Wikimedia Forum/Archives/2014-08

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Changing the size limit for the upload files?

I need to change the maximum upload file size but its not working with me the upload window shows this

Maximum file size: 2 MB (a file on your computer) Permitted file types: png, gif, jpg, jpeg, doc, xls, mpp, pdf, ppt, xlsx, jpg, tiff, odt, odg, ods, odp.

so i need to make the maximum file upload 150MB i edited the following according to the Manuals in the website Manual:Configuring_file_uploads


$wgUploadSizeWarning = 157286400; $wgMaxUploadSize = 157286400;

from the \xampp\htdocs\mediawiki\LocalSettings.php file


upload_max_filesize = 150M post_max_size = 150M

from the \xampp\php\php.ini-development file and also in the C:\xampp\php\php.ini-production file i know i am supposed to edit php.ini but these are the php.ini files that i found in the php folder so im not sure if i am editing the right files?

even after making these changes i still get this error Warning: POST Content-Length of 18143113 bytes exceeds the limit of 8388608 bytes in Unknown on line 0

so how can i change the file limit for the upload?

Thanks, --Noopty, 10:56, 6 Aug 2014‎ (UTC)

The question is: why do you need to change the file size? --Jcornelius (talk) 11:38, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I needed to change the file size because some users needed to upload pdf files that are larger than 8M. However, i found the solution if anyone else faced the same problem. in xampp the php.ini file is located in xampp\php\php its just called php opened that and changed

upload_max_filesize = 150M post_max_size = 150M

and my mistake was that i forgot to restart apache! so in the xampp control panel hit stop and start again and it should be working fine :)


See the discussions here:

PiRSquared17 (talk) 01:38, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

See also

Is "superprotection" the issue here? Rather obviously, not. Superprotection was created in a rush to respond to de.wikipedia sysops defeating installation of the MediaViewer, using javascript on a Mediawiki control page. So is MediaViewer the issue?

Not exactly. The issue is power and control, who is in charge of these wikis, who has authority, and how is it exercised?

This has never found fully-expressed consensus, nor has it seen authoritative decision. For many years, opportunities to resolve basic issues were avoided, in favor of band-aid fixes, and it's easy to understand why. With the matter vague, all parties could continue to believe that their way, their understanding, was the truth, and there was no need for any confrontation, we could all carry on with the status quo -- or leave.

Here, we can easily see how commenting parties hold assumptions about truth, power, and what's right, as well as imputation of motive or harmful intention behind the actions and comments of others, and this is happening on all sides.

For years, there has been a call, when power struggles come up, for "calmer heads to prevail," but the "calmer heads," too often, haven't been calm and clear, they have rather been avoidant of conflict, something quite different. So an immediate problem -- a symptom -- may be resolved, but the underlying issue is shoved under the carpet. The carpet gets lumpy and people trip over it.

Right now, this is a train wreck, but it could be the best thing to ever happen to the WMF. Or it could start the end game. I have ideas, but no crystal ball as to how this will play out. More will be revealed. --Abd (talk) 19:04, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for raising the topic here. As has been already pointed at also at Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard#Aghast, citing from User:Matthiasb:
First, the development of the software has to be done in consensus with the community(s). It can't be devellopped against them. Jimbo was aware of this very early when in 2001 he published his statement of principles, which to my knowledge never was revoked. If we look into it we find the fourth item:
Any changes to the software must be gradual and reversible. We need to make sure that any changes contribute positively to the community, as ultimately determined by the Wikimedia Foundation, in full consultation with the community consensus.
WMF has, repeatedly, violated this principle (as it has, among others, principle #7 of those). WMF Board should unmistakably make clear that those failures on WMF's part have been recognized and that in the future said principle will be followed to the core, while measures will be undertaken to hopefully repair the severe damage WMF has already caused. Ca$e (talk) 11:11, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

