Everything Wiki talk:Privacy policy

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Making this Official[edit]

I "demoted" this policy from being an official Wikiversity policy to merely a proposed one, and a weakly worded one at that. There certainly was not community concensus to adopt this as an official policy, nor do I think it was needed as such at this time.

Most of what is in the Foundation privacy policy is mainly legal disclaimers to let people know that if any personal information is disclosed, it is really too bad. Don't contribute to Wikimedia projects if you are worried about personal details being displayed on the front page of the New York Times or talked about on CNN. The rest is all syntatic fluff to make you feel warm and fuzzy that there is a privacy policy.

Very little of the "actual protection" is anything that an individual user, admin, or even somebody with check user privileges can even access anyway. The WMF suggests that formal disclosure to 3rd parties about information such as IP address for registered users (anon users already have this disclosed) will happen through legal due process. This is little comfort to Chinese or Saudi citizens who are worried that their governments are going to find out about their activities on Wikimedia projects, or specifically Wikiversity as is the case here. Those governments are going to find out, and can make a formal request where the WMF openly states they will reveal that information to government agencies, including the Saudi and Chinese governments. This policy shouldn't give you comfort at all but instead grave concern.

Of course, I don't think there is really much of formal policy that the WMF can give in this situation, as the legal exception is really required by law anyway. How far and in what aspect Wikiversity users can try to protect anonymity in Wikiversity is certainly something that deserves debate. Using the WMF privacy policy is not going to offer any of that protection. --Robert Horning 22:53, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps Wikiversity's policy should be a simple refreshingly honest statement that: "While Wikiversity editors are discouraged from disclosing personal information about others without their express permission; given the current state of the internet, international law, and the Wikimedia software it is not possible for Wikiversity to protect your anonymity. If you edit Wikiversity various means can be used to track your IP address and determine who you are and from where you are editing." Mirwin 05:36, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Privacy Policy link[edit]

From wikimedia:Privacy policy:

"The content of this page is an official policy approved by the Wikimedia Foundation wikimedia:Board of Trustees. This policy may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored on local Wikimedia projects."

"This version of the Privacy policy was approved in June 2006 by the wikimedia:Board of Trustees. Discussion and proposed changes are welcome on the talk page at Meta."

"It is requested that this notice is translated and linked from the footer of every page."

I have edited MediaWiki:Privacypage so that it now links to wikimedia:Privacy_policy. (This is the link called Privacy policy at the bottom of every wv page.) This is done to conform with WMF policy. My suggestion is that the text on Wikiversity:Privacy policy be adopted as an additional guideline or something. But we need to have the link at the bottom of the page go to the WMF policy, or a local copy. --mikeu talk 18:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

My suggestion is that if we want to adopt a policy on privacy and minors we bring the topic up at meta. Such policy (if written to comply with child protection laws) should be vetted by a WMF lawyers. --mikeu talk 18:10, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Wikiversity has been explicitly designed to serve learners of all ages. This means that we get young editors who arrive and start sharing their personal information with the world. It is useful to have an explicit policy telling young editors not to add their personal information to Wikiversity. I do not understand why this requires the involvement of lawyers. --JWSchmidt 17:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Mikeu, I think JWschmidt is referring to the moral and ethical concerns (and rightly so), not the legal ones. Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 15:13, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to make WMF privacy policy explicit[edit]

I would like to replace Wikiversity:Privacy policy with a local copy of mw:Privacy policy and copy the existing "Under the age of 13" section to the talk page or a subpage. The WMF policy page should then be clearly tagged with an "official wv policy" template. Please discuss. --mikeu talk 18:26, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Support Support. --McCormack 04:27, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Support Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 15:08, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • 15px Oppose I see no point or benefit in copying global policies. Other projects that have copied global policies have lead to confusion and disagreement on which version of the policy applies. Also the WMF privacy policy as I recall is in the process of being updated. Its better to just link to WMF policies from within a project policy. --dark12pxlama 17:17, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Support Either the rules are clear, or chaos reigns. KillerChihuahua 21:30, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Support We need to have an "official" Privacy Policy, I cannot believe that Wikiversity hasn't even got an official privacy policy yet - already things are getting out of hand on Wikiversity, with a number of users. DarkMage 21:35, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Support. I think it could use cleanup, but better to have it than nothing. The Jade Knight 00:57, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I think a policy would be helpful. Whether a WV specific one, or the WMF wide one. Because the lack of a clear policy may lead to confusion and possible acrimony about what is or is not allowed. What exactly is holding up adoption of something as a policy, with an effort to revise it if needed? That seems better than not having one. I think defacto the WMF wide one is in force here since there is not an explicit one present. ++Lar: t/c 23:17, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

The consensus has seemed to be in the past that if they are not needed, the fewer the policies the better. Arguably, having something revised later on would be more difficult and cumbersome than going by the consensus of the moment. Emesee 23:22, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
You have a privacy policy. That's not really a question. The question is, do you have the WMF wide one, or one you yourself modify (within limits) to fit your own circumstances. I suggest you'd rather prefer the latter. So you should adopt one, I think. ++Lar: t/c 00:57, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation's privacy policy has always applied to Wikiversity....it does not really matter if a copy of the WMF policy is here......a link to it from every page of this wiki should make this clear to all wikilawyers. The purpose of this page is to deal with privacy issues that are of particular relevance to this project. For example, sometimes young editors place personal information (such as age) on their user page. I think we should discourage that kind of thing...Wikiversity participants do not need to state their age. There are other issues that have arisen due to Wikiversity's openness to research projects. Wikiversity research policy explicitly calls for high ethical standards, and part of research ethics is protecting the privacy of people who are the subject of your research. I made a link from this page to the research policy because of the relationship between these two policies. --JWSchmidt 18:05, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
The privacy policy needs to go both ways. If an academic wishes to voluntarily disclose his professional credentials, bona fides, and publications. it should be a violation of policy for a rival to redact the voluntary and intentional disclosure of someone else's valid credentials, affiliations, and publications. —Moulton 18:10, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
If the community feels that a policy is needed then it is needed for the community. Do we need a procedure in place as well for when the policy is violated? Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 15:08, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Anytime you have a policy, it's because you anticipate the occasional breach of policy (especially if it's not an express policy that everyone can read in advance). Anytime you have a breach of policy, you need a process, procedure, or protocol to recover from any misadventures arising in the wake of a breach. In the absence of such a recovery process, you get what Anthropologist Victor Turner called a Liminal Social Drama. If the community is mature, the Liminal Social Drama results in the construction and adoption of a suitable process, procedure, or recovery protocol. If the community is not mature, the Liminal Social Drama typically devolves into a Lunatic Drama. —Moulton 16:11, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree completely, which is why everyone should sign-up to the learning project we recently signed up to. A policy without a procedure is functionally useless. I think we should use learning projects to develop policies and procedures for quick and easy resolution of any past, present or future incidents that the community may find undesirable. Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 17:49, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • "you need a process, procedure, or protocol", "A policy without a procedure is functionally useless": This is not Wikipedia. We may have some "Lunatic Drama" but it is probably better described as frontier justice mixed with a large amount of hesitant hand-wringing. The hidden "procedure" behind policy at Wikiversity is basically "if there is a problem talk about it" and "if someone spills a mess on the floor, clean it up". --JWSchmidt 18:53, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I am not a member of wikipedia, nor have I ever been. But, I am certainly not in favour of frontier justice or hesitant hand-wringing. We are a community of learning. I hope we can learn about how we function and behave compared to how we wish to function and behave, through learning projects. Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 18:57, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

"frontier justice or hesitant hand-wringing" <-- These are not things that are designed or that anyone favors, they are just things that happen in a small community. In general, the community learns from errors. For example, if someone is sloppy with publishing private information then the community reacts to put restraints on such behavior. However, I think it is an error to think that we should legislate simplistic "one size fits all" remedies for problems or complex webs of thousands of "procedures" for every potential problem......this community is just too small for the later.....and some of has learned that it only invites time-wasting wiki-lawyering. So far, our few policies describe a small set of principles that guide us in dealing with problems that arise. Let's get these principles right. --JWSchmidt 01:16, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
We need a Policy like Meta's Privacy Policy , they're far more strict in safe guarding personal information and from what I see in the Recent Changes they're also strict in normal activities - although this site is a learning community, but we need to be slightly strict with user's who reveal information including Anonymous user's, regardless if it's their information, they need to know the dangers of revealing personal information.DarkMage 19:19, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the "Meta's Privacy Policy" you linked to is the Foundation's policy and it applies to Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 01:19, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

