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Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles

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New proposal

  1. Only registered users may edit the site.


  • Adds a delay to vandalism and spam, as a registration needs to be completed first.
  • Registered users can not inadvertently submit edits while logged out. This however can be mitigated by choosing a skin other than "Vector", using custom CSS, or the dark theme gadget.
  • Communicating with unregistered editors can more difficult, as they have no binding talk page.
  • IP editors can not be thanked through the MediaWiki "thanks" extension.


  • The ability to edit immediately without having to create an account can have a recruitment effect. Accordingly, disallowing it may hinder outreach.
  • Casual passerby edits done by mostly non-editing readers like typo fixes would not be done.
  • Vandalism and promotional edits from IP editors can be traced by anyone, which allows telling that, for example, they originate from a school or company. On the German Wikipedia, this allowed identifying promotional edits made from computers of Daimler (Mercedes-Benz)([1]) and the "CDU" political party([2]).
  • Educators such as school teachers can easily watch IP edits from their school.
  • IP edits originating from one's area can be spectated out of curiousity through the IP range feature of the "User contributions" page.
  • It can be exciting to find edits made from ones current IP address by others in the past, perhaps years ago or in the 2000s decade. These people can jokingly be referred to as "IP soul mates".
  • Other means of mitigating counterproductive edits like CAPTCHA, page protection, and edit filters, already exist. These technical means already privilege registered editors.

Users who support this proposal:

  1. User:Revolución
  2. User:Brisvegas
  3. User:Wykis
  4. user:Pevarnj
  5. User:Maelin
  6. User:Jon Harald Søby
  7. User:Salvor Hardin
  8. w:User:Funkynusayri - Anons should be able to access talk pages, though.
  9. User:Hans555
  10. w:User:CFIF on English Wikpedia (as IP:
  11. w:User:Jorobeq I agree that many users below started off as anonymous users, but over the past year Wikipedia has grown in fame. Its increased notoriety makes it a prime target for vandals
  12. User:Elaragirl - It's all nice and dandy to say that it would 'destroy' wikipedia but you know what? It wouldn't. VANDALISM is destroying the Wikipedia. BAD PRESS FROM VANDALIZING NUTJOBS such as David Brandt is destroying the Wikipedia. Open your EYES.
  13. Anonymous user ;o) - I actually agree, only registered users should be able to edit articles, but - not every one has ISP based email. I would see it as two phases registration - in phase 1 would be verified (any) email and user would be let to create his own article or propose change to existing article, then during some evaluation period already registered users would be able to give him their votes (+ or -) and after reaching some number of points the editor would became a phase 2 editor. OK, maybe too complcated ;o)
  14. User:pippin-iv - Vandalism is making a joke of Wikipedia. Maybe requiring all edits to be reviewed and approved by registered users would be a good way to stop vandals.
  15. Frits Register an account, one per IP, three-strikes-you're-out policy.
  16. Most emphatic support - For the Meta wiki, if you cannnot be bothered to take 10 seconds to register or remember to login, then, to paraphrase Wayne & Garth, "You're not worthy". — MrDolomite | Talk 16:58, 26 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  17. User:John the mackem - Far too much time is spent reverting vandalism. It's a chore that sucks the fun out of Wikipedia. The solution seems so simple...
  18. w:User:Ysangkok
  19. Enthusiastically supported. w:User:Zuiram on English Wikipedia. Dealing with registered users' crap is bad enough, as long as registration remains simple and free. We're past critical mass now. 02:53, 7 February 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  20. Carolfrog 05:26, 19 February 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  21. User:Buddhipriya What's more, a verifiable email address should be required. That would make it more work for socks to evade controls.— The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
  22. User:IvoShandor: Enough is enough already. The site will never be taken seriously as long as clicking on a random article might reveal that "(insert famous person here) is really really gay and likes to hump sheep." Registering takes seconds. Gimme a break.
  23. danski14 - The time has come. Perfect solution to cutting down increasing drive-by vandalisms, subtle insertions, etc, while maintaining traditional "anyone can edit" functionality. I could go on further, but thats the jist of the situation.
  24. It's getting out of hand. User:Deckiller
  25. User:Alan Liefting. I have changed my mind again since there is now a new feature in the mediawiki software. See Anti-vandalism ideas#Semi-protect the complete database Alan Liefting 07:32, 12 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  26. w:User:Triple-Quadruple:Big support-I think the Editing areas should be heavily restricted so it could be better in factual accuracy.
  27. Very strong support. I used to edit and create articles; as my watchlist grew, I found myself reduced to fighting vandalism. Most moronic edits are made by anons and what began as a pleasant pastime has become as tedious as supervising a school yard in a bad neighborhood. I'm fed up, utterly, completely fed up with this shit. It's time for Wikipedia to stop being a laughingstock as a magnet for idiots. Openness and democracy can only get you this far. --Targeman 00:24, 16 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  28. w:User:Kinitawowi Strongest possible support. The reason Wikipedia is boned is because of the persistent belief from the Powers That Be that a genuine, accepted, accurate, highly-regarded encyclopedia can be structured by philosophies, rather than rules. IAR is a philosophy - it's one of the worst executed ideas in existence. BRD is a philosophy - it's a nailed-on source of frustration and anger. And "no registration" is a philosophy - it's producing a free of content encyclopedia that anyone can vandalise. Registration is easy, quick and cheap. No, it won't stop the determined vandals desperate to cover the entire Wikipedia in buttsecks, but what it will do is make it easier to isolate and block them, and slow down and discourage the IP drivebys. Tell me exactly what part of that isn't a good thing. 17:07, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
  29. It would be just FANTASTIC! 13:11, 5 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  30. Anon editors suck! -- 22:33, 29 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  31. Support per Targeman and many others above, for both articles (mainspace) and for templates (which can be transcluded by articles).   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 20:35, 30 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  32. Of course! Not only most contributions by anon IPs are useless, but they contribute to create false reputations (John Doe is such a wonderful user, he is always reverting vandalism by anonymous IPs!). And also we have seen that good faith users are often accused of using sockpuppets when they accidentaly post without being logged in - so exactly is the point of allowing people to do things that can get them into trouble? a trap? 12:16, 7 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Users who Oppose this proposal:

  1. I am an anonymous user and editor. I use Wikipedia everyday. I edit it to improve inaccuracies or augment content perhaps once a month. I am not a vandal, nor am I a deeply committed editor who wishes to register, introduce myself etc. There are many like me I am sure and we compose a critical user group of wikipedia. Forcing us to register to edit would simply keep us away, in the end hurting the whole of wikipedia more than helping. I strongly oppose this proposal.
  2. User:JHFTC Strongest conceivable oppose. It would utterly destroy Wikipedia
  3. User:sigmundur oppose (I have an acco at wikipedia, new here tho)
  4. User:
  5. User:45.H18.4K.4
  6. User:dejanr
  7. 00:23, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  8. User:
  9. User:ZyXoas - I "wrote" almost the whole of Sesotho whilst an unregistered user, but I signed with my real name.
  10. w:User:HubHikari on EN-wiki Opposes this Proposal per not many people have ISP based emails anymore; most people opt for the free-anywhere-access provided by Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, et al. Oop, this just in. In an HTML comment tag at the bottom of the manifesto, I found this: "Wikipedia will have a new logo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e9/Naziswastika.png". I now believe this is either a fake-me-out proposal, or someone is losing their mind. Most of these tick points are crazily over the top, and would twist the Wiki project into a sad mockery of what it is now.
  11. User:Alan Liefting. I have changed my vote from support to oppose. Anonynous edits should be allowed but should not show up until verified by an administrator or a User. After doing a patrol on Wikipedia w:Newpages it seems vandals commonly create an account so it seem New Users cannot be trusted. The software would obviously need changing to create the third classification of editor stutus. Alan Liefting 20:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  12. User:Atavi - Prior to having an account I did a number of good faith edits -and no vandalisms. For a while, I didn't create an account out of boredom, but that didn't prevent me from contributing. As Alan Liefting suggests, if someone really wants to vandalize they will create an account. On the other hand, even though it is easy to create an account, some good faith users may not feel like it.
  13. Che Nuevara: Join the Revolution 16:23, 6 July 2006 (UTC) - my opposition to this knows no bounds. I was an anonymous editor for several months before I registered. I think 90% of wikians probably were.
  14. SARAzyn diSK 08:05, 28 July 2006 (UTC) Note: de:BenutzeR:IP-Bewertungsaccount/Bewertung[reply]
  15. OPPOSES!!!!!!!! -- its a form o f censorship. 21:05, 18 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Wai Wai - strongly oppose: I was also an anonymous editor for years before I register. I wouldn't care to contribute at all if only registered users may edit the site. It is also against the philosophy of wiki editing. A vandal who is eager to destory can always do so by registering an account. This does not help. If one goes further and requires further restrictions (eg have to register for a month). This just discourages a lot of newcomers from contribution. Do more harm than help.
  17. oppose Many anons make good edits and contribute to the wikipedia, and many registered users probably would not have stayed if they could not edit annymously at first. Anon does not equal vandal. -- 07:58, 12 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.
    Commissioner Pravin Lal: "U.N. Declaration of Rights" From Sid Meier's "Alpha Centauri"
  18. This is the absolute OPPOSITE of the meaning of the word wiki. If no anonymous editors can edit this, Wikipedia will fall. I have no idea why this is even being discussed. I think there is this illusion that anonymous editor=vandal.--Chili14 01:07, 24 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  19. The great thing about wikis are that anyone can edit. We shouldn't change that. --Rory096 06:05, 28 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  20. strong oppose This begins a slippery slope of credentialism -- regulating who's "worthy" of contributing based on data other than their actual contributions. Res ipsa loquitur. (Let us please not repeat the hype of the "spam email problem" -- e.g. RBL (MAPS), CAN-SPAM, etc. The cure is worse than the disease.) 08:21, 28 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  21. en:User:ConsequencefreeBullocks. Extremely Strong Oppose. The older proposal at the bottom is even more preposterous than the one at the top. This would absolutely necessarily discourage contribution from new users and would create an air of elitism far worse than is often already present. I vow to leave Wikipedia for good and will encourage others to follow should this pass. The notion that users who are willing to contribute should not be phased by an "easy" registration process is completely absurd and perpetuated usually by those who are too involved with the wiki to have the perspective of a new user. There are many, many reasons why this is against the nature of Wikipedia. 16:47, 31 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  22. Strong Oppose per --Alexie
