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I'm trying to devise the standard nomenclature for our application, and I wanted to use a term that can be used across all our documentation and artifacts (i.e. user flows, scenario maps, etc.)

A Member is someone who's registered to your service, but not necessarily logged into the application/site.

A Guest is someone who uses your services without being registered or logged in.

User is too broad of a term, in my opinion. A user can be anyone, whether he or she is a member or guest. Basically, anyone who uses the application.

Authenticated User or Authenticated Member is closest to what I'm searching for, but I'm still holding out for a shorter term.

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    What's the application name? And what is it used for? – Diego Jun 2 '16 at 8:47
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    In case if your application name is Google, you can use Welcome Googler - similar to welcome user – Diego Jun 2 '16 at 10:17
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    In internal communication you could use "Authenticated User", but that's usually too technical to be used when communicating with said user. – CodesInChaos Jun 2 '16 at 14:04
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    @Jules I don't see how this is a development issue? This is about how users should be called. It's a marketing/UX issue at least. – Pierre Arlaud Jun 2 '16 at 15:01
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    Given that you need a single word for someone who's logged in, it seems pretty obvious that "Loggedinosaur" is the most appropriate term. – Jaydles Jun 3 '16 at 15:24

15 Answers 15

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When describing website functionality, you can usually use "Member" to imply a logged-in user.

While someone could technically be a member but not logged in, this is unlikely to be relevant to your discussions. While not logged in, they are effectively seeing the "guest" view of the site.

I think this is clear:

On the home page, a member will have a feed of their recent activity, while a guest will see a suggestion to sign up in the same space.

A member has a button to view and edit their account details in the top navigation.

etc.

I don't think you need anything else. "Logged in" is implied by the context of the discussion.

One place where this terminology might not apply is discussion of the log in process itself. But again, I think this will be clear from context. If there is an occasional time where it's not clear, you can always describe it with more words.

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    well explained :) . I think the OP is an archetypical Occam's Razor question, where the solution to the problem is the simplest one, like in this case – Devin Jun 2 '16 at 16:52
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    "Logged in" is implied by the context of the simple example you suggest, but consider for instance an online game where a player may want to pick other players who are currently online in order to play together.,, in that situation, you would need a term for distinguishing between the two. – Jules Jun 2 '16 at 18:35
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    This is insightful. I was looking for a term that I can generally use when designing user flows etc. A "member" can be someone who is registered with the service, but NOT necessarily logged into the site. "Authenticated member" might be close to what I need, but I'm still brainstorming for a single-word term. – Ellesa Jun 3 '16 at 1:21
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    @Ellesa. Perhaps you are focusing too much on terminology. Terms exist to facilitate clear description, but I'm not sure you need an additional term in order to describe functionality clearly. I don't think a single succinct term exists to describe what you want, and if you choose something artificial that doesn't quite fit, it may hinder rather than help clarity. – user31143 Jun 3 '16 at 11:39
  • @Jules, why? That would just be "user" or "online user." Also, English has modifiers for a reason; you don't need a noun for every possible combination of modifiers and nouns. – Wildcard Jun 3 '16 at 20:48
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Authenticated

For example: Windows user groups have defined names one of which is Authenticated.

The Authenticated Users identity Any user accessing the system through a logon process has the Authenticated Users identity. This identity allows access to shared resources within the domain, such as files in a shared folder that should be accessible to all the workers in the organization.

See this answer on security.stackexchange for an explanation of the different user group terms. https://security.stackexchange.com/questions/38830/windows-groups-and-permissions-authenticated-users-group-meaning

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    The problem with this answer is that it is an adjective, not a noun, so you can't really use it as a single word to describe the authenticated users -- you have to use two words, like I just did. – Jules Jun 2 '16 at 14:48
  • Authenticated in my opinion is a member that has completed a 2 step registry process. 1) Signed in 2) Clicked or confirmed a message sent to the email. But this confirmation is not always required. – Rafael Jun 2 '16 at 20:40
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    @Rafael: In a security context, to "authenticate" is to prove that you are who you claim to be. You authenticate every time you provide a password, OAuth token, or any other credentials that establish your identity. This is distinct from "authorization," which is concerned with whether your account has access to a particular resource. – Kevin Jun 2 '16 at 22:28
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    "Authenticatee"? :/ – Ken Mohnkern Jun 3 '16 at 12:50
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Edit: Actually "Active" might be the best. You wouldn't really refer to "active" guests, but you do have "active" members. This is what Slack uses and Google also uses 'activity' to refer to log of signing in and out of Google accounts.

Original answer:

Effectively you're looking for an adjective for your Members.

I'd say "Online" is best.

It's the term used by Skype uses to indicate that someone is logged in and active at the moment.

Another possibility is "Active", but that doesn't quite suggest that they are active 'now'.

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    While I like this answer and upvoted it, I think this terminology applies only for apps with peers activity (see how you mention only that kind of apps). We don't have much info, but if this is just a static site, a member could be active or totally inactive (see this site as example). Also, Online might ring alarm bells since many people will want to keep their status unknown. This being said, it's a good answer – Devin Jun 2 '16 at 15:30
  • @Devin I wasn't thinking that 'online' would be displayed publicly, just that the OP was asking for a way to describe these users in internal documentation. I agree neither of these are perfect, it's a challenging question :) Possibly more suited to English.SE – icc97 Jun 4 '16 at 16:09
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There is no commonly used single-word term for this, so I would suggest avoiding inventing one or picking an obscure one, as this is only likely to confuse anyone who isn't familiar with your terminology (e.g. new members of your team, third parties you subcontract to, etc). "Authenticated user" is the usual term for this, so I'd suggest using it.

