The following request for comments
is closed. One resignation, one rights removal. Facts collected, and OC undertaking a level of review with their findings either separately made or as part of their periodic commentary
- Statement from the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is aware of the allegations against TBloemink and JurgenNL and of their statements on the meta RFC about these events, and our involvement has been requested by several parties with direct interest in this case. The allegations are troubling, particularly because we recognize that everyone involved is a long time community member with deep bonds who has contributed greatly to the success of the projects.
However, we also believe that these actions represent a grave breach of policy and trust, and are incompatible with a position of leadership within our community.
Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 06:06, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Director, Community Advocacy
Whilst I regret that I have to open this request, after what I find to be a serious violation of trust and various policies, I consider the community should be allowed to express their point of view with knowledge of facts. Since local processes exist on the wiki's these users are active (ie nlwiki, commons and meta) this request will only consider the global rights and responsibilities held by both these users.
Interpretation of events
What follows is the summary of the events based on my conversations with MoiraMoira and TBloemink as well as some admins on nl.wiki. I would like the involved parties to give their view on the chain of events as well. This incident involves MoiraMoira on one side, and TBloemink and JurgenNL on the other side.
An LTA account edited nlwiki adding MoiraMoira's real name in an edit summary on nlwiki. This was suppressed, according to TBloemink, per his own request. He, however, claims he could not forget the name, therefore claiming he did not use his steward access to view a suppressed comment. JurgenNL (global sysop and nl-wiki-admin and commons admin) was also aware of the name, by having it seen published (and request oversight for these edits) by a LTA-account, who had found it published. With the knowledge that this information was confidential, JurgenNL and TBloemink, who are friends in real life, looked up her real name on the internet finding her personal address and phone number.
At some point, MoiraMoira was called by someone pretending to be an old lady asking repeatedly who she was. MoiraMoira told the person she must have called a wrong number and hung up. TBloemink initially denied that such a prank call ever took place though he later said he was not involved in the call by JurgenNL.
TBloemink confirms both he and JurgenNL did pass by MoiraMoira's house, whilst claiming to be travelling by train across the country together. As I have been told, however, MoiraMoira's house is nowhere near a railway station and not in a city, village or town you would normally be passing through. Additionally, the knowledge that they were passing through her street (they knew they were passing through the street in which MoiraMoira lives, as TBloemink confirmed) is surprising, and would mean an extreme coincidence coupled to a brain capable of storing that irrelevant (and private) piece of information, MoiraMoira’s address. I personally have no doubt that going to her address was the main purpose of visiting that area.
The previous call seems to indicate this incident was premeditated, as do the travel distances (not less than 100km from either of their home cities).
Needless to say, MoiraMoira was shocked and felt her privacy and intimacy had been violated as soon as she heard of the incident. TBloemink has expressed regret for his actions, though JurgenNL has not, as far as I am aware, instead ridiculising MoiraMoira for her reaction.
This summary is the result of long and tedious private and public conversations on IRC. Should the users involved give permission to do so, I have kept some logs which I would be willing to publish. I have tried to remain objective and neutral at all times, though I already apologise if I have misunderstood, misinterpreted or misrepresented anything. I am aware there is little evidence provided, but I am confident that users aware of the situation can either vouch for the accuracy of my interpretation or express differently.
I invite all users, specially the involved parties, to express their voice.
Savhñ 16:36, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
JurgenNL's Global Sysop permissions removed
- The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
For inappropriate off-wiki behavior and violation of community trust, JurgenNL's Global Sysop permissions are removed. JurgenNL may re-apply for Global Sysopship after a period of no less than six months.
