017 (UTC)


If a user registers a username that appears to be a "fan" of a topic, but then uses it to "cleanup" through deletion and disruption (and claims that people who comment on their changes on the topic articles are "fanboys" -- leading to a "misleading" indication by username that this user is a fan but is not actually so by comments written), is this a misleading or disruptive username, or does it fall outside that clause? -- (talk) 06:12, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

In my opinion, that is not a username issue. We shouldn't be in the business of fact checking the accuracy of what are essentially subjective claims within a username. If there are behavior issues related to the disruptive editing, those can be handled independently of username policy. -- Ed (Edgar181) 13:25, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
No, that does not fit the definitions given at Wikipedia:Username policy#Misleading usernames or Wikipedia:Username policy#Disruptive or offensive usernames. Anomie 13:54, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The only fit I could see is WP:DISRUPTNAME #3, but the only way to prove that the username is trolling is if the user is already doing disruptive deletions or the like; and then, that is already a behavioral block. TigraanClick here to contact me 13:57, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Can we talk about the UAA|a response to UAA reports?[edit]

This guy: Only edits are to AfC submissions, Draft articles, or the sandbox. Please discuss this with the user first and re-report if necessary.

This is an exemption to the username policy that doesn't actually exist. It was made up by an admin who used to be very active here and just kind fo crept in to the process. The one time it was seriously discussed is here, where a consensus was arrived at that it was not a valid exemption, but no actual action came from that. However, it does seem to have fallen out of favor and isn't really used anymore. I'd like to have this option removed from ResponseHelper as an invalid an mostly unused response, but have been asked to provide a more recent consensus not to use it first. Thoughts? Beeblebrox (talk) 21:26, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Given the prior RfC that concluded it was not a valid exemption, it should have been removed as an option then. Or, if the timing was that it was added after the RfC, it should have been removed when it was added. The age of a consensus decision does not change its validity. It only informs that consensus might have changed to support something. Until a new consensus is confirmed that invalidates the older consensus, the older consensus remains perfectly valid. The option should be removed. If people want to have it restored, they should seek consensus to do so. We should not be inverting this such that it remains until we get a more recent consensus that confirms the older consensus. We can't work that way. Consensus stands. For what its worth, if I were asked today; no it's not a valid exemption. I've also seen UAA patrollers who reject a report of a username such as "Widgets, Inc." with "user hasn't edited yet". Alternatively, "user hasn't been warned yet". Neither is a valid exemption either, yet you see it even so. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:21, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
This is n't really the subject under discussion, but actually, the policy explicitly says "except in extreme cases, it is probably not worth taking action unless the user has made at least one recent edit", and WP:UAAI has also advised against reporting users with no recent edits since 2009. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:15, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify; Yes, I know. The point is that "extreme cases" in this case are of the structure Widgets, Inc.. Blatant cases of corporate names are routinely blocked without any warnings or even any edits. Not performing edits or having been warned is not a valid exception from that. Recent example; User:VaultTechnologiesLtd. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove exemption. Consensus exists to remove it. Admins should use discretion when applying the policy; they may choose to exempt specific accounts temporarily if they don't want to WP:BITE, but the exemption shouldn't be the default course of action. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 11:51, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove hard exemption and rely on administrator discretion. — Train2104 (t • c) 18:07, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove little to no reason for it. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 18:57, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove exemption and leave it up to the admin's discretion. Herostratus (talk) 22:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Deleting users[edit]

I see that the policy states that it is not currently possible to delete user accounts. However, Special:Version shows that the UserMerge extension is enabled on Wikipedia. This extension allows authorized users to merge user accounts into a default technical account and then delete the original account. Currently, it appears that no user groups have the 'usermerge' permission on Wikipedia, which is required for the extension to work. Here is what I propose:

  • Assign the appropriate permission to the bureaucrat group, or only to Jimbo Wales and global Stewards. Local administrators should not have the ability.
  • Create the default technical account, but the username should be blocked and hidden from the public by an oversighter. At the discretion of a steward, it can also be globally locked to prevent access.
  • Draft a policy regarding use of the extension. There should be a set of regulations regarding use of the tool.
  • Update the appropriate subsection.

If deleting accounts is not something that Wikipedia wants to do, I would suggest removing the extension. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

  • A couple things:
  • This doesn't really pertain to the username policy per se and I would suggest that if you want to have a serious discussion about this that arrives at an actionable consensus, you should open a formal WP:RFC at WP:VPP or some other appropriate venue
  • I would guess that the reason this is there is just in case the back office needs to use it for legal reasons and it probably isn't intended to ever be used by the volunteer community
  • Deleting accounts is a perrenial proposal that has been repeatedly rejected, you might want to read up on why if you plan to pursue this further.

Hope that helps. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:18, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Looking through the configuration history, it appears that UserMerge was enabled on enwiki (and other non-WikiVoyage wikis) per phab:T70844, which says that it's only enabled because GlobalUserMerge needed to reuse some of its code (and GlobalUserMerge was needed during the SUL finalization so stewards could fix peoples' accounts). Anomie 21:50, 29 January 2017 (UTC)


I was reading Samtar's admin request and he received a question asking if he would block a username saying "Alt-right supporter". Samtar, now an administrator, said that this username would be considered "disruptive or offensive". Is a username mentioning support for the alt-right blockable? CatcherStorm talk 16:10, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

To me, yes. Any support of hate groups is, and trying not to get political here, but "Alt-Right" is their cutesy name for White Supremacists. -- Alexf(talk) 16:18, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Advocacy of any political position in a username is inherintly divisive. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:36, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

user:Vote again to coincide with the general election.[edit]

Vote again to coincide with the general election. (talk · contribs) - What would you say about this kind of user names? Does our policy discourage the ilk? Staszek Lem (talk) 00:36, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Meh. There might be a case based on username length, but I do not see that as political advocacy. I am not even sure what it means (is it an encouragement to vote at the next election? a suprise that voting coincides with election?) TigraanClick here to contact me 08:36, 22 February 2017 (UTC)