Our goal is to make it easier for admins, vandal fighters and power users to access information about IP addresses.

A lot of on-wiki anti-vandalism workflows heavily rely on information revealed by IP addresses. This information may affect the way an editor interacts with an unregistered user. At the moment, retrieving and understanding this information is not an easy task.

This project is a step towards improving on-wiki support for the anti-vandalism task forces. We hope it will be very useful as we move forward on the Temporary accounts project.

Problem and solution


When editors want to learn about an IP address, they sometimes need to refer to external, proprietary websites. They often consult more than one website to cross-check the data or to get all the different pieces of information they need to do their work. Often an editor would spend a lot of time and energy looking up the data they want to see. We heard about these issues when we asked users about their workflows.

The idea is to provide this data on the Wikimedia wikis, so that editors wouldn't need to go to external websites. This includes surfacing information like:

  • High-level location information about an IP address
  • Owner of the IP address
  • Whether the IP address is known to be behind a proxy or Tor node
  • Whether the IP address is considered malicious by other websites




Today, IP Info feature has been deployed to all wikis as a Beta Feature.

After our initial run on testwiki we received a good amount of feedback. I will summarize the key pieces below:

  • The biggest and most important feedback was about the data quality of MaxMind. MaxMind's data quality, especially about proxy data, is not great. We have reached out to Maxmind about this and are also actively talking to Spur to get their data feed. Once we are able to obtain Spur's data feed we will be able to integrate it into the feature and show information from multiple data sources.
  • We heard about the interface being unclear about what information is available and what isn't. We are working on improving the labels and providing better guidance about the information displayed.
  • We heard a request about expanding the tool to include global information and also include information about IPs that have not made any edits on the given wiki. We will be looking more into both of these requests. We have done some prior investigation into showing global information.

We would love to hear more comments. Please leave them as you use the tool. Your opinions will help improve it.

Previous updates 

Mockup of the IP Info feature

The IP Info feature has now been deployed to testwiki as a Beta Feature. The plan is to run initial testing on testwiki until mid-April after which, if we don’t discover any major issues, the feature will be available on all projects. It will continue to be in the Beta Feature phase.

Below are some key things to note as you try out the tool.

Basic versus Advanced information

There are two levels of access to IP information. Users with Autoconfirmed will be able to access the Basic information. Users with advanced privileges (admin, sysop, bureaucrat, checkuser) will be able to access the Advanced information. Advanced information includes City, State, ISP, Organization + Basic. Everything else displayed in the above screenshot will be available in Basic.

If you want to try the advanced information mode on testwiki, please request for temporary admin privileges on the discussion page.


In order to activate IP Info the user will need to agree to a disclaimer stating that this information is being accessed for anti-vandalism purposes only. Once activated, the user will be able to access both the IP Info popup (on log, history and recent changes pages) and the IP Info infobox (on contributions page). There will be a log to keep track of how IP information is being accessed. This is purely for Legal purposes. Only WMF Trust & Safety staff will have access to this log for the time being.

Popup & Infobox

There are two places to access this information: the popup and the infobox. The popup is intended to be a quick way to access specific IP details which can help while patrolling on the recent changes, log or history pages. The full infobox will be available on Special:Contributions. Clicking on the popup will lead to the infobox.


When the tool is available on all projects there will be a link to provide feedback directly through the feature itself. This will allow for structured feedback to be collected in multiple languages. In the meantime, please reach out to us on the talk page and provide feedback.

We want to hear from you about:

  • What did you like about this tool?
  • What did you find confusing or missing?
  • How else can we improve this feature?


There are a couple of potential future feature improvements that we have in mind:

  • Identifying and incorporating new streams of information into the feature. This can include sources like Spur that we have discussed in the past. This will also help us get better coverage for IPs in different parts of the world.
  • Bringing this information into CheckUser. Checkusers will benefit from having this key information at their fingertips.

We don’t have a firm timeline for when we will be working on these. We want to ensure the tool is useful in its current state before adding new features. Our top priority is to build a feature that patrollers across different projects use and find helpful.

