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> Tnxman307, Checkuser, Protecting the Wiki against Sock Blizzard
Abd
post Mon 9th May 2011, 2:40am
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My little experiment, documented at a wikiversity user space page, with my edits in chronological order, showing responses under each edit, is revealing some fascinating details about Wikipedia admin operations, fascinating to me, anway, I don't know about anyone else.

At 13:39, 7 May 2011, I'd made a self-reverted edit to correct an archiving error. It had been quickly noticed, as documented on the log page, but still wasn't reverted back for some time. A new account appeared, Panichappy1 (T-C-L-K-R-D) , who made a single edit, reverting the correction back, correct except the editor signed it. I deleted that signature, and then Enric Naval finished up the correction by adding closing templates.

Panichappy was blocked by Tnxman307. No good deed should go unpunished. This revealed something:
QUOTE
# 13:56, 8 May 2011 Tnxman307 blocked Panichappy1 (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ‎ (Abusing multiple accounts)
# 13:56, 8 May 2011 Tnxman307 blocked Armedview1 (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ‎ (Abusing multiple accounts)
# 13:56, 8 May 2011 Tnxman307 blocked Intoours111 (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ‎ (Abusing multiple accounts)
Armedview1 (T-C-L-K-R-D)
Intoours111 (T-C-L-K-R-D)

Looking at the combined edits of these accounts, I see some weird stuff.

* 00:28, 8 May 2011 (diff) Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Abd-William M. Connolley ‎ (request never deleted, but archived) [Panichappy1]
* 00:45, 8 May 2011 (diff) Fusion rocket ‎(removed edits by banned editor Abd) [Armedview1]
* 01:22, 8 May 2011 (diff) N User:218-25O-143-151 ‎ (scuttled) [Intoours111] (account with no apparent contributions, but blocked by Tnxman307 at 16:43, 7 May 2011 User page was not deleted, but stands, now with indef template. at the same exact time, Tnxman307 blocked Wong Kam (T-C-L-K-R-D) , another account with no contributions showing.
* 01:17, 8 May 2011 (diff) N User:Tasksstocklol ‎ (scuttled) (top) [Intoours111] created user page, still stands with his "scuttled" template.

I never edited Fusion rocket. Yet the material removed that was allegedly from me now stands as removed, because, well, look at the history.... and Fresh Cat (T-C-L-K-R-D) is now blocked by Risker. Courcelles didn't get it. That's an old trick: make an edit with one sock, then remove a lot of stuff with a second, and some helpful editor reverts the vandalism, and then the first edit stands. I'm not exercised enough to correct this!

I came here because I noticed that Tnxman307 blocked three accounts in the same minute. I'd think the only way the editor connected these accounts would be checkuser.

[b]Okay, why were the accounts checkusered? My guess is to see if it was me, based on that first edit.[b] Might as well take advantage of the opportunity, this gives me some valuable information that I'm not disclosing.

Of course, the puppet master here didn't care about detection, these were throwaways, my guess, probably didn't bother with shifting IP, or maybe the user was detected through unusual agents, etc.

However, Risker is involved in this sequence. I've a distaste for arbitrators getting into enforcement, absent emergency, but she has long done this. It strikes me that blocking editors who have made no edits is not an emergency, but perhaps there were deleted edits.

Looking at the deletion log, my God! Deletions were running for May 7, part of when I looked for them, at over 4000 pages per day. No wonder they feel overwhelmed....

Does anyone have any information on any of these accounts, any idea who it might be? Is there an SPI report anywhere? Whatever, that first edit was actually helpful. Thanks, Panichappy1, if you are reading this. Your edit made someone else sit up and take notice, so the archiving got fixed sooner. The rest, well, you are having your fun, I assume. The administrative community at Wikipedia richly deserves what it creates.

This post has been edited by Abd: Mon 9th May 2011, 2:42am
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Sololol
post Mon 9th May 2011, 4:33am
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QUOTE(Abd @ Sun 8th May 2011, 10:40pm) *

I'd think the only way the editor connected these accounts would be checkuser.

[b]Okay, why were the accounts checkusered? My guess is to see if it was me, based on that first edit.[b] Might as well take advantage of the opportunity, this gives me some valuable information that I'm not disclosing.



Sounds about right. They'll do a little CU fishing if it looks like a serial socker is back in action. CU turns up the IP and then you plug that back into see other accounts linked to it. Seems like most puppet masters like to make multiple socks at one time hence blocked accounts with no edits.
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Abd
post Mon 9th May 2011, 6:41pm
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I got a nice answer from Tnxman307, who reverted my comment to him back in after Kww reverted it.

(I've done block/ban enforcement, and I generally left alone non-disruptive comments on user talk pages, especially those on admin talk pages, since admins can easily defend themselves. Tnxman's response was not unusual, when others reverted the comments per block or ban. I'd only revert clearly disruptive and offensive comments, and offered, in one case, to RevDel one. The user did not respond, he was pissed at me..... fine if he wanted to cut off his nose to spite his face.... it was his choice, it was an outing edit and he had made a huge fuss about them.)

