Wikipedia talk:Username policy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peacedove.svg The project page associated with this talk page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. Please review policy editing recommendations before making any substantive change to this page. Always remember to keep cool when editing, and don't panic.


RfC: Is it time to relax a bit on WP:NOSHARE?[edit]

The outcome of the RfC was this edit to the policy per the rationale here which noted that the edit is subject to revert per WP:BRD and a formal RfC.

Cunard (talk) 04:11, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

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

As is well known, our rules are supposed to codify existing practice. The existing practice for WP:NOSHARE seems somewhat up in the air, and I'm wondering if the community wants codify this, or double down on the old practice, or what. Therefore I'm raising the a proposal for a change. This is an advisory RfC in that I don't have a strong opinion either way, I am just wanting to gauge the current state of community opinion on a rule that probably was written some time ago, and may have drifted from current practice. WP:NOSHARE currently reads:

Any user account should represent an individual and not a group (and an individual should normally only have one user account; see next section). Sharing an account – or the password to an account – with others is not permitted, and evidence of doing so will result in the account being blocked. For accounts being used to represent a group or organization, see Promotional names and Usernames implying shared use above.
Exceptions to this rule can be made for non-editing accounts approved to provide email access, accounts approved by the Wikimedia Foundation (see list), and bot accounts that are maintained by more than one contributor, provided the existence of such an arrangement is made clear and has consensus.

Here is the proposed change, based on what may be new practice. I've bolded the changes just to highlight them for this RfC, I'm not proposing that they actually be bolded in the text of the rule.

Any user account should represent an individual and not a group (and an individual should normally only have one user account; see next section). Sharing an account – or the password to an account – with others is not permitted, and evidence of doing so may will result in the user being asked to stop the practice and change their password, or in sanctions (up to and including the account being blocked), depending on circumstances. For accounts being used to represent a group or organization, see Promotional names and Usernames implying shared use above.
Exceptions to this rule can be made for non-editing accounts approved to provide email access, accounts approved by the Wikimedia Foundation (see list), and bot accounts that are maintained by more than one contributor, provided the existence of such an arrangement is made clear and has consensus.

Herostratus (talk) 01:02, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • Neutral. I'm not an admin, a WMF person, or a copyright maven, so not sure I'm qualified to weigh in. Herostratus (talk) 01:02, 29 April 2016 (UTC) Changing to support on these grounds: 1) I guess I'm convinced that its not a copyright issue, and if its not a copyright issue, its not necessarily that big a deal. 2) and Floquenbeam's story about the married couple about made me we weep, and 3) in cases of honest mistake there's no reason to have to be so draconian, I guess, besides which 4) this describes the actual practice anyway, and rules are supposed to describe actual practice. Herostratus (talk) 16:13, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose any relaxation. However, I do have a change to suggest. See below for comments. BethNaught (talk) 11:05, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. Maybe people who share an account don't know that it's against the policy. An "only warning" should be given before any shared account is blocked. epicgenius (talk) 14:03, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose This policy as is has served us well for years. I see no reason to change it, particularly not in response to a single event of no real significance. We can always unblock if they can prove they are in sole ownership of the account, and any admin has the discretion to not block in any circumstances anyway. In addition to concerns about who is responsible for the account, we also have the issue of who their edits are attributed to. I am not sure how this effects our license. HighInBC 14:46, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Of course. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:53, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, we should reserve immediate blocking for serious crimes. If a shared account demonstrably causes no harm, we should be able to let these people do what they do. Aren't there other Wikipedias that encourage shared/role accounts? —Kusma (t·c) 18:37, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

N.B. it was as this point that I changed "may" to "will" per suggestion.


