Logging in is not required for viewing pages, and not even for editing them. However, it provides additional features, and in general projects recommend it.
 Logging in
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 Dirtopia. You don't even have to log in to edit Dirtopia - 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 recognise 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 modules you are interested in using a watch list.
- If you choose to give an email address, other users will be able to contact you by email. This feature is anonymous - the user who emails you will not know your email address. You don't have to give your email 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, colours 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 each wiki you plan to edit, such as Dirtopia.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 email address if you like. Other users will be able to send email 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 MediaWiki wiki from the same computer. This feature will only work if your password was not generated by the Mediawiki software. So change your password please.
 Log in problems
If you find yourself unable to log in, you may have one of several problems:
Both usernames and passwords are case-sensitive on Dirtopia. Did you remember to type in the right capitalization? For example, if you registered under MyUserName, you will not be able to log in as Myusername (notice the subtle difference in spelling). The same goes for your password. The only exception is the first character of the username, which is capital by default.
 Enable Cookies
If you appear to have logged in, but as soon as you try to look at a page after 'Log in successful', you appear logged out again, it is very likely to be a cookie problem. See this brief tutorial on how to enable cookies for your browser.
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 Dirtopia uses to keep a person logged in.
 Occasional issues
A user may occasionally find him/herself "automatically " logged out in between beginning an edit and saving it, or when switching between multiple Dirtopia 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.
 Best solution
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.
 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, but you are determined to regain access to the account, you might be able to persuade someone with direct access to the database that it is your account, and ask them to retrieve it for you.
 Creating an 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.
 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 Dirtopia wiki 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 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 page for more.
 How to log out
You can log out any time by clicking on the Log out link at the top right of the page.