Yeah, I trust Tnxman307 as a checkuser, from this. We may be on opposing teams now, for a while, but he seems to be fair. Consider this war games. I'm not using real bullets, i.e., stuff that, if left alone or reverted back in, would cause real damage, the reverse, actually, it's all edits intended to improve, and mostly noncontroversially, though now that I'm range blocked and it's more difficult, I'm less respectful.

I invite him to discuss anything with me on My Wikiversity user talk page or on the talk page for the log of my actions. It could be quite useful.

(I will rigorously enforce civility policy on my user pages. I will not allow these pages to become attack pages against Wikipedia administrators. The log page records actions, almost totally neutrally, the talk page discusses. If I err and become uncivil myself, anyone may remove any uncivil text there, and I'll accept that or discuss it. There is already an attempt to delete the page, from precedent it will fail, but I don't want to provide any excuse.)

If other admins use real bullets, i.e., cause actual damage by their enforcement actions, that's a police riot. Not my responsibility. The law where I live permits me to give police the finger and if they retaliate, it can be their job. I learned that from a lawyer who did it. I don't routinely try it! He was a lawyer, he had obvious teeth, I don't.

(I also had a college professor who, during the class, was severely beaten and hospitalized by a police officer because he asked to see the officer's ID. People who confront police do the public a valuable -- and dangerous -- service, by helping to weed out the bad apples. If anyone pays attention. If "the police are always right" prevails, it can take decades or longer.

On the substance of my comment to Tnxman, yes, I figured that out about Panichappy1. My question would be what drove this editor to this extremity? We may believe that some people are "just that way," but .... we often create these kinds of responses by our own behavior. Responsible Wikipedia administration requires rising above this, and what I'm attempting is to show one of many possible ways, just a small one, but if the lessons are learned, it will be a step in the right direction.
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Abd
post Thu 9th February 2012, 5:54pm
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Okay, some more Tnxman307 news. Gravitoweak (T-C-L-K-R-D) posted what might be considered a provocative question to User talk:Jimbo Wales. He was blocked by Tnxman307 for "abusing multiple accounts."

I now see that Tnxman blocked other accounts as socks, at about the same time. However, he doesn't state that these are "checkuser blocks," and the evidence is only contributions, which certainly would not apply to some of the socks, and it's just plain not an explanation.

It's rather obvious that Gravitoweak was examined because of his questioning of Jimbo. If the socks really are his socks, as I'd suspect, i.e., that Tnxman did use his checkuser tool, then it would seem that Gravitoweak expected to be blocked. He provided an excuse, perhaps.

It used to be that checkusers would not do fishing checks. I remember having identified blatant socks, and checkuser was refused, absent clear evidence of abuse, not merely the technical possibility of socking. Exceptions were allowed, though, and seem to have become more and more the rule. Checkusers, instead of being neutral investigators and judges, trusted as such, have become executives, operating on their own initiative.

There goes the wiki. One slip down the slope at a time.

It used to be that socking was not an offense, it was [i]abusive socking[/wi] that was an offense. Abuse would be multiple voting or otherwise presenting an appearance of multiple editors supporting a position, from a reality of just one. Or block evasion, as a less clear offense. But Gravitoweak was not evading a block. Was he evading a ban? I don't know, I haven't reviewed the history, but if he was, that, then, would have been the reason for the block, and blocks of socks would be derivative from that.

So we have an incompetent checkuser here, by the old standards. There are no new standards, Wikipedia is dissolving into purer and purer adhocracy, with no rule of law, and no voluntary restraint.

This post has been edited by Abd: Thu 9th February 2012, 6:01pm
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Abd
post Thu 9th February 2012, 6:20pm
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Tnxman blocks with the reason "abusing multiple accounts," but seems to consider multiple accounts abusive, per se. There was no showing of "abuse." The block escalated to indef without warning.

The first block was for a week, issued without, again, warning regarding the behavior, which was possibly more abusive socking, i.e., there were socks editing the same articles. Tnxman escalates to indef without warning and without a showing of actual abuse, and I haven't seen article overlap yet.

The problem with mixing the investigative/judicial and executive functions is that executives may have bias, and making investigation and judgment independent tends to reduce the impact of that. Tnxman acts as investigator, prosecutor, judge, and executioner.

It's not that he's necessarily wrong in each case, but that he may choose his cases. Will he checkuser and block users who edit in ways that he likes? Discriminatory enforcement is a well-known problem in law, I've seen its pernicious effects in real life, where it happens in spite of safeguards. Wikipedia has practically no safeguards.

In any case, it's likely that enforcement here will simply create more socking, thus requiring more enforcement, more need for checkusers, more wasted time. No effort is made to negotiate with Gravitoweak. After all, we own the wiki and he doesn't. Right?
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