  • Support. Were it up to me, I would go a step further and abolish NOSHARE entirely per Floquenbeam's analogy to shared IPs: there's more accountability and continuity of identity with a shared account than a shared IP address and absolutely no legitimate reason for forbidding them that wouldn't apply with equal force to IPs, which we do allow.  Rebbing  12:44, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose One person only on each account. Full stop. This isn't about enforcement. I don't want to even think about the entangled mass we'd have to deal with if a shared account started going off the rails. Further, I fail to see what benefit allowing shared accounts brings to the project. Lastly, the copyright issue is real. Complex and real. This proposal muddies an already unclear picture and makes things worse, not better. Lastly, what problem is this intended to solve? --Hammersoft (talk) 16:28, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per Floquenbeam and Rebbing (I would also abolish the policy completely). I strongly disagree that it "has served us well for years" – on the contrary, we don't know how much damage it has caused, as it falls in line with several "You have been indefinitely blocked according to rule No. 19815" WP:BITEy WP:ABF policies and practices which created our reputation of an unwelcoming place. Herostratus's examples below only scratch the surface, and I do remember seeing myself several well-meaning role accounts indef-blocked over the years. No such user (talk) 09:08, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose The proposed new wording is imprecise and internally inconsistent (we can't merely "ask" editors to do something and then block them if they don't do so, or apply wildly different sanctions for the same behaviour), and the one-person-one-account policy works fine. It's not like it costs money or is difficult to establish unique accounts! Nick-D (talk) 10:10, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
You're right about the "asked" bit, I addressed that in a comment below. As to the rest, the proposition is not to allow share accounts -- they would still be forbidden, and sharing stopped when detected -- but just how draconian the response should be when they are detected, particularly in cases of innocent error. Herostratus (talk) 00:43, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
  • strong support per Floq. We should encourage people not to share accounts, but we should not force people. We really, really shouldn't be blocking people for this without evidence of both (a) it being a problem and (b) the account owners refusing to stop the problematic behaviour. Thryduulf (talk) 09:44, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - this issue on its own does not really require immediate no-questions-asked blocking. Such heavy handed approach on good-intentioned users will most likely just result some potentially productive editors leaving for good.--Staberinde (talk) 15:59, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: When I wrote "asked to stop the practice" I of course meant "required to stop the practice. "Asked to" is a polite way of saying "required to" in many instances of civil discourse; it's the equivalent of "may I please" in "May I please see your license and registration", if you see what I mean. Of course I didn't mean "asked" in the sense of "asked to, with an acceptable response being 'no, I'd rather not'". I think everyone understands this, and I call upon the person closing the RfC, if they consider the proposition to be accepted, to change "asked" to "required", and I believe that no people who have commented to this point would consider this a substantive change rather than appropriate firming up of the wording. Herostratus (talk) 00:38, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Neutral I'm still not sure why an account would need to be shared for any reason, but I also am not sure how shared accounts harm the encyclopedia (they normally don't). Music1201 talk 04:02, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per Floquenbeam. PaleAqua (talk) 18:52, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Mlpearc (open channel) 19:06, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - This is entirely sensible, and should give admins necessary flexibility. A reflexive, instantaneous perma-block is a heavy-handed measure that is not always called for. Oftentimes a friendly welcome message explaining Wiki's policy and asking the users to create separate accounts will go much further. I'm thinking of the well-meaning museum staffer, historical society volunteer, etc.—these people should be welcomed and informed, not harshly dealt with. Neutralitytalk 15:10, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support allowing for a warning first, and blocking if they don't respond. In fact that is my practice. Personally I have never insta-blocked anyone for this. I HAVE posted individualized explanations like this, and I think that is the preferable approach. If they don't respond after a few days, I block them then (although often I find someone else has already blocked and templated them because that's what the policy says to do). --MelanieN (talk) 23:24, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Extended discussion[edit]

I don't know as we need a "Support" vs "Oppose" type of discussion here, as there are various other wordings (probably better than mine) that could be proposed, and so we could talk about that. Anyway, the point is, the current wording imposes a straitjacket on the admin corps: "will result in the account being blocked" is a direct prescription for a single action, blocking the person, which is pretty harsh.

The admin corps, understandably, does not like being straitjacketed, so they are probably not going to be. So the new wording has two possible merits (as I see it):

  1. on the merits, the admins should not be straitjacketed to be forced to block people in all circumstances, including innocent error, and
  2. they're probably not going to anyway, so might as well change to rule to follow actual human nature and practice

The argument against of the proposed change is probably something along the lines of: multiple users using a single account and pretending to be one person is a nightmare on several levels, and needs to be dealt with extremely harshly in all circumstances -- most particularly because it completely screws up the copyright status of the contributed material and so pollutes downstream use; how bad this is depends on how seriously you take copyright issues that, to be honest, are mainly theoretical. It also makes it hard to communicate when you don't know which person you're talking too. And there are other reasons. I guess the question is, how big a deal is really, if there's no intent to cause problems? Can we not give an innocent offender a break, here? Herostratus (talk) 01:24, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

