The Arbitration Committee issued rulings in two cases last week where longstanding disputes have slowed the progress of entire sections of articles dealing with a particular topic. Having disposed of these, however, the arbitrators still ended up having to deal with a number of new requests, as well as unusual developments in existing cases.
In their second case involving Lyndon LaRouche and related articles, the Arbitration Committee found Herschelkrustofsky aligned against a new group of editors, as his previous opponent, Adam Carr, had stopped working in that subject area. This time the request also involved another account, Weed Harper, which had a similar editing focus.
The arbitrators concluded that Herschelkrustofsky and Weed Harper are in fact the same person, although an argument was raised that they were two separate people using the same computer. (The technical evidence with respect to a third account, C Colden, was not as conclusive but the arbitrators also incorporated it into the ruling due to a similarity in editing patterns.) Their ruling ordered that he limit himself to using only one account, as well as not editing anonymously. They also banned him from editing all articles relating to LaRouche for one year, and placed him on a one-year parole for edits that violate the Neutral point of view policy.
Saying he would rather not be associated with Wikipedia if it allowed "the demonization of LaRouche and his movement" by his opponents, Herschelkrustofsky indicated last Tuesday, before the ruling was finalized, that he would stop editing entirely. On the other side, the participants seemed satisfied that his departure would solve the problem and allow normal Wikipedia editing to resume. Cberlet, who in his professional career has been highly critical of LaRouche, said, "I have no doubt that Willmcw and SlimVirgin and even I will do our best to treat LaRouche fairly".
In an attempt to restore civility to the long-running debate over articles related to circumcision, the Arbitration Committee banned one of the offenders, Robert the Bruce, for a period of one year, and further prohibited him from editing "any articles which relate to sex or gender" for an additional year. The arbitrators determined that Robert the Bruce was responsible not only for "a large number of personal attacks", but also that he had removed information from articles even though it had supporting references.
Noting that the dispute over circumcision involved a failure on both sides to follow the Neutral point of view policy, the arbitrators also warned several of Robert the Bruce's opponents about their editing. Walabio, DanP, and Robert Blair, were told as part of the ruling that they were "expected to improve their editing habits and reminded that any future cases will consider seriously any failure to heed this warning." The same instruction was also applied to Jakew, who generally sided with Robert the Bruce in these disputes.
The CheeseDreams case took an unusual turn when it was discovered that CheeseDreams had revealed her account password on the talk page of one of her opponents (the currently-banned Rienzo). This also proved to be the password for a number of CheeseDreams' sockpuppet accounts. Using this password, Jguk went in and changed it, then reported the incident on the admin noticeboard by making an edit to prove he had access to the account.
Once the information became known, the arbitrators quickly issued an injunction banning all of the sockpuppet accounts, whether they were being used by CheeseDreams or merely impersonating her. CheeseDreams herself was restricted to editing only her own user and user talk pages, along with the relevant arbitration pages. Of course, she wouldn't be able to do even that after her password had been changed, so the injunction provided that CheeseDreams could email Sannse with any evidence she wished to present, and the new password for her account would be released to her if she could satisfactorily prove her identity.
Several new requests for arbitration were accepted last week as the caseload began to rise again. Snowspinner's request for a case involving Xed, alleging various disruptive and inflammatory behavior, including personal attacks, after an exchange with Slrubenstein led to Xed being blocked briefly. Another request, brought by Xtra against PSYCH also involved personal attacks. On Sunday, the arbitrators also accepted a case involving JonGwynne, regarding failure to abide by NPOV on articles related to global warming.
The arbitrators were also called upon to revisit an old case when RK returned after a four-month ban. In that case, he had also been given a one-year ban from editing articles related to Judaism, but due to errors in providing notice, RK was not informed on his talk page about this part of the ruling until after he had already been blocked. When he returned expecting to have full editing privileges, some confusion resulted, and RK appealed the previous ruling to the current Arbitration Committee once he was informed of the restriction. As a temporary injunction, the arbitrators voted to stay the subject-matter ban while they considered the issue.