Wikidata:Requests for comment/Adopt a username policy

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An editor has requested the community to provide input on "Adopt a username policy" via the Requests for comment (RFC) process. This is the discussion page regarding the issue.

If you have an opinion regarding this issue, feel free to comment below. Thank you!

Wikidata does not have a username policy. Inevitably, some people will create accounts with usernames that are misleading, or disruptive/offensive, or promotional, or that imply shared use, or that are invisible, etc. Just as inevitably, some such actions will cause administrative headaches.

The only way to minimise the number of existing problematic usernames that have to be changed or grandfathered, and to ensure that any new problematic usernames are addressed fairly and transparently, is for Wikidata to adopt a comprehensive and defensible username policy.

Should Wikidata adopt a username policy?[edit]

For the reasons given above, or for other reasons, Wikidata should adopt a username policy.

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support For the reasons given above. Zazpot (talk) 23:34, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. --Yair rand (talk) 16:00, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support --Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 17:43, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, we should focus on a global username policy instead as we now have a single-user login system, the various rules on different projects are confusing to our users. Sjoerd de Bruin (talk) 21:42, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Your !vote contradicts your explanation. You !voted "oppose", but your explanation says, we should focus on a global username policy. The latter implies that Wikidata should adopt a username policy (and that all other WMF projects should share that policy). Please could you (i) change your !vote to better match your explanation, or vice versa; and (ii) consider supporting the proposal below that Wikidata should adopt the English Wikipedia's username policy, as this would at least harmonise the policies of two large WMF projects, which could be a useful step towards a global username policy. Thanks. Zazpot (talk) 22:41, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I change my opinion as per Sjoerd. --Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 10:51, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support About 14% of new Wikidata accounts (698 of the last 5000) are created on Wikidata. Since there is currently no global username policy, I think it would be sensible to adopt a local username policy while a global one does not exist. Jc86035 (talk) 13:14, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Sjoerd's explanation. Since edits on other Wikimedia projects can result in edits being made here, I don't think it makes sense for us to have a policy that excludes any usernames which would be allowed by another Wikimedia project. Note that meta:Global locks already lists offensive or abusive names as a valid reason for a global lock, so there are already some limits on what is allowed even if there isn't a formal global username policy. - Nikki (talk) 18:02, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support While I would prefer a global policy, it would be useful to have a local policy while there isn't a global one. ChristianKl❫ 11:21, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. I think the reason this discussion isn't really going anywhere is that we don't have enough local cases of controversial usernames yet, to have a set of precedents from which to write a policy. Deryck Chan (talk) 19:00, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
    • We did have local usernames that impersonated famous people that are banned under enwiki rules but that we didn't ban for lack of a policy. ChristianKl❫ 11:07, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
      • Changing to Symbol support vote.svg Support because two new arguments swayed me:
        1. It seems that we actually disagree about the current state of regulation regarding role accounts. Some say there's no rule; others say they're forbidden. We need to agree on this.
        2. Impersonation is an issue. I was under the impression that the existing blocking policy was sufficient in handling this, but comments in this discussion is beginning to convince me otherwise. --Deryck Chan (talk) 17:07, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support, however, there is also very annoying thing: inconsistencies between username and signature, when I have to search for real username to ping someone (or aggressive signatures like this yellow-red one in section below). Wostr (talk) 22:46, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, WD:UCS is already policy. For the rest, Sjoerd's comment applies. Local user name policies are a mess. --Vogone (talk) 04:07, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - we can already block a disruptive account. No need to create work for admins by mandating that all usernames of x category must be policed and blocked. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 02:13, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support - I think all editors should have a user name. Not that we need to disallow specific user names, just that we need to be a registered user. I've said the following thing on WP. Since the invention of WP, when ip editors weren't a problem, we now have mobile devices and public wifi; ip addresses constantly change instead of being static, and now we have the invention of IPv6, which changes often and masks the real ip. IP editing should no longer be permitted. Security for structured/authored data should be clamped down far more than non-structred/free-form data. Forcing people to register is just one step. Lazypub (talk) 18:35, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral - Have we hit into cases with odd / bad username already? How were they handled? If we need one lets make it light weight. I would love to have a WMF wide username policy (that is also lightweight).. ·addshore· talk to me! 16:56, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Gamaliel (talk) 00:20, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Tetizeraz (talk) 23:45, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose because usernames are now global. The question about role accounts is best handled in a different RFC. --Rschen7754 00:25, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Sjoerddebruin and Rschen7754. Jianhui67 talkcontribs 15:45, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Names are global, so the policy needs to be global. I understand that some names can unintentionally be insulting in other languages and I understand why language focused projects can choose to have a seperate policy or block an account for non-global reasons. However Wikidata is supposed to support all language version projects, so this does not apply to Wikidata. Sincerely, Taketa (talk) 11:44, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support @Taketa: Your "names are global" is the reason why I support here, because of its globalization facet, there could in theory have conflicts on other users' names, e.g. SukaSuka reflects Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (Q20044893) for Asian users, but by calling this to a Polish user, you will be reviled by them, as it means "double bitch" in Polish. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 10:45, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose - per Ajraddatz. ‐‐1997kB (talk) 16:51, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