There's also the downside of discretion, of course, such that it might devolve such that fellow admins or wikifriends would be allowed to share their account and others not. (Sharing an admin account is another problematic thing, now that I think of it). Herostratus (talk) 01:50, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Recall that we allow IPs to edit most pages without restriction, and we have no idea who is using an IP, if they remain the same person, or how many people are using it: Noyster (talk), 07:10, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
  • First, about straightjacketing. No admin is required to do any admin action. However, with hundreds of active admins, surely one will be found who is willing to block a shared account. (Example: me.) Therefore I do not see the current wording as inconsistent.
  • Second, about whether we should block shared accounts. Yes. Depending on the context it may present various problems, including copyright. Note that although IP users are non uniquely identified, they implicitly agree to this because of the "Warning: edits will be logged under your IP address" banner. Now: there is no legitimate reason, according to either the current or proposed policy, to share an account used for editing. To prevent policy violations the account should be blocked. This does not mean that the people using it cannot continue to edit. This leads me on to my
  • Third point. If all users of a shared account are behaving themselves, then any block should not prevent account creation, in order that non-shared accounts may be created. We already block accounts with e.g. corporate usernames and ask them nicely to register a new name because the old one isn't allowed. The block template used for that is very friendly and polite. Why can't we do the same here? BethNaught (talk) 11:05, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

First, I can't resist saying what I've said elsewhere: there is really no copyright-related reason for prohibiting shared accounts, that's a red herring. There's not really any reason to share an account, either, and I suppose I can understand behavioral concerns (don't necessarily agree, but I understand). But seeing that even the completely common sense change proposed by Herostratus is being opposed (we immediately block shared accounts because... well, because we immediately block shared accounts), it seems this is just another example of Wikipedia's love of the idea of Enforcement. The good news is that what Herostratus proposes is what sensible admins will do anyway. But treating people, especially newbies, with a modicum of respect shouldn't be technically against policy. Herstratus, if you change "may result in..." to "will result in...", you might gain more support from those who think this practice must not be allowed at all costs. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:48, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

