Talk:Requests for comment/Usurpation policy

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Discussion of pt 2 & 4[edit]

This policy project seems to be a good comprimise. --Obersachse 07:37, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Almost fine except 4. and the last part of 2.

re 2. "are not active on another project." I suppose we can simply drop it. How can we know someone is active somewhere?

re 4. I am aware of its difficulties, but I think the significance of edits should be taken into consideration. I, as a local b'crat on some projects may not be happy to have an account usurped if a meaningful and hence copyrightable text or more were submitted through that account or the user of that account was involved into discussion (hence with the signature requested for usurping).--Aphaia 16:51, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

As for being active on another project, that is easily seen with Luxo's. – Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 18:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Chapeau to Aphaia -- I ended up on this talk page to raise the same objections to point 4: I'm also a local bureaucrat (on ro.wiki), and with all the SUL hysteria we did (unavoidably, I expect) end up with a guy who wanted to usurp an account of a user who has only made one single edit more than a year ago -- but that one edit was meaningful enough that we still have it in the article. That is copyrightable by any standards, and I couldn't usurp that username in good faith under GNU FDL no matter what. --Gutza 21:21, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
please see this discussion, which clarifies the importance of this policy. 77.127.156.217 07:00, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
What is considered 'contribution' ? In my case I can not obtain SUL due to a .de bureaucrat who rejects usurpation since he claims a single deletion of a line of spam 4 years ago is to be considered 'a contribution'. I myself would have real trubble letting deletion/copyed fall under copyrighted or GDFL material (since when was removing something the same as producing something?), nor a notable contribution for that matter. In addition to this, the user in question (who made one single edit 4 years ago) is uncontactable and can therefore not be asked to agree, or not, to usurpation. For clearity, the usurp request can be found here. 80.202.198.200 20:53, 18 June 2008 (UTC) (en:User:Snorre)
It is important to have a sensible usurpation policy. On EN:WP, we give users three weeks' notice, by message on talk page and (if e-mail is activated) by e-mail too. If they don't respond, we usurp. Ther has been a case where the user refused to allow usurpation.--Cato 21:49, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Lose-lose versus win-win[edit]

With respect to Gutza's words, with whom I discussed the matter, I would like to provide my point of view about the cases when very few edits made long ago by an evidently inactive user raise the problem. Actually, same holds for newly registered conflicting accounts. I would also not like to fix the number of edits - this is a relative value, not absolute one and should be determined in a case-based approach.

We all know that technically one can have a SUL with or without a certain account somewhere. If they do not know the language, they usually do not even bother of conflicts with other users. This should be more bothering for the account holders who have not performed SUL. But let us remember the main idea behind SUL: it benefits the users not only with single sign-up but also with a consistent identity across all wikis. Especially with respect to Commons, Meta and other shared projects.

It is important to realize that rejecting usurpation requests is always a "lose-lose" situation - rejection is misbelieved to be, but is actually not in favour of the local user. This is a decision from which both users suffer. Not only the petitioners deprived an having their consistent identities across all wikis, but also the local username holders. Let us mainly talk about the evidently inactive user whose account is requested for usurpation. If we assume that some day this local user gets active again and wants to have this account global, they won't be able because another user will be already owning it across all wikis, for instance Commons, and even other projects on the same language! Because this is one of the effects of SUL. So, if the local user wishes to benefit from SUL, they won't be able. They will need to either start from the scratch or have their account locally renamed in order to keep these few contributions once made (because of which bureaucrats have rejected the usurpation request once made!). What happens?... because of bug 13507 the user will need to first have the global account deleted. Guess who will be then in position to plead, and who will be in the position to reject... You may not expect that in such situation the SUL owners will readily cooperate.

Yes, unsolved bugs cannot lay in the roots of the policies (although this very one is reopened for quite a lot of time, and so far inevitable. Actually the fact that developers allowed mass SUL without having it fixed implies to me that chances of fixing it soon are minor). And here comes the mighty argument of the bureaucrats who reject the requests - it is GFDL-critical how many and what sort of contributions qualify over or under the threshold of GFDL provisions. My true belief is that hiding behind the back of the license is filthy for the following reason. We know that usurping an account involves renaming the local account holder, which also leads to update of the edit attribution in the page histories. After a rename, authorship over edits does not get lost or misattributed in this way, there still is a bijective relation between an account and the contributions made via this account. In the frames of the local wiki or even whole Wikimedia family, this is not a problem, GFDL is not violated. A problem may eventually occur if in a certain moment preceding the moment of usurpation, somewhere outside of the Wikimedia sites there was made another distribution/derivative work of a page where the local user has edits, AND this external publication has duly cited all coauthors from the wikimedian page history. In such circumstances we may talk of violation of GFDL, because of misattribution.

