MediaWiki talk:Fancycaptcha-createaccount

Improved wordingEdit


Please change "You are recommended to choose a username", which is terrible (grammatically), to something more correct. Any of the following, or variants thereof, would be fine:

  • We recommend that you choose a username
  • You should consider choosing a username
  • You should strongly consider choosing a username
  • There are many advantages to choosing a username

-- John Broughton (♫♫) 15:46, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

  Done. Cheers. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:53, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Possible changesEdit

Copying my comments from Wikipedia:Requests for comment/new users#Username blocks. "Possibly it could be improved by having a positive suggestion like "Choose a username that identifies you personally, either using your real name, or using an alias of your choosing." This would slightly contextualise the prohibitions, on what not to do. And I'm inclined to wonder how necessary it is to tell people of the technical limitations in advance - it would be neater to hide that and only tell people if the need arises. Also, it would be rather more aesthetic and possibly less confusing if the captcha appeared nearer the Create Account button. It looks kind of misplaced, as is." To clarify the technical limitations point - the software must catch those with an appropriate error message, so is it really worth saying that? Do enough people run into those? Rd232 talk 17:08, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Tried a redesign, drafted here: User:Rd232/fc. Rd232 talk 15:22, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
And implemented. Rd232 talk 12:04, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Add something about account permanence?Edit

I'm tempted to add something here about how accounts cannot be deleted, but I'm drawing a blank on how to phrase it. Any ideas? - Jredmond (talk) 15:10, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Why? Isn't it the norm that web accounts on forums and such aren't (in practice) deletable? Anyway, it's a privacy issue so more of a MediaWiki:Signupend thing. Rd232 talk 01:09, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
You'd think it'd be obvious, but we do see a fair number of e-mails asking or even demanding that we nuke an account. I'm not picky about the specific system message that includes it; I just think it could be helpful to warn people beforehand. - Jredmond (talk) 16:51, 4 November 2009 (UTC)


I've trimmed this page dramatically. It's absurd to go to create an account and be hit with a wall of text. There's no reason to include the entire username policy, links work just fine for people interested in that. Please let me know if you have any comments or concerns. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:34, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

First off, let's remember how it used to look: [1]. Secondly, this is a high-visibility page, so discussion would be nice first. Thirdly, this talk page may not be watched by many people, so WP:VPT notification would be nice. Fourthly, I strongly disagree with removing the summary of username policy: it is the key thing people need to know at this point which isn't pretty obvious. It's tucked off to the right now so people can ignore it if they want, but visible enough for those with some patience to skim and get the message. Expecting people to click on "username policy" is just naive - try it and I guarantee you'll get a big rise in inappropriate usernames. Rd232 talk 21:05, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Eh, BRD (as you noted) works well enough. And I'd bring up on a village pump, but let's be honest, few people care. So here works well enough. You can say people aren't going to click a link, but can you agree they're also not going to read a tl;dr wall of text? Are there other websites that you're aware of (or even other WMF wikis) that take the same "throw a wall of text at them" approach to account creation that is currently taking? Most that I've seen are incredibly simple. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:39, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I'm going to have to go with MZMcBride's version. The current version is pretty daunting, and frankly we don't need to discuss all the arcane details of the username policy with every single potential newbie. - Jredmond (talk) 22:05, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see what's daunting about it at all. There are only a handful of headings, which are very clear, and it's eminently skimmable. Apart from the technical restriction, none of the username policy there is "arcane" - it is highly relevant to many users. Rd232 talk 00:02, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

