For many reasons, including identity and community, ongoing abuse and general problems with them, the community has generally reached consensus that organizational accounts and those that have misleading names that make it appear they have more authority than other editors like Moderator should be disabled. This has nothing to do with the people behind the accounts, and they are not at all banned from the wiki.

Because there seems to be pretty widespread support for this idea, let's work out the details. The previous discussion is viewable here.

The Process

Two-Step Approach

In order to maintain a welcoming culture that encourages the users of organizational accounts to continue to engage under an appropriate username, I propose a two-step approach. —TomGarberson

A summary of each step:

Step 1: On their first post (or their next post after this is sorted out), welcome them; point out they're using an organizational account and the problem that creates in terms of tone. Link to a page (this page) explaining the problems, and the community's consensus on closing organizational accounts. Ask them to close the account and create a new one using their RealName. Tell them if they need any help with it, just ask.


This account will be, or has already been, disabled
While this account is going to be disabled due to the nature of the account name, the person who was using this account is absolutely welcome (and encouraged) to edit the wiki. Please close this account yourself by clicking "settings" in the upper right hand corner, change your email address from [email protected] to [email protected] and then press Save. Then scroll down to the bottom and use the "Disable Forever" option. That will allow you to use the same email address to signup again under your name. For further information please read Welcome to the Wiki.
If you have questions about this you can ask for help.

But this seems kinda confusing. Maybe we skip the email step in the explanation? They may just figure that part out if we don't tell them to do the 'disable account forever' bit.PhilipNeustrom

  • Another option is to expand it out in Help. I don't like leaving these as faceless notices. It turns this process into a mechanical one rather than a human one — and that's supposed to be the entire goal of those whole process: keeping the wiki human oriented. It's a good notice to leave, but not absent any personal note. It's outreach to a person, not tagging a bug. I took a whack at it on Eastlake. -jw

Step 2: Give it at least 24 hours; after a subsequent post: Thank them for their continued contributions. Inform them the account is going to be closed, with a link to this page explaining why. Encourage them to start a new account using an appropriate username; they can easily edit their new User page to indicate their association with the organization. Repeat instructions for closing account and making a new one. Account gets locked the next time JW or another WikiSpot admin drops by; page is left up so they can see what happened. Except for rare cases of commercial spammers from Asia (who are totally blocked at the server level), accounts that are banned simply lose the Edit icon and comment bar, but are still able to read and navigate the wiki.

Step 2 could be done in a table format at the top of the page, with a look like the one on Moderator's user page. It doesn't need to be signed, and presenting it as a highly visible notification rather than a comment from an individual might be an improvement.

Note that both steps can be taken by anyone; the only part that requires admin action is the locking of the account. Hopefully this spreads the burden around a bit. I also think it's worth avoiding the term "banned", since it may imply they're not welcome to return. "Locked" or "disabled" seems much more neutral, which keeps things more welcoming. That might include renaming this page once the discussion is finished.

  • This format sounds perfect —MM
  • I went with "account disabled", as it's specifically an issue with that account, not the person. See Moderator, although I wrote that quickly, and I think the details on how to close out the account to re-signup using the same email address should be much more detailed. -jw
    • I like it! Incorporated.

Other Matters

Admin Notification

So the admins don't have to watch Recent Changes to spot everything, it'd be good to have a way of letting them know an account needs a ban/lock/disable. JasonAller suggested using this page (or a rename of it) as a list of requested bans. That way anyone can add a link to an organizational account, and an admin can easily drop by and take care of it. It also makes it easy to track what kinds of names have been locked already.

