Encyclopedia > Wikipedia:Log in before making drastic changes

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Wikipedia:Accountability

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As an informal guideline, many Wikipedians prefer that people should log in before making drastic changes to existing articles. Compare and contrast this with another guideline - to be bold in updating pages.

To log in, click the "Log in" link in the upper right of any page. See Wikipedia:How to log in for details.

The reason for this is accountability; if you don't have a login[?], it is harder for others to contact you to raise any comments or concerns with what you write. Some users find it frustrating to deal with users who are not logged in, so you may find that they take your contributions less seriously and are more suspicious of your motives.

But it's not that others' frustration is, alone, a valid reason to revert your edits. Rather, that drastic changes to articles is a reversion, usually, of articles that have some invested discussion in them. The quality of Wikipedia articles comes as a result of the process of democracy, and the trust other Wikipedians learn to place in you (and your history of quality work) makes the editing process more an aspect of teamwork, rather than showmanship.

Some people, it is believed, when unsuccessful in making edits under their own identity (because this would mean participation in a process of discussion), resort to logging in anonymously to make major edits. This might yield an increasingly unsatisfactory result over time, especially where working together to write an article with a neutral point of view.

It is free to create a name, and to maintain a presence on Wikipedia, and it is completely anonymous - you don't have to give your name, or even your email address. So, although we do allow and welcome edits from users who are not logged in, you are still highly encouraged to log in if or when make major edits. This way, you can stand by your work, and in doing so, send a message to all Wikipedians that you think your work is worth standing for.

Someday, some people may create views of the Wikipedia that specifically exclude anonymous changes. This is by no means certain, it's not clear that many Wikipedians would support adding this capability to the main Wikipedia website. However, anyone can create such a view from the database (e.g., for a CD-ROM), so this is yet another reason to avoid posting anonymously. For more information, see more information on Wikipedia:Wikipedia approval mechanism

A related suggestion is to sign your posts on talk pages as it makes the discussion easier to follow.



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