What do we think about number 4? - in principle. Please leave comments about practicality to a later stage. I want to know about the idea of using learning projects to create and review policy in a learning community. Please leave comments here. Thank you, Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 19:26, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favor of making use of main namespace learning projects as part of crafting policy, but it is "traditional" to have policy discussions in the project namespace. Any wiki editing process can be a learning project, no matter what namespace it is in. --JWSchmidt 01:35, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
The flipside of publishing true information that is considered private is the publishing of patently false information, unsupported by evidence or analysis. I put it to the community: which is more problematic, publishing true information that someone wishes to keep private, or pseudonymously publishing false and defamatory information about an identifiable living person in a blatant breach of scholarly ethics? —Moulton 05:26, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

This discussion is about the privacy policy, not one that has not yet been created. Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 17:33, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, that begs the question of the definition of privacy, doesn't it? Does the definition of privacy apply to private information that happens to be untrue canards? —Moulton 18:49, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

According to wiktionary, yes. If information is about an individual, true or not, it prevents them from being unseen, so, it is an invasion of privacy. However, remember that dictionaries do not define usage, they describe it. The wikiversity community can decide on the definition of words contained in their own published policies. Donek (talk) - Go raibh mile maith agaibh 19:23, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

privacy policy[edit]

I updated Template:Official policies to include the WMF Privacy policy. That is the current official policy if we have not made our local policy official. --mikeu talk 03:23, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

2010 Discussion[edit]

Does this wording:
"have not revealed it themselves"
adequately address the problem? For example, there have in the past been cases where wiki editors previously revealed their identity, then objected to people even using their name. In other words, some wiki editors reveal their identity and then object when other people use their name. Does the current wording of the policy adequately address such a situation? --JWSchmidt 17:35, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I think it is fine. I also think we should only act on complaints. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:03, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

How does a walk outdoors, taking a trip outdoors, or baseball have anything to do using someone's real name without permission? "Outing" seems like a coined term that Wikipedia came up with that the average person won't get in this context. How about "divulged", "expose", "leak", "reveal", or "make public" (to list some alternatives)? -- darklama  00:37, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Outing is a term used throughout the WMF. Ottava Rima (talk) 00:58, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't mean that Wikiversity has to use it. Only a small minority will understand the meaning. Policies are often for the benefit of new people that are not familiar with community expectations, which is exactly the people that won't know what outing means. -- darklama  14:35, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Darklama, if you have a problem with the use we could just say "Posting of personal information". But it is common throughout the en projects. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:43, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
I think a "personal information" section can go under "everyone's privacy" right before the "under the age of 13" section which probably needs to be changed as well. -- darklama  15:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
"Outing" is an excellent word; it conveys meaning in the context of culture, and it is widely known in our wiki culture.--John12pxBessatalk 18:32, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

IRC chat[edit]

IRC chat is not "private correspondence". Wikiversity needs guidelines for the #wikiversity-en chat channel (see Wikiversity:Chat). The #wikiversity-en chat channel is a public meeting place and an extension of the Wikiversity project. The Wikiversity community decides on rules for this project's main IRC meeting place. In the past, a few sysops have misused their channel operator powers to disrupt community discussions in #wikiversity-en. The Wikiversity community needs to protect itself from such abuses. I favor the idea of using a channel bot to automatically publish to Wikiversity all #wikiversity-en channel content. Abusive sysops are free to continue using their private channels to conduct their secret off-wiki scheming, but #wikiversity-en should no longer be used for such nefarious purposes. I removed the false claim that IRC chat is "private correspondence". User:Darklama reverted my edit and returned the incorrect claim while making another false claim in his edit summary: "contradicts what the channel says on IRC". I returned the correct statement (IRC Chat logs for the #wikiversity-en chat channel are not private correspondence.) and reminded User:Darklama to discuss disagreements on this talk page. Rather than discuss, User:Darklama again reverted me and inserted the false claim (that IRC chat is private correspondence). --JWSchmidt 14:21, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

The irc channel clearly states "No public logging". Also it contradicts the "high ethical practices" that is mentioned in the proposal as well. -- darklama  14:28, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I favor continuing the practice of obtaining permission of irc participants before posting on wiki. -- darklama  14:30, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
The irc channel clearly states "No public logging" <-- The problem is that #wikiversity-en has been systematically disrupted during the past two years by abusive sysops who misuse their channel operator power. The Wikiversity community needs protection from the abuses. Calling IRC chat "private correspondence" is false. By imposing the rule (No public logging) abusive sysops prevent their abusive actions in the #wikiversity-en chat channel from becoming widely known to the Wikiversity community. There needs to be discussion by the Wikiversity community before a decision is made about public logging. Public logging would clearly support the Wikiversity mission and protect the community from the odious behavior of the abusive sysops who took control of the #wikiversity-en chat channel. it contradicts the "high ethical practices" <-- I agree that allowing abusive sysops to control the Wikiversity chat channel contradicts ethical principles and is a disruptive practice. I favor removal of sysops tools from all #wikiversity-en operators who have misused their channel ops powers. --JWSchmidt 14:49, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Not obtaining permission first contradicts "high ethical practices". -- darklama  15:00, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

The WMF position on the IRC channels is clear, they exist for discussions about the WMF projects but shouldn't be considered official and the general practice is that IRC logs shouldn't be published. I would agree that IRC discussions aren't really private but one of the reasons for my opposition to publishing of logs is that the casual, fast-moving nature of IRC means it is difficult to have proper discussions but easy for comments to be taken out of context, it is sometimes confusing for example what a comment is a response to. On the issue of Darklama's removal of this proposal, I support the principle of BOLD, revert, discuss. JWSchmidt made a bold change, which would completely change the nature of the IRC channel, Darklama reverted clearly implying he disagreed. That is the point of more comprehensive discussions to begin and the nature of any addition to the proposed policy regarding this be established. On a more general point regarding #wikiversity-en, Wikiversity contributors are free to communicate in what ever way they wish. If some aren't happy with their experience in #wikiversity-en then they can create a new channel or use other means of communications. If there are concerns with how anyone has used ops then they can be discussed and it would be right and proper if there was community consensus that it was respected and someone found to have misused their op rights give them up. I don't recall seeing any instances of ops being misused being discussed recently here which would suggest it isn't a huge problem. Adambro 16:08, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose any posting of IRC logs on WV unless prior permission is given by the person being quoted. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:14, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
    "the casual, fast-moving nature of IRC means it is difficult to have proper discussions but easy for comments to be taken out of context" If you are worried about your comments being taken out of context then you need not participate in IRC. "the principle of BOLD, revert, discuss" <-- please don't bring disruptive practices to Wikiversity from other websites. Being "bold" is is in the eye of the beholder and is not reason for a revert. Every edit can be measured on its own merits. "completely change the nature of the IRC channel" <-- This is false. The purpose of the channel remains the same, it just becomes harder for abusive sysops to abuse their channel ops. "it isn't a huge problem" <-- This is false. It is a huge problem compounded by the fact that abusive syops censor Wikiversity, harass Wikiversity participants and the entire Wikiversity project has been threatened with termination, making many participants afraid to speak. A good step towards fixing these problems is to allow the Wikiversity community to see what happens in the community's chat channel. "I don't recall seeing any instances of ops being misused being discussed" <-- I call upon User:Darklama and User:Adambro to allow their record as #wikiversity-en channel ops to be examined by the Wikiversity community. Do you give permission for logs of your kicks and bans to be posted at the Colloquium? Votes on policies that do not come with any explanation of how they support the Wikiversity mission are not a basis for consensus. --JWSchmidt 20:23, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Chatting is loose, informal, fast paced, and rarely is anything discussed that would aid learners. Discussions in the wrong context does not benefit learners either. IRC has no validation system either so any quotations could be forged and are unverifiable without being authenticity by the people supposedly being quoted. IRC discussions are in real time and because of how the protocol works there is no reliable and consist order to any message sent and received, or any guarantee that everything sent by one person is received by all other parties. IRC has no structure, often times multiple discussions on multiple topics happen simultaneously with no clear distinction made on which discussion and who a message received is in response to. Permission needs to be obtained from everyone being quoted to ensure discussions are in the right context, are related to the right discussion and to ensure a level of authenticity in order for there to be any benefits for learners. -- darklama  21:02, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Participants in the chat channel need to be protected from abusive channel operators. This issue must be discussed by the wider Wikiversity community. --JWSchmidt 06:36, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
  • A series of off-wiki communication mechanisms should be made available (as information) on-wiki. These are essentially places where a subset of users may meet for social and certain other purposes, including monitoring developing situations and coordinating response (within limits! -- and such coordinated response should probably only be a feature of public mechanisms, with a maintained record). It is the decision of each mechanism, through those who control it or participate in control, whether or not the mechanism is public or private, but users should know in advance whether what they write or contribute there will be private or public. Users should also know that "private" media may be subject to hacking and disclosure, in spite of promises by mechanism management. Wikiversity can and should list social media relating to Wikiversity, such as mailing lists or IRC channels or forums, but such listing should carefully specify that it does not constitute recognition or any responsibility of Wikiversity as a whole to manage or protect users of such outside systems. Participation in outside media is entirely voluntary and is not a condition for being a registered editor on Wikiversity-- by WMF privacy policy! -- (though we tend to expect privileged users, such as sysops, to have a usable email connection through the wiki system. Users are generally free to post their own email address if they wish, but should understand the exposure that this creates. A problem with the current IRC channel is that it is semi-official, but ops for it are not locally granted, apparently, but granted through, what, stewards or special supervisors.? I see no need at all for a central approved channel, it simply creates more opportunity for possible controversy and abuse. Diversity is the best protection against abuse. To my view, the controversy over abuse by IRS operators is simply not our business. Don't use the channel if you don't agree with who runs it. Start your own. By the way, I've never joined the WV IRC channel. Am I missing Great Stuff? Or am I simply avoiding wasting time by watching and being sucked into a hot medium? --Abd 22:09, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Just poking around Wikiversity looking to contribute somewhere, I can't help but comment on this 4-day-old discussion. Why on earth would anyone demand "no public logging" on the Wikiversity IRC channel? That is 100% contradictory to the openness of this project. It may be appropriate for other IRC channels, but not here. Instead of "I want to be lazy and say/do whatever I want in IRC chat, but don't you dare log it!", try thinking before you type, with the understanding that whatever you do can and will be logged. "Private correspondence", puh-lease. Get your own IRC channel for "private" correspondence. For our official WV channel, public logging should be a given, whether or not it is "useful". B Fizz 03:15, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
"IRC channel for "private" correspondence" <-- One such channel is freenode #wikiversity-en-admins. There are also rumors of an "invite only" chat channel where secret off-wiki decisions are made about who to block and ban from participation at Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 01:34, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Decisions, inevitably, are made "off-wiki": in someone's brain. Conspiracy is not nice, but on-wiki blocking and banning procedures should be transparent enough to hold ground even if the decision was pre-made during private correspondence. If the decision is unfair, then the on-wiki procedures should reveal that. Official channels: official rules. Unofficial channels: your rules. I propose public logging for #wikiversity-en and #wikiversity-en-admins. B Fizz 16:58, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
"propose public logging for #wikiversity-en" <-- That might be best, but I made a lesser proposal, allowing logs to be published on wiki as needed to deal with problems in the chat channel. --JWSchmidt 17:10, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Anonymous editors and publishing information about living people[edit]

