An analogous argument to the one you're making is: someone who intends to rob 
your home will be able to get in one way or other, so why bother locking the 
doors when you go out. This is not a good argument.

You're calling into question the reliability of every identification document 
copy ever presented to the WMF by an advanced-rights-seeking administrator 
because a really sophisticated wrongdoer (I dunno, Chinese military 
intelligence, with whom arbitrator Timotheus Canens is said by some to be 
associated?) could make a masterful forgery that beats the system. The fact is 
that 95% of them, I'd suppose, are going to be okay and the identification 
requirement is going to be an effective deterrent to at least the casual among 
the bad apples. And of course, once they've truly identified, the personal 
accountability aspects of it are going to keep in line once well-intentioned 
administrators that might be tempted to go bad for some reason. 

"Forging identification documents is not impossible" is another variation of 
the "perfection is not attainable" and "no policy can be a magical solution" 
arguments put forth previously on this mailing list by the WMF's deputy general 
counsel Luis Villa. I've attempted to answer those by explaining that you can 
have a pretty good and effective policy without having an infallible one.

Trillium Corsage 

29.06.2014, 07:32, "Pine W" <>:
> Trillium,
> I am having difficulty understanding how retaining copies of possibly
> forged identification documents helps anyone with holding accountable any
> rogue functionary or OTRS user. Can you explain that please? Surely someone
> who intends to misuse the tools will be smart enough to forge an
> identification document. Even in the United States, forging identification
> documents is not impossible, and the police occasionally catch people
> creating such documents.
> Pine
> On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 7:42 AM, Trillium Corsage <>
> wrote:
>>  @Nathan
>>  You said "so if you want to argue that such users should be positively
>>  identified, then please make some practical suggestions (which you have
>>  conspicuously avoided doing so far). How should identities be confirmed? In
>>  what circumstances should the ID information be disclosed, and to whom?
>>  What, fundamentally, is the usefulness in collecting this information to
>>  begin with? What are the use cases in which it is necessary?"
>>  It would be a good faith evaluation of the copy of the identification
>>  document provided. There's no need to be quarrelsome about the practical
>>  suggestions I've "conspicuously avoided." I did at least suggest a secure
>>  filing cabinet and making use of a removable hard-drive. As to the precise
>>  criteria by which an identification document is deemed "good enough," I'd
>>  suppose those would be developed on a good faith basis by the action
>>  officer. Nobody is depending on perfection by that individual. The
>>  principle would be that the document appears genuine, has the minimum
>>  elements settled on by the policy (name, age, address, possibly other
>>  elements). If the document is in a foreign language, say Swahili, and the
>>  WMF person can't read that, I would think it would be a "do the best you
>>  can" and file it by respective Wikipedia and username. None of these are
>>  insurmountable obstacles. The answer to "this is hard" is not "well, let's
>>  just stop doing it." The answer is "this is important, let's just do the
>>  best we can."
>>  I have called for a basic examination of the document, not any
>>  verification process. I'd suppose if the document looked suspect in some
>>  way, then a telephone call or follow-up could be done, and that would be a
>>  "verification," but I would expect that to be the exception, not the rule.
>>  Again, these details would be settled by the hands-on person, not by me
>>  attempting to write a ten-page standard operating procedure while Nathan
>>  zings me with "what are your specifics" on the mailing list.
>>  "What is the usefulness in collecting this information to begin with?"
>>  Well, I thought the premise here was obvious. It was obvious enough to
>>  those that crafted the previous policy in the first place. It establishes
>>  some level of accountability to those individuals accorded access to the
>>  personally-identifying information of editors. Personal accountability
>>  encourages acting with self-control and restraint. With apologies to the
>>  other person that responded, anonymity encourages a care-free and
>>  unrestricted handling of that data, and in fact to some of these people it
>>  indeed yields a MMORPG (multimedia online roleplaying game) environment,
>>  and they will do whatever they want, because they are free from
>>  accountability.
>>  The other key aspect of usefulness is to the rank and file editors. They
>>  will feel better knowing that if some creepazoid or cyberbully starts going
>>  over their IPs, and of course Googling and otherwise sleuthing for more on
>>  them, that at least the WMF knows who they are, and the rank and file
>>  editor potentially has some recourse if it finally comes to it. So I say
>>  the usefulness there is treating editors right and furnishing a safer
>>  environment for them, in which they are not so exposed to anonymous
>>  administrators.
>>  Thank you for your response.
>>  Trillium Corsage (by the way although "Trillium" is a type of flower, I am
>>  in fact a dude. So please use male pronouns if it occurs to you. It was
>>  just an email address I picked sort of randomly and then I ran with it as
>>  pseudonym).
>>  _______________________________________________
>>  Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>>  Unsubscribe:,
>>  <>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
> Unsubscribe:, 
> <>

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Reply via email to