There was a discussion about this page on VPT only a couple of weeks ago. Note also that there has also been talk of a substantial reworking of the entire signup page (see Aude's last remark at the bottom of that VPT thread), to enable to description to be integrated with the form itself, which is how it should be and will (if it done right) much reduce the wall-of-text effect you speak of (don't entirely see that, myself, but anyway it will be clearer). Rd232 talk 00:02, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I went to see how other sites do their account creation screens. Some screenshots:
All of these use very simple forms without a wall of text. Can you find any sites that take the approach that is currently taking? If not, is there a reason you can see to make such an exception here? --MZMcBride (talk) 10:00, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Removing this text will increase the number of bad usernames, which then need to be identified, and blocked, and unblocked to permit name changing. But of course not everyone will bother to change their bad usernames, so you've also got to make up for lost contributions from those people. Are you volunteering for all this extra work, or just happy to add it to the pile of Things The Community Needs To Do? Anyway, I've posted at VPT about this discussion. Rd232 talk 11:41, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, for example, it's impossible to create a username containing a "@", so warning users about using their e-mail address might be something for the fine print, it is not something that needs to be declared upfront. In fact, I think most of this information could and should go below the form. What I was asking (and am still asking) is why you think it's okay to take the current approach when all the other major websites don't do so? If you want to talk about lost contributors, I imagine the number of people who go to create an account and get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bureaucracy (which starts at this form) and decide to give up is much higher than people turned away by username blocks. (Also, let's not turn this discussion into a wikidick measuring contest regarding contributions to Wikipedia, please. You'll lose.) --MZMcBride (talk) 21:10, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
People can create email-related usernames without an @, once it's clear they can't use @; if the error message for using an @ says "no email addresses" it might be droppable upfront (ditto the other technical restrictions, which currently give unhelpful responses). But it's a relatively minor point, the issue so far has been about dropping the guidance in toto. And frankly people who are overwhelmed by the "bureaucracy" of this form just aren't going to get very far on Wikipedia. Anyway, Sarah explains my concerns a bit better below. Rd232 talk 09:21, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Collapsible box can be an option. Ruslik_Zero 16:00, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Please at least keep the info about promotional and business usernames in. So many upset and angry people who get username blocked (especially for business/website names) complain to unblock-en-l and it's important to be able to point out that the information is on the sign-up page. Most people creating an account are not going to click on the username policy link and read the policy. I'm sorry but that's just not realistic - how many of you read the terms of service or account policies when creating an account on other sites? And it's even worse on Wikipedia because new people who don't understand our policies and don't even really understand what Wikipedia is assume that using their business's name and writing articles about themseleves, their business, website etc, is perfectly okay. Also, we place a lot more importance on usernames than most, possibly all, the sites MZMcBride refers to. Our collection of polices would be many, many times larger than most of those sites who often contain most of their rules in their terms of service document so I don't really see those as a valid comparison. I don't really care about the @ names and symbols (though it seems rather user-unfriendly to not tell people about that up front) but please, at the least, leave the promotional information here, it plays an important role by ensuring these people (who are often very pissed about being blocked) are given this information on sign-up and are then responsible if they get caught violating the policy and their account gets blocked. Sarah 05:34, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

As Sarah, I am seeing more and more disgruntled users (and they are going... not just changing names) when they get blocked for using their firm's name - so under BRD, I'm going back to the last version. There's far to many new user names that we would not have seen in the past.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 20:51, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I removed a small amount of the more obvious instruction cruft, but left anything that could be remotely considered "important". Kaldari (talk) 00:02, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


Is this message enabled by one of the extensions (maybe the FancyCaptcha add-on to CofirmEdit?) It's very difficult to find information about this message should someone want to replicate it on another wiki. It appears to be the only way to insert text into the signup process before the fields are rendered. Alexkozak (talk) 19:45, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Testing this pageEdit

I've seen the discussion above:

  • User:MZMcBride assumes that a shorter text will invite more people to create accounts
  • User:Rd232 assumes that removing the username policy will lead people to create more user accounts with inappropriate names.
  • User:Aude assumes that we need only three lines of text, based on the German version
  • User:Dodoïste recommends this article

What do you think? Is it time we test things instead of assuming what will happen? How about if I create a shorter version and we test it and see what happens? And then we can test versions where the warnings are under the fields, etc, to see which solution will work the best.

I will post "warnings" on the Village pumps (technical and proposal) and Wikipedia:MediaWiki messages, but since we are only taking about a few days, I hope that it will be all right.