Should Wikidata adopt the English Wikipedia's username policy?[edit]

The English Wikipedia's username policy is admirable in its goals and clarity. It addresses the concerns described at the top of this page. For this or other reasons, Wikidata should adopt that username policy.

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support For the reasons given above. Zazpot (talk) 23:34, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I am not sure that importing the entire username policy (which has been criticized on other wikis) without further review is a good idea. --Rschen7754 00:37, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    Why would it not be a good idea? Zazpot (talk) 00:47, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    It was written for the needs of English Wikipedia, not Wikidata. It has also been criticized in the enforcement area for generating too many rename requests that have to be referred to Meta. --Rschen7754 01:25, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    It was written for the needs of English Wikipedia, not Wikidata. So? That doesn't mean that it is a poor fit for Wikidata's needs.
    It has also been criticized in the enforcement area for generating too many rename requests... "Too many" by whose standard? A high number of attempts to use problematic usernames will obviously result in a high number of remedial actions. That doesn't mean that the community should just ignore the problem. By analogy, should we stop addressing vandalism because there is so much of it? Zazpot (talk) 01:47, 22 October 2018 (UTC); edited 19:42, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    See m:Talk:Global_renamers. --Rschen7754 00:19, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
    Do you mean these three comments? If so, that discussion rather proves my point. Sure, Ajraddatz claims that enwiki has a "newbie-biting local [username] policy", but neither justifies that claim, nor proposes a better alternative. (Frankly, it is an unjust claim, given that there is a link to the username policy right next to the username field on the sign-up page; though I do think the link should say, "Username policy" rather than "Help me choose".) And Boing! said Zebedee asks, quite reasonably, "what do [large WMF projects other than enwiki] do about, say, someone with a prohibited promotional username using their account for promotional purposes?" Silence ensues. Zazpot (talk) 00:49, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. If we are to adopt another project's username policy, I think it should be Wikimedia Commons', for several reasons:
    • Commons' policy regulates accounts for organizations, rather than banning them entirely, as ENWP does. At both Commons and Wikidata, we might want certain organizations to have accounts that can be used for large donations of content, whereas Wikipedia would have no use for that.
    • Commons' policy is already translated into several languages. It is also more concise, making it easier to translate.
    • Commons' policy seems to be somewhat less strict. Users on both Wikidata and Commons more frequently work primarily on other projects, and whatever username they have there must also work here. A policy built around that assumption will run into fewer problems.
    --Yair rand (talk) 15:58, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    If we are to adopt another project's username policy, I think it should be Wikimedia Commons'. I strongly disagree. The username policy on Commons is internally inconsistent and therefore impossible to understand, or to apply fairly. Zazpot (talk) 19:07, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Yair rand, I think that if organisations like Commons:User:Swiss National Library would want to donate their knowledge then we should not prohibit them from doing so. Adopting bad policy simply because it comes from the de facto leading Wikimedia project defeats the purpose of creating localised content. -- 徵國單  (討論 🀄) (方孔錢 💴) 18:45, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    I think that if organisations like Commons:User:Swiss National Library would want to donate their knowledge then we should not prohibit them from doing so. Two of your premises are wrong (and your argument is, therefore, unsound). First of all, Commons:User:Swiss National Library is not an organisation, it is a user account. Secondly, the English Wikipedia username policy does not prohibit the organisation the Swiss National Library from contributing material to Wikipedia (nor would it prohibit the organisation from contributing to Wikidata). It just prevents them (or any miscreant masquerading as them) from doing so in certain specific ways that have been justly identified as problematic. So, for you to suggest that preventing problematic usage of Wikipedia is bad policy is, IMO, bad reasoning. Zazpot (talk) 18:59, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
    @Zazpot, Donald Trung: That user is probably already disallowed under Wikidata:Alternate accounts, which says accounts are supposed to be "used by a single person". Jc86035 (talk) 13:22, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Yair rand, we should try to define some concepts on our own. --Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 17:44, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
