Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Audit Subcommittee

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The Audit Subcommittee (or AUSC) investigates complaints about the misuse or abuse of the advanced permissions CheckUser and Oversight (suppression). The subcommittee acts on behalf of the Arbitration Committee and is composed half of arbitrators and half of ArbCom-appointed community representatives. To file a complaint, please e-mail the subcommittee mailing list on the address specified below.

Purpose

The Arbitration Committee established its Audit Subcommittee in 2009 to investigate complaints concerning the use of CheckUser and Oversight privileges on the English Wikipedia, to scrutinise the use on the English Wikipedia of CheckUser and Oversight (suppression) functions, and to ensure the tools are used in accordance with the applicable policies.

CheckUser is a tool that allows certain trusted users to see the IP addresses used by registered users, which are normally hidden. Its use is governed by the Wikimedia Foundation's (WMF) privacy policy and checkuser policy, and the English Wikipedia's own CheckUser policy. CheckUser is used primarily to fight vandalism, identify sockpuppets, and prevent disruption; the tool must not be used out of curiosity, for political control, to place editors under pressure, or as a threat in a content dispute. The subcommittee's remit is restricted to the use of checkuser on this Wikipedia (see list of users with checkuser access).

Oversight (or suppression) is a procedure by which revisions and log entries are removed from view by all users except oversighters (including administrators). The oversight privilege is governed by the WMF's oversight policy and the English Wikipedia's own Oversight policy, and is typically used to remove: copyright violations by request of the Foundation's General Counsel; violations of the privacy of an editor or another person; self-disclosures by apparent minors; and material that is potentially libelous. Unlike simple deletion and revision deletion (performed by any administrator), suppression hides material from view by almost every user. The subcommittee is only concerned with the use of suppression on the English Wikipedia (see list of oversighters).

Membership

The Audit Subcommittee is composed of three arbitrators selected by the Arbitration Committee and three community members appointed by the Committee following advisory processes. The terms of arbitrator members last six months; of community members, one year. Consecutive and multiple terms are allowed. Due to the Wikimedia Foundation's restriction on non-administrators being given access to deleted revisions without passing an RFA or RFA-identical process, editors who are not administrators are ineligible for community membership of the Audit Subcommittee (as of the 2013–2014 term). Most previous community auditors have in any event been administrators, but one (Bahamut0013) was not an administrator when he was appointed in April 2011.

Members of the Audit Subcommittee are identified to the Wikimedia Foundation, given the CheckUser and Oversight permissions, and have access to the Arbcom-audit-en, Functionaries-en, Checkuser-l, and Oversight-l mailing lists and archives, the CheckUser and Oversight IRC channels if requested, and the oversight-en-wp OTRS queue. Alternative (or reserve) members of the subcommittee do not have such rights unless they are appointed to the subcommittee during their reserve term.

  • Callanecc Community term, ending 30 September 2015
  • Joe Decker Community term, ending 30 September 2015
  • MBisanz Community term, ending 30 September 2015
  • Courcelles Arbitrator term, ending 30 September 2015
  • Doug Weller Arbitrator term, ending 30 September 2015
  • Guerillero Arbitrator term, ending 30 September 2015

Mailing list

The arbcom-audit-en mailing list is used by the subcommittee for internal discussion, communication with functionaries who are the subject of investigation, and to be a venue for the receipt and resolution of complaints. Membership includes current members of the subcommittee, plus two list admins. Any Arbitrator can subscribe to the AUSC list and can see the discussions there.

The subscribers to the mailing list, as of 16 May 2015 are:

AGK, Callanecc, Courcelles, Dougweller, Guerillero, Joe Decker, LFaraone, MBisanz, NativeForeigner, and Roger Davies

The interface page for the mailing list is located here, and the mailing list address is arbcom-audit-en@lists.wikimedia.org. Messages sent to the list by non-members will initially be held for approval by the list administrators. Your email will only be distributed to the subscribers listed, but the content of the mailing list may be shared with the Arbitration Committee when necessary, is available to sitting arbitrators on request, and will be available to future subcommittee members in the list archives.

Procedure

To submit a complaint or query to the Audit Subcommittee, please e-mail arbcom-audit-en@lists.wikimedia.org

  • Your e-mail must:
    • Concisely describe the situation that you wish to complain about;
    • Include links to relevant evidence or material; and
    • Use a descriptive subject.
  • Your e-mail will be held "in moderation" by our anti-spam mailing list software.
    • The software will immediately send an automated response to your message, to let you know it has been received into the system. This does not mean it has been received by the actual subcommittee.
    • Please write to us again if you do not receive a hand-written acknowledgement from a member of the audit subcommittee (rather than a boilerplate bounce from the software) within two days.
  • If you wish your identity to not be disclosed to the functionary or functionaries involved in the complaint, please remember to also state this clearly in your e-mail.

See also

Reports of those investigations that were publicly reported, and anonymised summaries of all the subcommittee's cases, are retained at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Audit Subcommittee/Reports.

Statistical reports on Checkuser and Oversight are maintained at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Audit Subcommittee/Statistics.

The Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees maintains an m:Ombudsman Commission to investigate the misuse of checkuser and oversight on all its projects. The ombudsman is a separate body from the Audit Subcommittee.