HoloWiki - A Holography FAQ:Privacy policy

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General Scope

This policy covers personally identifiable information collected or stored by the server for the Holowiki web site. Consistent with the site's purpose, the least amount of personally identifiable information needed to fulfill the site's operational needs is collected.

The public and collaborative nature of the site

All content of the Holowiki web site were collaboratively developed or provided by its users using the MediaWiki software. Anyone with Internet access (and not otherwise restricted from doing so) may view the publicly available pages with or without logging in as a registered user. However, users must log in to edit the Holowiki content. By editing existing or entering new content, editors create a published document, and a public record of every word added, subtracted, or changed. This is a public act, and editors are identified publicly as the author of such changes. All contributions made to Holowiki, and all publicly available information about those contributions, are irrevocably licensed and may be freely copied, quoted, reused and adapted by third parties with few restrictions.

Activities on Holowiki

In general, this Policy only applies to private information stored or held by the Holowiki server which is not publicly available.

Interactions with the Holowiki site not covered by this Policy include, but are not limited to, aspects of browsing and editing pages and use of the wiki "email user" function. These interactions may reveal a contributor's IP address, and possibly other personal information, indiscriminately to the general public.

User accounts and authorship

The Holowiki site does require editors to register with the site. Editors are identified by their chosen username. Users select a password, which is confidential and used to verify the integrity of their account. Except insofar as it may be required by law, no person should disclose, or knowingly expose, either user passwords or cookies generated to identify a user. Once created, user accounts will not be removed except under rare circumstances involving disruptive behvior. It may be possible for a username to be changed, but there is no guarantee that a username will be changed on request.

Purpose of the collection of private information

The Holowiki limits the collection of personally identifiable user data to purposes which serve the well-being of the site and its purpose, including but not limited to the following:

  • To enhance the public accountability of the projects. It is recognized that any system that is open enough to allow the participation of the general public will also be vulnerable to certain kinds of abuse and counterproductive behavior. The Holowiki site has established a number of mechanisms to prevent or remedy abusive activities. For example, when investigating abuse on a project, including the suspected use of malicious “sockpuppets” (duplicate accounts), vandalism, harassment of other users, or disruptive behavior, the IP addresses of users (derived either from those logs or from records in the database) may be used to identify the source(s) of the abusive behavior. This information may be shared with Internet Service Providers and possibly law enforcement agencies.
  • To provide site statistics. The Holowiki administrator statistically samples raw log data from users' visits. These logs may be used to produce site statistics pages; the raw log data is not made public.
  • To solve technical problems. Log data may be examined in the course of solving technical problems and in tracking down badly-behaved web spiders that overwhelm the site.

Details of data retention

IP and other technical information
When a visitor requests or reads a page, or sends email via the Holowiki server, no more information is collected than is typically collected by web sites. Logs may be kept of such transactions, but these will not be published or used to track legitimate users.
The sites set a temporary session cookie on a visitor's computer whenever a Holowiki page is visited. Readers who do not intend to log in or edit may deny this cookie; it will be deleted at the end of the browser's session. More cookies may be set when one logs in to maintain logged-in status. If one saves a user name or password in one's browser, that information will be saved for up to 30 days, and this information will be resent to the server on every visit to the same Project.
Page history
Edits or other contributions to the Holowiki on its articles, user pages and talk pages are generally retained forever. Removing text does not permanently delete it. Normally, anyone can look at a previous version of an article and see what was there. Even if an article is "deleted", a user entrusted with higher level of access may still see what was removed from public view. Information can be permanently deleted by individuals with access to the Holowiki server, but aside from the rare circumstance when it is required that editing-history material be deleted in response to a court order or equivalent legal process, there is no guarantee any permanent deletion will happen.
User contribution
User contributions are also aggregated and publicly available. User contributions are aggregated according to their registration and login status. Data on user contributions, such as the times at which users edited and the number of edits they have made, are publicly available via user contributions lists, and in aggregated forms published by other users.
Reading content
No more information on users and other visitors reading pages is collected than is typically collected in server logs by web sites. Aside from the above raw log data collected for general purposes, page visits do not expose a visitor's identity publicly. Sampled raw log data may include the IP address of any user, but it is not reproduced publicly.
Editing content
Edits to Holowiki pages are identified with the username of the editor, and editing history is aggregated by author in a contribution list. Such information will be available permanently on the projects. Logged in users do not expose their IP address to the public except in cases of abuse, including vandalism of a Holowiki page by the user or by another user with the same IP address. A user's IP address is stored on the Holowiki server for a period of time, during which it can be seen by server administrators and by users who have been granted CheckUser access.
IP address information, and its connection to any usernames that share it, may be released under certain circumstances (see below).
On wiki discussion pages: Any editable page can theoretically be the location of a discussion. In general, discussions on Holowiki occur on user talk pages (associated with particular users) or on article talk pages (associated with particular articles). Privacy expectations apply to discussion pages in the same way as they do elsewhere.
Via email: Users are not required to list an email address when registering. Users who provide a valid email address can enable other logged-in users to send email to them through Holowiki. When receiving an email from other users through this system, one's email address is not revealed to them. When choosing to send an email to other users, one's email is displayed as the sender.

