An important message about renaming users
I am cross-posting this message to many places to make sure everyone who is a Wikimedia Foundation project bureaucrat receives a copy. If you are a bureaucrat on more than one wiki, you will receive this message on each wiki where you are a bureaucrat.
As you may have seen, work to perform the Wikimedia cluster-wide single-user login finalisation (SUL finalisation) is taking place. This may potentially effect your work as a local bureaucrat, so please read this message carefully.
Why is this happening? As currently stated at the global rename policy, a global account is a name linked to a single user across all Wikimedia wikis, with local accounts unified into a global collection. Previously, the only way to rename a unified user was to individually rename every local account. This was an extremely difficult and time-consuming task, both for stewards and for the users who had to initiate discussions with local bureaucrats (who perform local renames to date) on every wiki with available bureaucrats. The process took a very long time, since it's difficult to coordinate crosswiki renames among the projects and bureaucrats involved in individual projects.
The SUL finalisation will be taking place in stages, and one of the first stages will be to turn off Special:RenameUser locally. This needs to be done as soon as possible, on advice and input from Stewards and engineers for the project, so that no more accounts that are unified globally are broken by a local rename to usurp the global account name. Once this is done, the process of global name unification can begin. The date that has been chosen to turn off local renaming and shift over to entirely global renaming is 15 September 2014, or three weeks time from now. In place of local renames is a new tool, hosted on Meta, that allows for global renames on all wikis where the name is not registered will be deployed.
Your help is greatly needed during this process and going forward in the future if, as a bureaucrat, renaming users is something that you do or have an interest in participating in. The Wikimedia Stewards have set up, and are in charge of, a new community usergroup on Meta in order to share knowledge and work together on renaming accounts globally, called Global renamers. Stewards are in the process of creating documentation to help global renamers to get used to and learn more about global accounts and tools and Meta in general as well as the application format. As transparency is a valuable thing in our movement, the Stewards would like to have at least a brief public application period. If you are an experienced renamer as a local bureaucrat, the process of becoming a part of this group could take as little as 24 hours to complete. You, as a bureaucrat, should be able to apply for the global renamer right on Meta by the requests for global permissions page on 1 September, a week from now.
In the meantime please update your local page where users request renames to reflect this move to global renaming, and if there is a rename request and the user has edited more than one wiki with the name, please send them to the request page for a global rename.
Stewards greatly appreciate the trust local communities have in you and want to make this transition as easy as possible so that the two groups can start working together to ensure everyone has a unique login identity across Wikimedia projects. Completing this project will allow for long-desired universal tools like a global watchlist, global notifications and many, many more features to make work easier.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the SUL finalisation, read over the Help:Unified login page on Meta and leave a note on the talk page there, or on the talk page for global renamers. You can also contact me on my talk page on meta if you would like. I'm working as a bridge between Wikimedia Foundation Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Stewards, and you to assure that SUL finalisation goes as smoothly as possible; this is a community-driven process and I encourage you to work with the Stewards for our communities.