User talk:WMFOffice/Archives/2016

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Warning! Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created on 01 January 2016, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date. See current discussion or the archives index.

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Hello WMFOffice/Archives/2016, and welcome to the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki! This website is for coordinating and discussing all Wikimedia projects. You may find it useful to read our policy page. If you are interested in doing translations, visit Meta:Babylon. You can also leave a note on Meta:Babel or Wikimedia Forum (please read the instructions at the top of the page before posting there). Happy editing!

 :) - Ottava Rima (talk) 00:13, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Ban to Russavia ‎

Hello,

may I know, why user:Russavia, was banned from editing and contributing to WMF sites? From your edit summary you left on Commons, it is not clear. Thanks for answer.--Juandev (talk) 08:14, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but as a matter of policy, the Wikimedia Foundation does not comment on the reason for Global Bans, other than to say that the action was taken to protect the integrity and safety of the site and users. WMFOffice (talk) 08:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
As a matter of which policy?--Juandev (talk) 08:52, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
(sorry to intrude, but since i'm here) : WMF Global Ban Policy. DarkoNeko (talk) 09:48, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
This has been becoming an increasingly common practice. Place secret reason to supposedly protect the user, is when minimum absurd. --Wilfredor (talk) 13:50, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
What do you expect from an account named "WMFOffice"? Boilerplate replies, of course. It seems that we've a lot of bad users at Commons, given that two former admin were locked globally and one of them was blocked on a mailing list. Russavia must have been silly enough to provoke Jimbo and engage in something the WMF considers worth a global lock. Or the former is interpreted as the latter (which I even would agree with, given how Russavia behaved against Jimbo). Whatever... Makes me just sick to see people locked with whom I often times saw in IRC and who did a lot for the project for secret reasons. If WMF Global Ban Policy would have been cited and at least state who is carrying out decision about bans [this could be a link to a body or a group of people], I could decide whether I would trust these people. Sorry for my naive writing, most of the time I was interested in contents and not how the WMF is organized but it seems to become increasingly important to know. Puzzled -- Rillke (talk) 16:40, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

A plea for exercising measured, common sense: Extraordinary measures require extraordinary explanations. Clamming up behind the veil of "legal reasons" to "protect privacy" may work as a formula in the real world of corporations and financial dealings, but you -- the Foundation -- are alienating a lot of volunteers with these measures, and the way you use them without accounting to the community. Scott, all his warts and transgressions notwithstanding, has amassed 888 and a half thousands of edits, and has contributed without parallel to creating the vast collection of aviation media The Wikimedia Foundation is serving to the planet, both through his own actions as well as engineering the good will of a multitude of others. And he has done so over the course of years. This move will only hasten the exodus of graybeards still editing. I urge you to reconsider the way you do your banning, globally and in the hood. Respectfully, --Mareklug (talk) 16:33, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Russavia knows by whom he was globally banned, but I'll say it here as well. I signed the letter myself. In all things, the WMF tries very hard to be as open and transparent as possible. But there are times when - for the safety of users of this site - we simply must draw the line and ask that you either trust us or don't. This is one of those times. There is appropriate supervision to be sure that global bans do not get abused, and we have an extremely high standard that must be met before we authorize one. We ensure appropriate checks and balances - no one person can authorize a global ban, and there must be an okay from the legal team. My view is that it should be a tool that's used very rarely and with a great deal of care. But yes, to protect the safety and integrity of our site and its users, we will occasionally be forced to use it. And in those times, we will not talk about why. It's the only responsible way to handle this.
Believe it or not, there's a sensible reason behind our refusal to comment: we can execute global bans for a wide variety of things (see the Terms of Use for some examples - and no, "provoking Jimbo" is not on the list), some of which - including child protection issues - could be quite dangerous to openly divulge. Let's say we execute five global bans, and tell you the reason behind four of them. Well, the remaining one is pretty clearly for something "really bad", and open knowledge of that could endanger the user, their family, any potential law enforcement case, and could result in a quite real miscarriage of justice and/or someone being placed in real physical danger. So no, we - as with most internet companies - have a very strict policy that we do not comment publicly on the reason for global bans. It's a common sense policy and one that's followed by - and insisted upon - by almost every reasonable, responsible company that executes this type of action. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 04:40, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I for one am glad to see this particular action done. If the community is unable to relieve itself of a deeply problematic user, then it will be done for them. Tarc (talk) 21:12, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I personally don't believe. After the severe anti-community actions by the WMF in regard of the MediaViewer, where SuperPutsch was introduced in a similar manner as a nuclear weapon against the communities, this seems to be on the same level. The WMF has no trust any longer, it doesn't deserve any trust, because it has proven it's anti-community stance several times. This was another dictatorial measure taken in shady back-rooms by people on a power trip in the ivory tower of SF, that have lost all connection to their real employers, the communities. The WMF exists only because of the communities, you have to community-vet everything, or it's simply not legitimate.
Can you show me where this extreme measures were discussed in detail in all relevant communities beforehand? Without such discussions, this has absolutely no legitimation. --♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 21:16, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
You ask to trust you. But trust you on what? That the sky is blue? The above statement says absolutely nothing.
You can say something concrete without saying anything specific, but you chose not to. Examples of something concrete: "We received a request from law enforcement"; "The WMF was at imminent risk of legal action"; "We acted upon a complaint submitted by an user who reported breach of the terms of use"; "The breach of the terms of use happened on XYZ.wikABC.org"; etc. etc. --Nemo 21:55, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The only thing they could say is what they have said: "The user violated the terms of use". It is entirely irrelevant how this came to the WMF's attention and entirely irrelevant where it happened. WMF employ a team of highly qualified lawyers, it is more than reasonable that their advice is taken when it comes to what can and cannot be revealed publicly. As a user of WMF sites you have exactly three options: (1) comply with the terms of use, (2) voluntarily stop using the sites, (3) be involuntarily stopped from using the sites. Thryduulf (en.wikt,en.wp,commons) 22:47, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
But this is missing the point, that WMF is a service organisation, not directorial organisation.--Juandev (talk) 10:52, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Philippe. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 23:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

According to the WMF policy, there are only three circumstances in which the WMF can impose a global ban:

  1. Significant harassment of users on multiple Wikimedia projects
  2. Significant harassment outside of Wikimedia sites which constitute a genuine threat to the emotional or physical well-being of other users
  3. Other circumstances in which Wikimedia users or employees are placed in danger or have been significantly compromised or threatened

These may sound broad, but they are actually quite strict in laying out the conditions in which the WMF can act. I would contend that there is really only one very rigid criterion in which a WMF global ban is permitted — the user in question has engaged in activities that have placed the safety or well-being of one or more Wikimedian community members at serious risk.