See also: de:Wikipedia:Diskussionen mit WMF#Weiterführende Links zu Diskussionen um das Thema, (pages in English) --Winternacht (talk) 18:28, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Xermano and their language competency

Hey all. There is a discussion on the English Wikipedia concerning Akifumii/Xermano located here that I think some people here should look into. Long story short, many of us do not believe that they are knowledgeable in the languages that they purport to be knowledgeable in, which might be causing harm to the translated pages here. I just wanted to make people aware here, as someone might want to watch their translations or prevent them from doing so in the future. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 20:21, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Staff username policy

Requests for comment/Distinguishing Wikimedia Foundation staff accounts for official actions and personal use now has 15 supporters, and no opposers, but it is only at concept phase without a proposed policy text that could be adopted. Before the RFC gathers too many more supports, it would be useful to have proposed wording on the table for people to consider and fine-tune as the discussion continues. John Vandenberg (talk) 01:04, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

  • To my knowledge, there are at least two alternatives to this paperwork. They are both, now, also mentioned at the RfC. Probably more discussion time is necessary. (I don't think that the vote format is fair or meaningful in the first place.) --Gryllida 10:32, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Global CSS/JS

GlobalCssJs extension will be enabled on Wikimedia wikis on Tuesday, August 26. This will allow users to have a central global.js page and a global.css page on Meta-Wiki and then these are loaded across all public Wikimedia wikis for that user. Note that this extension will only be enabled for per-user CSS/JS files and a farm-wide Global.css/js will not be enabled on Wikimedia wikis. For users who already have manually created local common.js/css pages across the wikis to import their global.js/css, there is a script to delete the redundant common.js/css pages; see this page for more details on this.

  • Bug 57891: Review and deploy GlobalCssJs extension to Wikimedia wikis
  • Gerrit 154432: Enable GlobalCssJs on all CentralAuth wikis minus loginwiki
  • Help documentation for this extension can be found here.

For more details, see this message on wikitech-ambassadors. Lots of thanks to everyone who helped with this. --Glaisher (talk) 18:07, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Awesome! Thanks for the information. --Stryn (talk) 18:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Hurray for useful highly-requested features! --Nemo 18:53, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
This is a much needed improvement to the user experience. Thank you to the people who contributed to it. Green Giant (talk) 22:04, 20 August 2014 (UTC)


Canvassing for a given opinion in a "consensus" discussion is generally ill-favoured. Is there a good place to report such? - David Gerard (talk) 22:38, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Usually one starts from the user's talk page. --Nemo 04:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Context, I presume.
Given that the behavior took place on Meta-Wiki, I guess you'd start at Peteforsyth's talk page, as Nemo suggests. If matters escalate, there's Meta:Requests for help from a sysop or bureaucrat and finally the stewards, who have their own noticeboard. Though we cannot un-ring the bell, of course, so I'm not sure how much there is to be done here. --MZMcBride (talk) 22:21, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
@David Gerard: The approach by some on this topic is rather confrontational, and their use of tools to undertake aspects seems to be unhelpful to generating a balanced debate, and with consideration of announcements being informational with a NPOV. If WMF utilised their processes there would be howls of complaint.

Where their actions take place on meta, I am less concerned, as meta is the broader WMF site for wiki politics. However, where they are spruiking their opinions crosswiki, to places that where the context is not known, and done where there is not a seemingly balanced expression of the views, and the manner used is somewhat confrontational, then it does seem to be concerning. I see that this forum is an appropriate place to raise and debate the issue, with any conclusion about meta use being referred as expressed above. Though where your issues may be specific to another wiki, then it may be more appropriate to discuss it at that wiki. If the issues are global, then maybe the stewards' noticeboard is the place to mention this debate at its conclusion.

