Topic on User talk:Tim Starling (WMF)/Gerrit group membership policy changes

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DKinzler (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The proposal states "For security reasons, it is normal practice to revoke all privileges regardless of whether the former employee plans to continue contributing."

I think it should be made clear whether this also applies if they had the access before joining the WMF (people have argued in the past that they should keep any access they had before). Also, it should be made clear that people are free to re-apply for any access they lost when leaving the WMF.

Platonides (talkcontribs)


Was going to mention this. I think it should say they may be revoked "If the rights were given because you've had an employee agreement / contract which has now come to an end."

DKinzler (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Platonides' suggestion is to only revoke rights that were granted as part of hiring, while I think it's ok to revoke all rights when a person leaves, with the option to immediately re-apply to get them back. This may be a bit of a hassle, but should protect us against disgruntled ex-employees. It's not always easy to see who really leaves happily and voluntarily. There certainly are situations in which we would want to revoke rights, and I don't think it would be a good idea to only allow this when e.g. a formal complain is filed.

Platonides (talkcontribs)

I don't think it makes sense to revoke more things than were granted. If I was a local CheckUser, and then were granted CheckUser rights accross the whole cluster as part of a staff work, leaving that should not remove more permissions than were given,¹ as the other rights were provided through a different process.

Of course, if there were additional points to be taken into account (eg. I was fired and got escorted out of the building yelling I would take revenge ☺), makes sense to revoke everything (that would be a different epigraph, though).

¹ with the option to keep them.

Tim Starling (WMF) (talkcontribs)

One problem with having special rules for when people are fired is that enforcing them is potentially defamatory.

Anomie (talkcontribs)

I think there are broadly two cases of someone leaving WMF (or WMDE, for that matter, since their staffers are being proposed to have similar rights)

  1. A person finds a new job and leaves with a mutual offboarding process.
  2. A person is being fired. Or "agrees" to leave to avoid being officially fired.

There are probably some grey areas or exceptions, but most cases I'd think would be reasonably clear to the managers of the person involved which applies. In case #1 it seems reasonable that retention of pre-employment rights without "revoke and reapply" should be an option.

FWIW it seems we already do this, and possibly more.

DKinzler (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The problem with making this distinction is that we'd leak the circumstances of the person leaving the WMF to the outside. And while I'm all for transparency, I think it should be up to the person leaving to decide how much about that gets communicated, and how.

We should avoid speculations of the kind "hey, person X left the WMF and got their gerrit rights revoked, they must have done something terribly wrong". Better to just revoke them per default, and have people re-apply.

This also avoid people retaining rights they no longer use, because perhaps they are fed up with the wiki world, or just busy with other things. Stale accounts with elevated rights can be a security issue.

Anomie (talkcontribs)

I'm not saying that someone who doesn't want rights anymore has to retain them. But let's not chase away people who want to remain volunteers by making them re-apply for access to everything.

Platonides (talkcontribs)

I think people should keep by default the access that the person had gained on their own merits if their employment circumstances change. Specially given that it may include functions that were appointed by their community, with the wiki drama it may ensue (not to mention if that temporary removal of rights also affects two more users).

However, you make a very good point that actions taken should not indirectly leak if they left in good standing with the WMF or not.

How about leaving the rights not given due to his job by default, but mentioning that in their exit interview, the employee will be asked if, in addition to that, they are interested in keeping any extra access he may have as he is interested in contributing in the future, or even if they prefer that earlier ones are also revoked.

This way, mentioning in their offboarding that all rights are to be revoked does not leak whether that's being forced on them or simply because they are fed up with wikis and stated in the interview that they prefer to have everything removed (at least temporarily). It also makes things more efficient by leaving the final rights in one step.

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