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. Essentially, try to choose a neutral username with which you'll be happy, and which will not cause offense or unnecessary confusion.

See also: Wikiversity:Why create an account and Wikiversity:Changing username.

What usernames are for

A user name is used to credit you with each edit you make. This is partly for copyright purposes and partly for accountability. Some other reasons can be found at Wikiversity:Why create an account.

Choosing a username

The best username is typically your real name, a longstanding Internet pen name, or a new username that you use only for Wikiversity or Wikimedia projects, depending on how much of your anonymity you want to preserve while editing. Usernames are case sensitive. If you choose a username where the first character is a letter it will be capitalized when your account is created. This means that if you choose "john smith", the account created will be "John smith". If you want your username to be consistently capitalized remember to use capitalization for each part, like "John Smith".

Please pick a username that is helpful in a world-wide learning environment. That means picking a name that is appropriate for all ages, you are comfortable writing under, and are comfortable being associated with. Remember that a controversial name, while fun, may color other users' perception of you. People should be able to judge you purely on your contributions, not an emotional response to a potentially controversial nickname. Avoiding such names 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 yours.

Using real names

If you choose to use your real name you should be aware that this can lead to harassment outside of Wikiversity. Some people have ended up switching from their real name to a pseudonym and perhaps regret not using an untraceable pseudonym from the start. If you choose not to use your real name, you are welcome to use a name-like pseudonym instead.

If you wish to use your real name, but it appears that it might violate any of the rules on inappropriate usernames, please contact a custodian. A mutually acceptable solution can very likely be found.

Inappropriate usernames

Inappropriate usernames include both clear and masked names. Fairly or unfairly, the line between acceptable and unacceptable user names is drawn by those who find the username inappropriate, not by the creator of the name. Please don't try to find this line.

Wikiversity does not allow certain types of usernames, including the following:

Confusing, misleading, or troublesome usernames:

  • Names that can be confused with other contributors. (If someone else is using a nickname that you wish to use, please consider using either an alternative pseudonym or your real name instead, or simply do not use a nickname. In the unlikely event that someone else is editing Wikiversity with your real name, please add a middle name or initial or some other way of distinguishing between you and the existing contributor)
  • Names that include commonly used Wikimedia software or Wikiversity community terms, or imply an official position on Wikiversity. Prohibited username components include, but are not limited to words resembling the following:
    • "Custodian","Administrator", "Admin", "System operator", "Sysop", "Moderator", or any other name which implies an official role or role greater than that of a standard user.
    • "Rollback" or "Revert", "Edit war", "POV", etc.
    • "Delete", "Upload", "Pagemove", "Redirect", or other editing processes or abstractions
    • "Vandal", "Hacker", "Spammer", "Troll", or other names that may give the impression that you intend to cause trouble
    • "Bot", "Robot", "Script", "Initialize", "Automated", "Daemon", etc., unless the name is intended as a designated bot account. Names that imply bot accounts may be blocked, and the user may be requested to contact an administrator to confirm that the account is indeed a bot account.
    • Any visible toolbar buttons, namespaces, or other technical terms which may be confusing to inexperienced users or otherwise imply a capacity different than that of a normal user.
  • Also, beware that the letters capital i and lower case L, and the numeral 1 look exactly the same (I/l/1) in certain fonts, as do upper/lower case O and the numeral 0 (O/o/0). This should be taken into account, and creative use of one in place of the other (I where L would be expected and vice versa) is discouraged, given its past misuse, an infamous example of which can be read about here.

Names of well-known living or recently deceased people (e.g. Chuck Norris, Ken Lay) unless you are that person. If you are, say so on your user page.

  • Names that are extremely lengthy (usually over 40 characters) or contain a long sequence of characters without spaces

Inflammatory usernames: Wikiversity does not allow potentially inflammatory or offensive user names. Inflammatory usernames are needlessly discouraging to other contributors, and disrupt and distract from our task of creating an effective learning environment. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Names that promote or imply hatred or violence
  • Names that are recognized as slurs or insults
  • Names that refer to symbols of hatred, including historical figures or events that are widely associated with such
  • Names that refer to or imply sexual acts or genitalia, including slang, innuendo, and double entendre
  • Names that refer to or allude to reproductive or excretory functions of the body
  • Names that promote or refer to violent or otherwise illegal real-world actions (e.g terrorism, organized crime)
  • Names mentioning or referring to illnesses, disabilities, or conditions (e.g. AIDS, Amputation, Asperger syndrome, etc.)
  • Names that contain profanity, obscenities, or other potentially offensive language (including non-English profanities)
  • Names of religious figures such as "God", "Jehovah", "Buddha", or "Allah", which may offend other people's beliefs
  • Names that promote a controversial or potentially inflammatory point of view
  • Misspellings, or spellings of any of the types of names above with "cr34+1v3 sub5717u710nz" (creative substitutions)

