Proposal regarding the handling of imported usernames

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Proposal regarding the handling of imported usernames

Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
Handling of usernames in imported edits in MediaWiki has long been weird
(T9240[1] was filed in 2006!).

If the local user doesn't exist, we get a strange row in the revision table
where rev_user_text refers to a valid name while rev_user is 0 which
typically indicates an IP edit. Someone can later create the name, but
rev_user remains 0, so depending on which field a tool looks at the
revision may or may not be considered to actually belong to the
newly-created user.

If the local user does exist when the import is done, the edit is
attributed to that user regardless of whether it's actually the same user.
See T179246[2] for an example where imported edits got attributed to the
wrong account in pre-SUL times.

In Gerrit change 386625[3] I propose to change that.

   - If revisions are imported using the "Upload XML data" method, it will
   be required to fill in a new field to indicate the source of the edits,
   which is intended to be interpreted as an interwiki prefix.
   - If revisions are imported using the."Import from another wiki" method,
   the specified source wiki will be used as the source.
   - During the import, any usernames that don't exist locally (and can't
   be auto-created via CentralAuth[4]) will be imported as an
   otherwise-invalid name, e.g. an edit by User:Example from source 'en' would
   be imported as "en>Example".[5]
   - There will be a checkbox on Special:Import to specify whether the same
   should be done for usernames that do exist locally (or can be created) or
   whether those edits should be attributed to the existing/autocreated local
   user.
   - On history pages, log pages, and the like, these usernames will be
   displayed as interwiki links, much as might be generated by wikitext like "
   [[:en:User:Example|en>Example]]". No parenthesized 'tool' links (talk,
   block, and so on) will be generated for these rows.
   - On WMF wikis, we'll run a maintenance script to clean up the existing
   rows with valid usernames and rev_user = 0. The current plan there is to
   attribute these edits to existing SUL users where possible and to prefix
   them with a generic prefix otherwise, but we could as easily prefix them
   all.
      - Unfortunately it's impossible to retroactively determine the actual
      source of old imports automatically or to automatically do anything about
      imports that were misattributed to a different local user in
pre-SUL times
      (e.g. T179246[2]).
      - The same will be done for CentralAuth's global suppression blocks.
   In this case, on WMF wikis we can safely point them all at Meta.

If you have comments on this proposal, please reply here or on
https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/386625/.


Background: The upcoming actor table changes[6] require some change to the
handling of these imported names because we can't have separate attribution
to "Example as a non-registered user" and "Example as a registered user"
with the new schema. The options we've identified are:

   1. This proposal, or something much like it.
   2. All the existing rows with rev_user = 0 would have to be attributed
   to the existing local user (if any), and in the future when a new user is
   created any existing edits attributed to that name will be automatically
   attributed to that new account.
   3. All the existing rows with rev_user = 0 and an existing local user
   would have to be re-attributed to different *valid* usernames, probably
   randomly-generated in some manner, and in the future when a new user is
   created any existing edits for that name would have to be similarly
   re-attributed.
   4. Like #2, except the creation (including SUL auto-creation) of the
   same-named account would not be allowed. Thus, an import before the local
   name exists would forever block that name from being used for an actual
   local account.
   5. Some less consistent combination of the "all the existing rows" and
   "when a new user is created" options from #2–4.

Of these options, this proposal seems like the best one.

[1]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T9240
[2]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T179246
[3]: https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/386625/
[4]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T111605
[5]: ">" was chosen rather than the more typical ":" because the former is
already invalid in all usernames (and page titles). While a colon is *now*
disallowed in new usernames, existing names created before that restriction
was added can continue to be used (and there are over 12000 such usernames
in WMF's SUL) and we decided it'd be better not to suddenly break them.
[6]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T167246

--
Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
Senior Software Engineer
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Proposal regarding the handling of imported usernames

Strainu
Hi Brad,

2017-10-31 16:52 GMT+02:00 Brad Jorsch (Anomie) <[hidden email]>:

> Handling of usernames in imported edits in MediaWiki has long been weird
> (T9240[1] was filed in 2006!).
>
> If the local user doesn't exist, we get a strange row in the revision table
> where rev_user_text refers to a valid name while rev_user is 0 which
> typically indicates an IP edit. Someone can later create the name, but
> rev_user remains 0, so depending on which field a tool looks at the
> revision may or may not be considered to actually belong to the
> newly-created user.
>
> If the local user does exist when the import is done, the edit is
> attributed to that user regardless of whether it's actually the same user.
> See T179246[2] for an example where imported edits got attributed to the
> wrong account in pre-SUL times.
>
> In Gerrit change 386625[3] I propose to change that.
>
>    - If revisions are imported using the "Upload XML data" method, it will
>    be required to fill in a new field to indicate the source of the edits,
>    which is intended to be interpreted as an interwiki prefix.

What if that is not possible? How are imports between non-related
websites handled? I've just recently encountered a situation when a
MediaWiki upgrade was considered easier to be done by exporting the
old wiki and importing it in the new one.

