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I'd like to run an instance with non-ASCII usernames #8417

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edent opened this Issue Aug 24, 2018 · 9 comments

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@edent

edent commented Aug 24, 2018

Mastodon usernames are currently restricted to Latin characters.

I'd like to have the option to run an instance which allows usernames like "莎士比亚".

I'm not saying that it should be mandatory that every instance allows every Unicode character in a username. But I'd like to run an instance which allows Chinese characters in usernames.

https://oulipo.social/ forbids usernames with the letter "e" - so please can a change be made so I can run an instance which forbids the Latin alphabet?

To address the likely objections:

It's too hard to type those weird characters

This is what my keyboard generally looks like when I'm typing Chinese.
13bf9c0851290feb

Most systems make it easy to swap keyboards and use "strange" characters.

What about impersonation?

As mentioned in #225 - this is already a problem with Latin character restrictions.

BOB can be B0B (zero and oh), Bill can be BiII (Capital i and lower L) etc.

In addition, anyone can copy "your" username and use it on a different instance.

A sensible policy might be to disallow "mixing" scripts. For example, banning microsoft - which mixes Latin & Cyrillic.

Do you want to bring back Emoji.li?

There once was a social network which only allowed Emoji usernames.
I would love the option of restarting it and making it part of the Fediverse.

Summary

I think it should be up to the instance owner to decide on username policy. I would really like to see Mastodon adopt a more international approach to usernames.


  • I searched or browsed the repo’s other issues to ensure this is not a duplicate.

Well... Not quite! #1121 discusses this. At the time, Japanese users said that they wanted only ASCII characters. I'm saying the issue isn't quite as clear cut as that.
People who run instances should be free to choose a username policy which best serves their local community.

@Oreolek

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Oreolek commented Aug 25, 2018

Most systems make it easy to swap keyboards and use "strange" characters.

It's not easy even on PC. To use Chinese keyboard on Windows, you'd have to install a special system package or a virtual keyboard. There're guides on that.

And we're not talking about Chinese, we're talking about full UTF-8 range, with RTL marks and combining characters. Imagine a problem "I or l" but on a scale of "is it é or è or è or é?" (those were two letters and two combined diacritics), then add hieroglyphs to that.

@JonasDralle

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JonasDralle commented Aug 25, 2018

This makes sense considering the large asian userbase.

I think the biggest trouble would be typing usernames per hand (e. g. search). Due to western roots every computer is capable of typing latin characters. Personally I cannot enter non-latin.

@Someone please check if full unicode support might hinder report flow

@JonasDralle

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JonasDralle commented Aug 25, 2018

so please can a change be made so I can run an instance which forbids the Latin alphabet?

this feels a bit unreasonable. Having unicode-ready handles feels like a worthy goal. Forbidding latin characters might be bit hard since mastodon as a western product is sort of latin-first and all sorts of weird side effects might occur if latin entry is no longer valid (?? I'm not an AP dev)

What about impersonation?

Unicode does not promote Impersonation: Agreed. You correctly showed that homoglyph attacks are already trivial with the latin charset.
Also @user@a.com might impersonate @user@b.com. Impersonation is already super easy in federated networks. No matter if unicode or not.

I would love the option of restarting it and making it part of the Fediverse.

very nice goal!

~

Well written ticket btw 😉

@edent

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edent commented Aug 25, 2018

Both great comments.

If you don't know how to type 你好 then you can copy and paste - which is what existing users have to do. Or, click through on a username. Or just don't interact with them.

There are already loads of international domain names. I run https://莎士比亚.org/ and you can visit that without being able to type in Chinese.

Regarding whether someone could register bòb, bôb, bõb, bøb, bób etc and cause confusion. Yes, that's a possibility.
Instances can provide normalisation of usernames https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7931204/what-is-normalized-utf-8-all-about#7934397
Or not. I think that should be up to the admin. But I'm happy to be convinced either way.

@JonasDralle

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JonasDralle commented Aug 25, 2018

Most of the time I don't type handles but instead click "reply" or other means of filling in the handle.
The user search support searching for display names which is super helpful. Probably here to

image
Readers Note: the Username "Gargron" does not contain "Euge" but the display name does

@Gargron

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Gargron commented Aug 25, 2018

Please see resolution of #1121:

I forgot to update this issue but I got feedback from Japanese users and unanimously people prefer ASCII-only for usernames, not only because of the phishing dangers, but also because it will be a lot harder for anyone to type in anyone else's username if UTF8 characters are allowed. So this can be closed.

@edent

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edent commented Aug 25, 2018

I'm not Japanese 😁
And I'd prefer to set my own username policy, if thats possible?

@Gargron

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Gargron commented Aug 25, 2018

You can change that code for yourself, the problem is nobody is going to be able to mention your users from other servers, or probably even look them up, unless I change the code for everybody.

@edent

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edent commented Aug 25, 2018

I understand. And, if you're happy, I'd like to contribute a patch to make that possible.

I know several Chinese social networks allow 中文 in user names and it is really helpful.

@Gargron Gargron added the suggestion label Oct 20, 2018

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