Alternate accounts

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On a common ground, editors are expected to edit only with one account. But occasionally there may be reasons to have multiple accounts, these multiple accounts are called alternate accounts or sometimes shortened as alts.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Typically, editors are expected to edit from a single account that is used by one person. Occasionally, there is an acceptable need to make an alternate account, the main examples listed below. There are two keys here; transparency and good intention. It is strongly advised to link to the main account and create it while logged in as a gesture of goodwill against abuse. Names can take whatever form is necessary for the purpose and don't have to strictly associate with the original account, pursuant to the Username Policy, of course. Alternate accounts are accepted for a variety of purposes until they demonstrate bad intentions, listed below as illegitimate use. As long as they are used legitimately and with 'common sense', disclosure is not strictly required. When running for a position/bit that requires a community discussion (for example, bot, administrator/sysop, bureaucrat) with a main account, all alternate accounts should be declared and should not participate in the discussion, especially misleadingly as 'independent' users.

Advanced rights on wikis (particularly for Meta and Miraheze) should only be requested and held by one account at a given time, along with the above on disclosure. Advanced rights include translation administrator, administrator, bureaucrat, checkuser, or oversighter. They do not include more basic rights, such as confirmed, bot, flooder, rollbacker and ipblock-exempt. Notable exceptions are "adminbots" with a sysop flag to perform wiki services and "brand accounts" representing an entity and which may not strictly be controlled by single users.

If there are concerns about acceptable alt usage or circumstances with unusual conditions, it is highly suggested to leave a message or email, so guidance can be offered on the simplest and optimal way to handle the situation.

Shared accounts[edit | edit source]

Conversely, users may participate with shared accounts, either for practical user reasons or for administrative ones (bots, brand accounts). Per the user accounts policy, these must be disclosed on the user page and cannot hold global rights.

Using alternate accounts legitimately[edit | edit source]

In all cases, transparency is preferred. Transparency comes from creating the alternate account when the original account is still logged in (i.e., the Special:CreateAccount form) and/or by formally declaring association to the main account on the alt's user page, likewise acknowledging its existence through the main account.

  • Testing: Experiment with user rights and features from an 'ordinary' perspective, such as on a wiki you are developing.
  • Flooders: For organizational reasons, users who perform high-volume manual or semi-automatic edits and frequently use the flooder flag may want to create a second account for those tasks.
  • Branding: An account associated with a particular brand and representing 'the wiki', where the operators and scope of the account are known.
  • Bots: Bots, or automated edit scripts, are often run from a different account than the one used to operate them, in accordance with any locally established policies governing bot usage (where they exist). Where a wiki has no locally established policies governing bot usage, the bot operator should reach out to any bureaucrat on that wiki stating how they intend to operate their bot, the task(s) it aims to perform, how frequently it plans it to edit, etc., for assent to operate the bot.

Editing while you're not logged in[edit | edit source]

There is no rule against editing while logged out. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including failing to notice that the login session had expired, switching computers, immediately accessing a page via a link, and forgetting passwords.

Legitimate users caught in the crossfire[edit | edit source]

Depending on the wikis involved and the activities taking place, it is unfortunately possible for false positives to occur. These could be suspicion by local admins based on 'you', a legitimate brand-new user, being present at the wrong place and wrong time editing similarly to known repeat sockpuppets, ranging to unfortunate technical connections that could result in even a Steward acting on a false positive. As an example, certain connections may be difficult or impossible to distinguish from each other, an issue with certain service providers and proxies (especially schools). In these cases, full communication and cooperation is encouraged and welcomed. Few illegitimate actors will bother to appeal and will simply circumvent sanctions another way. Users who fall under suspicion and have good intentions are encouraged to respond with patience and reason, if necessary, soliciting a Steward's assistance with local issues.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]