ShivaeWiki:Why create an account?
You do not have to log in to read the ShivaeWiki. You don't even have to log in to edit articles — anyone can edit almost any article, even without logging in. Nevertheless, creating an account is quick, free and non-intrusive, and it's generally considered a good idea to do so, for a variety of reasons.
Note: to create a user account for the ShivaeWiki, go to the login page.
If you create an account, you can pick a username. Edits you make while logged in will be assigned to that name. This means you get full credit for your contributions in the page history (when not logged in, the edits are just assigned to your IP address). You can also view all your contributions by clicking the "My contributions" link, which is only visible when you are logged in.
You will have your own user page where you can write a bit about yourself. While the ShivaeWiki is not a homepage provider, you can use this to display a picture, write about your hobbies, etc. Many users use their user page to maintain a list of the articles they are most proud of, or to collect other valuable information from the Wiki.
You will also have a permanent user talk page you can use to communicate with other users. You will be notified whenever someone writes a message on your talk page. 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 emails you will not know your e-mail address.
Reputation and privacy
You don't need to reveal your offline identity, but having an account gives you a fixed ShivaeWiki identity that other users will recognize. While we welcome anonymous contributions, logging in lets you build trust and respect through a history of good edits. It's also easier to communicate and collaborate with an editor if we know who you are (at least, who you are on the Wiki). It is also easier for veteran users to assume good faith from new users who take the effort to create an account.
Please understand that the Wiki gets vandalized, spammed and information gets uploaded by people who just want to advertise. Information needs to be verified and the ShivaeWiki needs a way to distinguish reliable contributors and sources.
The privacy implications of this vary, depending on the nature of your Internet Service Provider, local laws and regulations, and the nature and quantity of your edits to the Homestar Runner Wiki. Be aware that wiki technologies and policies may fluctuate.
Opinions differ on the desirability of perfect anonymity. Some people believe that anonymity is synonymous with a lack of accountability, or may facilitate unproductive behaviour, or that contributing without a fixed identity is disempowering and unpleasant. Such people consider that creating an account and logging in may resolve such feelings.
There are many features of the MediaWiki software (which powers the ShivaeWiki) that are only available to registered users. For example, registered users can mark edits as "minor". Minor edits can be filtered from the list of "Recent changes". We do not give the privilege to mark edits as minor to anonymous users because we do not know who is behind a given IP address at any time, so we cannot build a basis of trust. (Marking edits as minor if they are not is considered very rude.)
One very important feature which active contributors will likely use a lot are watchlists. You will get a new Watch this page link on every page you view. If you click that link, a page will be added to your watchlist. This list is basically a filtered view of the "Recent changes" page which only shows changes recently made to items in your watchlist. This way you can keep track of pages you work on without having to follow all changes.
Only registered users are allowed to rename pages, a feature that is very important to maintain structure and consistency on the Wiki.
Also, you must be logged in if you want to upload images.
Many user preferences
Aside from these features, you can customize the way MediaWiki behaves in great detail. You can change the entire appearance of the website by picking, for example, the previous "Standard" skin over the new default "MonoBook" skin, you can choose how you want mathematical formulae to be displayed, whether links should be underlined, how large the editing box should be, how many pages should be displayed in "Recent changes" and much more. You can even set your preferred date format, and articles will display dates according to your preference.
Sysops can delete and undelete pages, protect them from being edited, edit protected pages, and block users for violation of our policies. They generally carry out the will of the wiki community on pages such as Category:To be deleted. For obvious reasons, only signed in users can become sysops.
Voting, polls, elections, surveys and reps
While in most Wiki polls, anyone can express their opinion, whether logged in or not, your opinion may be given more weight if it is attributed to a fixed identity with a record of sensible commentary and informed edits.