    we should try to define some concepts on our own. Which concepts? Why duplicate the effort already expended by the WMF's most long-standing, successful project? (I.e. why reinvent the wheel?) Zazpot (talk) 22:33, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
    I was about to reply, but I don't like people who comment every single vote or comment that doesn't fall in line with one's vision. IMHO, this is not a request for comment anymore, this is a request for a plebiscite. --Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 10:55, 24 October 2018 (UTC)
    @Sannita: I'm genuinely puzzled by this and would be grateful if you could explain what you mean. How does asking for clarification in any way turn an RfC into a w:plebiscite? Zazpot (talk) 21:07, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I agree with most parts of the English Wikipedia policy, but I wouldn't import § Non-script usernames entirely because it was adopted under flawed reasoning and relies on a dynamic list which is not itself a policy but a Wikipedia article. I would still prefer that a new policy be written based on that page, even if it ends up being mostly the same. (The links and self-references would, of course, also need to be changed.) Jc86035 (talk) 13:22, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
    @Jc86035: I agree with most parts of the English Wikipedia policy, but I wouldn't import § Non-script usernames entirely... Thanks. Out of interest, would you support the adoption of the rest of the English Wikipedia Username Policy without rewriting, if that were proposed, and if the only other alternative would to not have a username policy? ... because it was adopted under flawed reasoning... By "flawed reasoning", do you mean something other than the use of a Wikipedia article to define part of the rule? I would be grateful to know, so that I can fully understand your perspective. Thanks, Zazpot (talk) 21:14, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
    @Zazpot: Basically, "Usernames that use any non-language symbols" (taken very literally) would forbid usernames containing numbers, currency symbols, and mathematical operators, but allow the use of characters from long-dead writing systems which no one has fonts for; and "Usernames that are considered to be emoticons or otherwise "decorative" usernames" would forbid the use of simple ASCII characters as decoration. Most of the support votes (the RfC was about a year ago) came from people who would probably have been perfectly fine with just emoji being forbidden (and might not really have cared about the other bits). The vagueness of the language makes it a bit difficult to enforce, and usernames that aren't typeable (on a physical keyboard) seem to be exceedingly rare anyway. (The global rename log contains only two entries which include emoji from August 2018 to today, which consist of a user being renamed to an emoji and then being renamed back.) Jc86035 (talk) 05:18, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I see no good reason to forbid usernames that match to organisations. ChristianKl❫ 11:23, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose God, no. En.wiki policy is way too long, too bureaucratic; honestly, I'm not going to waste my time trying to read this in whole. Pl.wiki username policy has one section with 7 points and as far as I remember there were never any problem with this; I think WD community should not adopt anything from other project, but try to establish policy on its own, e.g. taking into account that in many projects sharing accounts or editing from institutional accounts are not prohibited. Wostr (talk) 23:27, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, would not improve anything. --Vogone (talk) 04:07, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I dislike enwiki's policy because it causes new users to be blocked over trivial violations of an obscure policy they know nothing about. We should stick to the status quo - blocking accounts if they are being disruptive, including if their usernames are. No need to add more bureaucracy. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 02:15, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose - simply because I do not like their policy Lazypub (talk) 18:37, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose - I would like to strive to have a global style wmf policy, or a light weight wikidata one covering some annoying cases such as invisible usernames etc. ·addshore· talk to me! 16:55, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support We're a different project but nobody's provided a compelling reason to convince me that the same or similar policy won't be equally effective here. Gamaliel (talk) 00:22, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, as said somewhere, it seems Wikimedia Commons' username policy is more fitting for Wikidata. Tetizeraz (talk) 23:47, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Names are global, so the policy needs to be global. I understand that some names can unintentionally be insulting in other languages and I understand why language focused projects can choose to have a seperate policy or block an account for non-global reasons. However Wikidata is supposed to support all language version projects, so this does not apply to Wikidata. Sincerely, Taketa (talk) 11:44, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Should Wikidata require existing usernames to conform to policy?[edit]

