Public outreach/Academy/Useraccounts

Registering as a Wikipedia editor edit

Ideally, all NIH scientists who are participating will get a registered username (useraccount) at least four days prior to the date of the Academy. But we won't get a list of email addresses of registrants until Tuesday the 14th, two days prior to the Academy.

Non-registered editors edit

To the extent that scientists do not register, then they should do so during the afternoon novice workshops. This has obvious negative consequence of taking time away from things that could be taught, as well as starting out the workshops with an activity that only some of the participants will need to do (the others will just have to wait).

The worst possible problem comes from the fact that Wikipedia software prevents registration of more than six accounts from a single IP address during a single day. Assuming that all of the participants are using the same wireless IP address, and there are more than six that haven't registered, then the worst case scenario (continued) is that some of them will go through the workshops as IP (anonymous, unregistered) editors. To the extent that the workshops use personal sandbox pages for practice editing, this would worst case scenario could cripple the ability of participants to actually do some/much of the editing being taught. (Personal sandbox pages, which are very helpful for practice editing, are available only to registered editors.)


  • Bring a bunch (25? 50?) of pre-created user accounts. [Minor negative: scientists will have request a useraccount name change at some point.]
  • Get the Wikimedia Foundation to disable the 6 account limit, somehow, for either the NIH IP address or (for an hours or so) for the entire English Wikipedia site. [Negatives: extra technical work/coordination and/or risk]
  • Have non-registered (anonymous/IP) editors edit one of the standard sandboxes, rather than a personal sandbox. [Negatives: same as for pre-created accounts, plus may have problems saving edits due to edit conflicts at standard sandboxes.]

Non-autoconfirmed editors edit

A editor needs to be registered for four days, and make at least 10 edits, to be "autoconfirmed", which has additional privileges (see below). The 10 edit requirement isn't a problem, since it's easy to do a bunch of edits in one's personal sandbox. But the 4 day requirement means that editors need to register by (roughly) noon on Sunday, July 12th, to avoid going through workshops as non-autoconfirmed editors.

Autoconfirmed status is required to move pages, edit semi-protected pages, and upload files or upload a new version of an existing file. Autoconfirmed users are no longer required to enter a CAPTCHA for most events. ... In addition, the Edit (Abuse) filter has a number of warning settings that only affect editors who are not autoconfirmed.

Of these, the most irritating are probably the inability to move a page (for example, a draft article) and the CAPTCHA requirement for anyone adding an external link, either as part of a footnote or in the "External links" section of an article.

Note: Frank commented, in an email of July 5, with respect to CAPTCHAs, that "From my personal experience this occurs very rarely."


  • Provide the Foundation with a list of user accounts that should (somehow) be given autoconfirmed status even though registered less than 4 days. [This does not appear to be an option available to administrators, so a technical developer would need to do this.]
Note: If an editor registered after July 12th, it's probably better to let him/her edit with that account, with its limitations, than to provide him/her with a fully autoconfirmed account that he/she won't use after the workshops.

Open questions edit

  • It appears that Jennifer (not Bill) is going to create "hand-out" accounts; she has been assured (email, July 8) that she will be able "to generate and auto-confirm them here at the Foundation".
    • How many accounts will be created? (Recommendation: 50)
    • What should the format be for the account names? (Recommendation: don't include "NIH" as part of the names.)
  • Would it be possible (difficult?) to autoconfirm useraccounts we might get on Tuesday and Wednesday from participants?

See also edit