I think that the entire discussion around signature formatting could be set aside if the identification and reply functionality were based on the User ID. On my page https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Ceyockey&action=info my User ID is 150564 . It is my belief that this auto-generated ID is a) unique for every newly created account and b) independent of the signature. I would suggest that functionality be put in place that would embed the User ID into the signature, as hidden text, upon use of any of the 3, 4 or 5 tilde signature indicators. I am not familiar with the details of the wikimedia software, so my understanding of the feasibility of this is 0. Thanks for considering, nonetheless. --~~~~
Topic on Talk:New requirements for user signatures
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Reply to "Role of auto-assigned User ID?"
Role of auto-assigned User ID?
This id is different across all wikis. The nickname is the same in all wikis (upon request it is possible to make a different name for one of the wikis, for example, there is "nickname (xxwiki)", but there are not many such cases). Signing with an id on one wiki, on another wiki it will be the id of another person. When registering a nickname, software guarantees uniqueness and discrepancy with old nicknames. So id can be embarrassing, they are less croswiki universal and some will think with prejudice towards someone whose number is less.
Maybe this is an area where WikiData can help: Use WikiData as a place to store the UserID-nickname matrix for each user. Is a UserID created for a person if they have never visited a wiki? For instance, I don't think I've ever visited the Thai wikipedia (th) and just went to https://th.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Ceyockey&action=info which shows my user ID as 380,192; I confirmed after checking the ID that I have no contributions on that wiki. I then looked at the Statistics page and found that the number of registered users is listed as 378,272. This - by a looong stretch - leads me to speculate that my ID was not created until I first visited the site, assuming that the Statistics page is not updated in real-time and assuming that User IDs are created in sequence. So, a routine could be added that would append a user page in WikiData with a newly created User ID when they first visit a particular wiki. Thoughts on this noodling?
Oh -- and I just took a look and I got a Notification that a bot has just put a new user welcome on my talk page on the Thai wiki. So there are already routines in place which could be exploited as I noted above.
Wikidata is a freely editable database of mostly data interesting for the public. The user ID–user name connection is not interesting for the public, and certainly not freely editable (what if I change the enwiki entry for Jimbo Wales to point to my user ID?). By the way, I don’t understand why is it worth using the cryptic user ID instead of the user name. The user name can be added as a hidden text just like the user ID, and software will be unable to understand it if the wikitext is so broken, just like if the user ID was there. (And the link requirement is not only for software’s benefit, but also for users’—if I want to contact the comment’s author, I’d like to click a link and get there, not search in page history or—in case of your proposal—comment wikitext.)
There have been similar ideas in the past (most recently: T230653). This would be possible to do, but:
- it would be a change to the syntax of all signatures and so we're a bit wary of making it
- it isn't clear what should be embedded (as you've already realized here) and it would be difficult to change in the future, since the results are saved as wikitext
We might come back to this at some point, but we're not planning to work on it at the moment.