Help:Protecting Identity

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See Fanlore:Identity Protection for the policy page.

This page explains the steps for protecting a fan's identity after they have been outed on the wiki. These steps can also be used to help a fan lower their online profile when they had previously linked their legal name and fannish pseudonym.

If you discover that you or someone else has been outed, or you need to remove the link between legal name and fannish involvement, please contact the committee (select "Identity Protection" as the message subject) rather than trying to change things yourself. Some steps require gardener, admin or sysop permissions.

Notes on the Policy

The identity protection policy is designed to protect fans whose need for pseudonymity has changed, as well as fans who have never publicly associated their fan name with their legal name.

Our default assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted. If we discover that someone's identity has been exposed, the page will be reverted, and the history removed. We reserve the right to treat exposure as malicious, and ban users who expose the identity of others.

Procedure for Protecting Identity

Once the committee has been notified, this is what to do:

  1. Before you edit anything: Search Fanlore for the legal name that needs to be removed. Be sure to check talk pages as well.
  2. Edit each page to remove the name and replace it with whatever has been agreed upon as appropriate -- the current fannish pseudonym, first name plus last initial, initials only, or another placeholder.
  3. If there is a page about the fan or another page whose title includes the fan's legal name, move the page to the new name. [requires gardener permissions]
    1. Be sure to uncheck "Leave a redirect behind" so that the old name of the page doesn't turn into a redirect.
    2. Click "what links here" on the page to see if any pages link to the old name. (But there shouldn't be any if step 2 is complete.)
    3. Change any wikilinks to the new page name and hide the edit history. [requires admin permissions]
    4. The move action still shows up as a revision on the page's History tab. Find out the revision number and permanently delete the revision. [requires oversight permissions]
  4. After each page has been cleansed, go to the History tab and hide every revision where the name is still visible:
    1. Use the "Compare selected versions" button to figure out which revisions need to disappear.
    2. Select the revisions that need to disappear and then use "Show/hide selected revisions." Choose "Hide revision text", and "Hide edit summary" if necessary (i.e. if the information that needs to be hidden is visible in the edit summaries." [requires admin permissions]
  5. Check images that might contain the person's full name (i.e. images that display on articles about the person or their fan activities). If the person's legal name does appear:
    1. Download the image and use an image editing program to blank out the name.
    2. Upload the modified image. On the original image page, you will see a link to "Upload a new version of this file." Click that and upload.
    3. Delete the previous version of the image file. [requires gardener permissions]

Depending on the situation, some of the above steps may not be applicable. Note that it may take a little while for the page to stop showing up for a search on the user's name, due to cacheing (and the same applies to Google search). If you've removed all instances and the name still seems to appear in a search, it's most likely due to this, and the change will go through later.

A step that anyone can do is request that Google remove the page cache so that after the Fanlore page has been deleted or edited, it will no longer appear in search results.

Notes on Splitting Fannish Identities

Cases where a person has multiple fannish identities that need to be split are more complicated. For example, a fan may have written gen fan fiction under one pseudonym, but used another for their slash fan fiction. Fans often change pseudonyms between fandoms or across types of fannish activities (ex: vidding, fan art, fanzine publishing). In most cases linking these various pseudonyms is not a problem; there may be cases however, where a fan has expressed a desire to *not* have their fannish identities linked. In that case, see Morgan Dawn's tips for un-linking authors who have multiple pseuds