TLDR summary: An account would be required to edit here starting in September. It's now active.
Back in December, I proposed we might have to require everyone to have an account in order to edit here. This was prompted by the the conversion to the Unified Community Platform (UCP) happening all across Fandom that makes it nearly impossible to talk with someone who doesn’t have an account. If the Message Wall is active, which it is here, you can’t through it. The only way you can is to shut it off so it reverts back to the User Talk pages, or you keep the Wall active, create a User Talk-like page and set a block so you can tell them in the block reason “go look at this page”.
The first option involves going old school and doesn’t really fit any more with how a lot of people want to communicate. If I remember right, it wasn’t reliable anyway in notifying you had a message if you weren’t logged in. And if the IP address you’re editing from changed, you definitely wouldn’t be notified.
The second option has four drawbacks:
1) It feels like punishment to block them if they didn’t do anything wrong just because you’re just trying to talk to them.
2) You have to guess how long to set the block to give them a chance to see it.
3) They’d have to edit that page for you to know they’ve seen the message, but they can’t edit it until the block expires. Allowing them to edit their own talk page as part of the block doesn’t work for them because that’s not their actual talk page.
4) Blocking someone for this reason may be a violation of Fandom’s requirements for block policies.
I didn’t want to shut off anonymous editing because I know people have reasons for not having an account and some might decide not to come back if it’s required. I learned years ago that thinking “Anonymous users cause all the problems so we’ll fix everything by shutting that off” is short-sighted. Problems happen whether or not someone has an account.
Since March, I have been thinking about this issue a lot. There’s still no good answer for “shut off the Message Wall” vs. “letting anonymous users edit but we jump through hoops trying to talk to them”. Profile pages for anonymous users such as User:18.104.22.168 have disappeared so I have the feeling that we won’t see the Message Wall come back for them, either.
I also see that editing without an account isn’t as safe as having an account. If the IP address you’re editing from is publicly visible in the edit history of a page and the Recent Changes list, it puts you at risk. There’s ways to protect yourself, but having an account hides your IP address. Only Fandom employees and the volunteers for the SOAP team and some of the other higher-level functions can see it. They will not reveal that information because it would be a violation of your privacy.
In contrast, having an account has many benefits beyond privacy. You will have a Profile you can put in what you want about yourself and what you’re interested in. You’ll be able to upload photos and videos, go into the Discussions area, get notifications about changes to pages you’re interested in, get notifications about messages, see fewer ads, and more.
Based on this, requiring an account has more benefits than drawbacks. What it will also do is help this wiki in the coming months.
Right now, I’m on my own. Our lone bureaucrat hasn’t been here in over two years. The other admin has been gone for a year. We need a larger group of active admins than just me. I’m not a bureaucrat, so the best I can do is make someone a threadmoderator so they can perform maintenance in the Discussions area.
For as large of a topic as movies are, and all the people and companies involved in making them, we really should have a group of people with admin rights and a group of “mini admins” that have enough rights to do almost anything on a wiki except block people. With movie studios just starting to get back on their feet, the new 45-day window for a movie to be in a theater before it goes to home video, and movies being released through streaming services, we need more people to cover these.
So here’s what I want to do. First, I’m going to turn on the requirement of having an account to edit here. It will take effect on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. That gives everyone over a month to sign up for an account.
Second, right around that time, I’m going to start a community discussion about bureaucrat rights or adopting the wiki. I can try asking Raylan13 to grant ‘crat rights to me, but I don’t expect to get an answer. In situations like this, it’s a good practice to get input from other members of the wiki to verify they approve.
Failing that, I can start the process of getting the wiki adopted. Normally, active admins have priority on adopting, but since it will be mid-December before I will be eligible, we can look at other candidates.
Third, I want to automate some of the things we’ve having to do by hand. If you’ve seen the Main Page recently, it’s out of date. It really should be able to update itself each day. We don’t have full database capabilities, but there’s ways to simulate them, so the Main Page could account for the movies that enter and leave theaters. I have ideas on how to do that with standard templates, but using Lua makes it more flexible and powerful. I haven’t learned how to use Lua yet.
And fourth, I want to start building teams of people who have extra user rights. If you don’t have an account, you’re not eligible. I know there’s people without an account that a working to help build the wiki that would be a candidate right now if they had an account.
To identify which people would do well with extra rights, I’ve created a separate blog called Moviepedia… Assemble to list what needs to be worked on.