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    In 20+ years I have always seen the words member or registered user commonly used everywhere, both in technical teams, clients, end-users and so on. I've never seen this causing any friction or complication at all. However, I can define scenarios where your suggestion "Authenticated user" causes a lot of friction and requires additional information. For example... where is the user authenticated? Front end? Back end? Is the user someone from the dev team or one of the end users? I think it's easy to see something like member is very easy to understand with minimal ambiguity (if any) – Devin Jun 2 '16 at 15:11
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    @Devin - Neither "member" nor "registered user" fits the question, though, because the asker is asking about users who are currently logged in, which is only a subset of the users who are members or are registered. If there is an issue with "authenticated" then "online" or "logged-in" are both viable alternatives, depending on the context. – Jules Jun 2 '16 at 18:27
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    Now I see: I think everybody is getting another interpretation of signed (as someone that has signed to your site) while you're interpreting someone that is signed at a given time (as in currently using it). Guess the Op will need to clarify this, because if the latter is correct, then this could probably be the correct answer – Devin Jun 2 '16 at 19:23
  • You actually confuse more saying "Authenticated user" rather than just "Logged in", "Online"... – EKons Jun 3 '16 at 12:16
  • @Devin A member is a member whether or not they are currently signed in... – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 5:19
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In the past we've used live user to mean a user who is currently signed in. (As opposed to an active user: somebody who has signed in recently, but isn't necessarily signed in right now.)

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Since these terms are for your internal documentation, it's most important to be clear and unambiguous. And I don't think a single word will be good enough. I usually use "authorized user" or "signed-in user" and "anonymous user" for that reason.

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You could, with proper explanation call an user who is logged in an "inlogee"

(I'm not an native english speaker ;-) )

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    This is a funny suggestion. – user31143 Jun 3 '16 at 11:43
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Online

This means "logged in member". E.g. member1 is online.

It's better to use "online"/"offline" rather than just "member". "Member" can be a position e.g.

[pic:mbr_1]
mbr_1
** ONLINE **
MEMBER
[pic:] refers to the avatar. Position examples are "Member", "Admin", "Banned until ", "Banned permanently"...

  • Online is an adjective, so it is no better than authenticated. In fact, it is worse, because I can be online without authenticating (arguably). It does not offer a single word solution. – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 5:23
  • @GreenAsJade I don't prefer nouns. Also, if you're not authenticated, you are a guest, not your account. – EKons Jun 4 '16 at 8:26
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"Onymous" is the antonym of anonymous, so I guess that's an (obscure) option.

I would say that "member" is the name of a role of a user, and not a type of user.

"Subject" is also a candidate, as per https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4989063/what-is-the-meaning-of-subject-vs-user-vs-principal-in-a-security-context

  • Onymous is an adjective, so it is no better than "Authenticated", and does not offer a single word solution. – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 5:22
  • Nope, Anonymous is a proper noun! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group) . Therefore, so is onymous – Neil McGuigan Jun 4 '16 at 5:30
  • Onymous is only a proper noun if you are using it to refer to an established... some_thing_. In it's meaning that you quoted, as the antonym of anonymous, it is an adjective, and you would have to say "onymous user". You can't say "there is one onymous user on my site". – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 13:24
  • Actually, to be fair, one could read the title of this question as specifically asking for an adjective: a "term to describe a user" - an onymous user. However, the body of the question makes it clear it it is looking for a noun, because the examples given of "the right kind of word" are nouns, and "authenticated user" (IE an adjective describing the user) is ruled out. – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 13:31
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Actives

You could use the slang actives to describe users that are currently active in your application.

This draws on the similar practice in the military of asking how many hostiles / friendlies are in an area.

  • A member can be active on your site without being logged in. – GreenAsJade Jun 4 '16 at 5:23
  • @GreenAsJade In that case those members who are active but aren't signed in wouldn't count toward the actives count. Maybe that muddies the intention of calling them actives but that's sort of the role of slang terms in english. – Jack Fraser Jun 4 '16 at 5:31
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Correct me if I'm wrong. But what you really care about is distinguishing someone who is not a logged in user from those who are. Because once you're logged in, all of those other roles apply. The distinction is "visitor" a "visitor" is a non-logged in user. Everyone else is well "Authenticated"

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What about the term "active user"? In forums we have many panels that list the "active" users who are always users that are currently "online" or "logged-in".

Best of luck!

  • Another shorter term would be "live" credit to "scottishwildcat" for this one! – Leviscus Tempris Jun 4 '16 at 6:42
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We might need more context to help you answer your question. You might be challenged to find a single word, so I can give you two words - Account holder, or User Account.

  • "Account holder" doesn't really tell you anything more than "User" would about their current status or level of activity. It literally just means they have an account, not that they're logged in to their account or using it. – Anthony Grist Jun 2 '16 at 14:19
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It's difficulf because you may have end users who use the system in very different ways including users who manage other users. I'd suggest something like either Current or Actor

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In retail sites, signed in users are sometomes called as hot customers and guest users as cold customers.

  • Does "cold customer" imply that the person can be ignored or dropped from the active list? When, in reality, those might be the visitors you most focus on. – Ken Mohnkern Jun 3 '16 at 12:56
  • cold means user is not signed in. Its more like a state of user, which has not signed in (yet). – sam100rav Jun 3 '16 at 13:41

protected by Benny Skogberg Jun 3 '16 at 13:47

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