- Support - While I will buy into the explanation that visiting the home of a Wikimedian without their knowledge or consent may have been without malice, retaining the information about their address and providing it to a fellow Wikimedian (even a fellow Wikimedian who holds advanced permissions) demonstrates a poor handling of private information. In addition, prank calling another Wikimedian and taking on a fake persona can not be considered anything but childish harassment; saying anything otherwise demonstrates an inability to take responsibility for one's actions. In light of the phone call, a simple apology is not enough here. I have lost any ability to trust JurgenNL with private or sensitive information. And personally, had a user with less userrights done this they would likely be out-right banned. While JurgenNL has not directly abuse the Global Sysop tools, having those tools implies community trust, which he has lost. Tiptoety talk 15:40, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support I have to agree with Tiptoety, JurgenNL should feel free to reapply for this permission after he understood what went wrong here. Vogone (talk) 23:25, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
- Maybe you didn't read what Jurgen said, because he obviously knows what went wrong and regrets his decision? --Wiki13 talk 10:57, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- From what I see in his statement he doesn't get where he misused private information. It doesn't really matter where you get the information from, and apparently he still continued to share it, in this case with TBloemink (even though he claims in that statement it is a "deep secret"). I don't believe he fully understands the problem yet and thus would want to give him more time to think about it and to regain the lost trust. Vogone (talk) 11:09, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support Unfortunate, but sadly necessary due to a loss of community trust through a display of bad judgment. --Rschen7754 01:02, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support unfortunately per Tiptoety. --AmaryllisGardener talk 01:18, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support removal — bad judgment and poor decision-making, and IMO not for the first time — billinghurst sDrewth 07:47, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Objection - According to my personal conversations with Jurgen and his statement below, I do not believe that he used his rights as a global sysop for the wrong intentionally - he got Moira's address by another admin on NL-wiki (I am unaware who this is, and I am not taking sides in this conflict). with kind regards, Erik009 (overleg) 10:19, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- You might consider reviewing Global sysops#Removal which states: "Any steward may remove a global sysop's rights at any time if they feel the tools have been misused, or if a request for comment has shown that a significant minority does not trust the global sysop." Tiptoety talk 12:36, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Oppose I have spoken to him about the incident on IRC. I think he will change and not do the same thing again. He has not abused his GS directly. I believe we should give him one more chance.. Jianhui67 talk★contribs 10:50, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Changing to neutral. Sorry Jurgen. Jianhui67 talk★contribs 11:33, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Remove While Jurgen may not have misused the global sysop tools, I do not believe that he currently has the amount of community trust required for the GS tools. --Glaisher (talk) 12:01, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support removal I have lost trust, which I certainly had, in his judgement. Lymantria (talk) 14:54, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Strongly support removal per Tiptoety. Even though he may not have abused the global sysop tools, I have lost all trust in Jurgen. Real life harassment and invasion of privacy should never be tolerated, under any circumstances. PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:29, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- Support I have completely lost trust in JurgenNL regarding acces to non-public private information. EvilFreD (talk) 17:12, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
- After a few days it is clear that at least a significant minority does not trust JurgenNL to retain these rights. As such, I have now removed them. If he wants them back he is free to apply for a vote of confidence per policy. Ajraddatz (talk) 18:03, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
- The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Since 2006 I have been an admin on nl-wiki. I also am active with cross wiki vandalism as a global sysop. As the nature of my work (dealing with LTA's and sockpuppetry amongst other matters) is sometimes not easy and I cherish my privacy and do not share my name online nor in wikipedia-related chat channels at all or by mail.
During those years I always have helped beginning editors who aspired to do more to get trained and helped them to become admin and coached them amongst which also TBloemink and JurgenNL.
This has been terribly upsetting to me and my family. It is awful to feel unsafe in your own home and be frightened that something can happen to those you love and to feel unsafe being active on the wikimedia projects as well knowing they have access to private info and have indeed misused it. The idea that two adult young men I have never encountered have done this is very scary. To clarify - it cannot have been "accidentally" since I live in a secluded area of my town 10 minutes away from the small train station where only few trains stop. The lane consists of 16 detached or semidetached houses. When walking in it you immediately see my house.