The email address put into one's user preferences may be used by the Holowiki administration for communication. Users whose accounts do not have a valid email address will not be able to reset their password if it is lost. In such a situation, however, users may be able to contact the Holowiki administration to enter a new e-mail address. A user can remove the account's email address from his preferences at any time to prevent it from being used. Private correspondence between users may be saved at those users' discretion and is not subject to Holowiki policy.

Release of personally identifiable information

It is the policy of Holowiki that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, or through other non-publicly-available methods, may be released by Holowiki administration in any of the following situations:

  • In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement,
  • With permission of the affected user,
  • When necessary for investigation of abuse complaints,
  • Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues,
  • Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to a service provider, carrier, or other third-party entity to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers,
  • Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Holowiki, its users or the public.

Except as described above, Holowiki policy does not permit distribution of personally identifiable information under any circumstances.

Third-party access and notifying registered users when receiving legal process

As a general principle, the access to, and retention of, personally identifiable data should be minimal and should be used only internally to serve the well-being of Holowiki. Occasionally, however, the Holowiki administration may receive a subpoena or other compulsory request from a law-enforcement agency or a court or equivalent government body that requests the disclosure of information about a registered user, and may be compelled by law to comply with the request. In the event of such a legally compulsory request, the Foundation will attempt to notify the affected user within three business days after the arrival of such subpoena by sending a notice by email to the email address (if any) that the affected user has listed in his or her user preferences.

The administration cannot advise a user receiving such a notification regarding the law or an appropriate response to a subpoena. The administration does note, however, that such users may have the legal right to resist or limit that information in court by filing a motion to quash the subpoena. Users who wish to oppose a subpoena or other compulsory request should seek legal advice concerning applicable rights and procedures that may be available.

If the Holowiki administration receives a court-filed motion to quash or otherwise limit the subpoena as a result of action by a user or their lawyer, the Holowiki administration will not disclose the requested information until it receives an order from the court to do so.

Registered users are not required to provide an email address. However, when an affected registered user does not provide an email address, the Holowiki administration will not be able to notify the affected user in private email messages when it receives requests from law enforcement to disclose personally identifiable information about the user.


The Holowiki administration believes that maintaining and preserving the privacy of user data is an important value. This Privacy Policy, together with other policies, resolutions, and actions by Holowiki, represents a committed effort to safeguard the security of the limited user information that is collected and retained on our servers. Nevertheless, the Holowiki cannot guarantee that user information will remain private. We acknowledge that, in spite of our committed effort to protect private user information, determined individuals may still develop data-mining and other methods to uncover such information and disclose it. For this reason, the Holowiki can make no guarantee against unauthorized access to information provided in the course of participating in Holowiki activities.