In this edit, it is suggested that anonymous editors, and that doesn't seem limited to IPs, should be subject to more close scrutiny than editors who reveal their real names. I would very much disagree with this and have removed it per the principle of w:WP:BRD. I would encourage discussion on this before it is reinstated. It appears that Darklama also has concerns. My position is that it shouldn't make a difference whether claims are being made by someone that is anonymous or open about their real-life identity, unsourced claims should be dealt with the same. I don't see why we should be prepared to tolerate unsubstantiated claims from identified users as anonymous users as this would seem to suggest we should. Adambro 15:11, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

You are responsible for what you write about living people. If a person feels their reputation was ruined by what you wrote about them, you could be liable. Anonymity does not protect against liability claims. The reputation you save by checking your facts and claims about living people might be your own.

I guess we were both editing at the same time. I added some of it back in the Living people section without any restrictions placed on anonymous contributors. -- darklama  15:15, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
"it shouldn't make a difference whether claims are being made by someone that is anonymous or open about their real-life identity" <-- It does matter. The reason it matters was in the text that you improperly reverted. "why we should be prepared to tolerate unsubstantiated claims" <-- Many Wikiversity participants have asked this since since the hostile take-over of Wikiversity in 2008. The main problem is a gang of abusive sysops who make unsubstantiated claims about honest Wikiversity participants. When the honest Wikiversity participants object and challenge the unsubstantiated claims, the abusive sysops ignore the objections or impose blocks and censor community discussions so as to silence the objections. Please return the improperly reverted text. The Wikiversity mission would be supported by policy that helps to prevent anonymous editors from making unsubstantiated claims about living persons. If you want a rule that allows Wikiversity participants to hide their identities then honest Wikiversity participants need common sense protections against the unsubstantiated claims of the anonymous editors. --JWSchmidt 20:42, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
WMF policy allows users to hide their identities, except under certain specific conditions, voluntarily assumed. The proposed change would undermine the general principle according anonymous editors the same privileges to edit, generally, as others. However, this does not require that users not notice that information is provided anonymously, and the usefulness of information may be far less if it is truly anonymous, not known to originate with someone with knowledge or credentials, etc. No policy is needed for this, however. The policy doesn't control content, but rather privacy. IP edits are often reverted when they are suspected -- or known -- to be coming from blocked editors, but addressing the legitimacy of this should be beyond the scope of the privacy policy page. The WMF privacy policy specifically allows disclosing real identity if necessary for prevention of abuse (which includes block evasion). We could suspend that. I would certainly not advise it. Rather, we should avoid gratuitous disclosure of real-life identity or the IP address of users. IP for JWS was recently disclosed, but there was a reasonably legitimate purpose, and it was information that was clearly and easily discovered by anyone, once a sock account was revealed. For various reasons, the revelation of that sock account was legitimized by certain of JWS's activities. Regardless, users may ask for revision deletion to hide IP, generally, when IP was inadvertently revealed. I saw an example on WP, however, where such a grant would have harmed the project, for the revealed IP showed what registered editor had been harassing other users; had it been promptly removed, it's quite possible that it would have escaped notice by those concerned, which did not originally include administrators. (With the information from this, though, a block and eventual ban was rather easily obtained. The harassment was severe.) So ... I have mixed feelings about this.... --Abd 22:25, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
"The proposed change would undermine the general principle according anonymous editors the same privileges to edit, generally, as others." <-- Not true. The proposed language for the Wikiversity privacy policy simply provides common sense protections for living people against anonymous editors. Compare the proposed Wikiversity policy wording: "Participants can through consensus remove facts and claims about living people that are believed to be inaccurate," to the policy at Wikipedia which says, "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." Why should Wikiversity have standards that are lower than those used at Wikipedia? This matter is under Community Review. "The policy doesn't control content, but rather privacy." <-- If the Wikiversity privacy policy allows editors to hide their identity, then Wikiversity has an obligation to protect living people from anonymous editors. The privilege of anonymous publishing brings with it the ethical obligation to protect living people from the publication of false and defamatory claims. abuse (which includes block evasion) <-- All good faith contributions to Wikiversity are welcomed. It is destructive and disruptive of the Wikiversity Mission to treat good faith edits like vandalism. Wikiversity is a scholarly learning community and it is disruptive to alienate honest community members by removing their good faith contributions. Blocks are a tool for preventing repeat vandalism, all other blocks must follow community discussion of the proposed block. "IP for JWS was recently disclosed, but there was a reasonably legitimate purpose" <-- Abd, please explain why the IP address of a harmless Wikiversity user account was revealed by a sysop acting on CheckUser data. "the revelation of that sock account was legitimized by certain of JWS's activities" <-- Abd, please list those activities. --JWSchmidt 23:49, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that "All good faith contributions to Wikiversity are welcome". I agree that "Wikiversity is a scholarly learning community and it is disruptive to alienate honest community members by removing their good faith contributions." Anonymous participants are good faith contributors and honest community members too. By proposing that good faith contributions by anonymous participants can be removed without discussion you "disrupt and alienate honest community members", and "treat their good faith edits like vandalism". This is why discussion and consensus should happen, unless a specific person has a history of adding content that is removed or requested for removal by the living person. -- darklama  00:06, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
"Anonymous participants are good faith contributors and honest community members" <-- Wikiversity needs protections in policy that defend living people against misguided edits by anonymous editors. For example, User:Centaur of attention came to Wikiversity as an abusive sockpuppet from Wikipedia. Centaur of attention published false claims about Moulton, such as saying that Moulton was banned twice. User:Centaur of attention worked with User:Salmon of Doubt who came to Wikiversity on a self-declared mission to get Moulton banned from Wikiversity, a misguided mission that vastly disrupted the Wikiversity community. Wikiversity needs protection against anonymous editors who publish false claims about living people. By proposing that good faith contributions by anonymous participants can be removed without discussion you "disrupt and alienate honest community members", and "treat their good faith edits like vandalism". <-- No honest Wikiversity participant would object to policy that protects living people from false claims about living people that are published by anonymous editors. --JWSchmidt 01:17, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
"Moulton" is a name of an anonymous editor not a living person. I consider myself an honest Wikiversity participant and I object. I object because your example has more to do with etiquette and evidence, and nothing to do with privacy. I also object because the protection you propose wouldn't protect anonymous editors, like Moulton, at all. -- darklama  01:40, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
""Moulton" is a name of an anonymous editor not a living person. <-- Moulton was repeatedly "outed" by several Wikimedia functionaries who linked his real name to the "Moulton" account (one example). "nothing to do with privacy" <-- The reason it has to do with privacy was in the text that you improperly reverted. "Anonymous editors must take special care in what they publish about living people. Living people are protected by libel laws against the publication of negative claims about them. At Wikiversity, anonymity of editors does not proved a way to avoid the protections provided by libel laws. In order to protect Wikiversity participants from negative claims made by anonymous editors, anonymous editors who edit Wikiversity so as to publish claims about living people must cite multiple, reliable, previously published sources. Unsourced or unverified claims about living persons made by anonymous editors can be removed from Wikiversity by any editor at any time." Darklama, why do you object to these common sense protections of living people against anonymous editors? --JWSchmidt 03:09, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Moulton wasn't outed by his own standards. Where did Moulton ask people to stop referring to him by his real name? If he asked people to stop using his real name, you might have a point that some Wikimedia functionaries outed him.
I see nothing common or sensible about your proposal as-is. Warning about liability makes sense and that still remains in the proposal that people are supporting. That anonymity does not protect against liability claims is also in the proposal that people are supporting. Everyone must take care, not just anonymous editors. Why do you object to everyone taking care? -- darklama  16:09, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Oh so participants don't need protection from the unsubstantiated claims of people that use their real names. Disagree completely. -- darklama  21:08, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
BTW this is the privacy policy, any issues with unsubstantiated claims should be covered by Wikiversity:Cite sources. -- darklama  21:23, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that Wikiversity:Cite sources should be policy. Until it is, the privacy policy can describe the special obligations of anonymous editors. --JWSchmidt 06:34, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I disagree that anonymous editors have any special obligations. People that use their real names have just as much responsibility and obligations for what they write about living people. Anonymous editors can do primary/original research that accurately states what a living person has told them. Your changes are such that anonymous editors could never do primary/original research and that is a failure to assume good faith. Just because you may have had issues with some anonymous editors does not justify limiting their learning opportunities at Wikiversity. -- darklama  11:42, 15 July 2010 (UTC)


