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Proposal:Require all new user Accounts to start as anonymous

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Currently we allow new user accounts to take pretty much any unused name that isn't offensive or promotional. I propose we amend that to exclude names of real people.


Change the naming policy, and the new account creation screen accordingly. And add a routine to compare possible new names against lists of real names (and offensive words).


  • We get a steady stream of attack accounts created in real people's names which then create a user page attacking the person in whose name they have opened that account. As an admin on EN wiki I've deleted dozens of such userpages and blocked quite a few such attack accounts. If we stop cyber bullies from showing their victims, and their victims friends what their victim has purportedly said about themselves on Wikipedia, we make the world a nicer and safer place.
  • Many accounts created in people's realnames are genuine good accounts, but the user may not realise the implications at the time on having their name associated on the internet with their edits. Especially as a future employer might not ask or understand that your edits to a controversial subject or person were merely vandal reversion.
  • Some of our editors are young, (and many are very young). It would help protect our younger editors especially the pre teen ones if we insisted on pseudonyms when people create accounts. I'm not an oversighter, but I've made quite a few referrals to oversight where children have disclosed personal information about themselves, and it would be easier to resolve this by discouraging such disclosures.

Key Questions

  • Should we also allow experienced longterm users to rename themselves as their real name when they've been here long enough to understand the risks?

Potential Costs

  • Minor software costs, but probably a net saving of resource over all.


See also

Community Discussion

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