Hi Nathan,

For a moment, let's suppose that there is a global policy that all CU
checks must be disclosed to the person being checked, with the information
disclosed in private email, and only consisting of the date of the check
and the user who performed the check. What benefit does this have to the
user who was checked? This information doesn't make the user more secure,
it doesn't make the user's information more private, and there are no
actions that the user is asked to take. Perhaps there is a benefit, but I
am having difficulty thinking of what that benefit would be. I can think of
how this information would benefit a dishonest user, but not how it would
benefit an honest user. If there is a valuable benefit that an honest user
receives from this information, what is it?

Thanks,


Pine


Pine: As you have said, checkuser oversight comes from AUSC, ArbCom and the
ombudspeople. These groups typically respond to requests and complaints
(well, the ombuds commission typically doesn't respond at all). But you
only know to make a request or complaint if you know you've been CU'd. So
notifying people that they have been CU'd would allow them to follow up
with the oversight bodies. My guess is most would choose not to, but at
least some might have a reason to. It's also plain that even if there is no
recourse, people will want to know if their identifying information has
been disclosed.


Hi Nathan,

Thanks, I think I understand your points better now. Let me see if I can respond. I'm not a Checkuser or CU clerk, and I am commenting only from my limited ability to get information as an outsider.

If we notify all users who have been CU'd as we are discussing, what I speculate will happen is an increase in the volume of people who contact the CU who used the tool, their local AUSC or ArbCom, other local CUs, OTRS, and the ombudsmen. This will increase the workload of emailed questions for the CU who used the tool and anyone else who might be contacted. This increase in workload could require an increase the number of people on AUSC or other audit groups who have access to the tool in order to supervise the CUs who are doing the front-line work, and this increase in the number of CUs makes it more possible for a bad CU to slip through.

Another other problem that I foresee is that if a user appeals the original CU decision to another CU or any group that audits CUs, then the user is put in the position of trusting that whoever reviews the first CU's work is themselves trustworthy and competent. The user still doesn't get the personal authority to review and debate the details of the CU's work. Since my understanding is that CUs already check each other's work, I'm unsure that an increase in inquiries and appeals to supervisory groups would lead to a meaningful improvement as compared to the current system in CU accuracy or data privacy.

So, what I foresee is an increase in workload for audit groups, but little meaningful increase to the assurance that the CU tool and data are used and contained properly. Additionally, as has been mentioned before, I worry about the risk of giving sockpuppets additional information that they might be able to use to evade detection.

I agree with you that there might be bad CUs in the current system, although personally I haven't heard of any. Where I think we differ is on the question of what should be done to limit the risk of bad CUs while balancing other considerations. At this point, I think the available public evidence is that there are more problems with sophisticated and persistent sockpuppets than there are problems with current CUs. I hope and believe that current CUs and auditors are generally honest, competent, and vigilant about watching each other's work.

Pine

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