Last modified: 2011-03-13 18:05:12 UTC

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Bug 6763 - "truly registered accounts" - technically and "logistically"
"truly registered accounts" - technically and "logistically"
Product: Wikimedia
Classification: Unclassified
General/Unknown (Other open bugs)
Other All
: Lowest enhancement (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
Depends on:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2006-07-21 00:01 UTC by Julian Fleischer
Modified: 2011-03-13 18:05 UTC (History)
0 users

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Julian Fleischer 2006-07-21 00:01:24 UTC
A huge problem in Wikipedia is, that it is, according to the oppinion of many people, not truly democratic due to the 
fact that it is possible to register oneself more than once etc. I guess most of you know that problem, for the german 
speaking ones of you, there is a link to the topic in german wikipedia:

There are many work-arounds existing at the time, for example that your votes are deleted if someone detects you 
having a multi-account etc, but all of them are a bit swampy.

My idea would be the following... It is basically nothing else as the confirmation of an e-mail adress. We could 
enhance MediaWiki therefore that you can store your true adress, name etc. and you than have to confirm that. The 
confirmation itself is not only a technical issue, but also a logistical one. WikiMediaFoundation than could send a 
postal letter to that user providing an activation code. If we were very strict you could also want to request a copy 
of the persons identity card or something like that, but maybely this is too heavy. So we could mark a user as "real" 
or "registered" user (of course it's identity and adress must not be visible to others).

This would also enhance the already ongoing development of a web of trust and - if we had users registered that way - 
would solve some problems with some accounts when merging them altogether (see Bug 57 single login on all wikimedia projects).

As there is no need or enforcement to register that way it would fit into wiki-culture and strenghten the trust into 

A little foresee: Problems will of course occur regarding countries far away etc (i'm thinking of the post-costs for 
wikimediafoundation). So it must of course be prevented to request a registration-letter too often.

When this would be implemented we could also work on a voting system which allows such registrated users to vote. I 
can imagine that some of you might think this is a bit unfair or not compatible with data security and so on - at the 
time this is more the case. For example in german wikipedia you cannot simply vote, you have to have 200 edits and so 
on. Same thing in green.

Comment 1 Aryeh Gregor (not reading bugmail, please e-mail directly) 2006-07-21 00:07:33 UTC
Since I'm not a developer (and I'm certainly not brion), I generally don't apply
WONTFIX to anything, but I'll go out on a limb and do it in this case. 
Wikimedia is not going to send out millions of letters; it would cost probably
at least $50,000 for enwiki alone, even at bulk postal rates, and that assuming
that all mail is sent at US domestic rates.  That's not even to mention that it
would break down for people living in the same place, and could be circumvented
by PO boxes, claims of living far away, asking a neighbor to receive it, etc.;
it's barely going to be more reliable than IP addresses.

There will always be sockpuppets.  They're usually obvious if there are more
than a couple, so don't worry about it too much.  Use the information available
to you to find them, and deal with them appropriately.
Comment 2 Julian Fleischer 2006-07-21 00:47:00 UTC
I think my idea is not as bad... it could also be implemented _after_ the single login (sometime...) is introduced. Then it would dramatically 
reduce the costs. And you have to see that Wikimedia shall not send letters to everyone who is registered but to anyone who WANTS to register, i'm 
sure in the beginning most of them are not even aware of the feature. Think creative! There are other ways to send letters. Someone who want's to 
be registered can send an envelope in an envelope which is already payed - the only problem than would be that we would need somebody who 
secretaries that letter-stuff. A german webmail-provider like GMX and Yahoo (and also of that importance, at least locally) for example also sends 
letters, that's where i got that idea. Maybeliy WikiMediaFoundation could make a deal with such organisations? I'm sure the logistically aspect is 
a tricky issue but why closing it immediately? Let others mention there opionion as this seems to be a hot topic ;D. Therefore I'm going to reopen 
the bug.
Comment 3 Charlie Huggard 2006-07-21 01:08:33 UTC
IMHO... While a very well intentioned idea, I feel there are way too many issues
in order to implement this. The first problem already mentioned is cost. A
second problem is privacy. There are people who register accounts so that their
ip isn't revealed to the entire world, and they can maintain some degree of
anonymity. With a free email address, and the status quo, this is possible to
do. Forcing people to reveal their real address in order to register, takes that
advantage away, and we would lose many potential contributors. 

Now suppose we hide the real address, for a paranoid person, that data is still
stored somewhere, therefore they would not register an account either. 

Logistically: I'm not sure what this doew to prevent people from making mutiple
accounts. If there are many people living at the same address, they should all
be able to have their own account. Furthermore, if someone has a temporary
address and a permanent address (College students) they now have 2 physical
addresses to recieve mail from that they could take advantage of. Finally what
happens when someone moves? 

Sorry, I'm not a developer either, but this would create way too many more
problems than it solves and therefore I'm reclosing this again.

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