Besides small tweaks, lets see if this can be ratified:

Support Privacy policy as policy
  1. - Ottava Rima (talk) 14:57, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Ottava Rima, compare the proposed Wikiversity policy wording: "Participants can through consensus remove facts and claims about living people that are believed to be inaccurate," to the policy at Wikipedia which says, "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." Why should Wikiversity have standards that are lower than those used at Wikipedia? This policy needs more work. --JWSchmidt 16:53, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  2. I support rev 584011 as policy. I believe that revision hits the mark in finding the right balance for the need for privacy and having a low impact for the majority of Wikiversity participants. -- darklama  15:07, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Development of the policy was disrupted by a bad block and tag-team removal of parts of the proposal. The policy needs to address protection of living people from anonymous editors and false claims about the nature of the Wikiversity IRC chat channel. The policy is not ready for any voting. --JWSchmidt 15:16, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
    • I support this version which has important language that was removed from the 584011 version. --JWSchmidt 15:27, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
      I disagree. I believe the proposal is ready to be made a policy. Anyone else that feels the proposal is ready and agrees with it will say so here. Feel free to oppose below, since you feel the proposal is not ready. -- darklama  15:22, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
      I don't oppose having a policy, I oppose having a policy in a form that does not address all of the privacy concerns that have been raised. --JWSchmidt 15:30, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
      Again, if people feel the proposal does enough to address their concerns they will voice their support here. If people feel the proposal does not do enough to address privacy concerns they can oppose below. -- darklama  15:37, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
      "the proposal does not do enough" <-- I have created a space for needed discussion, below. Votes that do not address the concerns raised in the community review cannot be used as a basis for establishing community consensus. --JWSchmidt 15:46, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  3. I support 584011 as policy. This is long overdue, and I personally would feel a lot more conformatible editing here with this policy. I would not like to let mathematical errors I make here negatively effect my real life recommendation letters and employment opportunities, so I feel this is something sorely needed to protect young academics. Thenub314 15:25, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  4. Support making 584011 policy. I have carefully read through the current revision and concluded that it is appropriate. Adambro 15:30, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  5. Support 584011 as policy. It can then be tweaked with consensus, as usual. --Abd 22:28, 29 July 2010
  6. Support - Seems to cover all the important points. 584011 sounds reasonable and can be amended as needed by further community discussion. --mikeu talk 15:10, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  7. Support - Normally i don't vote for internal policies, but since i was so stupid to drag myself into the discussion (and how), i can better vote as well.Daanschr 13:09, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
  8. I will loosely support this as I haven't read all the opposition or dialog but I skimmed through the policy and I it doesn't appear to me there is anything extremely wrong with it. --Devourer09 16:42, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
Oppose Privacy policy as policy

It is impossible to write a policy everyone will like or which will cover everything. There are vandals on the internet. You avoid them only by shear luck. Calm courage is all you have to deal with the predators and morons who don't want to learn or share but just want some fantasy of power. Consider all the legislation passed in the average year in the US. It isn't saving America from anything. Neither will this privacy policy save you from embarrassment or harassment. On the other hand, I really demand less secrecy in government, less secrecy in business practices that affect public safety or the wellbeing of all the living, so why not also less secrecy in learning environments? If a sensible user name is not enough to protect your convenience and lifestyle then maybe you need more than a privacy policy - these policies in the government and commercial areas are being contravened constantly anyway. Privacy is getting to be a joke. Plexica 21:34, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Community Review[edit]

Past misuse of the block tool to disrupt the development of this policy is under community review. Ratification voting is premature. --JWSchmidt 15:40, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

There are two deficiencies in the current version of the proposed policy.
Problem #1: The proposed policy says "Participants can through consensus remove facts and claims about living people that are believed to be inaccurate." That is not a reasonable procedure for dealing with published claims about living people. The policy should say that any information about living people, added by anonymous editors and not supported by multiple, reliable published sources, can be removed at any time from Wikiversity.

Problem #2: The proposed policy does not address the Wikiversity community chat channel, which has been disrupted by some Wikiversity participants. The privacy policy should say that the chat channel is an extension of Wikiversity and that misbehavior in the chat channel cannot be hidden behind claims that the channel is private. The chat channel is a public extension of the Wikiversity community and governed by Wikiversity policy. User:Ottava Rima, User:Darklama and User:Adambro each have a conflict of interest with respect to ratification of the current version of the policy, a version that fails to protect the community from sysops who misbehave in the chat channel.
--JWSchmidt 16:15, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

I have no such COI and think that this is a good policy. Perhaps more could be added to it, or it could be changed later, but this is the nature of life on a wiki. I for one see these issues as "non-issues". Thenub314 16:37, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Compare the proposed Wikiversity policy wording: "Participants can through consensus remove facts and claims about living people that are believed to be inaccurate," to the policy at Wikipedia which says, "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." Why should Wikiversity have standards that are lower than those used at Wikipedia? Thenub314, are you satisfied that the Wikiversity community chat channel has been used in the ways that User:Ottava Rima, User:Darklama and User:Adambro have used it? --JWSchmidt 16:48, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I would support bringing the living people section of the policy in line with the Wikipedia BLP policy. I agree that where there is doubt, claims should be removed. I suspect others wouldn't have a problem with that either. Adambro 16:57, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Adambro, since you now agree, please add the following to the current version of the proposed policy:

Anonymous editors and publishing information about living people[edit]

