So, I wanted to forward this message, which originally went to
wikitech-l, to this list. It gives the reasons I thought a "real name"
field was useful for MediaWiki.
I've been on the road and offline for a couple of weeks; sorry this is
dredging up old issues.
To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l(a)wikipedia.org>
Subject: User name, nick, real name
Organization: Evan Prodromou
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From: Evan Prodromou <evan(a)wikitravel.org>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 15:31:38 -0400
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So, the way that MediaWiki is currently set up, we have two fields for
identifying a contributor:
* user name
I think (but don't know) that the idea here is that your "user name"
is your "real" name, like "Evan Prodromou", and your "nick" is going
to be a nickname, handle, or pseudonym, like "Mister Bad". This may
come from the tradition on some wikis, like Ward's Wiki, Meatball,
others, where using your real name is the norm.
It seems that on Wikipedia, other Wikimedia projects, and Wikitravel
(which I'm most interested in), this is not the case. People treat a
user name like a Unix, IRC, or other "user account": an abbreviated
name or a pseudonym. The "nick" field is generally just used for
making fancy signatures; in other cases, it's just used to provide a
_second_ pseudonym or abbreviation.
Now, I'm the last person to put down pseudonyms. I think they're a
crucial part of Internet culture. But real names can be useful for,
say, getting credit as a contributor to an article. Somewhere along
the way here we lost the slot for adding a "real name" to a user
You can't provide your real name even if you want to. Putting your
real name in the user name slot is lost in the noise; I don't know,
when you have a user account like "Bob Frapples", whether that's a
clever pseudonym or actually your real name. Contributors who want to
have their real name recognized now put them on their user pages. But
this is kind of difficult for software to determine what a user's real
I'd like to embrace the reality of the situation and have two identity
fields, plus a display field:
* User account name -- a pseudonym or abbrev or whatever
* Real name -- preferred form of legal name
* Signature -- fancy formatting for signatures
For these reasons, I'd like to propose the following:
* We add a nullable user field "user_real_name".
* The login/account creation page has an additional field for "real
name", with an explanation that it's optional, and only for
* The preferences page lets you change your real name.
* We change the documentation for the user name to note that it's a
nickname and doesn't need to be your real name.
* We change the documentation for the "nick" field to note its use as
a "signature" format.
Automatic attribution tools can use the real name field if it's
provided, or the preferred pseudonym ("Wikitravel user Hogwallop") if
The user account name would continue to be shown everywhere it is now,
and the "nick" field would continue to be used primarily
(exclusively?) in the ~~~ signature areas. The main thing is that if
contributors want attribution under their real name, but identity in
the system under a nickname, they get it.
Lastly, I think an easy way to change your user name is necessary, to
make this shift in emphasis easier for those who want to. That's a
whole can of worms, there, but I don't think it's impossible to deal
Evan Prodromou <evan(a)wikitravel.org>
Wikitravel - http://www.wikitravel.org/
The free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide
In the upcoming elections, I intend to make no comment on which
specific candidates I prefer, nor do I intend to vote in the
elections. The "constitutional monarch" should stay out of politics,
It would please me, though, if at least 1 of the seats could be filled
by someone who is not from the United States, because we are a global
project, and there are concerns from people from time to time that we
need to reflect that fact in governance.
By my count, 8 of 11 candidates total are not from the United States.
So it is entirely possible that both seats will be non-U.S., which is
Given the response of many respected users, we have decided to adopt a new
Each voter will be allowed to vote for as many of the candidates as they see
fit for each position. The candidate with the most votes for each position,
will be declared the winner.
In the event of a tie, a run off election will be announced.
We encourage everyone to vote only for the candidates you think would be best
suited to serve on the board.
Perhaps this is just from hanging around on the Debian project, but for
"official" notices, I got used to the standard practice of them being
cryptographically signed using gnupg (http://www.gnupg.org).
Cryptographic signing serves two purposes: so that it was possible to
verify that they were:
a) from who they claimed to be from
b) that they had approved the message.
Would it be feasible for Wikimedia to adopt the same process?
Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint):He followed me here from the hotel.
Leonard (Martin Landau): He was in your room?
Roger Thornhill (Carey Grant): Sure. Isn't everybody?
-- "North By Northwest
I have sent 3300 EUR from the foundation account to Erik Moeller on
behalf of Thomas Koll for the purchase of a print run of WikiReaders.
These funds are for the purchase on behalf of the foundation of the
WikiReader printing run of Thomas Koll as per our emails on the
subject. Thomas is to sell the Wikireaders on behalf of the
foundation, keeping a portion of the profit for himself, remitting the
rest of the profit plus the original cost to the foundation. The
books are to be the property of the foundation, so that if any are
left over, Thomas will not owe any money in return (just the leftover
I am going to personally guarantee the Foundation's risk, so that if
this project is not successful, the Foundation will not be out any
money. Let me repeat that last -- since this is an experiment, I want
to make sure that no donor money is risked in the project, so I am
personally pledging to make up any shortfall which may result from
If this project is successful, it may provide for a very interesting
"grass roots" way for volunteers to help spread the word about
Yes, I'm around. :-)
I am an ambassador from Japanese Wikipedia. And I have been active since the
time ja. wikipedia became active. If you have any question about ja., please
let me know.
It is true that I am virtually the only japanese wikipedian who posts on
I was asked by some japanese wikipedian if I would run for the board. I
might... I am still thinking. But because I am virtually the only one on
meta's English page, sourceforge's bug report section, mailing lists, and
other places speaking on behalf of Japanese wikipedians, I hesitate a bit. I
am also virtually the only person who relays news, announcements, call for
comments/ votes, etc., from outside of ja. There are other things that I do,
and not many others do, including responding to press inquiries, in-depth
discussion of GFDL related issues, talking to Brion and Jimbo when their
attention is needed, etc.
Well, enough of bragging.
I am interested in increasing ingerlingual sharing of wikipedia experiences.
Earlier this year, I indeed shared an overview of legal discussions (past &
present) on Japanese Wikipedia. (URL:
Also, if you prefer communicating on Japanese Wikipedia in another language,
we have a page for you:
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I would like to add new Wikipedia in Ido, a constructed language with a
great history. The ISO 639-2 code for Ido is "ido" and you can find a
language description in the official homepage:
Thanks and congratulations for this great work.
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I have Windows 98 SE and I have problems displaying text characters in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam...they're always bars and blocks. I tried to find the text display supports in those languages on my Win98SE CD-ROM, but I'm out of luck. Can you please help me? Thank you very much.
Tomos is japanese, and he is frequently around Mark.
He has been there for a while...perhaps a year at
Delirium a �crit:
> According to the wikistats page
in English), Japanese
> (ja:) is the 3rd-largest Wikipedia, after English
and German, both in
> terms of articles and in terms of active
contributors. I haven't really
> heard any discussion from there though---there's
plenty of people from
> the de:, fr:, and even lots of smaller Wikipedias
here, but not many at
> all from ja: that I've heard of. Anyone know how
things are going on
> over there? Do they know about the Wikimedia
Foundation and have any
> interest in it or requests or concerns or whatnot?
Do you Yahoo!?
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And Suisui is japanese IIRC, we see her(him?) often on IRC
>Tomos is japanese, and he is frequently around Mark.
>He has been there for a while...perhaps a year at
>Delirium a écrit:
>> According to the wikistats page
>in English), Japanese
>> (ja:) is the 3rd-largest Wikipedia, after English
>and German, both in
>> terms of articles and in terms of active
>contributors. I haven't really
>> heard any discussion from there though---there's
>plenty of people from
>> the de:, fr:, and even lots of smaller Wikipedias
>here, but not many at
>> all from ja: that I've heard of. Anyone know how
>things are going on
>> over there? Do they know about the Wikimedia
>Foundation and have any
>> interest in it or requests or concerns or whatnot?
>Do you Yahoo!?
>Yahoo! Movies - Buy advance tickets for 'Shrek 2'
>Wikipedia-l mailing list