This will be a regular column dealing with cases before the Arbitration Committee and other matters going through the dispute resolution system. Hopefully, it will not get too long to write. (Yes, the acronym is intentional, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.)
The recently elected crew of new Arbitrators continued to make progress toward reaching decisions on their existing cases. Within a couple of days of beginning their terms, they had already closed a couple of obviously stale cases, and concluded a one-year ban on Lir.
Last week, the Arbitration Committee closed two additional cases, prohibiting original research and edit warring over the Phil Gingrey article, and banning Alberuni for over a year. The Arbitrators also moved toward issuing rulings in most of the other cases currently on the docket.
In their oldest case, however, involving 172 and dating back to last August, things actually moved backwards when former Arbitrator Martin Harper withdrew his votes because he is no longer participating in the process. This left it unclear how long it would take to issue a ruling.
Cases with fresher and well-organized evidence seemed easier to deal with, as reflected in the Alberuni case. Alberuni was brought to Arbitration after a long period of stirring up matters on the Arab-Israeli conflict pages and exacerbating the tension among editors there. In his activity, Alberuni engaged in numerous personal attacks and created a number of sockpuppets for this purpose (sockpuppets that could be identified have already been banned).
In Alberuni's case, the Arbitrators voted strongly in favor of a one-year ban for personal attacks, plus an additional month for violations of the three-revert rule. After cleaning up loose ends in the ruling, the Arbitration Committee closed the case officially on Monday and the ban was promptly imposed.
By the end of the week, the Arbitrators had also managed to begin making proposals and voting on them for all existing cases, even on their newest case involving Rienzo, which was only just accepted on 1 January. One additional new request was accepted and moved into the evidence presentation stage (see below).
Quite possibly the most active Arbitration case last week did not involve deliberation and voting by the Arbitrators, however. That would be the case of CheeseDreams, which prompted additional controversy when she returned to active editing.
CheeseDreams, who has a history of getting into conflict over articles related to religion, particularly Christianity, had been given a temporary injunction against editing articles related to Christianity. In the course of these conflicts, CheeseDreams created several sockpuppets, generally taking the same username with a slight spelling variation (such as Cheesedreams). No evidence has been raised that the sockpuppets were misused, however.
Whatever the account involved, until last Wednesday CheeseDreams hadn't edited since before Christmas, so the issue seemed to be dormant. But then she returned and created two new templates, dispute tags indicating that the article was skewed towards "Bible POV," which she then proceeded to add to a number of articles related to the Old Testament or Tanakh.
IZAK promptly seized upon these edits as violations of the preliminary injunction and listed the templates at Templates for deletion, also requesting that a block be implemented. IZAK also removed the tags wherever they had been posted.
Nobody had given CheeseDreams notice of the injunction, however, until after these edits (of course, her use of sockpuppets compounds this problem by making it hard to know the right place to give such a notice). The notice was finally given by Arbitrator mav Thursday on CheeseDreams' talk page after the controversy over the templates was raised.
However, Ta bu shi da yu, another participant in this Arbitration case, acted on IZAK's complaint and imposed a 24-hour block. This had to be reversed because the edits preceded the notice of the injunction, and Ta bu shi da yu posted an apology on CheeseDreams' talk page.
The fate of the templates remains to be decided, but they too had a dizzying career. After first being listed on Templates for deletion by IZAK, they were speedily deleted based on the apparent violation of the injunction. This led to their being nominated on votes for undeletion, where they were promptly undeleted because of the irregularities in the speedy deletion. At last check, the discussion had returned to templates for deletion again.
The Arbitrators also got an opportunity to demonstrate how quickly they would respond to new requests when dab made a Request for Arbitration involving Antifinnugor. The response was in fact quite swift, as seven Arbitrators responded to the request within 24 hours.
But even this was not enough to get a decision on whether or not to accept the case. While three of the necessary four Arbitrators had voted to accept, three others abstained and one voted to reject it, and their comments indicated that they still thought formal mediation could help the situation. Dab's response was that attempts at informal mediation had been ignored, and the Arbitrators did eventually decide to accept the case.
Dab's was the only new request accepted last week, so the net effect of this activity is that the Arbitrators have considerably lessened their caseload.