To note, that there was a massmessage sent out about the petition, and it was my opinion that the applicant was using the tool outside of the scope of their application, so I have removed their right to the tool, and asked that person to reapply stating their expressed scope, and how they will use the tool within the scope of their application. That conversation is taking place elsewhere at meta.  — billinghurst sDrewth 01:02, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Subsequent thought. While enWP has an article about their view on canvassing. It may be a useful addition to have a good wikimedia essay that explores the general concept, and may look at the opposing views, and what is and is not considered appropriate.  — billinghurst sDrewth 01:08, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Letter petitioning WMF to reverse recent decisions

The Wikimedia Foundation recently created a new feature, "superprotect" status. The purpose is to prevent pages from being edited by elected administrators -- but permitting WMF staff to edit them. It has been put to use in only one case: to protect the deployment of the Media Viewer software on German Wikipedia, in defiance of a clear decision of that community to disable the feature by default, unless users decide to enable it.

If you oppose these actions, please add your name to this letter. If you know non-Wikimedians who support our vision for the free sharing of knowledge, and would like to add their names to the list, please ask them to sign an identical version of the letter on

-- JurgenNL (talk) 17:35, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Process ideas for software development


I am notifying you that a brainstorming session has been started on Meta to help the Wikimedia Foundation increase and better affect community participation in software development across all wiki projects. Basically, how can you be more involved in helping to create features on Wikimedia projects? We are inviting all interested users to voice their ideas on how communities can be more involved and informed in the product development process at the Wikimedia Foundation.

I and the rest of my team welcome you to participate. We hope to see you on Meta.

Kind regards, -- Rdicerb (WMF) talk 22:15, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

--This message was sent using MassMessage. Was there an error? Report it!

Wikimedian movement going sideways

(I'm not sure where one would best say this, but there seems little point in not saying it anywhere, so I'll try saying it here.)

My executive summary of Lila's keynote address would be this: First, she said we have to keep innovating. Then, she said WMF will continue to pursue the same strategy they've been pursuing for some time. (I'd add to that, the strategy in question hasn't been working.)

What's going wrong? There's lots of specific stuff going wrong right now, but I see all of this as details of a much broader phenomenon that I have (as it happens) seen before. And the last time I saw it, the problem didn't get solved, and the wonderful, successful, idealistic project in question — essentially died. So I'm deeply disturbed to see signs of the same thing happening to the wikimedian movement.

Here's the pattern: A project gets started by some idealists. It succeeds marvelously, in the short term. (Presumably most such idealistic projects don't succeed in the short term, but we're interested here in the ones that do manage to get off the ground in the first place.) To make it succeed, those original idealists have to defend it fiercely.

But there are flaws in the project concept, from the start (there always are). These flaws don't immediately scuttle the project (because if they'd done so, it wouldn't be the sort of project we're interested in here), but they do cause problems that accumulate over time. These flaws are inside the perimeter that the founding idealists defend so fiercely, and so those same idealists prevent the flaws from being fixed, as the accumulating problems get worse and worse.

After a while, as the problems worsen, somebody comes along and says "we have to be open to improving things" — and breaks the project, by changing somehting that isn't the cause of the problems, but rather is the reason the project enjoyed some success in the first place. Even as everything goes down the tubes, the founding idealists won't recognize the original flaws that should have been addressed some time ago.

I've been trying for years, now, to find "the flaw" in wikimedia, and it took me an amazingly long time (perhaps I'm just thick) to figure out there isn't just one, there are a bunch of deeply systemic things all snarled up together. But if I had to pick one place to start, it would be the idea — also expressed in Lila's keynote address — that the non-Wikipedian sisters should not be taken seriously. Wikipedia has some appalling social problems, and the causes of those social problems include things that are really hard to know what to do about, but one cause that actually does have a solution, is that the concept of an encyclopedia is so broad that instead of having one community all working together for a common cause, you have different factions working at blatant cross-purposes. The whole have some principles that bind them together, yes, but a lot that tears them apart. The more specialized sister projects have a major social advantage there, in that they have much more binding them together. The non-Wikipedian sisters are the growth sector of the wikimedian movement, and the WMF by dissing them is strangling the wikimedian movement's best chance of having a vigorous future, with Wikipedia embedded in a thriving ecosystem of wikimedian sisters augmenting each other's strengths. --Pi zero (talk) 16:55, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

