[Foundation-l] Attribution made cleaner?

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Mon Feb 2 20:24:30 UTC 2009

So, whatever way we decide to go with licenses or attribution
requirements when this debate has settled, at some point our
prospective reader will find themselves confronted with a long list of
names, whether printed on the page or at the end of a URL or
steganographically encoded into the site logo. :-)

On this list, a minority will be real names ("John Smith"); the rest,
if we discount the thousand variants on "anonymous" via our IP
editors, are pseudonyms ("WikiUser") or modified names

In some cases, users adopt pseudonyms out of a desire for privacy, but
in many cases, it doesn't signify much more than a simple decision
that a username is a lot easier to work with internally, or a general
habit of using some kind of nickname online... or the fact that "John
Smith" was taken. And many of *those* people would, no doubt, prefer
to be credited by a real name (or at least a real-sounding nom de
plume...). Similarly, some of those using pseudonyms who don't want to
use real names, may prefer a different pseudonym... etc, etc, etc.

It would be helpful to figure out some way of (automatically) being
able to have a given username "translate" into a different name when a
list of credits is generated - we would have a list which better
reflects the attribution wishes of our users, and one which looks a
little "neater" for the reuser to put in their Respectable Scholarly
Publication. Win-win situation.

So how could we do it? At a rough sketch, I'm envisaging:

* each user has a "credit" field which they can (optionally!) set
through preferences

* when we generate the list of contributors to an article, in whatever
way we end up deciding to do that, the system can be set to read off
this "credit name" rather than simply using the normal internal
username, if one is available.

I note that MediaWiki already has a user_real_name field - could we
use it for this sort of purpose? Would this be technically practical?

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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