OpenWetWare talk:Username policy

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Name Format


Sign your name to vote for your choice:

Foo Q. Bar, Jr.

Foo Q Bar Jr

  • Vincent (only as a suggested format, due to the URL reason)

Bar, Foo Q., Jr.

Let individual user decide

We should strongly encourage, but not require real names

Something else

  • Sri Kosuri (talk) 14:12, 8 May 2007 (EDT):I don't think we should make this a hard policy. I like the idea of letting people sign on with a different email address. I think we should encourage people to use their real name, as that is what will be posted on the user page. We can also tell people that's what google will be indexing, so they have incentives to make this name as descriptive as possible. Also, we can email people back when they only give us one name. We can construct disambiguation pages if people have the same names. Otherwise, I think we let people choose whatever they want. For example, would drew have to be Andrew D Endy, or Drew Endy... would I have to be Sri Kosuri or Sriram Kosuri... et cetera.
    • Austin Che 14:27, 8 May 2007 (EDT): It's simple. You would use whatever name you publish under. Posting something on the wiki should be equivalent to publishing and so using the same name for both makes the most sense.
      • Sri Kosuri (talk) 11:07, 9 May 2007 (EDT): Since when was posting on OWW equivalent to publishing? The publisher's don't treat it that way (that's why we can republish in a real journal)... I don't treat it that way (i.e, spelling mistakes, poor grammer/punctuation/wording)... if this is the policy that oww wishes to encourage, the impetus to contribute goes dramatically down (i think).
      • Sri Kosuri (talk) 11:07, 9 May 2007 (EDT): Second comment... We could strongly suggest it. We can say that your user page (how people find you, your google rankings, et cetera) will be based on you using your username. We can encourage many of the power users to switch over to that system. I think requiring it is a bit draconian considering currently almost every edit is constructive (it's not as if we are deluged in horrible edits by "anonymous" users).
        • Jasonk 17:11, 10 May 2007 (EDT):Well, part of the reason is thinking longer term: this will be harder to implement the larger the user base becomes. I don't see a lot of down side to having people's real name be up there. We already ask for the first and last name when people sign up now, and from a cursory look at previous applications >90% of people provide both. Also, it's not clear how many people we are losing because they are "freaked out" that people can edit their work under a pseudonym, this number may be larger than the number of people who would be upset about having their real name associated with edits on the site. Once we move to email logins, then every new user won't think twice about what their userpage name is; we will need to tread more carefully with existing users. Maybe we grandfather them in and then suggest they move to the new system. Also, I think allowing people to put whatever they want for first and last is fine -- e.g. it doesn't need to be your "publication name" it just needs to be your identity. The main reason for asking for middle initial (in my mind) was to have less name collisions, but I'd be fine with just first last.
  • reid 16:05, 8 May 2007 (EDT): I agree with Sri. Given how I assume most people want to use OWW (i.e. not wanting anonymity), a more descriptive name makes sense, and as such, a suggested format for that name makes sense, but I don't think it should be required. My vote is not to enforce anything, but to suggest "Foo Q. Bar, Jr." if users want a descriptive name.
    • Jasonk 22:12, 8 May 2007 (EDT):I think it's important we move to the real name scheme, sorry Reid not sure exactly what you're suggesting -- do you mean you want to allow stuff like 'jasonk' or 'phage' or whatever? or do you just mean people should be able to choose which format they want? Remember people will be logging in with their email, so they won't be thinking of this is a Username (e.g. I don't consider Jason Kelly to be my facebook login, nor do I care how they display it -- kelly,jason or whatever)
  • Vincent 06:45, 9 May 2007 (EDT): I agree with Sri and Reid, we should not enforce a username policy, only suggest one. I think OpenWetWare should create an environment so that people, at some point, will understand the advantages to merge their 'anonymous' OWW contributions with their real identity (it would require an easy mechanism to change username once an accoutn is created). I believe that to get the right environment, OWW should provide better incentives and acknowledgments to the OWW contributions (working with stats is a good start - most active users, most visited protocols, reviews- the google search argument is great too). I feel that if OWW enforces the username policy, we will end up with dozens of John Smith, and worse, people might walk away. Also, I don't think we should consider all OWW users as people publishing in scientific journals. For example, I would like to see OWW as an open forum on biological/biotech issues (Ethical, Educational, Legal, ...)
    • Jasonk 17:15, 10 May 2007 (EDT):I disagree that we'll get 'John Smiths', we already ask for First and Last when people apply and >90% of people provide it. I personally think that moving to this system would be a complete non-issue for new user sign-ups, but agree that we should be careful not to freak out existing users. Maybe we could roll it out for new users, and then offer existing users the option to switch easily if they want.
  • Reshma 12:36, 9 May 2007 (EDT): I think everyone agrees that we should at least offer renaming to a person's full name as an option. I suggest we start there and see how it goes. SC members interested in the new approach can be the first to try it. We can then think about encouraging new and existing users to follow this policy. I also believe that the issue of login via an email address rather than a username is not contentious? i.e. People prefer login via email address. So we could think about moving forward on that as well. (Oh and Vincent, note that folks working in ethics, education and law also publish using real names. So I don't think that this system is biased towards scientists.
    • Vincent 04:35, 10 May 2007 (EDT): Whouu! Sorry Reshma if I was not clear but by 'Open Forum' I meant everyone -general public- should be welcome to contribute. It might be a bit restrictive to think that only academics have an opinion.)
      • Reshma 09:11, 10 May 2007 (EDT): Sorry! ... didn't mean that comment to sound clipped. I see your point about discouraging the general public from contributing. I think we might need to play it by ear.

