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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Chapter 3. Setting Up Your Account and Personal Workspace

You can edit Wikipedia articles to your heart’s content—for the rest of your life even—without ever registering with Wikipedia. But the sooner you register (that is, get a user name), the sooner you’ll have the benefits of a user account—like being able to create entirely new articles and to monitor changes to articles. A user account costs nothing, and you don’t even have to provide any personal information. In fact, having an account actually protects your privacy better than editing anonymously. In this chapter, you’ll learn more about these perks, get some suggestions on picking a user name, and find out about the personal user pages you can set up after you register.

Why Register?

If you sometimes feel as if every Web site, product manufacturer, and service provider wants you to register, you may be right—when you give someone your name, address, phone number, and so on, you’re potentially opening yourself to junk mail, intrusive phone calls, and even the (small) possibility of identity theft. Registering with Wikipedia isn’t like that at all. When you register, you don’t provide any personal information except (optionally) your email address. It takes only a minute or two to get a Wikipedia user account, and it has many advantages. As you can see by the graph in Figure 3-1, you have plenty of company.

Since July 2006, the average number of newly registered accounts at Wikipedia has exceeded 7,000 per day. This graph is provided courtesy of editor Dragons Flight (Robert A. Rohde), based on a September 2007 database download of Wikipedia logs.

Figure 3-1. Since July ...

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