Wikiversity:Nominations for checkuser/JWSchmidt

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Note: Checkuser access was given to User:SB_Johnny and User:JWSchmidt on September 11 2007. You can request checkuser actions at Wikiversity:Requests for CheckUser.

JWSchmidt (Talk) – Blocks • Deletes • Imports • Moves • Protects • Contribs[edit]

I nominate JWSchmidt for Checkuser as well. He is one of our most active contributors and custodians, and is here almost every day for long periods of time when he can be available for situations where use of the tool becomes necessary. Unlike me, he is also an administrator on en.Wikipedia, and so will be able to search for deleted edits attributed to any given IP (this is something I generally do on both Commons and Wikiversity after getting a positive CU result on wikibooks, since it can help establish editing patterns). Finally, JWSchmidt is among those Wikimedians who are somewhat wary of the Checkuser tool, and would be very conservative in its use here (as should all Checkusers be conservative).

Just a note that JWSchmidt and others had earlier voiced a preference that our checkusers be experienced checkusers from other projects. I'd like to point out that this really isn't necessary: the tool is rather simple to use. For me, technical experience is not the issue (I learned how to use it within an hour or so), trust is by far the most important thing, activity second, technical ability a distant third. JWSchmidt is absolutely and completely trustworthy. --SB_Johnny | PA! 16:45, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Accept/decline the nomination[edit]

Nominated CheckUser candidate: please indicate if you accept the nomination. Note the requirements at CheckUser policy.

I accept the nomination. Most of what I have to say about CheckUser is in my discussion comments at Wikiversity talk:CheckUser policy. Short summary: I'm skeptical about the way the CheckUser system is handled by the Wikimedia Foundation. The CheckUser system has been abused in the past and it will continue to be abused until some changes are made. Because of the existing opportunities for abuse of the CheckUser system I'm reluctant to become associated with the existing CheckUser system, but I have not been able to effectively work towards improvements of the system from the outside. Maybe if the Wikiversity community approves my candidacy then I will be able to work from inside the CheckUser system to make some changes. My basic idea for changes to the CheckUser system is that after CheckUser data are collected and used it would be beneficial to make a public record of what data were collected and how the data were used. The changes I'm talking about do not involve any violation of the privacy policy and they would not interfer with with protection of the wiki projects from vandals. Its simply a matter of openness in order to protect the CheckUser system from abuse. --JWSchmidt 17:06, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Questions for the candidate[edit]

