[Wikipedia-l] Expanding CheckUser permissions

mbecker ™ wikimb at gmail.com
Tue Apr 12 15:27:33 UTC 2005

I feel that this tool should be rarely if ever used to find sock
puppets. If this tool simply tells you which accounts have been used
from which ip address this is not enough evidence to prove the use of
"sock puppet" accounts. I for instance access Wikipedia via a machine
which has no real ip address but rather shares a real ip address with
several hundred machines. I know for a fact that other people on my
network use Wikipedia, and I have no doubts that some of them will be
browsing similar pages as me. So, while this tool might be helpful, I
feel that it provides far too much opportunity for abuse if it were to
be allowed to be used by the general population. Admins already block
IPs in similar ranges when fighting "vandals" often blocking
legitimate users. Also, this tool could and would provide a huge
invasion of privacy by potentially removing anonymity from the use of
Wikipedia. Please let this tool be a last resort in serious cases.

On Apr 11, 2005 11:42 PM, Angela <beesley at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> Committee).
> 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
> <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CheckUser>.
> 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.
> --
> Angela Beesley
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Angela
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Michael Becker

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