The CheckUser tool is used by a small group of trusted users (called Checkusers). The tool allows its users to determine the IP addresses used by a user account, as well as other technical data stored by the server about a user account or IP address.
The Checkuser team uses the tool to establish whether two or more accounts are being operated by one individual or group of people, and then to protect Bharatpedia against disruptive or abusive behaviour.
Checkusers are able to view a list of all IP addresses used by a user account to edit Bharatpedia, a list of all edits made by an IP, or all user accounts that have used an IP address. After completing an investigation with the CheckUser tool, most Checkusers release their findings in the generalised form (such as with a statement that "account A is, is not, or maybe the same as accounts B or C"); on Bharatpedia, the release of actual private data (like "account D is connecting through IP address 0.1.2.3") is exceptionally rare. Conclusions derived from CheckUser data have limited usefulness, and a negative finding by a CheckUser rarely precludes obvious sock-puppetry.
Grounds for checking
CheckUser data may be used to investigate, prevent, or respond to:
- Sock puppetry;
- Disruption and
- Legitimate concerns about bad-faith editing.
The tool may never be used to:
- Exert political or social control;
- Apply pressure on an editor; or
- Threaten another editor into compliance in a content dispute.
The primary purpose of CheckUser is the prevention of sock-puppetry, but community policy provides for several legitimate uses of alternative accounts where the alternative accounts are not being used to violate site policy (such as by double voting or by giving the impression there is more support for a position in a discussion or content dispute).