The Anti-Harassment Tools team has recently wrapped up its work on delivering key changes to SecurePoll and assisting with the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections 2021. We are back to working on IP Info and hopefully this page will see many more updates in the near future. Since we were gone, here's the big updates on this project:

  • We received MaxMind access. It took longer than anticipated but we finally have access to all the key data we needed.
  • We are currently working on delivering on the mocks we referred to in our last update. One key addition to the data has been the inclusion of a data point indicating whether the IP address is v4 or v6.

IP Info product development is well underway. We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about where we are at and get your feedback on the direction.

User interviews & task model

We conducted user interviews to understand how editors currently patrol IPs. This gave us a rough understanding of the IP patrolling process, information required and tools used. Based on this research we came up with a model of how the task of IP patrolling is usually conducted. After a few rounds of feedback from design, engineers, research and T&S folks here is what we came up with:

Task model for IP Info workflow

As we understand it now, the IP patrolling process usually starts from RecentChanges, an editor’s Watchlist or from a page that the editor knows gets vandalized often. When looking at the edits of such a page the patroller first looks for clear red flags like edit flooding, lack of edit summary, large deletions etc. They then look for more specific on-wiki information like if the IP has a talk page, if it has ever been blocked in the past, its global and local contributions, and in the case of English Wikipedia, if there is a mention of the IP on the LTA page.

Based on this initial research they decide if an IP is worth looking into further. If it is, they use external tools to find more information about the IP, like: location, proxy usage and organization that the IP might be linked to. This process is not completely accurate since different databases have different information on the same IP. Oftentimes, based on the location of the IP and the location of the IP tool, the information given might be very different.

Finally, based on the information collected they decide which action would be most appropriate. Again, this decision takes into account various factors like the policies of that wiki, the scale of the collateral damage caused by a range block, consistency in editing patterns etc.


Based on feedback from the first round of user interviews, we have settled on the following product approach.

IP Information and who has access to it
IP Info Minimum required user right
Location Admin / CheckUser
ISP/Domain Admin / CheckUser
ASN Admin / CheckUser
Organization Admin / CheckUser
Connection type Autoconfirmed
User type Autoconfirmed
Proxy info Autoconfirmed
Static / Dynamic Autoconfirmed
Number of users on IP Autoconfirmed

Since the patrollers need on-wiki information about the IP before they decide to investigate it we are going to add a popup that shows block and contribution information. The popup would be accessible by clicking an information icon next to the IP address on pages like RecentChanges, Watchlist and History.

If the patroller decides to dig deeper into an IP address by going to their Contributions page, they'll be able to see a collapsible box that shows more IP related information.

Access to information and risk to anonymous editors

By making the IP information so readily available we hope to remove some of the barriers that our non-technical patrollers might be facing in reliably getting this information. At the same time, we hope this streamlines the process for users who are currently relying on external tools. We also recognize that easy access to this information might be putting our anonymous editors at risk, especially because some of the IP information, like location and organization, can easily help in identifying a person.

We need to balance the concerns of ease of use and risk to anonymous editors. To do this we plotted the different pieces of IP information on a graph with Risk on the Y axis and Usefulness to patrolling on the X axis:

Risk vs Usefulness of IP Information

This exercise wasn't completely scientific and was based on the learnings from research and estimates of the team (please see the questions below if you'd like to contribute). Two possible clusters appeared, the high risk one mostly containing information that could reveal an editor’s location.

We are planning to show all on-wiki information to all editors that are auto-confirmed and above. Auto-confirmed and above editors will also have access to IP information that doesn't reveal possibly personal information about anonymous editors. This would include things like proxy and static/dynamic-ness of the IP. Finally, Admins and Checkusers will have access to more IP information like location, organization and domain.

  • Is there any other information you look at before deciding to investigate an IP?
  • When investigating an IP what kinds of information do you look for? Which page are you likely on when looking for this information?
  • What kinds of IP information do you find most useful?
  • What kinds of IP information when shared, do you think could put our anonymous editors at risk?