If Wikidata adopts a username policy, any existing account whose username does not meet that policy should, within six months of the policy's adoption, either:

  • change their username to meet the policy; or
  • stop editing Wikidata altogether.

Accounts that do neither of these things within the specified timeframe should be blocked.

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support So that any existing accounts with problematic usernames (e.g. usernames that would not have been acceptable on the English Wikipedia) can be addressed fairly, rather than receiving (unfair) special privileges. Zazpot (talk) 23:56, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral until we know what policy we want to adopt. I can see situations we want to "grandfather" old usernames that aren't outright harmful but could be deemed unsuitable by a fresh policy (e.g. email addresses as en.wp usernames). Deryck Chan (talk) 17:10, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
  • No, per my above comments. Creating bureaucracy and work for no benefit. Disruptive accounts can already be blocked. Non-disruptive accounts should not be. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 02:16, 20 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral until we know what policy we want to adopt. Lazypub (talk) 18:39, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Policy should apply to all accounts or it's a bad policy. Gamaliel (talk) 00:23, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment @Zazpot: I think by now most usernames are common across all WMF sites - see meta:Help:Unified login, so I don't think it makes sense to have a Wikidata-specific policy on this. In fact, given that all the client wikis with sitelinks in Wikidata propagate changes (such as page renaming) to Wikidata under whatever that common username is, Wikidata's usernames de facto encompass all the usernames used in all WMF wiki's. This is not the place to make such a decision; perhaps you could try to get a new policy discussed and approved at metawiki - see meta:Meta:Policies and guidelines for the current list of common policies. ArthurPSmith (talk) 18:04, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
In principle, I would support the adoption of a global username policy. I would also support the increased harmonisation of other policies across WMF projects, as long as the harmonisation is towards policies that support legitimate users and uses and discourage others. The WMF's community are much more fragmented than I would like, and in part this is because most (all?) projects set their own policies, which need to be learned and understood before a user can become part of that project's community, rather than just a tourist. This a substantial obstacle to inter-wiki activity.
If you (or someone else) were to propose, on Meta, the adoption of the English Wikipedia username policy (or something with similar benefits and no obvious drawbacks) as a global WMF username policy, I would support that. Zazpot (talk) 19:37, 22 October 2018 (UTC)

I have created Help:Usernames and accounts to provide guidance on the current state of affairs, which will be helpful to users whether or not we adopt a formal username policy. Deryck Chan (talk) 14:39, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I agree with the above comment, I think the should strive to unify across WMF projects, having per project rules for this doesn't make much sense.
The WMF terms of use also at least has some coverage for usernames saying "Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, or using the username of another user with the intent to deceive" is not allowed. ·addshore· talk to me! 16:54, 19 December 2018 (UTC)