Have you considered that you might get a better
response to your messages
if you - and this is just an idea drawn of idle whimsy, here - not spend
quite so much of them on an extended trip off the reservation in order to
attack and critique someone under their real name in public while hiding
any identification of who you are? While we're discussing privacy, here.
Seriously: you've spent a lot of this email indulging in the paranoid
fantasy that Philippe controls the board (he doesn't. One way you can tell
is that they don't wear sweaters literally everywhere :p).
If we're asking questions we've already seemingly made our minds up about,
and prefacing them with lots of grumping, let me get in on this - exactly
what response do you expect? How do you think your claim of a Philippe
Occupied Government enhances the utility of your message and the value a
reader takes from it?
On Sunday, 12 April 2015, Trillium Corsage <trillium2014(a)yandex.com> wrote:
I'm writing to get an answer (from anybody
at the WMF) on the status of
the WMF's policy access to private (i.e. IP, Browser, etc.) information.
Each day thousands of people edit Wikipedia and deserve to know what
measures, if any, are taken to avoid divulging to the wrong sort of people
this sensitive information about them.
On 25 April last year, the board of trustees approved, in a non-public and
scantily-documented meeting, a policy that accords Checkuser and Oversight
and other statuses to "community" members appointed by a community process
with essentially a mere two requirements: provide an email address, and
assert that you are 18 or over. Name, address, NOT required. Is this truly
an adequate way to protect the privacy interests of all those that edit
Wikipedia? Well, I don't think so, but my purpose right now is to try to
eliminate the ambiguity of what is actually occurring at this time.
One source of this ambiguity is the edit of the WMF's James Alexander (
on 6 June, in which he wrote: "This policy has been replaced by a new
[[m:Access to non public information policy|Access to non public
information policy]], which was approved by the Board of Trustees on 25
April 2014. However, this policy remains in force until the new processes
mandated by the new policy are put into place. A future announcement will
be made to those affected before the new policy goes in effect." It's now
the future (and after nine months, quite so), so what is the policy?
The old policy mandated that those seeking the accesses fax or secure
email a from of identification. Casual and rank-and-file Wikipedia editors
were repetitively told that the checkusers and oversighters etc. were
"identified to the WMF." This was incredibly misleading because the
practice of Philippe Beaudette was to shred and otherwise destroy the
identifications after marking the noticeboard. It is apparent to any
plain-spoken individual, I think, that you can't tell people that those
granted these accesses are "identified to the WMF" when you have shredded
the documents and all that is left (except in Mr. Beaudette's memory) is a
checkmark by a username on a noticeboard. It wasn't a semantic dodge
predicated on the definition of "identified," rather it was in my opinion a
smoke-screen. Mr. Beaudette felt loyalty to the privacy of the
administrators, and evidently none to the common editors whose IPs and so
forth he was exposing to them.
The immediately above is not necessarily a criticism of the old policy,
which taken at face value strongly implies that the WMF keeps the
identifications on file, on a secure computer, or in a physical safe. It's
rather that Mr. Beaudette operated for years in open defiance of the
policy. To his credit though, apparently he impelled the Board to rewrite
the policy in a manner corresponding to his actions.
BUT MY QUESTION NOW is: "What is the status of the policy?" For example
English Wikipedia just got three new checkusers: Bbb23, Callanecc, and Mike
V. What information were they required to provide? Proper documents, or
merely an email address and assertion that they are over 18?
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