[Foundation-l] Fwd: Jimbo's response re:Rampant CheckuserPrivacy Abuse

Brian McNeil brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org
Wed Dec 12 19:49:37 UTC 2007

Anthony wrote:

>So are other communities immune from this problem, or has it just not
>hit them yet?  Either way, I think input from those outside en.wp
>would be valuable.  If you're immune from the problem, tell us how you
>got there.  If it just hasn't hit you yet, let's work together to
>solve it before it does.

I have CheckUser on the English Wikinews, and I am glad to say I have never
been pressured to carry out a check in secret. My opinion is that no
undocumented CheckUser should be performed.

A recent case we had to deal with on Wikinews was a repeat page move vandal.
I had previously blocked the appropriate IP for a month. When similar
vandalism recurred after the block was up my interest was in performing a

I could not quickly and adequately explain the situation to other people in
IRC such that they made the request and I fulfilled it. Instead I - someone
with the ability to perform the check - had to request either another
Checkuser person carry out the check or state that they agreed there were
grounds for checking and I should do so. The other Brian performed the
check, and it turned out I was correct. Had this been done in secret then
all the average user would have seen in RC was a months long block on an IP
without knowing it had been verified to be a source of vandalism.

I am strongly against CheckUser being performed in secret, sunlight is the
best disinfectant and open and honest procedures will - in the long term -
garner the various projects more respect.

Brian McNeil

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