But! have you ever thought of the similar cases when users personally request renaming of their own accounts. Bureaucrats often fulfill such requests, because they respect the contributor's will and right to chose their signs of identity. Have you ever heard of a rename request, denied on the basis of "this will violate GFDL"? I haven't. The user rename tool exists in the software and there are user groups entitled to use this tool. This means that it has already been considered that such actions will not violate the license, at least not to the extent to which some bureaucrats overreact the usurpations!

So, my point is that GFDL itself should not be used as the sole argument of rejection, and more common sense should be put when dealing with SUL. Bureaucrats are not dealing with edits in the database, they are first and foremost dealing with humans. In cases when affected local user has been recently active, bureaucrats should encourage users to seek contact with them, negotiate and help both parties reach the mutual understanding that sharing the account is more troublesome (or say it, less favourable) than usurpation and renaming. The "win-win" situation is when the less active and contributive users are convinced that it will be of their own benefit to reserve for themselves new unique usernames. In cases of evidently inactive account holders, this decision should be taken by the bureaucrats.

With this respect, users whose native language uses writing systems, different from latin are in a better position that those who only use latin letters - sometimes simple transliteration can do wonders. Other ideas of peaceful and inventive approaches for natural renaming are also possible. Spiritia 07:36, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing the debate here, I would also want us to settle on a coherent solution to this. I hope we can relax and accept that we're working for a common goal here, I was saddened to find that your true belief is that my actions are filthy.
I was happy to find you've reached similar conclusions and have raised similar concerns to my own regarding the GNU FDL. Indeed, my concerns are not related to any hypothetical internal incoherency among projects and/or user↔contribution relationship -- I'm fully aware that upon renaming an account all contributions are properly re-attributed in relationship to their respective authors. But, as you correctly point out, we're not talking about database consistency here, we're talking about humans.
When a user creates an account with Wikipedia, that person receives an implicit set of promises via the provisions of the GNU FDL. That person (not that unique ID in the database) receives a guarantee that their contributions will perpetually be attributed to themselves (again, not to a unique ID in some database). How does a person identify themselves in real life, when they sign legal binding documents? And even more important, how do they identify themselves when their work is being attributed to them? By name (and there are a lot of problems with duplicate names, so they might need additional ID such as SSN or equivalent). How do we do it on Wikipedia? By username (and there are no problems with duplicate usernames here -- remember that most people are only active on one Wikipedia). That Wikipedia username can go anywhere -- in CVs, in letters to friends, messages to loved ones, friends you haven't seen in years, anywhere; just like your name in real life.
When you decide to change your name on your own accord, you take it upon yourself to tell your friends, loved ones, employers and so on that you have changed it, and that's perfectly ok -- your choice, your burden. But how can I, as bureaucrat, change your name without your knowing, when you might well have passed it along to whomever you pleased, and via whatever medium you wanted? And not only that, but I'm simultaneously associating your old username with a different person (remember, we are talking about people). And I'd be doing all of that in the context of a prior implicit promise Wikimedia has made to you, that you will retain perpetual copyright over the contributions you've made! You will retain those rights, you as identified by the username you have chosen, not you as identified by an obscure internal reference nobody has access to.
In my opinion, everything else is irrelevant -- SUL, bug 13507, unique identities across projects, everything. Those are just minor conveniences or inconveniences intrinsic to mere cosmetic technicalities of this particular project, the way the code was written, recent features with unexpected side effects, etc.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: if this policy gets enforced (or any similar one), I will abide by it no questions asked -- Wikimedia has made a promise to abide by GNU FDL, Wikimedia decides to break it for whatever reason, the circle is complete and I have no problem with that. But I will not willingly and voluntarily break promises made by Wikimedia -- it was theirs to make, it is theirs to break, not mine. --Gutza 13:12, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


(We know that usurping an account involves renaming the local account holder, which also leads to update of the edit attribution in the page histories. After a rename, authorship over edits does not get lost or misattributed in this way) that is totally true .. that is what I tried for long time to explain for Gutza ... this only edit will attributed to the new name chaos-upsurped not me ..so where is the violation of GFDL ..that what i couldnt understand Gutza enters in long debate to tell us that if we rename some user who is totally inactive ..that means we steal his contributions and we break the promise that his edits are under GFDL .. I totally cannot understand this logic --Chaos 15:37, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

I have explicitly acknowledged that above, but I appreciate your continued efforts to explain things to me. --Gutza 15:46, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Criteria for usurpation[edit]

I agree with another commenter that the policy should not contain a fixed number of edits or a particular duration of inactivity for usurpation. I do see the need of SOMETHING along those lines to protect active accounts against usurpation, but this is something that I think could be left to a steward's/admin's judgment. After all, the policy DOES allow you to reject an attempted usurpation of your account simply by responding to an email, which is a fairly significant safeguard in and of itself.

I do think it would make sense to grant a longer period of time (say, one month instead of one week) to respond to the usurpation warning -- not everyone is glued to their computer, and people do go on vacations etc.

