Wikipedia:Identity verification

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Twitter promotes this "blue checkmark" to show that a user has completed its identity verification process. Wikipedia has a comparable process with privileges and a public label.

Identity verification is the process of confirming that a Wikimedia contributor's identity matches to some other identity, such as their offline identity, a user account on another website, or another persona such as a person claiming to be a representative of an organization.

Many aspects of the Wikimedia process for identity verification are controversial, but each of these things is true:

  1. There is no established policy or guideline for identity verification in Wikimedia projects.
  2. Identity verification is a requirement to participate in some online Wikipedia and Wikimedia editing.
  3. There are several Wikimedia community processes which demand identity verification, and more than 100,000 people have participated in these processes since c. 2010.
  4. Some parts of the current ambiguous process work well, and some parts of the process do not work well.
  5. This is a central page to discuss any aspect of the process, including what practices are in place and what policies exist.

Wikipedia's verified badges[edit]

Wikipedia's Verified badge which WP:OTRS administrators apply to user accounts is

This page shares information about applying that template.

Background information[edit]

Various other sources describe similar concepts to identity verification

Processes which request identity verification[edit]

  1. Wikimedia Commons verification of copyright ownership for media
  2. Having a Wikimedia username which matches the name of a public figure
    1. Such people get blocked and since 2005 templated with {{Uw-ublock-famous}}, "Please be willing and able to prove your identity to Wikipedia."
    2. The recommended practice is to verify identity through WP:VRT
    3. There is no consistent VRT verification system
  3. Conflict of interest editing
    1. Wikipedia highly discourages conflict of interest editing
    2. Simultaneously, in uncommon but recurring misconduct scenarios like harassment campaigns, corporate espionage, impersonation for defamation, a Wikimedia editor may request a concerned media subject to verify their identity to add credibility to their claims. No Wikimedia community member wants to do this, but it sometimes is the preferable choice for stabilizing an issue and guiding it back to the usual wiki processes.
  4. Certain volunteer administrator roles, including being a WP:VRT agent or WP:Checkuser, require a special professionally organized Wikimedia Foundation verification, which is different from volunteer identity management. This process is not problematic in the way described here.

What is needed[edit]

  1. Research on when, how, and how often the Wikimedia community currently uses identity verification
  2. Technical consulting on what identity verification processes are possible to implement given resource constraints and user needs
  3. Discovery of problems which could have resolution with identity verification, but for which there are no pilot cases to examine for policy development

See also[edit]