  23. Mega Oppose!!!!! It is against the meaning of "freedom" in "the Free encyclopedia". You don't need to sign up to contribute to Free software, why must one sign up for a contribution to the Free encyclopedia? Agree with all the arguments presented against this idea. The way to fight vandalism is the way it's done now, revert, revert, revert. Most vandalism does not stay for long on very significant pages, and if more accurate and better bots could be devised and deployed it wouldn't stay for long on other pages either. We need to continue in the way we've always done it, but beef those forces up and develop new anti-vandalism technologies, not take away a right that people have. Agree with, I will boycott Wikipedia if this passes. 01:29, 24 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  24. Strongly Oppose. --Lin linao 01:37, 24 November 2006 (UTC) Why? Anonymous users are valid contributors too.[reply]
  25. Strongly Oppose -- 23:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  26. Strong Oppose It destroys the main idea of Wikipedia and will never pass. Cbrown1023 03:34, 16 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  27. Strongly Object It is a complete departure of Wikipedia's long time Principle of not only allowing, but encouraging absolutely everybody who can exercise restraint and responsibility with the Save Page button to make their contributions with the aim of helping to build a better encyclopedia. 01:17, 23 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  28. Oppose unless major IP vandalism occurs.--Jusjih 10:34, 26 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  29. Strong Opposew:User:Mr.Z-man on EN-wiki: As many other users opposing were, I was an anonymous editor before registering. And, as an active vandal fighter, although most vandalism comes from IP's, most IP's are not vandals. Also, the only vandalism this will really stop are minor tests which could eventually lead to real editing. Determined "I hate wiki" vandals will just create accounts and sock-puppet accounts to vandalize.
  30. Oppose per the reasoning given just above. So what if most vandalism comes from IPs, most edits from IPs are also at the same time not vandalism. Likewise all registered editors are former IPs, regardless of if the edited before or not... ;p 03:42, Mathmo 7 March 2007 (UTC)
  31. Very strong oppose from User:Bobo The Ninja on English wikipedia. 18:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC) A huge number of edits, especially minor edits, come from IP users. As anyone who has ever looked at recent changes will notice, a small proportion of IP edits are vandalism, and even most of these are obvious page blanks and the like that are quickly reverted by AntiSpam or Martin bots. To throw away these valuable contributions would be foolish.[reply]
  32. no.
  33. Oppose Per all of the above and because an it's the exact opposite of the wiki.-- 05:35, 7 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  34. Strongly Oppose we already have semi-protection to guard against highly vandalized pages; no need to block all anonymous users. 05:49, 12 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  35. Oppose— The preceding unsigned comment was added by an unspecified user
  36. Strongly Oppose Granted, this is an old proposal, but I figured I'd chime in anyway because I feel as though some of this seriously needs to be said, as it's counterintuitive and it looked like this was lacking more rational justifications. Sorry if it's long-winded.
    1. First, it's fundamentally easier to block and request blocks on anonymous vandals (as checkuser is not required for an effective block of sockpuppets). We don't have to invade user privacy when dealing with simple vandalism when it's being done by unregistered users.
    2. Second, it's easier to convert vandals into positive contributors if one knows their IP, particularly when they're staring at a "this is your ISP/school, and we'll complain to people who know where you live and see where you sleep" talk page header. At this point, we really don't have a good way of measuring how many people have been dissuaded from vandalizing due to simple {{SharedEDUIP}} tags, for example, but while it can't be proven, I would like to think that quite a few actually have. It's quite a beautiful thing when vandals realize that the internet isn't as "anonymous" as they think it is.
    3. Third, I've seen some great posts from anonymous users, so much so that several times I have wanted to give some sort of a barnstar that says, "OMG! I came here expecting vandalism and found this wonderful contribution." Other users above are making this point, so I won't elaborate further.
    4. On another note, as it stands, CAPTCHAs prevent mass edits by hordes of proxies, and this is, in my opinion, sufficient for the time being. However, that said, here's another way of looking at things: CAPTCHAs are not required to be entered by registered users who make edits. Therefore, as things stand, it would seem to me that ironically the largest hole is not with unregistered users, but instead with registered users. Food for thought: is it faster for a vandal to type one CAPTCHA and have virtually unlimited edits or to type 1 CAPTCHA for each page he vandalizes?
