Arbitration report

The Report On Lengthy Litigation

After several weeks of clearing out a backlog of cases, the Arbitration Committee actually saw its caseload increase last week due to several new requests. However, the Arbitrators did manage to close their oldest outstanding case, along with two others.

The Arbitration Committee also reached a minor milestone last Friday by closing its 50th case (the Rienzo matter), almost one year after it began hearing its first cases.

A sock under every rock

The case brought against Libertas, like that of Alberuni, involved a number of sockpuppets, of which Ollieplatt was actually the main account at the end. After finding a number of offenses, including personal attacks, NPOV violations, and three-revert rule violations, the arbitrators imposed a one-year ban on all of the accounts based on the general disruptive behavior. Once the ban is over, the user may not use sockpuppets but only one primary account, which would presumably be Ollieplatt unless designated otherwise.

As the dispute developed, Ollieplatt accused a number of his opponents of being sockpuppets of each other as well (usually he said they were sockpuppets of Radicalsubversiv who brought the request for arbitration). One of those so accused, Davenbelle, opined that he did this "mostly to cause trouble and to parrot the same terms used about him."

In voting to close the case on Thursday, arbitrator mav introduced a new device of delayed voting, which some of his colleagues also adopted. The way this worked is that in voting, mav indicated his vote would not take effect until 24 hours after the initial vote cast. This new practice was applied to the Arbitration Committee's time-sensitive votes that might be awkward to reverse, such as accepting and closing cases or issuing temporary injunctions.

The Swedish sock invasion

Additional use of sockpuppets was at issue in the the case of Rienzo. Rienzo was accused of directing personal attacks at CheeseDreams and other users. The attacks involved multiple accounts and evidence regarding sockpuppets was presented from the Swedish Wikipedia as well as English.

Although the developers did not find evidence to clearly connect all of these accounts, the arbitrators did determine that all had engaged in personal attacks. Moreover, they noted the common element of "abusive posts aimed at a particular user with no sign of previous conflict", and concluded that it was likely all of these users had other accounts, whether or not one person was operating all of them.

For the personal attacks, the ruling imposed a three-month ban on all of the accounts, followed by a one-year personal attack parole. Significantly, a violation of the parole by any of the accounts would lead to a block on all of the accounts.

An IP address included in the case was determined to be a public computer probably used by more than one person, so the ruling left the question of blocking this IP to the normal blocking policy.

Finishing old business

Also, on Tuesday the arbitrators finally closed their oldest case, involving 172. This case had been open since 30 August 2004, and was actually even older than that, as the initial request was left hanging for a month while the Arbitration Committee handled the case of Lir (who made the initial request against 172).

At various points over the course of this long-drawn-out case, 172 made promises such as limiting his use of the rollback feature to "cases of obvious vandalism", and in joining the Harmonious editing club, whose members pledge to "only revert once." As a way to hold 172 to these commitments, the Arbitration Committee incorporated them into a one-month parole.

New cases

The first request to come in was from Neigel von Teighen, acting as an advocate for Vfp15. The dispute centered around Vfp15's attempts to add a mention in the Charles Darwin article of the fact that he shares a birthdate with Abraham Lincoln, although the arbitration request was focused on conduct during the dispute rather than the content. In response, Cyrius added the incident to the list of lamest edit wars ever.

The remaining cases to be accepted were somewhat weightier. On Tuesday, the arbitrators voted to hear a second case involving edits related to Lyndon LaRouche, and two days later issued a temporary injunction barring the major participants from editing LaRouche-related articles while the case remains open.

Another long-running dispute, over circumcision and related subjects, led to a request brought against Robert the Bruce by Exploding Boy. Questions were raised about whether the dispute resolution process had been exhausted before requesting arbitration, but newly appointed mediator and Mediation Committee chair-apparent Jwrosenzweig noted that the mediation process was not currently fully functional. A temporary injunction followed that prohibited Robert the Bruce from editing articles related to sex generally, with particular reference to the circumcision-related articles.

Finally, an urgent request from Angela over the Gzornenplatz block war (related story) gave the Arbitration Committee its fourth new case of the week. An injunction was immediately issued to prohibit further blocks of Gzornenplatz as a reincarnation of Wik, as in this emergency situation the arbitrators dispensed with the 24-hour delays mav had suggested earlier.

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"chair-apparent"....heh, nice one. I laughed, anyway. :-) Thanks for the detailed and wryly (or perhaps dryly) humorous notes -- you keep Wikipedia fun. Jwrosenzweig 22:15, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I was rather proud of that one, yes. --Michael Snow 22:26, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)


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