[Foundation-l] English Wikipedia ethnocentric policy affects other communities

Neil Harris usenet at tonal.clara.co.uk
Wed Dec 20 23:47:10 UTC 2006

Birgitte SB wrote:
> en.WP is not the primary Wikipedia for many wikimedia
> editors.  These usernames *are* in the primary
> character set of the users home wiki.  I think it is
> perfectly reasonable to expect to not be blocked just
> because Wikimedia adopts SUL.  Bascially what this
> boils down to is someone who today edits as an IP
> without harrassment will be blocked after SUL as soon
> as an en.WP admin spots them on RC.  This will happen
> without the editor doing anything differently on their
> end.  
> There is strong support for SUL throughout all
> communtities, but I cannot support going live with it
> if large chunks of the wikimedia community will be
> locally blocked without warning on any particular
> wiki.  If en.WP does not wish to adjust thier policies
> to this mew development perhaps en.WP can be left out
> of SUL.  Is it possible for en.WP to keep their own
> user database while all other wikis use a shared
> database?
> Birgitte SB


Different-script blocking on en: must therefore stop as soon as SUL is 

But, since human-readable usernames are essential to managing the wiki 
system, and for many people names not in their native script are not 
human-readable, there must necessarily be some sort of solution to the 
name-incomprehensibility problem before SUL goes live.

The truename + nickname idea looks to me like the favourite at the 
moment. I definitely support it, with the provisos that:

* truenames _and_ nicknames need to be made globally unique within the 
single SUL namespace, otherwise they will present new opportunities for 
misdirection (eg. nick of one user is the same as the truename of 
another and vice versa, or that on another different-script wiki...)
* that each truename or nickname have characters only from a single 
script system (although they will of course in general have different 
script systems from one another, because that's the whole point)
* that the anti-spoofing code be used to filter both (which may need 
some overdue improvements in the anti-spoofing algorithm to be put in 
place, which I've got on the back burner already anyway)

I would also suggest, at the risk of further controversy, that having an 
appropriate nick be made compulsory if you intend to use your account to 
edit in a wiki with a default script different from that of your username.

Perhaps we could put in place some sort of human-driven wiki-based 
please-translate-my-name-into-your-script service for this, or simply 
generate a (also globally unique) machine-generated ID until users 
create an appropriate nick, with regular nag messages to remind them to 
do so?

-- Neil

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