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User creation log, possible account-auto-creation spam
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Description

On en.wikipedia.org User creation log or sr.wikipedia.org User creation log, probably also other Wikipedias, there is a lot of accounts with weird names, and weird very small contributions. Recently, they obviously started to be automatically created (User account ... (talk | contribs) was created automatically).

Does someone know what is the purpose of this because those accounts actually have no contributions and are possible spam... Making number of editors bigger, i.e. faking it, this way is ridiculous – if this is the purpose...

This could even be a security issue.

Event Timeline

Obsuser created this task.Oct 6 2017, 10:34 PM
Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptOct 6 2017, 10:34 PM

A user account is "created automatically" when a user currently logged in on any Wikimedia wiki visits a specific Wikimedia wikis for the first time. For example, a user who has registered an account on de.wikipedia.org (and is logged in there) visits en.wikipedia.org for the first time (e.g. by clicking an interwiki link). This often explains the weird name (the names of accounts that are "created automatically" are probably in a different language than the wiki content).

You can look up what the "home wiki" of any account is by visiting Special:CentralAuth on your wiki. The home wiki will have a green plus symbol with the label "new account", others will have "created on login".

If the number of account registrations increased significantly, that could be a cause for concern; but the existence of these accounts is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

Obsuser added a comment.EditedOct 7 2017, 12:07 AM

They are not weird only because they come from other wiki or are in other language but by psychological meaning achieved by combination of words. I really suspect it got out of control because Wikipedia guidelines don't allow e.g. using real persons names without stating on that account user page that it is not the real person in question, and other rules (this guideline and related ones).

If account creation frequency is one account in several minutes, I find it impossible that those are real persons creating accounts with real intention to edit Wikipedia for longer time and constructively, and also if frequency is too high it is impossible for other users and admins to follow and check so many accounts. They usually have 0 or very small number of edits or contributions, and refuse to respond when asked something on talk page – so I would suspect bots, again.

They are not weird only because they come from other wiki or are in other language but by psychological meaning achieved by combination of words. I really suspect it got out of control because Wikipedia guidelines don't allow e.g. using real persons names without stating on that account user page that it is not the real person in question, and other rules (this guideline and related ones).

I don't understand what you mean here. Note that us developers have no influence on Wikipedia policies (unless they are genuinely causing technical issues).

If account creation frequency is one account in several minutes, I find it impossible that those are real persons creating accounts with real intention to edit Wikipedia for longer time and constructively, and also if frequency is too high it is impossible for other users and admins to follow and check so many accounts. They usually have 0 or very small number of edits or contributions, and refuse to respond when asked something on talk page – so I would suspect bots, again.

Wikipedia is a popular site, a lot of people are active on it. Even if they do not edit, some users create accounts to change their preferences, they want to edit but get discouraged, or just register because they can. And even if they are bots, what are you going to do to them? We literally can't delete accounts. There is no reason to investigate until they start doing bad things, and our antispam filters are much better for edits than account registrations.

There is really nothing remarkable about the current rate of account creation. If anything, it's less than it used to be. I plotted the number of users registered per day since the beginning (we started logging account creations in 2005, so there's no older data, and autocreations start in 2008 when CentralAuth was introduced):

srwikienwiki

Query for these charts for reference:

select
  left(log_timestamp, 8) as day,
  sum(log_action!='autocreate') as registered_users,
  sum(log_action='autocreate') as autocreated_users
from logging
where log_type = 'newusers'
group by day
Kizule added a subscriber: Kizule.Oct 10 2017, 9:06 PM

When any create account on any of wmf projects, and go on another project, he will be logged automatic.. This is no valid. Too, if any go on https://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Посебно:MergeAccount account will be automatic created on all wmf projects.

Kizule closed this task as Invalid.Oct 10 2017, 9:13 PM

This is invalid.