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Discussion report

A relic from the past that needs to be updated

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By Jonatan Svensson Glad



A screenshot of the IRC client HexChat.

To many, Internet Relay Chat is an old relic, but not to Wikipedia. Wikipedia currently has an IRC help channel designated to help and assist editors with editing Wikipedia, #wikipedia-help connect. Most of the time, users go there to seek advice and help regarding a draft submission they have written. From time to time, this channel can become a bit crowded, and it becomes difficult to distinguish the standard designated nicks given by the current software. With one user seeking help named "WPhelp14356" and another "WPhelp16432", it can become both confusing and cluttered. At least, that's what PhantomTech and other users are claiming in a recent request for comments.

In the discussion, some suggest adding JavaScript that makes users use an IRC-nick identical to their Wikipedia username. This has received both positive and negative feedback from users. One of the main opponents of this suggestion is Technical 13, who stated,

I very much think that adding JavaScript code to compromise editors [sic] privacy and security is a big deal, especially when the code is as badly flawed as it is from a technical standpoint.

Another reason for opposition is that the code will not work for users whose usernames include nonstandard (non-ASCII) characters (characters other than a-z, 0-9, etc.).

The system currently in use assigns a default "WPhelp"-nick, but does not inform users that their IP will be visible to other members in the chat room. Therefore, the proposal also includes that a disclaimer as well as a FAQ be added on a new Wikipedia-namespace page, which is currently located in PhantomTech's userspace pending acceptance of this RfC.

Wikipedia already uses JavaScript, what additional security flaws and issues would this script introduce? The disclaimer warns about linking usernames to IPs, not IPs to IPs. Adding a disclaimer inside the IRC channel is like not letting someone read a contract until after they sign, it's too late at that point.

Editor's note: After writing this report, but before publication, the RfC in question was closed by Guerillero with clear consensus for the disclaimer, but with no consensus for the auto-population of irc nicknames.

Misleading readers with funny DYK hooks

After multiple cleverly piped, misleading DYK-hooks appeared on the main page, the user Fgf10 had finally had enough and started a discussion on Did You Know's talk page. Some editors were direct in their counterarguments:

Just because you're unable to appreciate [them] doesn't mean the rest of us, and our readers, must live in your dull world of droning, lifeless facts.

— EEng

After the discussion ostensibly got out of hand, @Ritchie333: closed the section with the comment:

Enough, already. Wikipedia is no place for humour. Everything is very serious here and we are all terrifically important.[citation needed]

Despite this comedic closing remark by the user, the underlying question remains.

In brief

Wikipe-tan wishes you good luck with your discussions. Luck is the universe's magic.
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Glad to see the Discussion report back! It's a hard article to compile, so praise is rightfully due. -- llywrch (talk) 17:21, 30 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Absolutely. I think everyone is happy to see the return of this section. Nice work. Gamaliel (talk) 16:03, 31 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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