This a completely valid point, and I'm glad it's finally being brought to attention. Would you be willing to share some of Wikimedia's other problems? -- Ypnypn (talk) 16:59, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the exclusive focus on Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, and how it looks now, has always been the biggest shortcoming in WMF; in 2010 I also thought it would make the 5-years strategy probably fail. But WMF is just a small corner in Wikimedia (though one plated in gold and hit by light reflectors); individuals, communities, developers, chapters, i.e. the volunteers who actually make the Wikimedia projects, are where all our hopes reside, as always, and they've never been as shortsighted. --Nemo 17:03, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Pi zero - there actually is a very simple flaw. The problem is that Wikimedia volunteers both gather content and control gathered content under what is potentially, and ever more so actually, a central authority. At the beginning, people who were interested in gathering content put a high priority on that activity, while those looking for something to control and shape to their own political and social agenda found few accumulated resources to fight over. Therefore, the productive attitudes of the former dominated. However, as WMF has accumulated content, it has developed a w:resource curse, i.e. people who want to fight for the power. Therefore it becomes ever more contentious. Wnt (talk) 23:03, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Wnt, that's an interesting insight, and seems to me to have a ring of truth. I've been looking at a different part of the elephant for the past few years, structural properties of a wiki that affect the shape of its self-organizing wiki community. The "deeply systemic" flaws I mentioned, that Ypnypn was asking about, are subtle, slippery factors pushing at contributors, and at readers. There are two main factors I'd identify, these days... I suspect as soon as I start trying to explain them I'll get bogged down, everything will come out in the wrong order, and I won't have done justice to the ideas. I'm actually trying to write up an essay about one of them, but it's going very slowly because the issue is so complex. Fwiw (here I go, about to get myself in trouble), the two factors I have in mind are (1) rules of social conduct that in the long term promote unpleasant social atmosphere, and (2) project infrastructure that discourages objectivity. I started with (1), because I'd gotten all excited about AGF on en.wp and then discovered en.wn explicitly rejects AGF for quite plausible reasons, and have gradually come to see (2) as more fundamental. (2) is the one I'm trying to write up as an essay. --Pi zero (talk) 19:06, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion to introduce Idea: namespace

Moved to Meta:Babel#Suggestion to introduce Idea: namespace. Discussions specific to Meta-Wiki take place there. --Glaisher (talk) 08:32, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Thought that's dedicated to translation queries. Thanks for spelling it out for me. Danke. --Gryllida 06:54, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Interlingua wikipedia

We are having problems with the navbox template and the pages MediaWiki:Common.js". and .css are blocked for non administrators in order to change them. Could anybody help us with this, please? --Chabi1 (talk) 07:28, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

You can request help from stewards and global sysops at SRM, if there are no local sysops who can do it. --MF-W 13:46, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Let's put the "media" in Wikimedia.

I have returned from Wikimania invigorated and full of ideas. Here I would like to propose that we pursue some of the following as ways to make "Wikimedia" mean all media. Specifically:

  • We should be making documentaries, and have an audiovisual presentation platform comparable to YouTube (and many TV network platforms, even for small local networks). We already have things like this - why are we not showcasing things like this in our articles? Why, when I go to the article, Tiger, am I not seeing a video uploaded by a volunteer of a tiger walking, running, eating, playing? However, to take this further, when I say that "we should be making documentaries", I don't just mean that we should be getting snippets of film. I mean that we should be making collaboratively filmed and edited feature length documentaries on historic and scientific subjects that are theatrically released for Academy Award consideration. We should make enough of these documentaries, short and long, to eventually provide all the programming needed for a broadcast TV channel.
  • We should have 3D panoramic views like this in our articles. Aside from issues with showing architecture, we should have views like this of natural wonders, and conversely we should have interactive 3D renderings of objects like the Rosetta Stone or a Geneva mechanism, so that readers can look at them from all angles, speed up or slow down their moving parts, even look inside them to the extent that they have parts to look at.
  • We should also have 24 hour live feeds from cameras fixed outside of historic buildings, natural wonders, and other important locations. When I go to our article on the Taj Mahal, I should see the Taj Mahal as it looks right then.