To complete this - I was not aware of these events until a short time ago. I was approached by fellow admin and steward Trijnstel who wanted to know whether I had received a prank call as described above. She told me that she had been contacted by fellow admin Natuur12. He had been told by JurgenNL what he and TBloemink had done bragging about it as if this was a joke. Needless to say he, Trijnstel and I were shocked and I could confirm that call had been made.
I cannot understand why two people with whom I always have cooperated friendly and cordially and who I have taught and coached as well when they started can do such a terrible thing planned in advance. I have talked with TBloemink about this by private chat and said I had been advised to take action and hoped he would see that this was not acceptable. I also said that I hoped he would take responsibilties himself for his actions since I felt this otherwise would become public and wanted to give them both the possibility to solve this themselves firstly. He however did not choose to do so. Jurgen has shown no remorse and I did not speak to him privately.
Other admins confronted them both in our admin chat channel in my presence as well, alas to no avail. I am relieved that an uninvolved steward, Savh, wants to deal with this awful matter now. I only can say that I hope no one else active on these projects ever will have to encounter this and I therefore agree with the conclusion and recommendations of Savh below here. When Savh approached me he wanted to write an Rfc I agreed he could do so with my consent. I am not happy it had to come to this but since the responsibility, insight and grasp of the effects of what they did is lacking I have to conclude that this is the only way left to deal with this. I hope I can stay active in a safe way here.
Sadly, MoiraMoira (talk) 17:31, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
- I have no problem with the IRC logs being published at all.
I am glad that I am finally able to give my view on this matter, for which I want to sincerely thank Savh. Jurgen and I did in fact visit the hometown of MoiraMoira. We did however nót go there "just for the matter of stalking and harassing" her. From our view, the day went as follows:
On the day in question, there had been a writing workshop in the region. This, while starting at 10 o'clock, was attended by me at 11 am. I left my home in Groningen at half past 7 that morning, travelling there. I, at that moment knew her name (I requested suppression some time ago, before I became a steward. And I personally did not know her address, another admin found this out, by means of googling, and shared this with Jurgen) but was in no way retrieved by me suppressing edits. The contrary is true, Jurgen requested suppression of the LTA edit in which her name was made public. The human mind is actually made that it remembers such information. I myself did not suppress the edit, because steward policy prohibits me from performing actions on my home wiki, nor viewed the suppressed info, but I have requested suppression of her name in the past. This all in good faith. I unfortunately remembered this info, but was not planning to do anything with this. I have never had these plans. I am not someone who googles for more information. If someone wants to share this, they do this theirselves. I, myself, am not a digger. I also did not have anything to do with suppressions of her name in my term as a steward.
When the writing workshop was nearing it's end, Jurgen and I decided to hunt some caches (Geocaching is a sport in which you need to hunt "caches" which are very cleverly hidden in sand or behind trees), of which one is very near the train station in MoiraMoira her neighborhood. When we were in MoiraMoira's neighborhood, we were not even sure if we were close to her. When we then saw her street, Jurgen poked me to "go check if her house is as beautiful as she self said". Moira had in the past described how beautiful her house was, so we became a little bit curious. We then walked in that lane, saw the house, and immediately left, going hunting for some more caches, to leave the town about 10 minutes later. We then went to Schiphol Airport to watch some planes take off. The cache Jurgen found was actually picked because of its proximity to the station (about 10 minutes walking). We then travelled to Jurgens neighborhood, before I returned to Groningen. People have said that I travelled 100+ kms to look her house up, I actually attended a writing workshop very near her homeplace, and then hunted some caches. I left my home for the workshop that morning, not for the goal of looking up peoples' houses. The idea of the caches came later, when I found out my friend Jurgen was also a fanatic geocacher. We were in the neighborhood and there were some caches. Jurgen knew that she lived there but even when arriving at the small station MoiraMoira described, we were not planning to go there.