(For the record, I am Stian on English Wikipedia -- editing anonymously because that username is already taken on Meta and I don't wish to run afoul of bug #13507 by creating an account under a different name than my SUL account.) 03:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Just to point out a case that really shocked me. This time it has nothing to do with GFDL, but reveals another problem: users' whims and how bureaucrats are helpless or careless to handle them properly. I was resented with the flippant statement of a local account holder and the bureaucrat who simply agreed with this statement, without (visible) attempt to explain and educate the colleague. Sorry, the qualifications I use are not meant to be personal attacks, this is just an example of the ignorance around SUL, and I am really worried, because probably this scenario repeats on a daily basis everywhere.
it:User:ISBN was registered on 08:38, 6 October 2007. Never made any contribution, neither has any log entry bar the registration... until 28 may when s/he was informed on the talk page of the reqiest of usurpation by de:User:ISBN, flagged editor with 1883 contribs. Two days later the answer comes. Google translates it to My user name is one among the millions available and that someone requires my own I am debating between the existence of lure and lack of imagination. I would keep it because I believe the variations available more than enough. In truth, I do not understand even the existence of the exchange username. Thanks for communication. Greetings. So far, no other contributions made since then.
Here I see no use, but only abuse. Torelated abuse. Someone may say that choice of username is an innate right. But I'd like to link you to a beloved passage from a beloved page en:Wikipedia:Free speech: Editing Wikipedia is a privilege, not a right; there is no right to edit Wikipedia. As difficult as it is to accept, and as harsh as it sounds to say it, there are only two rights on Wikipedia: the right to fork and the right to leave. Wikipedia is a voluntarily undertaken obligation, nothing about it may be considered a right. I advocate that the usurpation policy should always be in favour of those who timely and duly exercise their voluntarily undertaken obligations, and not to those who do not even care to exercise what they think to be a "right".
Btw, I am still not prone to vote for the suggested policy, I still have reservations against fixing concrete numbers... yet, this proposal is much better than what I have seen in de.wikipedia, for instance :) Spiritia 09:41, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
There is another point I would like to comment. The criteria for usurpation, number 4 (User accounts may be usurped if it matches one of following conditions) is made for normal wikipedias. But in projects like Wikisource, Wictionary etc. the behaviour of the users is not the same. The most of them do not contribute regulary, but only from time to time, when it is necessary, interesting etc. So it can happen, that a quite important user has a very long interruption of edits. I think in such projects it must be handled with another numbers i.e. in another way. -jkb- (cs.source) 19:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll use myself to make an example for the discussion of point 3. I am (en:User:Snorre) on the original Wiki, User ID number 308. This means I joined Dec 2001 and been following the project since the very beginning. Thing is, I'v only made sporadic contributions and actually have not (!!) passed 400 contributions yet, eventhough I started articles like these: en:University_of_Newcastle,_Australia and en:BOINC Snorre 21:26, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

"User who requests usurpation must have at least 400 edits or be an administrator on some Wikimedia project and already have SUL account."[edit]

Ähm... So people have to make an SUL account just that they have one and we delete it then again to allow usurpation of the missing accounts? That's fairish nonsense, isn't it? --Thogo (talk) 08:10, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

No. Have SUL account = win the conditions of usurpation, so users who can't have SUL can't usurp accounts with more flags/edits — VasilievV 2 08:14, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry to say, but I only see a massive hole in this logic.. A bit like a doughnut.. 1. If a user _can_ have a flawless SUL account, there is no need for this user to ask for usurp in order to obtain a SUL. 2. The priority, but not neccessarily 'the win' is status/edit etc, not the fact that one got a SUL (espesially a flawed SUL). Snorre 21:07, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Is this policy applies to all wikimedia project?[edit]

I'm Korean Wikipedian. We have been talking about making usurpation policy, because we hadn't discussed before. If this policy applies to every project, we'd rather stop discussion ourselves, unless it goes useless right after finished :| --Dus2000 14:06, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

No. It applies to projects which don't have local bureaucrats. You may create your local policy or adapt the global one — VasilievV 2 14:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

GFDL concerns[edit]

I see that nobody's addressing this above, so I'll go ahead and copy the relevant part here, in a new section.

When a user creates an account with Wikipedia, that person receives an implicit set of promises via the provisions of the GNU FDL. That person (not that unique ID in the database) receives a guarantee that their contributions will perpetually be attributed to themselves (again, not to a unique ID in some database). How does a person identify themselves in real life, when they sign legally binding documents? And even more important, how do they identify themselves when their work is being attributed to them? By name (and there are a lot of problems with duplicate names, so they might need additional ID such as SSN or equivalent). How do we do it on Wikipedia? By username (and there are no problems with duplicate usernames here -- remember that most people are only active on one Wikipedia). That Wikipedia username can go anywhere -- in CVs, in letters to friends, messages to loved ones, friends you haven't seen in years, anywhere; just like your name in real life.