(continuing rant) I've run into this myself twice:
  • Once, many years ago, it was an old married couple who were causing no problems - who were just writing, helping, editing in peace - but made the mistake of saying in passing that they were sharing their account. They were immediately indef blocked, and when they said on their talk page they had been married 50 years and shared everything and didn't want separate ones, it was not looked upon as a harmless endearing quirk, instead it was explained to them in no uncertain terms that if they didn't want to get separate accounts they weren't welcome here. I suggested they just say they weren't going to share it anymore, but they didn't want to lie. They stopped editing, and the article they were working on has lain dormant ever since, so I'm sure they didn't follow the command to get separate accounts. I was pretty new at the time and lacked any mojo, so my complaints about this fell on deaf ears. It was a long time ago, but the insight it gave me about the strong tendency to Enforce made quite a lasting impression on me, as you can probably tell by the strength of feeling that is undoubtedly leaking into my writing.
  • Last week, when a relatively new account (who appeared to be productive, though it wasn't my subject area) was instablocked when someone noticed the user page said it was shared. pace Beth, there was no "friendly template", no statement that they were free to create new accounts, just the typical "you have been blocked indefinitely..." template we leave on vandal's talk pages. When I modified the block to allow account recreation, and left a message on the user talk page saying they were welcome to create new accounts, the blocking admin accused me of "getting on my high horse".
It doesn't bother me too much that this rule exists, there are a lot of rules I think are pointless. But I don't understand why it has to be worded to so directly cater to the Enforcement wing of the admin corps. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:14, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
"pace Beth"? I don't understand. Wiktionary didn't help either. BethNaught (talk) 18:23, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
It's me being too fancy. I guess I should have italicized it (or, better, not used it). --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:28, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Template? BethNaught (talk) 18:45, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
@User:Floquenbeam... that's odd, about "Last week, when a relatively new account (who appeared to be productive, though it wasn't my subject area) was instablocked when someone noticed the user page said it was shared" because around the same time I brought an identical situation to ANI, and the admins were all "why are you even bothering us with this?" and allowed the guy to just agree to stop doing it and change his password -- which might be reasonable.
As to the copyright thing, it says right below (emphasis added)
By clicking the "Save page" button, you agree to the Terms of Use and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL with the understanding that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient for CC BY-SA 3.0 attribution.
And while I recognize this is meaningless argle-bargle in reality, in theory the work remains under copyright, just also available for anyone to use (with attribution required, in theory). And copyright has to devolve to a person or an organization, it cannot devolved to an account. And if we can only trace it back to an account and not an individual, the situation is muddied. I mean, in theory the owner of the account could make a userpage saying "My name is Joe Smith of Akron Ohio", and then a person who made a contribution under the account who is not Joe Smith could claim he's not getting proper attribution. Or whatever. But of course in real life this is not going to happen, true. But people at the WMF may care about arcane stuff like this -- they can get super noodgey about copyright at the WMF, is all I'm saying. Herostratus (talk) 19:21, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Explain how it is meaningless? The point is that we want to make a free encyclopaedia. For it to be free, we need it to be copyright-watertight. Just because fangirls on Tumblr can get away with shit doesn't mean we can do it. Also if someone writes a serious article, say GA quality, and then claims that they aren't being attributed properly - eg their account partner is stealing their credit - that could cause significant problems. BethNaught (talk) 19:27, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
@Herostratus and BethNaught: This is off topic, but: The terms of use Herostratus cites aren't incompatible with a shared account, any more than they are incompatible with editing from a shared IP address. In practice or in theory. Every copyright-related concern I've ever seen would, if true, forbid edits from IP addresses. And I note that all this concern about licensing is thrown out the window if the WMF approves the use of a shared account (which they have done in the past). It's not a copyright issue, it's a social construct. If we choose to have this rule, we should be honest and say we're doing it because we want to, not because licensing issues have forced us into it.
If you want individual credit for your GA article or other work, don't share an account. Just like: If you want individual credit for your GA article or other work, don't edit from a shared IP address. I'm not forcing anyone to share an account - I doubt more than 0.001% of people would ever want to, as there's no real benefit. I'm saying it's crazy the way we react when we find an account that's been shared, and the copyright rationale we use to forbid it is spoken out of rote, because we're told that so often, but is really an "Emperor has no clothes" kind of thing. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:56, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Fair point, but I was also questioning Herostratus's general attitude to copyright on Wikipedia. From their comments it appears they think we should allow ourselves some laxity in ensuring correct copyright and licensing information. Free licensing is not "meaningless argle-bargle". BethNaught (talk) 20:05, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Herostratus, to your other point: The reason this was handled differently than the case from last week I mention is that two reasonable admins, User:Liz and User:SQL, got to it first. Wikipedia is only one full moon away from anarchy most of the time, so you never know how something is going to be handled, and it strongly depends who gets to it first. Also, the account that was blocked was new, so it had less mojo. I would imagine if you re-ran this scenario 10 times, Groundhog Day-like, Doctor Papa Whatever would have been indefblocked by a passing admin 7 out of 10 times, the new account 9 out of 10 times. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:17, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, first, I should acknowledge that I didn't stumble upon Jonas' user page, the fact that he stated that he allowed his account to be used by a few friends (how often? how long ago? we don't know) was publicized at Wikipediocracy so I think this particular situation was bound to get a lot of attention especially given the animosity some editors have towards Jonas.
My thinking in this situation was,
  • a) I was surprised that Jonas stated this sharing openly. If someone admits a problem they didn't know was a big deal, it's a matter of education and letting them know that it is a problem and the behavior must be stopped. It is much more complicated when shared use is just suspected and one has to search for evidence, accuse an editor of hiding this fact and prove one's case.
  • b) blocks are preventative not punitive. The goal is for Jonas (or any editor) not to have shared use of their account. So, they change this behavior and we can either accept that they are being truthful (which I did because Jonas was open about the previous shared use) or one can keep watch on an editors' contributions to see if they were lying and, personally, I don't like to spend my time editing on Wikipedia monitoring editors for misconduct that might never happen. If Jonas had said he would not change his behavior and would continue to share his account, this would warrant a block.
  • c) somehow this shared use of an account got all mixed up with editors' opinions of the articles Jonas edits and views of different political opinions he has expressed which they take issue with. But I don't remember any diffs being offered that demonstrated additional misconduct, it's just that editors accused him of being pro-Nazi and who is going to defend a Nazi? The situation became emotional and soon got completely off-topic. This prevented a discussion of how Wikipedia should handle shared use of computers in the future which this conversation tries to address.
I know that there are admins who think misconduct should be slapped down, and swiftly, but I strongly prefer the spirit of policy over wikilawyering. I think we block too frequently and I think there is a strong possibility that we lose editors who are the lifeblood of the project. I'm not talking about vandalism, I'm referring to otherwise productive editors who make mistakes. We all have made mistakes and if we expect perfection from editors, well, we might as well hang a Yes check.svg Done sign on the main page and close the project. Liz Read! Talk! 21:19, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, really, if the rule is that "it strongly depends who gets to it first", then I guess we should say that:
Sharing an account – or the password to an account – with others is not permitted, and evidence of doing so will result in some random thing happening depending on who spies it first"
That is not my idea of a good rule normally, but it that is the actual truth of the matter, the rule should say so.
As to the copyright stuff, hell no, I personally take if very seriously indeed. I'm just trying to be agreeable. User:Floquenbeam said it's not a problem, and fine, maybe its not if he says so. I raised this question in a hair-on-fire manner about corporate accounts, on the grounds that the material is work done for hire and the copyright resides with the hiring person (unless the contract specifies otherwise, which such contracts never do), not the person pressing the "Save" button, even though it says "By clicking the 'Save page' button, you agree to the Terms of Use...."; the point being that the person clicking "Save" cannot agree to the terms because she doesn't own the copyright, and it is very very unlikely that hiring person has agreed even verbally, let alone in writing, to release the copyright, which he probably believes he still holds with full rights. I was told, by copyright mavens: Christ, stop whining about this, nobody cares about technicalities like that. So I dunno. It's above my pay grade. Its a WMF-level issue I guess. For my part I would consider it a problem, though. Herostratus (talk) 01:13, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I came across the issue from AN/I - and again made the decision not to block the editor (and agreeing with @Liz:, I closed the discussion). The policy is normally to block the accounts on sight, but in this case, it did not seem to be something that would make the encyclopedia better. As Liz said - the user in question was up front about the sharing - and once they became aware of the rules - they promptly promised that they had remedied the situation. Having no reason to believe that the user was lying - I saw no reason to block. Shortly thereafter I received a threatening message on my talkpage regarding the whole thing. SQLQuery me! 01:23, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
@SQL: I was surprised to see that the incivility on your talk page didn't draw a block, especially as it came from someone who seems to believe quite passionately that sysops ought to dispense blocks generously and without prior warning. I don't have a stake in the matter, and I'm not familiar with the two players from the ANI thread—just making an observation.  Rebbing  12:52, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the attribution issue: two years ago when this was discussed, the Wikimedia Foundation legal department gave their opinion that the prohibition on role accounts was not necessary to satisfy the attribution requirements of Wikipedia's licenses. isaacl (talk) 04:32, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes but that says "institutional accounts can receive and give proper attribution under the GFDL". There's a huge difference between "Exxon-Mobile, Inc." and "The British Museum" on the one hand, and "anybody that comes through my flat since I leave my computer logged in to Wikipedia" on the other. AFAIK the latter group of people cannot hold a copyright as a collective entity, the former can. Herostratus (talk) 03:39, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Endgame[edit]