    5. As for some of the comments on requiring valid emails, I have but one solid but anecdotal response: it won't work. For example, I used to work on a large IRC network doing what's called channel service (or "CService") work. On this particular network, it involved registering chat rooms (called "channels") to users by screening requests to make sure that they weren't simply providing bogus supporters who were actually themselves using free mailboxes. Long story short, I found that there is/was no blacklist on the face of the planet that could effectively block anywhere near the majority of free/anonymous email hosts or domains-- it just simply was not feasible-- despite its constant updates. Even worse, while we would block freemails like hotmail, there would always be collateral damage due to the various ISPs in the world not by-default providing email boxes for their subscribers. We all have to remember, that while POP3/IMAP boxes in the US are standard on internet service, in some places they're a la carte, forcing users to use free mail services or shell out more money. I found this was particularly prevalent in newer-to-internet locales, such as "second world" countries. Therefore, by requiring users to register AND with valid ISP emails, one would in effect be inadvertently requiring editors to pay extra money to post to wikipedia. This is clearly not a good thing.
    6. As an alternative solution, I say let the unregistered users be. We have plenty of cool tools to track what they do, where they're from, and what their patterns are if it's essential. Even better, if we "know" that the majority of vandalisms are anonymous (as others would point out), don't we therefore already have a free heads-up in combating vandalism? Would it not be that, on the other hand, allowing unregistered contributions would, in and of itself, be an effective tool for fighting vandalism? What more could we ask for other than a banner saying, "there's a good chance I'm vandalizing, you might as well check it out." We can argue ideals and such all day, but the fact of the matter is we really can't argue against as valuable of a spam and vandalism-fighting tool as permitting unregistered users to contribute. --slakr 19:18, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  37. Strong Oppose Because it is not "wiki like" and because it would not solve anything.--James, La gloria è a dio 00:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  38. Strong Oppose I first began editing Wikipedia as an anonymous user for months until I slowly gained confidence and trust in the system. Many of the contributors prefer anonymity because they come from authoritarian countries in which activities on the internet are under government surveillance. They fear that if they wrote something that offended the authorities, their Username's IP address could be tracked down.....etc. Some people also edit as anonymous users because they do not see any significant advantages or benefits of Logging in. They think their identity would be "exposed" and "revealed" to the site administrators. I myself was not convinced of the benefits of logging in until a friendly Administrator gave me this message: (It would be easier for those of us who check the list of recent edits if you logged in for every edit on "mi" - we can glance at your signature and recognise it and go on to the next one looking for newcomers or spammers). Therefore rather than hindering anonymous editors from editing, we should instead clearly inform them more clearly of the benefits in doing so and also that if they did not log-in, their IP address would actually be tracked down more easily by people than if they actually logged in. --Jose77 05:29, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  39. Oppose if it wasn't for anon editing i whouldn't had made an account anyway. 04:02, 29 July 2007 (UTC) (en:User:Flubeca)[reply]
  40. Never. Ever. This destroys the entire point of Wiki. Salaskan 17:54, 2 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  41. If anon editing were disallowed, you might as well change "Wikipedia" to "Citizendium II". TML 23:53, 9 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  42. Oppose I hope that this never happens. Wikipedia is "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" not "the free encyclopedia that some people can edit." Captain panda 03:05, 7 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  43. Do this, and you will RUIN wikipedia Strongly OPPOSE!
  44. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. I agree with Captain Panda on this. Elassint 16:42, 6 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  45. Strong Oppose There is no relation between being registered or not and vandalism. A user that is not registered may do good and positive edits. A registered user is perfectly capable of doing vandalism. In fact, with regards to vandalism there is not a single advantage of doing it while unregistered than if doing it as a registered user. Thialfi 14:38, 5 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  46. strongly object. I'm agree with james.--Behzaad 18:45, 9 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  47. Strongly Oppose!! This article is a contradiction to Wikipedia's motto - 18:57, 25 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  48. Strongly Oppose. This is a perennial suicidal proposal, supported by people who did not read WP:HUMAN and fail to appreciate the massive contributions of unregistered editors, their ability to keep in check the NPOV of articles and the potential they still have for many decades to come - possibly forever. Semi-protecting Wikipedia would be its death. Please archive the proposal as insane, already. 04:05, 27 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Middle ground proposal

