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Submissions/Finalizing SUL, and why we're never doing it again

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2015.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Finalizing SUL, and why we're never doing it again
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
User:Legoktm aka Kunal Mehta
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In 2007, single user login (SUL) was introduced, and users who merged their accounts had "global accounts", which allowed them to use auto-login across Wikimedia wikis, and some other cool features. However, not all users merged their accounts, and some users could not even merge their accounts, as they did not control the "home" wiki. Lately more and more features (GlobalCssJs, GlobalUserPage, etc.) require global accounts, and those features have had to hack around the fact that not all users have global accounts. The mw:SUL finalisation project was to migrate every single non-global account into a global one. Originally started in mid-2013, the project has had plenty of roadbumps, both social and technical. It is expected that the project will conclude in April 2015, so this presentation will serve as a retrospective.

This presentation will examine all the different technical steps taken, bugs encountered, and technical debt that was killed during the project. We'll talk about developing the global rename tool (twice!), the global user merge tool, and the global rename queue interface. We'll take a short journey into the database, full of historical oddities, with data about users who don't exist, or even entire wikis that no longer exist! Included will be discussions of some show-stopper bugs in MediaWiki core, random extensions like TimedMediaHandler, and even memory leaks in HHVM. We'll talk about some of the strategies we used to automatically merge accounts, the successes of those strategies, and some of the issues we encountered when trying to compare 200 passwords with each other in one login request.

Finally, we'll look forward to some of the new "global" tools and toys that are in the pipeline, thanks to SUL finalization. And celebrate that we never have to do this again :-)

Technology, Interface & Infrastructure
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Krenair (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:06, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. CT Cooper · talk 13:02, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. I like hearing these stories. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:50, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. --ProtoplasmaKid (talk) 07:04, 3 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Ocaasi (talk) 17:58, 3 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 14:55, 6 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Guillom (talk) 21:12, 7 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Harej (talk) 00:50, 8 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Risker (talk) 00:51, 8 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Foxj (talk) 20:36, 24 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Sebastian Wallroth (talk) 10:11, 1 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  13. eranroz (talk) 08:09, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 16:17, 16 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  15. --Ilya (talk) 22:35, 16 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Scheduled: The presentation is scheduled for Friday from 11-11:30 in room Don Genaro.