Ombudsman commission/2014/Report Jan-Jun

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On February 2014, five new members of the Ombudsman Commission were appointed for a one-year term. In this report, we summarize the activities of the previous and present terms of the Commission, from January 1st until June 30th 2014.

During the above period, a total of 8 cases have been brought before the commission. Of these, 7 have been closed, and 1 is still being discussed by the ombudsmen.

Most cases were closed in less than 4 weeks from the original inquiry, and the breakdown is as follows:

  • Closed in less than 5 days: 3
  • Closed in more than 5 days but less than one month: 3
  • One case was closed in 2 months.

Overall, 3 cases required us to report potential abuse of the CheckUser tools to the Wikimedia Foundation and one case was brought before the Commission by WMF staff. The latter was about a general technical issue of CheckUser log maintenance by WMF staff. The Commission also assisted WMF with the preparation of the new Privacy Policy, which was released on June 6, 2014.

As a general statement, we would like to add that we found that many cases brought before the Commission were outside our remit. We feel that the Privacy Policy is very narrow in scope and many issues — e.g. whether or not a CheckUser is justified in an individual case — are up to the individual community rules to decide. At this point, we do not have much practical experience with the new Privacy Policy, so we do not know if the new text will change or not.