I can confirm the bragging to another nlwiki admin, as if it was a joke. I am actually not a fan of this kind of humour and expressed my disgust in Jurgens behavior afterwards. I told him that saying that was not the best of things to do, and that it wasn't funny at all. It was just curiousness. Moira had expressed a lot about her house and living area in the past, and we became a little bit curious. While it is indeed true that we went there, it was in no way meant as harassing, stalking or to even frighten MoiraMoira. I am shocked to hear that our, so fun day, was wrecked this way, and even worse, MoiraMoira cannot even feel safe in her own house. This is the greatest shock for me, and I wish to apologise sincerely for the issues that we caused. It was just curiousness. And we made a mistake. I can also make sure, that we won't go there again, and we will only visit Wikimedians if they want to. You can have my word on that.
I have became a bit depressed and have been skipping days at my internship because of emotional issues caused by this, and by the words other nlwiki admins and stewards said to me ("you are a stalker"), while the goal of this "visit" wasn't stalking or harassing at all, it was just curiousness and in my eyes really not harmful at all. Unfortunately, afterwards, our error had been more harmful than we thought and hoped. I can however, not confirm the accusations of stalking and harassing, and on the other side violating policies. I work accurately per policy and wish to keep it this way.
I am known with Aspergers syndrome and Wikimedia is my hobby. This means I work per policy and take my work very seriously. This is why I take this matter very personally. I understand MoiraMoira's distress and again wish to express my sincere apologies and we really hope she can continue working on what we all find a beautiful project. My opinion is that I can still be trusted with these tools, because I did not abuse them, though that decision is not mine.
I also wish to express my sincere apologies to anyone whom I may have yelled at or became angry at. This was all just after being confronted with this, and from my Asperger background done in panic and distress. It was not at all meant or personal.
Sincerely, — Tomas Bloemink talk
(Ps: I'd like to see IRC logs to be kept unpublished on this wiki)
- I have stepped down from my steward position. Please read my public announcement on this.
At first, I want to thank Savh to give me a chance for giving my view on this matter. Let's start at the beginning. We are being accused of violating policies and stalking MoiraMoira. These are both not true. In the beginning, I only knew the name of MoiraMoira until a colleague administrator from nlwiki shared a couple of web pages about MoiraMoira where she ever (some pages are from 1999) posted details of her (eg. living address, postal code and phone number). I can remember things such names, phone numbers and addresses very easily - I also remember all the details of a classmate from 5 years ago and real names of Wikimedia colleagues whose name I've seen just one time very well. I wish I could forget them so easy as some people have stated. All the months I have known these details, I did nothing with them.
Until the day of a writing workshop, which was just 4 km away of MoiraMoira and ended at 15 o'clock, I did nothing do with the details I knew and I had never planned to do something with it. After the workshop, we planned to visit Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to watch some planes and take pictures of them. I just bought a new photo camera and wanted to play with it. When we were in the train to Schiphol, I opened the Geocaching app. Geocaching is a game in which you need to find small boxes which are hidden everywhere. Reaching the train station near MoiraMoira her house, I saw there was one cache 300 meters away from the station and I wanted to do it, so we left the train and walked to the cache. Because the next train arrived 30 minutes later, we decided to hunt some more caches in the area. On a moment, I recognized the street name of MoiraMoira her house and poked TBloemink and suggested to take a quick look. MoiraMoira has described her beautiful house and car many times on IRC, what made me curious and wanted me to take a look at her house, so we did it, but it feeled bad anyway and I wanted to leave as soon as possible so we walked back to the train station and continued our journey.
So I have to conclude that the statement here above that we've traveled 100+ kms just to stalk MoiraMoira is untrue. We went to that area to visit the writing workshop and the visit to MoiraMoira her street wasn't planned at least.