"If you participate at Wikiversity as an anonymous editor then you give up some of your editing rights. Anonymous editors must take special care in what they publish about living people. Living people are protected by libel laws against the publication of negative claims about them. At Wikiversity, anonymity of editors does not proved a way to avoid the protections provided by libel laws. In order to protect Wikiversity participants from negative claims made by anonymous editors, anonymous editors who edit Wikiversity so as to publish claims about living people must cite multiple, reliable, previously published sources. Unsourced or unverified claims about living persons made by anonymous editors can be removed from Wikiversity by any editor at any time. This particularly applies to anonymous Custodians who make claims about Wikiversity participants."
--JWSchmidt 08:40, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikiversity allows research, Wikipedia doesn't. I think because Wikiversity allows research is one reason why Wikiversity's standards should be lower. I think people should assume good faith about the research people are doing. Immediately removing contentious material could interfere with a person's or group's research. Discussion of the contentious material first allows both the people that doubt the facts and the person that added the facts to understand one another. The proposal says that material added by people that have a history of added things which are later removed or requested for removal by a living person can be removed without discussion. I think its fair to remove material without discussion first only if a person has a history of adding material about a living person and that living person often requests its removal. -- darklama  17:14, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
"Wikiversity's standards should be lower" <-- Wikiversity can have different standards for anonymous editors and researchers. Researchers can edit under their real world identities and follow Wikiversity:Scholarly ethics, as required by the research policy. Such researchers, who do not hide behind anonymity, would not be subject to the rules that should be applied to anonymous editors. --JWSchmidt 00:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Wikiversity could have different standards for different participants and subject certain people to different rules. I disagree with that idea though. Researchers can edit anonymously and still follow scholarly ethics as required by the research policy. I see a failure to respect research ethics as an issue, not anonymous editors. -- darklama  00:35, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
"Wikiversity could have different standards for different participants and subject certain people to different rules. I disagree with that idea though." <-- Living people need protection from anonymous editors who use their anonymity to hide from existing legal protections that protect us all against libel and online harassment. "I see a failure to respect research ethics as an issue, not anonymous editors." <-- User:Centaur of attention came to Wikiversity as an abusive sockpuppet from Wikipedia. Centaur of attention published false claims about Moulton, such as saying that Moulton was banned twice. Wikiversity needs protection against anonymous editors who publish false claims about living people. --JWSchmidt 01:36, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I also believe these issues are "non-issues". I believe I have no such COI. However I do believe that JWSchmidt has a COI that could fail to protect the Wikiversity community from discussions and drama that has no relevance to what goes on at the Wikiversity wiki. I believe JWSchmidt wishes to expose the Wikiversity community to more drama by saying that some off-wiki discussions and actions are not independent of the Wikiversity wiki. People should be encouraged to take drama elsewhere, and keep the Wikiversity wiki a place for collaboration, learning, and teaching. -- darklama  17:03, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
There is no such thing as conflict of interest on Wikiversity nor does it apply to votes on policies. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:17, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
"I believe JWSchmidt wishes to expose the Wikiversity community to more drama by saying that some off-wiki discussions and actions are not independent of the Wikiversity wiki." <-- Wikiversity sysops who use the community chat channel for bullying people or who misuse their channel operator tools are the ones who disrupt Wikiversity and create "drama". The Wikiversity community needs protection against rogue sysops who try to hide their disruptive behavior. "People should be encouraged to take drama elsewhere" <-- Exactly right, which is why we need rules for the chat channel and a statement in the privacy policy saying that sysops can't hide their bad behavior behind claims that the channel is private. Ottava Rima, please explain how Wikiversity is immune from conflicts of interest. --JWSchmidt 17:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
It was quiet and nice around here until you went off the rails with this dramaprone series of actions. You need to spend some time off Wikiversity. You have another Wiki where you can edit with Moulton. Go spend a month or two there and, when you are capable of editing here in a normal manner you might gain some support to stay. Otherwise, your current series of actions is the equivalent of speeding 100 mph into a brick wall. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:24, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
"this dramaprone series of actions" <-- Ottava Rima, what actions are you talking about? Drama is caused by alienating new Wikiversity community members, calling for unjustified blocks and sysops who misbehave in the community chat channel. --JWSchmidt 17:46, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Anyone can create drama. Anyone can also claim bad behavior happened off-wiki, even if that isn't true. Anyone could claim bad behavior happened off-wiki as a way to disrupt discussion on the Wikiversity wiki. Anyone could claim bad behavior happened off-wiki in an attempt to end discussions on the Wikiversity wiki. The Wikiversity wiki can be disrupted when people bring drama from off-wiki. The #wikiversity-en chat channel is elsewhere and off-wiki. #wikiversity-en is run independently of the Wikiversity wiki. Some people are irc channel operators and not Wikiversity custodians. Some people are Wikiversity custodians and not irc channel operators. I think the role and management of the irc channels is not fully understood. I question whether the Wikiversity community ultimately even has any say in the management of irc channels. -- darklama  17:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
From 2006 to 2008 the Wikiversity community chat channel played an important roll in building the Wikiversity community. Now, here in 2010, a few misguided sysops disrupt Wikiversity by their bad behavior in the chat channel. The Wikiversity community needs to protect itself and take back control of the community chat channel. It is a conflict of interest for the people who disrupt the chat channel to interfere with collaborative policy development and prevent the Wikiversity from protecting itself from their disruptions. --JWSchmidt 18:16, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I think the irc channels still play an important role in building the Wikiversity communities. Yes I agree the Wikiversity community at times may need to protect itself. I agree people that disrupt could have an interest in policy development. I think people that feel something is disruptive could also have an interest in policy development too. I also think anyone that takes an interest in developing policies can have an interest that conflicts with another person's interests or the interests of the Wikiversity community. I think that is why collaboration and consensus is so important, to help find common ground where conflicting interests can be put aside. -- darklama  19:33, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
"Yes I agree the Wikiversity community at times may need to protect itself" <-- In particular, two Wikiversity sysops have misused their channel operator tools and disrupted the Wikiversity community chat channel. Darklama, does "Yes I was enforcing a ban by someone else" mean that you kicked me from #wikiversity-en and told me that I was banned, and you did so without any warning, discussion or reason provided? Who imposed the ban that you were enforcing? When was it imposed? Please state the reason that was given for the ban by the channel operator who imposed it. If you do not know the reason that was given for the ban by the channel operator who imposed it, then why did you enforce it? If you did not know the duration of the ban, then why did you enforce it? Why does Adambro refuse to explain his misuse of channel operator tools? The Wikiversity community needs protection from sysops who abuse their power. The Wikiversity privacy policy should explicitly authorize on-wiki publication of #Wikiversity-en chat channel logs to document disruption of the chat channel by sysops who misuse their channel operator tools. People who have disrupted the Wikiversity chat channel should not be allowed to disrupt the development of policies that will protect the community from their misuse of channel operator tools. --JWSchmidt 14:26, 1 August 2010 (UTC)


Note: I think I can describe "semi-outing" as cultural flavor rather than a policy rule. The desire is to leverage "openness," which combines open editing with free speech ideas, to beat a path towards social openness to encourage social tolerance in one direction and community respect in the other direction. Here respect and tolerance are almost opposites: tolerance is for the individual, and respect is for the community (and its survival).

So this goes to a suggestion that policies be divided into a larger section of ideas pointing towards what we want to achieve as a community (but in contexts contributors choose so as to protect expression and learning freedoms), and a much smaller section of "necessary evils" that are rules and restrictions (to protect the community site from being shut down).

I guess this would be in the category of a "social contract" much like the GNU culture uses, which is very widely respected, especially by "cracker/hackers."--John12pxBessatalk 20:33, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Take these statements:

  • "anonymous editors, and that doesn't seem limited to IPs"
  • "hostile take-over"
  • "a gang of abusive sysops"
  • "unsubstantiated claims about honest Wikiversity participants"
  • "abusive sysops ignore the objections or impose blocks"
  • "censor community discussions"
  • "silence the objections"

I was not here in 2008, but I can imagine; I am documenting on-going stalking, harassment, and misuse of the "legal system" to harm innocent editors on the WP. As I can show that the hate is still there, I am thinking about ways to limit the flow of these negative aspects by making the WV distinct.

One of the ways we are different is that we are smaller, which to me means better. Going with this, I think a helpful criteria would be for well-known members to "out" aspects of our lives to add some depth to how we are perceived, but without being too revealing so that online conflict doesn't jump to real life. I try to do this for my own online personality, as it is common on my previous main-site, Care2.com, and I found it beneficial there. In my experience Care2.com, fully anonymous, or 2D, members tended to be less trustworthy than members who revealed a full-depth personality. If our "leadership" does this, the newcomers will very likely do so as well.