When you decide to change your name on your own accord, you take it upon yourself to tell your friends, loved ones, employers and so on that you have changed it, and that's perfectly ok -- your choice, your burden. But how can I, as bureaucrat, change your name without your knowing, when you might well have passed it along to whomever you pleased, and via whatever medium you wanted? And not only that, but I'm simultaneously associating your old username with a different person (remember, we are talking about people). And I'd be doing all of that in the context of a prior implicit promise Wikimedia has made to you, that you will retain perpetual copyright over the contributions you've made! You will retain those rights, you as identified by the username you have chosen, not you as identified by an obscure internal reference nobody has access to.

In my opinion, everything else is irrelevant -- SUL, bug 13507, unique identities across projects, everything. Those are just minor conveniences or inconveniences intrinsic to mere cosmetic technicalities of this particular project, the way the code was written, recent features with unexpected side effects, etc. --Gutza 14:56, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

When you leave your flat and go into another town, what will be with your telephone number? Will it be reserved for you forever? Like in Wikipedia there will be a log, that says, that your number is owned by someone else from a defined moment on. --Obersachse 18:30, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
What you describe is a completely different situation -- it's like leaving from Wikipedia and starting over at a completely different project. There are two significant differences: (1) you retain your identity, although you move; (2) you choose to move, you are not deported against your will (and even without your knowledge, as is the case with usurpation). --Gutza 19:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
As I understand point 4, an account can be renamed only of its edits can be deleted because they were straight reverted (or user-space). Immediate revert means the user's contribution was plainly rejected, hence the author cannot claim to have contributed to the article. He still can republish the article on a personal website and make a random edit to add his name to his local author list, but has no right to be added to Wikipedia's author list.
Maybe I did not understand your point. Could you provide an example of GFDL-problematic use of the proposed policy? Jérôme 10:16, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
You're totally correct -- I was commenting on the then current version of the proposal, the one that had received a lot of support in that state. I have nothing against the current version. --Gutza 10:49, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
There's no moral issues. Policy includes complusory notification of local community, and the user himself (herself) on his talk page and by email. IF user doesn't react on both email and talk page, that means he completely lost his interest in participating in Wikimedia projects. If user minds, we don't usurp his account — VasilievV 2 10:58, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
The GFDL doesn't state any such obligations on the part of the author (i.e. checking once in a while on whether they have received a notification of some sort or another). Also, you might be interested to read the exchange I had with Geni on en.wiki -- things are even more rigid than I originally thought (see en:User Talk:Geni and en:User Talk:Gutza#usurpation). --Gutza 11:02, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
For the more frugal types among you, here's Geni's final remark, which is the essence of the point: "The GFDL is only interested in the name the person adds to the history when they release the work under the GFDL." IMHO that's the most concise method of explaining all of my objections to the previous version of the proposal (and then some -- my original objections were based on the person's identity, but this clarifies once and for all that the name is what's actually important). --Gutza 11:35, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

This issue has been bothering me and I have given it a lot of thought over recent months. I believe the practical effects of this are avoided by the new username being obviously based on the old one. So if User:Fred were renamed to User:Renamed user 71 there would be a clear GFDL problem - the history no longer makes it clear that someone who identified themselves as Fred made the edit. But if the user is renamed to User:Fred (usurped) or, perhaps better, User:Fred (since renamed) it is apparent that the edit was made by some calling themselves Fred - which is what the GFDL requires. Perhaps legally best of all (but a bit cumbersome) would be to rename to: User:Fred (since renamed, please credit as "Fred" if attributing content). The GFDL does not provide a perpetual right to a username, but one to attribution. Provided one can continue to attribute the user who made the edit originally (through renaming users to names that make what has happened clear), I do not think the GFDL is infringed by usurping accounts without the knowledge of inactive users. WjBscribe 13:19, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

