See also Wikipedia:How to log in and Wikipedia:Changing username

When you create a new account, so you can log in, one of the things you'll have to do is pick a username. This page gives some advice on this.

What are usernames used for?

Your user name will be attached to all your edits (while logged in). This is partly for reasons of accountability. It's also helpful from a copyright perspective: if someone wants to use your contributions in a way not allowed under the Wikipedia copyright, they can ask you on your talk page, for example. Also, the GFDL encourages giving appropriate credit to authors, and your username is used to give that credit.

It's possible to change your username, see Wikipedia:Changing username.

Choosing a username

The best username, from our perspective, is typically either your real name, or a longstanding internet pen name. Please pick a username that helps us to write an encyclopedia. That means picking a name that you're comfortable writing under, but it also means picking a name that others are comfortable seeing and collaborating with.

Remember when using a username that a controversial name that may colour other users' perspective on your own credibility or political vewpoint. In addition remember that wikipedia is a world-wide source book and so take care in selecting a name to avoid anything that might potentially cause offence to someone from a different culture, religious or ethnic group.

Wikipedia recommends that users avoid

  1. Names of twentieth or twenty-first century politicians, military or religious figures or events;
  2. Any other names that may be seen as potentially offensive, or endorsing the politics, policies or beliefs of a public figure.
  3. Historic names (19th century or earlier) may of course be used but the less controversial the better.

People should be able to judge you purely on your contributions, not an emotional response to a potentially controversial nickname. Avoiding an offensive or insensitive name is in your own interest. So do please be careful. Remember you are working as part of a community. Show everyone else the respect for their beliefs that you expect them to show to you.

No deliberately confusing usernames

Wikipedia does not allow usernames designed to cause confusion with a currently active contributor. If someone else is using a nickname that you wish to use, please consider using your real name or an alternative pseudonym instead. In the unlikely event that someone else is editing Wikipedia with your real name, please add a middle name or some other way of distinguishing between you and the existing contributor.

No inflammatory usernames

Wikipedia does not allow inflammatory user names. This includes offensive names--those with vulgarity, vulgar or overtly explicit terms (see Avoid profanity), designed to cause notice or otherwise provide a disruption. Usernames that are offensive to people are needlessly discouraging to other contributors, and distracting from the task of creating an encyclopedia. If enough people find the name offensive, a developer may change it. If somebody has taken offense at your username, consider switching to a different one before things reach this stage - it will save a lot of argument.

The primary purpose of user names is to identify and distinguish contributors. This facilitates communication and record-keeping. The user name is not a forum to be offensive or make a statement. No one has a right to any particular user name. While colorful, interesting, or expressive names may add to the pleasure of Wikipedia, they are not essential. This might include legitimate names and long-established internet pseudonyms that can be misconstrued.

Fairly or unfairly, the line between acceptable and unacceptable user names is drawn by the people who are offended, not by the creator of the name. If someone complains about your user name, please consider changing it, in the spirit of wikipedia. If enough people complain about your user name (through talk pages or the mailing lists or Meta-Wikipedia), the administrators will change it. Neither complaints, nor name changes should be arbitrary, but user names that are offensive to a significant number of people will be changed, not without notice, but without appeal.

Changing username

Users may change their username voluntarily, or a change may be forced in accordance with the above policy.

For more general policy and guideline issues see Policies and guidelines.