User talk:Philippe (WMF)

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Heads up[edit]

Belongs to WMF?[edit]

Hello, Philippe.

I was recently blocked on English Wikipedia for an alleged outing after I was trying to add some evidence to my arbitration case. The evidence was from Does this belong to WMF?

Thank you in advance.

Regards, — Neotarf (talk) 17:56, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

It's complicated. While does not belong to us, it is a mirror of a mailing list and/or bug reports that are hosted on systems that do belong to us. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:22, 1 December 2014 (UTC)


I send you another, but am not sure you received it. Thank you. 10:02, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

It's me, Anna Frodesiak, by the way. :) 13:59, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Just a reminder to please return my emails. I've been waiting for a reply for around two months now. If you are having some sort of trouble with my email address or yours, please say. Thank you. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:02, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

two questions[edit]

Hello Philippe. Not to bother you too much, but since you are familiar with my SPI (non-existent) "case" at Wikipedia, maybe you could help me with two questions.

First question: in the "investigation", Toddst1 (the admin who blocked me) identified me, among other things, as "Daniel Tomé who placed 34th in the tournament." I had never mentioned on-wiki which place I took in that 2012 world tournament, but, even ignoring that, I really don't understand why it would be a relevant detail to mention, other than to identify me personally – even if I had finished in 1st place, or 56th place, what bearing could that have on the SPI?

Second question: if checkusers aren't supposed to publicly link IPs to specific accounts, for security reasons, why are other users allowed to do it by just calling them "Suspected"? Although this is an abstract question, I'll give you my own example again: here, I see 4 IPs linked to my name. Of course I didn't use those IPs, but let's pretend I did use them: couldn't that page put me in physical danger by revealing my location? So why are such pages allowed?

Thanks, and sorry to take up your time with this. ~ DanielTom (talk) 23:50, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Global Bans[edit]

Dear Philippe, today I noticed the WMFOffice blocking an account with the rationale Account operated by/for WMF banned user. It would be useful if you could detail precisely under what circumstances the WMF will block an account with the rationale Account operated for WMF banned user. I'm increasingly concerned that users uploading work for which OTRS permission was obtained by a now banned user could be targeted under this new power that the WMF has given itself. Nick (talk) 00:09, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

I find it difficult to think of such a circumstance, and think instead that it reflects clumsy wording choice by the person doing the lock. I'm not interested in playing proxy-editing whack-a-mole games.... I can't eliminate the possibility that we might act if, for instance, we were able to conclusively demonstrate (to the level that meets the standard for action) that someone was running an account that was a proxy for a banned editor - that is, the editor wrote and prepared everything, but a proxy editor actually pressed the upload/edit button, but I think that circumstance is fairly unlikely. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:53, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Obtaining suppressed content[edit]

Hello, Philippe.

During the recent Gender Gap Arbitration case, I requested access to suppressed edits that were used as evidence against me. At the time, Mr. Wales indicated that "it is important in ArbCom cases that people not be punished based on evidence that they haven't seen or are not allowed the chance to rebut." [1]

However, after the case closed, I was informed by an arbitrator by email that "We don't provide suppressed content. Edits are only suppressed under a few narrow criteria, and it's important that suppressed material remains private." Is there someone who can provide me with the contents of my own edits so I can have a chance to evaluate and respond to them? The edits in question were added to the case here: [2]


Neotarf (talk) 02:59, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

@Neotarf: enWP is a self-managed wiki, and Wikimedia staff don't have the ability to override a decision of an Arbitration Committee with regard to suppression. You will need to go back to enWP's committee via the mailing list and appeal the decision of an aribtrator. You have the opinions that you wish to have to cite. One would think that the concept of natural justice would allow for your edits to be provided to you, and the issue of facing your accused, where your words are the accuser is a worthy argument, similarly if they are using your commentary as evidence against you.  — billinghurst sDrewth 14:29, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
As billinghurst said, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to provide those edits. I do, however, stand with him in thinking that you should be told what evidence is being used against you, if you have not been. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:54, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you both for your responses. The situations are both stale, one is four months old and the other seven, so I would certainly like to see the actual edits, if for no other reason than to refresh my memory. In addition, if I remember correctly, one of the edits that is being attributed to me was in fact made by another user. I think the Committee should also have the opportunity to see these edits. I will take this issue back to the Committee, per the above recommendations.
There is another issue, also involving suppression of edits, which I have not been able to get resolved, but I will start a new section for it. Regards, —Neotarf (talk) 23:58, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Privacy policy enforcement[edit]

Who is responsible for enforcement of Wikimedia Foundation Privacy Policy and investigation of any subsequent repercussions or harassment?

