Courtesy vanishing

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Welcome to the courtesy vanishing landing page.

This page explains how to request a courtesy renaming of your user account. Normally, contributors to Wikimedia communities, including Wikipedia, decide to leave the project by simply no longer contributing, thereby abandoning their user account. At the discretion of the community, in cases where further privacy is required, renaming of an user account, called courtesy vanishing can also be performed.

If a user in good standing decides to not return and, for whatever reason, wants to make their previous contributions to the projects harder to find or to disassociate with their edits, a courtesy renaming can be considered by the community. Unless the community identifies an administrative need to preserve the information, a user deciding to permanently depart can also ask for the deletion of their user pages and related pages that affect only the user requesting the renaming. Subsequently, the user account itself gets renamed and its user page blanked or deleted; and pages related to the user's conduct may be deleted, blanked, or moved. Usually, logs, signatures, templates, and contributions are not removed by these actions, and per community policy, user talk pages are preserved.

It is important to note that courtesy vanishing is a permanent change and a discretionary community process that may be refused. As a courtesy available only to users in good standing, the process is not a way to avoid scrutiny or existing sanctions, nor to allow for a fresh start and does not guarantee ongoing anonymity. Based on community consensus, pages deleted through a courtesy vanishing may later be undeleted if it is felt necessary.

If a user chooses to participate in the projects again in the future, the previous and the new accounts must be linked as the vanishing gets reversed. Any of the deleted pages may be undeleted after a community discussion.

Under the existing licenses for the projects, CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL, user accounts that have made contributions cannot be deleted.

Step by step guide to renaming your account[edit]

  • Go to the community page for requests to rename user accounts.
  • Follow the instructions there for how to file a rename request. A global renamer or steward will respond to the request. If your request is approved, the account will be renamed to, for example, "Renamed user 157yagz5r48a5f1a1f".
Results
  • References in the history logs of pages to the former username are replaced with references to the replacement username. Note that signatures (on user talk pages, article talk pages and project discussion pages) will not be changed, and clicking them will, by default, redirect to the new user name. You can ask for this redirect to be removed.
  • The account's user page and subpages are deleted. User talk pages are rarely deleted, and even after deletion may be undeleted by community consensus.
  • This action will be global due to account unification.

If the user returns to editing any of the Wikimedia projects, the "vanishing" will likely be fully reversed, with the old and new accounts linked.

IP editors[edit]

If you contribute without signing in, your contribution will be publicly attributed to the IP address associated with your device. Please remember that the IP address, if you edit while not logged in, and any public contributions to the Wikimedia Sites, is archived and displayed indefinitely by design. The transparency of the projects’ contribution and revision histories is critical to their efficacy and trustworthiness and the IP address cannot be deleted. For further information about how you may request access to or deletion of your Personal Information, or other rights you may have with respect to your Personal Information, see our FAQ.

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