[wp-docs] User accounts

Morgan Doocy morgan at doocy.net
Thu Mar 17 01:13:29 GMT 2005

On Mar 15, 2005, at 3:40 PM, Matthew Thomas wrote:
> Last year I went to university, and one of the essays I wrote for
> history class was on the history of copper. While researching the 
> essay,
> I went to the library and borrowed the book "Copper: Its geology and
> economics", by Robert Bowen and Amanda Gunatilaka, published in 1977.
> I was the first person ever to have borrowed that book since the 
> library had acquired it in 1978. If no-one had been interested in it, 
> why hadn't the library thrown it away? Because they had no reason to. 
> They weren't running out of space.
> Is Codex running out of space? No. Even if it was, would deleting user 
> accounts make an appreciable difference? No. Even if it would, would 
> it be a good idea for attribution purposes? No. This is entirely a 
> psychological problem ("I'm shocked", "I like a clean house", 
> "Anything that removes clutter is necessary", etc), not a real one.
> The solution to this psychological problem is quite simple: remove the 
> <http://codex.wordpress.org/Special:Listusers> page, or at least 
> prevent anyone from accessing it.
>> I know the codex has been being hit with a lot of spam, and while it's
>> supposed to be easy access, I was wondering if a second step couldn't 
>> be
>> taken to make it less inviting to the vandal-prone.
> >...
> What does the number of registered editors have to do with how 
> inviting it is to vandals? Wikipedia's resilience against vandalism 
> comes from a large number of editors, not a small number.
> If you really think this is a good idea, I suggest first implementing 
> it in WordPress itself. All WordPress sites that haven't been updated 
> in six months or more should delete themselves entirely on the next 
> page request. It's not a knock against anybody. It's simple 
> blogosphere management and maintenance.
> ;-)

Matthew, I can always count on you to speak the voice of reason better 
than myself. I laughed out loud at how true this last statement was. 

In addition to the fact that pruning accounts provides zero maintenance 
benefit, the frequency or infrequency of individual users' contribution 
is frankly none of our business, and monitoring usage could be 
considered an invasion of privacy.

Likewise, we have no business trying to judge whether individual 
accounts are legitimate or not. To use Podz' example, a2gay.org.uk 
looks to me like a perfectly legitimate user, and to remove that user's 
account because it has the word 'gay' in it would be bordering on 
discriminatory. I don't think I need to emphasize how horrific that 
would be.

Playing god with users' accounts is way overstepping our bounds. Our 
sole responsibility is to manage the flow of *content*: organizing the 
*content* users provide, and making sure users have the resources 
available (guidelines, ideas, inspiration) to contribute. If a user 
posts abusive *content*, they get banned. End of story.

This issue is so incredibly black-and-white to me -- and my feelings 
are so overwhelmingly negative on the subject -- that I may even 
threaten to stop contributing to Codex entirely if a pruning policy is 
put into place.

We've already wasted far too much energy debating this; I'd like to 
recommend that we just forget the whole idea and go back to 
content-related issues -- we've been doing an EXCELLENT job with those 
sorts of discussions recently, so let's keep it up!


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