Russavia was banned globally alongside three other users: Amorrow, Poetlister (who was already under a community imposed global ban), and Leucosticte (also known as Sarsaparilla). Although the WMF is under legal obligation to refrain from discussing any of these, there is little doubt as to why they decided to ban the other three users. I don't feel that Russavia's actions exhibit the same level of malice as those individuals have shown. With the information that is currently available to the general public, would the Wikimedia community by and large support a global ban for Russavia? Some would, and some wouldn't. I trust Philippe and the other members of the WMF that I am aware of, so I'll assume for the time being that this action was carried out in full accordance with the global ban policy, and not as a means of circumventing the Wikimedia community by removing someone they see as an overall liability based on publicly available information. If Russavia were banned for any reason other than the ones outlined above, it would constitute a very serious abuse of power. Kurtis (talk) 21:43, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

  • This talk page should be merged and redirected to User_talk:Philippe_(WMF) per its status quo antea and his recent statement on the Wikimedia_Forum. It's a technical account, almost the same idea as a bot account, only with more than one associated accountable human user, but sorting that out would be a part of his job.
  • it would constitute a very serious abuse of power is a hardcore weasel, unless you have a plan to figure it out. So far the to be renamed wannabe-"policy" supports does instead of would. See below. –Be..anyone (talk) 16:44, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Be..anyone (talk) 00:21, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
First off, I'm pretty sure my assessment of the hypothetical situation where Russavia was banned for non-permissible reasons does not constitute WP:WEASEL, at all. You may want to reread that page to get a better understanding of what weasel wording entails; it's the usage of collective language (e.g. "some people say", "critics suggest that", "it has been speculated", etc) to assert a specific point of view as having widespread support, and is particularly problematic if it is not fully borne out by the citations provided. I think my initial comment might have been a bit misleading as to where I stand on this (I've stricken "for the time being" in my above comment; it would take some pretty extraordinary evidence for me to be swayed into believing otherwise). My observation is simple: let's say that Russavia was banned by the WMF because he brought the whole movement into disrepute for his activities on en.wiki and Commons, rather than for specific offenses that cannot be discussed for privacy reasons. This would mean that the WMF has acted to circumvent the Wikimedia community by banning Russavia without any external input, all while using the guise of a WMF global ban to give the impression that it was for something more serious than anything we're aware of — in essence, a secret trial. They have the legal right to do as they please, given that Wikimedia is privately owned, but it would still be unethical. I'd be uncomfortable contributing to Wikipedia or any other Wikimedia site if this were the case. Like I said, I do trust Philippe and the rest of the WMF, and I strongly doubt they'd do something like that. Kurtis (talk) 07:01, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Okay, striking "weasel", the article doesn't mention anything remotely related to undecidable. Somebody with merge rights should really get rid of this page. –Be..anyone (talk) 16:44, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
@Be..anyone: For the record I would be against redirecting this talk page to Philippe's talk page or any specific persons talk page. As Philippe mentioned it is designed to ensure that actions are consolidated under one account instead of spread out amongst different staff members logs. As that hints at, it isn't just him who uses the account (in fact for the past 6 global bans most of the technical actions with the account have been done by me) and there are multiple others involved in the research and approvals part of the process. Because of that I don't think it would makes sense (and could be very confusing) to have this all sit on any one persons user discussion page (just like it doesn't make sense for him to be the only 'fall guy' despite him signing the letters that went out since, while he's the Director, others were involved). While I tend to think that here is as good a place as any for the discussion if people feel it should be somewhere else I think it would be better to think about where else that should be, for example the ban policy talk page (though not all actions taken by the account would necessarily be bans), the Office Action page (though the bans are separate from traditional office actions which generally target content) or the Wikimedia Forum. Jalexander--WMF 23:45, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, for the record. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:22, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
I just wanted to chime in a comment here about something I read above that Thryduulf wrote. Although I agree that the WMF has the authority to stop an editor from editing, they cannot stop people from using the site. There doesn't seem to be a strong consensus for the actions on commons from what I can see and most of the arguments against simply center around the Global lock imposed by the WMF. Additionally, in the case of Wikipedia, as long as the tagline is the Encyclopedia anyone can edit, there is an element of hypocrisy to the ridiculously high number of block and bans that are in place. I personally don't know what Russavia did to piss the WMF off, and don't need to, but I know some of the story between Russavia and Jimbo as well as the longstanding dislike the WMF has with commons and the ongoing struggles with working with the communities in general. Its very hard to simply "trust them" when they have done so much in the past to ensure there is no trust and that includes Jimbo whom I personally think should have his admin tools removed (especially since he never uses them anyway and no longer has the authority to act unilaterally on decisions). What is the appeal process for a WMF global lock? Is there one? Because quite frankly if anyone thinks that Russavia just quits editing they are kidding themselves. The best that can be hoped for is that he secretly creates a new username and hides, which personally I would rather he not do and shouldn't have to do. And I am also bothered by the volume of Global locks that has skyrocketed over the past 6 months. Reguyla (talk) 13:51, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