  • Y'know, I do provide my email and phone number... Daubert, William, Jason (and others) have called me in the past to give heads up about potential issues, and I've gotten texts and emails from many people. Don't worry about contacting me: the info is out there for a reason, and I'm pretty reliably affable, even when woken up in the middle of the night. ⁓ʝ⍵
    • Yabbut... maybe someday you might want someone else to help out a bit, someone who doesn't want to be woken up in the middle of the night... —cp
      • True... and they can set their own contact guidelines and this can be reworked. I'm just trying to make it clear for the current case. —jw
        • Call JW in the middle of the night... check. :-) —cp
          • Wouldn't be the first time. Usually it's when the site goes down... which hasn't happened often. -jw

You can add usernames that you have put a notice on to: Wiki Community/Organizational accounts/To Do

Rename page/terms

As this is not strictly a ban, but rather disabling the accounts, mind if this page be renamed and the instances of "ban" on this page converted to "disabled account"? I'd hate for anybody to think that they were banned because we're tossing around the term. Disabled account implies it's an action on the account, not the person. -jw

Alternate Organizational Names

What do people think of names like JohnAtOrganization? The obvious downsides are 1) it's still somewhat of an organizational account that could create an exceptional voice, and 2) it's likely to lead to multiple accounts for users who either change jobs or want to edit under the JohnAtOrganization account from work and their JohnDoe account elsewhere.

One option might be to discourage it but, if people have a serious problem with the no organizational accounts thing, or if an employer or organization requires it, to offer it as a sort of compromise.

  • I do actually like the idea of people identifying themselves as working for a place, but maybe suggest something like —MasonMurrayAtOrganization that way they don't have to have multiple accounts to post in an official capacity.
    • I like MM's suggestion. Why put the JaneAtOrganization idea in people's heads if we can get JaneP or JanePorter or whatever? —CovertProfessor
    • Agreed. Just inviting them to identify themselves when they make edits and/or on their user page seems good. —tg
    • I dislike the idea of people having role accounts, period. If someone edits here, they should use their RealName or a pseudonym. Putting the name of the organization they're editing for in their account means they need to create another account to meaningfully contribute to the community. The special signatures would be nice, though. —wl

I'd say it's maybe a little premature to be issuing the "you're done with this account" notices. It kinda skips over the first step, introducing people to the fact that this is a new community decision. —TomGarberson

  • The first two (the ones that I actually disabled) were in communication (one for many years). Are some of the others without outreach? -jw
  • Oh, and I'm not going to disable any accounts until a full day has gone by. That's so everybody can review the list and it's not just two people acting alone. Seem reasonable?

Sounds good, and as long as they've all already had outreach, it's fair. —tg the same vein, were all the ones that were added on the 27th and 28th similar cases of "outreach has already been done"? -jw

Not sure what to do about AdvancedValleyEye. He's already been spoken to (by WH?) and started up a RealName account (BobMiller), but now has gone back to the organizational account (perhaps by accident?). Perhaps this case needs special handling, perhaps from the person who first spoke to him. —cp

  • I know he's been asking for help. I think it's a matter of innocent confusion. -jw
    • Me too, that's why I think it needs special handling. —cp
      • I'll email him (his preferred contact method) — WH
        • Thank you! —cp

Three for consideration

Opinions on handling these three?

I thought DWG was already banned. And it's not an account used by an organization. —WilliamLewis

  • DWG gives the appearance of official action on the wiki just like Administrator, Moderator, etc. If they are already banned then not an issue. Perhaps should be noted on page that they are banned if that is the case.

So it seems like we're currently going with a one-step approach: just the tabled notice. Should we come up with some standard introductory language welcoming them and explaining the issue before leaving a faceless "account disabled" notice? I really think the first thing step should be a welcome from an individual, and that notice should be step 2. (See e.g. EastLake). —TomGarberson

  • I agree. —CovertProfessor
  • That's why I hit Eastlake with the extra info — because they just recently edited. I was under the impression that Jason's list is "active, but ignored outreach in the past". He asked me earlier today if I got a message back from one I asked to email me. I do think that only a notice is insufficient. In another case I restored the outreach so they could see it. -jw

I think that all of the existing org accounts with more than 39 edits have been given notice. I'm happy with holding off on more notices until an org account edits. Anyone can go back and do more outreach on those accounts if they want. —JasonAller