CheckUser policy

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Policies and guidelines CheckUser policy
This page provides information about CheckUser access and outlines the policy on its use. It was discussed in September and October 2005, and went live in November 2005.

CheckUser status

CheckUser is an interface for users with the checkuser permission. A user with CheckUser status on a wiki can in particular check if a user is or isn't a sockpuppet of another user on that wiki (not on all wikis). By using it, users are able to:

  • Determine from which IPs a user has edited or done a logged action or password reset on the Wikimedia wiki;
  • Determine the edits, logged actions and password resets on the Wikimedia wiki of a specific IP (even when logged in);
  • Determine whether the user being checked has sent an email using MediaWiki interface to some other user. The time of the event is logged, the destination email address and user ID are obscured.

This information is only stored for a short period (currently 3 months), 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-log permission:

See Help:CheckUser for the user manual.

Use of the tool

The tool is to be used to fight vandalism, to check for sockpuppet abuse, and to limit disruption of the project. It must be used only to prevent damage to any of Wikimedia projects.

The tool should not be used for political control; to apply pressure on editors; or as a threat against another editor in a content dispute. There must be a valid reason to check a user. Note that alternative accounts are not forbidden, so long as they are not used in violation of the policies (for example, to double-vote or to increase the apparent support for any given position).

Notification to the account that is checked is permitted but is not mandatory. Similarly, notification of the check to the community is not mandatory, but may be done subject to the provisions of the privacy policy.

Some wikis allow an editor's IPs to be checked upon his or her request if, for example, there is a need to provide evidence of innocence against a sockpuppet allegation; note, however, that requesting a checkuser in these circumstances is sometimes part of the attempt to disrupt.

Privacy policy

On Wikimedia projects, privacy policy considerations are of tremendous importance. Unless someone is violating policy with their actions (e.g. massive bot vandalism or spam) and revealing information about them is necessary to stop the disruption, it is a violation of the privacy policy to reveal their IP, whereabouts, or other information sufficient to identify them, unless they have already revealed this information themselves on the project. The relevant section of the privacy policy is:

Release: Policy on Release of Data

It is the policy of Wikimedia that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, or through other non-publicly-available methods, may be released by Wikimedia volunteers or staff, in any of the following situations:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement,
  2. With permission of the affected user,
  3. When necessary for investigation of abuse complaints,
  4. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues,
  5. Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to a service provider, carrier, or other third-party entity to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers,
  6. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Wikimedia Foundation, its users or the public.

Information release

Even if the user is committing abuse, it's best not to reveal personal information if possible.

  • Generally, do not reveal IPs. Only give information such as same network/not same network or similar. If detailed information is provided, make sure the person you are giving it to is a trusted person and will not reveal it himself/herself.
  • If the user has said they're from somewhere and the IP confirms it, it's not releasing private information to confirm it if needed.
  • If you're in any doubt, give no detail.

Access to CheckUser

Comment As of 11 April 2007, CheckUsers must be at least 18 years of age, of legal age in their place of residence, and willing to provide identification to the Wikimedia Foundation in order to qualify. [1]


Only stewards, some Wikimedia Foundation staff, ombudsmen, and a very small number of other users are allowed to have CheckUser access. Users can only have CheckUser status locally (except for the ombudsmen and those staff members with access).

If local CheckUsers exist in a project, checks should generally be handled by those. In emergencies, or for multi-project CheckUser checks as in the case of cross-wiki vandalism, stewards may perform local checks. Stewards should remove their own CheckUser access on the projects upon completion of the checks and notify the local CheckUsers or the CheckUser e-mail list.

On any wiki, there must be at least two users with CheckUser status, or none at all. This is so that they can mutually control and confirm their actions. In the case where only one CheckUser is left on a wiki (when the only other one retires, or is removed), the community must appoint a new CheckUser immediately (so that the number of CheckUsers is at least two).

On wikis with an Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) whose members have been elected with the support of at least 25-30 members of the local community, CheckUsers can be appointed by the Arbitrators only. After agreement, a member of the Committee should simply list the candidate on Steward requests/Permissions.

