Changes to Mozilla Wiki: New users must request accounts

Update 9 June 2014: To clarify, only those who wish to edit the Mozilla Wiki need to request an account. You do not need an account to read the wiki.

Note: The FAQ below is also available on the Mozilla Wiki at MozillaWiki:Accounts.

For some time now the Mozilla Wiki has been significant amounts of spam. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem: hundreds of spam accounts are created every week and a handful of admins each spend upwards of 4 hours per week identifying and deleting spam content and accounts.

To combat this problem, we have have implemented a change to the way user accounts are created.

Prior to this change, anyone could create an account and immediately start editing pages. After a short interval, a new user was then able to create pages as well.

Now, all new users are required to request an account and have that request approved prior to logging in and editing or creating pages.

We expect the impact of this change to valid users to be minimal. During a typical week, only a handful of legitimate user accounts are created. The rest are spam.

Below you’ll find a list of questions and answers to help aid in this transition. If you have any questions that we have not answered, please let us know.

Thank you to everyone who helped implement this change, including: Jake Maul, Jason Crowe, AlisonW, KaiRo, and Gordon Hemsley, as well as all those who agreed to help approve accounts.

FAQ

What is the work-flow for new users?

The new work-flow for new users is as follows:

  • A user visits the Mozilla Wiki and clicks Log in / create account
  • Users that don’t already have an account will click request one
  • On the request account page, the user will enter their preferred username, email address, name, bio, and additional information about themselves (optional).
  • After the user submits their request, they will receive an email asking them to confirm their email via a link. The user clicks on that link and their email is then confirmed.
  • Once the user’s request is approved, they will receive an email notification that includes a temporary password. They will be required to change their password the first time they log in to the wiki

Is the work-flow different for users who have accounts already?

No, those users will login as they always have.

What is the new work-flow for bureaucrats?

  • Once the user has confirmed their email, a notice of the request is sent to designated wiki users (a notice is also included on the RecentChanges and Watchlist pages for users who have the ability to approve).
  • The bureaucrat reviews the user’s account request and takes one of the following actions: approves, holds, or denies. Bureaucrats are instructed to approve all users they can reasonable verify are people with legitimate reason to edit the wiki (that is, not spammers or bots).

What should I do if my request has not been approved withing 24-48 hours?

Please email wikimo-admins@mozilla.org or find us on IRC in #wiki.

What should I do if I am involved in a Mozilla-related event which is likely to generate many timely user account requests?

Please email wikimo-admins@mozilla.org or find us on IRC in #wiki to let us know. We’ll do our best to have someone on hand during your event to approve requests.

Alternatively, we can create accounts for users ahead of time.

Why am I still encountering spam on the wiki?

The volume of spam received by the Mozilla Wiki has been such that we’ve not always be able to keep up with it. The change we have made to new user account creation affects the creation of new spam, but does not address preexisting spam content. We will continue to work on identifying and removing content. If you see a page that is clearly spam, let us know via IRC in #wiki.

How can I get involved with improving the Wiki?

The best way to get involved with improving the wiki is to join the Wiki Working Group (and we’d love to have you!).

Note: This FAQ also available on the Mozilla Wiki at MozillaWiki:Accounts.

2 comments

  1. Tomer Cohen

    As far as I know, these bots can work only with the default flow. If we will configure mediawiki to use Persona login the bots should be required to implement it on their side as well. ☺

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