The policy specifies 17 types of information that are regarded as "personal information". It defines "personal information" as "information you provide us or information we collect from you that could be used to personally identify you."

The oversight group has dismissed some concerns I brought to their attention, citing the Wikipedia:Oversight policy, and saying this personal information is insignificant and "not considered oversightable material". An arbitrator has told me that "these are as personally identifying as a mention of your being a human being would be." Other issues that have been raised are that no action can be taken unless an editor can be "identified" or "endangered". Endangerment would seem difficult to prove until it has actually happened--it seems to me the reason for the policy is to prevent identification and endangerment. And hasn't the Foundation already defined the types of information that "could be used to personally identify you" in the policy itself? Another issue raised is whether the Arbitration committee can revoke these privacy provisions by sanctioning a user.

Are there any channels I can go through where my concerns will be taken seriously or where this can be resolved?

Regards, —Neotarf (talk) 02:23, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, although it is usually focused on CheckUser rather than Suppression, the "...ombudsman commission investigates complaints about violations of the privacy policy," so absent any other response I would presume this is your first point of contact. QuiteUnusual (talk) 08:49, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Some of my concerns involve off-wiki violations, apparently by individuals named in the recent Gender Gap case. —Neotarf (talk) 19:51, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
The ombudsmen are the appropriate entry point for something of this nature, I believe. If/when they are over their heads, they have shown no reluctance to approach WMF staff for assistance.  :) Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:12, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I seem to be having a hard time understanding this privacy policy. The way I read it, certain types of information could be used to personally identify me. These specific types of information are specifically named as "personal information" by the privacy policy, "if it is otherwise nonpublic and can be used to identify you". This suggests to me that information about me can be removed if 1) it fits one of the categories determined to be information that could be used to personally identify me, and 2) it is information that I have not made public myself. Perhaps I am being naive here, but I would assume that the purpose of suppression, and of the privacy policy, is to have the information quietly removed.
So then, what is the purpose of consulting the person who posted the information? Is there additional criteria regarding the psychological profile of this person? Does the information have to be true? Does the person requesting removal of the information have to prove whether it is true or not, or whether the information was posted by accident or with the specific intention of doxxing? What if the person posting the information claims to be just guessing, even if they posted the information in a way that left no doubt they considered it to be true? Is speculation about personal information encouraged? Is it okay to leave personally identifying information unsuppressed, as long as it is later privately claimed to be "just a guess"?
Just FYI, I made a similar request to Reddit Men's Rights, and the information was removed within the hour. Regards, —Neotarf (talk) 02:14, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Disqualification of my candidature for stewards elections[edit]

My candidature was denied with the argument I did not grant the prove of my identity to Wikimedia foundation in time. I sent the documents to on 28th of January 2015. My identity is also publically very well known. I have Iearned in the meanwhile that the correct address would have been But even if that is trough it would not be fair not to consider my candidature for such a formal reason – Wikimedia did get the my information on their main address and it would just be fair to redirect them to the right address or than to respond to me that I did send the documents to the wrong address. As there is still time to check my documents I cannot understand that you Wikimedia will this case not handle with generosity and fairness and so I appeal to you to reconsider this case and accept my candidature.DidiWeidmann (talk) 17:13, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

It's not mine to reconsider, actually. I have no formal role with the steward elections, which are self-organized and self-policed, beyond simply verifying the info that is sent to secure-info and providing any informal advice the stewards request. However, I understand that your identification was located and you were allowed to stand as a candidate, so that sounds like the best possible outcome. My apologies for the delayed response, I've been out of the office. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 03:18, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Question about comments on confirmation pages[edit]

See here. It might be good to reply there. Trijnsteltalk 21:27, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Same here, apparently Philippe just logged in with the wrong account. odder (talk) 14:58, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Identity Theft[edit]

Hi Philippe,

How are you doing? It has been a while. I was hoping you can help me out with something:

I requested the Dutch ARBCOM to rethink my never ending block I have there, and something came up. There is now a user Trijnstel that is claiming that I did identity theft or identity fraud when I both identified Abigor and Delay to the foundation. ( Can you kindly confirm that both where done with my own passport, no other identification where done? Its kind of a big claim, and a big deal for me to sort it out.

