The Arbitration Committee closed two inactive cases last week, although one may yet be reopened, and appeared set to issue a temporary injunction in a third. Meanwhile, a possible resignation raised the question of how to replace an arbitrator during the course of a term.
As reported last week (see archived story), two cases were closed because the dispute was no longer active. The matters involved Wareware, who had stopped editing, and the dispute around Instantnood's attempts to impose naming conventions dealing with China.
However, arbitrator Ambi had opposed closing the case involving Instantnood, and it was not clear whether this might lead to a reversal. According to stated practice, each vote opposing closure negates one support vote, and four net votes to close are required. Since only four arbitrators total voted to close the case, this would leave three net votes, thus the case may possibly be reopened.
The arbitrators were voting on a potential injunction against Jguk that would prohibit him from modifying dates that use common era notation, and the injunction appeared to have enough support to pass. The dispute is an extension of a continuing battle over whether to adopt a policy in favor of a particular dating system on Wikipedia (see archived story). Often involved in matters of convention and style, Jguk had also been a party to the Instantnood case.
Jguk maintained that he was simply maintaining the status quo and reverting edits that unilaterally changed the format from BC/AD to BCE/CE. He also objected to the fact that the proposed injunction applied only to him rather than other parties to the dispute. Rather than submit to the injunction, Jguk announced his departure from Wikipedia on Saturday.
Several new requests for arbitration were submitted, of which two so far had enough votes for a case to be opened. One involved a long-running dispute over the Iglesia ni Cristo and related articles, while the second was a case brought by arbitrator Neutrality against OldRight, based on a catalog of disputes over political articles. The remaining requests, including Everyking's attempt to lift his ban on editing articles related to Ashlee Simpson, all stood one vote short of acceptance.
Arbitrator Delirium, who has been on leave from participating in the arbitration process, has recently indicated that he "will likely resign once we figure out how that works". The move is not terribly surprising; prior to the Arbitration Committee election last December, he had indicated that he would be inclined to resign except that he lacked the confidence that enough suitable replacements would run as candidates.
Delirium's term expires at the end of this year, at which point his position would be up for election. Similar interim arbitrators were chosen in a special election last August; the possibility of having interim appointments made by Jimbo Wales, or the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, has also been mentioned.
Since the original group of arbitrators was appointed by Wales, all new arbitrators have been elected. However, some concerns have also been raised about putting candidates through two elections in close succession, and possible overlap with the upcoming Board of Trustees election may also be a consideration. As no procedure has been set in stone, any of these options remains theoretically possible.