Then the mentioned phone call. I confess that I've called MoiraMoira together with a friend pretending to be an old lady. TBloemink is innocent in this case. He even didn't know that I did this call until it came out, but untrue is:
- That I called MoiraMoira before we visited her. There were a few months between the visit and the phone call. At the moment we were in the street, we didn't even know if the address was correct because the only reference was a 15 years old one and there was a big chance that she already moved, according to the statistics that people in the Netherlands move each 10 years on avarage.
- We've never asked the person on the phone to tell her name. It was a combination of curiosity and boredom. It was during the holidays and I worked 5 days a week in the supermarket at 6 AM, so I was off in the afternoon and was very bored those days and I was looking for some 'fun'. This looked like fun in the beginning, but aftewards this was a big mistake. Unfortunately this cannot be undone, how sincere my wish to do so is.
I understand that I made some huge mistakes, but I never abused some tools I have on Wikimedia projects. All actions I perfored were a result of curiosity. I never wanted to give MoiraMoira an unsafe feeling in the only place where you should feel safe: your own home.
The statement that I've never given a reaction on this case, is, sadly, true. I was in a sort of panic or trance and did not know what I had to do so I just ignored it hoping it will come alright. When the subject had been at rest for a short while I wanted to give clarification to MoiraMoira, but then the subject was raised again in the vandalism channel of nlwiki and afterwards in the nlwiki admin channel on IRC, after which I returned to panic and I wasn't able to react normally. For this reason, I like that I can give my view on this case without angry people who interrupt me.
I think you can still trust me despite this. In my opinion, I have never violated any policy and all the details I know about MoiraMoira and other Wikimedians are still a deep secret and will never leak to people who don't know these details.
I sincerely regret the actions I have made and I can promise this will never happen again.
I don't want IRC logs to be made public under any circumstance.
JurgenNL (talk) 20:27, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
First of all, this is the first RfC I ever open, meaning I am probably making some mistakes in the formatting. Apologies for this.
I strongly feel TBloemink's steward access should be revoked, since I feel a Steward should know how to handle confidential information and I believe this has proven his inability to do so. I am unconvinced by his allegations that he remembered the name instead of viewing a suppressed edit, but I believe, considering the scale of the issue, this to be irrelevant: The problem lies in the wrong usage of information known to be private. Looking up somebody and afterwards going to this persons house is not something you do by accident, and it should, in my opinion, be viewed as a violation of privacy and harassment, whilst bragging about it, as I have been told JurgenNL did privately on IRC, can only be seen as a lack of maturity.
JurgenNL has shown that, as admin on nlwiki, he lacks serious judgement in the usage of known confidential information, but this is something that should be addressed locally through the existing processes. Even though his Global Sysop access does not allow access to significant confidential information (deleted revisions on small wiki’s), I feel uncomfortable having somebody with those global rights unable to acknowledge a mistake (and instead make fun of the other user) proving a serious lack of judgement.
I invite all users to participate in this discussion, and I am open to discussion. Savhñ 16:36, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm almost shocked, seriously I do not expect thousands of oversighters/checkusers to be not curious at all but 100kms imply a definitely an abnormal curiosity. I won't make any further comment before Jurgen and TB but that's definitely more serious than a "joke". --Vituzzu (talk) 17:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
- Comment Just commenting from what I have read above (not taking sides for anyone here): it looks more like an accusation of IRL harassment rather than a privacy violation. Elfix 17:53, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
If we should believe your story about the random appearance of MoiraMoira's street during your geocaching activities (I generally don't believe in coincidences), curiosity still made you abuse this private information just for the sake of verifying it, not talking about this impertinent phone call. Both behaviours are no-noes. I'm not convinced that this would not happen again and think that less access to private data should be recommendable by now. —DerHexer (Talk) 22:05, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion, privacy issues are better dealt with by the OC, offwiki, especially where involving a steward. I ask that the OC govern this process, rather than it be an RFC. — billinghurst sDrewth 23:49, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
- I would generally agree with this, though I think there is an off-wiki harassment element to it which could be discussed in public. Ajraddatz (talk) 23:50, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
- I am not saying that there is not a public accountability at some part of this process, especially as it is now a public matter. I just believe that there is a risk that things are said in public that should not be said, that then cannot be unsaid. It is still my opinion that it would be better managed by the impartial OC, rather than by people weighing in who are friends, or enemies of any party. It came about from the release of private information, and that can happen here by the same means with the current attention.