I know that some things went wrong, and things escalated quickly while they shouldn't have, but no law's where broken while doing it. There is no identify theft nor fraud in the game. Huib talk Abigor 18:26, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I can't confirm that. I have no recollection of what identification documents were used for those two accounts, and we do not store them. I can say this: I do not recall there being any duplicity, but I do not recall that there was not either. I'm sorry that I can't be of more help on the issue. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:41, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Philippe, no worries. The first one was handled by Cary and Erik for the LiCom and you handled the one for the user:Delay. This makes it even impossible for you to remember it if they don't get stored. Thanks! :) Huib talk Abigor 20:50, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia blog[edit]

Hello, I sent an email to the blog mailing list two days ago, but I got a message saying it was moderated. Then nothing. Who is in charge of blogs ? I have an entry to propose :) Anthere (talk) 15:20, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Replied at here. In general, it's best to follow the instructions at Wikimedia Blog#Drafting a post. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 15:52, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Daniel Higgins and WMF Finance Fellows[edit]

Hello Philippe. These two pages came up while I was reviewing invalid user pages:

Hi Pathoschild.... <grumble> So far, I've found,, and a third variant on our office wiki. Obviously, someone in OIT fell down on the job a little bit that day and we didn't get naming consistency. I'm gonna figure out which it's supposed to be. Thanks for the nudge.
I'm checking on this one.

Pathoschild 03:15, 03 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the message and I'll work on getting these rectified. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 03:42, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Wikispecies logotype[edit]

Dear Philippe, I would like to ask you, as expert on licencies and logotypes, may I modify the logotype for Wikispecies? What Id like to do, is to modify the logo in Photoshop, and add user rights graphics on the logo, as can be seen on various user boxes, eg the green arrow Yes check.svg Done for autopatrol, the pencil for admin user box, 2 tools for crat, etc. Since the logo for Wikispecies is a logo within the Wikimedia foundation, I want to be sure, before I start. Dan Koehl (talk) 02:43, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi Dan.... I'm actually neither an expert on licenses or logos, but thanks for the compliment. :-) What I am pretty good at, though, is pointing you to the place to find the answer. In this case, that's the trademark policy. As I read section 3.1, you should be clear to do this, but I am not a lawyer, so if you have any doubt, you're best to contact Good luck, please feel free to ask if you have further questions. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 03:46, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Ill check with them. Dan Koehl (talk) 13:20, 5 March 2015 (UTC)


Hey Philippe, please don't take my revert personal. If you want to understand my point better, you can read on User talk:LuisV (WMF)#My Wish what bothers me. I really don't give a thing for such things as barnstars, I would like to be taken seriously as someone who has put in ten years much effort into the Wikipedia. Anyway ... Kind regards --Julius1990 (talk) 08:11, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year[edit]

2014 Commons POTY

Hi Philippe, the 2014 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year has been decided, and it is a fantastic photography of butterflies feeding on the tears of a turtle in Ecudaor. Would you like to join me in congratulating the photographer for their incredible photography, (credited as - Dirección de Información Turística del Ministerio de Turismo del Ecuador) and also in thanking the uploader, Russavia, who secured the release of the winning image (and countless thousand others) under compatible free licences, and was so prolific in then uploading this quality content.

