Last modified on 23 November 2014, at 16:24

Using Wikibooks/Setting Up A User Account

The Advantages of Using a User AccountEdit

There are a number of benefits to creating a Wikibooks account, and using that account consistently. We'll list some of the benefits below:

Anonymity
You are actually more anonymous when you register for an account. This is because when you edit anonymously, your IP address (which can be used to identify your location) is posted. When you have a user account, your IP address is hidden. Notice that if there is a problem, specially elected users known as Checkusers can access the IP records. However, Checkusers only access the records in response to specific needs. We will discuss Checkusers and the IP logs in greater detail in the section The Wikibooks Administrator.
User space
If you have a user account, you also have a personal userpage, and any subpages to that page that you want to create. Some users have literally hundreds of personal pages for various uses. You can write about yourself on your userpages, or you can write about anything you want. Many users use their pages to write about books, and keep track of various tasks that need to be completed here. Also, users have their own personal javascript and CSS stylesheets that they can use to customize and personalize the Wikibooks interface. Some users have very simple user spaces, while some users have very elaborate spaces. It's your space, so feel free to use it however you want.
User talk pages
In addition to a user page where you can write about yourself, you also have a user talk page where other people can write messages to you. When somebody writes you a message, a notification will appear at the top of your page. This is a great way of keeping in touch with people, especially when timezone differences make direct communications difficult.
User Preferences
You can set a number of preferences for your account including: Setting an email contact address that others can use, changing display themes ("skins") to change the way the website looks, changing the appearance of certain items and changing time and date formats. Wikibookians and other Wikimedians have also developed a number of javascript-based productivity tools called gadgets that can be added to your account. There are lots of options for you to check out and customize your wikibooks experience.
Watchlist
You will get a personal watchlist that will show changes that other people make to pages on that list. This way you can monitor pages that you are interested in, such as pages that you author, and discussion pages that you participate in. The watchlist gives you a way to keep track of pages you like, and play an active role in their development.
Voting and Discussing
While even IP users can participate in community discussions, their voice usually carries little weight and in some cases will be ignored entirely. This is because people editing from an IP address are not considered to have a vested interest here, and because there is a one-to-many relationship between most IP addresses and individual people. As a registered user you will have full rights to participate in community discussions and help make decisions, even from your very first day here.

This is a long list, but it is not inclusive. There are many reasons why you should create an account at Wikibooks. If you plan to spend much time here, you should consider signing up for one. The process is free, quick, and easy. You are not required to supply any personal information, so you can always remain anonymous if you choose to. We know it's yet another internet signup, and we know you've probably been through a million, but we promise that this signup process will be fast and painless.

Setting up a User AccountEdit

Setting up a user account is quick and easy, often taking less than a couple of minutes to complete. Before starting this process you must first choose a username. Once you set up your account all of your edits will be performed under this name, so it is important to choose a name that you are comfortable with. Also, the username that you choose has to be unique and must conform to the Username policy (see below).

Once you have decided on a username you can register it. Click the "Sign in / create account" link in the top right of the screen to bring up the login screen. From here click the 'Create One' link at the top of the login box. Ensure that all of the mandatory boxes are filled out on the form on the registration page and click 'Create Account' to finish the process. Make sure you choose a strong password that isn't easy to guess so that your account remains secure (See Below).

Once you have finished registration you can login with your username and password. You now have access to your own personal watchlist and preferences, selected from the links banner in the top right corner.

Username Taken?Edit

Over a hundred new user accounts are created every day, so the odds are good that the username that you want might already be taken by somebody else. There is some chance that the username you want may be available for usurpation. That means that special users known as "bureaucrats" can try to give you the username you want by taking it away from an inactive account. It is not a guarantee, but in some cases it is possible. Ask for help from a bureaucrat, including the username you want and your current username (if any), at the Administrative Assistance discussion page.