In all of these things, we should be leading, we should be the cutting edge of presenting all of the knowledge of the world in every media by which it can be presented. Internet, movies, television, radio, books, even educational comic books. We have access to vast human resources with which to do these things. One of the things that has most stayed with me from the conference is Jimbo Wales concluding his remarks during the opening with the admonition that "you are more powerful than you think". Let's use some of our power to reach beyond the web, and create a true Wikimedia experience. BD2412 T 17:24, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

BD2412 I like the idea. However, for it to work in the "Wikiverse" we'd have to have some way of showing that what we were presenting was not Original Research or in some way violating any of the current policies in Wikipedia.

It's not easily possible to insert references into an audio presentation, but perhaps a transcript with references could be included with references ). Free The Wiki (talk) 19:25, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I think that anything that we do in terms of audiovisual material would need to have a web-based information page to which viewers would be directed. That said, not everything that falls under Wikimedia's umbrella must be free of original research. Wikibooks, for example, does not prohibit that. BD2412 T 22:01, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
User:BD2412, I don't know how representative this is, but I've spoken to one Wikimedian (a film student) who said that the main barrier for him was not being able to upload standard video file formats. Even though the file conversion really isn't that difficult, he said it turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back. So with that in mind, anything to make it easier would probably be good. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:19, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I learned about this tool for easily converting non-Ogg/Webm files, , during this presentation. :) Quiddity (talk) 23:42, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
@Quiddity and WhatamIdoing:, see some relevant discussion here: c:Commons:Requests for comment/MP4 Video/Analysis of responses -Pete F (talk) 23:56, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
It looks like something is in place to do this, and the only throttle is having the upload rights. I have initiated Grants:IdeaLab/Making a Wikimedia-produced feature-length documentary film for theatrical release. BD2412 T 17:37, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree with BD2412, I would also love to have more videos and other interactive media (I've proposed educational games). An issue with videos is that it's more difficult to wikiedit them, it's easier with text and code. --NaBUru38 (talk) 20:52, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Wikimedia Zero, net neutrality, ads, and other compromises

I don't deny that Wikimedia Zero expresses a noble concept: granting the people of the world free access to knowledge. Yet I also have to listen to Access Now's complaint that Wikimedia has turned its back on w:net neutrality by doing so.

After a brief search, it turns out the situation is more complicated than the press releases, news articles, or even critics have led us to believe, because in fact the actual template agreement includes a statement that Wikimedia agrees to "Make reasonable efforts to enable pre-approved interstitials on sites accessed via Wikipedia Zero." Now looking up "interstitials", it appears that according to w:Interstitial webpage, [1], [2] etc. that what they're talking about are ads, specifically the very annoying sort of ad that the reader is forced to watch in its entirety before he sees whether the content was even any good (and I would say 9 out of 10 times I've been stupid or desperate enough to actually let one of those play out, it wasn't).

But wait, there's more. It's a template agreement. So of course in a real one there can be additional terms. In the template both sides agree to maintain one another's confidential information in making it. So I have to wonder: what is Wikimedia keeping confidential, and does that include the terms of the actual agreements?

So I have to ask, despite my skepticism whether there will be an answer.