>    - If revisions are imported using the."Import from another wiki" method,
>    the specified source wiki will be used as the source.
>    - During the import, any usernames that don't exist locally (and can't
>    be auto-created via CentralAuth[4]) will be imported as an
>    otherwise-invalid name, e.g. an edit by User:Example from source 'en' would
>    be imported as "en>Example".[5]

Why not use "~" like when merging accounts? Sounds like yet another
"code" is growing for no obvious reason. If you are worried about
conflicts, there shouldn't be any, as the interwiki prefix is
different from the shortcut used on SUL.

>    - There will be a checkbox on Special:Import to specify whether the same
>    should be done for usernames that do exist locally (or can be created) or
>    whether those edits should be attributed to the existing/autocreated local
>    user.

That sounds good. Ideally we should have a way to match local users to
remote users but to generate that might be overkill, especially for
large imports.

>    - On history pages, log pages, and the like, these usernames will be
>    displayed as interwiki links, much as might be generated by wikitext like "
>    [[:en:User:Example|en>Example]]". No parenthesized 'tool' links (talk,
>    block, and so on) will be generated for these rows.
>    - On WMF wikis, we'll run a maintenance script to clean up the existing
>    rows with valid usernames and rev_user = 0. The current plan there is to
>    attribute these edits to existing SUL users where possible and to prefix
>    them with a generic prefix otherwise, but we could as easily prefix them
>    all.
>       - Unfortunately it's impossible to retroactively determine the actual
>       source of old imports automatically or to automatically do anything about
>       imports that were misattributed to a different local user in
> pre-SUL times
>       (e.g. T179246[2]).
>       - The same will be done for CentralAuth's global suppression blocks.
>    In this case, on WMF wikis we can safely point them all at Meta.
>
> If you have comments on this proposal, please reply here or on
> https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/386625/.
>
>
> Background: The upcoming actor table changes[6] require some change to the
> handling of these imported names because we can't have separate attribution
> to "Example as a non-registered user" and "Example as a registered user"
> with the new schema. The options we've identified are:
>
>    1. This proposal, or something much like it.
>    2. All the existing rows with rev_user = 0 would have to be attributed
>    to the existing local user (if any), and in the future when a new user is
>    created any existing edits attributed to that name will be automatically
>    attributed to that new account.
>    3. All the existing rows with rev_user = 0 and an existing local user
>    would have to be re-attributed to different *valid* usernames, probably
>    randomly-generated in some manner, and in the future when a new user is
>    created any existing edits for that name would have to be similarly
>    re-attributed.
>    4. Like #2, except the creation (including SUL auto-creation) of the
>    same-named account would not be allowed. Thus, an import before the local
>    name exists would forever block that name from being used for an actual
>    local account.
>    5. Some less consistent combination of the "all the existing rows" and
>    "when a new user is created" options from #2–4.
>
> Of these options, this proposal seems like the best one.
>
> [1]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T9240
> [2]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T179246
> [3]: https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/386625/
> [4]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T111605
> [5]: ">" was chosen rather than the more typical ":" because the former is
> already invalid in all usernames (and page titles). While a colon is *now*
> disallowed in new usernames, existing names created before that restriction
> was added can continue to be used (and there are over 12000 such usernames
> in WMF's SUL) and we decided it'd be better not to suddenly break them.
> [6]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T167246

Strainu

>
> --
> Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
> Senior Software Engineer
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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Re: Proposal regarding the handling of imported usernames

Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 4:46 PM, Strainu <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2017-10-31 16:52 GMT+02:00 Brad Jorsch (Anomie) <[hidden email]>:
> >    - If revisions are imported using the "Upload XML data" method, it
> will
> >    be required to fill in a new field to indicate the source of the
> edits,
> >    which is intended to be interpreted as an interwiki prefix.
>
> What if that is not possible? How are imports between non-related
> websites handled?


It's always possible to enter in something, whether an actual interwiki
link is defined or not. But why not define one?


> I've just recently encountered a situation when a
> MediaWiki upgrade was considered easier to be done by exporting the
> old wiki and importing it in the new one.
>

That seems like a strange situation. But in a case like that, recreate the
user table first and no edits should need prefixing.

>
> >    - If revisions are imported using the."Import from another wiki"
> method,
> >    the specified source wiki will be used as the source.
> >    - During the import, any usernames that don't exist locally (and can't
> >    be auto-created via CentralAuth[4]) will be imported as an
> >    otherwise-invalid name, e.g. an edit by User:Example from source 'en'
> would
> >    be imported as "en>Example".[5]
>
> Why not use "~" like when merging accounts? Sounds like yet another
> "code" is growing for no obvious reason. If you are worried about
> conflicts, there shouldn't be any, as the interwiki prefix is
> different from the shortcut used on SUL.
>

You mean like the appended "~enwiki" used during SUL finalization? Because
legitimate usernames, including those from SUL finalization, can contain
'~', thus recognition is much more difficult and we'd have to do a lot more
work to handle conflicts when they arise.

--
Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
Senior Software Engineer
Wikimedia Foundation
_______________________________________________
Wikitech-l mailing list
[hidden email]
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