I am framing the WP issues in the scope of paranoia, and, at the moment, I am blaming paranoia for much, if not all, that is wrong for the World, and I believe that the text supports it very well. So in other words, from the way I am seeing things right now, revealing aspects about our real lives should mitigate paranoia, and hence prevent the types of conflict we have experienced on the WP, or as a result of it.--John12pxBessatalk 18:32, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

This doesn't work for me, I prefer the comfort of my own paranoia. As the with the Bernoulli and Newton, this lion prefers to be judged by his claw. Thenub314 20:52, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I hope you are kidding, because I have been studying the hell out of the Wales/Breeching incident and my idea is starting to look like good with a sound underlying theory. He's a smart guy, he must be paranoid to get fooled so easily. It's actually pretty funny when you read through the edit logs.
It's "We know the lion by his claw," which is quite different. BTW, where are your hate levels at?
--John12pxBessatalk 23:22, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Many years ago I read a book about the psychology of programmers which recited an incident in a programming class wherein a person came with the teacher's permission to give the students a two page questionnaire; gave them instructions; they filled out the first page; he then gave out the second page and asked if there where any questions - expecting none. A student raised his hand and asked "Do we use the same personality on the second page as we used on the first?" upon which the answer was a stunned "You are supposed to use your REAL personality!" The student replied :"What kind of fools do you take us for?" - WAS 4.250 06:31, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Hahahaha, that's too funny. I am afraid they fired all the funny programmers and replaced them, or us, w/ 2D versions. I just put some writing on [the breeching-Wales incident on WP-review describing our environment in similar terms.--John12pxBessatalk 18:26, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
John12pxBessa, I am familiar with the exact phrase of the quote. That is why I included the link, in case you were not familiar. Perhaps this is the earliest Duck test? I don't know. But my point stands, the solution was clearly Newton's because no other man could have written one so nicely. I would like to be judged on the content and strength of my ideas alone, not on past accomplishments, past interests or anything else. Judge me by my claw is really what I meant. I don't know what your referring to with "hate levels", hate is something in my experience that can not be accurately measured by anyone. But I think it is safe to assume that it is between 0, and twice the highest level to be. Thenub314 09:14, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Actually you might be surprised, Thenub314. We are getting there by describing the underlying neurological layers in terms of cold, calculating, ingenious hate, rather than the much more innocent "sensual" anger. Anger isn't an issue, fear is, and hence the paranoia talk. Should we create a link for between 0, and twice the highest level to be? While we are at it, I am wondering about this: Colloquium#Too_much_postmodernism_and_christianity_on_Wikiversity. I mean how many extra lives do we get? I like editing here; the WP is brutal!--John12pxBessatalk 18:39, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Sometimes i jump to quickly into conclusions ;-). But, i also change my opinion quickly. It is strange what people can believe in. My ideas behind it was that i didn't understand why Wikiversity was talking about Moulton and JWSchmidt again since 2008. And i thought it had to do with some kind of conspiracy. Actually i am on the verge of leaving Wikiversity for the last couple of years, because it was impossible to get my wiki-ideas realized. Reason for me to react was because i didn't like all the fighting on the Colloquium and i jumped into conclusions. My personal life is pretty crappy right now, being too much alone and unemployed. So, i got too much time. I wouldn't have responded if i had a busy job and busy social activities.
Normally i don't want to be involved in this kind of fights. I think these fights on Wikipedia, but also within states and institutions all over the world have to do with personal status and ideology. People try to gain a powerful position, or even more important, they try to keep an interesting way of spending their time and are afraid to lose it. Michel Houellebecq described it pretty good, to my opinion, in his novel The Possibility of an Island, when he discussed a powerstruggle within a new age sect. Ideology has to do with moral standards of people. I find the ongoing discussions on forums dedicated to politcs fascinating. Two persons atttacking each other, because they differ in their ideals on the world. They both mean well, and that is why they hate each other so much. Because out of fear that someone has the wrong ideal that will screw us all. The people who are mainly for personal gain use these differences in order to get a powerful position.
I got fed-up with Wikipedia a few years ago, and also with Wikiversity. What i hoped to find on the internet was a community of people who create things together. But, on Wikipedia people mainly edit alone and fight with each other. Youtube is pretty empty, Chatroulette much worse. The fights here on Wikiversity are useless. People fight each other on insignificant details, maybe it is mostly pride. Outside internet people mostly follow their obligations, and otherwise just relax and take it easy. Wish i could enjoy the latter. Strange that i am often so bored, when i got internet for 5 years now.Daanschr 18:54, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
I definitely hear with respect to frustration with the Internet and economies--related ills. And WV arguing is certainly distracting and blemishes WV, but I see it as an acceptable evil compared to what goes on in the WP legal system, which has been hijacked by, or perhaps designed for, predators. WP is certainly an excellent microcosm of civilization. I am considering a return to technology by attempting to attract L4 developers to use WV as a "next layer up" documentation and planning forum, and also to implement a how-to for the kiddos. Bring people here with purpose other than arguing wiki policy.--John12pxBessatalk 13:10, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, i don't understand what you mean with "I am considering a return to technology by attempting to attract L4 developers to use WV as a "next layer up" documentation and planning forum, and also to implement a how-to for the kiddos." I don't have any experiences with the WP legal system. I was always treated well on Wikipedia.Daanschr 10:20, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Then you had a unique experience! I bumped into some bad guys because of some innocent humor, which is against the rules, but not excessively so. I attempted reconciliation with them but I became their target, so I decided to "push their buttons" so as the learn more about them. What they did to me was not that bad, but I learned how editors can be crucified simply because of bias about POV, or even more common - NO POV! Many here are here because of predators on WP. I have done a lot of writing on the topic because I discovered artifactual text detective-style that links hate to paranoia that I believe is a significant social breakthrough. It also, in part, initiated this semi-outing proposal because I want to see if fellow writers are in fact paranoia-based hate mongers!--John12pxBessatalk 20:06, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I did have some discussions in which i turned away quickly, so perhaps i avoided being in these situations because i don't like them. Well, my ranting on the colloquium makes me a paranoia-based hate monger, can't argue with that! But, i simply joined the fight and quickly withdrew. Real hate mongers probably stay and continue the fighting. I see Wikipedia as a giant bureaucracy. It is normal in bureaucracies to have these kind of conflicts. My solution for it was to organize congresses, which are temporary instead of continuous, which are aimed at a positive way of editing and improving quality instead of focusing on power struggles in order to keep a certain wiew point indefinitely online. The present way of writing articles on Wikipedia invites conflicts, because anyone can edit, but how to protect your edits from other editors? Instead of having only one article on a topic, there could be several. A congress could write an article, which can't be edited anymore afterwards. Multiple articles on a topic can be written by several congresses, which can be stored in a database. And the Wikipedia article remains open to everybody. Experts can be respected in the format of a congress, while the Wikipedia article gets the sign that there could be some bias in it which has been put there by a single anonymous editor making it unreliable, and an invitation to look at the database of articles written by congresses. What also can be explained is that there are multiple ways of writing an article on a topic, which explains why there can be several articles on the same topic. But, i am advancing my old idea again for which i didn't get any people interested.Daanschr 08:32, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Here is the original proposal i made 4 years ago: Wikipedia:Expert retention#Improving the quality of debate in talk pages.Daanschr 08:34, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Young contributors[edit]

Feel free to ignore this point as I am not an active member of this community, but when stopping by today I saw the banner and gave a quick glance at this privacy policy. All the points seem reasonable (with community consensus, of course), however I feel the need to point out that the use of a specific age (in this case, 18) should not be the factor defining a "young contributors". It should be the w:age of majority or something similar. The "age of majority" varies even within some larger countries, with Canada being a case in point. 18 years old is a legal adult in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario, for example, but not so in the provinces of British Columbia and New Brunswick (AoM=19)[1]. While this wouldn't affect w:COPPA compliance per se, it's still something that one should keep in mind, as I am sure not all EnWikiversity users are American. (There was a recent discussion on the Simple English Wikipedia over w:simple:Wikipedia:Protecting children's privacy, and it was decided to use the age of majority rather than a specific age. Not that that should determine policy here, of course. Just food for thought.) :) Best wishes, whatever is decided. Avicennasis 07:44, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

  1. Susan Munroe. "Age of majority". About.com. http://canadaonline.about.com/od/canadianlaw/g/ageofmajority.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-23. "The age of majority in Canada is the age at which a person is considered by law to be an adult. A person younger than the age of majority is considered a "minor child.""

Privacy policy and IRC.[edit]

from m:Privacy_policy

IRC channels are not officially part of the Wikimedia Foundation and are not operated on Wikimedia controlled servers. The IP address of users who chat over such a service may be exposed to other participants. IRC users' privacy on each channel can only be protected according to the policies of the respective service and channel. Different channels have different policies on whether logs may be published.

The section of the policy in question is the one on Private correspondence.

Please do not post private off-wiki correspondence unless all parties involved approve what you are posting. If you publish private correspondences without all parties agreeing, you may be warned once to stop. If you persist, a custodian may block you indefinitely to prevent you from continuing to use Wikiversity to publish private correspondences without permission, and to protect everyone's privacy on Wikiversity.
All off-wiki correspondence are considered to be private, unless a permanent public record is automatically maintained by the system and anyone can publicly see that record at anytime without a person having had to share it first. Otherwise people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The issue would be whether or not privacy is reasonably expected in IRC. If so, then publishing of IRC logs would be, on the face, improper. If not, then it would not be improper. On Wikipedia, ArbComm ruled that evidence from a private mailing list, quite possibly illegally obtained, could still be used on-wiki. This was in spite of a clear expectation of privacy. With IRC, one does not necessarily know all the individuals to whom the content is visible, though one does see who joins and who leaves. Generally publishing IRC logs, however, would be marginal at best, unless the logs are maintained for public access, in which case they are clearly not protecting privacy.

