[Wikipedia-l] Expanding CheckUser permissions

Angela beesley at gmail.com
Tue Apr 12 03:42:58 UTC 2005

Requests have recently been made to the Board asking for verification
that a user is sockpuppeting on one of the larger Wikipedias. At least
two of the developers felt this was a matter for the Board or for an
arbitration committee (although that Wikipedia doesn't have an
arbcom), and were therefore not happy to give out details about the IP
address of this user. Checking IPs is no longer a developer-only task
since a new feature allows sockpuppet checks.

[[Special:CheckUser]] allows a user with "checkuser" permissions to
find all the IP addresses used by a particular logged in user, and to
show all the contributions from a given IP address, including those
made by logged in users.

Currently the only people with the necessary permissions to use
CheckUser are Tim Starling (who wrote the code for this) and David
Gerard (who uses it on behalf of the English Wikipedia Arbitration

This data is only stored for one week, so edits made prior to that
will not be shown via CheckUser. A log is kept of who has made which
queries with the tool. This log is available to those with the
checkuser permissions.

I would personally like to see this feature be made available to more
communities than just the English Wikipedia, but I am concerned about
potential misuse of it, and the violation of privacy for users who
have not been disruptive. I would appreciate any comments about this
feature, and answers to the questions below, either here or on on Meta

Do you think this feature should be made more widely available? 

If so, who should be given access to it? 

Should it be limited to stewards, or to wikis with arbitration committees? 

Does the privacy policy
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Privacy_policy> need be adjusted to
allow the use of this feature?


Angela Beesley

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