On a wiki without an Arbitration Committee that meets the criterion above, or where the community prefers independent elections, two options are possible:

The community must approve local CheckUsers (stewards not counting as local CheckUsers) per consensus. The user requesting CheckUser status must request it within his local community and advertise this request properly (village pump, mailing list when available, ...). The editor must be familiar with the privacy policy. After gaining consensus (at least 70%-80% in pro/con voting or the highest number of votes in multiple choice elections) in his local community, and with at least 25-30 editors' approval, the user should list himself under Steward requests/Permissions with a link to the page with the community's decision.
If an insufficient number of voters vote for at least two CheckUsers on a wiki, there will be no CheckUsers on that wiki. Editors will have to ask a steward to check if UserX is a sockpuppet of UserY. To do so, simply add your request to Steward requests/Checkuser listing these users and explaining why you ask for such a check (with links). You also need a community consensus (like above). The steward will answer you if these two users are from the same IP, same proxy, same network, same country, or are they completely unrelated (see discussion for what the Steward should more precisely say to the editor).

Mailing list

There is a closed mailing list (CheckUser-l) to which all stewards and checkusers should have access. Email the list moderators to gain access. Use this mailing list to ask for help, ideas and second opinions if you're not sure what the data means.

IRC channel

There is a private IRC channel (#wikimedia-checkuser) to which all stewards and checkusers who use IRC should have access. This channel serves the same purpose as the mailing list, but in real-time. Contact any channel member to gain access; a channel manager will grant permanent access. Ask a steward if you need help gaining access.

Removal of access

Any user account with CheckUser status that is inactive for more than a year will have their CheckUser access removed.

In case of abusive use of the tool, the Steward or the editor with the CheckUser privilege will immediately have their access removed. This will in particular happen if checks are done routinely on editors without a serious motive to do so (links and proofs of bad behavior should be provided).

Suspicion of abuses of CheckUser should be discussed by each local wiki. On wikis with an approved ArbCom, the ArbCom can decide on the removal of access. On wikis without an approved ArbCom, the community can vote removal of access. Removal can only be done by Stewards. A Steward may not decide to remove access on their own, but can help provide information necessary to prove the abuse (such as logs). If necessary, and in particular in case of lack of respect towards the privacy policy, the Board of Wikimedia Foundation can be asked to declare removal of access as well.

Complaints of abuse of CheckUser or privacy policy breaches may also be brought to the Ombudsman commission.

Users with CheckUser access

Edit

Everywhere

Arabic Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Antime
  2. Avocato
  3. Ciphers
  4. Elph
  5. Meno25
  6. باسم

Catalan Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Coet
  2. Góngora

Chinese Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Bencmq
  2. Cdip150
  3. Jimmy Xu
  4. Kegns
  5. Mys 721tx

Croatian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Ex13
  2. Vodomar

Czech Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Jagro
  2. Mormegil
  3. Postrach

Danish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Kaare
  2. MGA73
  3. Palnatoke
  4. Sir48

Dutch Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

Appointed by Arbcom
  1. Akoopal
  2. Andre Engels
  3. Groucho NL
  4. Japiot
  5. Jcb

English Wikibooks

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. QuiteUnusual
  2. Thenub314
  3. Xania

English Wikinews

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Brian
  2. Cspurrier
  3. Skenmy
  4. Tom Morris

English Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

Appointed by Arbcom (including current arbitrators)
  1. AGK
  2. Alison
  3. Amalthea
  4. Avraham
  5. Beeblebrox
  6. Carcharoth
  7. Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry
  8. Coren
  9. Courcelles
  10. David Fuchs‏‎
  11. DeltaQuad
  12. Deskana
  13. DoRD
  14. Elockid
  15. FloNight
  16. GorillaWarfare
  17. Guerillero
  18. J.delanoy
  19. Jpgordon
  20. Keegan
  21. LFaraone
  22. Mailer diablo
  23. Materialscientist
  24. MBisanz
  25. NativeForeigner
  26. Newyorkbrad
  27. PhilKnight
  28. Ponyo
  29. Reaper Eternal
  30. Richwales
  31. Risker
  32. Roger Davies
  33. Salvio giuliano
  34. Seraphimblade
  35. Timotheus Canens
  36. Tiptoety
  37. Versageek
  38. Worm That Turned
Founder
  1. Jimbo Wales

English Wikisource

Automatically generated checkusers list
(Local policy allows stewards to checkuser on this wiki for crosswiki abuse, so long as the check is noted.)