More dialogue, less drama

I'm not interested in the details of individual cases (which is why I am asking in a separate section). I fully understand why you haven't broadcast the reasons for any bans, but it is clear that bans have caused concern in some quieter corners of the Wikiverse, particularly as 6 of the 7 WMF bans have been in the last few weeks. In comparison, the community has banned one person ever, since the hallowed days of lore. Since the WMF bans are mean't to supplement the community bans, I think a lot of user concerns would be addressed if future bans involved some level of cooperation between WMFOffice and the stewards. Is there any possibility of this happening, ever never? Green Giant (talk) 19:37, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Without committing to any outcomes, process or timelines, I'm willing to explore such a possibility. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:22, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Without any explanation, and with regard of the massive loss of trust because of hostile actions against the communities by the WMF, you are in need of a lot of explanation to those people, that generate your income, i.e. the communities. Currently you behave like any dictator and proclaim to be a "Good Dictator", we should trust you, you know better than us unwashed masses. That's something from a completely different planet than the Wikiverse should work. You owe us explanations, it's your duty to explain to the communities, so that they understand and accept. ♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 17:33, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Philippe, thank you for your response. I think it is very encouraging that you are open to discussion. Green Giant (talk) 21:01, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Sanger, I have to disagree with the label. There was only ever one dictator on Wikimedia, Admiral-General James Wales, and for all his "purported failings", he was always open to new ideas and eventually ceded his absolute powers to the community. He could have carried on as the sole decision-maker, but today we have the Wikimedia Foundation, the stewards, sysops, bureaucrats, ArbComs, ombudspeople and endless community decisions. Certainly I don't think Philippe or the WMF Office are "dictators" or else they would have locked and blocked anyone who dared question them, as has happened on this talk page and elsewhere. If I'm wrong, I look forward to a long, quiet off-wiki exile :P Green Giant (talk) 21:01, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Global users and e-mail

I asked this over at the policy page, but perhaps it would have been better to direct it here. Wehn you have a moment, could someone here opine on Talk:WMF Global Ban Policy#Global bans and e-mail access? Tarc (talk) 19:45, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Solidpoop2

What is the main account of this user? See en:Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Solidpoop2--GZWDer (talk) 05:09, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. @Jalexander-WMF: can you evaluate and determine whether we can disclose the sockmaster in this case? Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:19, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Russavia sock block

FYI, a Commons admin undid your block of Commons:Special:Contributions/58.7.136.251. And he has switched IPs to Commons:Special:Contributions/106.69.128.124 --B (talk) 18:21, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Some baklava for you!

many globally locked/banned accounts without indication for that on the user pages

Hello, there is a big gap between the number of accounts (this is only a part of them) that have been blocked by this account and the low number of user pages in the Category:Wikimedians banned by the WMF. So, if there are no global user pages for these accounts or if there are user pages which seem to be normal ones without such a template {{WMF-legal banned user}}, then the ban isn't shown on the user pages in other wikis, where there doesn't exist user pages yet. It would be better, if with every such block, the block would also be shown on the global user page. I think, this is the duty of those employees who also blocked those accounts and it shouldn't be left to normal users to pick up after WMF staff. So, could you please look after that category yourself and set the templates onto the other global user pages, where there exist Meta accounts? These are really too many blocked users which aren't shown as such. And as I see now, there are WMF-banned and WMF-locked users every single day now. Why isn't there any indication for that on non-existing user pages like this one? Also here and here: nothing. And isn't it possible to show these global lock entries on those pages technically, if there isn't such a template? If accounts are blocked locally, then there are always shown the actual block entries on the non-existing user pages, so no templates are necessary. Regards --Winternacht (talk) 15:43, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Wow, that is a huge list and I noticed that almost all of them are from December 2014 to current. Maybe this is a policy change that happened but it seems odd that in since the WMF started in 2002 to current the "WMF office" only say fit to block a handful of people but this year its over 1000. Seems like something is going on that might be worth at least some kind of explanation to the community. Reguyla (talk) 17:06, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Those are confirmed socks of the same (small) set of users. A couple of them are quite prolific sockmasters. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:32, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Its interesting that we went from having 5 blocked accounts in 10 years to over 1000 in a period of a couple months. This is a bit of a disturbing trend considering, I assume, not every account these folks used is a WMF block. Reguyla (talk) 17:36, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Global block

Hello, I received this not long ago:
The block was made by WMFOffice (meta.wikimedia.org). The reason given is Long-term abuse.

Start of block: 05:16, 12 July 2015
Expiry of block: 05:16, 12 October 2015
Your current IP address is 121.215.19.228. Please include all above details in any queries you make.

I emailed you just a bit ago to try and resolve this. This has happened to me before with cross-wiki vandalism and User:Matanya came to the conclusion that my "ISP ignores requests for stopping vandalism within its network" [2]. I have never done anything malicious on any wiki, and this global block has totally thrown me off and confused me big time. What is the problem and what can be done? DaHuzyBru (talk) 17:57, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Check out IP block exempt, and if that helps please say so here. –Be..anyone (talk) 07:30, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

User:NDTA48

Hi. This is a secondary account used by me locked erroneously. Although I edit and upload the same files as Russavia in Commons, I am not related to he. Can be verified reviewing the global account information (created in 2010 in spanish Wikipedia), the talk page in esWiki is redirected to my talk page since 2013. You can make a check with the CheckUser tool if you wish to verify that what I say is true. Regards --Helmy oved 15:13, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Working with banned users

Hi, can you tell me if I should consider spending any time investigating this request or not? I do not wish to take any risk of getting globally banned in the light of threats from a WMF employee earlier this year against the Commons community to ban anyone that might be seen to be acting on behalf of WMF Office banned users. Thanks -- (talk) 16:09, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