I (purposely, but perhaps mistakenly) didn't frame this as a formal RfC, so no one is going to come along to close it. And it's died out. So let's see where we stand. Here's how I'd close it if I were closing.

Looking at headcount, we have 9 Support against 5 Oppose (and one neutral). That is 64% in favor of the change. That's a reasonable quorum and just on the edge, or over the edge, of a supermajority. One more vote for or less against and we would have supermajority.

As to strength of argument, I'm not going to say and I can't say. But I will make the following observations:

  1. Given the overall gestalt of the situation -- with 9 Support (some of them admins), and the history of the how this has been handled in the past -- it seems clear even if we don't change the wording, some admins are going to "vote with their feet" and decline to block people who have innocently and harmlessly broken this rule, per WP:ANI or their interpretation of WP:ANI.
  2. And having a rule in place that is not going to be followed is a bad thing. Our rules are supposed to codify actual practice. You can argue that what this rule says should be actual practice, but what I'm saying is, it's not, and it isn't going to be (see #1 above).
  3. And WP:NOTBURO is a very important rule. We don't have a bunch of stupid rules lying around that we don't really follow (or at any rate, we shouldn't). That is a recipe for unfairness.

Given all this, and since this (informal) "RfC" isn't going to be closed, and speaking as someone who sees both sides of the issue (although I did change from Neutral to Support, eventually), I see my way clear to adding the proposed change.

This is of course subject to revert per WP:BRD, and if someone reading the results differently wants to do that, that's fine, and we can then have a formal RfC. Herostratus (talk) 18:08, 5 July 2016 (UTC)


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

Bizarre[edit]

Bizarre how much spam this page gets... It's almost as if they're trying to draw attention to themselves. Intelligentsium 20:50, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

I wondered at this as well. What makes them think a page dealing with username policy is an advantageous place to advertise?  Rebbing  21:22, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with your "one person, one account" policy[edit]

You claim that, "Sharing an account – or the password to an account – with others is not permitted, and evidence of doing so will result in the account being blocked."

