Last modified: 2011-03-13 18:04:33 UTC
There's a conceptual problem with the way imports are handled by Special:Import:
Users are solely identified by their name, which may lead to mis-attributing
edits. Consider user Foo contributes to page Quux on wiki A. The page is then
moved to wiki B. Now, three cases are possible:
1) If user Foo exist on wiki B, and is the same person, all is fine.
2) If user Foo exist on wiki B, and is a DIFFERENT person, the edits are
mis-attributed, both in the page history and in Special:Contributions.
3) If user Foo does not exist on wiki B, edits are still attributed to that
username, both in the page history and in Special:Contributions. Anyone who
comes along can claim those edits for him/herself by creating an account called
Foo - which again would mis-represent authorship. This may happen intentionally
or not, it's bad in both cases.
I noticed this problem when seeing pages that I contributed to on
meta.wikimedia.org being moved to mediawiki.org; I did not have an account there
- I created one, claiming the contributions for myself. But a lot of people are
bound not to know about this. Also, if pages from meta or commons, where I
(Duesentrieb) have an account, where to be imported into the english wikipedia,
this would cause them to be attributed to [[en:User:Duesentrieb]], who is NOT me.
I expect this problem to go away for Wikimedia projects once we get single
sign-on. But perhaps we should wait with large-scale interwiki moves until that
time. Also, other users thould be advised of this problem, and perhaps
Special:Import and the command line import scripts should show a warning about
this too. Ideally, there should be a way to supply a fixed mapping of user
names, or a prefixing/suffixing pattern.
Putting the warning on Special:Import won't help anything. That wouldn't slow
en.wiktionary's transwiki (from Wikipedia) bot down at all. Amusingly,
en.wiktionary now has edits from /before/ it was created.
It would be really nice if non-existant accounts on the import target project
(i.e. en.wiktionary) had SUL-ish accounts auto-stubbed whenever an import
succeded for a new user (one that exists on Wikipedia, but not on Wiktionary.)
This might even provide a nice small sample of users to test out SUL before
becoming a mandatory thing for everyone. This would also have the benefit of
addressing the long-term rock solid contributors on the first pass.
Pretty much a non-issue, and will go away entirely shortly.