  • Do these agreements include or imply specific promises about what WMF will do in order to facilitate the syndication of its ad-supported content? For example, has WMF claimed superprotection and targeted software features to make sure that user design of the pages doesn't defeat or reduce the number of ads?
  • Do these agreements allow WMF to preserve user privacy? For example, do the ad sponsors of Wikimedia Zero have the ability and right to collect data on which phone user accessed which page at what time? (I'm assuming so - it would take some effort for that not to happen)
  • Do these agreements require WMF to make content compromises in order to satisfy the advertisers, such as the blocking or outright elimination of anti-Islamic content in Kenya or pro-gay content in Russia?
  • Is WMF otherwise responsible for not alienating advertisers, such as by deleting or altering articles that are specifically embarrassing to their companies?

I want to see people from the Third World have access to our data, but with a compromise of both net neutrality and the policy against ads, I feel like WMF is selling its birthright for a mess of pottage. Wnt (talk) 22:08, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Dear Wnt, I'm happy to clear up some confusion about the program which I hope will help you see we are dedicated to Wikimedia values.
The interstitial is not an ad, it notifies users that they are leaving Wikipedia and may incur data charges to browse other sites. It's important to have that messaging to avoid customer confusion and surprise charges. We also have a banner across the top of the Wikipedia pages that says "Free data from [carrier]." Users should always know when they're being charged for data usage and when they're not.
We published our standard agreement to be open with the world about the structure of Wikipedia Zero. The contract has evolved over the last few years, and we've gotten it to a good place that doesn't require negotiations. In cases where we have modified terms, we have protected Wikimedia principles, as outlined in our operating principles. It's actually quite inspiring to see how open the carriers are to respecting our needs as a community-driven non-profit (e.g., CA governing law is always an issue, but necessary to protect our movement).
On your bulleted questions:
  • We don't do anything ad-supported, and we don't make promises that are not in the template.
  • Wikipedia Zero does not enable operators to collect or receive personal information about Wikimedia users.
  • We don't allow censorship of any kind.
As to the net neutrality debate, I understand that advocacy groups need to take a hard line, that's their job. But they are creating additional barriers to access to knowledge, undermining the potential of the open internet they're trying to protect. We are asking policymakers to consider the billions of people who still cannot participate in the open internet and to allow free open access to non-commercial public services like Wikipedia, which can be a foundation for societal development. It's not about "playing into the telcos hands" or restricting the internet. Personally, I feel strongly that Wikipedia Zero does promote the open internet - access to knowledge, participation, free speech. I believe in what the Wikimedia community at large is doing. Wikipedia Zero helps people. We're not selling out Wikimedia or the open internet. CSchloeder (WMF) 23:14, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
OK -- the situation with superprotection has some of us feeling cynical, but it is refreshing to hear this answer and see the principles you uphold. I was worried, but this looks like a good answer. Even the argument on net neutrality weakens when you show that the content is genuinely being delivered for free, because it has more of the character of a donation than of a range of tariffs. Thank you for responding! Wnt (talk) 23:25, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm happy to have the dialogue - thank you! CSchloeder (WMF) 2:08, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

I think that there are two other things which are unclear:

  • wmf:Mobile partnerships mentions a special website,, which is described as a "mobile text-only version", which is sometimes offered instead of or in addition to the usual website. Is the removal of images the only difference between and the usual, or are there other differences? There is a lack of transparency here in that is unavailable unless you use one of the participating carriers. Pointing my browser at I am forwarded to which only contains an error message:
Sorry, is only supported by select mobile carriers and is not available from your mobile carrier.

If you are contacting your mobile carrier, mention that your IP address is not supported.

