Help:Registering with Ballotpedia

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If you want to contribute material (text, images, etc.) to Ballotpedia, the first step is to register with a user name.

Registration

Choose a user name

The user name you choose when you register on Ballotpedia should be easy for you to remember. This name becomes your signature and gives you credit for your work. You can read material on Ballotpedia without creating an account, but you cannot contribute information without logging in to your account.

You may want to choose some form of your real name so that when you are credited with your edits on the history page, it will be clearly you. However, if you wish your contributions to be anonymous, you can choose a neutral name.

Either way, remember that you cannot change this name later. So, choose carefully.

Also, be aware that Ballotpedia has a policy for names that are identical to or substantially similar to the name of an elected official or candidate. Our policy is that we ask users who register using such a name to verify to us that they are that person. If they don't verify this, depending on how the account is used, the account might be deleted.

When using a Username, your IP address will not be available to the public except in cases of abuse, including vandalism of a wiki page by you or by another user with the same IP address.

If you register and become an editor, each article you edit will contain a history of your edits to it. If you'd like to see what this looks like, go to the top of this page and click on "history." There, you will see a list in reverse chronological order of the registered user names of everyone who has ever made any changes to this page.

Register for an account

If you do not yet have an account you will need to set up one by clicking the “login/create account” in the upper right hand corner of the page. In the screen that pops up, fill in the security box and other information.

  • Enter your chosen user name. Choose carefully, because you will not be able to change it. If you ask for a user name someone else already has, the system will reject your request and recommend that you pick another one.
  • Enter your password. Remember to use both letters and numbers for a higher level of security. Ballotpedia's value will depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions, useful articles and information about ballot propositions and measures, and reliable information. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user's edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.
  • E-mail address is optional, but allows a new password to be emailed to you if you forget your password. You can also choose to let others contact you through your user or talk page without needing to reveal your identity. It's just an option, but one you may wish to consider, because if you provide your email address, Ballotpedia can arrange to send you email notices about Ballotpedia from time-to-time, including special projects or significant developments.
  • Real name is optional, but if you choose to provide it, this will be used for giving you attribution for your work.
  • Remember to check the box on the sign-in screen that says “Remember my login on this computer” or the system will sign you out when a certain amount of time has elapsed after your last edit. (This can cause you to lose text you were working on.)
  • Click the box that says “Create Account.”
  • A user account is created only once. You are then "logged in".
  • The first page you see, when your account is created, is your “Discussion” page, welcoming you to the wiki. This page is for you to communicate with other users. Notice the tab at the top with red letters “user page.” Click on that tab and then go to the Help:User page for more information.

Logging in

A user account is created only once. You are then "logged in".

The next time you access Ballotpedia's website, you will need to supply your user name and password again. If you checked the box "Remember my login on this computer" when you registered, or previously logged in, and did not log out the last time you were on this computer, you may still be logged in.

It is not necessary to log in before you read a page, but you do have to register and log in to edit a page. (When you are logged in, you will also see additional editing features that are not visible to readers who are not logged in.)

Edits you make are recorded under your user name. If you are not logged in, you will not be able to make edits.

For more information on logging in, go to the page with troubleshooting help.

Cookies

The wiki will set a temporary session cookie whenever you visit the site. If you do not intend to ever log in, you may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. It will be deleted when you close your browser session.

More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your user name (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your user name to future users of the machine. (If so, clear the browser cache as well.)

Your "user page"

Once you've become a registered user, Ballotpedia automatically generates a user page and an associated user talk page for you.

As soon as you have completed your registration process, if you look in the upper right of your screen, your user name will appear in red. Immediately to the right of your user name, you'll see "my talk" in blue. That's your user "talk" page.

You can put as much or as little (or no) information as you like on your user page. You can use it to link to articles you've written, or projects you're starting or working on. You can use it to add hyperlinks to articles that don't currently exist on Ballotpedia but which you'd eventually like to write. That kind of list on your user page is a nice way to remind yourself of projects you're working on.

Normally, you are the only person who will edit your user page. Similarly, you would not expect to edit the user pages of other users. The way that editors/users/contributors connect to talk about articles, editing and projects is through their respective user "talk" pages, article talk/discussion pages, or project pages.

For example, you might visit the user talk page of another editor, say hello, ask a question, or congratulate them on an especially good article, and so on.

On-wiki registration status

In 2011 the Captcha system in use on Ballotpedia to ensure that new users are real people, as opposed to spambots, was temporarily overwhelmed by a particularly aggressive spambot program that was creating hundreds of new fake users, and new inappropriate articles, every day.

This section highlights the status of the on-wiki registration system. If you encounter any issues or have any questions please let us know by emailing newuser@ballotpedia.org.

Status:

  • On January 28, 2011, the ability of new users to register a user account on Ballotpedia was temporarily turned off.
  • On February 4, 2011, the ability of new users to register was turned back on on an experimental basis.
  • On February 4, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. (CST), the ability of new users to registered was once again temporarily turned off because of a new infestation of spambots.
  • On February 23, 2011, new registrations were again enabled on Ballotpedia.
  • On June 6, 2011,, we dis-enabled new user registration again because the problem had once again grown to be a significant level.
  • On December 19, 2011, the ability of new users to register a user account on Ballotpedia was again enabled on Ballotpedia.
  • On January 26, 2012, the ability of new users to register a user account on Ballotpedia was disabled due to a sudden increase in spam.
  • On January 7, 2014, on-wiki user registration was enabled.

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