Page MenuHomePhabricator

Auto-remove never used dormant user accounts
Open, Stalled, Needs TriagePublic

Description

Every day one-time user accounts by spambots with random unfilterable names (e.g. WarnerArida7421‎; MoisesMcCasland‎; LuzOfd704934‎; LulaGow839899‎; GeraldineP17‎; EvaShort134) are created on otherwise low traffic wikis. These accounts never get used, especially with the Abuse Filter extension blocking the spam. On a wiki with only a handful of active editors there are instead thousands of dormant user accounts. Please add an option for user accounts that have never done an edit to be auto-removed.

Event Timeline

This is a feature that is unlikely to be developed into Core MediaWiki, as there is many areas in MediaWiki that can user account without onwiki visible usage (eg: Watchlists, User Preferences).

To combat the spam accounts, have a look at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:UserMerge to delete accounts and https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Combating_spam has tips on combatting spam issues

One example might be restricting account creations then using a solution such as https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:ConfirmAccount

Wiki's hosted on a wiki farm might not have the option to use extension:UserMerge. Blocking spam is not an issue.

Nemo_bis added a subscriber: Nemo_bis.

Wiki's hosted on a wiki farm might not have the option to use extension:UserMerge

So this is a request to bundle UserMerge into core? Cf.
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Suggestions_for_extensions_to_be_integrated

No, it is a request for some high-level option to allow keeping the user list clean of spambots.

That hides but doesn't remove these spurious users.

Aklapper changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Mar 27 2021, 5:43 PM

@robkam: Why can Extension:UserMerge not be used for this?

The wiki is hosted on a wiki farm which uses CentralAuth. To prevent the global accounts being affected only sysadmins of the wiki farm can rename, merge and delete. Local sysadmins can't access Extension:UserMerge.

That might be an argument to fix the wikifarm's setup instead of a reason to implement more functionality in MediaWiki Core and increase code complexity and maintenance costs to fix an unclear problem... Which problem do these unused accounts create exactly, in which workflows?

So far the wiki farm admin have been reluctant to delete these spurious users. It makes an unnecessary mess of the wiki stats.

Which specific wiki stats where are you looking at?

Special:Statistics and Special:ListUsers

There's a script that does something like that https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:RemoveUnusedAccounts.php. You need to check the limitations and what it considers 'unused'