…and so history repeats itself.

In 2008, two Wikipedia administrators (PeterSymonds and Chet B Long) allowed another user (Steve Crossin) to access their administrator accounts. As expected, this was eventually discovered and trout was used extensively across the board. While those users have learnt their lesson, and a lot more users learnt from their mistake too, it seems not everyone learnt that lesson or studied history to learn from that.

A couple of weeks ago, two high-profile users were uncovered to have done a similar deed – Riley Huntley asked Gwickwire to make an edit from his account while he was unable to do so. While Riley didn’t have administrator permissions on enwiki, he did on Wikidata, and thanks to the Single-User Login system that the WMF wikis use, this would have logged Gwickwire onto Riley’s Wikidata account at the same time.


A fair few people who have been around a long time on Wikipedia have rolled their eyes, having seen this happen before and the results it took. GWickwire and Riley have both left, which I feel is an over-reaction, especially since Peter and Chet both only lost their administrator privileges, and only then for 5 months or so – and Peter is now a steward. Yes, it was a mistake, a foolish thing to do (especially given history), but it was 5 years ago so it was a decent amount of time ago. I think both Riley and GWickwire will probably come back at some point, but under different names.

This whole thing is a shame, cos Wikipedia has lost two good editors, who were good at what they did. ACC and #wikipedia-en-help have suffered a bit with their loss.