JWS, would compliance with this be an issue for you? --HappyCamper 15:54, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I think that Foundation Resolution is the minimal path that the Wikimedia Foundation could take towards protecting itself from liability resulting from possible leaks of private information by wiki volunteers. My only doubts about that resolution are if it goes far enough in protecting the Foundation, but I'm sure they had it carefully reviewed by lawyers. The Foundation Office in Florida has my real world name and contact information on file. I have been in the "over 18" category for a couple of decades. As this community discussion goes along, if it looks like I will be given CheckUser status, I will have to send documentation of my age to the Foundation Office. I have no problem with that. --JWSchmidt 16:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • I sent the required information to the Florida Office about a week ago (smail mail), so it should now be in their hands. --JWSchmidt 01:40, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
  • How would you differentiate between disruptive and non-disruptive sock puppets and how would you deal with each? --Remi 18:34, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
A page move vandal might create several accounts and wait three days in order to have the ability to move pages. If Wikiversity started having page move vandalism by several user accounts, CheckUser data might reveal that multiple vandal accounts had been created from a single IP address. It might be wise to block additional "sleeper accounts" that had been created by such an IP even before they are actually used by a page move vandal. Another form of possible abuse is from creating multiple accounts and using them to unfairly influence community discussions. I am aware of cases of this kind of abuse that have been discovered at Wikipedia. Someday this might become a problem at Wikiversity. Abuse of multiple accounts can result in a block of the accounts at Wikipedia. Someday, Wikiversity will probably have a similar policy. Many wiki editors have multiple accounts and they never cause a problem or mis-use their multiple accounts. In my experience, most of these multiple accounts are used for purposes such as to prevent the use of names that might be confused with the user name of an existing project participant or to perform test editing without the special user rights of your primary account. In my view, there is no need to "deal with" such accounts that are not used for vandalism or vote stacking. --JWSchmidt 19:31, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Why should only two users be given this privilege, as opposed to giving it to everyone ? (One argument might be that stalkers could use it to track down their prey, but blocking the stalker's IP might be a better way to deal with this.) StuRat 17:02, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation's privacy policy suggests that if you want to edit and protect your privacy (not reveal your real world location/identity) then you should log in and use a pseudonym as your wiki username. However, even if you try to keep your IP address hidden while editing, "your IP address will be stored on the wiki servers and can be seen by Wikimedia's server administrators and by users who have been granted CheckUser access. Your IP address, and its connection to any usernames that share it may be released under certain circumstances". Those "certain circumstances" are listed in the privacy policy, but someone with CheckUser access could violate the policy, so only a small group of trusted members of the Wikimedia volunteer community are given CheckUser access. --JWSchmidt 20:29, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
I see why people don't want their names, ages, phone numbers, and street addresses known (I'm one of them), but I don't see how you get from their IP address to that. AFAIK, the most you can get from that is an approximate location (city, maybe) and ISP, unless the user posted the info they want to keep secret under that IP elsewhere. StuRat 23:51, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
According to this Wikipedia article there are some places where IP addresses are legally defined as private information. Since Wikimedia servers are used all over the world, there might be valid legal reasons for the Wikimedia Foundation keeping IP addresses of registered/logged-in users private. As for how an IP address could be used to identify the real world location/identity of an editor, a common approach seems to involve using the IP address as one datum along with other clues learned from someone's internet usage habits. --JWSchmidt 00:53, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Community discussion[edit]

