The Arbitration Committee wrapped up a busy week by confirming the imposition of a ban on Wik (also known as Gzornenplatz) for running a vandalbot in May and June of 2004. Along with closing three other cases, the Committee disposed of more than half its remaining caseload.
In a decision issued early on Monday, the Arbitration Committee pronounced that Gzornenplatz and Wik were the same person and should be banned. The ruling cited only the vandalbot as the reason for the ban, without mentioning the earlier arbitration cases brought against both accounts for engaging in edit wars without adequate discussion. Both accounts were quickly blocked after the ruling was made.
This marked the culmination of several months during which many people became increasingly convinced that Gzornenplatz and Wik were identical, but until recently no one had taken action on the matter. Even when it came up in previous requests for arbitration involving Gzornenplatz, the arbitrators had avoided addressing the question directly.
Part of the uncertainty in the case was whether statements by Jimbo Wales last June should be interpreted to mean that Wik was banned indefinitely for the vandalbot attack. Wales had announced that Wik claimed responsibility for the vandalbot, and said, "In my opinion, when a banned user makes direct threats of a "war" including elaborate proclamations as to how he's going to use a large number of proxies, sock puppets, whatever, it would be best for me to firmly and immediately declare that this is an extraordinary case and that the ban is extended indefinitely until appeal is made to the arbitration committee."
After consulting with Wales via IRC, the arbitrators determined that this amounted to a hard ban on Wik. They extended the ban to Gzornenplatz as well, based on technical evidence provided by the developers that the two were the same person, and also finding that they had "on numerous occasions exhibited identical editing habits."
Some users expressed dissatisfaction that Wales and the Arbitrators had dallied for so long on the issue of Gzornenplatz being Wik, when it had been increasingly obvious to those involved. John Kenney was particularly vocal about this, asking why the treatment of Gzornenplatz suddenly shifted, when neither the Arbitration Committee's knowledge of the facts nor the actual situation with Gzornenplatz had changed.
In response, Arbitrator mav explained, "The reason this has been brought up now is due to the fact that different factions in the community are fighting over it" (see archived story). The ruling also cited an explanation from Wales that "I long suspected this was Wik, and ignored evidence to the contrary out of a spirit of goodwill and a hope for reform."
The arbitrators did note, citing the precedent of Michael, that "all banned editors are theoretically redeemable." The possibility of an appeal using non-Wikipedia channels of communication was left open.
In other matters, the Arbitration Committee started off its week last Monday by ruling that Antifinnugor was banned from editing on Finno-Ugric languages and Uralic languages for one year, for failing to work cooperatively with other editors. He was also placed on personal attack parole for the same length of time. By Thursday he had already been given a 24-hour block for violating the order when he reinstated a fork of the Finno-Ugric languages article that had been redirected.
The next case to be resolved, with a decision issued on Thursday, resulted in equal bans on different grounds for Adraeus and Vfp15. Adraeus received a one-month ban for several personal attacks during the dispute, with the arbitrators particularly noting some attacks directed at Neigel von Teighen, an AMA advocate who had attempted to intervene and help represent Vfp15's interests.
Meanwhile, Vfp15 was banned for a month for disrupting the Charles Darwin article, based on failing to work with other editors and seek consensus about the inclusion of a trivia item (Darwin's shared birthdate with Abraham Lincoln). Arbitrator David Gerard commented, "Most ArbCom cases revolve around someone doing something stupid, but this one is a particularly stupid case."
On Sunday, the Arbitrators closed their one remaining holdover case from last year, involving Chuck F. Chuck F had previously been under a temporary injunction in the Reithy case, and the Arbitrators found that he had blatantly violated the injunction. For this, as well as vandalism and attempts to evade previous blocks, they imposed a two-month ban. To address underlying complaints about revert warring and failure to abide by the Neutral point of view policy, the ruling also banned him from articles "related to libertarianism, socialism, or political ideology," imposed a limit of one revert per day on an article, and added a general parole for three months.
These actions left the Arbitration Committee with only two pending cases, both opened within the past two weeks. Jayjg congratulated the Arbitrators on the mailing list for clearing their backlog.
Also, in other dispute resolution news, Jwrosenzweig was installed Sunday as the new chair of the Mediation Committee, after two weeks had passed with no objections to his nomination (see archived story).