You seem to interpret the license in a manner similar to my own (see the exchange with Geni I mentioned above). In other words, you are concerned with perpetuating the association between the contribution and the person of the author. It appears however that the History section of the work does indeed need to be preserved as-is -- and that really means it's set in stone. To be honest, I don't think that was the intention of the license, but that's what it currently says, so I don't think there's much we can do about it. --Gutza 13:26, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
And what do you make of imports ? Say, User1 use the name "Alice" on en.wp and "Zoe" on en.wikt. User2 on en.wikt use the name "Alice" on en.wikt. Due to imports to en.wikt from en.wp, User2 is credited with contributions made by User1. How illegal is that ? It's not just a theory, it has happened and, without SUL, will continue to happen. SUL is a very good way to resolve this issue. How "set in stone" do you think GFDL is ? If the foundation's lawyer doesn't object, I certainly see no reason to buy troubles. If licenses issues were easy and clear to interpret, a lot of people would be out of a job ^^. Apart from legal concerns, what I think is that most contributors to a open-content encyclopedia are more interested in making a good job in writing it than in seeing their work attributed. I know that I for one don't give a damn. Blinking Spirit 17:44, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Those are the usernames the respective people have chosen on those respective projects, no problem. Also no problem with forwarding the original proposal to the legal team, it's what I've been advocating for a couple of days now. That's obsolete now as far as I'm concerned (since the proposal has changed in the meanwhile), but if the legal team gives the previous version a green flag then all is well. --Gutza 17:49, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Wait, you don't see any problems with someone being attributed edits he or she has never made ? Let's be plainer : due to the "import" functionality, User2 is credited on en.wikt with edits User1 made to en.wp which have since been imported to en.wikt. So on the same project (en.wikt in this example), one user is credited with edits made by two different users. You're not concerned about that, but strongly object to the renaming such as described by WJBscribe (with whom I fully agree, by the way) ? I fail to see the logic in that. Would you care to clarify ? Blinking Spirit 18:00, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course -- I don't even need to clarify much, I'll quote the license proper (section 4, Modifications, letter I): "Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page." (underline mine) As you can see, perverse as it may seem, that's precisely what the license prescribes. I've said it before: I don't think that was the intention of the license, but that's what it currently says, so I don't think there's much we can do about it. --Gutza 18:19, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to say, contracts are rarely interpreted so as to give them a "perverse" meaning. I think you're giving the word preserve too rigid a meaning. In my hypothetical example - where I rename a user to a name that makes it clear what their name used to be - I am not convinced that I could be found to have failed to preserve the section Entitled "History". No information has been lost from that section (though the information that a contributor was later renamed has been added). WjBscribe 18:28, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Maybe I am indeed giving the word preserve too rigid a meaning -- but that's precisely why a lawyer has to decide if WMF can accept the previous version of the proposal. I am not a lawyer and I don't pretend to be one -- I'm only saying this is a legal matter, and as such it can't be decided by the community. --Gutza 18:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
And what of the point I raised ? "Add an item stating [...] new authors ..." except that in the example I gave, the history gives attribution to someone who is not, in fact, the author. Blinking Spirit 18:45, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
But of course it is. Even in real life there are duplicate full names -- when you switch to usernames for attribution I expect it's unavoidable that name conflicts are more frequent. Remember, the license is intended to cover static documents (think a plain text file). In that case, the provisions make very much sense: preserve the History section without alteration and add to it; it doesn't specify what happens if your name is the same as another author's. --Gutza 18:48, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
"Of course it is" ? In this example, "Alice" (User2) is credited with edits made by "Zoe" (User1) on en.wikt. That seems to me a much bigger GFDL problem than renaming ! Blinking Spirit 19:21, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I'll elaborate. You're obviously correct in identifying that result as not being the desirable result -- I'm not denying that. However, you need to remember that it was User1 and User2 (those persons) who have voluntarily chosen their respective usernames on those respective projects. They were not forced to choose the name "Alice" or "Zoe" on either project, they themselves chose them; they themselves chose to be identified as both Alice and Zoe independently. As far as the GNU FDL license is concerned, everything's perfectly ok. Think about it like this: the text in these projects can be used in any manner or form -- including plain text. When I get credited as "Gutza" I get no guarantee whatsoever that no other person will choose to be identified as "Gutza" while they create derivative works of some article I contributed in. Imagine an article I contributed in being distributed as a plain text file properly formatted according to GFDL (invariant sections, History section, proper license notice, the whole deal). Now, when another guy (or why not, even gal) identifying themselves as "Gutza" adds their name to the History section, confusion ensues -- but that's perfectly ok, both of us have chosen to be identified by this designation, it was our choice to do so. Your concern is probably related to the HTML link automatically generated by the MediaWiki software in the history, which now points to the wrong user page -- while certainly undesirable, that's a side effect particular to the MediaWiki software, but it is in perfect accord with the license (and, of course, the license supersedes any technical specifics). --Gutza 19:36, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think this is "perfectly ok". The GFDL says one should be able to attribute the content to the author. In your example, the resulting derivative work fails to comply this rule. Whether it is because the text format loses information or because one author purposely chose a misleading name is not the main concern. It the responsibility of the second one to chose an unambiguous formulation for the history file, like writing "Gutza (not to be mixed with the other one)". Independently from GFDL requirements, failing to state this clearly is usurpation in a legal meaning and you could sue that guy.
If two people with the name Gutza decide to collaborate to the same project (without identity theft), there is nothing stewards can do about it -- but there must exist a way to credit each of the two. This can be done by appending a short disambiguation sentence to one of the names in the history file. In the discussed case, renaming is just that: a disambiguation system. Jérôme 21:03, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected, it cannot be perfectly ok. I have reviewed the text of the license, and it prominently states in the very first paragraph that "Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others." Again, IANAL, but I'm positive this supersedes any technical fiddle-diddle which might breach this prominent declaration of intent while applying further technical details of the license to the letter. So, yes, I agree, the import feature is legal trouble as well. But I don't think that conclusion invalidates the legal trouble resulting from enforcing the previous version of this proposal. --Gutza 21:13, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I (now) think that there is no legal trouble at all in the previous version of the proposal, because renaming can be made a mere disambiguation system that does not interfere with the GFDL. However, such a rename operation could be considered unfair (which is not illegal, though, but not advisable for a project based on collaborative work), because the people to whom you sent the first address get wrong information about you when they connect on the internet. This could be repaired for example by creating disambiguation pages or templates for use in the user domain. Jérôme 22:17, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
If you had the curiosity to read the exchange with Geni I mentioned above, that was the sort of thing I was suggesting as well (allow usurpation as per the previous version of the proposal, but ensure that the usurper's user page and talk page carry a perpetual, prominent note stating "This account has been operated by user XYZ (usurped) until YYYY-MM-DD." Geni explained that the History section is inviolable no matter what. Personally I'd be very much open to reverting to my previous set of concerns (i.e. protecting the identity of the author vs. setting the History section in stone), something which would be resolved via a solution similar to the one described above. But again, we need a lawyer to explain the limits of what really is acceptable under the license. --Gutza 23:04, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
As we say in Romanian, "I tried the sea with my finger" and sent a letter to GNU explaining the dilemma -- maybe they'll be kind enough to answer. --Gutza 23:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Wording for point 2[edit]