The project is currently under backend development as we are looking into sources to pull IP Information from and what kind of information we should display and to whom.

Here's a tentative mockup for the feature. We are currently planning to place the information box containing IP address information on the Contributions page of the IP address. We are also planning to break down the information that's visible to the users based on their permissions. All autoconfirmed users and above would be able to access this. This would mean more sensitive information would be accessible to users with advanced permissions like Admins, Checkusers etc.


As you look at this mockup, I'd invite you to think about the following:

  • When do you seek more information about IP addresses?
  • What information is important for you to know?
  • Where do you need to see this information?
  • How do you use this information? What actions do you take based on this information?

Please leave your thoughts on the talk page. It will be very valuable as we plan our work.

  • We have done an initial technical investigation into this project. Follow along on phab:T248525.
  • We are currently looking into the various services that provide information about IP addresses. Follow along on phab:T251933.

Benefits and risks



  • Easier patrolling: Patrollers don't need to copy-paste IP addresses to external tools. They also don't need to extract the information. This means lesser manual work.
  • Faster patrolling: It saves patrollers' time by giving them the information they need readily in the interface.
  • Higher reliability: The Foundation can have contracts with providers of reliable datasets, which are translated and updated regularly. This feature may be more reliable than some websites users were dependent on.
  • Lower technical barriers: It is useful for new admins and checkusers. Now, they don't need to have a very good understanding of how to extract information from IP addresses.


  • Privacy risk: Not everyone is aware of what an IP address string reveals. Many people don't know that unregistered editing leaves a fingerprint which can be used to track them. A lot of registered editors do not know this either. This leads to unintentional privacy for unregistered users (Security through obscurity). Depending on who gets to see the information exposed by this feature, there is a risk of more users seeing the data than before.

Background: how do the communities use IP address information?




See also: Research:Patrolling on Wikipedia/Report

Single-address blocks bar a single IP address from editing. Administrators can also block IP ranges. This is helpful for dynamic IPs or covering a small range often used for vandalism. To assess collateral damage, administrators should check the coverage of ranges they intend to block.

How administrators handle certain IP blocks depends on the type of address. For example, they handle an edit from an IP address coming from a residential area differently to an edit from an IP registered to a government. If an IP address is registered to a school or a university, administrators apply dedicated templates. If the institution was blocked before, they instruct how to contact them. Then, they help the institution get around the block. These templates can also be used pre-emptively. The goal may be to clear up potential confusion at receiving messages not meant for the user. Another goal may be to point to features only available to registered users.

The IP blocking workflow relies on some IP information. This usually is the registered organization, geographic location, and autonomous system number. This information comes from third-party IP information providers, with no standard service. There are different degrees of accuracy and reliability.

IP addresses are also used in AbuseFilter to make very specific blocks. The goal is highlight some abuse without disrupting the experience of regular users.

IP information is also used by CheckUsers. In particular, they use it whe they deal with alternate account abuse (sockpuppeting). Their tools allow access to potentially-identifying information tied to accounts. These usually do not have their IP addresses exposed.

Anonymity and anonymous editing


Researchers have attempted to determine the effects of unregistered editing on the projects. They have focused on links between anonymity and vandalism. In principle, unregistered users make large portions of constructive edits. A 2013 study noted that about 100,000 anonymous editors made roughly a third of the edits counted in that month. A 2016 study showed that unregistered users "contribute substantially to overall productivity".

No project has disallowed all unregistered user edits. But unregistered users are restricted in what types of contributions they can make. For example, they cannot start new articles or upload files on most of our projects. What's more, there is no guarantee that the person behind a given IP address will be the same every time. This makes it difficult for unregistered users to communicate. It also prevents them from joining their wikis' communities.



Researchers sometimes use IP addresses to learn about the editing practices of users in a given geographic area. Researchers generally only use aggregate information from IPs.