The issue becomes important with the Wikiversity IRC channels. See [[1]] See m:IRC_guidelines. The problem is that there is a recommendation to use IRC for soliciting custodian help, and thus it becomes an alternative to Wikiversity:Request custodian action. Such requests are ideally transparent, to avoid an appearance of cabalism. Further, if someone is abusive on an official WV IRC channel, the one abused should be able to complain on-wiki, and if the log is considered private, that's chilling. The Freenode channel guidelines suggest avoiding IRC for criticism of individuals, so abuse ("strong criticism") has already violated guidelines on Freenode.

IRC is recommended at Wikiversity:Notices_for_custodians. My opinion is that IRC should not be recommended for Wikiversity administrative purposes unless the logs are public. I'd prefer to see a mailing list, in fact, with a public archive. If IRC is only for social purposes, then it would be up to the channel management if the log is public or not, and participation would be fully voluntary. But with the quasi-official status of the WV channels, to assume protection is foolish. As long as those channels have an official function, the logs should be public, and, if not public directly, anyone should be able to post them. It is far better if the record is directly public, because issues of authenticity will be less common. With a mailing list, for example, not only can there be a public archive, but individual list subscribers can keep copies of all mail so it becomes very difficult for anyone with edit access to the archive to manipulate it without being discovered.

(Disclosure: I have never used the WV IRC channel and find IRC somewhat distasteful. I have used Wikipedia IRC in an emergency, when Wikipedia was down.)

Proposal: IRC logs for the Wikiversity IRC channels are public and may be cited as evidence on-wiki if needed. --Abd 01:43, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose - ridiculous suggestion and defeated before because of the abuse of others in quoting private and unacceptably licensed content from IRC. IRC has its own rules and the logs are stated to not allow public logging. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:19, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Proposal was defeated above. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:28, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
It would be more accurate to say that the proposal did not obtain consensus. Opinion was divided, and now that a real case is before the community where a prohibition against posting official Wikiversity channel logs is an obvious problem, opinion may be different. Of course, there is an alternative: deprecate the user of IRC for Wikiversity business. If it's not good enough to allow the logs to be revealed, it's not good enough to use for any sort of official business. That is, in fact, the outcome I'd prefer. But generally, WMF policy does not disallow posting of otherwise private material when needed in order to understand possible abuse or harassment or the like. See the RfAr/Eastern European Mailing List case. That was a case where there was clearly an expectation of privacy, it was a private mailing list, but an unknown person obtained the archive and put it on wikileaks, and a link was sent to all the arbitrators.... Mess. --Abd 03:49, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
2 for, 3 against. That isn't a "failure to gain consensus". That is a blatant 60% opposed. And if you don't like IRC, too bad. Your personal hatred isn't good enough to violate privacy of others. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:07, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
It's quite appropriate to revisit a policy when a major "test case" shows some aspect of the policy to be problematic.
Also, please avoid hyperbolic assumptions (I don't see where Abd mentioned any "hatred"). --SB_Johnny talk 12:28, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

I support saying that the Wikiversity channel is unofficial, independently ran, and views expressed there may in no way represent Wikiversity or the Wikiversity community. I'd even be willing to say any appearance of a consistent, majority or authoritative view expressed off-wiki may not hold true were the same discussion to happen on wiki. However this can be clarified at Wikiversity:Contact or Wikiversity:Chat, and you can even do that right this moment there because neither is a policy/guideline/process page. I think there is a reasonable expectation of privacy on irc. IRC like Skype, Instant Messaging, or a phone call is discussion done in real time without any universal expectations other than the assumption there isn't a record of any discussion out there for anyone to see, unless the person has been notified before any discussion started of that possibility and express permission to do so was given and even than the assumption is that the permission extends only to the current conversation. I think different people also have different expectations of professionalism, both in their own level of professionalism and the professionalism they expect from others when using different forms of communications. How a person communicates when using one form of communication may not transfer with how the same person communicates when they use a different form of communication. Having used IRC as a form of communication for over 15 years, I generally expect a relaxed communication atmosphere without much professionalism, and I have found that civility often and sometimes quickly breaks down due to misunderstandings and differences in etiquettes. I see differences in communications between wiki and IRC in myself and I imagine other people that use both have noticed those differences in me as well. I tend to be light hearted, often joking, and using jokes to explain things on IRC, and that is probably due in part because I'm more relaxed and more comfortable with real-time communications than I am with other forms of communication. I would probably end up avoiding that specific IRC channel like a plague and consequently not helping people, if anyone was openly allowed to publish discussions, because I wouldn't feel comfortable and relaxed communicating there any more. I actually think real-time communications are the better options for people to air out there frustrations and work out there differences with people when opinions are strong. Finally I think anyone can summarize real-time discussions in their own words whether that discussion was via phone, Skype, Instant Messaging, or IRC without needing to record or pull out a log, if they feel the discussion is relevant to Wikivesity without violating the privacy policy. -- darklama  14:02, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Sharing difficulty with privacy policy.[edit]

There have been some young users, possibly very young, editing recently, and this was noticed with Wikiversity:Request_custodian_action#Aaqib. Because what was being posted was not actually "nonsense," per se, but a kind of creative writing, I started up the Wikiversity:Playspace concept and, even before becoming a probationary custodian, started moving material there, trying to establish communication and some groundrules with the user(s) -- it's not completely clear how many kids are involved, there is one principal user, with one registered account, it seems. But almost all editing is IP.

It would be fairly simple to handle this, but that user is frequently adding what may be the real names of kids to the pages. I've been revision-deleting, or deleting pages named with the real name, and I'm not seeing a response from the user to stop, so I may need, next, to block, in order to enforce privacy policy. My handling this alone is a bit of a problem, it would be a little better if we could get a good cop-bad cop routine going, a classic device for gaining cooperation from "criminals." I'll handle it alone if necessary, and I issued the first block warning already, though I've been trying to escalate very, very slowly. As long as pages are being routinely created with real names, I'm not treating this as an emergency; but eventually all such names will be removed, I assume, unless there is parental permission, which is a pain, but ... if the kid actually does get permission from a parent, then we can proceed even with his name ... but not the names of his friends!

I'm now suspecting, from a recent edit, that this kid is about seven years old, and, if so, he's precocious. My nine year old girl could do what he's doing, and more, my seven-year old, probably not. I may contact the school (most editing is from the school IP). I'm exploring the limits of what we can do with direct participation with children. Allowing IP editing creates a huge maintenance problem with this; many sites have strict registration requirements that then satisfy the federal rules for the U.S. I'm not convinced that IP editing is fully appropriate for Wikiversity, and would even tend to requiring real name editing, and if a Wikipedia user does not want to disclose real name, then they can register a real name account here and not disclose the connection. But that's a discussion for elsewhere.

I notice that, on this issue, Wikipedia has not ever attained consensus, in spite of substantial effort.

Attention is appreciated. This is not, in my view, a failure of the Playspace concept, merely a special situation with a particular user who hasn't been able to respond appropriately. Playspace is not just for kids, by the way, it's also a kind of more permanent sandbox, and a place for users to explore Weird Ideas. (Where are sandboxes? On playgrounds.) --Abd 16:16, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Referencing published authors[edit]

In a recent discussion, the question arose as to whether it is violation of the local Wikiversity Privacy Policy to cite an author's publications and to specifically include the author's name in the citation. After some discussion, the parties concluded that it is not a violation of the local Wikiversity Privacy Policy to reference an author's published writings. —Moulton 12:37, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

The comment by Moulton (I believe) refers to the WIKIVERSITY privacy policy (which can be altered by this community); rather than the WikiMedia privacy policy (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Privacy_policy) which in no way applies as it is a policy for behavior by WikiMedia Foundation personnel (paid and volunteer) while carrying out Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees instructions (policies, resolutions, etc.), especially as administered by the staff (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff). - WAS 4.250 22:16, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Yup. --SB_Johnny talk 23:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Update: In a further discussion among members of the Dark Junta, two of them decided that they really wanted this issue to be taken up by the community, rather than being decided by them by fiat.

So the floor is now open for the community to address the question of whether the local Privacy Policy applies to these two situations:

  1. Citing by name the author of a publication outside of Wikiversity.
  2. Addressing a fellow scholar here by their real name, if they are also the author of a cited (or citable) published document outside of Wikiversity.