Uploading ImagesEdit

Help! I'm a new user, and I can't upload images for my book! What can I do?
This is a common question, and one that's worth answering here in the middle of the chapter. The software in use at Wikibooks, MediaWiki, is based on the idea of user permissions. Everybody can do basic editing stuff, but you need more permissions if you want to do more advanced things. For instance, only people with admin permissions can delete a page. Only people with bureaucrat permissions can rename users. Uploading images requires a permission called uploader.
 
Luckily, that's not the whole story. Another project called Wikimedia Commons allows users to upload images immediately without special permission. Images uploaded to commons are immediately usable and visible here at Wikibooks (and also at Wikipedia and all other WMF projects). However, because the images can be used all over the place, Commons is very strict about its copyright policies. Images uploaded to commons must be released under a free license, not fair use. Fair use images can be uploaded here at Wikibooks, but not unless you have the uploader permission.
If you have more questions about this, ask at WB:CHAT.

Choosing a UsernameEdit

It is worth choosing a username that is not insulting or confusing to those around you in order to promote a harmonious editing environment. There are no policies regarding this in particular, but Wikibooks:Be civil is relevant. As a guideline, we suggest avoiding:

  1. Confusing usernames:
    • Usernames that are very similar to the name of another Wikibooks user and might cause confusion.
    • Usernames that confusingly refer to a Wikibooks process, namespace, or toolbar item.
  2. Misleading usernames:
    • Usernames that imply the user is an administrator or official figure on Wikipedia, or of the Wikimedia Foundation.
    • Usernames that match the name of a well-known/famous living or recently deceased person, unless you verifiably are that person, in which case please note this on your user page.
  3. Disruptive usernames:
    • Usernames that are similar to those previously used by persistent vandals or banned users.
    • Usernames that are attacks on specific users.
    • Usernames that contain personal information about people, such as a telephone number or street addresses.
    • Usernames that allude to hacking, trolling, vandalism, legal threats, or computer malware (viruses, spyware etc...).
    • Usernames that include profanity, or obscenities, or references to genitalia or sexual slang.
  4. Promotional usernames:
    • Usernames that match the name of a company or group, if the user is using the account as a promotional tool.
  5. Offensive usernames:
    • Usernames that promote a controversial or potentially inflammatory point of view.
    • Usernames that are defamatory or insulting to other people or groups.
    • Usernames that invoke the name of a religious figure or religion in a distasteful, disrespectful, or provocative way, or promote one religion over another. (Note that simple expressions of faith are allowed unless they are disruptive, but are generally discouraged.)
    • Usernames that refer to real-world violent actions.
    • Usernames that refer or include allusions to racism, sexism, hate speech, etc...
    • Usernames that refer to a medical condition or disability in a belittling way.
    • Usernames that include slurs, or references to reproductive or excretory bodily functions.
  6. Usernames containing the at symbol (@)
    • These are disallowed due to technical restrictions.

Choosing a Good PasswordEdit

In order to maintain the integrity and security of your account, you should choose a good, strong password.

Weak Passwords:

Poor/easily guessable passwords tend to include words in the dictionary, proper names, words based on your username or common variations on these themes, as well as information such as birth dates and pet names.

Example of weak passwords include:

  • admin — too easily guessed
  • abc123 — too easily guessed
  • zzz — repeated letters and/or adjacent letters on a keyboard (e.g. qwerty)
  • susan — common personal names
  • password — easily guessed, used very often
  • p@$$\/\/0rd — simple letter substitutions are pre-programmed into cracking tools
  • rover — common name for a pet, also a dictionary word
  • 18/9/73 — date, possibly of personal importance
  • nbusr123 — a user name, and if so, very easily guessed

Strong Passwords:

Strong passwords avoid using dictionary terms and are generally made up of a random sequence of letters, numbers, and symbols. Unusual/bizarre phrases can also be acceptable. The length of a password can also slow down the time which it takes to guess it, often causing a hacker to deem the amount of time needed is not worth it.

