User:Zeus/Anonymous editing

From Miraheze Meta, Miraheze's central coordination wiki


Anonymous editing (work in progress essay)
What is considered "anonymous" editing, and should you enable it on your wiki?

A recent Request for Comment made me really consider the pros and cons of "anonymous" editing. Any bureaucrat has the ability to block or allow edits from anonymous users, and while there's no one size fits all, this guide will attempt to help you decide whether to allow this or not.

Definition[edit source]

For the purpose of this essay, "anonymous" edits are edits from an IP. Although you could say that edits from a user without a verified email could be considered anonymous, those will be irrelevant here.

Editing under IP[edit source]

Let's say a user with no account edits under a wiki. Their edits are credited under the currently used IP (for example, 192.0.2.1), publicly accessible for anyone to see. Say this same user with the same IP edited, but this time, they have an account. Even without an email, they'll be credited under their username, rather than an IP (although this is still logged privately to prevent abuse).

This is for better or for worse, however, as it's possible to intentionally log out to vandalize anonymously, and without advanced permissions, local administration will be none the wiser without dead giveaways. Of course, this can be combated with Steward intervention, but it can still be incredibly infuriating to deal with. This is a reason why many wikis on here choose to block IP editing (including this wiki, Meta), which can be done easily via ManageWiki. Of course, many wikis choose to allow this, which is the main topic of this essay.

Evaluation[edit source]

Pros[edit source]

  • IP editing has numerous restrictions by default, such as not allowing uploads, and these restrictions can be tightened at will.
  • Disabling IP editing is not permanent, and can be reversed at any time.
  • Some users wish to not create an account, so disabling IP editing locks them out of that choice.

Cons[edit source]

  • Vandalism among IPs is chief among the concerns when it comes to anonymous editing, as explained in "Editing under IP".
  • It is possible to edit while logged out especially if your session expires and you don't check the notice before publishing, revealing your IP and requiring a revision delete to remove or even a steward's intervention if you want it removed more completely.
  • While not a con to IP editing, registering an account already doesn't require an email, making any sense of anonymity essentially worthless.

Opinions and recommendations[edit source]

While IP editing has numerous drawbacks, a majority of the time, I will allow it on my wikis.

Enable on these types of wikis[edit source]

Disable on these types of wikis[edit source]

  • Administrative wikis