Keep anonymous editing intact, but be more liberal with long term blocks of bad addresses

  • BWAH HA HA! I'm making up a new provision as an anon! No seriously, I've seen anonymous editors help out way too much, especially on crufty of fanlike subjects (e.g., professional football coaches, celebrities, etc). Rather than throw out the baby with the bathwater, let's just get harder on long term vandal IPs - enough with the one and two week blocks for school IP's with hundreds of counts of vandalism. Block them, AO, if need be, for months on end - a few counts of helping out the 'pedia won't be outdone by the ridiculous vandalism that comes from those addresses (anyone who has ever said "one good contributor is worth a thousand vandals" apparently does little vandal patrolling or was paying no attention to the fact that Wikipedia is now scorned in the academics because of some famous cases of vandalism). However, we shouldn't block all IP's forever - just the serious offenders (I have no problem with 1 year long blocks for problematic IPs). 21:33, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Older proposal

Having observed Wikipedia for a couple of months now, I would make the following changes:

  1. Only registered Users may post to the site, except at some sort of readers comment section.
  2. Registration as a User should be made more difficult to deter the frivolous and the mischevious. Registration would be by ISP-based email (not a Hotmail account) and there would be a 24-hour waiting period.
  3. There be two levels of registration, Users and Editors. Users may contribute articles but may not edit existing articles. Editors may contribute and edit.
  4. Promotion from User to Editor status would be by nomination by two other Editors, and given only to Users who have good English and have shown they can write in an encyclopedic style.
  5. Articles may be nominated for Completed Article status. Nominations must be seconded by another User, and there must be a week's time for objections. Once an article is registered as Completed, it may only be edited with the approval of a review panel of some sort.
  6. A higher level of WP would be created, with another name since it would not strictly speaking be a Wiki, at which only Completed Articles would be visible.
  7. The contents of Talk pages should be visible only to registered Users.

Adam Carr 00:35, 12 Dec 2003 (UTC)

*"Wikipedia...the site that anybody can edit." (Oh wait, scratch that) "Wikipedia...the site that only people who care enough to register can edit." It just doesnt work. Wikipedia rule Number One is basically that we all can pitch in, even though some jerks like to abuse their power. 00:23, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Alternate proposals