I’m forking a wiki, therefore I have imported an XML dump in a fresh MediaWiki installation.

This dump also contains revisions and user pages (in the User: namespace), which I want to keep. So there are many links that lead to (existent as well as non-existent) user pages.

However, as I don’t have access to the user database of the original wiki, I have no chance to reserve these usernames for their original owners. So to prevent that someone registers in my wiki with a username that was used in the original wiki (so this new user would automatically own all revisions done by the old user with the same name), I want to lock all previously used usernames.

How could I do this?

As there are more than hundred users, I don’t want to solve this manually.

  • 1
    Do you need help extracting the user names from the XML file, or help figuring out how to reserve the user names once they are extracted (or both)? Jan 6, 2015 at 18:18
  • @StephenOstermiller: Good question. I didn’t think about extracting the usernames from the XML dump, but it totally makes sense to do this (and if having this list, it would allow using $wgReservedUsernames, I guess). So to answer your question: help with both, but for the part about extracting from XML I think it would be sufficient to state in which XML elements/attributes the usernames are specified (but more detailed guidance is welcome, of course). The XML file has a size of ~ 500 MB, btw.
    – unor
    Jan 6, 2015 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


You can use the unix tools grep, sed, sort, and uniq to pull out all the user names from the dump.

Each users has a page with <title>User:User Name</title> in the dump. You can pull them all out with these commands:

  • grep '<title>User:' -- Pull out just the titles of the user pages
  • sed 's/.*User://g;s|</title>||g;s/\r//g' -- Strip it down to just the user name
  • sort -- alphabetize them
  • uniq -- remove duplicates (it is a history file)
  • perl -p -e "s/\\n/','/g" -- replace the newlines with ',' to make it easy to stick in the $wgReservedUsernames array

Putting it all together:

grep '<title>User:' my-wiki-dump-history.xml | sed 's/.*User://g;s|</title>||g;s/\r//g' | sort | uniq | perl -p -e "s/\\n/','/g"

I tested this by downloading a dump from archive.org and testing against the included history XML file. A 500MB file should pose no problems for this method.

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