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Talk:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation/Archives/2023-03

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Usernames for the unregistered users

Hello, there were several suggestions for the usernames of the unregistered users on July 2022, do those suggestions being implemented and which one will be used if one of these suggestions are being implemented? Or do you have any decisions for the usernames of the unregistered users? 00:33, 7 March 2023 (UTC)

Hi! We have considered the suggestions in the discussion you refer to. One problem with assigning users blacklisted or fake IP addresses is that not everyone will intuitively understand those to be fake and it may confuse them - especially those who are not familiar with the technicalities of IP addresses. We agree that there should be be latin alphabets as they will not be universally understood.
Our current idea is to add a prefix (tentatively an asterisk) that will be universally understood to be for Unregistered accounts. For example, an IP address 20.440.109.40 could then be represented as User: *235. The numbers will incrementally grow. As new temporary accounts are created, they will be assigned a higher number. We have already implemented the change where new users cannot reserve usernames that begin with an asterisk.
One idea on the table is to prefix the current year with the temporary accounts so we can reset the counting every year and avoid the numbers getting too long over time. I'd love to hear if you think this is a good idea or if we are missing something. NKohli (WMF) (talk) 22:30, 10 March 2023 (UTC)
Hello, I looked though current accounts which starts with * and followed by numbers in the global account list and I found an account match the format of your example. Maybe another prefix should be used. I saw the the suggestions on the discussion in July 2022 that an IP user suggests using a slash (/) as a prefix. I believe that the username allocation of new temporary accounts should be reset every day as there are too many users, including readers, not having an account. The format may look like User:/20230311-1234567. Also, it would be good if the username of a temporary account is the same in all wikis. 04:01, 11 March 2023 (UTC)
We did the same analysis and realized that a lot of accounts share the * prefix. However, our assumption is that a vast majority of those accounts are no longer active. We will inform these accounts and migrate them to a different prefix. The * is easy to understand and visually stands out. The problem with a slash (/) is that it will interfere with URLs when we link to the User's page. For example in this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:/20230311-1234567 it will be considered as a hierarchy of pages with User: being the parent page and 20230311-1234567 being the subpage. For this reason we cannot use slash (/).
To your second point, yes, temporary account names will be consistent across different wikis -- similar to how it works for registered accounts. NKohli (WMF) (talk) 04:54, 15 March 2023 (UTC)
Since we're talking about the names here, I hope @Whatamidoing (WMF) has shared with you by now how painful using the asterisk as a leading character is for templates and other infrastructure. See discussion in VPT. Izno (talk) 07:16, 15 March 2023 (UTC)
@Izno and NKohli (WMF): Hello, I had look though the list on phab:T300267. If using * is hard to use in a template and other infrastructure , I suggest using = as the prefix. The idea of using = as the prefix is that = has a relatively small group of users using according to phab:T300267. It is also make sense (for example ; may be too similar to :, \ is too similar to /,  %, & and ? maybe a problem when searching though URLs). It can reduce the number of users being required to rename. The usernames may look like User:=20230315-1234567. 08:30, 15 March 2023 (UTC) edited by 08:56, 15 March 2023 (UTC)
= is almost as bad for its use as a template parameter delimiter. Izno (talk) 16:23, 15 March 2023 (UTC)
The ideal is:
  • no technical problems (e.g., mimics wikitext; used as a wildcard in search)
  • easy to type on a mobile device
  • easy to type on a non-English/non-Latin-script keyboard
Also, I've been told that the English Wikipedia gets edits each month from about a quarter million distinct IP addresses, so whatever the scheme is, it needs to be able to handle somewhere between millions and billions of temporary accounts. If we wanted to begin with the year, then User:2023-1234-5678 is probably the minimum length, as we are unlikely to have more than 99.9 million temporary accounts per year. I believe that this naming scheme would, at most, require renaming ~150 accounts that overlap with this calendar year plus ~50 for each of the next couple of years, which isn't too bad. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:02, 15 March 2023 (UTC)
I believe that you have underestimated the temporary accounts being created. Readers will also receive a temporary account, even if they do not edit. This is the reason that I suggest to begin with the date or even the time of the creation of the temporary account. The username may look like User:20230316:1234-123 meaning the 123rd account created at 12:34 UTC on 16 March 2023. 00:34, 16 March 2023 (UTC)
I think there has been some confusion. Readers will not be getting a temporary account. Temporary account will be assigned only when an edit is made. My apologies for the confusion. We have a new project page update coming soon that will clarify exactly how this will work. NKohli (WMF) (talk) 18:31, 17 March 2023 (UTC)
I’d be fine with a pure date-numeric username scheme. Is there any downside if a new user wanted to “squat” or spoof being a masked user? I cannot see why this would matter/be advantageous if a user created an actual account that looked like a masked account? Shushugah (talk) 15:29, 8 April 2023 (UTC)
It might cause confusion among registered editors ("How did a temporary account move that page? There must be a bug!"). There has been a small amount of confusion with a couple of editors whose usernames look almost-but-not-quite like IP addresses. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:26, 12 April 2023 (UTC)