Best wishes//Hannibal (talk) 23:41, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Look forward to seeing what happens. Remember, this is a "captcha" system message, intended to explain the captcha and that's all. As is now, it's being grossly misused with a "wall of text" that's intimidating and unwelcoming. Cheers. --Aude (talk) 00:26, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with everything Aude said. I'll also be the one to point out that you (Hannibal) aren't an admin, so I'm not quite sure how much testing you'll be doing without some outside support. --MZMcBride (talk) 00:56, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
There's the "edit protected" template, but it needs demonstrated consensus for someone to act on it. Rd232 talk 02:16, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
(i) It's mere positional convenience that this text is in the "captcha" sytem message; it works, no-one cares. (ii) it's very far from a "wall of text", it's carefully designed to be skimmable with various emphasis, de-emphasis and layout features to support that. (iii) I'm not aware of any websites having username restrictions even remotely like Wikipedia's; the vast majority are basically "anything you like as long as it doesn't exist yet" (apart from tech restrictions like weird characters and length). Departing so radically from that standard merits explanation in advance, as briefly and clearly as possible, and I think the status quo does that. I wouldn't mess with it - improvement efforts would be much better spent elsewhere (eg the current edit summary discussions at WP:VPR, which are sort of promising but in danger of running out of steam, and need someone to help move them forward to conclusion and possibly action). Rd232 talk 02:16, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Bottom line, I can't just can't see many people being put off by the text - those who might be put off will just ignore it like it's Standard Bumph I Don't Need To Read and jump to the fields and zoom ahead. The handful that actually are put off, we should probably be grateful, since they're probably would-be vandals getting an inkling that the website is more serious than they thought, or users who would fail WP:COMPETENCE. Far more concerning is users who do something slightly wrong with the username, do something probably constructive(ish), and then get put off because they get blocked. The current text not only reduces the bad choices, it also reduces the departure after blocking, because at least some of the users realise it was their fault, and not Wikipedia being capricious. Rd232 talk 02:26, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

It's most certainly a wall of text. You measure walls of text in comparison to other blocks of text of a similar nature. For example, a novel is not generally considered a wall of text (even though it is certainly a lot of text) because it's compared to other novels. In this case, when you look at the login screens of other wikis (both Wikimedia wikis and non-Wikimedia wikis), it's undeniably a wall of text. And there's evidence to suggest that such a wall of text is actively harmful to new user registrations.
If someone wants to do some (temporary) testing here, I don't think widespread consensus is needed or warranted. A simple sanity check will suffice.
Generally speaking, most of these checks (for usernames that resemble e-mail addresses, e.g.) should be done automatically in the software (with a user warning as appropriate on submit or completion of the input field). --MZMcBride (talk) 02:55, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I believe the software does disallow useer names including email addreses. But all the other types of problematic user names aren't disallowed by the software.
And in terms of the amount of text - if it were the full width of the screen (as it is at MediaWiki:Fancycaptcha-createaccount, I don't think it would be so bad; however, beingonly half width, it looks like too much.
And one thing we can get rid of from this screen, I believe, is the section about the benifits of creating an account - probably, anyone who gets this far did it for this reason. I think all the rest of the text here is necessary. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:31, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
"You measure walls of text in comparison to other blocks of text of a similar nature." - oh, and there was me thinking there was such a thing as user interface design, as I alluded to above. And you've ignored the points I made about the non-comparability of Wikipedia with other websites, and about turning people off (some people we want turned off, notably vandals and spammers). And if there is "evidence to suggest that such a wall of text is actively harmful to new user registrations" where is it? And does that evidence show the lost registrations were users we actually wanted? Rd232 talk 08:18, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, this conversation is a complete waste of my time. It's like a filtered version of a VPR discussion containing only the worst parts. --MZMcBride (talk) 16:12, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

So, let's test it. I will write a few alternatives and run them for two days at a time and see how that affects account creation numbers, if at all. You will be able to follow what happens here, and on the list of the newest users.

