This section lists the types of usernames that are considered inappropriate. The same criteria also apply to signatures
These lists are not necessarily exhaustive. Use common sense
in applying these rules; a username containing a word that may seem offensive in one context may have a very different, more benign meaning in another. For guidance on how to deal with inappropriate usernames if encountered, see § Dealing with inappropriate usernames
Disruptive or offensive usernames
The following types of usernames are not permitted, and will be immediately blocked upon discovery, because they are disruptive or offensive:
- Usernames that are likely to offend other contributors, and either cause disruption to productive Wikipedia processes or discussions, or make harmonious editing difficult or impossible to achieve; e.g. by containing profanities, or referencing highly-contentious events or controversies.
- Usernames that are blatantly profane, violent, threatening, or sexually explicit, or that advocate or encourage any such behavior (including acts that are deemed by most societies as either extremely immoral, criminal, or illegal).
- Usernames that deliberately offend, dehumanize, attack, demean, disparage, discriminate, or support or advocate any such behavior toward any race, religion, gender, sexual identity, sexual preference, political affiliation, or social group or status, or imply the intent to do so; e.g. by containing discriminatory attacks, racial slurs, pejorative terms, or that praise highly-contentious people, groups (also known as "hate groups"), or events - future, past, or present - that allocate or allocated efforts or resources toward afflicting direct discriminatory, social, physical, or emotional harm toward those who identify as part of any of these groups.
- Usernames that contain or imply personal attacks, or imply the intent to personally attack, harass, or threaten other Wikipedia editors.
- Usernames that appear intended to disrupt legitimate Wikipedia discussions and processes by provoking negative emotional reactions from other editors (also known as "trolling").
- Usernames that show or imply the intent to vandalize, disrupt, or engage in bad-faith edits or behaviors that are clearly not intended to help build, expand, or grow the encyclopedia in a positive or collaborative manner.
These accounts, upon their discovery, should be immediately blocked by administrators, and consideration should be given, with appropriate judgment, if the username should be redacted from any logs or edit revisions - especially if they're grossly offensive or destructive in nature, and likely to offend many editors. Note that usernames that are inappropriate in another language, or that represent an inappropriate name with misspellings and substitutions, or do so indirectly or by implication, are still considered inappropriate.
Usernames with libelous, contentious, or non-public information
The following types of usernames are not permitted, and will be immediately blocked upon discovery, because they violate highly important and serious Wikipedia policies:
- Usernames that contain contentious or disparaging statements about another person (whether they be another editor, a notable living or recently-deceased person, etc).
- Usernames that are clearly libelous, contain blatantly false or disparaging statements or accusations about another person, or constitute blatant violations of Wikipedia's policy on the biographies of living people.
- Usernames that contain any non-public, private, or personally identifiable information about another person, or contain any other information that would be deemed appropriate for suppression by an Oversighter; e.g. usernames that state what the password to the account (apparently) is.
These accounts, upon their discovery, should be immediately blocked by administrators
. If such usernames are libelous or contain information that is usually suppressed (such as non-public personal identifiable information about another editor or a notable
living person), the username should be suppressed from logs
by Oversighters to protect Wikipedia and the subjects involved from any kind of negative fallout or harm as a result of the account or username creation. Requests for removing attack usernames from logs should be reported to the global Stewards
team for evaluation and private removal from all WMF projects. This can be done either via IRC in the #wikimedia-stewardsconnect
channel or via email to the stewards VRT queue at stewards
The following types of usernames are not permitted because they may be misleading in a way that disrupts the project:
- Usernames that impersonate other people (see § Real names and § Similar usernames below).
- Usernames that give the impression that the account has permissions that it does not have; e.g. by containing the terms "administrator", "bureaucrat", "steward", "checkuser", "oversight", or similar terms, such as "admin", "sysop", or "moderator".
- Usernames that imply that the account has explicit ownership of certain articles, content, or topic areas, or that they have any kind of "power", "command", "control", or "authority" over other editors, or that a different level of accountability and application of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines should be enforced (such as implying that certain policies do not apply to them), or that the account has any administrative or "moderator" access levels or user rights.
- Usernames that could be easily misunderstood to refer to a "bot" (which is used to identify bot accounts) or a "script" (which alludes to automated editing processes), unless the account is of that type.
- Usernames that give the incorrect impression that the account is officially affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Usernames that resemble IP addresses (as these are expected to designate non-logged-in users), timestamps or other names which would be confusing within the Wikipedia signature format.
- Usernames that appear similar to naming conventions used by community administrative processes, such as those starting with Vanished user (see Wikipedia:Courtesy vanishing).