It would be a nice act of reconciliation if you would investigate how the WMF can again allow Russavia to resume uploading and editing at some point in the future. The nature of WMF's Global Ban (permanent, non means of appeal) is draconian and is the very antithesis of what the free content movement should be about, at the very least, I would hope you would recognise the contribution Russavia has made and would move to allow him to appeal the Global Ban in some form. Nick (talk) 14:42, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Nick. User:Russavia was not globally banned because of poor contributions to Commons. It's great to see this picture that he uploaded recognized, but it's unrelated to the issues that led to our decision. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:48, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I remember my friendship with him on those days and how I helped to identify those cute butterflies. I can't believe how he decided to use the same IRC channel to insult me later. ;( Jee 03:01, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • While I wish I could, Tuvalkin, I'm afraid I can't give you specifics. :/ There's a necessary tension in matters like this between our commitment to transparency and our need to protect the projects and the users, including the users who are banned. As Philippe discussed earlier, there can be consequences well beyond our projects if we disclose reasons for our bans, and especially if we disclose them unevenly. It's a line that can be dangerous to skirt, as people speculate freely already. Because of this, we've been given a policy of not discussing the reasons externally at all. I can tell you that this is never a decision we make lightly, or quickly. It usually involves weeks of research and review by multiple people, including the bulk of community advocacy and several members of the legal team (and more). Unfortunately, I know that this doesn't really do much to alleviate the concerns of those people who want more insight into why a specific decision was made, but policy forbids our sharing that. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 13:03, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Maggie, if a banned user waived privacy, would the WMF consider disclosing the ban reasons? Perhaps creating an appeal process conditional on such a waiver, and with skilled facilitation to avoid disruption?
I will here talk about a specific ban. I am not arguing that the ban was "wrong." I am pointing to what I know of evidence that something is awry. There are contradictions between WMF statements and fact, as least as I know it or interpret it.
There is a problem that, for at least a number of bans, there was no apparent TOU violation, and quite likely none. There might be other reasons for a ban, and those might be legitimate, but given that the stated reason -- TOU violations is always mentioned -- appears implausible, you can understand why this causes some discomfort in the community. (WMF Global Ban Policy contradicts the TOU, which refers to Global bans, explicitly. Block evasion, per se, may have violated the TOU for a specific project, but not globally, and this was well-settled, we thought. Under the established global ban policy, on which the TOU global ban mention was based, single-wiki bans were not enough to allow a global ban process to begin, and local bans, to be covered, must have been discussed, not merely blocks.)
It appears that in the WMF ban process, there is no opportunity or process for the banned user to be informed of evidence, to present contrary evidence, there is no warning, and no recourse. This goes far beyond the demands of privacy. Telling a user what they have done, specifically, would definitely not violate their privacy!
The secrecy of the bans gives the rest of us no idea of what is considered a bannable offense, and, indeed, the language of WMF Global Ban Policy does imply that one might be banned with no actual offense: "when the trust or safety of our users or employees is otherwise in danger or has been significantly compromised or threatened." That requires no offense on the part of the user. It is an assessment that "trust or safety" is in danger. So if someone's presence is considered a threat to the image of the WMF (i.e., the employees), as an example, or to the users (maybe they would get upset), then, to avoid this, a user may be banned without any TOU violation. But all the ban notices I've seen allege TOU violation and thus the allegation of harassment is implied, at least. In one or more cases I know of involving banned users, the banned users were harassed, accused of crimes that they did not commit, and they did not harass anyone.
Most recent example: Meco, originally blocked, some years ago, on en.wikipedia after an article making charges about him was published on Wikipediocracy. He was recently globally banned after he uploaded an image on Commons titled "blurred child porn image."
Here is his side of the story, I just found this: [3].
The image was promptly deleted and perhaps oversighted, but I have seen what was apparently the original. "Blurred" isn't kidding, it was totally unrecognizable as containing an image of any human. The only thing "child porn" about it was the name. Why did Meco upload that? I don't know. He doesn't say. The image came from a trial in Norway where he was found not guilty. He did run a porn FTP site when he was very young. He did not create those images he acknowledges were "child porn," he simply operated the FTP site and a user had uploaded them. He wasn't charged with this. He is, from what I've seen, compulsively honest. He will say things, with flat affect, as far as that can be discerned from text, that others would never say. The evidence on Wikipediocracy came from his own descriptions, from which, obviously, conclusions were drawn, yet they were knee-jerk conclusions, formed from his descriptions of his own adolescent sexuality. I.e., thirty years ago.
This had not been a disruptive user, but he was attacked, severely, off-wiki, and the attack was largely on the WMF for allowing someone like him to edit. Wikipediocracy implied it, so that anyone who wasn't careful would believe that the user was a dangerous pedophile. He wasn't, he doesn't show the symptoms and behavior. And that attack article was cited and linked on Commons and nobody did anything about it, except ban him promptly. He had an image of himself he'd donated years ago, and it was in long use on it.wikipedia. It was removed with an edit that said it was not appropriate to have a photo of a pedophile in an article on nudity. So he was called a "pedophile," on-wiki, it is in the edit history, and nobody cared.
So the process and situation does not inspire me to trust the WMF, which is unfortunate. A user was banned for something that is not illegal and that did not present a threat to children or users in general. He was not an advocate for "inappropriate adult-child relationships," which is the language of the en.wikipedia child protection policy. There is only one issue I can see justifying the ban: Meco and some, maybe all other banned users caused some users to get very upset, and they blamed the WMF for not dealing with these "pedophiles" or ... or what?
