[Foundation-l] check user...

Sean Whitton (Xyrael) sean at silentflame.com
Sat Mar 31 20:57:44 UTC 2007

> With respect: ANYTHING AT ALL can subject a project or person to a
> lawsuit.
Concur; I think that while checkuser has perhaps more chance of this,
I do not believe that we can place an age restriction when there are
so many other things that we do with no requirement in this way that
could potentially cause damage. For example, simply being on an
arbcom, as an authoritative body, could potentially have legal
implications (I don't know if we do have any under 18s on these
committees, but I don't know of any policy against it).

> user's actions, but I also believe that any such user who has achieved
> that level of trust in a particular project is going to have a level of
> maturity to keep from abusing the checkuser tool as well.
Definately - the level of trust required for checkuser is very similar
to that of a bureaucrat.

Also, I would point at the ability to view deleted pages by sysops, as
these contain copyvios and other nasty stuff, which could potentially
have legal issues.


On 3/31/07, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 31 Mar 2007, Sebastian Moleski wrote:
> > Actual abuse isn't necessary to be subject to a lawsuit. People who
> > volunteer to perform checkuser functions must be fully aware of the
> > responsibilities their actions incur and the possible consequences of those
> > actions. It may be customary to assume good faith in Wikimedia projects.
> > Unfortunately, the real world doesn't always work that way.
> With respect: ANYTHING AT ALL can subject a project or person to a
> lawsuit.  Every editor of the site can do something that would subject
> someone to a related lawsuit -- the someone could be an individual editor
> who the suer tracks down, the foundation, or anyone else in the world.
> Many such suits would be woefully misguided, but they could be brought all
> the same.
> Please describe actual risk of exposure if you are proposing policy
> changed founded in legal FUD.  FUD is not always 'wrong' -- there are
> cases in which there really is justifiable uncertainty and doubt, and in
> which it is proper to be fearful as a result.  But please do not spread
> this sense without attention to detail, or without addressing the question
> of how likely a particular disaster scenario is.  Then we can consider why
> such scenarios have not yet happened, and what the tradeoffs are to being
> paranoid about security [at what point do we shut down the site to all
> edits, remove all biographies, and only modify it further in response to
> takedown requests?].
> SJ
> [I said earlier that I agree weakly with the statement that IF we have
> explicit legal concerns, it makes sense to describe the necessary response
> in terms of age of majority in the local jurisdiction... I am not at all
> convinced that these concerns merit the policy changes being discussed.]
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—Sean Whitton (Xyrael/xyr)
sean at silentflame.com

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