Moulton 15:44, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Citation of material can only be cited to the pen name the material is published under. You cannot deviate from that in any citation method. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:51, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Moulton, do you consider the use of pejorative terms such as "Dark Junta" to be a norm in scholarly communication? --mikeu talk 17:36, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Mike do you consider Wikiversity to be an authentic learning community and not a Post-Modern Theater of the Absurd? —Moulton 18:37, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikiversity has a vast campus, but a certain few rooms in the Drama Department are brightly illuminated, with inordinate attention paid to them by those watching students of Royal Drama, playing Emperors and Queens. And Knaves, of course. Thus Wikiversity is both an authentic learning community and a Post-Modern Theater of the Absurd.
Next question? --Abd 00:39, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

FYI: I have collected a set of references which illustrate how the use of names is handled in peer reviewed scholarly literature. --mikeu talk 17:36, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Are the participants in this charade genuine scholars, or are they characters dressed up to look like Eight Line Rhyming Schemes, Centaurs, Doubtful Salmon, and Killer Canines? —Albatross (talk) 18:37, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
The question here is an attempt to wikilawyer a desired outcome, it's a common device: Want some outcome: propose some sweeping principle that will lead to your desired outcome, and you might suck some people into only thinking of the general rather than the specific. Guidelines, policies, and laws, however, are best developed through a study of the particular, with general principles appearing later or in co-development. The real question here has not been posited. Rather, there is a pretense that Wikipedia editors are "authors" and to be treated the same as ordinary authors, for academic citation.
The question of practice in citation surely depends on context! I will attempt some principles here.
Let's cut to the chase. What Moulton is asking about is how Wikipedia contributions would be cited. The primary evidence is clear: contributions are attributed to registered user names or to IP. While we may know or believe that a particular author was a particular real-world person, this is secondary knowledge, dependent upon additional information. The primary source, wiki history, always refers to the user name. People may have many names. I have my user name, Abd. I have a name which appears in various places, spelled mostly as Abd ul-Rahman Lomax. I have a different name on my driver's license. I have another name under which I've published. By what name should I be cited?
It's obvious. The name in the source. If I published under a name years ago, the citation would give the name in the source itself. If my identity is relevant, an author citing my work might wish to identify me under some other name. The issue is very particular to the actual usage and the goals being served.
Any other practice involves a concealed synthesis, which is to be avoided in scholarship. Is this a completely general principle? No. To decide the best way to attribute material depends on the nature of the source and the nature of the publication and the objective of the publication.
The problem here has often been that there are motives other than scholarship involved. There is an effort to blame the problems of Wikipedia on individuals, often people who were just transiently involved, no more than a few years. The author asking the question here seems to want to use "real names," i.e., names he's found revealed or alleged in this or that place, not for purposes of understanding wiki history and principles, but for revenge, in an attempt to outrage or humiliate. We aren't seeing this question asked by people writing abstract papers about normal subjects!
And there are, then, obviously, issues involved other than academic practice! --Abd 00:39, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Please see Wikiversity talk:Community Review/Pseudonymity and external correspondence for continuation of this discussion. --mikeu talk 23:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)


The discussion above is, on the face, really about what is briefly called "outing," which is revealing the real-world identity of an editor who is otherwise anonymous. True outing is offensive, and can even be hazardous, real-world, to the one outed. But even mild "outing," where the cat is out of the bag, where it's clear what the real-world name of the editor is, and that is presently easy to find, can cause serious and enduring problems for an individual.

On the other hand, should a real-world individual be protected against real-world consequences from their wiki activities? I think that if we look at real situations, we might come up with different answers in different situations. However, editors and administrators cannot be expected to be lawyers or even judges, and need to have clear guidelines on which to base ordinary and routine judgments. "Outing," in particular, if it is harmful, can do immediate harm, possibly irremediable harm. Given that the WMF represents that it will protect the privacy of individuals, except where they voluntarily allow disclosure of real-world identity, I see no alternative to having a strict policy against apparent outing.

This would mean that any editor may remove apparent outing, perhaps redacting text. Any administrator may revision-delete edits or delete pages with outing pagenames or content. Redaction is preferred, generally, to deletion, because we have a conflicting goal of academic freedom, and the purpose of privacy policy is to protect privacy, not to punish people for inadvertent violations of policy, nor even for deliberate violations; in the case of apparently deliberate violation, sanctions may be necessary, but not to punish, per se, but to protect against additional violations.

The real problem, generally, is one of incivility. Real names can be used to blame or attempt to humiliate, to implicitly threaten with public shame or humiliation, loss of employment, or other harm. There are circumstances where the real-world identity of an editor is important; for example, for determining conflict of interest where an editor does not disclose it and denies the conflict. Always, in such cases, the possible damage must be weighed against the welfare of the community and project. Courtesy blanking is often used when real world information is revealed on-wiki, with revision deletion as needed.

In my opinion, whenever transparency must be reduced, review by those with sufficient privilege to see the concealed material should be prompt and explicit, and only necessary revision deletion allowed. This is an example where off-wiki means of discussion, such as private IRC, may be appropriate. In my view, such proceedings should always be disclosed to the extent possible. ArbComm on Wikipedia follows this practice, sometimes, disclosing that a discussion took place. The safeguard against abuse would be the existence of many with access to the discussion.

If an editor permits the use of their real name, there is no harm in it. However, we cannot depend upon research to determine if an editor has permitted this. My opinion is that if the real name is given on the editor's user page, it's permitted to use it. If an editor has routinely allowed the use of their real name, but has not clearly disclosed permission, any editor should be able to redact the text to remove the name, but, obviously, that is not a necessity. The editor in question may restore it, or anyone else willing to take full responsibility for possible error. The default is removal unless proven otherwise.

That an editor has somewhere, at some time, for some purpose in some place, permitted or used their real name, is not relevant, once an objection is known to exist. People may change their minds. To be enforceable, "outing" policy must be clear and simple. Nobody should be blocked for accidental error, but only for continued risk to the community and the wiki.

Any editor who insists on using real names after warning, and especially who revert wars to restore real names when redacted, should be blocked until there is no more risk of such activity. --Abd 01:15, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Schmidt's Thesis[edit]

JWSchmidt posits the thesis:

The current version of this policy was forced upon the Wikiversity community by a few policy-violators from Wikipedia. This policy is only used to disrupt Wikiversity and allow a few misguided Wikipedians to game the system and silence or eliminate honest wiki participants who seek to improve Wikimedia wiki projects.


Caprice 19:15, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

  • That comment was posted to the policy page, but is not a change to the policy, it is an accusation against a whole set of users. If JWSchmidt wished to change the policy, and given that the policy stood without revision for quite some time, he could have proposed it here. The "forced upon the Wikiversity community" argument, though is irrelevant. The issue would be what the policy should be, or if we should have a policy. Not how it came to be "bad." I have requested custodian action at WV:RCA over this edit. --Abd 21:01, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Comments from Moulton[edit]

There is some merit in Schmidt's Thesis. The Privacy Policy was discussed by only ten people last summer and adopted on the say-so of Ottava Rima on the basis of seven affirmative votes plus one wishy-washy support vote.

The Privacy Policy was adopted on the strength of supporting votes from Ottava Rima, Darklama, Thenub314. Adambro, Abd, Mike Umbricht, and Daanschr, plus a weak support from Devourer09, against the opposition of JWSchmidt and Plexica.

Perhaps that is not a very representative sample of the current community.


  1. Was there a Quorum of the community present last summer when Ottava solicited a vote?
  2. Should the Ratification be reviewed to see if was a representative sample of the community?

Moulton 19:24, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

  • Moulton apparently never came to understand how wikis develop policies and guidelines. There is no "quorum." A policy may be established by a single user, and changed by a single user, if nobody objects.
  • As is typical with !votes on wikis, there is no determination and no clear way of determining if a !vote was representative. That could be fixed, in fact, but it would take structure we don't have. However, the names Moulton has given do show a number of very involved Wikiversitans. The proposed adoption of a policy that had stood with no significant change for four months, and that has been announced for almost that time in the sitenotice, is hardly being "forced on the Wikiversity community. The ratification was by strong supermajority. JWS's comment and Moulton's support of it are obvious delusions. --Abd 21:01, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
  • The only negative vote in the ratification besides JWS was from Plexica, contributions. That shows how isolated JWS's position really is, with the community.
  • JWS is has now been blocked for making the edit and repeating it, crying "censorship." While JWS is responsible for his own actions, I identify additional responsibility with Moulton/Caprice, for encouraging JWS's delusions, see [2]. --Abd 21:41, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

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