I believe that the statements by the users should clearly define what their subsequent actions should be. It is the investigative ability and the recommendations of the OC that I see are useful in such a scenario. — billinghurst sDrewth 00:01, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with billinghurst and would prefer this to be discussed offwiki by the OC for two reasons. Firstly, the original source of the problem was private information and that's the "primary offence" that led to the others. More importantly there is already sufficient information in this RfC to enable further privacy violations (i.e., in the description of the workshop, the small town with the small railway station, the geocaching, the type of house lived in). I am very concerned further discussion may extend the original problem. As for the conduct complained of - I am appalled. If the account of how it happened is completely true this doesn't mitigate the use of private information to locate the house, the prank call or the bragging. QuiteUnusual (talk) 07:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
As a fellow admin on nlwiki who has been distant in the events described above, I must say I am shocked to read the lack of judgement that TBloemink and JurgenNL have shown.
If you want to meet a wiki collegue in good faith, the way to deal is to try to make an appointment somewhere. Instead both relied on some information that should not have been published onwiki and hence they should not actively kept in memory or have used, they digged the internet for more private information and started a curiosity driven "secret" operation to verify what they found. Prank calls and semi coincidental visits (when one reads the story, it is more like waiting for the opportunity than pure coincidence. Constructed coincidence at best) are vicious and are the type of acts that all wikimedians bearing some responsibility should stay far away from. It is shocking to realize that both guys have not understood beforehand that this is frightening to MoiraMoira and her family.
Especially after reading the views by TBloemink and JurgenNL themselves, there is IMHO no doubt these guys cannot be trusted with confidential information and have a stunning lack of judgement on dos and don´ts. Lymantria (talk) 08:06, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
As far as the rest of this, the most optimistic view that can be portrayed shows a significant lack of judgment, and I believe that this mistake was bad enough so that the community should be consulted whether or not these editors should continue holding their rights, beyond what a meta RFC can do. Perhaps the two editors should consider resigning and then running again at a later date to see if the community still trusts them, to protect the project from the additional drama; I think this would be the easiest solution for all parties involved. Otherwise, I believe that both of their global rights should be removed, without prejudice to running again following the normal procedures (as long as the WMF does not object). While the OC can do investigation, and the more private details should probably be referred to them, they cannot remove any rights from anyone, only make recommendations to WMF and possibly to the community (see Ombudsman commission).
I would be happy to work with TBloemink and JurgenNL again, if they can demonstrate continued community support after this. Unfortunately, we have to make this decision in the middle of the year, and decide what to do with the rest of TBloemink's term as a steward. Regretfully, enough doubts have been placed into my mind so that I can no longer trust them enough to hold these rights (my personal opinion). --Rschen7754 01:26, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I just want to re-iterate what I stated in stew-l... that, basically, this was indeed immature, but some people's reactions seem to indicate some existential threat, almost... so, really, can't we try to remain level-headed? Some people do commit mistakes, but not everyone needs to demonized... -- Mentifisto 00:06, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not OK to go near someone's house uninvited, period. The right thing to do would've been to ask MoiraMoira herself for such information, and most importantly, permission.
With that said though, I'm thankful that both users have apologized for this. What I want to see coming from this is that they make a firm commitment to having this never happen again. We can't change the past but we can surely direct the future.--Jasper Deng (talk) 17:44, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Ombudsman Commission investigation
The Ombudsman commission has received an inquiry regarding the incident discussed in this RfC. We are currently investigating the case according to our procedures and scope. For the Commission, --Gnom (talk) 14:37, 28 September 2014 (UTC)