I think point 2 has suffered the mutilation of a million cuts, it currently reads "A wiki is considered as having no active bureaucrats if there are no bureaucrats, or all bureaucrats have made no edits in the last 3 months. If a bureaucrat is active on another project, or is inactive entirely, usurpation will only be handled by stewards if the bureaucrat does not respond to an email request within a week." That's convoluted beyond any reasonable limit, can a native copyedit this to make it sound more... normal?

Also, there is the concern of which bureaucrat gets e-mailed, that's not clear at all (i.e. when there are three inactive bureaucrats, which one do you e-mail?) --Gutza 13:12, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

GFDL concerns 2[edit]

I think the raised concerned about GFDL violation vy just renaming the username should be solved by Experts opinion about copyrights licences .. would anybody who has contact channel with some wikimedia person especially if he is lawyer expert in copyrights to ask him for his opinion ?? --Chaos 21:39, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

  • The GFDL may be a legal show-stopper here: If the deleted edits were mirrored and not deleted from the mirror, and the post-usurpation edits under the same name are mirrored to the same mirror, it could cause major confusion. For example, suppose archive.org captured an article immediately after a vandal hit, then captured the same article after the usurper made an edit. To the common man, it appears as though the two edits are made by the same user. For this reason, usurpation should be allowed only if 1) there are no edits that were read by anyone mirroring, or 2) the previous editor consents, with the full knowledge that his edit history may be merged with the usurpers in the eyes of some mirrors. Davidwr 23:36, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

É só para burocratas?[edit]

Então isso não é para todos? Pelo que entendi isso é apenas para burocratas esclarecem isso na minha discussão e em português certo? HyperBroad 00:07, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO TAKE A DECISION???[edit]

Hi Everyone. I am Karibou in seven wikimedia projects. I made 300 contributions in the french wikipedia and 50 in the English one. But my SUL is blocked because one day, one guy did ONE contribution with my pseudo on the German wikipedia. Because of that I cannot get my SUL. So WHEN ARE WE GOING TO TAKE A DECISION ON THAT MATTER ? The blocking of my case is bureaucratic stupidity! And yes I am pissed off. Yours,--Karibou 17:21, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi. I'm not "pissed off" because the existence of the other account does not necessarily stop you from getting the global name, but still my case is similar, I have 2074 edits, most of them on Spanish wikipedia, and my Global account status could be In migration forever because of 1 edit made by someone on Romanian wikipedia. There should be some solution. Wadim 16:33, 30 July 2008 (UTC)


