Wikipedia talk:Oversight/Archive 2

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requesting oversight with web form

I believe it would be helpful to have a web form for users to request oversight if they are unable or unwilling to use email. I saw some vandalism on recent changes which contained a sexual suggestion and a victim's phone number, but I don't feel like using my email for Wikipedia stuff, so I didn't report it for oversight (although someone reverted it). But if there had been a web form I would happily have pasted in the relevant diff URL. — Alan 23:03, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree. I came here hoping there would be a brief explanation on why the only way to request oversight is by email, which was much longer and involved (and required me to sort out some software, which I couldn't have done on a public computer) than most vandal-related things. My concern is that as soon as it is quicker to vandalise in a certain way than it is to report/deal with that vandalism, it spreads. Also, I like to keep my email private, while being quite reachable on my talkpage. Having to include an email address made me seriously consider whether or not to report something. Is that the aim? Skittle 20:48, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Although I was very impressed with the quick response. Skittle 20:53, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
We're not using mail to slow things down, promise! Originally, I wanted a user account, "User:Oversight" or something similar and a page with its Special:Emailuser enabled, that way you could perform the request from there without forcing the devs to hack together a web request page and captcha and the like. Turns out this way is faster to set up and simpler to keep track of.
Worst case scenario, you can visit #wikipedia-en and ask in-channel. PLEASE NOTE that you do not want to give information to the first person who replies! Make sure the person is on the oversight users list on the project page here and that they have an appropriate hostcloak (someuser@wikimedia/someuser or someuser@wikipedia/someuser) that matches them.
If none of that makes sense, don't use irc. Just use the email. People do watch it, I promise. ~Kylu (u|t) 00:01, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

What happens?

Just curious. I'm about to submit a request for oversight and I want to submit the correct diffs. Should I submit the diff at which the first inclusion of the information occurred? Then what happens? Are all of the edits after that diff erased? Or just the information added in that one diff. Sancho (talk) 02:32, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Just that diff. --TeckWiz ParlateContribs@ 02:45, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
If the information is in multiple versions, they would all need to be removed to get rid of the data. In addition to submitting the difs that contain it be sure to specify what the actual information you want removed is. If other good faith edits end up getting removed they may need to be copy-and-paste restored. — xaosflux Talk 03:47, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed security policy

Please see Wikipedia:Security for a proposed policy that may have ramifications for oversighters discovered to have weak passwords. --Tony Sidaway 15:53, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

If you don't mind me tailing along, here is another proposal for a guideline on Wikipedia:Personal security practices that I was working on independently of these incidents, mainly out of the discussion on this thread at Wikipedia_talk:No_personal_attacks#Part_two. Any comments or concerns would be appreciated. Thanks, —ACADEMY LEADER FOCUS! 00:22, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Excess secrecy and incomplete expungement