You wrote, above, "I can tell you that this is never a decision we make lightly, or quickly. It usually involves weeks of research and review by multiple people, including the bulk of community advocacy and several members of the legal team (and more). The Meco decision definitely appears to be rapid. You hedged the "weeks of research and review" with "usually," but you didn't hedge "never." It is not my intention to nail you to your words, you are not expected to perfectly express anything. However, you are avoiding the issue. This is a star chamber proceeding. The accused has zero rights, and no warning at all that they are doing something problematic, that could lead to a global ban. On the claim of TOU violation, you could say that they should have known from the TOU, but what we have seen is that the bans were not predictable from the TOU. Meco did not violate, in fact, the Wikipedia child protection policy, much less the TOU, which, even if he had "advocated inappropriate relationships," off-wiki, would not allow a ban on that basis. (A present danger to users would allow it. Advocacy may or may not create such a danger. But Meco, wasn't advocating, if he was, I've seen no evidence of it.
The WMF has the legal right to act to protect itself, its employees, and its users regardless of what the TOU reads. This is not a matter of right that I"m raising, it is a matter of wisdom and practicality, as well as justice.
The Russavia ban, right or wrong, has caused enormous disruption on Commons. It badly fractured the community. Those of us who had worked with bans knew that it is impossible to actually stop a determined user from accessing the projects, so community support is needed to enforce bans, or else the labor becomes prohibitive. Because of the division of the Commons community, which so far has not been able to find consensus either way on how to handle the Russavia ban -- and the ensuing socking, where Russavia is still uploading thousands of useful images -- Commons just lost a checkuser and administrator, User:INeverCry, from, he was explicit, the stress of trying to enforce the WMF ban without local consensus.
WMF bans -- office actions -- had been used previously in sensitive situations, and there had never been a major problem, because most of the users realized that they were better off without the publicity. And that is where privacy is truly involved.
The new bans were a radical move into new territory, requiring that the WMF take on responsibilities it had never assumed, and it was done without consultation with the community. Certain other recent WMF moves have been like this. It is visible that the relationship between the WMF and major segments of the community has been damaged. It is difficult to assess the depth of this damage, aside from what is publicly expressed of it, which would be the tip of the iceberg; mostly it may show up as loss of enthusiasm for the project.
We believed the assurances of community autonomy and local control.
So, given the damage, which can be expected to continue, what is the balancing benefit of these "draconian" global bans (as described above) to the goals of the WMF, formed to "empower" the community to create and maintain the projects?
The WMF was insulated from liability by the responsibility of the community. The WMF is now acting in ways that could create liability. Frankly, I'm surprised.
I recommend that the WMF enter into discussion with the community over the global ban issue. With the prior global ban process, there was only one user ever globally banned, and it was by RfC on meta. The process did not follow the later-written global ban process, but the WMF did, then, enforce that ban (which caused a certain level of disruption, but it was accepted). I asked the closing steward in that ban if a local wiki could decide to allow a globally banned user to edit. His opinion was, yes, it could, by consensus. So, from this interpretation, a global ban establishes a default condition, banned, which is inverted from the normal. Normally, it takes consensus to ban a user. Under a global ban, it would take local consensus to allow a user to edit.
Before the user renaming was stripped from local bureaucrats, it was actually possible to detach the local account, and that had been done with a defacto global ban previously. It worked, and it was not disruptive. No problems appeared when this was done. With SUL globalization, it is no longer possible. However, the locked user could be allowed to create a new account, on the agreement not to edit anywhere else with it. If the user violates that, simple: locked.
Consider the possibility with, say, Russavia. Russavia was not disruptive, particularly, on Commons. He was still an administrator, as well as a very productive user. Suppose the Commons community considers allowing him to edit there; it would have to be with a new account. For this account to not be locked, there would need to be a Commons consensus. Would the WMF respect such a local consensus? This would establish and confirm local autonomy. At this point, I do not know what a Commons discussion would decide, it is quite possible that it would not agree to his resuming editing. But it could create a closure, either way.
It is difficult to believe that Russavia being allowed to edit Commons, and Commons only, would harm other wikis or the WMF. If he used his Commons account to harass other users, cross-wiki, perhaps with email, that could be grounds for locking the account, but ordinary harassment is not normally a matter covered by privacy policy, and I've certainly seen users pilloried for it. It wasn't said, "You are blocked and we aren't going to tell you why." If Russavia harasses other users, not using the Commons account, the existence of the Commons account, first of all, would provide continuous and refreshed checkuser data, making it faster to identify socks he might use elsewhere.
And then there is the radical idea of negotiating with Russavia, treating him like a human being rather than an object to be tossed aside like a piece of trash. What does he want? For starters, would he agree to stopping all disruptive editing off of Commons if the Russavia account was unlocked? Would there need to be any other conditions? On either side? I do not know if he would agree to that, but what if he did? If the WMF had the opportunity to stop all the disruption in this way, would it take that opportunity, realizing that, of course, if Russavia violated the agreement, it would be a single button push to put an end to it? A negotiated agreement like this would be superior, in my view, because it would be likely to end that particular problem. Everyone could claim a victory. --Abd (talk) 05:07, 12 April 2015 (UTC)