Ombuds commission

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Ombuds Commission
Wikimedia Ombudsmen logo.svg
Activity reports

The ombuds commission, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, investigates complaints about infringements of the Privacy Policy, the Access to nonpublic personal data policy, the CheckUser policy and the Oversight policy, on any Wikimedia project. They also investigate for the Board the compliance of local CheckUser or Oversight policies or guidelines with the global CheckUser and Oversight policies.

Tasks

In addition to official investigation, they will mediate between the complainant and the respondent (usually a CheckUser, oversighter, bureaucrat, administrator, or arbitration committee member). When legally necessary, the ombuds will assist the General Counsel, the Executive Director or the board in handling the case.

When the case is litigious, the ombuds will be in charge of educating CheckUsers or others about the Foundation's privacy policy. When the Privacy Policy, Access to Nonpublic Information Policy, CheckUser Policy, or Oversight policy have been breached, the Ombuds Commission should report to the Executive Director or designated staff and recommend a course of action (such as removal of access to tools). Additionally, the commission might suggest suitable changes to policies or software.

Neutrality

An ombuds' investigation should be conducted in a manner determined by the ombuds to ensure fairness and impartiality. As a general guideline, it is best that ombuds avoid conflicts of interest as much as possible, particularly by avoiding routine use of CheckUser or oversight access and not processing complaints on the projects on which they are very active editors. However, matters that come before the commission are not clear-cut, and the language and culture of various projects may pose barriers to outsiders. As such, how the commission investigates complaints is left to the discretion of its appointed members.

Membership

Members of the ombuds commission are selected by Wikimedia Foundation officials from the Wikimedia community. A call for volunteers is issued each year in early December on the Wikimedia-L mailing list and on the talk page of this policy, as well as other project forums as appropriate. They are appointed (assuming they agree) for a period of approximately one year. An ombud's real identity must be disclosed to the Foundation legal counsel. A non-voting alternate member may be appointed to serve for one year, with an expectation for a seat as a full member the following year.

Assigned rights

Ombuds have the following rights globally, among others:

  • Search deleted pages (browsearchive)
  • Check users' IP addresses and other information (checkuser)
  • View the checkuser log (checkuser-log)
  • View deleted history entries, without their associated text (deletedhistory)
  • View deleted text and changes between deleted revisions (deletedtext)
  • View private logs (suppressionlog)
  • View revisions hidden from any user (viewsuppressed)

Current members

See also automatically generated list (terms expire February 2021):

For the prior membership, see Ombuds commission/History.

Submission

Complaints may be made to the Ombuds Commission through the following email address (preferably in a language spoken by one of the members):

cu-ombuds-l(at)lists.wikimedia.org

Please follow these guidelines when submitting an inquiry to the commission:

  1. Be concise. Lengthy emails with unnecessary information make it harder for the commission to process the case in a timely manner.
  2. Be objective. Avoid making inquiries based on speculations or subjective judgements.
  3. Provide evidence. Please provide us with diff links and/or permanent links when possible.
  4. Be specific. Specify what part of which policy has been violated.
  5. Please inform us if your wiki has an Arbitration Committee (or a similar committee) and if you have reached them (or used other dispute resolution procedure customary to your community) before reaching the Ombuds Commission. Provide a link to the relevant case page if appropriate.

Processing/Reporting

Cases brought to our attention will be processed the following way:

  1. Confirmation of the request: we will send a notice of confirmation to the requester, and if necessary ask for further information.
  2. Scope: if the request is within the scope of the Ombuds Commission, we will do the investigation, if not we will decline the request and try to direct the complainant to a better place to get help for his/her individual problem.
  3. Investigation: We do whatever is necessary to find out whether or not there was a breach of the policies or a non-compliance or conflict of local policies with the global ones.
  4. Result: We give the result of our investigation to the requester, and if there was indeed a breach of the privacy policy, we will inform the user who was investigated and if necessary inform the Board of Trustees and if necessary recommend removing CU or steward rights from the user breaking the policy.

Activity reports

Activities:

See also