As 7 days has passed with silence, I will take that as a "formal" enough statement that there will be no comeback from the WMF, such as threats to block my account, if I work collegiately and openly with this anonymous user. Thanks -- (talk) 17:43, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
@:, I’m a little surprised with how you’re asking, and I frankly find your ‘seven days with no response means assent’ to be an unusual position from which to try and end a consultation such as this.  It makes me wonder if this ‘consultation’ isn’t just pro-forma because I believe that you know the answer.  It isn’t that difficult to figure out. We have no desire to sanction innocent users who unknowing assist a banned user and tend to lean strongly towards assuming good faith and barring evidence to the contrary assume they are innocent. I must admit, however, that it strains credibility to me to believe that you are not fairly confident (if not 100% sure) that the IP who made that comment is a globally banned user. You are more then welcome to look through the old uploads of that user to try and fill gaps on your own accord for the benefit of the project but doing so on their behalf and with their guidance is definitely cutting it a little close, potentially laying you at risk for accusations of meat puppetry for a banned user and I would strongly recommend against it because it could indeed lead to sanctions, if not from the WMF then from the editing community. I don't, of course, expect to take action on anything you've already done today in this regards (if anything, I've not looked) but hope that you keep it in mind. Personally I find it disappointing that the banned user in question would put you personally at risk by asking so directly and publicly.
Also, for the record, as I've told you in the past a note to one of us personally (either on our talk pages or by email) would be useful instead of just leaving a comment on the talk page of a role account. A role account can not make a comment about policy or expectations, someone like Maggie, Kalliope or myself can. Jalexander--WMF 06:24, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Looking at the IP's edits and geolocation, it seems that this is an Italian editor. Do we have an Italian that is WMF globally banned? Pokéfan95 (talk) 07:37, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
All WMF globally banned users are publicly listed here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Global_Ban_Policy Kalliope (WMF) (talk) 08:21, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Hi @Jalexander-WMF:. Reading your reply carefully:

  1. You have accused me in bad faith of knowing whether this anonymous account is a banned user not. I came here because I have no tools to investigate IP addresses, and it's not my job to hunt down sock IPs being used by banned users. I have no idea whether the different IP addresses used to make the request on my page were used by someone who rarely contributes to Commons or were from a banned user. It looked suspicious to me, that's why I asked you for advice first rather than wasting my volunteer time investigating possible upload projects. If you look at my talk page history you can see that various IP addresses do pop up and there is no reason to automatically believe they are all globally banned users.
  2. The IP addresses made no other contributions to Commons, so I have no idea how I am supposed to "fill in the gaps" from there.
  3. You have stated on behalf of the WMF that I would not be sanctioned if I were an "innocent user", but then you have proceeded to slam me with accusations, obviously making me not an innocent user. I have to take this as a threat to block my account were I to take action to work on the proposed uploads.
  4. You have implied that the IP addresses were used by a globally banned user, but those IP addresses remain unblocked.

For the record, the IP addresses were 87.5.73.94, 87.14.24.117, 80.116.115.162. These IP addresses made no other contributions to Commons, apart from the request on my talk page.

Could I have a straight forward answer please, without unpleasant bad faith snide allegations. Is this a banned user and will I be at any risk of being blocked by the WMF if I look at the upload sources? - Maggie or Kalliope would you care to reply if James finds me personally objectionable, his allegations here make it look that way?

P.S. Were I to attempt to "Fill in the Gaps", after a couple minutes of looking at the categories, I would conclude that this is not a banned user. The categories being suggested might actually be from someone who was interested in Japanese artworks in the past, and could be someone who chipped in on some multi-language uploads of artworks I made two or three years ago and was not very confident with their English. This could also be someone who has seen my work with GLAMs elsewhere and might have been suggested to talk to me about uploads by their local chapter contacts, this happened recently with someone from Italy who set up a new account for that purpose, which might explain why Pokéfan95 has deduced these are IPs geolocated in Italy. However as the WMF has chosen to make general threats of banning anyone who works with banned users who in their judgement is not doing so "innocently", I think it entirely fair that I seek clarification before doing anything ever again for anonymous users or new single purpose accounts. I certainly take your threats seriously and consider them harmful to the goals of the project.

Thanks -- (talk) 08:44, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Hi @:, I've taken a look at that IP address and the request and I don't think this is a WMF globally banned user. However, I could be wrong; perhaps somebody with more experience than me can throw in their 2¢. If you come across such requests in the future and are unsure, you can certainly ask for help in finding out more information that can help you decide whether to act on it or not. If none is available, you also have the choice of not acting on it. I don't think anybody will bite your head off if you chose to stay on the safe side by not handling requests you can not clearly determine whether they come from legitimate users or IP socks of globally banned users. Your volunteering time can be spent in numerous alternative ways that help further the project. My 2-good-faith-¢. Kalliope (WMF) (talk) 13:00, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply, however you have made the same one-way statement that James did above. Basically the WMF reserves the right to presume in bad faith that I'm choosing to work with banned users if you ever discover that someone with a request like this turned out to be a banned user. You are making it impossible for anyone to work with any new account or respond in any way to an anonymous IP request without being blighted by these serious threats of irrevocable bans. It's a paranoid approach and puts me at constant personal risk of an unappealable global ban with no evidence that I have ever done anything wrong just from replying to someone or offering to help a newbie account.
If you cannot demonstrate that the request is from a banned user, then please state clearly and unambiguously that it is okay for me to consider the upload request and that the WMF will not later block my account for doing so. I came here in good faith and I am disappointed to get disrespectful responses and political cagey replies that indefinitely stop me from helping others on Commons with my uploading experience and skills. If I don't get a clear reply I shall go to the Administrators noticeboard and ask for my user talk page to be indefinitely protected from IP edits as no IP contributor can be considered welcome by the WMF on their websites. -- (talk) 14:06, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