I disagree with that; I think my user account should be open to all. I am for a democratic Wikipedia, that is why I will share my password with anyone and every one. Wikipedia should be free, and so should my user account. My password is "password". 70.128.113.22 (talk) 21:20, 6 May 2016 (UTC)

Legally it is not allowed, because of our content license's attribution rules. Plus, it would allow for easy evasion of blocks or other sanctions. So we're not changing this anytime soon. You may disagree with the policy, but if you choose to do so, you may not edit Wikipedia, which constitutes agreement with the policy. Sorry.--Jasper Deng (talk) 21:24, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
@Jasper Deng: How does our copyright license forbid shared-use while allowing shared IPs? This seems like a false argument. I also fail to see how this has anything to do with sockpuppetry.  Rebbing  23:43, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I thought it was pretty clear why. How do we attribute the author if multiple people use a given account? Also, any sockpuppeteer could just login using the account to evade a block or other sanction. For shared IP's, I believe that it is far from an ideal situation, and that everyone should have their own account in a perfect world, but don't count me on that.--Jasper Deng (talk) 00:16, 7 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, how do we attribute the author if multiple people use the same IP? It might not be ideal, but it is legal. Unlike the case with a shared IP—which won't be going away anytime soon—shared accounts are done by the consent of their users. If a shared IP user can be forced to share attribution with others, there is no legal reason why people cannot willingly choose to do so. Legally, the license only requires that the relevant usernames or IP addresses be attributed, not that they be linked to specific individuals. I think Floquenbeam explained the legal ramifications of this better than I am.
I'm still not understanding your point about sockpuppets. As it is, a user can sockpuppet by making another account, correct? This is only about admitted shared use; this policy does nothing to stop undeclared sharing.
Anyway, an account can be blocked as a sockpuppet whether or not it admits to being shared. Similarly, if I'm blocked, and my little sister creates an account and starts editing from our home network, she could be blocked as my sockpuppet even though she's a separate person using a separate account; a separate person using the same account would be blocked even faster.  Rebbing  01:20, 7 May 2016 (UTC)
Re-read the sockpuppetry policy. Using another person's account, or using any alternate account in general, for bad-faith purposes, is sockpuppetry. Giving out the password amounts to giving sockpuppeteers a free account to use, bypassing account creation-enabled blocks on IPs. It's as simple as that. As for attribution, well, just because shared IP's attribute edits to shared users doesn't mean it's technically admissible under CC BY-SA 3.0. Technically speaking, page revisions which include copyvios from non-free sources aren't eligible to be under CC BY-SA 3.0 but are still often available in our page history, but that doesn't make it technically permissible to do so.--Jasper Deng (talk) 08:08, 7 May 2016 (UTC)

Question about blocked user[edit]

I just saw that a user with the name User:Can'tTrustHillary was blocked with reference to this policy. What was the rationale – "referencing controversies"/"imply personal attacks" because of the obvious allusion to HRC? Frankly, it appears a bit excessive to me to block a user immediately because of such a username. (And I'm rather pro-HRC and have never encountered the user before; I realise I might well be defending a person with rather nasty attitudes here.) It's a borderline case at best, IMHO. Now I don't find political opinions particularly appropriate for Wikipedia usernames, either, but still not worthy of an immediate block. I just wouldn't feel comfortable with the decision, myself. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:06, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Please see WP:ATTACKNAME. The username violates both the second and third bullet points of that section. It's a very clear case. --Hammersoft (talk) 01:36, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, I didn't think of the third point. I suspect my problem is my tendency to interpret the username as a mere statement of opinion in good faith (one that I'm even inclined to half agree with), not trolling. (But then, I guess I feel I can't trust any politician, especially one in her league, so in my case the statement is actually rather pointless.) Though I agree it's still distracting and inappropriate as a username on Wikipedia, and I guess I'm just naive and it was meant to stir controversy. Thanks. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:47, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • There's a distinction in the phrasing where it says "seem" instead of "are". We don't try to guess the intent of the person making the username, but rather take the view that if it reasonably could be concluded that it seems to be that way, we take action. Regardless, as you note, the username has no place on Wikipedia. We're not here to make clear our opinions on various topics in the real world. We're here to write an encyclopedia. If we assume good faith, that the person is simply saying they don't trust Hillary, the username is still inappropriate as it does not track with our purpose here. See also item 1 of WP:SOAPBOX. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:46, 12 July 2016 (UTC)