  1. Neutral. JWS was originally the person who expressed his own doubts to me about this, as he was against too great a centralisation of power in any one person (am I correct, JWS?). I agree with the point he then made to me. If any one person incorporates WV-leadership, it is JWS - and that's the problem - we need checks and balances, and CU is definitely one of these check-and-balance powers. However I can also rule myself firmly out of candidacy, so I can offer no solution to the problem of needing a 2nd CU. McCormack 17:05, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Interesting point, but CU really doesn't have anything to do with "power"... it's just a detective tool. I'm quite certain that the only other Wikibookian CU that would accept CU tools here is User:Herbythyme, but he's not very active here (he does have a rather long resumé though... CU on wb and commons, very active admin on meta, etc.). Besides, and balancing needed here is already present in me... John and I are friends, but it's probably no secret that we are polar opposites when it comes to certain topics. --SB_Johnny | PA! 17:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    "against centralisation of power" <-- I think it is a source of unease for some wiki participants when they see what looks like a small "inside group" in control of maintenance at a wiki project. These kinds of concerns about appearances were a driving force behind trying to make Wikiversity custodianship "no big deal". If we can get more wiki editors involved in helping with wiki maintenance then there is less of an appearance of a small group of insiders in control of everything. In addition to what I said above (in my nomination acceptance) about not being totally happy with the CheckUser system itself, I also have the problem that I am not a diligent vandal fighter. I serve as an administrator and I devote time to helping protect Wikiversity from vandalism because I feel I should pitch in and help with such tasks. I'm much more interested in editing than vandal fighting and I have to admit that my heart is not really in vandal fighting. I'd be happy to see someone else such as McCormack or Herbythyme accept a nomination for CheckUser so that I would not have to. However, I'm willing to do the best I can if the community gives me the nod. --JWSchmidt 17:24, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Quote: CU really doesn't have anything to do with "power"... it's just a detective tool. Think about what you just said! CU is a form of intelligence about users. Task: create a sentence relating the words "information", "power", "intelligence". Applied to vandals, it's just common police work. Applied to vote-rigging (as it should also be), it's an important political power. McCormack 06:24, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support. For what little my vote is worth here, I know I'm not the consummate wikiversity participant. On WB when I requested CU tools, it wasnt because I wanted them for myself, it was because I wanted the other nominee to have them (a vandal-fighting user who absolutely deserved them). I felt I was one of the only other users who could amass 25 votes in a reasonable amount of time. Wikiversity is a relatively small project, and getting the 25 votes is going to be supremely difficult and time-consuming. Once you get CUs, everybody will see the benefit of them, new candidates will arise and will have the benefit of being mentored by the previous generations of them. I think JWS is an excellent candidate because (a) he is popular enough to get the necessary votes, (b) he doesnt want the "power" and is therefore deserving of it, and (c) he is an excellent wikimedian who should not only be trusted, but set up as an example for what new users can aspire to become. --Whiteknight 01:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support. I think JWS is an excellent candidate for CU status, as he is one of the most active admins and anti-vandal fighters. I think he'll do good work with this powerful tool, remaining his always respectful self. Historybuff 06:04, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  4. Support he is deeply involved with wikiversity, and is keenly aware of the effects of the tool. And it is far more urgent than the bureaucratship. Hillgentleman|Talk 06:55, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  5. Support I also agree that we need some CU(s) here@WikiVersity and that JWSchmidt should have CheckUser status.
    --Chief Mike 09:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  6. Support Lost time by stopping vandalism is time for fun of the vandels. --User:Sundance_Raphael 15:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  7. Support Fight vandalism and thank you for the nice IRC chat. ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 19:43, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  8. Support --Herby talk thyme 07:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
  9. Support The best CU we could ever have on wikiversity. (Snowball clause, anyone?) --Draicone (talk) 12:46, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
  10. Support (as nominator... forgot to vote!) --SB_Johnny | PA! 13:03, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
  11. Support He gets my vote. --Luai lashire 15:34, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
  12. Support While I'm as yet undecided about his proposals to modify CU policy, I still trust JWSchmidt's use of this tool. Cormaggio talk 17:59, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
  13. Support I trust JWS, too and support the addition of the CheckUser functionality. The proposals to modify CU policy, are a separate discussion? Link please? CQ 19:05, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
    See my comments at Wikiversity talk:CheckUser policy. --JWSchmidt 01:49, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
  14. I have very few edits here so you may want to discount my support but I do think JWS makes a good candidate... that JWS has doubts and concerns ought to make one sleep a lot better at night, CUs ought to be careful and thoughtful, not trigger happy... and that SB_Johnny is his nominator ought to seal the deal. Wikiversity needs two good CU candidates and JWS seems an ideal candidate to me. I hope others will choose to support his candidacy. ++Lar: t/c 21:35, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
  15. Support I support having tried and true custodians having check user rights. --Remi 11:16, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
  16. I fully support John helping Wikiversity using checkuser tools. guillom 13:20, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  17. Support But then I support giving everyone this tool, as it seems to have the power to do more good than harm, if given to everyone, despite wiki privacy policies which appear to make it impossible to give everyone equal rights. Perhaps these policies need to be changed. StuRat 15:48, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
  18. Support, need more than one in case of inactivity.--Rayc 02:20, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
  19. Support For all of the above. StuRat: if everyone had this tool, you'd have no privacy. Worse, you'd be snowed-under thousands of "spam". Shir-El too 20:12, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
  20. Support No reason to oppose. As I said above with the support for SB Johnny, I see a volunteer offering to help spend time to fight vandalism, who has gained support of other volunteers. I'm particularly encouraged to see someone who intends to use authority and privilege with restraint. Ikluft 10:13, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
  21. Support. -- Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-09-03 (September 3, 2007) Time: 1141 UTC
  22. Support --- Banerjee 21:08, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
  23. Support — I have no doubts that JWS is able to take on this job. --Michael Billington (talkcontribs) 07:20, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
  24. SupportTutchek 12:35, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
  25. Support --mikeu 18:47, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
  26. Support If SB_Johnny trusts JWSchmidt enough to nominate him for the tools then thats enough for me. Additionally JWSchmidt shows reluctance to want to use the tools which is a good sign. --darkYin yang.svglama 19:20, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Please note!

As this is Wikiversity's first official discussion of acquiring local checkusers, please remember that we need two users with the tools (Wikimedia policy dictates that projects are not permitted to have only one checkuser). If it is later decided that we need more checkusers, they can be approved individually.