IgorSokol

In the light of the above position of bad-faith adopted by the WMF with regard to whether IP users can be safely worked with, I am concerned that the account IgorSokol, that requested a number of images from the Cranack archive were uploaded without watermarks, may be assessed as a long term sock puppet account for a banned user. Could the WMF please confirm that my collegiate volunteer work here (from March 2016 to the current time) will not be used by the WMF in the future as evidence to sanction my account? If this cannot be assured, then I shall ask this user to refrain from making any future requests. @Mdennis (WMF) and Kalliope (WMF): Thanks -- (talk) 11:17, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

There is some slight problem with the IgorSokol edits. Igor only seems to appear with image download requests on other user discussion pages. The files he wants to be downloaded from 3rd party sources and afterwards uploaded to commons are often from websites, that have technical barriers or watermarks in order to prevent their pictures to be downloaded and re-used. Most if not all of his requests are painting reproductions, but the files are often so hi res, that three-dimensional details (color bulbs, paint edges, wood/board edges) are clearly visible, which IMHO goes far beyond a 2D reproduction of two-dimensional objects. Instead we have photos of three-dimensional objects from kinda copyright-protected websites, often containing watermarks and other artefacts, not obviously suitable for commons. Maybe the blurred copyvio line, that has come close, drives Igor to ask others for the pictures instead of uploading them by himself? Further discussion about Igors picture requests appreciated. Bugglebuzz (talk) 13:33, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
, unfortunately, we are simply not able to pre-approve your actions or to guarantee you immunity for your decisions on our sites. For instance, if another contributor asks you to upload an image that violates copyright, and you do so, you may be held accountable legally by the copyright owner and we may be legally required to notify you of the accusation of infringement and potentially to take action to terminate your access if such violations are repeated. The Wikimedia Foundation is an online service provider, not a publisher, and your actions on our sites are your legal responsibility under the laws of the United States of America and other applicable laws (which may include the laws where you live or where you view or edit content). Bugglebuzz seems to raise some concerns in that direction; probably a good idea to explore those in an appropriate forum on Commons. In terms of whether action would be taken against you for facilitating access by a banned user, users will not be sanctioned for innocently doing so. If it were discovered that you were assisting a banned editor, you would be asked to stop, but sanctioned only if strongly credible evidence existed that you were aware of what you were doing. Your verbiage here confuses me a bit - I'm not sure we're using the same definition of bad faith - "Basically the WMF reserves the right to presume in bad faith that I'm choosing to work with banned users if you ever discover that someone with a request like this turned out to be a banned user." As I understand it, "bad faith" is not the opposite of the assumption of good faith, but refers to deceptive practices and professional malfeasance. So I'm unsure if you're suggesting that we will lie about your choice/knowledge or presume that you are lying about your choice/knowledge. In either case, I certainly have no intention to lie or assume you are lying; I rather hope you will use your best judgment to avoid this and if it happens we will not presume that you were intentionally acting on behalf of a banned user without evidence. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:45, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF): I'll unbundle what you've said there, different things are getting conflated and raise entirely separate questions:
  1. Copyright - As you may expect from your knowledge of my long term projects and personal experience, I'm confident on copyright and know what I'm up to. My original request here has absolutely nothing to do with copyright and nothing to do with claiming "immunity" for copyright; so this is a tangent. If WMF employees want to ever raise a concern about copyright on any of my 1,800,000 uploaded files, you can ask about them on Commons or email me if there is some confidential reason to do so. I know exactly what the copyright situation is on the Cranach archives and have privately discussed the situation with copyright in Germany for these archives with Commonsists who are our on-project established experts for Germany. I have no intention of spending time analysing this, unless a realistic case to do so is put to me on Wikimedia Commons - I'm actually quite disturbed that you are letting the ridiculously blatant sockpuppet account that popped into existence here direct your actions and take this thread on an unhelpful tangent, as assisting sock puppets of banned users is *precisely* the sort of action that WMF employees are threatening to block volunteer Commonsists for, unless they can prove their "innocence". As far as I know, no account has ever been blocked by WMF Office action because of copyright problems on Wikimedia Commons, this is easily handled by existing project policies and procedures. The definition at WMF Global Ban Policy makes no mention of copyright, and your statement we may be legally required to notify you of the accusation of infringement and potentially to take action to terminate your access if such violations are repeated makes no sense, as quite obviously this would blatently fail to meet c:Commons:Licensing and the account would be rapidly blocked by Commons administrators.
    • Question: Could you confirm that you have no intention of using the WMFOffice account to start blocking Wikimedia Commons uploaders for copyright violations? If this ever happens, then the WMF Global Ban Policy will have to be changed so that "A WMF global ban is an extraordinary action that only supplements, without replacing, the community global ban process" is removed.
  2. WMF bad faith - I have made no assertion about your personal good faith or bad faith, however above when Jalexander-WMF was officially writing on behalf of the WMF, he stated "I must admit, however, that it strains credibility to me to believe that you are not fairly confident (if not 100% sure) that the IP who made that comment is a globally banned user." This was blatantly a bad faith presumption. I know nothing about the IP accounts that made a request on my talk page, and I am left in absolutely no doubt that if Jalexander could piece together a rationale to ban my account, he would use these types of bad faith presumptions to do so. That is worrying, and there are many highly active Wikimedia Commons contributors that should be worried when someone with authority over the unappealable WMF ban button makes these public statements, it gives a realistic insight to how WMF judgement works behind the scenes.
  3. Way forward - Based on the extended discussion here, I am left in no doubt that the threats by WMF employees to block volunteer Wikimedia project contributors unless they can always prove they are "innocent" is a real one. Until you are prepared to improve your policies for handling WMF banned users, I have to come back here and alert you every time I receive a new request for help from anyone that is anonymous or a potential sockpuppet, such as IgorSokol. At least this way I will not be in a constant catch-22 of having to prove a negative, and there is then a burden on the WMF rather than myself to invest sufficient WMF employee staff time to alert me in writing if you have any concern or just want to make unpleasant false allegations as per Jalexander so that I drop upload projects rather than wasting my time. The alternative is to abandon assisting any project where anonymous users in any way make recommendations or influence my actions.
Thanks for your reply. -- (talk) 13:44, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

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Hello, .

