I'm just curious, I'm building a web app with a User model which has role-based permissions.

I have the following roles:

  • Visitor (anonymous user)
  • ?? (logged-in user)
  • Moderator
  • Admin

I'm having a hard time figuring out what to call a logged-in user. I want to just call them "users", but I find that having a role with the same name as the class creates confusing code sometimes. For instance: if user.user? then...

If you've built software with roles for users, what do you call the basic, registered, no special permissions, user role?

EDIT: As a side consideration, this app has Subscribers and Non Subscribers. Whether or not a user is a subscriber is not the same as their role, but it affects the way I've been thinking about this. For instance, calling a regular user a "member" sounds a lot like what I would call a subscriber, so I haven't been too fond of that. I haven't ruled it out though.

  • 3
    Hero, villain, comic relief...
    – user8709
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:50

5 Answers 5


All the following are conceptually opposite of Anonymous, I address your use of the name Visitor as related to the definition of Anonymous below.

Authenticated User - your use of logged in in implies supplying some sort of credentials.

Identified User - implies you know who there are based on the login information.

Verified User - implies some checking of credentials and known information.

Known User - a direct Antonym of Anonymous.

Other possibilities are the opposite of Anonymous, the thesaurus is a good place to start looking for names, they usually provide great semantically more relevant synonyms, but also a good choice of antonyms.

Also it is implied that Moderator and Admin are logged in, and technically sub-roles of your logged in state user.

NOTE: The Antonym of Visitor is Host.

The definition of Visitor is person temporarily in a foreign location, it doesn't imply that they are Anonymous which is unknown, usually by choice

So it isn't semantically a Synonym for Anonymous user.

english.stackexchanged.com is a good place to ask this type of advice as well.

  • I think "authenticated" is pretty much exactly the meaning I'm thinking of. Thanks for the many suggestions!
    – Andrew
    Jul 22, 2011 at 21:49

Member (logged-in user).

Maybe you have already considered and discarded this. In that case i would like to think some more. But maybe it was so obvious you overlooked it.

  • 1
    This crossed my mind, and I'd say it's my fallback position. I added a note to the question to clarify -- to me member implies subscriber, and in this app whether a user is a subscriber or not does not affect their role.
    – Andrew
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:05
  • Please add "EDIT:" to the change in your question, otherwise someone might think i didnt't read your question :-) Jul 21, 2011 at 20:28
  • Sure, no problem.
    – Andrew
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:36

Registered User

To indicate that the user is registered with the system. I.E. the system knows information about the user and allows him/her to sign in.

  • 2
    I don't see why the downvote. Maybe it's not the best option but it's not worth the downvote IMHO.
    – skajfes
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:25
  • 1
    Yes, downvote with no feedback, best way for me to know why is it wrong, how to improve it, or why I should remove it.
    – Marcelo
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:26
  • ...or Registrant
    – IAbstract
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:47

I don't think the names matter all the much, as long as they make sense.

The application I work on we have:


Roles are grouping of policies.

Policies could be:

Access Admin Console
Run Reports
Import Content

When a user logs in and authenticates, we check what role they have been assigned to and that is there role.

We have canned roles built in for certain policy groupings, but most of the time cutomers build thier own. We have one special role called Super Admin which can't be removed, but the rest they can group and name however they see fit.


For something like this I would probably use Customer.

It is less offensive that the term user(has a connotation of someone who uses with nothing in return). The creation of a login is much like coming into a storefront to shop. Perhaps the customer buys something perhapas they dont. They are still your customer and you treat them as if they were buying.

  • 1
    -1. This term is the least appropriate in this context. If by customer, you mean somebody who actually paid you, it's actually the subscriber. If by customer, you mean somebody who uses the service, an anonymous user uses it too. So in both cases, the term customer is confusing and not appropriate. Jul 21, 2011 at 20:56
  • Actually businesses have customers who buy nothing all the time. I have customers people who recieve from me that pay me nothing. Jul 21, 2011 at 21:06

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