  1. Billinghurst
  2. Htonl
  3. Spangineer

English Wiktionary

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Connel MacKenzie
  2. TheDaveRoss
  3. Versageek

Finnish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Ejs-80
  2. Harriv
  3. Jafeluv

French Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

Appointed by ArbCom
  1. Aratal
  2. Elfix
  3. Hexasoft
  4. Mmenal
  5. Schlum
  6. Toto Azéro

German Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Filzstift
  2. Kulac
  3. Theghaz

Hebrew Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Deror avi
  2. Hidro
  3. Matanya
  4. Neukoln
  5. עוזי ו.

Hungarian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list (requests and policy)

  1. Bináris2
  2. Grin
  3. Hunyadym
  4. Pallerti
  5. Syp
  6. Tgr

Indonesian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Bennylin
  2. IvanLanin
  3. Meursault2004
  4. Mimihitam

Italian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Ask21
  2. Gac
  3. L736E
  4. Melos
  5. Rojelio

Japanese Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list (policy)

  1. Bellcricket
  2. Freetrashbox
  3. Ks aka 98
  4. Marine-Blue
  5. Penn Station
  6. Triglav

Korean Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list (policy and request)

  1. Dmthoth
  2. Ha98574
  3. PuzzletChung
  4. Sotiale

Malayalam Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list (Policy and Requests)

  1. Kiran Gopi
  2. Razimantv

Norwegian (Bokmål) Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Danmichaelo
  2. Harald Haugland
  3. Haros
  4. Jon Harald Søby

Polish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list
Due to a new policy on the Polish Wikipedia, users who gain 85% of votes in favor may become CheckUsers

  1. Karol007
  2. Leinad
  3. Masti
  4. Pundit
  5. Saper

Portuguese Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Jbribeiro1
  2. Lord Mota
  3. Teles

Romanian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. AdiJapan
  2. Andrei Stroe
  3. Rsocol

Russian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

Appointed by ArbCom
  1. DR
  2. Ilya Voyager
  3. OneLittleMouse
  4. Wind
  5. Wulfson

Serbian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Djordjes
  2. Dungodung
  3. Обрадовић Горан

Simple English Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Barras
  2. Bsadowski1
  3. Djsasso
  4. Eptalon
  5. Mentifisto
  6. Peterdownunder

Spanish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list
Local policy mandates that only users who gain at least 30 votes in favor and 80% support can be appointed.

  1. Alhen
  2. Barcex
  3. Bernard
  4. Edmenb
  5. Montgomery
  6. Rastrojo

Swedish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Fluff
  2. Tegel

Thai Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

Appointed by ArbCom
  1. Octahedron80
  2. พุทธามาตย์

Turkish Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Eldarion
  2. Elmacenderesi
  3. Sadrettin

Ukrainian Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Deineka
  2. VictorAnyakin

Vietnamese Wikipedia

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. DHN
  2. Mxn

Wikimedia Commons

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Elcobbola
  2. Gmaxwell
  3. Jameslwoodward
  4. Krd
  5. Magog the Ogre
  6. Martin H.
  7. Tiptoety
  8. Trijnstel

Meta

Automatically generated checkusers list

  1. Barras
  2. Billinghurst
  3. Tiptoety
  4. Trijnstel
  5. Vituzzu


See also


User groups
Local: blocked user – unregistered user – newly-registered user – registered user – autochecked users – autopatroller – bot – administrator – bureaucrat – oversight – checkuser – IP block exempt – importer – translation admin – centralnotice admin – uploader – massmessage senders
Global: locked account – unified account – bot – rollbacker – abuse filter editor – interface editor – IP block exemption – new wiki importers – sysop – ombudsman – founder – staff – WMF researcher – system administrator – steward