  • I realize you may have had a more narrow meaning in mind with your question "Could the WMF please confirm that my collegiate volunteer work here (from March 2016 to the current time) will not be used by the WMF in the future as evidence to sanction my account?" but I felt to avoid misleading you and others who may read this that I needed to respond fully to your question. We cannot confirm such a thing regarding your contributions to the projects. It is more assurance than we can give.
  • Your note about requiring people to prove their innocence seems quite at odds to what has been repeatedly said here, including by me. Can you please link to a threat by a WMF employee to block volunteers who cannot always prove they are innocent? I'd like to be sure that's clarified.
  • As the WMF Global ban policy indicates, "Pursuant to our Terms of Use, Wikimedia Foundation global bans are carried out by the Wikimedia Foundation to address multi-project misconduct, to help ensure the trust and safety of the users of all Wikimedia sites, or to assist in preventing prohibited behavior that interferes with contributions and dialogue." Our wmf:Terms of Use indicate, " Pursuant to the DMCA, we will terminate, in appropriate circumstances, users and account holders of our system and network who are repeat infringers." It is a requirement of OCILLA. I am unaware of our ever having had to terminate access for copyright reasons, due in large part to the proactiveness of Wikimedians on Commons and other projects.
  • My clarification of "bad faith" has to do with this statement: "Basically the WMF reserves the right to presume in bad faith that I'm choosing to work with banned users if you ever discover that someone with a request like this turned out to be a banned user. " James's statement of strained credibility is not a reservation of right to presume anything with regards to future actions either on his behalf or the WMF's behalf. In any event, I hope that my response has reinforced his note that "We have no desire to sanction innocent users who unknowing assist a banned user and tend to lean strongly towards assuming good faith and barring evidence to the contrary assume they are innocent." We neither intend to deceive nor to anticipate deception. That doesn't mean people won't try to deceive us, alas, and that we don't need to be aware of that. We have already dealt with substantial deception and attempts to deceive from globally banned users, and I know as an experienced administrator that you've encountered plenty of it yourself from locally blocked and banned users. Meatpuppetry happens.

--Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:12, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