At the moment for this problem are only three solutions:
  1. the user is renamed because he has no contributions, his edit is vandalism or the project allows to rename someone with a minor edit(s)
  2. the user is renamed because he asks for it, after You contacted him and explained the problem to him (seemed to have worked for Karibou...)
  3. You chose another not yet taken name and get Your own accounts renamed.
The following does not help:
  1. shouting around
  2. 'pissing onself off' (pissing should be done on toilets)
  3. believing that usernames had been owned by oneself on all projects before sul was there and that usernames are unique and the people are so very evil to dare to register an account with of course intentinally the same name as oneself to just make one edit to block ones future sul account
Thanks, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 17:48, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
You are absolutely right, actually I would be happy to use Wadim87 instead of Wadim on Romanian Wikipedia (renaming all my accounts on other projects is not an option). But I can’t merge different usernames. Why not? This would be a good solution (not perfect, but good). This would even benefit Wadim from the Romanian wiki. In the future, if he becomes an active user, he maybe would like a SUL, but he won’t be able to get it without renaming his account... Wadim 19:19, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
"Single user login", what actually stands for "SUL" imho would be a contradiction to using different usernames, then it would not be a single user anymore, and how should the system know, which name to use when You go to a wiki where You have not been before... You could ask in #wikimedia-techconnect about it, though I doubt it would be implemented even if it was possible.
I don't understand why renaming Your accounts is not an option for You. You would only to have to rename these: [1]
ca.wikipedia.org	1
he.wikipedia.org	1
incubator.wikimedia.org	2
ja.wikipedia.org	2
meta.wikimedia.org	5
it.wikipedia.org	7
uk.wikipedia.org	13
commons.wikimedia.org	53
ru.wikipedia.org	79
en.wikipedia.org	100
es.wikipedia.org	1813
Does not look too bad to me, compared with what problems other people had and solved.
However, if You don't edit on ro.wiki, the account there should not worry You, You can use Your sul normally.
Best regards, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 19:38, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Soon it will be 2014. The lack of a solution to this problem is not becoming less facepalm-worthy as the years go by. On de:Special:Contributions/Soulkeeper, 9 of the edits are from "the other Soulkeeper" The rest of the edits are mine. Yet "the other Soulkeeper" gets credit for it all. In 2008 I didn't see how this could fulfill the licence, in 2010 I was none the wiser, in 2011 I still didn't get it, and today I'm still at the same place. Am I being a slow learner, or is it just dewiki that doesn't give a shit? Ah, I know, I know, I'm talking to myself. Happy krampus. - Soulkeeper (talk) 15:15, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Most of the imported edits seem to be simple things such as rolling back vandalism and inserting interwiki links. These contributions seem to be below the threshold of originality, so they do not require attribution. The only ones for which one could potentially claim that attribution is required are this and this, although those too are dubious. Have you seen Single User Login finalisation announcement and related pages such as w:WP:SUL/F and de:Hilfe:Single-User-Login/Finalisierung? --Stefan2 (talk) 16:27, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I'll check out the links. In your opinion, how many of "the other Soulkeeper"'s edits meet the threshold of originality? Do edits that have since been removed, count? How about talk page edits? - Soulkeeper (talk) 02:03, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
I found the SUL finalisation announcement slightly worrying. I don't want to change my username. OTOH, I have more than 50.000 edits on nowiki; Does that mean that it is technically impossible to change my username, or does this limitation even exist anymore? - Soulkeeper (talk) 02:22, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
SUL finalization has been postponed until an unknown date. I don't think it will happen soon. Stewards aren't ready for thousands of users to request things, and account merging does not exist. I recommend you ask on SRSUL about the other questions, as this page has been inactive for years (but feel free to continue discussing this proposal, of course). BTW SUL finalization would work in your favor: since you own the global account, the local dewiki account would be renamed to something like Soulkeeper~dewiki, and you would then own your account on all wikis. PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:28, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the info and reassurance. I feel much less frustrated now, even though I realize it may take a long time before I can contribute to dewiki without jumping through hoops. - Soulkeeper (talk) 22:43, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

@Soulkeeper: You should start a discussion on Forum or SN if you actually want this proposal to get attention. Meta is extremely inactive, and this is because nobody wants to come here. PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:06, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the info. - Soulkeeper (talk) 22:43, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Standard redirect[edit]

Perhaps would be useful a redirect to the local request page, under a stardard title, such as Project:Usurpation requests. --Nemo 09:49, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm adding redirects under the title Project:RENAME on some wiki. --Nemo 01:30, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
There was already such a redirect on pl.wiki and de.wiki... --Nemo 02:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Vote[edit]

No contributions on this discussion in over a month. Lets vote for the adaptation of the proposal as it is.

Support Support Snorre 02:09, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

You can't vote on legal matters. --Gutza 09:10, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
So, this proposal is legal now ? Great ! Thanks for the clearification. Snorre 08:50, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, my bad -- the current version doesn't seem to have any legal problem (IANAL though). However, it doesn't really change anything, hence the lack of interest from the community. The previous version discussed extensively in this talk page did have provisions which raised legal concerns, that's what I was referring to (but again, my bad). --Gutza 21:13, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

5.) user's response time[edit]

Usurpation is unhasty. So why only a week for an answer of the current user? I would set the deadline to a month or 2 months. There are people not using the computer every week, i.e. if they just are in holiday or so. --82.83.126.246 14:16, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Hello, the usurpation policy differs from wiki to wiki, some have two weeks, some less, some don't allow usurpation if the user has more than 0 edits. There is no global policy for this. Best regards, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 14:18, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Privacy[edit]

Why I should be emailing an unknown (thus giving him my email address and IP address in the mail headers) before doing an usurpation? - Bureaucrats are expected to stay active on wikis where they have the rights and therefore a single note on their talk page should be enough. If he does not respond to the note on his talk page, then stewards perform the rename. After all, is the wiki going to implode because a steward performed a rename if the 'crat is inactive? -- Dferg ☎ talk 15:29, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Moved to root level[edit]

I have moved this policy proposal to the root level. As it is a proposal for a global policy it should not be sitting subsidiary to the stewards' working area, it is broader than a direction to how stewards would operate under the policy.  — billinghurst sDrewth 02:46, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Rules of the local responds[edit]

I would like to ask the stewards about the current and planned rules for usurpation, how they handle the following issue.