For accounts with usernames that are in this category, you should assume good faith
in cases where the username could be interpreted ambiguously. An attempt to discuss the username policy and concern with the user, and a request that they change their username should typically be attempted before considering further action. In cases where the violation of policy or the user's intent is clear, or likely created in bad faith, you should exhibit the use of common sense
and fair and level-headed judgment when determining the appropriate action to take. These clear violations should be reported by following the instructions on Wikipedia:Usernames for administrator attention
to file a report.
The following types of usernames are not permitted because they are considered promotional:
- Usernames that unambiguously represent the name of a company, organization, website, product, musical group or band, team, club, creative group, or organized event (e.g. TownvilleWidgets, MyWidgetsUSA.com, TrammelMuseumofArt, OctoberfestBandConcert2019). However, usernames that contain such names are sometimes permissible; see § Usernames implying shared use below. (Usernames which represent the subject of a biographical article are not considered promotional; see § Stage names)
- Email addresses and URLs to domains or websites (especially if they promote a commercial web page) and don't simply identify a person. Although usernames that only contain plain domain names on their own (those that do not include the top-level domain, such as .com, .net, .co.kr, etc. at the end) are sometimes acceptable (such as when the purpose is simply to identify the user as a person), they are inappropriate if their primary purpose is to advertise, promote, sell, gain support, or increase the attention or user-base audience of any person, company, market, product, channel, website, or other good or service. This includes any kind of websites that function in order to generate any kind of income or revenue for the owner. Examples include Patreon links or links to pages asking for donations, or revenue-generating click-thru links to vendors. All pages that are built or designed in one or more of these manners should be considered a commercial web page, and hence considered inappropriate for a username.
A user who both
adopts a promotional username and
who engages in inappropriate advertising or promotional
edits or behaviors - especially when made to their own user space or to articles about the company, group, or product, can be blocked
from editing Wikipedia, and are often blocked much sooner than users who engage in only one of the two behaviors. In such cases, administrators should examine the user's edits to decide whether or not to allow them to create a new username. If there is evidence that the user would continue to edit inappropriately under a new username, the blocking administrator should enable the "autoblock
" and "prevent account creation" block settings. Otherwise, the user should be offered the opportunity to create a new account or have their current username changed. (Before blocking, disagreements as to whether a particular username is acceptable should be discussed at WP:Requests for comment/Usernames
.) Users who adopt such usernames, but who are not
editing problematically in related articles, should not
be blocked. Instead, they should be gently encouraged to change their username.
Usernames implying shared use
Because Wikipedia's policy is that usernames should not be shared
between more than one individual, the following types of usernames are not permitted
because they imply shared use
- Usernames that are simply names of companies or groups are not permitted (these also fall under § Promotional usernames above).
- Personal usernames that imply shared access, such as "Jack and Jill", are not permitted.
- Usernames that are names of posts within organizations, such as "Secretary of the XY Foundation", are not permitted, as such a post may be held by different persons at different times.
- However, usernames are acceptable if they contain a company or group name but are clearly intended to denote an individual person, such as "Mark at WidgetsUSA", "Jack Smith at the XY Foundation", "WidgetFan87", etc.
Remember that promotional
editing is not permitted, regardless of the account's chosen username. The conflict of interest guideline
advises all users to exercise caution if editing articles about businesses, organizations, products, or other subjects that they are closely connected to. If you choose to edit articles that are in any way related to your company or group, you will need to carefully follow Wikipedia's advice on editing with a conflict of interest
The following types of usernames are not permitted
due to the difficulty with some web browsers in viewing non-language unicode characters:
- Usernames that contain emoji.
- Usernames that are considered to be emoticons or otherwise "decorative".
- Usernames that use any non-language symbols. This includes:
Note that this restriction does not
apply to signatures, which are governed by Wikipedia's policies on the use of signatures
Some usernames appear problematic without fitting clearly into any of the above categories. This is often the case with confusing or extremely lengthy usernames, which are highly discouraged but which are not so inappropriate on their own as to require action.
Confusing usernames can often be a red flag for other problems. An editor with a confusing username or signature may be blocked sooner than usual for other inappropriate behavior, such as disruption or vandalism, if their confusing username contributes to the disruption.
Some usernames that appear to be in breach of this policy have been allowed to stand by consensus because they were created before a change in the policy that would now prohibit such names (see grandfather clause)
. If you find an apparently problematic username being used by a long-standing editor, it is likely that the matter has been discussed before. Please search that user's talk page (and archives if applicable), and
the archives of the administrators' noticeboards
and requests for comment on usernames
, before deciding to take action as described below