    • No, this doesn't reassure anyone about anything. Nemo 09:38, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
      • I'm sorry you feel that way, Nemo. :/ That said, my goal is to honestly disclose our position - which sometimes may not be reassuring. We cannot provide blanket approval for people's actions; this is true. We may be required to block people for copyright violations; this is true. While we will not lock accounts without evidence, we may indeed lock accounts of people who proxy for WMF globally banned users. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:35, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
        • User:Fæ: About copyright, note that the law requires the Wikimedia Foundation to globally ban users who repeatedly violate copyright: s:United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 5/Section 512#(i) Conditions for Eligibility. I think that this would be the case if multiple takedown notices are sent for your files, unless valid counternotices are sent for those takedown notices. A takedown notice could pop up out of nowhere. --Stefan2 (talk) 12:51, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
          • Sure, but reasonableness applies, it's even written into the law. If the actions are in good faith but result in several valid take down notices, for example my uploads from the DoD or MoD where we should be able to presume that the government agency have paid reasonable attention to copyright, then no, I don't see how the WMF could justify WMF Office locking my account even though in a bureaucratic sense I have been subject to multiple take down notices. If you do a little research you will find that there have been a few DMCA applications for my uploads, and some have resulted in deletions. Some of those cases have been researched and appealed by WMF legal, others caused Wikimedia Commons to look again at the reliability of what are publicly thought to be highly reliable sources. Mistakes happen, in one case I worked directly with WMF legal to adapt over 10,000 images to comply with a complex DMCA notice, without actually needing to delete the images. Nobody is suggesting that I should be blocked as a repeat copyright violator when everyone should be able to see that I take every reasonable step to confirm copyright status, as required by the law in the many countries I upload from, reside in and in the USA where they are hosted. -- (talk) 13:23, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
            • Sure, but the law also says that the service provider needs to inform its users about the policy in 17 U.S.C. § 512 (i) (1) (A). I guess that's what happened above: you asked some questions, and the 'service provider' (WMF) may have thought that this may be a situation where it is required to inform you about the policy. If a service provider constantly is required to inform its users about legal stuff, then I guess that it may sound as if the service provider is evil, but this does not necessarily mean that the service provider actually is or wants to be evil. Note that there is a w:WP:WALLOFTEXT on this page, and I haven't read everything. --Stefan2 (talk) 21:37, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF): In respect of your other statements, which includes some new material, I shall reply using the breakdown I used above, rather than continuing to conflate issues as seems to have been the intention of the "Bugglebuzz" sockpuppet account.
  1. Copyright - Your statement "We cannot confirm such a thing regarding your contributions to the projects." is not a clarification, but I will cherry pick "I am unaware of our ever having had to terminate access for copyright reasons, due in large part to the proactiveness of Wikimedians on Commons and other projects" which at least does not contradict the WMF Global ban policy position of "A WMF global ban is an extraordinary action that only supplements, without replacing, the community global ban process". Consequently both logically and legally I can state with certainty that the WMF will not take any action on my account with regard to the copyright of my uploads unless and until the relevant community processes of Commons Licensing and the community global ban process are exhausted. As this reading is now entirely based on WMF policy and your statements, this seems a reliable foundation and we can park the copyright tangent generated above, as no action or new useful understanding can come of it.
  2. WMF bad faith - It is entirely clear that bad faith statements have been made on this page by WMF employees with regard to whether I am an "innocent" user. No evidence has been presented by the WMF with regard to my prior knowledge of whether the IP addresses I flagged here in good faith, or the IgorSokol account, were known by me to be WMF banned users. The fact is that I believe the opposite. I was attempting to follow recommendations already made by WMF employees on how Wikimedia Commons volunteers should behave to avoid being at risk of WMF Office blocks resulting from allegations or evidence of working with banned users in full knowledge that they are doing so. Instead of help, I was subject to allegations and slapped away. As a result, we now have had a long and negative debate over what the WMF's position is.
It is deeply disturbing that WMF policies for global bans, now hinge on an assessment of whether unpaid volunteers are "innocent", with no clarity as to what "innocent" means. Certainly from the text written by Jalexander above, there are WMF employees that take a default assumption that I cannot be an "innocent user" and are therefore actively looking for reasons to prove that, and expect me to have to demonstrate otherwise.
If your statement "we may indeed lock accounts of people who proxy for WMF globally banned users" is your position, then there need to be fair and clear procedures that WMF employees follow for the Wikimedia community to be assured of some natural justice when we see users have their accounts WMF blocked, where there is no chance of appeal and the WMF's default position is that evidence is not published and questions about the blocks are ignored forever. Further, as has been said many times, the process needs to have external governance, so that the prejudices and personal views of WMF employees do not outweigh the facts of evidence, or introduce an unfair bias to how the evidence is analysed or interpreted. When bad faith allegations are made by WMF employees without any evidence, and where evidence is impossible to provide as the allegations rely on what is presumed to be in someone's head, then the WMF policy is not in a mature state where volunteers may feel it is applied consistently, reliably and in a way that would meet external scrutiny for its ethical application.
In short, if WMF employees can and do make bad faith allegations about the "innocence" of unpaid volunteers, then you should expect unpaid volunteers to take a position of presuming they will receive bad faith allegations, regardless of different WMF employees stating that they presume good faith and because they said so, that's how volunteers must see the WMF.
Personally, what I take away is that I should ping you in future requests of this sort and I take every effort to avoid Jalexander, as he appears to have a personal problem with replying to me, and is likely to take anything I write as a meat puppet request from Russavia.
  1. Way forward - What has been written here is not reassuring. If you want to make this better, then you need to find a more open way of working with global stewards, getting some credible governance in place. The fact that WMF banned users or their attorney may never get to see the evidence that they were banned on is disturbing, especially in a process where nobody external to the WMF ever gets to assess the evidence. Considering that WMF banned users often have their banned account linked to their legal identity, and that these bans are interpreted as being for actions as bad as criminal harassment or promoting paedophile material, the priority for improvement should be better governance, increased transparency, and the ability for potentially wrongfully accused users to be able to challenge evidence and be allowed to appeal. Without these basic changes, I don't see how any long term volunteer can feel safe from Joe job attacks or ill judged or obsessive secret allegations of malfeasance.
Thanks -- (talk) 13:23, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi, Fae. I don't have a lot of time, but I want to respond in a timely fashion. With respect to copyright issues, as per our Terms of Use, we will lock for copyright if and when the law requires that we do. Our WMF global ban policy supplements the global ban policy, but that doesn't mean that the global ban policy must be exercised first. There are legal responsibilities we have to uphold, when required.
In terms of "innocence," language, alas, sometimes fails us. (I'm afraid you are still using "bad faith" in a way that I cannot clearly follow. In my understanding of the term, "bad faith statements" are deceptive ones. Bad faith also refers to professional malfeasance, but I'm not able to apply that to statements, per se.) WP:AGF refers to the requirement that we assume people are acting with honest intentions. Bad faith intentions are dishonest intentions. A user may be acting in bad faith if she says, "I was not canvassed" when she was. Or if he deliberately adds falsehoods to an article or slants it to his own benefit.) I'll clarify that what I mean by the term in this context is "without awareness that the user was banned and that they were prohibited from facilitating access by banned users." I'll also note that even where somebody's credibility is strained, accounts are not locked without evidence.
As I mentioned in our email exchange on this subject last month, we do have procedures - and there is oversight, albeit from other staff. Before action, an investigation goes through multiple rounds of review. The investigator presents the case to the Manager of Trust & Safety, who must sign off on recommendations before presenting it to the Director of Support and Safety. If action is recommended and the Director of Support and Safety agrees, the investigation is then promoted to the Senior Director of Community Engagement. (Currently, I am serving both roles, but this is only meant to be temporary - we hope to have a permanent person in the seat by the end of the year.) From there, if the DCE approves, evidence and recommendations are presented to the General Counsel (or his delegated legal staff) and the Executive Director as well as, on occasion, other executive staff. It does seem like we should clarify those processes on Meta.
I reiterate also that striking a balance between the needs of accused parties to see the evidence against them (and appeal bans) and the rights of reporters to be able to confidentially report user problems is difficult. Protecting complainants who may have a demonstrated, strong reason to fear reprisal is important to me personally and to others on the team and at the WMF. We are not a court of law that can provide protection to complainants. We can't offer witness protection programs or guards or lock up offenders to keep them from retaliating. It is our obligation to provide people with a safe venue to voice their concerns and to protect them.
That said, we are continuing to investigate how other sites handle such issues and joining in wider conversations about them to be sure that we're aware of emerging practices. These issues are a growing concern on the internet, and we want to be sure that we get the balance right. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:56, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
This answer seems written with an automatic generator of content-less WMF replies... AGF exists, no need for red links. (Acting in) "Bad faith" is often used to mean the opposite of (acting under) AGF. Nemo 05:33, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
To add to Maggie here we have indeed been investigating and talking with other sites about their process and will continue to do so. So far we've found that we're one of the most transparent (if not THE most transparent) in how we ban people and why. I have yet to find a major website that allows general appeals for even much smaller ban levels (the equivalent of a local vandalism block), and they do it with a lot less investigation and evidence since as a private website they feel the burden of proof is incredibly low. We work to be as transparent as possible and are still looking for ways to do that including, as I've told you before, talking with the Stewards about every global ban now (usually before they're implemented).
I do, however, want to respond to your concerns that I'm not being responsive enough or assuming bad faith on your behalf as as default. If you feel I should have been more responsive here, I apologize. Looking back I'm still unsure if that was necessary because I knew you were talking to both Kalliope (who reports to me and keeps me updated on conversations) and Maggie. I was not, and am not, sure me coming back here would have added much to the conversation other than taking up both of our time. As Maggie said above to Nemo, sometimes our answer will not be the one that makes people feel better.
Regarding the assumption of bad faith I do want to assure you that I know you've done a lot of great work for the projects and I really respect that work. The majority of people who disagree with us on the actions against Russavia (or any other WMF Banned User) have been very clearly acting in good faith the entire time. I will not, however, retract my statement that I felt the specific question you were asking me strained credibility. That was, indeed, a belief that you were asking a question you already knew the answer to. That was about that specific case, however, not something about you (as a person or an account) in general. While it obviously takes into account what I know about you overall (you're a smart man who I feel would be unlikely to not see certain things) I work very hard not to prejudge a request because of the past. I'm sorry if you felt that's how it came across, I (and all of us) will always work to try and be better but I also want to make sure we can be as honest and straightforward as possible. Because of that I can't promise that you, or anyone, will like our response each time. Jalexander--WMF 21:43, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
All this is rather ridiculous. Only one thing is needed: that contributions on the wikis be punished (or not) based on what they are (useful, not useful etc.), rather than on the supposed intent or the person behind them. Which, by the way, is the entire point of assume good faith. Nemo 05:33, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Lowpassing