I do not have Wikipedia Email so I will use this to communicate a concern. [1] is an AFP story about a certain long hexadecimal number involved in the security of DVDs. There was a Wikipedia story about thet number and the security issue, and an AFD to delete the article. The article and the AFD were removed apparently by an oversight action. Unfortunately there were comments about the disappearance between editors who were puzzled about it, since there was no notation on the discussion page for the AFDs of that day to simply say that an AFD had been removed as required by Foundation policy or by legal requirements or whatever, and those comments included diffs which preserved the secret number which, like Voldemort's name, must never be uttered. It is still there in a diff visible at [2], so the expungement was incomplete. There was a deletion review initiated which was closed after only a few hours. My request is that when something with as wide a participation as an AFD is abruptly obliterated by oversight action, that there be a simple nonspecific statement in the related AFD discussion page that it was an office or oversight action and not a computer glitch or vandalism that resulted in the disappearance. Failure to do this in this case generated further inadvertent promulgation of the banned number, both on the talk pages of several editors and in the deletion review. Too much secrecy about oversight actions has a reverse effect. Edison 16:58, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few days, it's pretty obvious that the disappearances weren't accidental, the result of crackers, or a computer glitch. --Tony Sidaway 17:08, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
It wasn't that obvious at the time when the AFD was removed while I was about to add a delete comment to it. My request is that when possible such actions should be explained as official actions, to avoid confusion. As is, the unexplained blanking or removal of a talk page, an article, or an AFD is itself a cause for comment, which may result in inadvertent perpetuation of the name, number, or whatever is supposed to be completely expunged.Adding an "Oversight" marker in the edit history would also help to avoid the creation of unnecessary confusion on the part of editors who are posting to AFDs or to the talkpage of an article. Usually the simple notation that Oversight editing was done would not tell what text was removed. Failure to make such a notation in the edit history or discussion page can in fact lead to the inadvertent promulgation of the evil info. A dummy edit could be used to just add an "oversight" notation in the edit history. Is this ever done? Is any real purpose served by stealthy oversight? Edison 17:13, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
They're not really "official" actions, just actions taken for obvious commonsense reasons. --Tony Sidaway 17:21, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Tony ( or other ) , would you address Edison's actual question? Would it be beneficial to add at least some form of marker to avoid the unnecessary(?) secrecy? etc.. here 19:34, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what the oversighters think, but to me it's obvious that oversight's very purpose is to hide information. Publicly noting the fact that it's been hidden is exactly what we don't want to do. --Tony Sidaway 19:36, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
And my point is that the "stealthy" and secretive oversight did not work, since the actual hex number is preserved and bandied about unnecessarily in diffs on the talk pages of editors who discussed the disappearance of text. I hardly think this is the first time this has happened, when a little more courtesy on the part of the editor who removed the material would have prevented it. It seems unnecessary and counterproductive to act like the authorities in Nineteen Eighty-Four and just disappear stuff and pretend it was never there and that nothing was removed. No one is fooled. A notation on the discussion page or a dummy comment should be done in most cases, just to note that text was removed as an official action, because otherwise it looks like a computer glitch or vandalism to editors who are posting to the affected page. Thanks. Edison 04:26, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Leaving a marker saying "information has been removed" is counterproductive to the concept of Oversight. For more explanation, please see Wikipedia talk:Oversight#Oversight log above, as to why the public log of oversight activities has been removed. In addition, oversighters (overseers?) can all see the private oversight log and keep tabs on each others activities. ~Kylu (u|t) 00:16, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Edit Summary 2007-05-30

Unfortunately this was too long for the summary box:

Without prior knowledge of "Oversight", the first sentence confused me for a good 30 seconds. I've tried to recast it more clearly, but I couldn't find a good place to reinstert the idea of the action being performed by a steward. I don't think this is a big deal - how the permission is obtained is probably superfluous detail for an introductory sentence anyway. PeteVerdon 22:24, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales

I really don't know where's the right place to ask this. Jimbo Wales said that he is very involved with day to day matters of Wikipedia, and told people to ask the oversight group about this. If no-one responds here, I guess I should ask on their talk pages. A.Z. 03:33, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you are asking for, but I had a conversation just a couple of days ago about an article subject that had conteacted him; he needed potentially libelous material oversighted. Is his commitment to the project seriously in doubt? Dmcdevit·t 08:04, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Request for response

After three subsequent messages, and for ten days now, I have received no further response on my oversight request. I do not know if my subsequent requests for clarification were received, considered, or denied. Specifically:

  • Jul 7, 2007 9:38 PM: initial request for oversight sent to oversight-l
  • Jul 8, 2007 2:30 AM: acknowledgment of request from Fred Bauder, request partially completed
  • Jul 8, 2007 5:30 AM: request for follow-up sent directly to Fred Bauder
  • Jul 10, 2007 6:07 AM: further request for follow-up sent to oversight-l
  • Jul 14, 2007 10:36 AM: further request for follow-up sent to oversight-l

I also left a message on the talk page for Fred Bauder on July 11, also without response.

I can potentially sympathize with the lack of transparency in the oversight process, for the purpose of privacy. But with that lack of transparency comes, perhaps, a greater need to ensure that requests are properly tracked, responded to, followed-up on (if necessary), and resolved. As best as I can tell, those processes are either non-existent or not functioning. As always, I would appreciate some any response.   j    talk   19:18, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Anyone?   j    talk   16:19, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
As you can see here, oversight is typically only assigned to users with other permissions, and is currently only assigned to administrators. Why do you feel you need oversight access? I can't see you using it, really. --Deskana (talk) 21:04, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I guess I didn't read this the same way, but it sounded to me more like J was simply requesting some edits be oversighted, rather than requesting the oversight permission. In the past, I've usually gotten responses fairly quickly, I think (some oversighters reply by email, others just make the edits go away), but occasionally that's not the case. I would recommend checking if the edits in question have already been oversighted. Beyond that, not sure what to say. If this becomes a common problem, then the tracking of requests does seem to be a concern. – Luna Santin (talk) 21:16, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Whoops, sorry if I misread that. --Deskana (talk) 21:20, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid you did read a bit more than was there.  ;)   j    talk   22:25, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that I did not do all of them. Only the two which contained personal information, in my opinion. Others' opinion might differ. Fred Bauder 21:33, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

