Logging in is not required for viewing pages, and not even for editing them. However, it provides additional features, and in general, it's recommended.
Creating a user account means that you supply a username (your real name or a nickname) and a password. The system will reject a username that is already in use. A user account is created only once. You are then "logged in". Next time you log in you supply your username again and demonstrate with the password that you are the same person.
Edits you make are recorded under your username. If you are not logged in, your edits are recorded under your IP address.
Why log in?
You don't have to log in to read a Memory Alpha article. You don't even have to log in to edit Memory Alpha – anyone can edit almost any page, even without logging in.
However, it's still a good idea to log in, for these reasons:
- Other users will be able to recognize you by your username when you make changes to pages. As a "name", an IP address is somewhat clumsy. Also, if you use computers at different locations (home, office, internet cafe, etc.) you have a different IP address in each case; even in the same location, depending on the Internet connection, the IP address may be different each time. Therefore a username is better to maintain an identity.
- You will have your own user page where you can write a bit about yourself, and a user talk page which you can use to communicate with other users.
- You will be able to mark an edit as minor, which avoids inconvenience for other users.
- You will be able to keep track of changes to pages you are interested in using a watch list.
- If you choose to give an e-mail address, other users will be able to contact you by e-mail. This feature is anonymous – the user who e-mails you will not know your e-mail address. You don't have to give your e-mail address if you don't want to.
- You will be able to rename pages.
- You will be able to set your own preferences, to change things such as:
- The number of pages displayed in Recent changes
- The fonts, colors and layout of the site, by using different skins.
How to log in
First, make sure that your browser accepts cookies. Some browsers can accept or reject cookies from individual sites; users of these should configure the browser to accept cookies from memory-alpha.org.
Click on the log in link at the top right of the page. You will then be prompted to enter your username and password. If you haven't logged in before, you will need to enter your password twice.
You may give your e-mail address if you like. Other users will be able to send e-mail to the address, but they won't be able to find out what the address is.
If you click the box Remember me, you will not have to give your password again when you access Memory Alpha from the same computer.
Log in problems
If you appear to be able to log in, but as soon as you try to look at a page after the 'Log in successful' page you appear logged out again, it is very likely to be a cookie problem. If you are certain that cookies are enabled, make sure that you haven't inadvertently listed http://memory-alpha.org on a list of sites to never allow cookies for (this feature is available in – at least – Mozilla Firebird (Firefox) 0.6 and above and Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6 and above). Also, make sure your computer's date and time are set correctly; if they are not, cookies may expire before they are supposed to. Note that some firewall and ad-blocking software may interfere with the cookie that Memory Alpha uses to keep a person logged in.
A user may occasionally find him/herself "automatically " logged out in between beginning an edit and saving it, or when switching between multiple Memory Alpha pages open in multiple windows. This can be a result of your browser's cookie, cache, or firewall settings, but due to the nature of the MediaWiki software, some user ID information is stored in the servers; sometimes, especially during heavy server load, the system can "glitch" and your ID information will be misplaced, resulting in a logout. Regardless of the reason for the logout, the simplest solution to the problem is to check the Remember me box. If you do this on a computer that can be accessed by more than one person (i.e. at the library, at work, at school), please find and erase your user ID cookies after your editing session.
If you log in and enabled the cookie feature, a subsequent log in as a different user without the cookie feature enabled will appear as logged out.
What if I forget the password?
If you enter an e-mail address when signing up for the account, or in your preferences, you can request on the login screen for a temporary password to be sent to that address, which will allow you to retrieve your account. If you did not enter an e-mail address, or the address was out of date, you will have to create a new account.
How to set preferences
Click on the preferences link at the top right of the page for various options, including:
- Changing your password.
- Changing the skin, which changes the way that the web pages look.
See Help: Preferences for more information.
Your User page and User talk page
As a logged-in user, you will be able to create your own user page and user talk page. When you are logged in, you will see your username displayed at the top right of the page. Click on this to get to your user page, which you can edit in the same way as any other Memory Alpha page.
Most users write a little bit about themselves and their interests on their user page.
You also have a user talk page. You can access this by clicking on the my talk link next to your username at the top right of the page. Other people may write messages in your user talk page by editing it, and you can respond. See Help:Talk pages for more information.
How to log out
You can log out any time by clicking on the log out link at the top right of the page.