And by the way: I am not an admin, but I have sort of a staff flag, which means that I can edit system messages, locked pages, and so on.//Hannibal (talk) 16:34, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Inaccuracy in list of forbidden charactersEdit

It seems that \ is not forbidden (I've just successfully created an account with that symbol in the username). I assume though that the actual list of forbidden characters and substrings is the same as for article titles (WP:Naming conventions (technical restrictions)), and not limited to just # and /. I suggest replacing:

a username cannot include the #, / and \ symbols.


a username cannot include certain symbols, including # and /.

Presumably there is also an upper limit on the length of a username, though we might not want to mention that on the "beans" principle. Victor Yus (talk) 12:23, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, a username has the same restrictions as a page title, with additional restrictions:
  • It may not contain '#' or '/'.
  • It may not contain various control characters, unusual whitespace, or UTF-8 private use characters: U+0080–U+009F, U+00A0, U+2000–U+200F, U+2028–U+202F, U+3000, or U+E000–U+F8FF.
  • It may not contain '@' (unless they've changed $wgInvalidUsernameCharacters).
  • It may not be an IP address.
  • It may not be one of a list of configured reserved usernames (e.g. "MediaWiki default").
  • It may not have a namespace or interwiki prefix.
  • It may not be more than 235 characters long.
  • It may not already exist, of course, including in SUL.
And then there are the restrictions tested by mw:Extension:AntiSpoof, which includes more blacklisted characters (various '/'-lookalikes and characters from unusual scripts such as Runic, Ugaritic, and so on) and checks against mixed scripts.
Then there are the limitations placed by meta:Title blacklist and MediaWiki:Titleblacklist, both the normal blacklisting rules and those tagged <newaccountonly>. Among the more notable of these are that accounts containing strings implying advanced permissions (e.g. "admin") or impersonating high-profile users are blocked, and the maximum username length is reduced to 40 characters.
I'll leave it to others to decide just how much of this to mention on the create account page. Anomie 19:43, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for such a comprehensive list! Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 20:15, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this information ought to be documented somewhere (is it already?) We shouldn't put too much of it on the account creation page, though, since it's hardly likely to constitute an issue for most people, but we should link to it. Something like: Usernames are subject to certain technical restrictions, for example certain special symbols are not allowed. Victor Yus (talk) 06:56, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Renewed edit requestEdit

Please replace

For technical reasons, a username cannot include the #, / and \ symbols.


Usernames are subject to certain technical restrictions, for example certain special symbols are not allowed.

This is explained in the discussion above. I have written up Anomie's information so that we can now link to it. The present sentence is incorrect (there seems to be no restriction on \ ), and highly incomplete. Victor Yus (talk) 11:11, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

  Done Anomie 18:36, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request - 9/11Edit

Hi. I am wondering if an administrator is willing to make a small adjustment to this page that would draw a bit more attention to our prohibition against promotional usernames. I scan the filters and logs everyday and I (and others) have to tag just dozens of these everyday. How about changing the current text:

  • Choose an inoffensive username that identifies you personally, either using your real name, or an alias of your choosing. Do not use your email address or domain name, or the name of any organization you're associated with.

To a revised version:

  • Choose an inoffensive username that identifies you personally, either using your real name, or an alias of your choosing. Do not use the name of an organization or website you're associated with, or your email address.

This would also have some aesthetic consistency with the following bullet, which uses bold. NTox · talk 03:29, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

  Done. I also changed the formatting so that we are not using multiple methods of emphasising text which looked amateur. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 19:04, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for this. I hope it helps. NTox · talk 19:38, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Advertising the new account creationEdit

Would anyone object if temporarily (like, no more than a week) we replace the current contents with a call to try the new account creation? I was going to make a watchlist notice, but it was rightly suggested that this and MediaWiki:Loginend are more appropriate places to put a link. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:47, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Any final objections? It's been a few days, so I was going to do this... Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:46, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Okay done. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 06:53, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
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