I'm generally confused by the terminology when talking about types of user accounts ("registered", "unregistered", etc.), because a) certain things have changed over time and so different posts use different words for different things depending on how old they are, and b) I think others are confused as well and so a lot of terminology is used interchangeably, plus any muddiness caused by official vs. colloquial usage of the words.
So the first part of this question is: What types of user accounts are there and what does that mean? My current understanding is:
- "Anonymous": People who are visiting the site and don't have an account. (Actually now that I think about it I'm not even sure what I mean by "account" here -- because from my understanding there are both cookie-based logins and actual accounts.)
- "Guest": I don't know.
- "Unregistered": People who have... created an account to ask a question but haven't confirmed their email address?
- "Registered": Fully signed up users with an email address.
- "Deleted": Accounts that used to exist but were deleted by a moderator.
- "Nonexistent" (Well... I made this one up just now): Users that have accounts on other sites but not on the site in question (like an author of a migrated post).
Also I always thought "anonymous" and "unregistered" were two different things although https://stackoverflow.com/help/why-register seems to use the terms interchangeably. But if that's the case, then what are users simply visiting the site without logging in called if not "anonymous"?
And I think... "Anonymous", "Deleted", and "Nonexistent" are the only ones displayed as grayed out usernames on user ID cards under posts, right?
And the second part of this question is: What actions can these different types of users take?
- Asking Questions?
- Posting Answers?
- Suggesting Edits?
I know that "registered" users can do all of those, and obviously "deleted" and "nonexistent" users can do none of those, but I'm unsure about "anonymous", "guest", and "unregistered".
I think it differs by site, too. I don't remember where but I read somewhere that on SO, "guest" users can't ask questions (although they used to be able to), for example.
I'm having a hard time making sense of this. Recently, while composing an answer on MSE, I ended up giving up because I was confusing myself about the terminology and the nature of the different types of user accounts.
Note: I ask that if anybody answers this, please put "official" usages of the terminology in quotes or italics or something, so that there's no confusion with colloquial usages of the word (e.g. "Everybody is anonymous on the internet, even registered users.")