Pros Of 'Foo Q. Bar, Jr.'

  • more similar to a journal citation
  • easier to read?
  • Reshma 13:34, 3 May 2007 (EDT): Nature uses periods.
  • Reshma 13:37, 3 May 2007 (EDT): Science uses periods.
  • according to wikipedia, the period is used iff when the letter is an abbreviation. So there's a semantic difference between Foo Q Bar and Foo Q. Bar. In the first case, the person's middle name is Q and in the second, the person's middle name begins with Q.
  • The APA style says yes to period
  • Wikipedia says use period
  • The Library of Congress uses period

Pros of 'Foo Q Bar Jr'

  • the url would look like with the period, and without. I think the latter URL is much simpler - people are not used to periods outside of the domain names in url's
    • Austin Che 13:23, 3 May 2007 (EDT): It doesn't seem likely people will be manually entering in URLs and that we should decide based on this. Also, what about things like Jr. and Sr.? Note that there seems to be often comma separating name from Jr. which is another uncommon character in urls
      • Jgritton 17:10, 3 May 2007 (EDT): This is not necessarily true, a username needs to be manually entered when linking to another users page.
      • Austin Che 17:33, 3 May 2007 (EDT): On the wiki is a different issue (I think). You would be using wiki syntax (e.g. [[User:Foo Q. Bar]]) and there's no reason why the period is special (what about [[E. coli]]?)
  • the period offers nothing extra - middle initials are already separated by a space
    • Austin Che 13:23, 3 May 2007 (EDT): One could make the argument the space adds nothing extra (separated by case), however I think it helps readability. I'm not sure if period helps with readability.
  • Reshma 13:34, 3 May 2007 (EDT): Looks like Pubmed doesn't use periods.
  • Reshma 13:34, 3 May 2007 (EDT): Looks like Nature MSB doesn't use periods.
  • all else being equal, shorter is simpler and easier to type

Pros of 'Bar, Foo Q., Jr'

  • easier to find everyone with the same last name


  • Jgritton 15:57, 3 May 2007 (EDT): Unfortunately, I wasn't able to call in to the steering committee mtg so I apologize if my comments have already been hashed over. Online communities have a tradition of anonymity. I realize that OWW is somewhat different in that it mostly parallels a real world community so it's nice to know that user X recently published research on Y or that the person you meet at a conference contributes to some part of OWW. But I think there is still a place for anonymous users. As a perhaps far-fetched example suppose an employee of a publishing company want to get involved in OWW's open publishing work but fears that it will adversely affect her current job. I would support encouraging real names for users but I'm not sure it should be a requirement. In any case I think a statement of the reasoning behind this rule needs to be posted online and opened for comment.
  • Reshma 16:25, 3 May 2007 (EDT): The thought of the steering committee is that contributing to OpenWetWare should be something akin to giving a poster, a talk or publishing a paper. You use your real, full name. We want to encourage people to both take responsibility and get credit for their work. Also, using a person's real name helps to alleviate the problem of remembering your login (which some people have trouble with). Right now we are just proposing this policy and trying it out on a volunteer basis. We may then roll it out to new users and more extensively to past users if people agree and it makes sense. You do bring up a good point about the tradition of anonymity in online communities (and this point was raised by Ilya as well I believe). I guess the question is, do we see OpenWetWare more as a research community or an online community? I'd vote for the former which is why I favor the full name policy.
    • Lucks 10:46, 4 May 2007 (EDT): I am more for a research community that is using elements of an online community to create a new way to share and 'do' science. I think names are a part of a science community, and we ultimately want to convince scientists to join OWW more than we want anonymous people. In trying to set up, one of the biggest complaints I got from the scientists was that user names could be anonymous - they are not used to this, and prefer real names. So the closer OWW is to something people are used to, the more they will participate. I also think real names facilitates gradually moving OWW contributions into the legitimate scientific currency realm (alternative publishing).
    • Jasonk 14:02, 8 May 2007 (EDT): Also, as a point of clarity users will be using their email to login if we go with this scheme. So Reshma's point about remembering login is incorrect, in particular I think it's potentially harder to remember the login for anyone after the first Jason R. Kelly -- e.g. was I Jason R. Kelly 4 or 5? That said, I think the reasoning of adopting scientific community norms rather than online community norms is correct, and that's what this decision is based on. We should probably post an announcement about an impending change of usernames to real names on the homepage and have a request for comments -- once we get the implementation details worked out.