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> Choosing a member name, Handy guidelines for new registrants
post Wed 31st December 2008, 8:21pm
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Tips for New Registrants

Choosing your member name

Recently it has come to our attention that our guidelines for choosing a member name when registering on Wikipedia Review (WR) are unclear, or as some would say, "practically non-existent." ohmy.gif

Generally speaking, we prefer to assume that individuals who register accounts here have a certain amount of experience with interactive community websites, not to mention some degree of common sense. Unfortunately, like most assumptions, this one is not always safe for us to make. Note that this doesn't imply that we suspect certain new registrants of being fools. However, your choice of member-name is your first impression here, and you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Real names vs. fake names
We encourage the use of real names for new members who are polite, helpful, and friendly to fellow members; who do not wish to post baseless, unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing or abuse by others; and who are not easily offended, baited, or given over to sudden emotional outbursts or threats of legal action. For all other new members, we strongly discourage the use of real names.

Note: Members who are found to be impersonating an identifiable (i.e., "real") person, by using a real name which is not their own, will be deleted, often without warning or discussion.

Using your Wikipedia username as a member name
This practice has become more acceptable to Wikipedia administrators in recent months, but among some Wikipedians there remains a certain "stigma" for users who are active WR members. At the time of this writing, registering here is unlikely to lead to your being banned from Wikipedia, but assuming your standing within Wikipedia's political culture isn't already established (i.e., already a lost cause), it may reduce your chances of attaining administrator status there, as well as some other forms of community approbation. (It should be noted, however, that in some cases it might actually increase your chances, depending on the nature of your participation here.)

Also, if you're an established Wikipedian registering with your Wikipedia username, you may be asked by us to prove you're that same user by making a pre-arranged inconsequential edit on Wikipedia. This is to prevent what we call "pseudo-impersonation."

Do identifiable members look down on non-identifiable members?
Some do, including a handful who do so rather vociferously. But this is unlikely to lead to unpleasantness, unless you instigate it yourself. In other words, if you're using a fake name and unfairly (or in some cases, fairly) attack someone who's using their real name, the fact that you're using a fake name may be used against you - but usually not until then.

Using slogans as member names
An important consideration that you might not have noticed is that your member title, which appears beneath your member name, is editable by you once you've posted here more than 50 times. If you wish to have a special slogan appear beneath your name immediately, you can send a personal message (PM) to one of the staff to request it. Such requests are usually granted if the title is not defamatory, inflammatory, or anything else that ends with "atory."

Lengthy member names can also be somewhat annoying to other members, and can even cause aesthetic issues with the board's layout. Of course, if these are your objectives in registering, please, by all means, carry on!

Inappropriate member names
Unlike Wikipedia, all new member registrations here on WR must be approved by the staff, who do not look kindly on the gratuitous use of vulgar or violent references in member names. (We'd also prefer it if you avoided such references when posting, but we're not trying to be totally unreasonable.) We also have the ability to change your member name if, after your registration is approved, we discover that you're trying to "put one over on us." We don't really like that either, as it happens. (This may or may not include the dreaded "anagram abuse.")

In addition, Wikipedia Review now has too many members with names like "Anonymous Member," "Generic Name," and so on. We ask that you please try to be considerate of our ongoing efforts to tell our own members apart from each other by not trying to be "clever" in this manner. After all, it may have been funny the first couple of times, but not after you've long since lost count.

Unintentional impersonation
New members who choose a name that's similar to that of an existing WR member, a reasonably well-known Wikipedia user, or (in some cases) a real person, even if the similarity is unintentional, may be asked to choose another name instead - if only to avoid reader confusion. If you chose the name as a form of cruel parody, well... sometimes that's acceptable, but only if we don't know the individual behind the name being parodied personally.

Bad timing
In rare cases, you might choose a member name that - completely unbeknownst to you - appears to reference an ongoing controversy or dispute that you (and in some cases, we) know absolutely nothing about, but whose existence may stigmatize you purely because of the unfortunate name choice. In other rare cases, you may register around the same time as one or more other members who appear to have a singular (and perhaps nefarious) purpose, which is then assumed to be your purpose as well, simply because you registered at roughly the same time.

We can't prevent such rare incidents from occuring (and did we mention that they were rare?), but if this should happen to you, we'll try to ameliorate the situation as best we can, hopefully without our having to suspend the accounts of one or more overly-suspicious existing members. All we ask is that you try to be understanding - such incidents are usually nobody's fault, and accidents do happen.

Requesting a name change
Unfortunately, name changes involve more than simply changing your name on a web form. References (quoted and otherwise) to your original name made by other members are not automatically changed, and some of them may be cryptic, making it difficult to find and replace them manually in cases where such additional effort is warranted. So, at minimum, we ask that if you begin to feel unhappy with your initial member-name choice early on, please ask the staff to change it before you make dozens of posts that are quoted by other members.

Each case is different, and while we usually try to accomodate members who have problems such as the appearance of offsite "attack pages" or Wikipedia articles purporting to be biographical about them, not all situations can be handled in exactly the same way, nor should they be. If you've made any posts to WR at all prior to making your name-change request, please include a clearly-written (i.e., not vague or overly cryptic) rationale for the change. We don't ask that you provide proof of anything in particular (such as your identity) - just a good reason or two that we can understand.
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