- 1 Summary
- 2 Publishing on the Wiki and public data
- 3 Private logging
- 4 Sharing information with third parties
- 5 Security of information
- 6 E-mail and IRC
- 7 User data
- 8 Deletion of content
If you only read the Biographical Wiki, no more information is collected than is typically collected in server logs by web sites in general.
If you contribute to the Wiki, you are publishing every word you post publicly. If you write something, assume that it will be retained forever. This includes articles, user pages and talk pages. Some limited exceptions are described below.
Publishing on the Wiki and public data
Simply visiting the web site does not expose your identity publicly (but see private logging below).
When you edit any page in the Wiki, you are publishing a document. This is a public act, and you are identified publicly with that edit as its author.
When you publish a page in the Wiki, you may be logged in or not.
If you are logged in, you will be identified by your user name. This may be your real name if you so choose, or you may choose to publish under a pseudonym, whatever user name you selected when you created your account.
If you have not logged in, you will be identified by your network IP address. This is a series of four numbers which identifies the Internet address from which you are contacting the Wiki. Depending on your connection, this number may be traceable only to a large Internet service provider, or specifically to your school, place of business, or home. It may be possible that the origin of this IP address could be used in conjunction with any interests you express implicitly or explicitly by editing articles to identify you even by private individuals.
It may be either difficult or easy for a motivated individual to connect your network IP address with your real-life identity. Therefore if you are very concerned about privacy, you may wish to log in and publish under a pseudonym. When using a pseudonym, your IP address will not be available to the public, but it will be stored on the Wiki servers for a relatively short amount of time. Thus it will be available to developers and may be released under certain circumstances (see below).
If you use a company mail server from home or telecommute and use a DSL or cable Internet connection, it is likely to be very easy for your employer to identify your IP address and find all of your IP based Wiki contributions. Using a user name is a better way of preserving your privacy in this situation. However, remember to disconnect yourself after using a pseudonym to avoid allowing others to use your identity.
The Wiki will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. If you do not intend to ever log in, you may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. It will be deleted when you close your browser session.
More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your user name (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. (If so, clear the browser cache as well.)
Many aspects of the Wiki community interactions depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user's edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.
Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to this one, and what web browsers people are using. It is not the intention of the Wiki to use this information to keep track of legitimate users.
Here's a sample of what's logged for one page view:
188.8.131.52 - - [21/Oct/2005:02:03:19 +0000] "GET /index.php/biographicalwiki:Privacy_policy HTTP/1.1" 200 18084 "http://www.biographicalwiki.com/index.php/Biographical_Wiki:Privacy_policy" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.12) Gecko/20050915 Firefox/1.0.7"
Log data may be examined by developers in the course of solving technical problems, in tracking down badly-behaved web spiders that overwhelm the site, or very rarely to correlate usernames and network addresses of edits in investigating abuse of the Wiki.
Policy on release of data derived from page logs
It is the policy of the Biographical Wiki that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs will not be released by the developers who have access to it, except as follows:
- In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
- With permission of the affected user
- To Stephen D. Robison, his legal counsel, or his designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
- Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues.
- Where the user has been vandalising articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
- Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Wiki, its users or the public.
Wiki policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above.
Sharing information with third parties
The Wiki will not sell or share private information, such as email addresses, with third parties, unless you agree to release this information, or it is required by law to release the information.
Security of information
The Wiki makes no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information will be available to all developers with access to the servers.
E-mail and IRC
You may provide your e-mail address in your preferences. This enables other logged-in users to send email to you through the Wiki (unless you disable this in your preferences). Your address will not be revealed to them unless you respond, or possibly if the email bounces. The email address may be used by the Wiki to communicate with users on a wider scale.
If you do not provide an email address, you will not be able to reset your password if you forget it. However, you may contact one of the Wiki developers to enter a new mail address in your preferences.
You can remove your email address from your preferences at any time to prevent it being used.
By participating in the IRC channel, your IP address will be exposed to other participants.
Data on users, such as the times at which they edited and the number of edits they have made are publicly available via "user contributions" lists.
Removal of user accounts
Once created, user accounts will not be removed. It may be possible for a developer to change the username on an account, but you will need to request this yourself. The Wiki does not guarantee that a name will be changed on request.
Whether specific user information is deleted is dependant on the deletion policies of the project that contains the information.
Deletion of content
Deleting text from the Wiki is not truly deleted. In normal articles, anyone can look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", any sysop can see what was deleted. Only a developer can permanently delete information from the Wiki and there is no guarantee this will happen except in response to legal action.