Lowpassing (talk · contribs · logs · User rights · Number of edits: · Global account information · Email this user)
@Mdennis (WMF) and Kalliope (WMF):

A significant number of Deletion Requests on Commons were raised by this sock account which has been WMF Office locked today. Could the WMF please confirm that discussion in the requests and resolving the copyright issues by volunteers will be considered as good faith collegiate work, and not meatpuppetry for the banned user? The context of the Deletion Requests is the public domain release by the DoD of photographs released by the original photographers via the DoD image library and are now available to the public via DVIDS. As part of one of the discussions I have an official reply from a DVIDS representative confirming the public domain status of all hosted images. I took this initiative for my uploads to clarify the situation, with no discussion or collaboration either on-wiki or off-wiki with Lowpassing, as by then I had removed the DR notices from my Commons user talk page and was avoiding any interaction for fear that this might be interpreted as not acting in innocence, though as it turns out the WMF had already blocked the sock account.

  1. c:User:Fæ/email/DoD#DVIDS - email from DVIDS.
  2. ticket:2016052110008897 - original copy of email.
  3. Example DR, raised by Lowpassing.
  4. Commons contribution history for Lowpassing.

Thanks. -- (talk) 23:32, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

yep, crickets - it is very disappointing, when WMF reserves the right to "drop the hammer", and warn one and all, but can't be bothered to communicate with the community about its actions. a lot of frivolous deletion activity, maybe we should create a bot to close deletion discussions automatically by the globally locked in the spirit of vindictiveness. or a filter to prevent deletion nominations by "newbie socks" Slowking4 (talk) 01:43, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
@:, I apologize for the delay in responding. While part of that was how busy we were and the holiday in the US, a larger portion of that was that I wanted to carefully consider my response and talk to a couple others.
In regards to the particular request: If there are legitimate concerns then I anticipate that the Commons community can, as it always does, have that conversation with each other (on the deletion request or elsewhere) easily and without problem. I certainly know that the community always works to keep uploads legal and to correct issues as they come up. I would obviously anticipate that to continue.
In regards to your requests here in general: I must admit that reading this it feels strongly like you are asking either to try and make a point or to get immunity from us for something that you might do in the future. It certainly doesn’t soften that impression that you continue asking on the page of a role account rather than speaking to us at our own user pages, as I’ve repeatedly requested. I certainly admit that I'm not infallible and may be wrong on that, but I've stopped and thought about it carefully and for right now that's how your actions appear. We will not as a practice 'pre-confirm' to anyone that actions will not cause sanctions. Just as the projects do, we expect experienced volunteers to understand the policies and principles of the projects and to act accordingly..
The fact that I think you’re being pointy does not, however, mean that we're assuming bad faith in all of your actions. We are not looking for reasons to take action against you, or anyone else, and we lean strongly towards an assumption of good faith (and fair warning) before taking any actions. That's why those actions are so incredibly rare despite the frequent requests we receive from community, and I hope they continue to be so. We only anticipate taking action against users who are blatantly violating the terms of use and assisting banned users either because they are taking actions which have been made adamantly clear are not allowed (and it's clear they would know that) or because they have been made aware, separately, that their actions are not ok. If we see people attempting to game the system, then of course we'll call them out for it and that could then become the subject of sanctions if they continue. We do not, however, want people getting stuck in some arcane rule they didn't know about. Jalexander--WMF 00:14, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I understand that you have a personal problem with me. You have evaded my direct question, and instead make thinly veiled threats in bad faith. It is nasty and bullying. This is why you were not pinged here. Can somebody less angry from the WMF give me a real reply please? Thanks -- (talk) 00:40, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
"We will not as a practice 'pre-confirm' to anyone that actions will not cause sanctions", too bad that you've already pre-confirmed that any action may cause sanctions. And please don't say "Just as the projects do": the projects are not totally arbitrary and work under AGF, see above. Nemo 06:07, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Lhmartin

Lhmartin (talk · contribs · logs · User rights · Number of edits: · Global account information · Email this user)

The same question applies for the single purpose and recently created account Lhmartin, which has no block history. Thanks -- (talk) 15:27, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Archiving on this page possible?

Would WMF mind if we put some archiving into place on this page? It will make patrolling of this page somewhat easier, move components to an archive with a raised level of protection, and allow more open access without the heavier and less tunable hand of protection. Thanks.  — billinghurst sDrewth 01:15, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Following an IRC discussion with Jalexander-WMF it was agreed that this page could be archived. Please also note that this page is set to only be editable by bots and administrators.  — billinghurst sDrewth 03:03, 26 February 2017 (UTC)