Harassing or defamatory usernames: Harassment and defamation in any form is inappropriate at Wikiversity; your username is not an exception. In particular, your username is not a vehicle to attack other users with whom you have a disagreement. Your username should not be used to insult or mock other users, usernames, articles, or actions. Additionally, a username should not be used to defame other people, companies or groups, regardless of whether they edit Wikiversity. Nor should usernames divulge the personal information of other users. This can include parts of a name formatted similarly to a telephone number, social security number, or street address.

Usernames that closely resemble any used by notorious vandals: Any usernames that are similar to those that have been used in the past by vandals will likely be blocked on sight. Generally, such names are difficult to choose accidentally.

Usernames intended for spamming or advertisement: Accounts with usernames that advertise a particular website, company, etc. (e.g. "visit [name of url]" ) are discouraged and may be blocked.

E-mail addresses: Using your e-mail address as your username is not a good idea. FDL'ed Wikimedia Foundation project content is extensively copied and the sites themselves are some of the most visited sites in the world. Any edit you make on a Wikimedia Foundation project will have your username attached to it, and using your email address will make you a tempting target for email spam. Additionally, usernames containing "____@wikiversity.org", etc. are blocked on sight, as such a name may misleadingly imply that a user is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation. There is no official policy regarding whether to block non-"wikiversity" email addresses, so it is left to the discretion of the blocking admin.

Trademarked names: Trademarked names, especially sports teams like the Miami Heat, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the New York Yankees (whether it's whole or just the team) should not be used in a username.


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


Through the Preferences, one can choose a nickname used in signatures, independent of the actual username (connected to a User: page). In general, the same rules apply for signatures as for usernames. A signature should not be misleading.

For more information on signatures, read the official guideline at Wikiversity:Sign your posts on talk pages.

Changing inappropriate usernames

If enough people complain about your username (through talk pages or email) the bureaucrats will change it. Neither complaints nor name changes should be arbitrary, but usernames that are offensive to a significant number of people will be changed, not without notice, but without appeal.

Co-operative contributors should normally just be made aware of our policy via a post on their talk page. Voluntary changes (via Wikiversity:Changing username) are preferred: users from other countries and/or age groups may make mistakes about choosing names -- immediate blocking or listing on RfC could scare off new users acting in good faith.

Where a change must be forced, we first discuss it. This can take place on either (A) the user's talk page, (B) a subpage of the user's talk page, or (C) a sub page of Wikiversity:Community review. It should be listed on Wikiversity:Community review in the appropriate section. The user should also be made aware of the discussion by posting a civil notification message on their talk page.

For uncontroversial cases where the user is actively editing, the decision can be taken in a day or two. For more controversial cases where the user is less actively editing, a week is more appropriate. For highly controversial cases, or cases where the user has left Wikiversity, discussion might well take a month.

After an appropriate time for discussion, a custodian can take a judgement on the name in question. They should only take action if their judgement is that a "rough consensus" has arisen that the username is inappropriate. This will involve blocking the inappropriate username, for which see Wikiversity:Blocking policy.

However, custodians may block inappropriate usernames on sight. Reports of obviously offensive usernames should be posted at Wikiversity:Request custodian action.

Where inappropriate or borderline inappropriate usernames are coupled with vandalism, the username may be blocked indefinitely on sight: again, see Wikiversity:Blocking policy.

Usernames that are designed to impersonate legitimate users may be blocked immediately. The IP address of these users should be left autoblocked.

Using multiple user accounts

It is recommended that users do not edit under multiple usernames, unless they have a very good reason.

Deleting your user account

Accounts with contributions cannot be deleted since this would allow another user to create the account, and claim authorship of those edits. It is not possible for your edits to be removed entirely. They can only be reassigned to something else so as not to violate the GNU Free Documentation License.

If you decide after creating an account, particularly if you did so using your real name, that you would rather be anonymous, you can have your account renamed. You can request this at Wikiversity:Changing username. When this is done, your contributions list will be assigned to the new user name.

You may also request your user and talk page be deleted as explained at Wikiversity:User page.

Any talk pages that you have signed will still display your former user name. These need to be changed manually by editing the pages concerned. If you feel strongly about your name no longer appearing on the site, you can edit these pages to remove your signature. The easiest way to find these is by clicking "what links here" from your user page. Administrators may hide revisions in page history. from non-administrators, and protecting private information can be a justification for that.

See also: Right to vanish

See also