[Wikipedia-l] Re: Expanding CheckUser permissions

Angela beesley at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 15:13:27 UTC 2005

As I mentioned on this list a couple of weeks ago,
[[Special:CheckUser]] allows a user with "checkuser" permissions to
check the IP address of a logged in user in order to investigate abuse
or check for "sockpuppetting".

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on this at
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CheckUser> or on the mailing list. The
majority of people commenting there thought the feature should be made
more widely available. However, there was little agreement on who
should be given access to the feature or to the logs.

Currently, only David Gerard and Tim Starling have access to this
feature. David pointed out that he barely uses it, and that its
availability to the English Arbitration Committee has been
controversial. He felt the issue is less "who should have access" than
"what circumstances justify checking?". See [[meta:CheckUser]] for
details on how David is currently using it. Tim starling suggested two
guidelines on the mailing list; only research bad people and do not
give away IP addresses unless it's necessary.

There was general agreement on making CheckUser more widely available,
but many thought this should only be done with restrictions, limits
and/or penalties. There were mixed views on who should be given access
to it, with suggestions including sysops, bureaucrats, bureaucrats of
the larger wikis, stewards, or something between one and three elected
users per project. Some felt people should use it only on their own
project. There was no general agreement on whether it should be
limited to stewards.

The most contentious question was whether the user being checked
should be notified about the check. Some people felt very strongly
that they should, but there were also many arguments against doing
this. See [[meta:CheckUser]] for full details. Some felt that, not
only should the checked user be told, but that the logs should be
public. Anthere suggested ombudsmen should be appointed to oversee the
use of it.

David Gerard added a question about which circumstances merit
checking. Two people said that there must be reasonable cause for it.
Guidelines such as requiring another user request it so it can't be
used for personal reasons, and using it only as a last resort, were
also suggested. One person felt the user that is checked has to

If anyone else would like to add to these comments, please do so at
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CheckUser> so that decisions can be
made about how this feature should be used, and who should be able to
use it.



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