Wikisource:Alternate accounts

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This page is a Wikisource guideline. It illustrates standards or conduct that are generally accepted by consensus to apply in many cases. Feel free to update the page as needed, but please use the discussion page to propose major changes.
Alternate accounts
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WS:ALT
Report suspected misuse of alternate accounts at Wikisource:Administrator's noticeboard

Editors who use more than one account are advised to provide links between them on the user pages (see below). Note that if you are found to be behaving abusively and action is taken, privacy policy's data release criteria releases other Wikimedians from their obligation to protect your anonymity when addressing abuse. It is likely that all of your accounts will be blocked and publicly linked.

Examples of inappropriate uses include to avoid scrutiny; mislead or deceive other editors; edit project discussions (eg policy debates and Arbitration proceedings); make disruptive edits with one account and normal edits with another; distort consensus; stir up controversy; or circumvent sanctions or policy. These same principles apply to editors who decide to cease editing under one account and restart under another (see WP:CLEANSTART).

Legitimate uses of alternate accounts[edit]

Alternate accounts have legitimate uses.

  • Security: Since public computers can have password-stealing trojans or keyloggers installed, users may register an alternate account to prevent the hijacking of their main accounts. Such accounts should be publicly connected to the main account or use an easily identified name. For example, User:Mickey might use User:Mickey (alt) or User:Mouse, and redirect that account's user and talk pages to their main account.
  • Maintenance: An editor might use an alternate account to carry out maintenance tasks. The second account should be clearly linked to the main account.
  • Bots: A common special case of maintenance involves bots, or programs that edit automatically or semi-automatically. Editors who use bots are encouraged to create separate accounts with the specific additon of the bot suffix. See Wikisource:Bot policy.
  • Wikimedia Foundation staff: Staff may operate more than one admin account, though they must make known who they are. For example, User:Bastique uses the account User:Cary Bass for Foundation purposes.
  • Clean start under a new name: If you decide to make a fresh start, and do not wish to be connected to a previous account, you can simply discontinue using the old account(s), and create a new one that becomes the only account you use. This is permitted only if there are no bans or blocks in place against your old account, and so long as no active deception is involved, particularly on pages that the old account used to edit.

If you are unsure about any of these aspects please address a question to Wikisource:Administrators' noticeboard prior to continuing.

Alternate account notification[edit]

Inappropriate uses of alternate accounts[edit]

Editors must not use alternate accounts to mislead, deceive, disrupt, or undermine consensus. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Creating an illusion of support: Alternate accounts must not be used to give the impression of more support for a position than actually exists.
  • Circumventing policies or sanctions: Policies apply per person, not per account. Policies such as the three-revert rule are for each person's edits. Using a second account to violate policy will cause any penalties to be applied to your main account, and in the case of sanctions, bans, or blocks, evasion causes the timer to restart.
  • Role accounts: Because an account represents your edits as an individual, "role accounts" — accounts shared by multiple people—are as a rule forbidden and blocked.
  • Administrators with multiple accounts: Editors may not have more than one administrator account (excluding bots) with administrator privileges. If an administrator leaves, comes back under a new name and is nominated for adminship, they must relinquish the administrative access of their previous account.
  • Where a clean start was undertaken (as above), the reactivation (by editing or by use of email) of the former account, without a declaration of reactivation, and linking to their other accounts on this wiki; is considered inappropriate uses of alternate accounts.


Note: Adminship reflects the community's trust in an individual, not just in an account. Administrators who fail to disclose their past accounts risk loss of administration privileges, particularly if knowledge of the past accounts would have influenced the outcome of past discussions about their adminship.