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Re: Fwd: [Wikitech-l] Planning to tighten TorBlock settings

On Fri, Apr 03, 2009 at 12:03:53PM -0400, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> To solve this issue I believe that TOR needs a strong pseudo-anonymous
> system built in and available to users.  Something where Wikipedia can
> block a single misbehaving user just as easily as they can without Tor
> and that user can't simply mint 100 more accounts in a few minutes.
> There have been various proposals for systems to accomplish this in
> the past, but unless one is integrated and easily supported by
> websites it will do no good.

Building this into Tor would be pointless because, as you observed, it
would not block misbehavior via the many other ways to be anonymous
widely used by abusive people. Systems that require protection against
abuse need some sort of authentication (possibly anonymous or
pseudonymous) required for any access. Otherwise people can just
manufacture identities at will and use them over any other path than
Tor.  More accurately I should have said that it would be pointless
to reduce overall abuse; it would just give one warm fuzzies that
abuse via Tor was moved to the other mechanisms not designed to be
as visible.

It is also not necessary to have a technical solution. Simply escrowing
all edits coming via Tor until some editor is willing to check them
would prevent abuse from ever getting to Wikipedia and would allow
edits only at whatever rate Wikimedia chooses to devote resources.
Because of the incentives from failing ever to succeed via this
path would mean that abusive submissions should be minimal; although
that is moot from the perspective of Wikimedia resources devoted to
it. I hashed this out with Jimbo several years ago, and he entirely
agreed with me in the end.

All that aside, my understanding is that precisely what you suggest
has been designed, built, and proposed for integration to wikimedia
more than once and was basically ignored: first Jason Holt's nym and
then later the more fully featureful and developed nymble from some
folks at Dartmouth. I wasn't involved, so I may not have the details
correct. And, it's been a while. My point is that it's already pretty
much there any time Wikimedia wants it. Or it was, I don't know how
much its been maintained. But they are apprently not interested
(enough). I'm going on very little sleep over the last few days and
apologize if I have run roughshod over a misunderstanding that could
be resolved if the right people (not me clearly) had a chance to
connect and work things out.