The original issue is, yes, that only two of the four revisions in question were deleted. Unfortunately, the overarching problem (and the reason I posted this message here) is the lack of response after over two weeks and several emails.   j    talk   22:22, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Fred that only the first two contained content that can be removed with oversight. His message explained this to you. We take care of oversight requests quickly as a general rule. Communication with people requesting may not be perfect as this is not the main is removing content that falls under the oversight policy. I'm sorry if we did not communicate well in this instance. We generally do not take much time to do long explanations, rather we fix what needs fixing and move on to the next request. If someone else has already taken care of it, I generally do not look at it again. Hope this helps explain the circumstances around your request. Take care, FloNight 13:39, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
The entirety of Fred's message was: "I removed the first two. I'm not sure the last two amount to much as far as disclosure of personal information." I believe saying his message "explained" the situation is inaccurate. A message need not be "long" to be complete. His message said he was "not sure" about removal of the other two under one of the three criteria. Removal of personal information is not the only rationale for oversight. "Removal of potentially libellous information" is also listed in the policy (British spelling and all). I can't imagine that anyone would agree that the there was any "editorial reason to keep the [remaining two vandalism] revision[s]." In any event, recognizing that this process probably would not progress any further, all page revisions were just deleted through {{db-userreq}}. It's not unlike throwing the baby out with the bathwater: deleting every revision of the page because of two vandalism edits that should and could have been removed otherwise.
Finally, I don't believe anybody would demand that "communication with people requesting" oversight "be perfect," but I believe the community would expect that legitimate, good faith emails not go unresponded to for weeks.   j    talk   19:00, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
If the edits (obviously we can't discuss the specific edits!) were simply vandalism, they stay in the article history for various reasons. As per oversight policy, any admin who abuses (read: oversights a revision which does not deserve such protection) will have oversight stripped from them. Oversight is used when there is material so privacy-breaching that it should not ever be seen again, even by admins who can normally see deleted revisions. Any other use, even to "clean up" vandalism, is verboten.
As far as the replies to oversight requests go, it's up for discussion, but at the moment is not required. This may change. ~Kylu (u|t) 02:28, 28 July 2007 (UTC)


Would it be possible for an admin to purge the history of my userpage and the corrospinding edits in My contributions? I have alot of entries I wish to remove, it would be alot easier for the admin just to purge it. This isn't a request, but please tell me who I can talk to. Stormtalon 06:53, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

This doesn't require oversight, simply deletion. Just put {{db-user}} on your userpage and an admin working CAT:CSD will come by and delete the whole page (you will have to start it over again then). The information would still be viewable/recoverable by admins. — xaosflux Talk 15:21, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Is there a way to delete it so that no one can see it? Stormtalon 09:44, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

In a word, no. There's neither good reason nor policy to completely eliminate a user page or talkpage. If you have specific personal information that you've posted there, the individual revisions can be marked by oversight. Please remember that there are very few legitimate instances where even normal deletion should apply to those who wish to leave Wikipedia. See m:RTV for more information. ~Kylu (u|t) 04:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Added IP addresses to list

There exists some external criticism regarding an oversight which removed history which included an editor's IP address, after that user probably accidentally forgot to log in. (I feel I can't provide a link at this time due to an ongoing ArbCom case regarding linking to that site). However, while the criticism is somewhat valid given a very literal idea of this policy, the better idea in keeping with the spirit of the policy is, IMHO, to expand the scope here to include permitting over-sighting when there are there exist the sort of WP:STALK related privacy concerns that accidentally exposing an IP address may lead to. -- 20:46, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Accidently exposing an IP Address might not qualify for oversight as such, especially when there's a few clues that indicate that you aren't logged in. Using oversight in this method is also risky, as it's a potential GFDL violation (e.g. text entered may be attributed to the wrong person.) Removing content because an IP address was entered maliciously in the main article would be valid, however. --Sigma 7 04:44, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
I would expect such a request to be extremely rare, but as it's been done in the past under certain circumstances, it might as well be mentioned. -- 02:26, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
The oversight policy has been decided on Meta (m:Hiding_revisions#Policy) and cannot be changed here without approval there. Cbrown1023 talk 20:59, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, my bad. I've tried to make this more clear by replacing Template:Policy with custom template-like code that makes this clear. I suppose I'll try this again over at meta. -- 20:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)