Continue to (standard data charges may apply)
It seems that the only way for people to check what Wikipedia Zero users see is to go to one of the countries where Wikipedia Zero is available, obtain a local SIM card and then look at the website while still in that country. For transparency reasons, I think that it would be a good idea if there could still be some way to view the website from other countries, although people in other countries obviously would have to pay for the data traffic.
  • Are the "pre-approved interstitials" mandatory if you use any of the carriers listed at wmf:Mobile partnerships, or can you opt out from the interstitials by paying the carrier for a data plan? I suspect that some people might find them irritating and that people who can afford a proper data plan prefer not to see them. --Stefan2 (talk) 20:14, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree that some form of access to zero.wikipedia would be very helpful, including a simulation of the text-based interface, because otherwise how do we as editors troubleshoot whether something we write (for example, a large table of data in an article) is accessible to readers under this program, or at least does not prevent them from accessing other parts of it? Wnt (talk) 21:05, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Another question: does the Wikipedia Zero website use encryption technology such as HTTPS? --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:01, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
The error message that Wikipedia Zero doesn't work with my ISP is available both through HTTP and HTTPS. Try and yourself. The question is then: Can all Wikipedia Zero users access the HTTPS version, or do some ISPs choose to support only HTTP? --Stefan2 (talk) 21:53, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Impact of SUL finalization on local autonomy

I was unable to find anywhere that the loss of local autonomy involved in globalization of user names has been discussed, or that the problem had been recognized. I asked on Talk:Global rename policy and received two hostile responses, one of which pointed to SUL finalization which is a redirect to an old WMF Single User Login finalisation announcement. Talk for that page has many small archives (bad archiving practice!) but I found this brief discussion, marked Resolved, with who marked it resolved unstated and resolution unclear.

Previously, user names were, by default, local, and were globalized by user action. Once globalized, an account was then exposed to being globally locked by a steward, an action where there is no local recourse, other than the formation of a new local account which was not globalized.

Lock policy did not contemplate globally locking accounts for other than active cross-wiki spam or vandalism; however, it is fairly common that accounts are locked by a steward for "LTA"; a study of this being prepared here, from public logs, was abruptly deleted and suppressed, so information will be provided privately to users on request (my talk page or email).

LTA is "long-term abuse," and, in a few cases, the "abuse" is simply that a steward decided to lock and the user then created another account, there being no global abuse. There may have been local abuse; in a case I have in mind, there was a local block and local disruption on one wiki; the steward, also an admin on that wiki, then acted to globally lock, without any global discussion, and has prevented appeals from being considered on meta. The steward has also locked other accounts, in some cases with no edits and certainly no disruptive edits, claiming that they are socks of that original user, when my research showed this was unlikely.

Because the user could create a local account that no longer lockable by the steward, it was not necessary to challenge this in order for the user to participate positively on a wiki as invited. However, this bypass is disappearing. There will be no more "local accounts," and, status quo, then, local wikis cannot act to allow the user to participate.

There is no local lock whitelist, as there is with global blocks, such that local administrators may bypass a global lock.

SUL globalization is a great idea. However, loss of local autonomy is not. This is easily repairable with a strong global lock policy. Because the vast majority of global locks, from my study, are not problematic, a rough estimate being that only 0.1% of locks are questionable, I would not want to tie the hands of stewards, even though locks are being issued outside of the originally contemplated scope. Rather, the policy should be amended to cover the known reasons for global locking, and to prohiibting global locking from being used as an undiscussed global ban of a possibly good-faith user, contrary to local authority.

(To understand the scale of global locking, there were 5000 lock actions in the last three months of 2013. The greatest bulk of locks were of accounts with few or no edits, identified as spambots by a steward through undisclosed means, but probably checkuser on loginwiki. The lock of an account with no edits is mostly harmless, per se, unless it is consistently used to prevent a user from positive participation, and "spambot" is not related to the problematic locks I have seen. The few problematic cases could be handled easily with a sane appeal process.)

A lock appeal process should be created that is not simply a steward request, because the relevant page, Steward requests/Global, is not a community discussion page, and stewards dislike discussion there.

Another fix would be to extend global blocking to named accounts instead of just IP addresses. This would then allow the local whitelist to be used. The unnecessarily intrusive global lock tool could be retired. (Preventing login prevents access to whitelist and email settings.) --Abd (talk) 14:27, 30 August 2014 (UTC)