Wikimedia (Wikipedia) single sign-on

Paul Crowley paul at
Mon Jun 20 07:14:46 PDT 2005

Martin Atkins wrote:
> Note that OpenID doesn't magically solve problem 2. Since all of the
> wikipedia sites are on different domains, the user will have to run
> around and type their OpenID identity on each of them to log in.

But at least they won't have to type in their password.  So it 
half-solves problem 2.

> I think the most important problem, which you've not mentioned here, is
> that there will almost certainly be a scramble for usernames on the
> generic site. Mart at en.wikipedia and Mart at es.wikipedia will
> probably both want "Mart", and it'll just be up to whoever gets there
> first. Also, some more prolific users might be beaten to the punch by
> imposters registering the name beforehand.

This bothers me too.  I don't see a very simple solution, so please 
forgive the complexity of this one.  You need a negotiation process to 
decide who gets which name.  This should be a service on 
  Anyone who wants a name "" can register their 
interest, using their OpenID login on the various sites.  At a set date, 
you decide who will get which names.  The criteria you'd use might include:

* closeness of match with existing name, by edit distance: if my name 
was "", I have a better claim than 
* longevity: if we're both equally close in edit distance, I might win 
if I've had an account longer than you
* activity: if my account does more editing
* status: if I'm an admin and you're not

You might allow me to set a first and second preference, but that makes 
the resolution algorithm more complex.

After the set date, you can have a first-come-first-served policy.  Or, 
out of deference to long-standing users who miss the bidding deadline, 
you can reserve all names used anywhere on Wikipedia that aren't claimed 
as part of this process, and allow a further few months for users with 
those names to claim them.

Will you make people who don't have any kind of Wikimedia account create 
one before they can non-anonymously edit?  Or will you directly use 
their OpenID name for their edits, in which case what will their talk 
page be called?
\/ o\ Paul Crowley, paul at

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