Wikipedia:IPs are human too

People who haven't signed up or created an account are seen as troublemakers who spoil things, and some people who edit things often undo or remove what they add.

Some people think that when people who are not signed up on Wikipedia make changes to articles, they often do things to cause trouble. They believe that these people have fewer privileges compared to those who are registered users. However, studies conducted in 2004 and 2007 found that even though a large percentage (80%) of the harmful changes to articles were made by people who were not registered, the majority (over 80%) of the changes made by unregistered users were not harmful. According to the current rules, both registered and unregistered users have the same rights to contribute to Wikipedia and write articles.

Sometimes, people have wrong ideas about things. Because of these wrong ideas, changes made by people who haven't created an account on Wikipedia might be rejected by mistake, and their comments on discussion pages might not be taken seriously. This goes against what Wikipedia believes in and the basic ideas behind all Wikimedia projects. When dealing with people who haven't created an account, it's important to remember that IP editors are human too.

You are an IP too


You are like an IP contributor, but the only thing that makes you different is that your IP address is kept secret. When you signed up for Wikipedia, you chose a username to hide your IP address. People who don't sign up are sometimes called anonymous editors[1], but actually, because your IP address is hidden, you are even more anonymous. The software still keeps a record of your IP address, but other people can't see it normally.

Remember this when dealing with people who haven't registered on the website. They are not a lower category of users, nor a special group we tolerate. They are not like swarms of locusts trying to destroy your article. They are individuals, just like you. Why does it matter if they haven't made an account? Just like you, they deserve to be treated with kindness and trust. When you write on discussion pages and share your thoughts, their opinions should also be respected and considered.

Our readers are IPs too


Many people who read our website are not registered users. They are called "IPs." When someone without an account changes something in an article or leaves a comment, it is their opinion as one of our readers. Their opinion should not be ignored just because they don't have an account. Sometimes these readers without accounts make helpful changes to Wikipedia.

Common misconceptions


Some people think that rules only apply to people with accounts. That's not true. Rules affect everyone, whether they have an account or not, in the same way.

  • Comments by unregistered users on talk pages don't count: Yes, they do. Talk page discussion is about finding agreement. It doesn't matter if you have an account or not, everyone's opinions count. People without accounts can also make changes here. Most of the people who read our articles don't have accounts. When you comment, focus on the ideas, not who said them. Don't ignore someone's opinion just because they didn't make an account. And always remember, be kind and respectful to others.
Analysis of 248 edits to English-language Wikipedia articles from 04:43 to 04:46 UTC on 18 Feb 2007
  • Unregistered users are more likely to vandalise articles: This is true, but most of the changes made by people who are not registered users are not harmful. In a study done in February 2007, it was found that 80.2% of harmful changes were made by people who were not registered. However, 81.9% of the changes made by unregistered users were not harmful at all. The changes made by unregistered users that were not harmful accounted for 29.4% of all the changes made to articles. Only 6.5% of the changes made by unregistered users were harmful, while they helped fix over a quarter (28.5%) of all harmful changes. 91.9% of the changes made to Wikipedia articles were helpful, and unregistered users were responsible for almost a third of those changes. Another study done by IBM found that there is no clear link between being anonymous and making harmful changes. In fact, the research group discovered that anonymous users make significant and positive contributions.



  1. As of 2019, the historical "account vs anonymous" terminology is strongly discouraged on the grounds of Internet privacy.