Examples of strong passwords include:

  • 7gEbs?id~3 — not a dictionary word, has both cases of alpha, plus numeric, and punctuation characters
  • nOoOoFiM425965 — long, with both alpha cases and numeric characters
  • Change_100$ to Pounds? — phrases can be long, memorable and contain an extended symbol to increase their strength
  • Tpftcits4Utg! — A mixture of varying-case letters, numbers, and symbols. It is memorable as an initialism of "The password for this computer is too strong for you to guess!"

Note: these particular strings are no longer strong passwords, because they have been published.

New User RestrictionsEdit

Newly created user accounts have a few restrictions placed on them. We do this because vandals and other unsavory elements set up temporary user accounts in order to post spam and vandalism here on Wikibooks. This restricted period lasts 4 days from the time you create your user account. Once these 4 days have passed, your account is called autoconfirmed. Here are some of the restrictions that new users face until they become autoconfirmed:

Image uploads
New users cannot upload images to Wikibooks. This is because we have historically had a large problem with vandals uploading inappropriate pictures to Wikibooks. However, there is an easy solution to this: Wikimedia Commons allows new users to upload images without having to wait to become autoconfirmed. Images that are uploaded to commons can be used here on Wikibooks as if they have been uploaded here. Commons is the preferred place to upload images, even for veteran users.
Page Moves
New users cannot move pages. However, if you have a page that needs to be moved, you can ask on WB:PROJECTS or WB:AN for help. Make sure to read the guidelines at Wikibooks:Naming policy, to help avoid some common mistakes.
Editing protected pages
Some pages on Wikibooks are protected against being edited by anonymous users. Unfortunately, registered users who are not autoconfirmed cannot edit these pages either. Luckily, these pages are not common, and it is unlikely that new users will need to edit many of them anyway. Ask for help at WB:HELP or WB:AN for help with this.

User PageEdit

Every user account has two special pages, a user page and a user talk page. These two pages are yours, and yours alone. What you do with these pages is for you to decide; but, here are some common uses:

Your User Page
People often use their user pages as profile pages. Write about yourself, what you like, who you are. Many people also use it as a place to organize thoughts, prepare a list of links that are needed often, tips, and reminders. Many users also take some pride in decorating their user pages, and making them look fancy. There are many options, and you should feel free to experiment with your user page as much as you want.
Your User Talk Page
The talk page is a place where other users can contact you, and where you can carry on discussions with others. When another user writes a message on your user talk page, you will see a banner at the top of your browser that says "You have new messages". When you see this banner, go to your talk page, because somebody has left you a message. If you want people to contact you in a special way, or if you want to provide basic guidelines for how people talk to you, you can post them at the top of your talk page.

User SpaceEdit

In addition to the two pages mentioned above, you can have a multitude of additional pages for personal use. These pages together are known as your user space.

The user space works like any other book. Your user page is like the main page, and you can create subpages with a forward slash /. Here are some common examples:

Your Page/Sandbox
Wikibooks has a large Wikibooks:Sandbox page that people can experiment with, but some people would like a personal sandbox where they can experiment with things without being disturbed. If you want to practice with templates, you might also like to create a Template Sandbox page, and experiment with that.
Your Page/Links
Create a list of links for your benefit, or to help others get around quickly.
Your Page/About
Create a page about you, your interests, your experience, your background.
Your Page/Books
Write a little bit about the books and projects you are working on, what your goals are, and what you think needs to be fixed. In book writing, the more plans you write out, the easier it will be for other users to join in.

These are just a few ideas. Some people don't use any pages in their user space, while some users have hundreds of pages there. Feel free to use as much or as little as you want.

Deleting User SubpagesEdit

If you have a subpage in your user space, and you want it to be deleted. add the following tag to the top of the page: {{delete|requested by owner}}. An admin will find it and delete it eventually. If you are in a big hurry for some reason, you could contact an admin directly.

Admins may delete pages in their own user space at any time for any reason.

Your ContributionsEdit

Your contributions are important, and you should be proud of them! Go to Special:Contributions and type in your name to see a list of your edits. In the upper-left corner of your screen, there should also be a link that says My Contributions. Clicking on that will take you to your edit history directly.