OrthodoxWiki:Privacy policy

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This page is an official policy on OrthodoxWiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. If you are part of the administration, please feel free to update this page as needed, but make sure that changes you make to this policy really do reflect OrthodoxWiki's perspective before you make them.


If you only read the OrthodoxWiki website, no more information is collected than is typically collected in server logs by web sites in general.

If you contribute to the OrthodoxWiki projects, 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.

Identification of an author

When you publish a page on OrthodoxWiki, you must be logged in.

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.

When logged in, 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 the administrator(s) and may be released under certain circumstances (see below).


The wiki will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. You may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. In a typical browser configuration, 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 OrthodoxWiki's 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.

Private logging

Every time you visit a web page, you send 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 OrthodoxWiki projects to use this information to keep track of legitimate users.

These logs are used to produce the site statistics pages; the raw log data is not made public, and is normally discarded after about two weeks.

Here's a sample of what's logged for one page view: - - [21/Oct/2003:02:03:19 +0000]
"GET /wiki/draft_privacy_policy HTTP/1.1" 200 18084
"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/85.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85.5"

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.

We also use log data to post statistics about the website. This includes information about how users find their way to OrthodoxWiki as well as information abotu which words were typed in to a search engine to get to OrthodoxWiki. None of this yields personally identifiable information. We do not publically post the IP addresses of visitors.

Policy on release of data derived from page logs

It is the policy of OrthodoxWiki that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs will not be released by the adminstrators who have access to it, except as follows:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
  2. With permission of the affected user
  3. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues.
  4. Where the user has been vandalising articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targetting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
  5. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the OrthodoxWiki adminsitrators, OrthodoxWiki users or the public.

Sharing information with third parties

Except where otherwise specified, all text added to OrthodoxWiki projects is available for reuse under the terms of the GFDL as well as a Creative Commons license.

OrthodoxWiki 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

OrthodoxWiki's administration makes no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information will be available to all system administrators with access to the servers.

E-mail, mailing lists and IRC

E-mail and mailing lists

You may provide your e-mail address in your Preferences. This allows other logged-in users may 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 OrthodoxWiki to communicate with users on a wider scale. We may use your email to send special announcements pertaining directly to OrthodoxWiki. If this does happen, such announcements will be very rare.

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 OrthodoxWiki 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 from being used.

Information, including email addresses, sent to OrthodoxWiki's sysops and adminstrators may be shared internally. By sending a mail to one of the sysops, your address may become public within this group. The sysop team may discuss the contents of your mail with other sysops in order to best answer your query.


The OrthodoxWiki IRC channel is not officially part of OrthodoxWiki proper. By participating to an IRC channel, your IP address will be exposed to other participants. Different channels have different policies on whether logs may be published. We cannot accept responsibilty for any information shared in an IRC channel.

User data

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, and occasionally in aggregated forms published by other users.

User Accounts

User accounts, once created, cannot be removed. However, it may be possible for a bureaucrat to change your username, but you need to make such arrangements yourself. There is no guarantee provided by OrthodoxWiki in the privacy policy that a name will be changed on request.

Removal of user accounts

Once created, user accounts can not be removed. It may be possible for an administrator to change the username on an account, but you will need to request this yourself. OrthodoxWiki's adminstration does not guarantee that a name will be changed on request. See below for details.

Whether specific user information is deleted is dependent on the deletion policies of the project that contains the information.

Right to Vanish

If you have used your real name, or a longstanding pen name, on OrthodoxWiki then in principle everything you write can be traced to that name, and thus to you, as discussed above. However, there are a few steps that you can take to weaken that connection. They are:

  1. Request a name change (see above).
  2. Change references to your former username to be references to your replacement username (you can do this yourself).
  3. Delete your user and user talk subpages (contact a sysop).
  4. Replace your user page with a brief note indicating that you would prefer that people not refer to you by your name.

You should note that while these measures afford a degree of practical obscurity, they will not stand up to assault from a persistent investigator, and OrthodoxWiki has no control over its sublicensees, or over archiving services such as the Internet Archive or Google. Further, these actions require a degree of co-operation from the user of the project, so OrthodoxWiki cannot make guarantees on this matter.

Deletion of content

Deleting text from the OrthodoxWiki website does not really delete them. In normal articles, anyone can look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted," any sysop/administrator, meaning almost anyone trusted not to abuse the deletion capability, can see what was deleted. Only an administrator can permanently delete information from the OrthodoxWiki projects and there is no guarantee this will happen except in response to legal action.

Personal information deletion

The OrthodoxWiki projects will delete personal information about contributors (most likely on user and user talk pages) at their request, provided it is not needed for administrative reasons (which is generally limited to dealing with site misuse issues). Personal information about those who merit an encyclopedia article, when in the encyclopedia article, is not included in this. Personal information typically includes, but is not limited to, name, address, telephone number, instant messenger contact details, photograph, appearance, food tastes, political views and similar details of an individual person.

See also

This policy is based on meta:Privacy_policy and meta:Right_to_vanish.