In Wikipedia, a new account is a registered user which has too few contributions to obtain a definite reputation, or is registered too recently for it. The opposite qualifier is an established user, but there is some gap between these two extremities: an account which just ceased to be a new one does not immediately become an established user. It is generally expected that a new account belongs to a newbie, but it is actually not so for following reasons:
- A new account may be a sockpuppet, the most widespread concern;
- A new account may be a WP:clean start account or another form of a legitimate alternative account;
- A new account may belong to an experienced user of another wiki;
- A new account may belong to an experienced unregistered user;
- An established user may switch to another account for whatever reason, including loss of control over the previous account.
Although it is certain that the reputation depends on account’s edits, there is no definite threshold when the reputation appears and solidifies: it depends on which are edits, where they are made, and which interval of time they span. There are at least two different reputations: the content (encyclopedic) reputation and the social reputation. Creation of the social reputation goes approximately through following questions which established members of the Community answer:
- Is the new account a sanctions evader or another kind of a cheap sock?
- Is the new account a troll?
- Is the new account a sock and/or a blatant PoV pusher or another sort of crank?
- Does the new account possess necessary skills of social interaction?
The content reputation tends to increase with each good edit proportionally to amount of content created (or fixed), and an account which made content contributions summarily equivalent to 2–3 medium-sized articles obtains a solid reputation (not necessarily a good one, but a definite reputation), given it had not failed socially.
Types of new accounts
- Brand-new account
A brand-new account is a recently created account, a short amount of time ago. They are the most suspected in sockpuppetry, especially if edit controversial articles.
- Account which recently became active
These accounts may be registered a long time ago, up to years. Such account had been inactive (or had few edits) for a prolonged time, but suddenly starts to edit actively, or just makes some few edits over a long time.
- Recently discovered account
This is a subjective classification: to me, an account becomes new when it attracts my attention first. But when I see that the account is, in fact, established, I stop to think about it as a new. If for some reasons an account avoided to attract an attention when making contributions, then it still is perceived as a new one when finally becomes discovered by the Community. If such account has a lot of useful contributions at this time, then it quickly becomes established.
- Account recently re-activated with different attitudes
There were many cases when an account became inactive for a prolonged time and then reactivated. If its new activity matches the Community’s ideas about its owner, then there is nothing special with it. But sometimes such account looks like another person controls it. This suspicion makes the Community to consider such account as an effectively new one. Although some users from English Wikipedia make sometimes baseless claims of accounts hijacking, accounts which very likely changed hands actually existed here. Note that Wikipedia forbids to give an account to another person.
Place in the community
The category of new accounts is roughly the same as one of red-faced accounts. As a general rule, an established user has not a red link at his/her user:, but there is no such rule and occasional exceptions occur. Though, there are many new accounts with a “blue” (existent) user: page. They either can create it themselves early, or may be created by other users in the case of sockpuppetry suspicions, for example.
Although new accounts sometimes experience certain amount of help and compassion from the Community, they are the least protected category of editors. They position is heavier than one of IPs. A registered user is expected by the Community to create his/her reputation, whereas an IP is not. Certain misdemeanors of IPs which usually are ignored (except for reverts and automatic warnings which lead to nothing) can lead to an indefinite block of the new account. Any new editor who wants to establish themselves in Wikipedia has to cross this strip between IPs (sometimes referred to as to anonymous) and established users, the strip where s/he is the most vulnerable to mistreatment from the Community.