This week, five Wikipedians were granted Check User rights. The five were selected from the Arbitration Committee and were chosen after discussions within the ArbCom. Chosen were Raul654, Fred Bauder, Kelly Martin, The Epopt, and Jayjg. The chosen Arbitrators were granted the access after the Wikimedia Board approved a change in policy earlier this year, allowing each language's arbitration committee to grant the privilege (locally) to users of a particular language. Thus, the english Arbitration Committee can now grant administrators checkuser permissions to the English-wikipedia logs.
For its initial request, the Arbitration Committee limited its selection to current arbitrators with the necessary technical expertise. Prior to the request, David Gerard was one of only two widely-available Wikipedians on the English Wikipedia with CheckUser rights, with the other being developer Tim Starling. David Gerard had previously stated that tending to checkuser requests has become so time-consuming for him that "en: could easily do with another five checkers."
The move came with much controversy, as several users objected to the granting of the rights. After steward Danny posted on the meta requests for permission page seeking input, several users expressed their concerns. "Two... have only temporary positions (as they were appointed by Jimbo Wales), out of process with how the other arbitrators were chosen," said Talrias. In actuality, four of the five users were appointed by Jimbo Wales; however, Kelly Martin drew the most controversy because she was only appointed last month. Even after Martin agreed to withdraw if it would "accelerate the process of getting someone to help David Gerard deal with the huge tide of work to be done on en", more users expressed their opinions, with some seeing the move as a threat to privacy. Afterwards, steward Datrio decided to move the discussion back to the English Wikipedia: "Please link to the local announcement of the Arbitration Committee on en.Wikipedia... [that they] should be granted this status. Please move all the relevant discussion to the local village pump."
However, Datrio's statement also drew criticism because policy dictates that the local ArbCom can choose several members to be granted CheckUser access. Policy states, "On a wiki with a (Wikimedia-approved) arbitration committee only editors approved by arbitrators may have CheckUser status. They should be at least two so that they can mutually control their activity. After agreement, simply list the candidate on Requests for permissions." Thus, the five users were ultimately granted CheckUser privileges.
Discussion continues on the mailing list, with some Wikipedians dissenting and others supporting the decision. Some asked whether activity on CheckUser would be logged and visible to the public, so as to make the monitoring transparent, but this was rejected due to the same privacy concerns that require limiting access to a small group. Instead, those who have CheckUser access will be able to consult with and monitor each other's use of the tool.