Help:Temporary accounts

A temporary account is an automatically created account. It is an alternative to using the user's IP address as an identifier in the page history. The IP addresses of temporary accounts will be hidden from readers and most other contributors.

Status updates edit

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In this update: Creating temporary actor for your team's features; Temporary account state during rollout and Updates to deployment timeline.

Important note: Kindly update the temporary account meta updates page as and when you complete any community-facing change relating to this project.

Create temporary actor for your features edit

Do the features you maintain ever create IP actors? If so, they will need updating for the introduction of temporary accounts.

How do I know if my feature creates an IP actor? edit

  • Any workflow that leads to an on-wiki log entry including the performer, where the performer might currently be a user whose name is their IP, creates an IP actor.
  • More generally, any workflow that (1) adds another row to the `actor` table, and (2) could be performed by a logged out user (a.k.a. anon user, IP user), creates an IP actor.

Why do I need to do this? edit

  • Once temporary accounts are enabled, we don’t want to create any actor that has the IP address as their name.
  • Much of the work that has been done so far has focussed on editing (particularly via EditPage, whether via action=edit, ApiEditPage, ApiVisualEditorEdit, etc).
  • If a logged out user edits via these means, a temporary account is created for them.
  • However, actors can be created via other workflows (e.g. editing structured data as a logged-out user).
  • Until these workflows are updated, MediaWiki will continue to save users whose name is their IP address.

What do I need to do? edit

Temporary accounts state during rollout edit

During the rollout for temporary accounts, some wikis will have temporary accounts enabled (pilots) while others will not. The rollout will be a gradual process that will likely take some months before every project has switched over to temporary accounts completely. During this time, wikis that have temporary accounts enabled will display unregistered editors as temporary accounts while on non-temp-accounts wikis they will still show up as IP addresses. When the temporary user switches between these wikis they will show up as a temporary account in one wiki and as an IP address in another.

This may create a problem with some features that rely on having a persistent user identity across wikis. If your feature(s) are impacted by this change, please come talk to us on the talk page or through phabricator.

Note that the temporary account identity will be persistent between all the wikis that have the temporary accounts feature enabled.

Update to projected deployment timeline edit

We have decided to update our projections for deployment of Temporary Accounts for Unregistered Editors (formerly known as IP Masking). Our current estimate is that we will be able to deploy temporary accounts to testwiki in March. The pilots will likely be deferred until May.


Features of temporary accounts edit

Temporary accounts do not have all the features of registered accounts. Temporary accounts can have user pages and user talk pages . They can receive notifications and see a banner about messages on their own user talk pages . The IP address used with a temporary account can be seen by trusted users, such as admins .

How do temporary accounts work? edit

How do you get a temporary account? edit

Upon successfully completing an edit without logging in first, users will automatically be provided with a temporary account. The username for this temporary account will follow a standard pattern, with an incrementing number for each new temporary account.

How can I tell if an account is temporary? edit

Temporary accounts have a standardized format for the username. As of 2023, the format is still being discussed. It might look like User:~2023-12345678.

Backend code may also consult the user_is_temp field in the user table, once task T333223 is completed.

Where can the account be used? edit

Temporary accounts will work across all connected wikis. For example, a temporary account created at Wikipedia will also work on Meta-Wiki and Commons. This is similar to the experience for registered accounts.

How is the information for a temporary account stored? How long does a temporary account last? edit

The temporary account will be tied to a cookie in the user's browser. As long as the cookie persists, the user will have access to the temporary account and all their edits will be attributed to the same temporary account. The user may change IP addresses, but the temporary account will not change as long as the cookie persists.

When the cookie is removed or automatically expires, the user will permanently lose access to the temporary account. The user will be granted a new temporary account with a different username for any subsequent edits.

How do I log in to my temporary account? What is the password? edit

You can not log in. There is no password. If you lose the cookie that records your temporary account name, the account can not be recovered. If you want to log in to another device, please create a permanent registered account. Creating a permanent registered account is quick and easy, and it does not require an email address.

Wikimedia-specific information for temporary accounts edit

This section only applies to temporary accounts in Wikimedia wikis.

  • Temporary accounts holders in Wikimedia wikis will not be able to convert their accounts to permanent registered accounts. When a temporary user decides to create a permanent registered account, their contributions, notifications , etc. will not carry through to their new account. This is because there is no way to verify that all edits of the temporary accounts are actually the users', especially when temp accounts are used on public computers.
  • Temporary accounts in Wikimedia wikis expires after 1 year from its creation (usually the first edit made by the temporary account). They will be alerted 10 days before expiration.
  • The IP addresses will be available to stewards, admins , and others who need it for patrolling , sock puppet investigations, or other work to protect the wikis. See also <link to help page of IP Address Reveal>.

Non-Wikimedia-specific information for temporary accounts edit

  Warning: Some of the features described below do not yet exist.

This section only applies to temporary accounts in non-Wikimedia wikis.

  • You can merge a temporary account to registered account via Extension:UserMerge if it is installed.
  • Temporary accounts do not expire by default. System administrator may expire temporary accounts that are registered for longer than some specified time by forcefully logging them out via expireTemporaryAccounts.php .
  • If the wiki has Extension:CheckUser installed, users with the checkuser-temporary-account privilege are granted the ability to view the IP addresses that are linked to temporary accounts.

See also edit