tom at tommorris
May 17, 2012, 5:31 AM
Post #8 of 13
WARNING: The following post is a work of technical fantasy rather than practical reality.
Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia sites not easy to archive (Was Re: Knol is closing tomorrow )
[In reply to]
On the usernames and passwords thing, if we imagine our doomsday scenario (meteor hits the WMF data centre, the Foundation turn into evil psychopathic Nazis, whatever), one thing that might be useful and archive-oriented developers might want to consider would be some way of 'namespacing' usernames. That way, we could have it so a fork/new version could specify that, say, all the usernames on all the existing content are usernames on en.wikipedia.org, and distinguish those from the usernames on post-apocalyptic Wikipedia. That way we can keep the attribution chain to the old usernames without the issue of identity theft.
It'd also be a good step towards attribution in distributed wikis. This might be for something like a future attempt at Citizendium (or perhaps someone wants to make a version of Wikipedia with pending changes or the image filter or one of the other many things the community cannot agree on).
In addition, it would be useful to be able to distinguish with usernames on sites that reuse Commons images (if I upload an image to Commons with the username 'Tom Morris' and then some non-WMF wiki reuses it, it may be attributing it to the local user 'Tom Morris' rather than the Commons user).
Finally, it'd be potentially useful for wikis which use some Wikipedia content combined with some local content. For instance, I know wikiqueer.org uses Wikipedia content with attribution, and combines the encyclopaedic content of Wikipedia with non-encyclopedic community content that wouldn't meet up with Wikipedia's mission or NPOV (they have the supposedly very controversial POV that LGBT people deserve equal rights).
In all these cases, as well as our potential doomsday scenario, being able to clearly distinguish between local usernames and usernames on other wikis might be quite useful. The inner semantic web dork suggests that perhaps we could consider using something like a uniform resource indicator (URI) to identify users. ;-)
We could also consider the possibility of allowing users to use OpenID or OAuth or whatever the web identity mechanism du jour is to allow loose affiliation of usernames between MediaWiki installs. That way you can establish the link between identities across wikis (of course, if you don't want to, you don't have to).
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