|Site customization: $wgPingback|
|If true, MediaWiki will report back data about its installation from time to time to aid developers
|Introduced in version:||1.28.0 (Gerrit change 296699; )|
|Removed in version:||still in use|
|Other settings: Alphabetical | By function|
System information reported
Other reported data is in the Privacy of Data section.
|database||Configured database type||"mysql", "sqlite"||To understand the usage and popularity of different database types.|
|MediaWiki||MediaWiki version||"1.27.1"||To see the usage of different MediaWiki versions, and when people update to newer versions.|
|PHP||PHP version||"5.6.0", "7.0.9"||To see the usage of different PHP versions, and if we want to raise the minimum requirement, what the impact would be.|
|OS||Operating system and release||"Linux $version", "Windows $version"||To see how MediaWiki is used on different operating systems, and the versions of those operating systems|
|arch||Identifying 32-bit or 64-bit||"32", "64"||TODO FIXME|
|machine||Machine hardware||"x86_64"||TODO FIXME|
|webServer||Web server software||"Apache/2.4.10 (Debian)"||TODO FIXME|
|memory_limit||php memory limit||220M||TODO FIXME|
The time and data sent is logged to the debug log when it is enabled. The data points are implemented in the includes/Pingback.php file.
Overall Privacy Considerations
Beware! The current edit of this page should not be considered an authoritative source about how the pingback feature works in MediaWiki. For 4 months after the implementation of the pingback feature into the master branch, and over 1 month after it's wide release, this page maintained a incomplete list of system data points and falsely claimed the feature only sent anonymous data. MediaWiki has had a consistent track record over the years of changes being made to the software without updating the MediaWiki manual to reflect those changes.
In discussion of this feature, there have been requests for more data points and there is no specific policy on how new proposed data points will be evaluated.
Privacy of Data
Installations are identified by a string that is generated when the pingback feature is first used and remains the same unless manually removed (it is stored in the updatelog table under the
PingBack key). While the string is completely random, this string does uniquely identify a MediaWiki installation. It can be used to relate requests to one certain installation. In the EventLogging data it is stored in the
MediaWiki sends the data shortly after the first page load when the setting is enabled. This can be used to infer personal information about the MediaWiki user as different populations are highly correlated with use of computers at different times and dates.
The documentation says the data is sent "periodically" and "from time to time", but in computer terms that implies an extremely wide range. It would be useful for someone to figure out and document just how often that is because if it is frequent enough, it would constitute uptime data.
Access to data
Currently the data is stored in Wikimedia's EventLogging database. Users with a signed NDA with the WMF can access the data via analytics machines. It is planned to make aggregated data publicly available (see phab:T152222).
- Schema MediaWikiPingback
- Ori's announcement - July 2016 - https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2016-July/086111.html
- Requests for comment/Opt-in site registration during installation (talk)
- phab:T91682 "Anonymous MW-Vagrant usage statistics"