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Clarify the "registered" date in CentralAuth (date is about connecting to SUL, not the actual account registration date)
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In the "Global account information" section at Special:CentralAuth it gives a "Registered" date/timestamp.
This date is often inaccurate and leads to confusion, especially for accounts of older users, because it actually represents (IIUC) the date the account was connected to SUL (deployed in 2008), and not the actual date of account registration.
E.g. says 2008, but I actually registered in 2005

To resolve this, we could perhaps do something like one or more of these ideas: [add/edit freely!]

  • Add a warning/footnote (either always, or only when applicable), stating Anything older than 2008 is not specified or Accounts older than 2008 have incorrect registration dates or Dates may be inaccurate - check the earliest contributions on the homewiki for more accuracy. (or similar)
  • Change the wording from Registered to Account globally attached. (or similar)
  • Add a link to the homewiki log showing the actual earliest account registration date. (I'm not sure if this is possible/practical)

Event Timeline

Aklapper renamed this task from Clarify the "registered" date in CentralAuth to Clarify the "registered" date in CentralAuth (date is about connecting to SUL, not the actual account registration date).Jun 19 2016, 4:50 PM

Per my comments in T308081, I agree with @Quiddity that after looking a user up on Special:CentralAuth, the dates for users (e.g. Special:CentralAuth/RobLa) should point to the registration date or perhaps the "first edit" date. As it stands, the date (when hooked up to SUL for a specific user database) is misleading for everyone who edited Wikipedia prior to the 2015 SUL finalization, and it takes a Wikimedia Foundation history nerd (or someone who was there at the time) to understand how to use the date that's shown. Given how long it's been since the 2015 SUL finalization, there really not a great reasons for showing the "SUL attachment" date so prevalently without showing the "first edit" date (which is much more important, and more likely to be the thing that the user is interested in).

Well, I found something in the MediaWiki API that looks closer (from this API call). What I see:

"registrationdate": "2001-10-22T06:37:02Z",

That's still not correct, but it's closer. It would seem that the field is in the user_registration field in the user table of each wiki. The registration date can't be right for enwiki, because this change has my fingerprints all over it. This change is credited to me, which seems plausible from the description ("Added Google directory link"), since that was back in the day that Google was using data from Mozilla's Open Directory Project to prioritize their search results. It's really too bad that Google fails to acknowledge the importance of DMOZ in their early history.