Hi Karen,

The issue is that the IP address, especially nowadays, can provide identifying information such as physical location or organizational affiliation. Registering an account, perhaps with a pseudonym, and then using that to edit, prevents those details from being made public.

To some, it seems unfair that registered accounts have that sort of protection, while anonymous edits don't. There are ways to mask your IP address, of course, but they are technical, may trigger additional surveillance, and may not be obvious to someone who just wants to edit Wikipedia.

There is discussion of using one-way encryption or some other technical means to be able to obfuscate anonymous users' IP addresses, while still having a fixed identity for users from a particular address. Another solution would be to set up an "account-in-waiting" for anonymous users, based on their IP address. But that might be a problem for IP addresses that are used by multiple people, who might include spammers along with real contributors.

Pete

On 7/11/14, 09:58 AM, Karen Coyle wrote:

Thanks, Peter. I do know that Ed based his code on a UK or EU version. As for the IP addresses, those are stored in the WP versioning - is the issue that it points out the location based on the IP? (Which anyone could look up, but this makes it more obvious.)

kc

On 7/11/14, 9:16 AM, Peter Kaminski wrote:
There are a few similar accounts for various countries; here's a list:

https://twitter.com/palnatoke/wikiedit/members

The subject also sparked a current thread on wikitech-l [1] about
whether or not is appropriate to publish IP addresses for anonymous
editors, because it enables this sort of partial de-anonymizing.

Pete

[1] http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2014-July/077524.html

On 7/11/14, 09:05 AM, Karen Coyle wrote:

There is a new service developed by Ed Summers (@edsu) that tweets
edits made anonymously from the US Congress' IP range. The twitter
handle is @congressedits -- and it is very interesting! Especially
from the point of view of potential conflict of interest. But it also
may give, over time, a picture of how Washington-related information
gets updated in WP.

kc


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