Last modified: 2007-04-02 06:58:01 UTC
This is a proposed solution for allowing anonymous/pseudonymous Wiki(pedia)
editing through anonymousing networks such as Tor <http://tor.eff.org/> that are
frequently used for vandalism and are currently permanently blocked. Following
an idea of Roger Dingledine (one of the main Tor developers) and Jimmy Wales,
the proposal is to have certain address classes where blocks are temporary,
automatically expiring after 15 minutes or so.
There is a patch (
http://www.imperialviolet.org/binary/mediawiki-1.4.4-tor-block.patch ), prepared
by Adam Langley, which is (probably) almost ready, except for a few things we
are unsure of ("FIXME" in the code):
* Using ip2long, will the resulting numbers be negative in string expansion for
the SQL code? (for IP address > 188.8.131.52). If so, how do you tell PHP that
it's an unsigned number?
* What's the standard MediaWiki boilerplate code for logging events like the
creation of new block sets etc?
This issue is related to Bug 550, which discusses some other possibilities of
handling the problem.
Created attachment 925 [details]
The proposed patch
I highly disagree with any solution that makes it easier for vandals to edit
Wikipedia. Allowing tor users to edit Wikipedia makes it tough on everyone- think
about a bunch of Willy on Wheels-like vandals, using tor to circumvent blocks. If
you're worrying about using an anonymizer to edit Wikipedia, perhaps it's best you
don't edit it at all.
Anonymizers, especially encrypting anonymizers such as Tor that make it
impossible to snoop your Internet traffic, are important for everyone who wants
to contribute to topics which are illegal or very controversial in their
country, e.g. democracy in China or homosexuality in Saudi Arabia.
The hope is that this patch, or a related solution, would make Tor inattractive
enough for most vandals to go away (they'll be blocked, after all), while still
allowing such legitimate cases of anonymity. Whether it would work for this
purpose remains to be seen, but for this it would be necessary to try it out. If
it fails to work (the vandals stay), Tor exit nodes will end up being almost
permanently blocked, and finally Tor would be removed from the range of
auto-unblocking IPs, so we wouldn't be worse of than now.
It would also be useful for dynamic IP spaces, e.g. AOL, where permanent blocks
cause collateral damage instead of blocking the targeted abuser.
It is now possible to block IP address ranges while allowing logged-in users to
edit through them; it is furthermore possible to whitelist such ranges. The
autoblocker has been tweaked to behave itself.
I'm closing this as fixed indirectly.