  • A local user matches the conditions described under point 4.
  • (S)he answers the warning, and the answer is different than "I don't need the account".

Questions:

  1. Is there any consideration about the answer?
    1. Is it enough if the answer is "I need it. / I want it." or
    2. it should be convincingly explained why it is needed.
  2. We are talking about the case when there is a completely unused old local account and a frequently used global account (with the SUL). Is there sense in refusing this kind of usurpation request if in few months we will change these accounts to Name@localwiki or something similar in the frame of the SUL finalization? Wouldn't it be better if we would do this these requests already now? (From the view of the local account: receives a question if (s)he needed or not the account. Then (s)he answer I need. Then (s)he can keep it and is happy. Then few months later his/her account will be renamed. How this process looks like?)

Thank you for your suggestions, responds and sharing your views in advance. Samat (talk) 07:04, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

In any case when they tell us that they need it, we should ask them to choose a new username as their account will most likely (in the case of need even forcibly) be renamed. Otherwise, we should already usurp 0 edits accounts when the users do not need them. A random name should be feasible for that. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 09:00, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
If I understand your answer correctly: the request will be performed anyway, independently from the answer of the local account holder, but if (s)he answers, have the chance to choose a new account name, otherwise it will removed to a name chosen by the stewards. Is it correct? Samat (talk) 09:38, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Roles in the usurpation process[edit]

Policy says, "Stewards are allowed to usurp accounts on wikis without active bureaucrats." It means for me, that the usurpation process should be handled on local wikis with active bureaucrats. So the process is local according to the local policy (ideally not too far from the global one), then there is a decision about the request. What will happen then? Bureaucrats or even as the global renamers have no technical tool anymore to realize it. So they have to ask the stewards on Meta. Then stewards will only perform the local decision without any further consideration (according to the local policy), or they will use the global policy to decide about the request? And how the whole process fit to point 1? Samat (talk) 07:17, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

First, it's not a policy. (Is there any interest in making it one? I doubt.)
Second, all bureaucrats are "inactive" as regards RenameUser, effective September 15 (Single User Login finalisation announcement/RenameUser announcement). Hence I've simplified the text to clarify its current meaning.[2] --Nemo 08:59, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I know it. I didn't want to be a wikiloyer, but I would like to understand the conception for the process after 15th of September. In wikis where there is a local usurpation policy, will the process stay on the local page according to the local policy and then the stewards will perform the local decision? Samat (talk) 09:32, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I doubt that stewards will be able to get to know and effectuate all local usurpation policies (due to language issues and the huge number of different policies), a local page like CheckUser policy/Local policies and an awareness cannot be created within very few days, imho. Personally, I think that usurpation requests will be delayed by some time so that we can reach consensus how a global usurpation policy should look like or if the current one is sufficient enough. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 09:41, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not only about the local policies (it is the easier problem as most of them are available in English as these kind of requests come typically from other wikis). An other point we should take into account, that many of the local users can not speak English, and I don't think stewards could cover all the wiki languages or would be nice to force users communicating in English (will you understand the answers of the local users?). This won't change in weeks or months, and an Usurpation policy/Local policies page can not solve it. How long would we like to delay these requests? Samat (talk) 10:11, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Do you see problem in a process where the local bureaucrats handle these requests, and the stewards perform them (as a temporary solution)? Samat (talk) 10:25, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
No, I don't see problems in such process. Instead, I'd support that. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 11:13, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Some projects allow usurpation of accounts provided that the account holder is given some time to respond. For example, a user might ask, "May I usurp this account?" The local bureaucrat answers "Yes, but you must wait for a week or a month first." What happens if this waiting period ends after 14 September? --Stefan2 (talk) 09:47, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Usurpations will not happen when the target account has made contributions as long as there is no consensus on a global usurpation policy. People will have to deal with that, and I'm confident that they'll do. If you prefer some kind of waiting time, make a proposal for that here on the talk page. I'd appreciate that a lot as I cannot do that now due to SUL preparations on other places! Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 11:13, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Officially implementing the global rename policy[edit]

See Talk:Global_rename_policy#Usurpation. --Glaisher (talk) 05:21, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

In light of full globalisation …[edit]

In light of full globalisation this usurpation proposal is now well out of date, and does not reflect the current situation of accounts, and should not be sitting with a proposed policy label, especially after so many years. I have moved the page to being a RFC so the community can determine what should happen with it.  — billinghurst sDrewth 00:11, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

+1 - I agree the text is outdated. We should come up with something more "modern" and up to date. -- MarcoAurelio 17:53, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I made some changes to reflect status quo. --Steinsplitter (talk) 10:12, 1 August 2015 (UTC)