Nathan, 13/06/2012 20:37:
In my view, no. I think we need to balance the "risk" argument for
anonymity (dissidents, whistleblowers, people editing topics they wouldn't
want to be publicly associated with, etc.) with the benefits of partial
anonymity. Among these benefits I'd cite the many news items regarding the
discovery of fishy editing patterns from Congressional offices, corporate
offices, government agencies, political candidates, etc.  We're an
organization with competing aims: we'd like to be as transparent as
possible, and by and large believe in the value of radical transparency,
but we also want to protect our users from undue harm.

I'm quite surprised that only Nathan seems to be voicing this concern.
For many years when people criticized the lack of responsibility in Wikipedia's authors we've repeated that every word and comma is attributed to a person, either by pen name or IP, and that there's no need of a real name policy. The most important feature of MediaWiki is a [user] "tracking" feature: the diffs, the history, the contributions page; everything is transparent. This is not needed to please some big brother fans but rather for the wiki (the community) to work; replacing IPs with unusable non-identifying strings would be a bad thing and it's not obvious at all that "improving privacy" is the prevalent aim here. In fact, the main problem with how IPv6 addresses are exposed in MediaWiki is that the bytes of information random users have to digest and remember to identify users are just too much and in a user-unfriendly format (even for the standard sysop). On the other hand, IPv6 will improve identification in a very good way; ISP are already heavily using NAT, and quite often hundreds or thousands of users in my city have been blocked on by blocking just a single IPv4 address, not to mention community drama around dubious CheckUser results. That said, we've used domains before IPs and it's surely possible to invent something new, although I don't have enough imagination to find a solution.


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