|←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 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).
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.
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:
- In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement,
- With permission of the affected user,
- When necessary for investigation of abuse complaints,
- Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues,
- 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,
- Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Wikimedia Foundation, its users or the public.
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.
- 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
Only Stewards, some Wikimedia Foundation staff, ombudsmen, and a very small number of users are allowed to have the CheckUser status. Users can only have CheckUser status locally except for the ombudsmen.
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:
- 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).
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.
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).
Users with CheckUser access
- Stewards - upon request.
- Some members of the Staff of the Wikimedia Foundation (see global group)
- Members of the Ombudsman commission (see automatically generated list):
- Appointed by Arbcom
- Appointed by Arbcom (including current arbitrators)
- Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry
- David Fuchs
- Elen of the Roads
- Fred Bauder
- Kirill Lokshin
- Mailer diablo
- Roger Davies
- Salvio giuliano
- Timotheus Canens
- Worm That Turned
- Appointed by ArbCom
Norwegian (Bokmål) 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
- Appointed by ArbCom
Simple English 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.
- Appointed by ArbCom
- Magister Mathematicae
- Ombudsman commission (processes complaints of privacy violations)
- Requests for CheckUser information and CheckUser status
- Local policies of the projects
- Help:CheckUser user manual
- [Foundation-l] CheckUser (thoughts), by Anthere on April 22, 2006, includes a historic background
|Local:||blocked user – unregistered user – newly-registered user – registered user – bot – administrator – bureaucrat – oversight – checkuser – IP block exempt – importer – centralnotice admin|
|Global:||locked account – unified account – bot – rollbacker – abuse filter editor – interface editor – IP block exemption – new wiki importers – sysop – ombudsman – founder – staff – system administrator – steward|